July 15 coronavirus news

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10:08 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Some Arizona schools to use "power breezers" to spray disinfectant in classrooms

As schools prepare to reopen this fall in Arizona, school officials are finding creative ways and alternatives to safely welcome students back in the classroom.

CNN correspondent Evan McMorris-Santoro visited Coatimundi Middle School in Rio Rico, Arizona, where "power breezer" machines are being set up in classrooms to spray disinfectant when students are not in class. These giant machines have been used in NFL sidelines to cool down football players.

The school also plans to use a hybrid schedule and reduce the number of students in each class. In a class with 28 desks, for example, the class will be reduced to 14 desks that are spaced apart.

David Verdugo, superintendent of Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District, said he hopes classrooms will be safe, but there is "no 100% answer." He said the goal is to provide as much opportunity for students, families and staff to stay safe.

CNN takes you inside the classroom:

10:07 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Dow surges on promising vaccine trial results

From CNN's David Goldman

US stocks soared once again at Wednesday’s opening bell.

Here is where things stood at opening:

  • The Dow opened up 350 points after a Moderna coronavirus vaccine showed promising results. Moderna shares surged 14%.
  • The S&P 500 was up 1%.
  • The Nasdaq rose 0.7%.

The vaccine hopes sent travel companies like Delta Air Lines and Carnival sharply higher.

Goldman Sachs is rallying 4% on near-record revenue driven by robust trading and investment banking results.

US stocks finished sharply higher Tuesday, with the Dow spiking 557 points, or 2.1%.

9:36 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Covid-19 cases are surging along the Georgia coast

From CNN’s Jason Morris

Georgia’s Glynn County, a popular coastal beach destination, has seen a significant recent increase of positive Covid-19 cases since the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays.  

“We have clearly seen a higher rate of positivity among those being tested,” Glynn Commissioner J. Peter Murphy told CNN.  

On Tuesday, Glynn County reported 1,622 confirmed new cases of Covid-19, 10 new deaths, and 84 hospitalizations, according to Georgia’s Department of Public Health.   

Commissioner Murphy told CNN that the “volumes” of visitors and cars at St. Simons beaches and piers beyond the local residents in the county has been “quite striking.”    

“The volume of people exploded in the area, and has a direct correlation in uptick and spike in number of individuals testing positive for coronavirus,” Murphy told CNN. 

 

10:11 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

54 Florida hospital ICUs have reached capacity as Miami-Dade county reports Covid-19 ventilator use is up 92%

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Dan Shepherd

A health care worker helps people sign up for Covid-19 testing in Miami Beach, Florida, on July 13.
A health care worker helps people sign up for Covid-19 testing in Miami Beach, Florida, on July 13. Lynne Sladky/AP

There are currently 54 hospitals that have reached ICU capacity in Florida and show zero ICU beds available, according to data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Ten of those hospitals are in Miami-Dade County, the epicenter of the virus in the state.

Another Florida 40 hospitals show ICU’s at 10% available capacity or less, according to the AHCA data.

Miami-Dade County officials reported a staggering 31% Covid-19 positivity rate on Tuesday, according to data released by the county's government.

In the past 13 days, the county has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalized (56%), in the number of ICU beds being used (65%) and in the use of ventilators (92%), according to the latest county data.

This hospitalization data comes as the state continues to report new records. The Florida Department of Health reported at least 9,194 new cases and an additional 132 deaths on Tuesday, the most deaths in one day in the state.

Watch Jackson Health System President & CEO's interview with CNN:

9:21 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

A new projection for deaths and some promising vaccine news: Here are the latest US coronavirus updates

A health care worker bags a nasal swab at a Covid-19 testing site in Tucson, Arizona, on July 13.
A health care worker bags a nasal swab at a Covid-19 testing site in Tucson, Arizona, on July 13. Cheney Orr/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The United States recorded more than 67,000 new cases yesterday — a new record for the most new cases reported in a single day.

If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know to start your day:

  • Almost a quarter million people could die: An influential model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington is now projecting that 224,000 people will die from the virus by November 1, which is an increase of almost 16,000 from the week before.That jump is due to skyrocketing cases around the country, the chair of the IHME said.
  • Most states rethinking reopening: As new cases continue to emerge, at least 27 states have paused or rolled back plans to reopen their economies. Among them is Nevada, where 37 bars have filed a lawsuit to fight Gov. Steve Sisolak's order to revert back to Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan.
  • Where back-to-school stands: Some of America's largest school districts say they won't resume in-person classes this fall, despite President Trump's calls to reopen. The President has threatened the funding of schools that do not return to campus in the fall.
  • The good news: One Covid-19 vaccine candidate has been found to induce immune responses in all of the volunteers who received it in a Phase 1 study. But remember: These are early results, and more research is needed.
9:05 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Hospitals must now send Covid-19 data to the Trump administration instead of CDC

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Devan Cole

Hospital data on coronavirus patients will now be rerouted to the Trump administration instead of first being sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

The move could make data less transparent to the public at a time when the administration is downplaying the spread of the pandemic, and threatens to undermine public confidence that medical data is being presented free of political interference.

Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the department, confirmed the change first reported by The New York Times earlier in the day, saying in a statement that the "new faster and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response. They will simply no longer control it."

"The CDC's old hospital data gathering operation once worked well monitoring hospital information across the country, but it's an inadequate system today," Caputo said in the statement.

The Times said hospitals are to begin reporting the data to HHS today, noting also that the "database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions."

Read the full story here.

9:10 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

The US saw a record number of new Covid-19 cases yesterday. These are the country's virus hotspots. 

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

A sign about social distancing is seen on July 14 in Long Beach, California.
A sign about social distancing is seen on July 14 in Long Beach, California. Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

The United States saw a record number of new cases Tuesday with 67,417, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Tuesday, more than 3.4 million people in the US have been infected, and 38 states are reporting an increase in the number of new cases from the week before.

With Covid-19 cases soaring in the US South and Southwest, the nation's public health experts fear the end is not yet in sight and wonder what normal will look like as the pandemic stretches on through the rest of the year.

While New York and New Jersey were the early virus hotspots, California, Florida, Arizona and Texas now have become the states to watch, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, said Tuesday.

The states continue to report new records: 

  • California: Hospitalizations and ICU admissions for Covid-19 patients continue to rise in the state, setting a new record with a total of 6,745 hospitalizations and 1,886 ICU admissions, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.
  • Texas: The state reported at least 10,745 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, a record high daily number. 
  • Florida: The Florida Department of Health reported at least 9,194 new cases and an additional 132 deaths Tuesday, the most deaths in one day in the state. Meanwhile, at least 54 hospitals have reached their ICU capacity.
  • Arizona: The state has led the nation — for over a month — with the highest 7-day average of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, at least 27 states have paused or rolled back plans to reopen their economies. Among them is Nevada, where 37 bars have filed a lawsuit to fight Gov. Steve Sisolak's order to revert back to Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan.

But Fauci cautioned that relaxed restrictions in California, Florida, Arizona and Texas are partly to blame for rising cases in those states, particularly among young people.

Addressing the climb in the number of cases overall and among young people, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Tuesday the nation is in a much better place than it was in the spring, because the mortality rate is lower, but said "we're not out of the woods for this."

8:38 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

California releases new Covid-19 testing guidance that prioritizes hospitalized people with symptoms

From CNN's Stella Chan

Citing the lag in processing for the high volume of tests, the state of California released new guidance on who can be tested for Covid-19.

Here are the guidelines for each tier of testing:

  • First priority for testing will go to those hospitalized with symptoms, close contacts of confirmed cases or are part of a contact tracing investigation. 
  • Next are those who show symptoms should be tested along with asymptomatic people who live or work in in congregate settings, like nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons. This priority level also includes healthcare workers and patients in hospitals. 
  • The third tier includes those who work in settings who have frequent contact with others and are not able to maintain six-foot distance such as retail or manufacturing, food services, agriculture, public transit and educators.
  • The fourth and final tier includes the asymptomatic but at risk for infection. This tier would be implemented when the state’s turnaround time is less than 48 hours.
“Our testing capacity has increased exponentially in recent months. At the same time, new national supply chain challenges and large volumes of specimens sent to commercial laboratories have resulted in growing delays in processing times," Dr. Mark Ghaly, state Health and Human Services Secretary, said. "Consequently, it is critical we continue to be deliberate and creative about testing. We must do this so that testing is readily available and affordable to those who need it, especially those communities experiencing the worst impacts of Covid-19 and those who are at the highest risk." 

Latest hospitalization numbers: Yesterday, the state hit a new record with a total of 6,745 hospitalizations and 1,886 ICU admissions, according to the CDPH. This is a 4% increase in hospitalizations and a 2.9% increase in ICU admissions from Monday.

8:29 a.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Moroccan seasonal workers trapped in Spain will soon return home, Spanish official says

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro in Madrid

The 7,200 Moroccan seasonal workers, stranded in Spain due to Morocco's closed borders, "will return to their country in the next few days" after being tested for Covid-19, a spokesperson for the Spanish Foreign Ministry told CNN.

The seasonal farm workers, most of them women, arrived in Spain to pick fruit in March, but found themselves trapped in Spain's southern Huelva province when the season ended in May.

The Spanish government's decision to return the workers was made after days of negotiations between the Moroccan government, the Spanish Migrations Department and the Regional government of Andalusia — which includes Huelva province.

"The government of Andalusia will facilitate the performance of PCR [polymerase chain reaction] for these workers, as demanded by the Moroccan government", the spokesman said.

The Andalusia government aims to do a 1,000 tests a day, a spokeswoman for Interfresa, one of the biggest strawberry pickers associations in Spain, told CNN.

"The first 1,200 workers will leave in Saturday from Hueva's port on a Moroccan ferry," Ana López, spokeswoman for the government's delegation in Andalusia confirmed to CNN.

The news will come as a relief for the works, who have been surviving on almost no money and living in precarious conditions, according to a statement released earlier last week by a group of Spanish and Moroccan non-governmental human rights organizations, including local Andalusian group Mujeres 24h.

Read more: