July 14 coronavirus news

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1:33 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC director says the American public is getting closer to accepting masks

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Commuters in Boston wear masks at South Station on July 14.
Commuters in Boston wear masks at South Station on July 14. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the importance of wearing masks during a webinar with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging on Tuesday.

“These face coverings, simple face coverings, really do work in interrupting this transmission,” he said. “And I think the American public is getting closer to accepting face coverings.”

Redfield said that “we’re not defenseless” when it comes to Covid-19.

Wearing masks, social distancing and washing your hands are all things that can help when it comes to transmission. When social distancing, he noted that masks are the most important thing.

He described masks as a powerful tool.

“If we all wore face coverings for the next four, six, eight, 12 weeks, across the nation, this virus transmission would stop,” he said.

1:09 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Boston mayor says city averages 16 new Covid-19 cases a day  

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a news conference today that there are 111,827 cases of coronavirus in the state and 8,330 people have died due to Covid-19. That is an increase of 230 cases and five deaths since yesterday in Massachusetts. 

In Boston, the mayor reported 13,723 total cases of Covid-19 and said the city has been averaging about 16 new cases per day, with 50 new cases reported since Friday.

Walsh said 9,710 people in Boston have fully recovered from the virus and 715 people in the city have died from the virus in total, with no new deaths reported this week. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the Boston mayor’s office and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

 

1:02 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Most US counties "are in a position to reopen their schools," CDC head says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said "a majority of counties in this country" are in a place where they can reopen their schools.

“I think there’s actually a majority of counties in this country that are in a position to reopen their schools based on the data we have now, case counts, the percent positive, the availability of testing and the resilience of the health system they have,” Redfield said today at a webinar with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

He added that he thinks a majority of counties would meet the criteria to reopen, as long as teachers, administrators and parents had the confidence to do so.

“It has to be done safely. It has to be done with the confidences of the teachers. It has to be done with the confidence of the parents,” Redfield said. 

One of the things the CDC has tried to do, he said, is “allow people how to understand how to do their own risk assessment” – something that is very important as local school districts are going to have to make their own decisions. Remember: The CDC has released guidelines for schools as they reopen.

While Redfield said he didn’t want people to overestimate the risk of serious illness for children, he did point out there needs to be ample considerations to vulnerable individuals – for example, teachers or students who have existing co-morbidities. 

“I’m of the point of view, and I weigh that equation as an individual who has 11 grandchildren, that the greater risk is actually for the nation to keep these schools closed,” Redfield said, highlighting that many children get mental health and nutritional services along with the teaching method and social aspect.

1:04 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

American company expects to start large US Covid-19 vaccine trial on July 27

From CNN's John Bonifield

Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Blake Nissen/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Moderna, an American biotech company, expects to start their largest study yet of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate on July 27, according to details released Tuesday on a government database that tracks clinical trials conducted around the world.

Here is how the vaccine trial will work:

  • For the phase three study, researchers plan to enroll 30,000 adult participants, including people whose locations or circumstances put them at high-risk of infection.
  • One group will be injected with 100 micrograms of the vaccine on day one and again on day 29. A second group will be injected with two doses of a placebo for comparison.
  • Fourteen days after the participants get their second dose, the researchers will be looking at whether they develop Covid-19.
  • The participants will be followed for two years after receiving their second dose.

The study will be conducted at 87 locations across the United States.

Remember: Moderna’s vaccine candidate is one of 23 in clinical trials around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be the first in the United States to begin phase three trials.

 

12:49 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Pence just landed in Louisiana. Here's a look at the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Louisiana, where he was greeted Gov. John Bel Edwards, Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, and Rep. Steve Scalise, among others. Everyone wore masks.

Pence is expected to deliver remarks at the State Emergency Operations Center at 1 p.m. ET and receive a coronavirus briefing after that. While in Louisiana, he will also participate in a roundtable on higher education and hold a press briefing.

Coronavirus cases have been increasing in Louisiana: Last week, Edwards said the gains the people of Louisiana made against Covid-19 in June had been wiped out in a matter of weeks.

The state has reported almost 80,000 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began. Here's the parish-by-parish look of where those cases have been recorded:

12:47 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Virginia congressman tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

As the coronavirus surges across the US, Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Republican, has tested positive for coronavirus.

After developing symptoms, he took a test and has since been isolating, according to his office. He does not currently have “significant symptoms,” the statement said.

Griffith's office said the congressman "will continue to self-isolate as he performs his duties on behalf of Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District."

12:56 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC director says US is "not out of the woods" yet

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the nation is in a much better place than it was in the spring, because it has a much lower mortality rate, but said “we’re not out of the woods for this.”

Speaking during a webinar with the Buck Institute on Tuesday, Redfield said there is still “obvious transmission” occurring throughout the nation right now.

“Now we're seeing, obviously significant infection, but the age of infection has dropped by a decade and a half, if we look at it, and clearly the relationship between the number of cases diagnosed, and actually having significant morbidity mortality has shifted substantially,” he said.

“While we've made a lot of progress, we still have a ways to go in terms of getting this under control," the CDC director said.

12:38 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

PAHO working with member states to ensure "equal access" to a Covid-19 vaccine, director says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Joggers run by the Pan American Health Organization building in Washington, DC, on May 21.
Joggers run by the Pan American Health Organization building in Washington, DC, on May 21. Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/AP

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is working with member states to ensure "equal access" to future Covid-19 and treatments when they are available, PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said on Tuesday.

Etienne said the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina are part of clinical trials for some of the vaccine candidates, and encouraged other countries in the region to "participate in this global effort to accelerate the development of vaccines that are safe and effective for everyone."

She added that PAHO is engaged with the regulatory authorities of its member states regarding clinical trials.

"We know that developing the vaccine is only half of the challenge. After all, what good is a vaccine unless people can access it," Etienne said.

PAHO is using its revolving fund to play a "strategic role" in the access to a future Covid-19 vaccine. Etienne said the Americas "is the only region with a shared mechanism for purchasing and delivering vaccines."

The PAHO director also touted efforts such as the Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX Facility), saying that PAHO member states will act as a "bloc" and join the effort through the PAHO Revolving Fund. 

"We already have 30 countries and territories joining the facility through PAHO's Revolving Fund, and we are excited to see more expressions of interest from our member states in the coming days. The more countries that join, the stronger we will be," Etienne said.

She added PAHO is also working with GAVI and other partners "to guarantee that the most vulnerable countries in our region receive the vaccine against Covid-19 in a subsidized manner and at an affordable price."

 

12:22 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Melania Trump urges Americas to "please remember to wear face coverings"

From CNN's Kate Bennett

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted an image of herself today from early April wearing a face mask, along with a reminder for people to continue to wear them, and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“Even in the summer months, please remember to wear face coverings & practice social distancing," she tweeted.

See her tweet:

Some background: Masks have become a political flash point as some Americans argue the requirement infringes upon their civil liberties. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone to wear a "cloth face cover when they have to go out in public," noting that masks are critical in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain since the coronavirus can spread between asymptomatic people and through respiratory droplets in the air.

CNN's Kelly Mena and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.