July 20 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brad Lendon, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:40 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020
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2:57 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

World Health Organization "very concerned" that Covid-19 cases may accelerate in Africa

From CNN's Marisa Peryer

People walk past coronavirus guidance in Soweto, South Africa, on July 13.
People walk past coronavirus guidance in Soweto, South Africa, on July 13. Themba Hadebe/AP

South Africa has reported 364,328 coronavirus cases as of Monday. Officials from the World Health Organization are concerned that the country’s rising numbers could signal greater Covid-19 spread throughout Africa.

“While South Africa is experiencing a very, very severe event, I think it is really a marker of what the continent could face, if urgent action is not taken to provide further support,” Dr. Mike Ryan, director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said Monday during a media briefing in Geneva.

South Africa has the fifth most confirmed Covid-19 infections in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Ryan said South Africa is experiencing an acceleration in Covid-19 cases, which have increased by about 30% in the last week.

“Sometimes, this disease can take off very quickly,” Ryan said. “And sometimes, in other situations, it takes off more slowly, and then accelerates – and it's difficult to understand fully why that is the case.”

Ryan noted other countries in the region have seen Covid-19 increases, though their total case counts are still lower than South Africa’s. In the past week, cases in countries such as Madagascar, Namibia and Botswana have increased by 50%, 69% and 66%, respectively, according to Ryan.

“I'm very concerned right now that we're beginning to see an acceleration of disease in Africa,” Ryan said. “And we all need to take that very seriously and show solidarity and support to those countries who may now be experiencing increasing numbers of cases and deaths.”

2:36 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

More than 140,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Brandon Miller

There have been at least 3,794,355 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 140,716 people have died since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins reported 21,095 new cases and 182 deaths. 

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

2:36 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

South Carolina's health department says state exceeded July testing goal

From CNN’s Natasha Chen

Medical professionals conduct a drive-thru testing site in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Friday.
Medical professionals conduct a drive-thru testing site in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Friday. Josh Bell/The Sun News/AP

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said that between July 1 and July 16, the state exceeded its monthly Covid-19 testing goal by completing more than 140,000 tests. 

The department also announced 1,445 new confirmed Covid-19 cases and nine new confirmed deaths.

The positivity rate of those tested Sunday was 17.7%.

2:31 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Dominican Republic declares state of emergency due to "concerning increase" in Covid-19 cases 

From CNN's Jessica Hasbun, Claudia Rebaza and Tim Lister

A worker fumigates an area of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in June.
A worker fumigates an area of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in June. Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina declared a state of emergency in the country for the next 45 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Medina issued a presidential decree on Monday announcing the decision due to “the concerning increase of Covid-19 transmission and in order to avoid our public and private health system from overflowing.”

The president has not specified yet which restrictive measures will be taken during this period. 

On Sunday, the country’s civil defense announced the closure of beaches across the country in order to enable social distancing, the agency said via Instagram. 

Dominican Republic reported a total of 53,956 Covid-19 cases on Sunday, with 1,101 new cases in the last 24 hours. The country’s death toll has now reached 993. 

Some background: While the number of deaths has consistently averaged about a dozen per day this month, the number of infections reported has begun to move upwards. The daily average in the first week of July was 1,002. The daily average over the last week (to July 19) is 1,346 — an increase of one third in the number of new infections since the beginning of the month.

The director for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, had warned about an increase of cases “in hotspots on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well as within the Guianese Shield.”

PAHO has also reported "a significant increase of cases" in Haiti, expecting they will continue to rise in the coming weeks, Dr. Ciro Ugarte, director of Health Emergencies, said last week.


2:20 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

California reports more than 6,800 new cases and 9 deaths

From CNN's Sarah Moon

California reported 6,846 new cases of coronavirus and nine additional deaths on Monday, according to updated data from the state's Department of Public Health.

Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have slightly increased. A total of 6,921 Covid-19 positive patients are hospitalized and 1,943 patients are in the ICU.

As of Monday, California has a total of 391,538 confirmed cases and 7,694 deaths.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by California Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

1:53 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Here's the latest coronavirus update from Spain

From CNN’s Al Goodman in Madrid

People walk along Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday.
People walk along Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday. Emilio Morenatti/AP

Spain has tallied 4,581 new coronavirus cases since last Friday as outbreaks intensify, especially in the northeastern region of Catalonia, including Barcelona, and in the neighboring region of Aragon, the health ministry reported Monday.

That brings the total number of cases to at least 264,835 since the pandemic began, with at least 28,422 deaths, an increase of nine in the past week, the ministry reported.

“The outbreaks are basically associated with seasonal farm workers and in spaces where [protective] measures have been relaxed, like large family events and at nightclubs” with young people, said Health Minister Salvador Illa at a news conference.

Some background: Spain’s nationwide confinement order was lifted June 21. Spain’s 17 regional governments now directly manage the situation in their territories and the Spanish government stopped issuing daily coronavirus updates on weekends. 

Since then, there have been 201 outbreaks, and new cases tripled from late June to mid-July, said Maria Jose Sierra, a deputy head of the Center for Health Emergencies, at the news conference.

The latest surge is in metropolitan Barcelona, where Catalan officials have asked Barcelona residents to stay home except for essential business, although it’s not mandatory.

Illa expressed confidence in the containment measures in Catalonia and Aragon adding, “we have to give a few days to see the evolution of the epidemic with these measures in place.”

2:03 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Georgia reports more than 3,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Georgia is reporting 3,243 new cases on Sunday for a total of 143,123 coronavirus cases statewide, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Health (DOH). 

The state also recorded five additional deaths, bringing the state's death toll to 3,173, according to the DOH.

More than 15,000 Covid-19-related hospitalizations were also recorded. 

The state reported 2,822 intensive care unit admissions. 

This post has been updated with details about the new cases.

1:55 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Louisiana reports more than 3,100 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The Bourbon Cowboy bar is boarded up in New Orleans' French Quarter on Tuesday.
The Bourbon Cowboy bar is boarded up in New Orleans' French Quarter on Tuesday. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 3,187 Covid-19 cases since Sunday bringing the total number of cases reported to the state to 94,892, according to data released by the department of health on Monday. 

Of the 3,187 cases, 1,583 cases are attributed to a backlog collected between May 18 and July 13. The cases will be assigned to those dates on the LDH’s dashboard.

Because of the daily removal of newly identified duplicates and out of state cases, the new case increase may not match the difference between today’s and yesterday’s total case count.

Since yesterday, 33,620 new tests have been reported to the state. That brings the total number of tests to 1,102,924.

Here are more details about the cases:

  • 99% of the cases reported to the state today were community spread.
  • 45% of the cases reported today are of individuals aged 29 and under.

There have been 29 deaths reported to the state today. The current total death count is 3,462.

1:33 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

National Zoo and Smithsonian Museum in Virginia to reopen Friday

From CNN's Lindy Royce

A young boy watches a California sea lion at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
A young boy watches a California sea lion at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The National Zoo in Washington, DC, and National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, will reopen on Friday, the Smithsonian announced today.

“As a public entity, we thrive on serving our visitors and making our collections readily available to them, virtually and in person,” Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian, said in a statement. “However, the safety and well-being of our staff, visitors and volunteers come first and are paramount, so we are taking a deliberate, phased and cautious approach to reopening. Our goal is to be safe and measured in order to adjust and pivot as necessary.”

Both buildings will reopen with multiple safety measures in place.

Here are some of those safety measures:

  • Visitors ages six and older will be required to wear face coverings inside the zoo and Udvar-Hazy Center. Social distancing will also be implemented, and hand-sanitizing stations will be provided.
  • The number of people inside the facilities will be limited. Visitors will be able to reserve free passes ahead of their visit. The Smithsonian will make available 5,000 passes to the zoo and 1,500 passes for the Udvar-Hazy Center daily.