July 21 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 3:23 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020
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6:29 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump claims that he inherited "empty cupboards." Here's what we know.

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

At Tuesday's briefing, President Trump tried to shift blame for his administration’s delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic on his predecessor, claiming once again that he inherited “very empty cupboards.”

Facts First: The Strategic National Stockpile was not empty before the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the stockpile contains enough smallpox vaccines for every American, among other medical resources. And while the stockpile of some critical supplies that could be used to combat coronavirus was drained and not replenished, Trump had three years in office to build those depleted stockpiles back up.

Trump has also previously claimed the US didn’t have any ventilators when he took office or when the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN in late June that there had been about 19,000 ventilators in the national stockpile for “many years,” including 16,660 ventilators that were ready for immediate use in March 2020; the spokesperson confirmed that none of those 16,660 were purchased by the Trump administration.

Ultimately, Trump ignored the warnings of experts and failed to restock masks and prepare other supplies to fight a potential pandemic.

You can read a longer fact check on Trump’s claims about inheriting an empty cupboard of supplies here.

6:27 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump repeats false claim his administration is responsible for passing Veterans Choice

From CNN's David Wright

At Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing, President Trump repeated his false claim that his administration passed the Veteran’s Choice Act, which provided the Department of Veterans Affairs more resources to improve access for veterans and allow them to seek care from non-VA providers. 

“We got Veteran’s Choice, nobody thought that would be possible that’s been many decades they’ve been trying to get veterans choice,” Trump said.

Facts First: The Veterans Choice bill was a bipartisan initiative led by Sens. Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program.

This is among the President’s most repeated false claims. Since CNN started counting on July 8, 2019, Trump has repeated that claim more than 60 times. 

5:48 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

United Airlines reports $1.6 billion loss as pandemic takes a toll

From CNN's Jackie Wattles

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/FILE
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/FILE

United Airlines lost $1.6 billion last quarter – a three-month outcome that was slightly better than analysts' dire expectations.

Still, the company's revenue was down nearly 90% compared with what it was bringing in a year ago. It's just the latest evidence that the air travel industry is facing a devastating financial outlook with no end in sight as Covid-19 cases spike in some areas of the United States.

United emphasized in a statement that it's been able to slow the rate at which it is burning through cash, even as many of its planes remain in storage and ticket sales have slumped. 

The airline is losing $40 million each day, United said Tuesday, down from $100 million in April.

"We expect United produced fewer losses and lower cash burn in the second quarter than any of our large network competitors," CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. "We accomplished this by quickly and accurately forecasting the impact that COVID would have on passenger and cargo demand, accurately matching our schedule to that reduced demand, completing the largest debt financing deal in aviation history, and cutting expenses across our business."

United said it expects its daily cash burn to dip to $25 million during the next quarter. 

Moving forward: As new outbreaks across the US continue to delay the resurgence in air travel that carriers hoped to see, United is warning that tens of thousands of its workers could be furloughed in October. That's when the ban on involuntary job cuts, tied to bailout money airlines received months ago, expires. 

Federal lawmakers are considering another stimulus package, but they remain divided over how it should be structured.

5:42 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 outbreak reported at Walmart Distribution Center in Oregon

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

A Covid-19 outbreak of 23 cases has been reported at the Walmart Distribution Center in Umatilla County, Oregon, according to a news release from the state's Health Authority.

Included in the outbreak case count are household members and other close contacts of an employee, the release said.

The investigation of the outbreak started on June 30, but was below the threshold needed for public disclosure.

State and county public health officials are working together “to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers,” the release said. 

Walmart started requiring all shoppers to wear a face covering on Monday.

5:44 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Trump contradicts press secretary on how often he is tested

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump said he doesn’t know of a time he’s taken more than one coronavirus test in a day, directly contradicting his press secretary in the first question of his press briefing Tuesday.  

“I don’t know about more than one,” Trump responded to a reporter who asked why he was tested more than once a day. “I do probably on average a test every two days, three days, and I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two in one day, but I could see that happening.” 

Some background: Earlier Tuesday, the White House said Trump receives multiple coronavirus tests every day.

Explaining his reluctance to wear a mask in public, press secretary Kayleigh McEneny described Trump as the "most tested many in America" who doesn't risk spreading the virus to others.

"He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day," she said. "And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”

5:38 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Trump says he's OK with the possibility of more coronavirus testing funding

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Trump said Tuesday that he’d be OK with possibly expanding coronavirus testing funding. 

Asked during a press briefing if the US has a testing problem and if he’d be in favor for more funding for testing, Trump said, “They’re going to be making a presentation to me tonight and tomorrow on that. And, again, we’re leading the world (on coronavirus testing) … We’re going to be over 50 million tests.” 

“I think we’re doing a tremendous amount of testing, but if the doctors and the professionals feel that even though we’re at a level that no one would have dreamt possible that they would like to do more, I’m okay with it,” Trump added.

5:30 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Hospitalizations rising sharply in Florida, new data shows

From CNN's Matthew Hilk

Hospitalizations in Florida rose by more than a third in just the 12 days since the state started releasing daily hospitalization data.

Data made available via the Covid Tracking Project and the state's Agency for Health Care Administration show a 37% rise in hospitalizations since data became available July 10. 

Florida reported at least 9,520 Covid-related hospitalizations Tuesday, compared to about 6,974 on July 10.

At a roundtable Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to insist "we're turning this thing back in a good direction," adding the state's health care system is able to handle the surge, with 24% of hospital beds available statewide.

6:30 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Trump says coronavirus pandemic will probably "get worse before it gets better"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The pandemic in the US will probably get worse before it gets better, President Trump said in opening comments at a press briefing Tuesday. 

“Some areas of our country are doing very well, others are doing less well,” the President said. “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.” 

“You look all over the world, it’s all over the world,” Trump said, despite the fact that many countries have seen their Covid case numbers drop dramatically. 

The President has consistently had an optimistic tone over the course of the pandemic, often repeating that the virus will “go away.”


6:37 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Trump says masks are effective, but he isn't wearing one himself

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump issued his strongest encouragement to date to wear masks, saying they are effective in containing the spread of coronavirus, yet wasn't wearing one himself.

After months of downplaying their importance and insisting they are only a recommendation, Trump said Tuesday that masks should be worn when people are unable to spread out.

"We are asking everybody, when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask," Trump said.

He went on: "Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact."

Trump was not wearing a mask during his appearance in the White House briefing room.

Asked later about whether he's providing an example to Americans on mask-wearing, Trump said he was — and pulled out his navy blue mask from his pocket to demonstrate his readiness to cover his face.

"I carry it, I wear it," Trump said, saying when he's in an elevator with security personnel, he will wear a mask to protect them.

"I'm getting used to the mask. Think about patriotism. Maybe it helps. It helps," Trump said, stopping short of actually putting the mask on.