July 19 coronavirus news

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1:07 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

CDC adds cancer patients to list of those at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Cancer has been added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of underlying medical conditions that increase risk of severe illness from Covid-19. 

“Revisions were made on July 17, 2020 to reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe Covid-19 among individuals with cancer,” the CDC website says. 

The increased risk applies to people of all ages. 

The other conditions included on the list include chronic kidney disease, obesity, serious heart conditions and Type 2 diabetes. 

They also list conditions that could lead to an increased risk of severe illness. These include asthma, cystic fibrosis and high blood pressure.

The CDC says it will continue to update information as more becomes known. 

1:07 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Vermont has reported no Covid-19 deaths in more than 30 days

From CNN’s Lauren Del Valle 

Vermont has reported no new coronavirus-related deaths since June 19, maintaining 56 deaths in the state for more than 30 consecutive days, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

Vermont has in total reported 1350 cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the outbreak in March. 

CNN has reached out to the Vermont Department of Health for comment. 

12:23 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Senate Minority Leader: cutting CDC funding would be like “cutting your nose to spite your face”

From CNN’s Beth English

CNN
CNN

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said cutting funding to the CDC would be like “cutting your nose to spite your face.”

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that the CDC is fully funded in the stimulus package,” the New York Senator said Sunday, responding to a question from CNN. 

“The administration is talking about --Republican McConnell is talking about cutting it – that would be cutting your nose to spite your face. We need the CDC to help us fight Covid. To not have the facts, to not have the science makes no sense at all.”

He earlier stressed the importance of keeping the data on Covid-19 public.

“We must keep the information about the number of cases and the number of deaths from Covid public through the CDC,” Schumer said.

“For the President, the administration to want to sweep the facts under the rug so they can hide them, it's not gonna work. Whenever the President has tried to avoid the problem, like this will go away, this wont affect many people, it’s gotten worse,” he said.

12:58 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Florida reports more than 12,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Florida’s health officials reported 12,478 new cases of Covid-19 and 87 new deaths on Sunday, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.    

This brings the state’s total cases to 350,047, DOH data shows. The statewide death toll is now 4,982, the data shows.   

Sunday marks the fourth time since the start of the pandemic that Florida has reported more than 12,000 cases in a single day. All four days have been in July, according to CNN's tally.  

One thing to 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. 

12:07 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

US is on a good path when it comes to vaccines, NIH director says  

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

from NBC
from NBC

The ability to distribute vaccines and the fear that the rush to make a vaccine may make it unsafe are significant concerns, according to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. But, he said it’s important to look at the positive side. 

“This has been an amazing trajectory that we’ve been on,” Collins said, talking on NBC’s Meet the Press. 

Within a day or two of getting the virus genome sequence, he said that a vaccine was already starting to be designed. After 62 days, this was being injected into the first phase one trial participants. 

“That data which was just published looks extremely good,” Collins said. “So we’re on a good path here.” 

Collins also encouraged people to sign up for vaccine clinical trials, especially is places where the virus is spreading and people who are at higher risk. 

Speaking about reports that Russian cyber actors are targeting organizations involved in coronavirus vaccine development, Collins said it wasn’t entirely clear to him what it was all about, but that “most of what we do in science, we publish it, we put it out there, people don’t have to go hacking to find it. We’re all about transparency.” 

He also said he wasn’t sure that there was serious risk involved, “mischief, yes, but serious risk, I’m not so sure.” 

12:01 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Pennsylvania reports 786 additional cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Pennsylvania reports 786 additional cases of Covid-19 and 8 deaths from the virus, according to a release from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The state has a total of 101,027 cases of Covid-19 and 7,015 total deaths from the virus. 

“The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. An alert was sent to healthcare providers about the changing Covid-19 case demographics, as there are more cases in younger age groups than in those 50-64 and 65+," the release says.  

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

12:01 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Protective measures should be something we all do, NIH director says 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

from NBC
from NBC

“We Americans are individuals, and if given the appropriate information, and if it’s not sort of confused by a lot of other conspiracy theories, we’re capable of figuring out what to do,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. 

“If we want to see this current surge, and it’s a real surge, turn around,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, “all Americans need to recognize it's up to us.” 

Collins encouraged wearing a mask when outside the house, social distancing, not convening in large groups, especially indoors, and hand washing. 

“We can turn this around and we don’t have to wait for some sort of serious high level edict to say so,” Collins said. “This just makes common sense at this point, it just ought to be something we all do.” 

Collins said that a good job was done in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and that steps that were put in place meant that those areas came down to close to zero. 

“Meanwhile the rest of this country, perhaps imagining this was just a New York problem, kind of went about their business, didn’t really pay that much attention to CDC’s recommendations about the phases necessary to open up safely and jumped over some of those hoops,” said Collins. 

People began congregating, not wearing masks and “feeling like it’s over and maybe summer it’ll all go away.” 

Collins said that we now have not only 70,000 cases almost every day, but a quite concerning number of hospitalizations, in his perspective, which are almost as high as they were in April. 

“We’ve got to really double down here,” said Collins. “We Americans are pretty good at rising to a crisis, we got one now, let’s see what we can do together.” 

12:00 p.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Democratic congresswoman on school reopening: Congress needs to "lead in absence of the Trump administration"

From CNN's Chandelis Duster, CNN

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Sunday said the nation should not be in a rush to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and called for Congress to "lead in the absence of this Trump administration."

"We cannot move too quickly on this. The consequences are too great to consider. This is about the public health," the Democrat told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of The Union." "What needs to happen is Congress needs to continue to act as the conscience of this nation and to lead in the absence of this Trump administration to provide reoccurring payments and to mitigate the financial hardships and the burdens that families are feeling. To continue to address food insecurity. But we should not rush to reopen schools."

Pressley continued that teachers "have already proven themselves to be courageous and dedicated educators."

"We are now asking them to be caseworkers and in some instances martyrs. And that is unconscionable. Again, we need to pass the HEROES Act which is sitting on the desk of Mitch McConnell which makes massive federal investments to support the reopening of our schools when it is safe and this virus is under control."

More on this: President Donald Trump and members of his administration have pushed for schools to reopen in coming weeks even as the number of coronavirus cases has surged. Some schools districts have announced they would continue remote learning in the fall and some have said they would implement a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction.

Read more here.

11:50 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Atlanta mayor accuses Georgia governor of trying to silence her with mask lawsuit

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright

from CBS
from CBS

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms once again slammed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for the lawsuit against her and members of her city counsel, implying that it could be because she is a woman or her city’s demographics while on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Calling it “bizarre,” she pointed out language from the suit filed Thursday, that asks the judge to stop Bottoms from telling the press in releases and interviews that she has the authority to impose measures outside of ones issued by Kemp himself. Bottoms has accused him of trying to silence her.

“There were other cities in our state who instituted mask mandates and he did not push back then,” she said. “I don't know if perhaps they were led by men or if it's perhaps because of the demographic in the city of Atlanta. I don't know what the answers are. But what I do know is that the science is on our side.” 

Bottoms cited the unreleased report from the White House that showed her state was declared a red state for the surging Covid-19 cases. And she pushed back that protests for equality led to spikes in Covid-19 cases. Bottoms says her police do have the ability to enforce her mandates requiring masks and pushing the city back to phase one, as if they were issuing a citation for seatbelts. And she slammed the governor who talks about local control for abusing her own.

“At the end of the day, the party that speaks of local control has taken away local control and attempting to silence our voices in this state,” she said.

Some more context: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday he is suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over the city's mask mandate, claiming the measure violates his emergency orders.

"This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times," Kemp tweeted.

The mayor also tweeted about Kemp's lawsuit today: