July 14 coronavirus news

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

Updated 8:11 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021
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4:53 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

Here's why the Delta variant may be more transmissible

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

The Delta variant might spread faster than other strains of the coronavirus because it makes more copies of itself inside our bodies quicker than other strains of the coronavirus. 

In research posted online last week, Chinese scientists detected Delta viral loads that were about 1,260 times higher than earlier strains on initial positive tests. They compared 62 Delta cases with 63 cases from the early epidemic wave in 2020.

Moreover, the amount of time it took quarantined people to test positive for Covid-19 on PCR also shortened – from about six days with the earlier infections to four days with Delta.

“These data highlight that the Delta variant could be more infectious during the early stage of the infection,” the researchers wrote. 

Some context: Delta outbreaks in China have prompted some local governments to shorten the window for a negative test in order to travel from 72 hours to 48 hours. 

According to Public Health England, a number of analyses have shown Delta to be more transmissible, including lab studies that suggest “increased replication in biological systems that model human airway, and evidence of optimized furin cleavage” – a process that activates the virus’ entry into the human cell. The variant has also been observed to spread faster in real-world epidemiological studies. 

According to the World Health Organization, Delta is estimated to spread roughly 55% faster than the Alpha variant first identified in the UK, and roughly twice as fast as variants that do not rise to the level of “interest” or “concern.”

5:48 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

More than 90% of new Covid-19 cases in Mississippi are of unvaccinated people, governor says

From CNN's Kay Jones

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (Edmund D. Fountain for CNN)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said today that more than 90% of those who have recently tested positive or been admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated people. 

Reeves said the state is seeing a "slight uptick" in total Covid-19 cases since the first of July, but he's doesn't think the state is "headed to a third wave."

He said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the best way to protect yourself from the Delta variant or any others is to get vaccinated. 

Reeves said that for those who choose not to get vaccinated, "I personally don't think that's a good choice."  

4:26 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

More than 160 million people in the US are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A city run vaccination site stands in a Brooklyn neighborhood which is witnessing a rise in COVID-19 cases on July 13, in New York City.
A city run vaccination site stands in a Brooklyn neighborhood which is witnessing a rise in COVID-19 cases on July 13, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

More than 160 million people in the US are fully vaccinated, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s more of the latest data on vaccination efforts in the US:

  • 48.2% of the US population is fully vaccinated (160,126,516 people)
  • The current pace of vaccinations (7-day average): 316,906 people fully vaccinated per day; 548,045 doses reported administered per day. This is a 27% decline from last week, when an average of about 432,000 people became fully vaccinated each day. But the pace has been slightly improving over the past couple of days.
  • 20 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C.
4:13 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

States that ban requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination status also have low vaccination rates, data suggest

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips and Jacqueline Howard

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a resident at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield, Missouri, on June 29.
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a resident at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield, Missouri, on June 29. ( Liz Sanders/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Many states that have policies in place prohibiting requirements for showing proof of Covid-19 vaccination status also have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States, a CNN analysis finds.

As of June 22, at least 13 states have enacted laws that limit requirements for individuals to demonstrate their vaccination status or immunity against Covid-19 in general, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. 

Overall, 48% of people in the US are fully vaccinated, but among those 13 states that have enacted the laws, an average of only 41% of residents are fully vaccinated. 

Alabama and Arkansas, for instance, are the only states nationwide -- other than Mississippi -- to have fully vaccinated fewer than 35% of their residents. Average daily case rates in each state were among the 10 worst in the country last week. Iowa is the only one in the group to have vaccinated a larger share of residents than the US overall, with less than 49% of residents fully vaccinated.

At least another 21 states have introduced similar bills that are pending legislation, according to the NCSL, which has been tracking legislation related to coronavirus vaccines. 

In comparison, states that have not enacted or proposed legislation to ban proof of Covid-19 vaccination have fully vaccinated an average of about 50% of residents, above the national rate.

Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine lead the nation, each with more than 62% of their residents fully vaccinated. Each of these states reported among the 10 lowest case rates in the country last week, and none have proposed or enacted legislation banning proof of Covid-19 vaccination status.

1:57 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

WHO analysis: Booster Covid-19 shots in select countries could require more than 800 million extra doses

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

If certain high- and middle-income countries proceed with booster doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, they’ll use up more than 800 million doses just in reaching people over 50, according to an internal analysis from the World Health Organization.

WHO officials expressed concern on Monday about countries planning to add a third dose to the mostly two-dose vaccine regimens. WHO fears they’ll use vaccines that other countries could be using to get first doses to people.

“We have four countries that have announced a booster program, and a few more that are thinking about it,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, said in a briefing on Monday.

“If 11 high and upper middle income countries decide, some of them are large countries, that we will go for a booster for their populations or even subgroups, this will require an additional 800 million doses of vaccine,” she said, not naming any of the countries.

WHO confirmed the numbers from this analysis in an email to CNN on Wednesday.

“It is based on some internal analysis showing that if 11 (high and upper-middle income countries) decided to give boosters to people over 50 years, then it would need between 800 to 900 million doses and would further impact global supplies of vaccines,” a spokesperson said.

3:13 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

Cuba reports a record number of new Covid-19 deaths

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann and Tatiana Arias

Cuba reported a record 51 Covid-19 related deaths on Wednesday, according to the country’s health ministry. The death toll in Cuba since the start of the pandemic is 1,659.

Additionally, the island added 6,080 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 256,607.

After controlling the infection rate for much of the pandemic, in recent weeks Cuba has seen the number of cases and deaths spike. 

The record number of deaths reported Wednesday comes as the communist-run island faces growing political turbulence, after unprecedented anti-government protests shook the nation on Sunday, involving thousands of people taking to the streets across the country. Many Cubans have been critical of the government's Covid-19 response and the deep economic toll the pandemic has had on the country.

Cuba has announced optimistic efficacy rates for their home-grown Covid-19 vaccines. However, as of Tuesday, out of Cuba’s population of 11.4 million, only 1,894,508 people have been fully vaccinated.

1:37 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

White House: Pushing back against vaccine misinformation is a "matter of life and death"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that pushing back against dangerous misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine is “literally a matter of life and death.

“We believe that all of us – social media companies, platforms where a lot of this misinformation travels, the media, state, local officials — It’s important for everybody to step up and spread the word about vaccines,” Psaki said in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.


She confirmed that US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will be speaking about a new report on misinformation at Thursday’s briefing, reported by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, and Jeff Zeleny earlier Wednesday.

“Certainly the push back against disinformation that is, you know, literally a matter of life and death, is something that is going to be a continued focus of this administration,” Psaki said.

Some context: This comes as CNN reported White House officials are devising ways to fight the spread of dangerous falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines, administration officials told CNN, as Republicans and their media allies ramp up their vocal skepticism about vaccines. Biden himself could soon take on some of the corrosive messages emanating from the right, officials said, as the administration's vaccination efforts hit a wall just as the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus rips across the country.

CNN spoke with five people in the administration who described the White House's efforts to fight back against the misinformation swirling about Covid-19 vaccines.

Psaki suggested that any decision to regulate or hold to account a social media platform “would certainly be a policy decision,” and declined to preview any changes on the matter. 

She said there was no plan as of now for the President to meet with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

1:35 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

Tennessee Democratic leaders are seeking answers after the firing of state's top vaccination expert

From CNN's Tina Burnside 

Legislative leaders are seeking answers from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee regarding his decision to fire the state's top vaccination expert in the middle of a pandemic. 

Dr. Michelle Fiscus said she was fired after sharing a decades-old state policy about some teenagers being able to receive vaccinations without parental consent. 

During a virtual meeting with state legislative members on Wednesday, Tennessee's Senate Caucus Chairwoman Raumesh Akbari said the state's top leadership decision to fire Fiscus has put the state in a more dangerous position.

"We have all the tools we need to get out of this pandemic but the failure of leadership at the top is making this hard," Akbari said. 

Akbari said she is concerned that the lack of leadership is going to have a downward effect on hospitals, healthcare workers, and schools in the fall. 

State Senator Jeff Yarbro said the firing of Fiscus is going to set the state's efforts back and is calling on the governor to make sure that the Department of Health is providing accurate information and keeping the people of Tennessee safe.

"Anyone spinning her firing as improving the vaccine efforts is just engaging in political spin," Yarbro said. 

Read more about this here.

1:11 p.m. ET, July 14, 2021

Health officials worry about partially vaccinated people as Delta variant spreads

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Local health officials in the United States aren't just concerned about the Covid-19 risks for people who are unvaccinated, but also the risks for a "significant" number of people who are partially vaccinated — especially those who are overdue for their second dose or skipped their second-dose appointments.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are administered as two doses, 21 and 28 days apart, respectively. Studies have shown that the Covid-19 vaccines are much more effective against the Delta variant after completion of the two-dose series. Those who have received one dose should still follow Covid-19 mitigation steps, such as wearing masks, until they are fully vaccinated.

About 185 million people in the US have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine so far but some 160 million people are fully vaccinated, as of Tuesday, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means about 25 million people who have received at least one dose are only partially vaccinated. 

"It's a significant number," Lori Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CNN on Wednesday. 

Not all of those people have missed their second dose — they may be in the waiting period between doses. But the CDC reported last month that about 1 in 10 people eligible to receive their second dose had not done so. As of June 16, about 88% of those eligible to receive their second dose had completed their two-dose series, down from 92% earlier in the year, according to the CDC.

Public health officials worry about those who skipped their second dose appointments and are still not fully protected against Covid-19; Freeman said this was discussed on a call Tuesday between local health officials and the White House.

"There was a lot of talk about the second shots, and in returning to this idea that we have a lot of people who only got their first shot," Freeman said. "So, what do we need to do to get people back to getting fully inoculated? One shot is not going to protect them necessarily against the variants."