July 29 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:40 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
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11:10 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

New York City sees slight uptick in infection rate, mayor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City saw a slight uptick in the Covid-19 infection rate across the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The city's Covid-19 infection rate is up to 2% which is a rise from the 1% previously reported earlier this week.

These are the city's latest reopening indicators:

  • At least 84 people were admitted to the hospital suspected to have Covid-19 which is below the threshold to reopen.
  • ·At least 290 people are in public hospital intensive care units being treated for Covid-19. 

Note: The numbers listed were released by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

11:09 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Latina women among the hardest hit by Covid-19 job losses

From CNN's Leyla Santiago

A failure to extend enhanced unemployment benefits in the next stimulus package could be devastating for millions of Americans, and Latina women  — and their families — could especially be hard-hit across the country. 

According to the Department of Labor, more than 1.8 million Hispanic women are out of work in the US. The unemployment rate for Latinas now stands at a staggering 15%, partly due to the fact that many are more likely to work in leisure and hospitality services.

The weekly $600 federal unemployment enhancement expires in 48 hours, and divisions among Republicans on the GOP stimulus proposal continue.

CNN's Leyla Santiago spoke to some Latina women about how they are coping:

11:06 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

India eases more Covid-19 restrictions as cases top 1.5 million

From Manveena Suri in Delhi

A health worker in Hyderabad, India, prepares to collect a nasal swab sample for a Covid-19 test on July 27.
A health worker in Hyderabad, India, prepares to collect a nasal swab sample for a Covid-19 test on July 27. Mahesh Kumar A./AP

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs issued a fresh set of guidelines on Wednesday as part of a third phase of easing restrictions in the country.

The easing comes as coronavirus cases in India crossed 1.5 million cases ,with the country adding half a million cases in almost two weeks, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Here are some of the guidelines:

  • Starting Saturday, restrictions on the movement of individuals at night will be lifted, according to a press release issued by the Press Information Bureau.
  • Starting Aug. 5, yoga institutes and gyms will be allowed to open and must follow rules issued by the Health Ministry to ensure social distancing and other measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
  • Schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain shut until Aug. 31. 
  • Metro rail transport, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theaters, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and other similar places will remain closed.
  • All functions, including cultural, religious and sports events, and other large congregations are still banned.
  • Containment zones, areas identified as a hotspot by local authorities, will remain under lockdown with only essential activities allowed. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week nationwide lockdown on March 24. Since then, the lockdown has been extended several times with certain relaxations also announced.

11:00 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Senate GOP leader: If stimulus fails, it's the Democrats' fault

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the press in Washington, DC, on July 21.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the press in Washington, DC, on July 21. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued Wednesday that if stimulus negotiations fail, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will be to blame, accusing them of potentially sabotaging negotiations to protect their own “political chances.”

“The only reason I can see that Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leader would sabotage negotiations is if, as some concluded when they killed police reform in June, they actually think bipartisan progress with the country would hurt their own political chances,” the majority leader said in a floor speech this morning.

“If Democratic leaders decide they won't negotiate, they will answer to the American people,” McConnell added.

“These are not the positions of people who are putting the common good above politics,” McConnell said. Adding, “The American people deserve better than this. The American people cannot afford for Democrats in Congress to have decided in June that they're finished legislating until November. Not during a crisis like this. the country needs help. The country needs action.”

Here's the latest on the stimulus talks: The negotiators responsible for brokering a sweeping stimulus deal that will keep many Americans from losing federal unemployment benefits are currently at the "airing our differences" phase of talks.

There are divisions within the Republican conference spilled out last night as some GOP senators dismissed parts of their party's own leadership's stimulus plan. In particular, senators blasted the administration for including $1.75 billion in the bill to build a new FBI building.

Meanwhile, Democrats — who already passed their stimulus plan in the House — aren't budging on the $600 federal unemployment enhancement, nor the nearly $1 trillion for state and local funding. The GOP proposal would cut enhanced federal unemployment benefits to $200.

11:09 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Florida sets new record for Covid-19 deaths for second day in a row

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The state of Florida reported 216 additional deaths on Wednesday, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health. That breaks the previous record of 186 deaths — which was recorded just yesterday.

Florida is reporting 9,446 new cases of Covid-19.

This brings the state's total cases to at least 451,423, according to the state department of health. The statewide resident death toll is now 6,333.

11:11 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

CDC director admits "there's been mistakes" in US Covid-19 federal response 

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a White House coronavirus briefing in Washington, DC, on July 8.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a White House coronavirus briefing in Washington, DC, on July 8. Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg/Getty Images

During an ABC interview Tuesday, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted that there have been problems with the federal response to Covid-19.

"Yes, there's been mistakes," he said. "And, yes, we fail. We're in it doing the best we can and we're trying to make the best judgments we can."

The CDC director discussed his initial response to news of something mysterious happening in central China.

He said he got a phone call on New Year's Eve last year alerting him to an incident involving a respiratory condition in Wuhan and he told ABC he knew it was serious. He said he wrote the first situation report on the incident the very next day.

"We felt that this had potential to be a very serious situation that had national security implications," he said.

The CDC was ready to send in a team of scientists within a week, but the Chinese government refused to let them in, Redfield said, something he has said before and pointed to as a reason the US got a later start in identifying the dangerous virus and taking action.

He also said he's optimistic that the country can get the upper hand in the battle against the coronavirus.

"I wish now we would come together and recognize and see the possibility that we can beat this pandemic," he said.

Europe's Covid-19 threat: In that same interview, Redfield admitted for the first time that the US was slow in recognizing the coronavirus threat from Europe.

"The introduction from Europe happened before we realized what was happening," Redfield said. "By the time we realized (the) Europe threat and shut down travel to Europe, there was probably already two or three weeks of 60,000 people coming back every day from Europe," he added.

"That's where the large seeding came in the Unites States."

The US restricted travel from China on February 2 and from Europe on March 13, but by March 8, Covid-19 was already circulating among the community in New York City and, by March 15, community transmission of the virus was already widespread, a recent analysis from the CDC found.

By the time the Trump administration banned travelers from Europe, the virus was already spreading in New York City, according to the report. Testing was also limited at the start of the epidemic there, allowing people with undetected cases to spread the virus.

10:47 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

North Carolina State Fair canceled due to Covid-19 concerns

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns, organizers for the fair announced on Facebook on Wednesday.  

The 152nd state fair was originally scheduled to take place in October. 

10:44 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Trump signals openness to short-term Covid-19 stimulus bill

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump signaled he may be interested in a short-term bill as negotiations on Capitol Hill have largely stalled.

“As of now we’re very far apart,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters on the South Lawn. “The President and we have discussed a short-term extension for unemployment benefits.”

Trump said the negotiation team is working to extend the eviction moratorium.

“We want to work on the evictions, so people don’t get evicted. We work on the payments to the people. And the rest of it we’re so far apart, we don’t care. We really don’t care. We want to take care of the people. The Democrats aren’t taking care of the people. The payments aren’t enough,” Trump said.

Mnuchin said they are going to wait until Friday regarding the possibility of a short-term bill, and that Trump is focused on evictions and unemployment insurance.

“We want to take care of them now, the rest we can discuss later,” Trump added.

Trump defends FBI building money: Trump was asked about a $1.75 billion provision in the bill for a new FBI building. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have voiced opposition to the measure.

Trump said that a new FBI building has been in the works “for many years,” and he thought it was “crazy” that they would consider moving it to the suburbs of Virginia or Maryland.

“I’m very good at real estate, so I said we’ll build a new FBI building, either a renovation of the existing or even better, we’ll get a new building. So we have that in the bill, it should stay,” Trump said.

Pressed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on the fact that Republicans don’t want it in the bill, Trump said, “Then Republicans should go back to school and learn. We need a new building.”

Catch up on stimulus talks here.


10:44 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

AFL-CIO president warns of devastating consequences if $600 benefit expires

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka decried the Republican stimulus bill proposal, as benefits for millions of Americans are set to expire Friday.

“When this expires, 35 million people are going to have $600 a week less to spend. Can you imagine the shock that is going to go through our economy?” Trumka said.

The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the US, representing about 12.5 million workers. Trumka said that he sees no evidence of unemployed Americans taking advantage of the $600 benefit to not find jobs instead.

GOP senators slammed the administration for including $1.75 billion in the bill to build a new FBI building. 

“The Republican bill totally fails to recognize the magnitude of the crisis, and it directs money to people who don't need it and takes money away from people who do need it. That $600 a week is what's keeping the economy going right now,” Trumka said in an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto. 

Trumka also said that Trump is pressuring workers to return to potentially unsafe conditions. 

“What the Republicans do in this bill is they don't give a standard. That means essential workers are going to continue to get infected and continue to die. … It's the absolute wrong thing to do in a pandemic,” he said. 

Trumka also alleged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of being absent during the pandemic, saying that there have been 6,000 complaints but only two violations since February.