July 28, 2021 US coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 11:23 PM ET, Wed July 28, 2021
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1:43 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Miami-Dade County reinstates mask mandate in all county facilities

From CNN's Tina Burnside 

Miami-Dade County is reinstating a mask mandate inside all county facilities due to the continuing surge in Covid-19 cases, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Wednesday. 

During a news conference, Cava said starting today, masks will be required for everyone at all indoor Miami-Dade County facilities. 

"Over the last few weeks, we have all seen an enormous and alarming rise in the Covid cases across our community and country," Cava said. 

According to the mayor, the positivity rate in Miami-Dade County is now over 10% with increased hospitalizations in otherwise perfectly healthy people. 

The mayor said she is strongly recommending that everyone wear masks in large crowds or closed spaces especially around people they don't know to be vaccinated. 

"We can't do this alone. We're calling on our Miami-Dade County businesses to step up and help us to protect our community with smart Covid policies and their places of business and also encourage everyone — all employees to get vaccinated," Cava said. 

1:42 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

CDC ensemble forecasts project Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths will increase over next 4 weeks

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A registered nurse stirs a nasal swab in testing solution after administering a Covid-19 test in Los Angeles on July 14, 2021.
A registered nurse stirs a nasal swab in testing solution after administering a Covid-19 test in Los Angeles on July 14, 2021. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Ensemble forecasts published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to increase over the next four weeks.

The forecast predicts a total of 619,000 to 633,000 Covid-19 deaths will be reported by Aug. 21.

The previous ensemble forecast, published July 21, projected up to 625,000 Covid-19 deaths reported by Aug. 14. 

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there have been 611,357 Covid-19 deaths in the United States. 

The CDC ensemble forecasts project there will be up to 1.2 million new Covid-19 cases reported in the week ending Aug. 21 and up to 20,000 new Covid-19 hospitalizations reported on Aug. 23.

1:27 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

New CDC mask guidance is "mostly the right policy, terrible communication," CNN medical analyst says

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a communications misstep in issuing new guidance on when vaccinated people should wear masks, former Baltimore Health Commissioner and CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said Wednesday.

“Mostly the right policy, terrible communication,” Wen told CNN’s John King. “I’m confused and I think many people are very confused about what exactly happened and why.”

New CDC guidelines recommend vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in areas of high or substantial transmission of the virus.

“[The Biden administration] should have said the issue is not with the vaccinated, the issue is with the unvaccinated. The reason we’re having to go back to mask mandates indoors is that the unvaccinated didn’t abide by the honor system. The honor code didn’t work," Wen said.

Wen said communication from the CDC could may lead to confusion about the vaccines themselves.

“Now the messaging is so confused from the CDC that it sounds like there’s something wrong with the vaccine or there’s something wrong with the vaccinated,” she said.

“Neither of those things are true. The vaccines are still really effective at protecting you,” she said.

 

1:38 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Woman urges people to get the shot as unvaccinated husband battles Covid-19 in the hospital

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Alicia Ball on July 28, 2021.
Alicia Ball on July 28, 2021. CNN

Alicia Ball's husband went from being an active person, working 12 to 16 hours a day for his construction company, to not being able to sit on the side of his hospital bed in Mississippi for just a few minutes. It's the toll of Covid-19. Now, she's pleading with people to get the vaccine.

"We have really tried to, after this, talk to as many of our friends and family as possible that they should get it. I never really realized how bad it would be – how bad this Delta variant would be," she told CNN on Wednesday, speaking from Jackson, Mississippi. "I'm exhausted. I haven't slept. I'm really worried."

Ball said her husband is on 15 liters of oxygen and can hardly breathe.

"He can't walk at all hardly. Just having a difficult time, very difficult," she said.

She said they didn't take the virus seriously at first because they didn't know anyone personally who was experiencing the effects.

Ball said her husband plans to get the vaccine when he gets out of the hospital, but she is worried that he might not recover.

"It's just devastated his body. I wouldn't want anybody else to go through this," she said.

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1:04 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

New York City will begin paying people $100 to get vaccinated starting Friday

From CNN's Laura Ly

Starting Friday, anyone who gets a first dose of any Covid-19 vaccine at a New York city-run vaccination site will be given $100, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

The incentive is open to all New York City residents and employees who have not yet received a first vaccine dose. Those with an email address will immediately be issued a $100 digital debit card upon getting their first Covid-19 vaccine at a site run by the city. Those without an email address will be mailed a physical prepaid debit card, said Rachel Loeb, president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. 

To date, the city has administered 9,902,097 vaccine doses and over 4.9 million New Yorkers (comprising over 59% of the city’s overall population) have received at least one dose, de Blasio said. 

Asked what he would say to New Yorkers who got vaccinated early without needing any incentive, de Blasio said, “anyone who got vaccinated previously, I’m one of those people – congratulations, you got vaccinated, you were protected from Covid, it was free, it was the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, for your community – you did the right thing. And the reward is, you were kept safe.” 

Regarding whether the city was considering mandating Covid-19 vaccines for children over the age of 12, de Blasio said city health officials continue to “constantly look at the data and the science” and will make any future decisions accordingly. 

The mayor reiterated that anyone wishing to attend any of the five “NYC Homecoming” concerts in-person next month will be screened for proof of vaccination upon arrival. While city officials will be planning concerts in the outer boroughs, the week of concerts will culminate in a Central Park concert produced by Clive Davis. De Blasio noted that using a forged vaccination card is a crime that comes with a potential penalty of prison time. 

12:52 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

New York governor wants full FDA approval of Covid-19 vaccines so states can legally mandate them

From CNN's Laura Dolan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at One World Trade Center in New York on June 15, 2021.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at One World Trade Center in New York on June 15, 2021. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wants the US Food and Drug Administration to issue final approval of Covid-19 vaccines so states can have more legal authority to mandate the vaccine.

“This vaccine right now is under something called the emergency use authorization. Under emergency use authorization, states are limited as to what they can mandate,” Cuomo said while addressing the The Association for a Better New York at a virtual meeting.

“Once the vaccines is finally approved, then the state has more legal authority to mandate the vaccine,” Cuomo added.

More on this: President Biden told CNN's Don Lemon during a CNN town hall last week that he expects Covid-19 vaccines could get full approval "quickly." The National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins also told CNN's Jim Acosta last week that full approval could come in the "next couple of months."

Vaccine maker Pfizer appears to be furthest along in the process.

In July, the company announced that the FDA granted its vaccine a priority review, so that sets the regulatory clock for six months, meaning technically the company should know if it has approval by January. A standard review is 10 months.

12:06 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Missouri attorney general says he will file lawsuit against proposed Kansas City mask mandate

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced on Twitter that he plans to file a lawsuit against a proposed mask mandate by the City of Kansas City.

"To the great people of Kansas City: I will be filing a lawsuit to protect your freedoms," Schmitt said in the tweet. 

Schmitt, who is also running for US Senate, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the city of St. Louis, for their mask mandate.

Responding to Schmitt's tweet, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas noted that their proposed mask mandate order has not even been filed yet.

"What are you suing about? Do you want us to just schedule a debate on Fox News so you can get the press," the mayor wrote.

Announcing the proposed mask mandate on Tuesday, Lucas said on Twitter that he was following the updated CDC guidance.

"I have stuck with CDC guidance throughout the pandemic and today is no different," Lucas' tweet read. "I will return Kansas City to a mask mandate indoors based upon national and regional health guidance and discussion with other Kansas City leaders."

CNN has reached out to Schmitt's office for additional comment but has not receive a response.

12:20 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

When will the FDA give full approval of Covid-19 vaccines?

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, and a board member at Pfizer, said that when it comes to full approval of Covid-19 vaccines, much of what the FDA is now doing is going through the portion of the application that deals with manufacturing. 

“I long felt that the FDA would approve the vaccine probably within a three to four month time frame from when the application was submitted,” Gottlieb said on NPR’s Morning Edition Wednesday. “Those applications were submitted about two and a half, three months ago, including the application from Pfizer, the company I’m on the board of, I think they submitted the application in late May. So I think that puts you on end of August, September timeframe in terms of when these are going to be approved.” 

A lot of what the FDA is now doing is going through what is called the CMC – chemistry, manufacturing and controls – portion of the application, he said.  

“Basically, the portion of the application that deals with the manufacturing of the vaccines so that they can put appropriate language and labeling on what the storage and handling requirements going to be for the vaccine when it’s put into general distribution, because remember we’ve been distributing the vaccine through special vaccine distribution sites,” he said, adding that once the vaccine is fully approved, it gets put into normal distribution so there has to be information on appropriate handling and shelf life.

A lot of the clinical portion of the review has probably already been done because the information has been going to FDA on a rolling basis and it has been evaluating the clinical performance all the way through. 

“I think that you’re going to see these get fully licensed, but the reality is the bulk of the work, and what people think of in terms of the core of the application, the clinical data, a lot of that’s already been reviewed, the agency has gotten comfort around that, in my estimation,” he said. 

 

12:09 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

NFL quarterback Lamar Jackson tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson looks on during a game in Indianapolis on November 8, 2020.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson looks on during a game in Indianapolis on November 8, 2020. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens opened training camp on Wednesday without starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, after the former league MVP tested positive for Covid-19.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Jackson and running back Gus Edwards tested positive for Covid-19 after the team’s practice, “We had Gus Edwards for Covid and Lamar Jackson tested positive for [Covid-19]. Those two guys will be put in the protocol, and that's really the extent that we can comment on those two guys at this time.”

Per NFL health and safety protocols, vaccinated players who test positive and remain asymptomatic are eligible to return after testing negative twice in a 24-hour span. Unvaccinated players are required to quarantine for 10 days and then test negative in order to return. 

It is unclear if Jackson is vaccinated. In June, Jackson was asked about his vaccination status saying, “Just like everyone in society, it’s their decision, keeping that to themselves, but I feel we do a great job here of taking the vaccine, staying away from Covid, following the right preparation and stuff like that, staying away from the outside to the people that are attracting it.” 

CNN has inquired about Jackson’s vaccination status.

Last November, the Ravens struggled to manage a coronavirus outbreak within the team - at one point placing over 20 players on the team's Reserve/Covid-19 list.

On Wednesday, the NFL disclosed their latest update on player vaccination percentages. The league says 86.9% of players are vaccinated overall (at least one shot) with 18 clubs with over 90% vaccinated.