South Africa to resume curfew and ban on alcohol sales as it faces a surge in Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Brent Swails
South Africa will resume a ban on alcohol sales and reinstate a daily curfew to free up hospital capacity as the country’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
“The storm is upon us. More than a quarter of a million South Africans have been infected by the coronavirus,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening.
Gauteng Province, the home of the commercial hub of Johannesburg and the country’s capital, Pretoria, is leading the surge as it fast approaches 100,000 confirmed cases.
What the numbers say: South Africa has recorded more than 12,000 new Covid-19 infections every day, equivalent to 500 new cases every hour. A quarter of South Africa’s more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths have occurred in the last week.
Ramaphosa said it was projected that 40,000 to 50,00 South Africans could die from the virus within the year.
“We must make it our single most important task to prove these projections wrong,” Ramaphosa said.
He highlighted the success of treatment interventions and a stringent lockdown for keeping South Africa’s 1.5% case fatality rate among the lowest in the world.
As the country’s pandemic stretches into its fourth month, the healthcare shortfalls across South Africa are becoming clear, including the need for more than 12,000 health workers, mostly nurses.
“Our greatest challenge still lies ahead,” Ramaphosa said. “Health facilities in several provinces are already under tremendous strain.”
2:13 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
Covid-19 positivity rate reaches 22% in South Carolina
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
The total number of test results reported yesterday in South Carolina was 8,769 with the percent positive of those tests being 22.3%, according to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued Sunday.
A total of 538,022 tests have been conducted in the state, according to the release.
There were 1,952 new cases of coronavirus and 10 new deaths reported for a total of 56,485 confirmed cases and 163 probable cases. There was also 950 confirmed deaths and 11 probable deaths statewide, the release said.
1:56 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
A record number of Covid-19 cases globally have been reported to WHO in last 24 hours
From CNN’s Hira Humayun
Over the past 24 hours, 230,370 new cases of Covid-19 worldwide have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) according to Sunday’s report. That brings the total number of cases reported to WHO from around the world to 12,552,765.
The previous record for cases reported to WHO in a 24-hour period was on July 10 with 228,102 new cases.
Sunday’s report also had 5,285 additional deaths in the past 24 hours from the virus worldwide, bringing the global death toll to 561,617, according to WHO.
1:28 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
HHS says remdesivir will go to areas where coronavirus is surging
From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen
As coronavirus surges in some areas of the United States and declines in others, some doctors in hotspot areas said they were running low or couldn’t access remdesivir, while doctors in other parts of the country said they have more of the antiviral drug than they currently need – and there’s no mechanism for hospitals to shift the drug where it's needed most.
A spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services told CNN that in the coming week, allocations of remdesivir to states "will emphasize locations with large recent increases.”
Even though it's not a cure for Covid-19, doctors say most of their hospitalized patients could benefit from remdesivir. The shipments headed to some hotspot states in the coming week, however, don't even come close to the number hospitalized.
As of July 10, Texas had 10,002 hospitalized patients with Covid-19, but the batch headed to Texas will have only enough remdesivir for about 3,507 patients; Florida had 6,974 patients, but only enough for 2,733; California had 7,896 patients but only enough for 2,080; Arizona had 3,432 hospitalized patients but enough for 2,080 patients, according to state and federal data.
HHS will make another shipment in two weeks.
The spokesperson also said the company hired to distribute remdesivir will reach out to each hospital that received the drug to confirm that it still needs it. The department "is committed to equitable and efficient distribution of the drug with the goal of reaching as many patients as possible across all states and U.S. territories," according to the spokesperson.
Some doctors said the distribution system needs to be overhauled.
Some context: In May, the FDA granted emergency authorization for remdesivir for hospitalized Covid-19 patients, and the federal government is overseeing its distribution. At first, Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the drug, donated the supply, but starting next week, hospitals have to purchase it.
The HHS spokesperson said once a hospital purchases remdesivir, "that hospital owns the drug and is free to handle it as it sees fit, which could include transferring or selling to other hospitals within or outside of its state or territory."
But Dr. Michael Ison, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, said Illinois health officials have warned hospitals against shipping drugs across state lines for legal reasons.
Even if they were able to ship anywhere they wanted, doctors and hospitals shouldn't be making decisions about where it goes, Ison said.
"What we don't want is for someone to say, 'Oh, I have a friend at Hospital X, so I'll send it all to them," he said.
Ison said instead, the government should have a systematic way of seeing which hospitals have a surplus, and which hospitals have the most need, and coordinate shipments accordingly.
"No one has a sense of where there's excess and where there's deficiencies," he said. "This is a national limited, scarce resource. There needs to be some process to this."
1:08 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
Bolsonaro says Brazil is "on the brink of recession" thanks to Covid-19 pandemic
From Marcia Reverdosa and Hira Humayun
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil is “on the brink of recession” as the economy feels the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Millions of jobs destroyed, tens of millions of people in the informality without income and a country on the brink of recession," Bolsonaro said.
Accusing “misinformation” for causing widespread panic, Bolsonaro said, "people believed they had only one serious problem to deal with" and warned that the "side effects of fighting the virus could not be worse than the virus itself."
Bolsonaro said the situation could have been even worse had it not been for the action of the federal government which provided "emergency aid for more than 60 million people" and distributed resources.
He also asked families to "depoliticize from the pandemic” and added, "It won't be easy, but we'll have to start over."
In April: The Brazilian government offered emergency aid to those without income during the pandemic, initially offering R200 a month (US $40) but after criticism from Congress, it was increased to R600 (US $120). This government assistance was initially to be paid for three months but last month was extended another two months.
In a Facebook live on Thursday night, Bolsonaro said he hopes governors and mayors “open commerce as soon as possible” because the government cannot continue paying emergency aid to unemployed people for too long.
“We are contracting debt to pay it,” he said.
Bolsonaro announced he tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday and has since been working remotely from Alvorada Palace, his official residence. The first lady announced Saturday that she and her two daughters tested negative.
12:30 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
Some Miami-Dade County hospitals are near capacity due to increase in Covid-19 patients
From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian
Miami-Dade County is reaching capacity in available hospital beds and intensive care unit (ICU) beds at some of the county’s hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, Mayor Carlos Gimenez told CNN.
“Our ventilator usage has gone up, close to 200 now, so we definitely had a sharp increase in the number of people going to the hospital,” Gimenez said.
The mayor concluded by saying that the county still has hospital bed capacity but it does cause him great concern.
When asked to reflect on Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’ advice for schools to reopen in the fall, Gimenez said that he is working with the superintendent to find a solution on when to reopen schools in the county.
“Our number one priority is keeping our kids safe,” Gimenez said. "[I]t all depends on the virus and what it’s doing here at that time.”
12:06 p.m. ET, July 12, 2020
Florida reports more than 15,000 new cases of Covid-19
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
Florida health officials on Sunday reported 15,300 new Covid-19 cases, a record for the state, according to data posted on the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website.
The previous high for the state was on July 4 with 11,434, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Florida's current positivity rate is 19.60%, according to Johns Hopkins.
There were 45 additional Covid-19 related deaths bringing the state total to 4,346. There have been 18,271 patients hospitalized in the state throughout the pandemic. Florida cases now total 269,811, DOH reports.
11:24 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020
This Pennsylvania county reported no new deaths from Covid-19
From CNN's Sheena Jones
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where Pittsburgh is located, says there were no new deaths from Covid-19 cases, according to a press release issued Sunday from the Allegheny County Health Department.
The county announced 200 new Covid-19 cases and eight new hospitalizations, the release said.
The positive test results are from June 26 through July 11, according to the release.
One thing to note: The figures listed were released by the Allegheny County 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.
10:58 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020
Maryland conducted a record number of Covid-19 tests over the last 24 hours, governor says
From CNN's Sheena Jones
The state of Maryland conducted more than 21,000 Covid-19 tests over the last 24 hours, Gov. Larry Hogan said today in a statement.
The governor said this is a record number of tests for the state.
Maryland has a total of 73,109 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,188 deaths related to the virus.
Of the people tested over the last seven days the state has a 4.45% positivity rate, the governor said.
One thing to note: The numbers listed were released by the state of Maryland and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.