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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4:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says he is a "realist," not an "alarmist"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday said he is more of a realist than an "alarmist" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump on Sunday called Fauci "a little bit of an alarmist" in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

"People have their opinion about my reaction to things," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead." "I consider myself more a realist than an alarmist, but people do have their opinions." 

4:28 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says "it's extremely important" that Trump is protected from coronavirus

The nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said "it's extremely important" that President Trump "stays protected."

Fauci was asked by CNN's Jake Tapper how often the President should be tested for coronavirus. He responded: "Well, it depends on the circumstances and to whom the person was exposed."

Fauci added: "When I go to the White House — you don't really go in particularly if you're going to see the vice president or the President without getting tested. So I went down there yesterday for a certain period of time, and I got tested. So, I mean, you get tested in order to make sure that you protect the President for the obvious reasons, he is the President of the United States. It's extremely important that he stays protected." 

More context: Earlier today, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump sometimes is tested for coronavirus multiple times each day.


4:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine developers say the speed of work will not sacrifice safety

From CNN’s Jacqueline Howard

Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca
Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca House and Commerce Committee

When asked whether the speed at which they are moving to develop a Covid-19 vaccine could influence safety, representatives from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies insisted during a congressional hearing on Tuesday that was not the case.

"In short, I do believe we can do this – in terms of delivering both a safe and efficacious vaccine," Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca, said during the hearing.

"I don't think any of the regulatory bodies that we've interacted with are lowering their standards, and by the end of our pivotal studies we will have dosed nearly 50,000 people. So that will be I think a very significant number and comparable to any of the vaccines that have been approved in recent times," Pangalos said.

"We do also believe it's possible to deliver a safe and effective vaccine," Dr. Macaya Douoguih, head of clinical development and medical affairs for Janssen Vaccines at Johnson & Johnson, told lawmakers during the hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

"We have experience with accelerated programs as we've developed the Ebola vaccine – a lot needs to be done in parallel, but it can be done safely without compromising any of the standards that we usually undertake for any clinical trial," Douoguih said.

"There may be a need to perform post-marketing surveillance and we're working on a plan there to make sure that we continue to monitor safety not only before licensure but after for the duration that's deemed appropriate by the regulators," Douoguih added

4:14 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says he hasn't talked to Trump about the pandemic since last week

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

With a White House briefing just moments away, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday that he hasn't briefed President Trump on the pandemic today.

Asked the last time he spoke with Trump, Fauci said, "I had a long conversation with him toward the end of last week."


4:33 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci: "I'm assuming" I won't be at today's White House briefing


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he is "assuming" he will not appear at President Trump's briefing, since it's due to start in less than an hour, and he's still at his office.

"I was not invited up to this point," he told CNN's Jake Tapper moments ago. "I'm assuming I'm not going to be there."

The White House briefing is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET.

Trump announced yesterday he would soon resume regular public briefings after discontinuing them in April.

But no White House coronavirus task force members are currently expected to join him at today's press briefing, a person familiar with the plan tells CNN, who cautioned that could change.


3:58 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Former NFL player says the league should delay or cancel the football season

Dr. Myron Rolle
Dr. Myron Rolle CNN

Dr. Myron Rolle, a neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and former NFL player for the Tennessee Titans, says he thinks the NFL should delay or cancel the season until next year as many players voice safety concerns.

"I don't think they should be playing, no. I think it is rather ambitious to do so," he told CNN on Tuesday.

"A lot of guys are very concerned about their own safety and their family's safety. I think we're moving quite fast in this whole trying to get the football back on to the boards," Rolle added.

He said the nature of the sport and the game makes it hard to practice safety measures like social distancing.

"It is hard to social distance and physical distance when in a huddle, in the trenches and battling an offensive line. When you're lifting weights in the weight room and sweating on the bench and somebody else is using it after you. Doing walk throughs and team meeting rooms – it's very difficult to do that in that kind of sport," Rolle said.

"The NFL should pause, take a second to think about the players, place them at a premium, and really delay the sport or cancel it for the year. That is my opinion," he added.

On testing: This comes after NFL owners and the players union reached a deal on testing. Players will receive daily tests during their first two weeks of training camp. This would then transition to every other day if results are at or below 5%.

Rolle said the league has a "responsibility to the whole country" to help fight the pandemic, and it's not fair to use so many tests when supplies are in high demand and wait times for results are long for Americans.

"We have to be part of this whole scheme, of this whole push, to try to curb this pandemic as best we can and maybe doing all of these tests is not the most appropriate thing at this particular time," Rolle said.

3:55 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Chile reports lowest daily Covid-19 numbers in more than two months

From CNN's Tatiana Arias and Tim Lister

Chile's Ministry of Health reported 1,656 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, the lowest daily increase since May 11.

"We continue to move forward step by step, but with encouraging figures," Chile's Minister of Health Enrique Paris said during his daily coronavirus news conference.  

A CNN calculation of the government’s data shows the daily average of new cases has declined by one-third since the first week of July. 

In the week to July 7, the daily average of new cases was 3,089 and in the latest week to July 21, it stands at 2,170.

The number of new infections in Chile have continued to slow since the peak in the second half of June, with a total of 334,683 Covid-19 cases reported since the start of the pandemic, according to the ministry’s statistics from Tuesday.

Chile reported 44 deaths in the last 24-hour period, bringing the total death toll to 8,677.

The Chilean government announced a five-stage "step by step" deconfinement plan to control the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, which aims to start its economic recovery.

3:58 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Arkansas reports new high of total Covid-19 hospitalizations 

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson Arkansas Governor's office

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported Tuesday a new high of 488 total patients hospitalized because of coronavirus in the state.

Speaking during a news conference, Hutchinson said the total number of people hospitalized in the state is something that officials watch and are concerned about.

Dr. Jose Romero, acting secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said 110 patients are on ventilators.

Meanwhile, the state is reporting 728 new cases of coronavirus, 17 additional hospitalizations, and 5,670 tests have been conducted, with a positivity rate of 5.5% over the past 24 hours, according to Romero.

The health department reported 33,927 positive cases of coronavirus and 374 deaths since the pandemic began.

Hutchinson and Johnny Key, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Education, both said there are no plans to move the back the school start date of August 24, despite some concerns they have heard from teachers.

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

3:38 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Mississippi reports more than 1,600 new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The state of Mississippi is reporting a record number of positive coronavirus cases for the second day in a row. The state's Department of Health confirmed at least 1,635 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, an increase of 384 over the previous day.

The number of Mississippi patients hospitalized with Covid-19 also reached a new record in Tuesday’s reporting, now at 943.

Note: The numbers above were released by the Mississippi State Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.