Arkansas governor says the state's 10% coronavirus positivity rate is "too high"
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Arkansas reported a 10% positivity rate for new coronavirus cases Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an afternoon news conference.
"In terms of our positivity rate, this is not good," Hutchinson said. "We have a lot of work to do here. We're right at the 10% level, which is CDC recommendation, but that's too high, we want it lower."
The state reported 752 new coronavirus cases Friday for a total of 42,511 statewide. Arkansas also added 11 new deaths for a total of 453, Hutchinson said.
There were 7,207 new tests reported Friday, Hutchinson said.
Arkansas Health Director Dr. Jose Romero said there are 100 people on ventilators after a decrease of one Friday.
3:28 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Number of Covid-19 cases in the US surpasses 4.5 million
There are now at least 4,536,240 cases of coronavirus in the US and 152,878 people have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Friday at 3:15 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins reported 41,225 new cases and 823 reported deaths.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
3:12 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Missouri reports roughly 1,500 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Kay Jones
Missouri's health department reported 1,489 new Covid-19 positive cases on Friday.
The department has reported more than 1,000 positive cases each of the past 11 days.
On Thursday, the department said in a series of tweets that due to increased testing throughout the state combined with the testing delays at labs across the country, there was a backlog of data processing and entry in its office affecting the case counts over the previous 10 days. The tweets on Thursday said that today’s numbers would be current with only cases reported over the past 24 hours.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Missouri is now 50,323, according to figures released Friday afternoon by the department. The state reported a 9.7% positivity rate averaged over the past seven days.
There were also 10 new deaths in the state, according to the department, bringing the total to 1,243.
Note: These numbers were released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
3:00 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Argentina extends quarantine measures in capital's metropolitan area through mid-August
From CNN's Tatiana Arias
Argentine President Alberto Fernández said the current quarantine measures will be extended until August 16 for the metro area of the capital city Buenos Aires.
"Until August 16, things will remain as they are today," Fernández said today, adding that Covid-19 is "not just another flu."
Ninety percent of Covid-19 cases are reported in the metro area of Buenos Aires, "but [the virus] has begun to radiate to other places," Fernández said.
"Outbreaks are surging elsewhere in the inner parts of the country," the Argentine president said.
Some context: The metro area of Buenos Aires (AMBA region) was under lockdown until July 17, when Fernández announced the country, including Buenos Aires, were going to gradually reopen between July 18 and August 2.
Regions under the current quarantine measures, are subject to a "mandatory, preventive and social isolation," where people can leave their homes only for essential needs such as food and medical services, Fernández said.
As of Friday afternoon, Argentina reported 185,373 cases of coronavirus and 3,466 deaths, according to the health ministry.
The bigger picture: Argentina has the sixth highest number of cases in the Latin America region, behind Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.
2:55 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
New Jersey governor criticizes McConnell for letting unemployment benefits expire tonight
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for allowing the Senate to go home for a long weekend while the unemployment benefits expire at midnight.
“With millions of families literally left hanging to simply go home for a long weekend is the ultimate act of irresponsible behavior and dereliction of duty. Senator McConnell, please get back to Washington and get this done," Murphy said.
Murphy said families across the nation are facing “economic meltdown” and this action is “despicable.”
Some context: The unemployment benefit that has kept millions afloat amid the worst economic crisis in decades officially expires at midnight. Weekly jobless claims continue to rise. Economic forecasters are warning of another slowdown. The coronavirus has resurged across the country.
President Trump said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows would bring new options on unemployment benefits to the table Thursday night, and according to a person briefed on the talks, they did in the form of a longer-term extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits at the $600 level. Democrats again rejected the idea of decoupling the benefit extension from the broader talks.
2:23 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
CDC's ensemble forecast now projects more than 173,000 US coronavirus deaths by August 22
From CNN’s Ben Tinker
An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects more than 173,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 22.
The new projections, published Friday, forecast 173,270 deaths by August 22, with a possible range of 167,692 to 182,366 deaths.
“State-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in: Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and Washington,” the CDC says on its forecasting website.
Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published July 23, projected roughly 164,000 coronavirus deaths by August 15.
At least 152,072 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
2:20 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Covid-19 positivity rate increases in Massachusetts following large gatherings, governor says
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the Covid-19 positive test rate in the state has gone up slightly from 1.7% to 2% because of “clusters” stemming from house parties and large gatherings.
"We've seen disturbing reports of large gatherings where people are letting down their guard, not wearing face coverings, not socially distancing, giving the virus the opening that it relentlessly seeks to spread," Baker said.
The state's Department of Public Health is investigating the clusters, which "include a large lifeguard party in Falmouth, a house party in Chatham," an unauthorized football camp and "a 90-person prom party that was held in Cohasset," the governor said.
The gatherings were planned by "both adults and young people and demonstrate an at times unwillingness to accept the fact that this virus is extremely contagious and in many cases invisible," Baker said.
Baker said he is now considering reducing the gathering size across the state due to the recent clusters.
2:24 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Here's the latest coronavirus update from New York City
The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid lab test, but their death certificate lists “Covid-19” or an equivalent as the cause of death.
There have been 221,822 coronavirus cases in the city and 56,168 people have been hospitalized, according to the city data.
The data was updated on July 31 at 1 p.m. ET.
Note: The numbers are provided by the New York City Health Department and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
4:32 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Kenya surpasses 20,000 Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi
Kenya surpassed the 20,000 threshold of confirmed Covid-19 cases after reporting 723 new cases on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.
The total number of confirmed cases is now at least 20,636 confirmed cases and at least 341 people have died from the virus.
The milestone comes on the eve of the reopening of international travel to and from the country. Kenya will begin welcoming international travelers on August 1 after months of grounded flights.
Travelers will be required to provide a Covid-19 negative certificate up to 96 hours before travel and be subject to a 14-day quarantine, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Transport.
Passengers from 19 countries that are considered by the Kenyan government to be low to medium risk for Covid-19 transmission will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine, provided that a passenger's temperature is below 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and they do not have a persistent cough or other flu-like symptoms, according to a statement from Ministry of Transport on Friday.
"Those required to quarantine will do so at the Government designated facility out at their home subject to prevailing guidelines," the statement said.
The countries exempt from mandatory quarantine are: Canada, China, South Korea, Namibia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Morocco, Japan, Zimbabwe, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Qatar, UAE, Italy, and the United States (except for California, Texas, and Florida).
The list of countries exempt from mandatory quarantine will be reviewed on a daily basis, according to the Ministry of Transport.
"The risk profile of any country could change and therefore the status with regard to these clarifications and directives could also change," the statement said.