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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1:04 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Oklahoma reports fewer than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases today 

From CNN’s Kay Jones and Brad Parks

There are at least 848 new Covid-19 cases in Oklahoma, according to the latest numbers provided by the state's Department of Health.

This brings the state’s total to 34,623 cases. The state had reported more than 1,000 cases the past three days.

There are 14 new deaths in the state, bringing the total to 523. However, the health department says that none of the new reported deaths occurred over the past 24 hours. 

The health department also reported a total of 27,386 people have recovered from the virus while 663 people are currently hospitalized due to the virus.

Note: These numbers were provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

12:59 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

New York governor says "all the news" on Covid-19 numbers is good

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state conducted 62,276 tests Tuesday with an infection rate of 1.1%. 

There are 619 New Yorkers hospitalized, which is the lowest number since March 15, according to the governor. 

Cuomo said there were unfortunately five deaths Tuesday from Covid-19 but overall, “all the news on numbers and our status is all very good.” 

“The whole goal now is to protect our progress and we are doing very well, and we want to make sure we continue to do well, even though the sea around us is roiled,” the Governor said during a press call Wednesday.

The governor said they are focused and concerned about the national increase rate and the “inevitability that people get on planes and come here.” 

On Tuesday, the state liquor authority issued 29 violations on bars and restaurants that were not “following the law," Cuomo said.

The 2020 US Open golf championship will take place without fans at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck Sept. 14 through Sept. 20, according to the governor. 

The governor said beginning today the Department of Motor Vehicle will allow driving schools to begin conducting distance learning for pre-licensing courses.

1:03 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Pence is in North Carolina to talk about reopening schools and vaccines

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Wednesday, July 29.
Vice President Mike Pence arrives at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Wednesday, July 29. Gerry Broome/AP

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. He is expected to visit a fourth grade class in Apex at 12:50 p.m. ET and participate in a roundtable on reopening schools afterward.

Later, he will participate in a roundtable discussion on vaccines at the NC Biotechnology Center. 

After he deplaned Air Force Two, Pence greeted North Carolina GOP state chair Michael Wheatley with an elbow bump. Everyone wore a mask.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is traveling with Pence, as are Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dr. Stephen Hahn and Reps. Richard Hudson, David Rouzer and Mark Walker.

12:40 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

NBA announces zero positive Covid-19 tests since July 20

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and players' union announced Wednesday that none of the 344 players tested since July 20 tested positive for coronavirus.

The NBA is set to restart the 2019-2020 season on Thursday at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, with a TNT doubleheader: Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers.

Twenty-two of the league’s 30 teams will take part in the season restart.

12:47 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Spain records highest number of new Covid-19 cases since May

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro

A healthcare worker collects a swab sample at a coronavirus testing center in Getaria, Spain, on July 15.
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample at a coronavirus testing center in Getaria, Spain, on July 15. Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images

Spain recorded 1,153 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest number since May 6, the Spanish health ministry’s data showed on Wednesday.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Spain has now reached 282,641.

The government started recording the number of cases in the country in 24-hour periods on May 6 instead of day by day. Wednesday’s spike is the highest since the new counting method was put in place.

Spain's Covid-19 death toll rose by five in the last 24 hours and nine in the last seven days. A total of 28,441 people have died from coronavirus in the country to date.

The director of the Center for Health Emergencies, Fernando Simón, recently explained that the new cases were increasingly linked to younger people — which could account for lower death and hospitalization rates in the country.

12:11 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Nadler says he hopes Gohmert's positive Covid-19 test serves as "a lesson" for lawmakers

From CNN's Manu Raju

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler wished GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert a "full and speedy recovery" in a tweet Wednesday, going on to say he hopes the congressman's positive coronavirus test serves as a "lesson" for his colleagues.

Nadler said he has regularly instructed all members of his committee, which Gohmert serves on, to wear masks.

"When individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions it puts everyone at risk," Nadler said in his tweet.

During Tuesday's hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr, Nadler urged a handful of Republican members to keep their masks on.

The group did not include Gohmert, but he also was not wearing a mask during the hearing. Gohmert was seen maskless outside the room near Barr at one point. The Justice Department told CNN Wednesday that Barr will get tested.

Read Nadler's tweet:

11:52 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

GOP congressman who frequently refuses to wear a mask tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny, Haley Byrd, Manu Raju, Priscilla Alvarez

Rep. Louie Gohmert questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 28.
Rep. Louie Gohmert questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 28. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Gohmert has frequently refused to wear a mask while at the Capitol during the pandemic. He has spent ample time on the House floor during votes speaking to aides and lawmakers — without a mask or social distancing. His office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Gohmert had been scheduled to fly aboard Air Force One with President Trump to Midland, Texas, where he is fundraising and touring an oil rig. He tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday morning during a pre-flight screening at the White House, a person familiar with the situation told CNN.

Because of the positive test, Gohmert is not traveling with the President.

A senior Republican aide told CNN the test results have caused issues on the Hill, with “a lot of staffers” ordered to get tests before they can go to meetings and resume activity. Some are sequestering in their offices until they can get tested. Gohmert’s office notified Republican leaders, who notified House medical staff and the protocol kicked in for further notification, the GOP aide said. Politico first reported the news.

Gohmert told CNN last month that he didn’t wear a mask because he had been tested and he didn’t yet have the virus. “But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” he said.

He is just one of several conservative Republicans who have pushed back on mask-wearing, sometimes causing tension during committee meetings.

During Tuesday’s hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler urged a handful of Republican members to keep their masks on.

“I would remind Mr. Jordan, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Johnson to stop violating the rules of the committee, to stop violating the safety of the members of the committee, to stop holding themselves out as not caring by refusing to wear their masks,” Nadler said, referring to Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

“Is it permissible to drink a sip of coffee?” Johnson countered. 

Gohmert was also present at the hearing. He was seen maskless outside the room near Barr at one point. The Justice Department told CNN Wednesday that Barr will get tested.

In another hearing Wednesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren interjected to remind members who are physically present that they are required to wear a mask.

“He was a member who was unwilling to consistently wear a mask,” Lofgren said of Gohmert. “It’s a reminder that this is very serious and if you’re unwilling to wear a mask that covers your nose and your mouth, please do leave the room and we’ll arrange for you to participate remotely.”


11:54 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

White House needs to make "better argument" on FBI building money, Republican says

From CNN's Manu Raju, Clare Foran and Ted Barrett

Sen. John Thune at a hearing in June.
Sen. John Thune at a hearing in June. Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images

After President Trump reiterated his demand today for money for a new FBI building, and criticized GOP opposition to it, Senate Majority Whip John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, told CNN's Manu Raju: “They’d have to make a better argument than what I've seen so far. I don't think there's a lot of support from our members.”

Trump told reporters as he left the White House earlier on Wednesday that a new FBI building has been in the works “for many years,” and that he thought the funding should stay in the stimulus bill.

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.”

Some background: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear on Tuesday that he opposes including the funding for a new FBI building in any final negotiated product for the next coronavirus stimulus.

That's despite the fact that the Senate GOP stimulus proposal formally unveiled Monday includes funds for a new FBI headquarters at the request of the Trump administration.

The bill includes $1.75 billion "for the design and construction of a Washington, D.C. headquarters facility for the Federal Bureau of Investigation," according to the text.

Pressed by a reporter on Tuesday over the funding, McConnell responded by saying that he's against "non-germane" provisions in the next stimulus. The Senate majority leader indicated that he hopes that anything not directly related to Covid-19 will be stripped out before a new relief measure is enacted.

11:25 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Statewide school closures tied to fewer Covid-19 cases early in pandemic, study suggests

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard)

The school closures that swept several states in the United States between March and May due to the coronavirus pandemic were associated with a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths in those states at the time, according to a new study.

The states that closed schools earlier, when the cumulative incidence of Covid-19 was lowest, saw the greatest declines per week at the time, compared with states that were slowest to close schools, and had the highest cumulative incidence of Covid-19, according to the study, published in the medical journal JAMA on Wednesday.

The researchers — from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the University of Cincinnati and the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Network in Ohio — wrote in the study that "the analyses presented here suggest that the timing of school closure plays a role in the magnitude of changes associated with school closure."

Extrapolating their findings to the US population, the researchers wrote in the study that "school closure may have been associated with approximately 1.37 million fewer cases of Covid-19 over a 26-day period and 40,600 fewer deaths over a 16-day period; however, these figures do not account for uncertainty in the model assumptions and the resulting estimates."

How the study worked: The study involved examining the cumulative incidence of Covid-19 in each state per 100,000 people at the time of school closures.

Those cumulative incidences for each state were separated into quartiles. The researchers used models to estimate differences in Covid-19 incidence and death between areas where schools closed and schools remained open.

The modeling suggests that closing schools when the cumulative incidence of Covid-19 was in the lowest quartile compared with the highest quartile was associated with 128.7 fewer Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people within 26 days and 1.5 fewer Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people over 16 days.

The study had some limitations: At the same time schools closed, other actions also were taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19 — including closing nonessential businesses and increasing hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers. More research is needed to determine the role some of those other interventions may have played in the reduction in Covid-19 illnesses and deaths.