July 30 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020
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3:15 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

WHO officials reflect on Covid-19 pandemic 6 months after public health emergency declared

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Maria Van Kerkhove
Maria Van Kerkhove World Health Organization

World Health Organization officials looked back on the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic during a news briefing in Geneva on Thursday, the six-month mark of Covid-19 being declared a public health emergency of international concern.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said that the global response can be characterized as mixed.

“We really saw countries that took an aggressive approach – countries that took an all of government, comprehensive approach – really see some success in the beginning of trying to combat this,” Van Kerkhove said.

Countries that have had previous experience with infectious diseases, such as SARS, avian influenza and MERS, “really saw the threat, really knew the threat of this,” she said.

Countries that didn’t act as fast have also been able to turn things around, Van Kerkhove said, as have countries that had very difficult outbreaks, such as the Republic of Korea, Italy, Spain and Germany.

These countries were able to implement the comprehensive approach to public health measures, where it was “all of government, all of society, engaging their public, informing their public” and using tools that are known to suppress transmission and save lives if they are implemented.

“I think what we need to do going forward is look at how we can be more efficient in our response. How can everyone be more efficient in the tools that we apply, so that we don’t have to go into large lockdown, or so-called lockdown measures,” Van Kerkhove said. “That we can tailor the approach to the geographic area, and to the transmission area where it’s needed.”

3:01 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

NFL's chief medical officer calls for vigilance in light of MLB Covid cluster

From CNN's Nadia Kounang

Dr. Allen Sills
Dr. Allen Sills Wilfredo Lee/AP/FILE

In light of the recent Covid-19 cases identified among the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, said he is confident the league has the proper protocols in place.

“I think it draws to my mind the observation that we have to be incredibly vigilant all times. We have to follow our protocols. We believe we have good protocols in place that will identify cases as quickly as we can, and then we have to be ready to take action once we’ve identified them. And we have to apply those protocols consistently, everyday throughout our entire season. If there's any point at which we let our guard down, that's the point where we'll be vulnerable,” Sills said on a call with reporters Thursday. 

Sills added that the Major League Baseball situation is still one that is unfolding.

“I think we’re still learning about that specific situation, and we still have some ongoing learning,” Sills said.

Asked if the NFL had any protocols to potentially postpone games because of Covid-19 outbreaks, Brian McCarthy, NFL’s vice president of communications, said that the terms will still being discussed.

“We are working on those details with the Union and also hand-in-hand with the Competition Committee,” McCarthy said.

Unlike the NBA – which is isolating the entire league in a “bubble” in Orlando – the NFL plans on hosting games in home stadiums across the country. 

Earlier today, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that while he was excited to begin training camp for the upcoming season, managing the threat of Covid-19 involved not just monitoring what was on the field, but also off.

"What you’re talking about is conduct that is detrimental. That’s a term that is used often in our business, and appropriately so in this Covid environment. If you are not exercising discretion and being thoughtful about how you move, that conduct is detrimental to your cause and ours collectively. That is the message that I am delivering to those guys,” Tomlin said.

2:56 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

A disease like Covid-19 exploits all the vulnerabilities in health care systems, WHO official says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

 Dr. Mike Ryan
Dr. Mike Ryan UNTV

A disease like Covid-19 exploits all the vulnerabilities that are present for individuals, communities and health systems, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Thursday.

“A disease like this exploits all of the vulnerabilities – and the underlying vulnerabilities – that individuals, communities and health systems have. We’ve seen that,” Ryan said.

“We've seen how this disease impacts on people who are marginalized and have underlying health conditions. We've seen how this impacts on people who don't have access to basic health care services in terms of diagnostics and treatment. And we've seen how this impacts in areas in which the health infrastructure is poorly invested,” he said.

Ryan also said that there have been hospital systems that have collapsed and huge queues of people who haven’t been able to access health care. 

He described health as not a reward for development, but as a primary investment in the security of communities, states and economies.

Epidemics, Ryan said, are a “massive stress test for the system.” In a short period of time, they place much of the system under stress. The ability of the system to absorb the stress determines the damage that is done. 

He compared this situation to building a house, saying that if you build a house well and with the view that a storm might come, it will be able to withstand the storm.

“If the storm comes and your house is not prepared, then you may lose your house,” he said. “And I think that’s what we’re seeing in these situations in many, many countries.”

Epidemics themselves cause a major impact, which is amplified by weaknesses in the underlying health infrastructure, Ryan said.

“And we’re paying a heavy price, again, for the lack of that investment.”

2:51 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

California reports nearly 200 new Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Covid-related deaths in California top nearly 200 for the second-straight day, with 194 fatalities being reported by the California Department of Public Health.

At least 8,909 people have now died from coronavirus in the Golden State.

The state reported 10,197 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total tally to 485,502. For the past two weeks, California has averaged just over 9,100 additional cases each day. 

The positivity rate in the state remains steady at 7.5%, with an average of 122,000 tests being conducted each day.

Hospitalization rates and those in intensive care units continue to trend down slightly.

Note: This report may include cases and deaths that occurred outside the most recent 24-hour period due to the possibility of reporting delays. 

1:55 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

"The pandemic does not mean life has to stop," WHO director-general says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus UNTV

Everyone must learn to live with Covid-19 while staying protected, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a briefing in Geneva on Thursday.

“We must all learn to live with the virus,” he said, “and to take the steps necessary to live our lives while protecting ourselves and others – especially those at highest risk of Covid-19.” 

While Tedros acknowledged this isn’t easy, he said it can be done.

“The pandemic does not mean life has to stop,” Tedros said.

He congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the steps that were put in place to make the Hajj as safe as possible this year, calling it a “powerful demonstration of the kinds of measures that countries can – and must – take to adapt to the new normal.”

CNN previously reported that Saudi Arabia will limit the number of people who could take part in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and that it would be restricted to pilgrims of all nationalities who already reside in the country.

1:48 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

WHO releases policy brief on preventing and managing Covid-19 in long-term care facilities

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus UNTV

The World Health Organization has released a policy brief on preventing and managing Covid-19 in long-term care facilities.

Older people, especially those living in long-term care facilities, are one of the groups that are at highest risk for Covid-19.

“In many countries, more than 40% of Covid-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities – and up to 80% in some high-income countries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva on Thursday.

The policy brief lists key actions that must be taken by policymakers and national and local authorities to protect older people, Tedros said. They range from integrating long-term care into national response, to providing support for family and voluntary caregivers.

For each objective, there are actions that can be taken by the facilities themselves, and examples of actions that have been taken by countries across the world.

“The brief also suggests ways to transform long-term care services so that older people can receive quality-of-care that respects their rights, freedoms and dignity,” Tedros said. 

Tedros also acknowledged those who worked in long-term care facilities across the world, “who are doing heroic work to save lives and protect those in their care,” he said. “I salute you.”


1:25 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Phillies cancel all stadium activities after two staff members test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

The Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies face off during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 26 in Philadelphia.
The Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies face off during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 26 in Philadelphia. Chris Szagola/AP

MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies announced two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday and have canceled all activities at Citizens Bank Park “until further notice.”

One member of the coaching staff and a clubhouse staff member tested positive in the team’s latest round of testing, which was conducted Wednesday. 

MLB postponed the Phillies’ Tuesday night game against the New York Yankees out of an abundance of caution after the team played a series against the Miami Marlins, who have since had 19 players and staff test positive for Covid-19.

The Phillies are currently scheduled to resume play on Saturday against the Blue Jays.

1:18 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Dallas Cowboys season tickets will not be available due to Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

An aerial view of AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team plays, is seen on April 1 in Arlington, Texas.
An aerial view of AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team plays, is seen on April 1 in Arlington, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have announced season tickets will be unavailable for the 2020 season because of limited capacity at AT&T Stadium, dictated by NFL policies and CDC Covid-19 guidelines.

In a statement released Thursday, the team announced Cowboys season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase a limited number of single-game tickets for a limited number of games.

The single-game tickets will not necessarily be in the same location as their current season tickets.

Season ticket holders can decline the first opportunity to purchase single-game tickets but if they opt out, they may not be successful in procuring seats because of expected limited inventory.

According to the team’s statement, no matter which option they choose, Cowboys season ticket holders will retain tenure, seat location and associated benefits for the 2021 season and beyond.

1:11 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Study finds that some people who haven't had Covid-19 might already have some immunity

From CNN’s Jacqueline Howard

The immune systems of some people who have not been exposed to the novel coronavirus could have some familiarity with the pathogen — possibly helping to reduce the severity of illness if that person does get Covid-19, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, found that among a sample of 68 healthy adults in Germany who had not been exposed to coronavirus, 35% had T cells in their blood that were reactive to the virus. T cells are part of the immune system and help protect the body from infection. T cell reactivity suggests that the immune system might have had some previous experience fighting a similar infection and may use that memory to help fight a new infection.

The new study involved analyzing blood samples from 18 Covid-19 patients, ages 21 to 81, and healthy donors, ages 20 to 64, based in Germany. The study found that T cells reactive to the coronavirus were detected in 83% of the Covid-19 patients.

While the researchers also found pre-existing cross-reactive T cells in the healthy donors, they wrote in the study that the impact those cells might have on the outcome of a Covid-19 illness still remains unknown.

So how could their immune system have reactive T cells if they never had Covid-19? They were "probably acquired in previous infections with endemic" coronaviruses, the researchers — from various institutions in Germany and the United Kingdom — wrote in the new study. Using this T cell memory from another-yet-similar infection to respond to a new infection is called "cross-reactivity."

"It does appear in this study that there is a significant proportion of individuals that have this cross-reactive T cell immunity from other coronavirus infections that may have some impact on how they fare with the novel coronavirus. I think the big question is trying to jump from the fact that they have these T cells to understanding what the role of those T cells might be," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, who was not involved in the new study. 

"We know, for example, children and younger adults are relatively spared from the severe consequences of this disease, and I think that one hypothesis might be that the pre-existing T cells that exist may be much more numerous or more active in younger age cohorts than in older age cohorts.”