July 18 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Brett McKeehan, Tara John, Alaa Elassar, Veronica Rocha and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:27 AM ET, Sun July 19, 2020
29 Posts
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2:00 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Florida secures more remdesivir and adds self-swab tests to some test sites

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

A nurse receives a swab to test a person through a glass pane in the Aardvark Mobile Health’s Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck on July 17, in Miami Beach, Florida.
A nurse receives a swab to test a person through a glass pane in the Aardvark Mobile Health’s Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck on July 17, in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida has obtained more remdesivir and added self-swab tests as Covid-19 cases continue to climb in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced during a briefing in St. Augustine on Saturday.  

DeSantis said that 300,000 more vials of remdesivir will be arriving at Florida hospitals, directly from distributors in 48 to 72 hours. The shipment of the drug was secured with help from Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration, according to DeSantis.

Self-swab tests — which have a 24 to 48 hour turnaround time — were also added to some test sites Friday, the governor added. Some private lab results now reflect tests taken "seven to 14 days ago," which is not ideal for contact tracing, DeSantis said.

2:00 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Indiana records more than 800 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

Indiana recorded 854 new Covid-19 cases on Friday — the second highest daily increase since the outbreak, according to the state's health department.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the state stands at 55,654. The health department also recorded 17 new fatalities from the virus, bringing the state's death toll to 2,627.

A majority of the state will remain in Stage 4.5 of the reopening plan through at least July 31, while Elkhart County will remain in Stage 4.

1:32 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Tennessee governor delays inmate's execution due to coronavirus

From CNN's Andy Rose

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has postponed Harold Wayne Nichols' execution because of the coronavirus.

Lee, a Republican, issued a temporary reprieve the death row inmate on Friday, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. His order does not state a specific reason why the execution should be delayed as a result of the pandemic.

Nichols raped and killed Karen Pulley in 1988. He had been set to die on August 4.

"I am granting Harold Wayne Nichols a temporary reprieve from execution until December 31, 2020, due to the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," Lee wrote on Twitter.

1:25 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

New Jersey reports 309 new Covid-19 cases and 16 additional deaths

From CNN's Sheena Jones

 

New Jersey reported 309 new cases of Covid-19 and 16 additional deaths from the virus, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted.

The state reported a total of 176,814 cases of Covid-19. At least 13,725 people have died from the virus statewide.

Note: The numbers listed were released by the state of New Jersey and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

1:01 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

More than 2,000 health care workers in Ghana have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began

From Zaina Adamu

More than 2,000 health care workers in Ghana have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak in March, according to the Ghana Health Service.

Of those infected, six have died — five were engaged in active clinical practice, a health adviser for the office of the president said.

"I want to be clear," Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare said to CNN on Thursday. "The number of those infected is a cumulative figure and not a number that was a result over a short period of time."

Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, director-general of the Ghana Health Service, could not specify exactly how 2,000-plus health care workers became infected but initially, he said, the country faced personal protective equipment shortages that made it difficult for workers to adequately protect themselves.

Since then, he said, the number of those infected has reduced significantly.

"Over 90% of the infected has recovered and we now have a sufficient supply of PPE," Kuma-Aboagye said to CNN on Thursday.

Keep reading.

12:09 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020

FDA issues first emergency use authorization for Covid-19 pool testing

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

A woman is tested for Covid-19 at a walk-up testing site in Miami Beach, Florida, on July 17.
A woman is tested for Covid-19 at a walk-up testing site in Miami Beach, Florida, on July 17. Lynne Sladky/AP

The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced it has issued an emergency use authorization that allows Quest Diagnostics to pool samples from up to four individuals to test for Covid-19. 

This is the first Covid-19 diagnostic test in the United States to be authorized for use with pooled samples, the agency said in a statement. 

"This EUA for sample pooling is an important step forward in getting more Covid-19 tests to more Americans more quickly while preserving testing supplies," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in the statement. "Sample pooling becomes especially important as infection rates decline and we begin testing larger portions of the population."

Sample pooling allows multiple people to be tested at once. The samples are collected and then tested in a pool or "batch" using just one test. If the pool tests positive, this means one of or more of the people tested in that pool may be infected with the virus. Each of the samples would then have to be tested again individually.

The FDA last month published guidance for developers that want to make and use tests for pooled samples.

In late June, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the White House coronavirus task force was "seriously considering" pool testing as a new strategy to improve testing as the nation experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases.

In its statement, the FDA said that while there is a "concern that combining samples may make it more difficult to detect positives, since pooling in the laboratory dilutes any viral material present in the samples," Quest’s validation data correctly identified all of the pooled samples that contained a positive sample. 

11:23 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Florida reports more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Dan Shepherd, Rosa Flores and Melissa Alonso

Florida’s health officials reported 10,328 new cases of Covid-19 and 90 new deaths on Saturday, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health (DOH). 

This brings the state’s total cases to 337,569, DOH data shows. The statewide death toll is now 4,895.  

Florida currently has 9,162 Covid-19-related hospitalizations, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. 

Note: These numbers were released by Florida's public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

11:07 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

At least 39 states have implemented some type of face mask requirement

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

People walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans on July 14.
People walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans on July 14. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Local and state leaders have responded to the guidance to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the virus with both support and opposition.

Science shows that face masks protect the wearer and those around them from coronavirus, and everyone should wear one when around others in public, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

What we know: At least 39 states as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico have implemented some type of face mask requirement.

But in Georgia —which is among the 18 states in the coronavirus "red zone" that should roll back reopening measures, according to an unpublished document prepared for the White House — the governor has clashed with mayors on such restrictions.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday over her efforts to require face masks in public places. Several other mayors say they are prohibited from enacting the mask requirements supported by their residents because of on order from Kemp. 

And in Utah, a public meeting about a mask policy was abruptly canceled when people without face coverings packed the room. The crowd booed when it was called off.

"This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing," Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge said at the meeting room in Provo. "We're supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks. This gathering violates current health recommendations."

10:14 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Here's the latest coronavirus update from New York state

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A person commutes on the subway in Brooklyn on June 22.
A person commutes on the subway in Brooklyn on June 22. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

There were 11 coronavirus-related fatalities reported across New York State Friday — including two in the New York City area — bringing the state death toll to 25,035, the governor’s office said in a statement.

New York state added 754 Covid-19 cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The state has reported a total of 406,305 confirmed cases.

Patient hospitalizations are down to 743, a new low since March 18.

New York City reported a 1.3% positivity rate in testing for Friday.

“We remain alarmed by spikes in much of the country and the risk of a lack of compliance at home as the state pursues a phased, data-driven reopening," Cuomo said Saturday.

“New Yorkers' vigilance, courage and adoption of basic behaviors—mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing—has driven our ability to control the virus, and we have to continue on that path to success.” 

Note: These numbers were released by New York State’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.