July 14 coronavirus news

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3:06 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

GOP senator defends Fauci: "Any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

 Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
 Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Trump, defended Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday after the White House made a concerted effort to discredit the infectious disease expert this past weekend.

“We don't have a Dr. Fauci problem,” Graham said at a news conference in Columbia, South Carolina. “We need to be focusing on doing things that get us to where we need to go. So, I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly."

“Getting in a contest with Dr. Fauci about whether he was right or wrong, doesn't move the ball forward,” Graham added. 

The South Carolina lawmaker went on to say that it’s more important to focus on where the US is as a nation right now.

"The infection rate is going up. We shut the whole country down. It’s time to open up smartly… We have to deal with reality that we’re not as prepared as we need to be, but moving in the right direction," he said.

Graham said the US needs “better testing” and urged the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force “to do whatever they can to ramp up the components of testing” because it will be critical, particularly, if schools reopen in the fall.

He also raised the question of whether the Defense Production Act should be used differently than it’s being used today in order to achieve this testing goal. Because Graham said, “The shortage in testing, is the shortage in the reagents you need to perform a reliable test.”

“We don’t have enough testing in real time for the population as a whole,” he said, pointing to possibly including an incentive for pool testing in the next Covid-19 relief bill.

On masks, Graham said, “Whether or not you need to mandate masking, does that turn the corner? I don't know, but I do know this: if people would take this more seriously it would help us much as in any single thing I can do.”

Watch here:

1:40 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

German and Spanish leaders insist that Europe needs an agreement on Covid-19 recovery plan

From CNN’s Laura Pérez Maestro in Madrid

From left, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliver a statement ahead of a meeting in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday.
From left, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliver a statement ahead of a meeting in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday. Markus Schreiber/Pool/AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed at a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday that an agreement in Europe is needed “as soon as possible.” 

Merkel acknowledged that “the differences in opinions persist” but said that “we have to find a solution” and urged that “time is running out."

“It is important to invest in the future, in the digital transformation, in climate change,” she added.

Sanchez insisted that “July is the month of the agreement."

“I know we have a difficult negotiation ahead of us, but union has never being achieved through vetoes, but through dialogue, and that is what we are called to do on the 17th and 18th of July, if we delay the agreement the crisis will worsen,” he said.

1:23 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Oklahoma reports nearly 1,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Kay Jones 

There are 993 new Covid-19 cases today in Oklahoma, bringing the total to 21,738, according to the state's Department of Health.

This is a record high of reported cases, according to data release by the health department. 

Oklahoma also reported an additional four deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to 428. 

Tulsa County has 5,448 total cases, up 181 from Monday, while Oklahoma County, which includes Oklahoma City, is reporting an additional 273 cases for a total of 5,259.

Note: These numbers were released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

1:19 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC aiming to deploy a point of care test to every nursing home in the US, director says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the CDC is working to “deploy point of care tests to every nursing home in this country.” 

He said this new technology is something the CDC is “in the process of deploying.”

Hopefully the deployments will begin later this week or early next week “so they can start doing their own testing,” Redfield said during a webinar with the Buck Institute on Tuesday.

He said the long-term goal is to allow for the return of visitors to nursing homes.

“I’ve seen the decline in individuals when they’ve been deprived from interactions,” he said.

Maintaining human interaction is particularly important for people in long-term health care facilities.

“When you do remove that, there is a clinical consequence,” he added.

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: