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July 14 coronavirus news

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Japan defense minister says outbreak at Okinawa US military bases is a “very serious situation”  

Japans Defence Minister Taro Kono waits for US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun (not pictured) prior to their bilateral meeting in Tokyo on July 10.

The outbreak of coronavirus cases at US military bases in Japan is “extremely serious,” said Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday.

A total of 100 US military personnel and their families have so far been diagnosed with Covid-19 across six US Military facilities in Japan since early July. 

The US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa, with 71 confirmed cases, is the worst-impacted location.

Patients on commercial planes: Three US personnel, who tested positive after arriving in Tokyo over the weekend, took commercial flight en route to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture – despite guidelines prohibiting them from using public transportation on Tuesday.

“It is an extremely serious situation. I asked the US side to strictly punish them and to take a serious action to prevent recurrence in the future,” Kono said.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki is arriving in Tokyo today to seek help from the Japanese government to press for more disclosure from the US military, and halt the arrivals of new US military personnel from outside Japan.

Brazil president refuses to confirm latest coronavirus test

The office of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told CNN late Tuesday it could not confirm if the President has taken a new coronavirus test, or when information regarding any testing of the country’s leader may be made available.

Bolsonaro announced he tested positive for the virus last week.

Earlier, he told CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that he would do another RT-PCR test again today for Covid-19 to see if the virus is still active in his body.

“I look forward to the result because I can’t stand this routine of staying at home. I’m feeling good,” he said Monday night.

The US reported more than 61,000 cases today

The United States now has at least 3,424,304 cases of coronavirus and 136,432 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday, the country saw 61,248 new cases and 827 reported deaths. 

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

Follow our live tracker of US cases here:

Health experts raise concerns about emergency use authorizations for Covid-19 vaccines

Health experts testifying before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy expressed concerns that a Covid-19 vaccine would have to be distributed under a US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization. 

Emergency use authorization from the FDA is not the same as approval, but when there is no available or accessible alternative, it’s a signal from regulators that the likely benefits of a product seem to outweigh the risks.

The experts testified at a Tuesday hearing and cautioned against rushing a vaccine before Phase 3 clinical trials are complete. They urged decision makers to balance the need for urgency with transparency. 

Here’s what the experts said:

  • Dr. Bruce Gellin, president of global immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, said he “strongly recommends that any vaccine being considered for any type of approval by the FDA be reviewed in an open, public meeting of the FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Product Advisory Committee.” Gellin added that “if a vaccine used under an EUA turns out to be ineffective or raise safety concerns and users are unclear if the vaccine was unapproved, a crisis could occur undermining confidence in all vaccines.”
  • Dr. Jesse Goodman, director of the Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship a Georgetown University, said that while issuing an EUA to distribute a vaccine in an area with a severe Covid-19 outbreak could be appropriate, “experience has shown the public may interpret an EUA as the same as an approval.”
  • Dr. Jason Schwartz, assistant professor of health policy at Yale University, echoed those concerns, saying he would also be worries that an EUA “would not be understood to be different from full approval” of a vaccine. 
  • Dr. Ruth Karron, director of the Center for Immunization Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg said “decisions may need to be made about issuing EUAs for one or more vaccines with data that are promising but incomplete,” which would raise questions about the risk and benefits to those in high-risk groups.  

More than 1 million coronavirus tests have been conducted in Tennessee

Vehicles line up at a drive through testing center at Robertson County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Tennessee, on April 18.

At least 1,071,320 coronavirus tests have been conducted in Tennessee since the pandemic began in March, the state’s Department of Health reported today.

There have been at least 66,788 cases of coronavirus in the state and at least 767 people have died from the virus since the pandemic began, according to the health department.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee said his state went from testing a few hundred people a day to more than a million people. He claimed that anyone can get tested in the state.

Colorado governor says state's coronavirus cases are trending upward

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a press conference on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Covid-19 cases have been trending upward in the state.

“In terms of new cases, we continue to have an upward trend. Twelve of the last 14 days have had an upward trend,” Polis said in a news conference on Tuesday.

“And hospitalizations, 11 of the last 14 days have had an upward trend in the seven-day moving average. Cases are growing slowly but consistently, and that is the wrong trend … We want to see them decreasing slowly but consistently,” he added.

The governor also spoke about the importance of wearing masks, and encouraged the public to do so. 

“What we are doing is close but isn’t quite working, and we need to do better, and that means reducing our social interactions,” he added.

As for hospital capacity, Polis said that the state is not concerned about bed capacity in intensive care units at the time. The state has 552 ICU beds open.

“One of the reasons we want Coloradans to do better early is, we don’t want to have to take extraordinary measures as we had to in April to free up additional beds,” the governor said. 

Colorado has a total of 37,686 Covid-19 cases and at least 1,589 people have died from the virus in the state.

Note: These numbers were released by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

It's official: The CDC wants you to wear a mask        

Commuters arrive at Boston's South Station on Tuesday.

The science shows face masks work both to protect the wearer and to protect others from coronavirus, and everyone needs to wear one when around other people in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Even cloth face masks help enough to be worthwhile, three top CDC officials said in a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“While community use of face coverings has increased substantially, particularly in jurisdictions with mandatory orders, resistance continues,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC’s chief medical officer Dr. John Brooks and Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Dr. Jay Butler said in a joint editorial.

There is “ample evidence” that people who have no symptoms and may not realize they are infected may be driving the ongoing surge in infections, they wrote.

Redfield has been increasingly vocal about his support for the use of face masks, and the CDC published details on Tuesday of a study that found two hairdressers in Springfield, Missouri, who were infected with coronavirus did not infect any of 139 clients they worked with, probably because they wore face masks.

“Covering mouths and noses with filtering materials serves two purposes: personal protection against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates, and source control to prevent exposing others to infectious microbes that may be expelled during respiration,” the three officials wrote.  

Even homemade, cloth masks help. “Cloth face coverings can substantially limit forward dispersion of exhaled respirations that contain potentially infectious respiratory particles in the 1- to 10-nanometer range that includes aerosol-sized particles, and recent research of household textiles’ performance when used as source control suggests cloth face coverings may be able to do so with acceptable efficiency and breathability,” they wrote.

“However, face covering is not needed all the time. It is probably safe for individuals and safe for others to drive alone or to walk or jog alone on an uncrowded route without a face covering,” they advised.

“But when individuals choose to go out or must be close to others in public, a cloth face covering can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic individuals or others.”

Health experts need to spread the message, the CDC said. “Innovation is needed to extend their physical comfort and ease of use,” they added. 

“At this critical juncture when COVID-19 is resurging, broad adoption of cloth face coverings is a civic duty, a small sacrifice reliant on a highly effective low-tech solution that can help turn the tide favorably in national and global efforts against COVID-19.”

Venezuela surpasses 10,000 Covid-19 cases

People walk past the National Assembly building in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday.

Venezuela topped 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to data collected by the Venezuelan government led by embattled President Nicolás Maduro. 

The government recorded 303 new cases on Tuesday, Maduro said in a televised speech in Caracas, bringing the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 10,010 cases. 

Three new deaths from the virus were also reported Tuesday, Maduro said, bringing Venezuela’s Covid-19 death toll to 96 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March. 

Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and the surrounding area registered 98 new cases Tuesday, nearly a third of the country’s 303 new cases, and will return to strict lockdown measures beginning Wednesday, the Maduro government announced earlier Tuesday. 

The Venezuelan opposition as well as international organization have questioned the government’s ability to properly track and report Covid-19 cases.

Miami Beach bans short-term rentals due to Covid-19 surge

A view of Miami Beach, Florida, on July 4.

As coronavirus cases surge in Florida, Miami Beach is sacrificing a key source of money from visitors. 

Starting Thursday, the city is suspending short-term rentals and ordering those properties closed.

“Short-term and vacation rentals shall cancel all existing reservations, and shall refrain from accepting new guests or making new reservations,” the city’s order said.

The order does not provide a timeline for when the ban will be reconsidered.

The world should see a vaccine in a year to year and a half, Fauci says

A subject receives a shot in March, during the first-stage clinical trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

The world should see a vaccine that protects people from Covid-19 within the next year to year and a half, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

And companies making the vaccines have reassured him they will be able to make up to a billion doses, Fauci said during a Georgetown University Global Health Initiative webinar. That’s more than the US would need.

“So right away, I’m feeling much better about getting a vaccine that’s distributed not only within our country, but then to be able to have doses for people throughout the world, who cannot afford, nor are they in a situation where it’s very easy for them to get vaccinated,” Fauci said.

Fauci said that while no vaccine is going to be 100% protective, scientists think there will be herd immunity if there are enough survivors from the disease and enough people get vaccinated with one that is 70% to 75% effective.

“And I hope that that time will be reasonably soon,” he said. “When I say ‘soon,’ I say within the next year to year and a half.”

Earlier Tuesday, vaccine maker Moderna, which has the backing of the US government, said its Phase 1 safety data showed two doses of its experimental vaccine elicited an antibody response in 100% of volunteers with no serious safety problems. Moderna said it would begin Phase 3 experiments, the last stage before approval, on July 27 with 30,000 volunteers.

The World Health Organization says 23 potential coronavirus vaccines are being tested in people around the world.

WHO has made mistakes, but the world needs it, Fauci says

The World Health Organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he hopes the US relationship with the World Health Organization improves, saying “the world does need a WHO.”

“They are an imperfect organization. They have made mistakes, but I would like to see the mistakes corrected, and for them to be much more in line with the kinds of things that we need,” Fauci said Tuesday during a Georgetown Global Health Initiative webinar. 

“I hope this kind of tension between the United States and the WHO somehow or other, ultimately gets settled in a favorable way because the world does need a WHO for outbreaks like this, and even for the general health of the globe to coordinate it.”

Fauci said he has been working closely with WHO for the last 40 years and he thinks there are good people in the organization, including WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  

Los Angeles County records highest single-day total for new cases and hospitalizations

Los Angeles County reported its highest single-day total for new cases and hospitalizations Tuesday, the county’s public health department said in a statement.

The county recorded 4,244 new cases and 2,103 people were hospitalized. The county also reported 73 new fatalities, one of the highest numbers of new deaths reported in a single day, according to the statement.

“Today’s numbers are alarming and unfortunately are the result of many businesses and individuals not adhering to the basic public health requirements of distancing and wearing face coverings,” Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

Ferrer urged residents to stay home as much as possible, wear a face covering, wash their hands, and avoid close contact with people from outside households to help prevent the surge of coronavirus cases.

Los Angeles County, which has an approximate population of 10 million residents, has a total of 140,307 positive cases and 3,894 deaths.

The county is under California’s watch list. County health orders were modified on Monday to align with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate to shut down gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and indoor malls.

Brazil surpassed 1.9 million Covid-19 cases

Volunteers spray disinfectant in a Rio de Janeiro alleyway to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus on Sunday.

Brazil surpassed 1.9 million confirmed cases of novel coronavirus Tuesday after adding 41,857 in the past 24 hours, according to its health ministry.

The country now has 1,926,824 total confirmed cases, the second highest worldwide.

The ministry also reported 1,300 new fatalities from the virus, bringing the nationwide death toll to 74,133.

As of Tuesday, Latin America and the Caribbean have now recorded more coronavirus deaths than the United States and Canada, a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows, with Brazil the hardest-hit by the virus in Latin America.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, told CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that he will take another test again on Tuesday for Covid-19 to see if the virus is still active in his body.