July 9 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brett McKeehan, Ivana Kottasová, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 9:12 PM ET, Thu July 9, 2020
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8:53 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

CDC director says the US needs "more testing and breakthroughs"

Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared the frustration many Americans are feeling as the country continues to struggle with Covid-19 testing issues.

Gupta's frustration stemmed from seeing his family wait four hours to get tested for the virus.

"My wife and girls got tested the other day and they waited four hours to get their testing still. That's now in July. Why is it still so challenging? Has testing been minimized or at least not accelerated appropriately in this country?" Gupta asked Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tonight during CNN's global coronavirus town hall. "Why can't I get a test and be comfortable knowing I don't carry the virus? Why aren't we at that point now?"

"I will echo it is a critical piece, and that I've always said we need readily accessible, timely results, testing. It's fundamental," Redfield answered.

Redfield said that the country needs "more testing and breakthroughs, we need more rapid testing that can get results in real time."

The country is currently conducting roughly 600,000 tests across the US per day, Redfield added.


8:45 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

CDC is not putting out new school reopening guidelines, Redfield says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not issuing new guidelines on reopening schools, despite comments to the contrary made by Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during tonight's CNN coronavirus town hall. 

“They're not new guidelines that we're coming out with,” Redfield said. “We started the guidance for K through 12s back in February and higher learning back in March. We continue to update them,” he said.

“The guidance that we put out recently for K through 12 and higher learning is our guidance. We continue to expand that with different tools,” Redfield added.

“I want to really stress that the purpose of the CDC guidelines are to provide a variety of different strategies for schools to use to help facilitate the reopening of schools. I can tell you that the guidance that we put out are out, and they stand,” he said.

Redfield said the CDC will continue to provide additional material and update the guidelines as warranted.


8:34 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

CDC director says he stands by guidance on how schools can reopen this year

Dr. Robert Redfield
Dr. Robert Redfield CNN

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed tonight guidelines schools around the country should consider before reopening during the pandemic.

These guidelines received added attention recently after President Trump, against the advice of some of the nation's top health officials, called for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

Redfield said the guidelines "are to provide a variety of different strategies for schools to use to help facilitate the reopening of schools," he said tonight during CNN's global coronavirus town hall.

The CDC guidelines for schools to reopen contain steps to keep children safe, including keeping desks to be placed six feet apart and for children to use cloth face coverings. The CDC suggests the closing of communal areas like dining rooms and playgrounds and the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards where necessary.

Redfield said that each school district should read the guidelines and see "how they can incorporate those guidances to make their school in a situation where they can reopen safely."

"We do continue to provide additional material and actually had planned for some time some resources or consideration documents to help better understand the guidance, particularly for communities that are opening K-12. We have another document for parents and caregivers how to plan for kids to go back to school," Redfield said.

Earlier today: Redfield said schools must reopen because if they were to stay closed, it would be a “greater public health threat."

“I cannot overstate how important I think it is now to get our schools in this nation reopened,” Redfield said during a virtual summit hosted by the Hill. “The reason I push it is because I truly believe it’s the public health benefit of these kids."

"Having the schools actually close is a greater public health threat to children than having the schools reopen," he said.

The virus is not much of a threat to most children, Redfield said.


8:18 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Michigan governor says she won't send kids into schools "unless it is safe"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Responding to President Trump's threat Wednesday to cut off federal funding for schools if they don't open in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted on Thursday, saying she won’t send kids and teachers back unless it’s safe.

“I want to make this clear — I will not send our kids and our education workforce into our schools unless it is safe to do so, plain and simple,” Whitmer tweeted.

She continued: “I have made decisions based on science and facts to keep Michiganders safe since the beginning, and won’t stop now.”

8:09 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

More than 133,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There are at least 3,111,902 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 133,195 people have died from the virus in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

So far on Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported 57,203 new cases and 895 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

8:06 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Study finds evidence coronavirus can spread across the placenta to the fetus

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A new study from Italy suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus. 

Two babies born to women infected with Covid-19 were born infected themselves, Claudio Fenizia of the University of Milan and colleagues reported at a conference organized by the International AIDS Society.

They studied 31 women infected with coronavirus who were in late pregnancy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. They thoroughly tested the women, their babies once they were born, the placenta, the umbilical cord, the mother’s vaginal fluids and breast milk. 

Two of the newborns had positive tests at birth, they reported.

“Our result strongly suggest and support that vertical transmission occurred in two cases out of the 31 studied,” Fenizia told a news conference.

“The virus was found in an at-term placenta and in the umbilical cord blood, in the vagina of a pregnant woman and in milk,” the researchers wrote in a summary of their work.

“This is the first ringing bell that should raise awareness about a topic that is not really well studied,” Fenizia said.

The placentas were inflamed, as well — a sign of infection. The umbilical cord blood of one of the newborns had antibodies indicating a recent infection. These antibody types are not usually transmitted from mother to baby, so they indicate the fetus was directly infected, Fenizia said.

Luckily, the women were infected late in pregnancy so it is unlikely the virus would have affected the babies’ development, he said. The Zika virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn child, sometimes causing severe brain damage and a condition called microcephaly. HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — can also be transmitted at birth.


7:49 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

USC to provide in-person classes to international students for free to keep their visa status

From CNN's Jenn Selva

In response to the Trump administration's guidance to not allow foreign students to take online-only courses in the US this fall, the University of Southern California (USC) will let international students add an in-person class for free to keep their visa status.

The USC Office of the Provost tweeted today, “To our international students: If you need to add an in-person course to your schedule to maintain visa status this Fall, it will be provided at no additional cost to you.” 

On Wednesday, USC joined Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a suit against what they called "deeply troubling" guidance by the Trump administration.

The university said this is a time when universities need the autonomy and flexibility to adapt their teaching models to protect their health of their campus.

There are more than 1 million international students in the United States.

7:45 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Records show another 11-year-child died from Covid-19 in Florida

From CNN's Denise Royal

An 11-year-old girl from Broward County died from Covid-19 complications, according to data released from the Florida Department of Health. 

According to the latest health records, this is the fourth minor in Florida to die of complication from the virus. 

Last week, an 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade county, with severe underlying health conditions, died from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County. 

7:52 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

New Mexico governor prohibits indoor seating at restaurants

From CNN’s Laurie Ure

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she is once again prohibiting indoor seating at restaurants and breweries, saying Covid-19 trends in the state are "going in the wrong direction." 

Gyms, however, can remain open at current capacities. 

Lujan Grisham is also restricting the state's parks in New Mexico to residents only.

Some context: The amended public health order comes as Lujan Grisham announced 238 new positive cases Thursday. 

"We're beginning to see the kind of community spread that is creating spikes around the country," Lujan Grisham said. 

Indoor dining at restaurants is now prohibited, but outdoor dining can continue to operate at 50% capacity, while continuing to provide carryout and delivery service, she said. Breweries may continue to provide curbside pickup services, Lujan Grisham said. 

"New data is emerging that with face coverings, and the limited number of folks participating in gyms, and they're social distancing while they do that, seems to have the right mitigating impacts, Lujan Grisham said. 

To note: These figures were released by the state of New Mexico and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.