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.
2:15 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Oklahoma reports its lowest total number of positive Covid-19 cases in over a week
From CNN’s Kay Jones
Oklahoma's health department reported 747 new Covid-19 positive cases on Friday, the lowest total of daily cases in a week.
The state had reported more than 1,000 cases in four of the previous five days.
The health department reported 36,487 total cases and 541 total deaths, up five since Thursday’s report.
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.
2:14 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Government must fund these 5 critical measures to reduce Covid-19 hospitalizations, executives say
From CNN's Cristina Alesci
The top executives of three major companies are calling on the US government to go further to protect the people most at-risk from Covid-19, according to a post on Medium.
“To protect the vulnerable, we also need additional federal action, even beyond what’s already been done,” the leaders of Ford Motor Company, Boston Consulting Group, and CVS Health wrote. "Such steps will save lives, strengthen our economy, and lead to a faster, more equitable recovery."
The executives argue that the government must fund five critical measures, which they say could reduce Covid-19 hospitalizations by more than 50%, based on their analysis.
Here's what they are calling for:
Masks: Supply “high quality masks to at-risk” people who can’t afford them.
Testing: The executives are pressing to increase funding to state and local public health agencies for testing, including regular testing of asymptomatic individuals.
Shelter-in-place: The group urges the government to enable health-vulnerable populations who are either not working or working from home "to isolate and stay safe by funding mental health and counseling services as well as food security assistance."
Tax incentives: The business leaders also call for tax breaks for companies that implement enhanced safety measures.
Protect congregate living facilities: The group urges the government to "provide funding to implement health and safety measures in congregate living facilities, such as by creating spaces to quarantine infected residents, adding protections to rigorously limit visitors, and testing residents and workers at least weekly."
The executives added that implementation of these five measures would cost the federal government less than 10% of the monthly cost incurred during the first three months of the pandemic.
"We need policymakers to act now on wide sweeping actions to prevent further spread," the executives wrote. "Protecting the vulnerable, now, is critical to protecting us all."
1:42 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Covid-19 outbreak at Georgia camp is a warning for what could happen when schools reopen, CDC says
From CNN's Andrea Kane
A Covid-19 outbreak at a Georgia sleep away camp this June could have implications for school reopening, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The camp had followed some but not all of the CDC mitigation steps against the spread of the new coronavirus — but was not enough to keep campers and staff free of illness.
“Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity,” the CDC wrote in a statement. “Correct and consistent use of cloth masks, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing strategies, which are recommended in CDC’s recently released guidance to reopen America’s schools, are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are our greatest tools to prevent COVID-19.”
According to the study, published Friday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the camp adopted most of the components outlined in the CDC document “Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps,” but it did not make campers wear cloth face masks – only the staff. Nor did the camp open windows and doors for increased ventilation In buildings. Additionally, camp attendees engaged in "daily vigorous singing and cheering,” which might have contributed to transmission.
The study breaks down what happened at the camp when it opened its doors in mid-June to almost 600 campers and more than 120 staffers.
Five days after the start of orientation and two days after the start of the camp session, a teenage staff member fell ill and left camp; the next day that person was confirmed to have Covid-19. Officials began sending campers home that day and closed the camp three days later.
The Georgia Department of Health was notified and began its investigation the day after the first teenage staffer fell ill.
Here's what the tests results found:
All in all, test results were available for 344 (58%) attendees; among these, 260 (76%) were positive.
At least 44% — 260 of 597 — got infected, although the researchers say not everyone was tested so the rate could be even higher.
In the different age groups, 51% among those age 6-10 years, 44% among those age 11-17 years, and 33% among those aged 18-21 years tested positive.
The attack rate increased with increasing length of time spent at the camp, with staff members having the highest attack rate at 56%.
“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the study authors wrote.
2:00 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Record number of new Covid-19 cases reported to WHO in last 24 hours
From CNN's Ben Tinker
There were 292,527 new Covid-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours, according to a situation report published Friday. The total number of cases that have been reported to WHO from around the globe is now 17,106,007.
The rise in newly reported cases sets another record for cases reported to WHO within a 24-hour period. The previous record was set last Friday, July 24, when 284,196 new cases of Covid-19.
Today's report also noted there were 6,812 additional Covid-19 deaths reported to WHO in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths worldwide to 668,910.
1:25 p.m. ET, July 31, 2020
Peru extends state of emergency and localized quarantine measures until August 31
From CNN’s Tim Lister
Peru will extend its state of emergency and localized quarantine measures for another month as the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise.
Carlos Lozada, the minister of housing, construction and sanitation, told TVPeru on Friday that the Council of Ministers had made the decision after receiving the latest epidemiological data, which had shown an increase in the level of infections in some regions.
Lozada said the regions of Arequipa, Puno, Tacna and Cusco are places where Covid-19 infections were rising.
"Some provinces in these regions are likely to be incorporated into the targeted quarantine, given the level of contagion that these regions have been presenting," Lozada said, according to the state-news agency Andina.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Walter Martos Ruiz said the curfew should continue because of the risk of "night activities," which he said could spread the virus. Martos warned that if the restrictions were lifted, many young people would attend discos, bars and other entertainment centers, Andina reported.
As of Friday afternoon, Peru reported at least 407,492 cases and 19,021 deaths, according to the health ministry.