July 19 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:50 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020
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6:35 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

England's Covid data under "urgent review"

English health officials are carrying out an urgent review of coronavirus statistics after it was revealed they may have included those who tested positive long before their death.

The UK government's daily coronavirus death toll update was “paused” by the Department of Health, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for an “urgent review” into how Covid-19 deaths in England are counted.

“Currently the daily deaths measure counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death,” an update on the Department’s website said on Friday.

“There have been claims that the lack of cut-off may distort the current daily deaths number,” the update also said. 

The UK's Mail on Sunday has reported that the way fatalities are recorded may have exaggerated England's death toll by more than 4,000.

Ian Diamond, the UK's National Statistician at the Office for National Statistics told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "It's really, really important to recognize that different statistics are used for different things."

Diamond said that while daily death data could be used to spot trends over the course of a few days, ONS data should be used for "accurate" data.

Speaking on the the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the BBC's Health Editor Hugh Pym said it had emerged that "Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have been recording deaths in one way -- everybody who tested positive and died within 28 days of the test was said to be part of the daily reported deaths figures from Covid. But England through Public Health England was saying anyone who tested positive, maybe going back a couple of months, and subsequently died -- even if it was from another cause -- was included in these daily reported figures."

UK's infection rate "basically flat": The UK is "basically flat" when it comes to the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus, Diamond said Sunday.

When asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge whether the government's gradual easing of lockdown restrictions had led to an uptick of people testing positive, Diamond said: "No we haven't -- we're basically flat over the last few weeks."

5:46 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Merkel warns EU leaders may fail to reach agreement on economic recovery fund

From James Frater in Brussels, Maija Ehlinger in Atlanta and Eva Tapiero in Paris 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after a meeting of an EU summit on a coronavirus recovery package at the European Council building in Brussels on July 18.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after a meeting of an EU summit on a coronavirus recovery package at the European Council building in Brussels on July 18. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that EU leaders may fail to reach a final agreement on a joint economic recovery fund, adding in a statement on Sunday that there are “many positions” on the issue.

“I still cannot say whether there will be a solution,” Merkel said ahead of the third day of talks in Brussels. 
"There is a lot of goodwill, but there are also many positions," she continued.

European Union leaders arrived in Brussels on Friday to discuss proposals for a multi-billion euro recovery package to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country stands by Merkel and is prepared to compromise to reach a final agreement. 

"We are united with Chancellor Merkel for an unprecedented recovery plan, in terms of the crisis we are going through,” Macron tweeted. 

"We are ready to compromise without giving up ambition. Everyone must take responsibility. Let’s keep moving forward together,” he added.

5:12 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

At least 3,711,413 coronavirus cases in US, at least 140,119 deaths

There have been at least 3,711,413 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States. At least 140,119 people have died in the U.S. from coronavirus. 

On Saturday, Johns Hopkins University reported 63,698 new cases and 853 new deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Keep track of Covid-19 cases across the US with CNN's interactive map:

4:15 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

UK's Boris Johnson reportedly reluctant to return to "nuclear deterrent" of nationwide lockdown

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus in Downing Street, London, Friday, July 17.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus in Downing Street, London, Friday, July 17. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed his reluctance to implement a second national coronavirus lockdown, likening the measure in a newspaper interview to a “nuclear deterrent.”

“I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it,” Johnson told the Sunday Telegraph, adding that he does not believe the UK will find itself in need of a second national lockdown. 

“It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted,” Johnson said. 

"We’re genuinely able now to look at what’s happening in much closer to real time, to isolate outbreaks and to address them on the spot,” he added. 

The PM’s comments come just days after the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, warned that a second wave of the virus could emerge, encouraging the continued enforcement of social distancing measures. 

“All we've done is suppressed the first wave and when you take the brakes off you would expect it to come back,” Vallance told the House of Lords Select Committee on Thursday.

"My view on this – and I think this is a view shared by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) – is that we're still at a time when distancing measures are important,” he added. 

3:03 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Japan reports more than 600 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Junko Ogura

A doctor wearing personal protective equipment, conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in the Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan, on July 18.
A doctor wearing personal protective equipment, conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in the Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan, on July 18. Yomiuri Shimbun/AP

Japan reported 664 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, but no deaths, according to the country's health ministry.

At least 25,354 people have been infected in Japan, where the death toll is 998.

In the capital, 290 cases were confirmed on Saturday, the third consecutive day that the city surpassed 200 new cases. On Friday, Tokyo reported 293 infections, which was its highest single-day rise.

Tokyo has reported 9,223 cases during the pandemic.

2:54 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Trump doesn't think US needs a national mask mandate

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn at the White House, on Thursday, July 16,  in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn at the White House, on Thursday, July 16, in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has said he will not consider a national mandate on mask wearing in an interview with Fox set to air Sunday. 

When asked whether he would consider instituting a mandate, Trump responded: "No, I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don't believe in that, no."

During the hour-long sit-down, Trump also said he disagrees with the assessment by Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that "if all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks, six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground." 

"I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears," Trump said. "Dr. Fauci said don't wear a mask, our Surgeon General, terrific guy, said don't wear a mask. Everybody was saying don't wear a mask. All of a sudden everybody's got to wear a mask, and as you know, masks cause problems too, with that being said, I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good." 

In the early days of the pandemic, public health officials asked people to not wear masks to save supplies for frontline workers, but now both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, and US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, have repeatedly called upon Americans to wear masks in public.

Read the full story:

2:13 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Artist donates 1,800 paintings to Brooklyn hospital, one for every employee

From CNN's Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman

Artist Michael Gittes holds a canvas featuring paintings from his "Strangers to No One" series
Artist Michael Gittes holds a canvas featuring paintings from his "Strangers to No One" series Courtesy Taylor Crichton

A hospital in Brooklyn received a special delivery this week: 1,800 paintings representing a flower -- or one for every employee.

The paintings were created and donated by Los Angeles-based artist Michael Gittes, whose works have been shown at The National Portrait Gallery in London, the Park Avenue Armory in New York, and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

"At the height of the pandemic, Michael had this brilliant idea to donate a painting to every single employee at a hospital, specifically in New York, because New York was fighting it the hardest," Eli Bronner, Gittes' manager and dealer, told CNN.

Gittes enlisted Bronner to help him find the perfect hospital for the donation. 

Based on Gittes' specifications, it had to be a non-profit hospital in an underserved community, with an intensive care unit treating coronavirus patients. It had to be small enough for Gittes to be able to paint a unique, original painting for every single staff member, from the doctors and administrators to the janitors, security guards and cafeteria workers, Bronner said..

They decided that Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood would be the perfect fit for the project.

Read the full story.

1:48 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

India records nearly 39,000 new Covid-19 cases, in its highest single-day increase

From From CNN’s Rishabh Pratap in New Delhi

India recorded 38,902 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday morning and 543 deaths, according to its Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

That marked the highest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,077,618, including 26,816 deaths. 

There are a reported 373,379 active cases in India and 677,422 patients have recovered.

In India, patients with mild and moderate symptoms are considered no longer active after 10 days of symptom onset if they meet certain conditions. A test to confirm they no longer have the virus is not required. Severe cases can be discharged after one negative test.

The western state of Maharashtra, which includes the financial capital Mumbai, remains the worst-hit region of the country by sheer numbers, with 300,937 confirmed cases and 11,596 deaths. 

India had conducted 13,791,869 coronavirus tests as of this morning.

Read more about how the world's second most populous country hit 1 million cases:

1:08 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Brain fog, fatigue, breathlessness. Long-term symptoms linger for many coronavirus victims

By Laura Smith-Spark, Jo Shelley and Livia Borghese, CNN

Professional diver Emiliano Pescarolo contracted coronavirus in March and spent 17 days in hospital in the Italian port city of Genoa, before being discharged on April 10.

Now, three months later, the 42-year-old still experiences breathing difficulties. "Once back home, even after weeks I couldn't see any progress: if I took a small walk, it was like climbing Mount Everest. I was out of breath also just for talking. I was very worried," he said.

Pescarolo is one of dozens of former Covid patients receiving care at a rehabilitation clinic in Genoa -- and says he is starting to see some progress.

For much of Europe, the peak of Covid-19 infections has passed. But while hospitals are no longer awash with acute cases, there are thousands of people who had either confirmed or suspected Covid and, weeks or months later, say they are far from fully recovered.

In the United Kingdom, communities of "long Covid" sufferers have spring up online, as people try to manage what appear to be long-term effects of a virus about which much remains unknown. Meanwhile, health authorities in the UK and Italy, two of the European nations worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, are starting to offer rehabilitation services to Covid-19 survivors.

These will likely need to be wide-ranging, since research now indicates that coronavirus is a multi-system disease that can damage not only the lungs, but the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and nervous system, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Dr Piero Clavario, director of the post-Covid rehab institute attended by Pescarolo in Genoa, said his team had started contacting several hundred Covid-survivors treated by hospitals in the district in May. Of those, they have now visited more than 50.

"They are not only those that were in ICU and intubated because of Covid, but also patients that spent not more than three days in the hospitals and then went home," he said. "We investigate aspects that escape standard virological and pulmonary exams."