Coronavirus cases in Connecticut increase among young people
From CNN’s Alec Snyder
Connecticut has seen a notable increase in coronavirus rates among 10 to 19 year olds, Gov. Ned Lamont said at a news conference on Thursday.
He said the rates have “doubled.”
Lamont blamed the spike on kids drinking and partying, and cited the potential risks to other families and teachers, if or when kids return to school. He went on to say that parents need to make sure their children are following safe protocols.
"The power of shame is greater than anything I can do by edict or punishment," the governor said.
On schools: Lamont also said he is leaving it up to school districts to determine what they want to do with respect to in-person or hybridized learning, with a likely emphasis on more in-person schooling for younger kids.
Any school or district that wishes to opt out of any in-person schooling will have to present its case before the education commissioner, he said.
Lamont said there have been at least six new deaths since the last update and approximately 13 new hospitalizations.
6:32 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Brazil records roughly 58,000 new coronavirus cases
From Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo
Brazil's health ministry reported 57,837 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing the country's total to 2,610,102.
The ministry also reported 1,129 new deaths from the virus, bringing Brazil's death toll to 91,263.
Some context: This new data was released after President Jair Bolsonaro's press office announced today that Brazil’s first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, tested positive for Covid-19.
On Saturday, the president tested negative after several positive tests.
6:43 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
White House chief of staff "not very optimistic" there will be agreement on a "comprehensive bill"
From CNN's Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Thursday he is “not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future."
Asked to clarify what he meant by near future, he replied, “I’m not even optimistic about next week.”
Meadows talked with reporters for more than 20 minutes at the US Capitol Thursday amid stalled negotiations over the next stimulus bill, as senators left for the weekend and federal unemployment benefits expire tomorrow.
6:14 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Trump: A permanent shutdown is "not a viable long-term strategy" for the US
President Trump said shutting down the economy "to achieve a temporary reduction in cases is certainly not a viable long-term strategy for any country" as coronavirus continues to spread across the country.
"The scientific path forward is to protect those at highest risk while allowing those at lower risk to carefully return to work and to school with appropriate precautions," he said at a news briefing on Thursday.
"A permanent shutdown would no longer be the answer at all," he added.
He said the purpose of the shutdown was to flatten the curve and to develop treatments and therapies.
"We have done that," Trump said, but warned the virus "can come rearing back when you least suspect it."
Trump said moving forward, it is important to protect elderly people and those with health conditions that put them at higher risk for complications.
"You want to protect the elderly and socially distance. Wear a mask if you cannot socially distance and practice vigorous hygiene. Everyone – even healthy young people – should be taking extraordinary care to avoid infecting those at the highest risk from this terrible disease," he said.
6:04 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Trump pays his respect to Herman Cain who died from Covid-19
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump expressed his sadness over the death of Herman Cain, who passed away from Covid-19 after spending nearly a month in the hospital with the virus.
“He was a very special person, and I got to know him very well,” the President said during a news briefing this afternoon.
Trump sent prayers to Cain’s wife and “wonderful family.”
Earlier Thursday: Trump tweeted that he had spoken with the Cain family.
“America grieves for all of the 150,000 Americans who had their lives taken by this horrible invisible enemy,” Trump said. “We mourn their loss as a nation, we mourn their loss as people, as people that love one another.”
6:05 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
The head of vaccine effort is "optimistic" vaccines will be available for everybody within the year 2021
From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen
The head of Operation Warp Speed said he’s “optimistic” there will be vaccines for all Americans by the end of next year, but hopefully even sooner.
“I am optimistic that we will have vaccines for everybody within the year 2021, ideally within the first half of the year 2021. That's our objective,” said Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to the federal government’s multi-billion-dollar program to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
In his first television interview since being appointed, Slaoui spoke with CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen on Thursday while touring a vaccine clinical trial site in Savannah, Georgia.
Phase 3 clinical trials – the final step before government approval – are underway in the United States for two vaccines, one made by Moderna and another by Pfizer. Operation Warp Speed is also funding six other vaccine efforts, Slaoui said.
Slaoui said he expects to “probably have a few tens of millions of doses [of vaccine] in December and January” and those would go to high-risk individuals.
“We will not have doses for the full US population on day one,” he said.
High-risk individuals include the elderly and those with underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
5:29 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
There is no "cost-benefit ratio of letting people sit in bars" until there is a vaccine, Bill Gates says
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said schools should be opened up if infection rates get very low, but he can’t see a benefit to reopening bars and restaurants.
Speaking during a Time 100 Talk on Thursday, Gates said that it was a good thing that, in many of the initial hotspots, such as New York City, the numbers were down dramatically.
“If the numbers get very low,” he said, “then you can do opening up and things like schools – particularly for young children – should be opened up.”
For bars and restaurants, however, Gates said that until there is a vaccine, “sadly, I just can’t see the cost-benefit ratio of letting people sit in bars” due to the amount of transmission that has come out of them, from people talking loudly and being close to each other.
“We haven’t been as tasteful as we might like to be,” he said, and the country is now paying a price for some places that reopened despite an increase in Covid-19 cases.
Later this year: Autumn could be a challenge because people will be indoors more. Cold and flu symptoms could make things a bit more confusing, Gates said.
“So, if we can use the next few months to get the numbers down, that will make a huge difference in terms of the death going into the fall,” said Gates.
He described the fall as a mix where “the innovation track is the good news that could bring things down, and a lack of social distancing – you know – that one hangs in the balance.”
5:42 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Just 2 weeks of social distancing reduced coronavirus spread by 65% globally, study finds
From CNN's Maggie Fox
Just two weeks of social distancing policies cut the spread of coronavirus by 65% globally, preventing more than 1.5 million new cases, Texas researchers estimated Thursday.
The few states and countries that resisted social distancing saw almost no reduction in spread, the team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said.
“We found that states observed significant reductions in transmission rates following the implementation of social distancing policies, compared to states without such policies,” Daniel McGrail, a postdoctoral fellow studying systems biology, said in a statement. “In fact, two of the smallest reductions in spread were seen in states without social distancing policies.”
More details: The team set out to see what happened when states enacted social distancing or lockdown policies at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The team compared Nebraska and Idaho, two similar states. Idaho had a social distancing policy, while Nebraska did not.
South Dakota, whose governor also resisted a statewide policy, also saw little to no reduction in cases. Wyoming lacked a social distancing policy and the sparsely populated state came in fifteenth from the bottom out of 50 states in terms of reducing coronavirus spread.
But the study was lacking in data, the researchers said.
“While analysis of US states indicated that social distancing policies reduced Covid-19 spread rates proportional to associated reductions in mobility, only having three states without social distancing policies reduces the power of any observation,” they wrote. "To address this, we next expanded our model to the global level.”
They looked at data from 134 different countries.
"Globally, we find that social distancing policies significantly reduced the Covid-19 spread rate, with resulting in an estimated 65% reduction in new Covid-19 cases over a two week time period,” the researchers wrote.
In 46 countries, the policies had a strong effect, preventing an estimated 1.57 million cases of Covid-19 over a two-week period. That represents a 65% reduction in new cases, they said.
Social distancing is not necessarily the only way to reduce spread, they noted.
“For instance, South Korea has not enacted a social distancing program but instead utilized a powerful contact tracing approach to control the spread of Covid-19,” they wrote.
5:12 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Primary election in Milwaukee didn't result in an increase of Covid-19 cases, CDC report says
From CNN's Gisela Crespo
There wasn't a clear increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations or deaths in Milwaukee after statewide primary elections in Wisconsin this spring, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday.
Researchers studied data on Covid-19 cases in Milwaukee from March 13 to May 5 to determine if there was an increase in the virus stemming from Election Day on April 7. The findings appear in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
As most people develop Covid-19 symptoms two to 14 days after exposure, the report looked at cases during the expected incubation period of April 9 to April 21.
What the report found:
Milwaukee reported at least 572 cases during that incubation period — or 21% of the total 2,789 total cases between March 13 and May 5. The rate of cases in the 13 days before this incubation period was 28%.
More than half of the at least 572 cases didn't report their voting status, and 38% said they did not vote. Only 37 patients, or 7%, reported voting.
Of the 37 patients who said they voted, nearly half reported voting using an absentee mail-in ballot, while 14 said they voted in person and six said they cast their ballot curbside.
Wisconsin was the first state to hold an election that included in-person voting after stay-at-home orders went into effect March 25 to slow the spread of the virus.
The report said these trends were likely influenced by a relatively lower turnout of voters compared to the same time in 2016.
Here were some of the voting trends:
The number of people who voted decreased by 43% and the number of polling sites decreased from 181 to five.
The percentage of people who voted by mail increased about 15 times, from 4.1% to 68%, and early voting increased by 160%.
The proportion of people who voted in-person on Election Day decreased by 78% –– from 91.2% to 19.8%.
The report says these findings show CDC's interim guidelines "encouraging physical distancing, personal prevention practices, and employing environmental cleaning and disinfection lower COVID-19 transmission risk during elections," the report said.
The risk can be reduced even more, it says, “by fully implementing CDC interim guidance, which recommends longer voting periods, and other options such as increasing the number of polling locations to reduce the number of voters who congregate indoors in polling locations.”