The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

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5:01 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Lockdowns should be coordinated across countries and states to slow the spread of Covid-19

From CNN's Jen Christensen

To eliminate the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments should synchronize lockdowns, a new model shows.

The model, published Friday in the journal Science, found that when intermittent lockdowns were synchronized across Europe, half as many lockdowns were needed to end community transmission all across the continent.

Nick Ruktanonchai, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, ran 1,200 simulations. To create the models, Ruktanonchai and his team used data from mobile phones provided by Vodaphone and Google that can show contact rates between people, in combination with different intervention scenarios.

The details: When the team ran a scenario that synchronized four cycles of three-week long lockdowns in all the countries in Europe, Covid-19 spread was eliminated 90% of the times.

When the lockdowns weren’t synchronized, community spread of the disease was eliminated only 5% of the time. When lockdowns are lifted early or unevenly, people interact and the disease spreads. 

The authors argue this information is generalizable to other parts of the world, including the United States. They believe national governments should coordinate pandemic preparedness efforts moving forward.

 

5:05 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Mississippi governor says 11 counties may be added to mask mandate next week

From CNN’s Andy Rose

 Gov. Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves Pool

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said that unless coronavirus conditions change dramatically over the weekend, the state may add 11 counties to its mask requirement. 

Thirteen counties are already under the more restrictive order.

“Covid-19 is not going away,” Reeves said Friday afternoon. “The virus is real. It is deadly.”

Reeves noted that state figures show an additional thousand Covid-19 cases a day in Mississippi for each of the past two days.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said some hospitals are running out of intensive care space.

“Every resource is exhaustible,” Dobbs said, encouraging everyone to wear a mask in public. “I'm baffled that the simplest of solutions is the one that we refuse to broadly adopt.”

Despite the surge in the state, the governor says he is not yet inclined to require all Mississippi public schools to go to remote learning plans.

“We can't force every parent to homeschool their kids indefinitely,” said Reeves.

To note: The figures above were released by the Mississippi 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.

4:47 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Record number of Covid-19 cases reported to World Health Organization over the past 24 hours

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

There were 237,743 new Covid-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours, according to a new situation report published Friday.

The total number of cases that have been reported to the WHO from around the globe is now 13,616,593.

The rise in newly reported cases sets another record for cases reported to the WHO within a 24-hour period. The previous record was set on Sunday with 230,370 new cases of Covid-19.

Friday's report also noted there were 5,682 additional Covid-19 deaths reported to the WHO in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths worldwide to 585,727.

To note: While these numbers are OK to report as an independent news item, CNN relies exclusively on Johns Hopkins University data for its coronavirus case and death counts.

4:42 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Curfew issued for Florida's Broward County due to Covid-19

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

People gather on the street as they watch fireworks burst during Independence Day celebrations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 4, 2020. Fort Lauderdale is the county seat of Broward County.
People gather on the street as they watch fireworks burst during Independence Day celebrations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 4, 2020. Fort Lauderdale is the county seat of Broward County. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

In an order issued today, Broward County, Florida, is enacting a curfew for the entire county, including incorporate and unincorporated areas, to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The curfew is effective immediately from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. ET nightly through Aug. 1, the order said.

According to the order, during curfew, no persons shall make use of any street or sidewalk in Broward County.

The order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.

4:58 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Major League Baseball player tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jacob Lev

Yasiel Puig, #66 of the Cleveland Indians looks out from the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Progressive Field on September 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. 
Yasiel Puig, #66 of the Cleveland Indians looks out from the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Progressive Field on September 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.  David Maxwell/Getty Images

Major League Baseball free agent Yasiel Puig says he has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement posted on social media Friday, the Cuban-born outfielder said he was currently asymptomatic and will remain in quarantine.

"I would have never believed looking in the mirror that I had Covid-19," Puig tweeted. "I urge everyone to take this pandemic seriously, this can happen to anyone, even the healthiest athlete. Wear a mask, social distance, and follow your local protocols. Please take care of yourselves. I will see you all very soon when I return to play ball."

Some context:  On Friday, the MLB and Major League Baseball Players Association released the latest testing results as of July 16, in which six out of 10,548 samples came back positive for Covid-19.

Five of the positive tests were players, and one was a staff member. The MLB season is scheduled to resume on July 23. 

Watch:

4:13 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Arkansas governor says the state "can't get cocky" in its fight against Covid-19

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Gov. Asa Hutchinson during a daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 27, 2020.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson during a daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 27, 2020. Staton Breidenthal/Arkansas Democrat Gazette/AP

Arkansas has reported 31,762 positive cases of coronavirus and 353 deaths, Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas cabinet secretary for the Department of Health, said during a news conference on Friday.

That total includes an increase of 648 Covid-19 cases since Thursday. There have been 12 deaths reported from June 12 to June 24, Smith said.

Arkansas has conducted 5,861 Covid-19 tests, Smith added.

“You know in this business of fighting Covid, you can't get cocky,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “When you see it going well one day, the next day, it’s not going so well.”

Former Arkansas governor and US Senator David Pryor, who tested positive for Covid-19, was released from the hospital and is in good health, Hutchinson said.

Note: These figures were released by Arkansas 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.

4:28 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Class action lawsuit filed against veterans nursing home for Covid-19 deaths in Massachusetts

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

An American flag flies at half-mast outside the Holyoke Soldiers' Home on April 29, 2020 in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
An American flag flies at half-mast outside the Holyoke Soldiers' Home on April 29, 2020 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

A class action federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of families who lost loved ones to Covid-19.

The lawsuit is against five staff members primarily charged with the care of these people at a veterans' home in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit filed Friday comes after a recent investigation revealing substantial missteps in the handling of the virus at the state-run Holyoke Soldiers' Home.  

At least 76 Soldiers’ Home veterans who were Covid-19 positive died in the 11-week period between March 25 and June 12, the lawsuit said.   

Massachusett’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services released a statement to CNN Friday.

“The events that took place at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home are tragic and Attorney Mark Pearlstein was hired to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of what occurred. The Baker-Polito Administration has announced a series of reforms to strengthen the oversight and operations of the Home and does not comment on pending litigation," the human services spokesperson said.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who commissioned the report, previously called the findings gut-wrenching and hard to read. 

“The events that took place in march are horrific and tragic,” Baker said.  

The lawsuit demands $176,000,000 in damages to benefit each of the families who lost someone to Covid-19 in the home.  

There are no current cases of Covid-19 among staff and residents at the facility, according to state data.  

4:03 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

Most California schools will not reopen for in-person education this fall, governor says

From CNN's Sarah Moon

School buses sit parked in a lot at First Student Charter Bus Rental on July 14, 2020 in San Francisco, California. 
School buses sit parked in a lot at First Student Charter Bus Rental on July 14, 2020 in San Francisco, California.  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The majority of schools in California will not be reopening for in-person education this fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a news conference today.

All private and public schools in 33 of California's 58 counties will be required to close under Newsom’s new guidance. Those 33 counties represent more than 80% of the state’s population. 

Newsom on Monday asked these counties — which are on the state's watch list — to close indoor activities, such as gyms, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, hair salons and barbershops, and indoor malls. 

Schools in these counties will need to meet strict criteria in order to reopen, including physical distancing measures and the use of face coverings. Newsom also recommended regular testing and “rigorous distance learning” which includes daily live interaction with teachers and other students.

Under the new guidance, staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms. Students from Kindergarten through 2nd grade are not required, but encouraged to wear them. 

Schools can only reopen for in-person education if the county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. 

Earlier this week, some of the largest school districts in the state announced they would continue with full distance learning in the fall, instead of returning students to campuses. The decisions by Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento school districts, meant more than 1 million students would not be returning to classrooms in August. 

 These are the 33 counties on the watch list:

  • Alameda
  • Colusa
  • Contra Costa
  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Imperial
  • Kings
  • Los Angeles
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Orange
  • Placer
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Joaquin
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara
  • Solano
  • Sonoma
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter
  • Tulare
  • Yolo
  • Yuba
  • Ventura 

Watch here:

4:22 p.m. ET, July 17, 2020

San Francisco joins California's list of counties to watch after Covid-19 hospitalizations rise

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

San Francisco has joined more than 30 other counties on California’s “watch list” due to a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations, Mayor London Breed said today.

“On April 11, we had 94 people in the hospital. By mid-June we were down to as low as 26 people. We’re now back up to 80 people in the hospital,” Breed said.

When a county is added to the state’s “watch list,” officials are required to close all indoor activities. Because of San Francisco’s early stage of reopening, the main difference will be closing all malls and non-essential offices.

Breed said the county will continue to pause its reopening indefinitely.

The mayor also announced a new health order starting July 20, that requires private health care providers to increase testing by providing same-day testing for patients with coronavirus symptoms and those who have had close contact with people confirmed to have Covid-19.

“Additionally, private hospitals must provide testing to asymptomatic workers in jobs with risk of exposure,” Breed said. “The delays we’re seeing in testing cannot continue.”

San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Grant Colfax warned that the average age of people hospitalized with Covid-19 symptoms since July 1 is 41 years old.

As of today, San Francisco has reported a total of at least 4,985 confirmed cases and at least 52 deaths.