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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4:33 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.


3:33 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Florida nurse: Covid-19 positive patients are "everywhere," so "it's hard to stay safe"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Martha Baker, a Florida nurse and head of a union that represents 5,000 health workers in the Jackson Health System in Miami, says that the ER at her hospital is getting “stressed to the max.”

“We thought, perhaps that we had dampened the curve and then obviously [this] month we’ve done nothing but continue to break records day after day, embarrassingly enough,�� Baker told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

“It’s hard on our nurses. It’s hard on all the caregivers inside the hospital. They need a break. It’s been since March. People are near exhaustion and we’re running out of beds, nurses and caregivers,” she added.  

Baker said that she is grateful for the additional 100 nurses that came down from across the country to help their stressed health system. They are asking for 100 more nurses now.

She added that hospitals are having trouble distinguishing Covid-19 patients from non-Covid-19 patients.

“When I was talking to one of our physicians and he was saying, ‘They’re everywhere. The Covids are everywhere.’ You come in for abdominal pain thinking, perhaps, it’s your appendix and they test and you’re Covid positive,” Baker said.

“The patients in the hallways, Covid positive everywhere. It’s hard to stay safe,” she added.

The mixed messaging about safety and reopening protocols coming from state and local leaders isn’t helping. Baker said that caregivers are “getting angry” at leaders for not standing up for them.

“I don’t know how [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis or other leaders in Florida or outside of Florida can ignore the science of this and it’s really unfair to, not only the patients in our community, but to the caregivers inside of our hospital,” Baker said.

Watch full interview here:

3:34 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Zimbabwe will impose dusk to dawn Covid-19 curfew starting tomorrow 

From CNN's Sarah Dean

People visit a fruit and vegetable market in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Monday, July 20.
People visit a fruit and vegetable market in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Monday, July 20. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Zimbabwe will impose a dusk to dawn curfew on its citizens as it tightens its coronavirus measures, the country's president Emmerson Mnangagwa announced in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.

The daily curfew will come into effect on Wednesday "between 6 o'clock in the evening and 6 o'clock in the morning" and will be enforced by Zimbabwe's security services, Mnangagwa said.

Business hours will be restricted between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time. Only essential services are exempt from the restrictions.

"Public gatherings for social, religious or political purposes remain banned," Mnangagwa said.

The president warned that anyone who breaches the conditions or encourages actions that undermine the public health measures "will be liable and severely punished accordingly." 

The announcement comes after Zimbabwe police arrested a prominent journalist as well as an opposition leader Monday, alleging the two incited fellow citizens to “participate in public violence.”

In a media statement, the police confirmed that Jacob Ngarivhume of Transformation Zimbabwe and Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist, were arrested, adding that, “the duo will appear in court soon and are currently in police custody.”

Ngarivhume is calling for nationwide protests on July 31 to push Mnangagwa’s government to fight corruption and a deteriorating economy under hashtag #ZanupfMustGo.


3:23 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Georgia reports more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases and 78 deaths

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported at least 3,413 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the state total to 148,988 cases.

Georgia DPH also reported 78 new deaths Tuesday, a sharp increase from the three deaths reported on Monday. The total death toll for Georgia is now 3,254. 

There were at least 447 new Covid-19-related hospitalizations recorded on Tuesday. 

3:20 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

More than 500 women at a federal prison in Texas have Covid-19

From CNN’s Kay Jones

More than 500 women at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The bureau says that Federal Medical Center Carswell has at least 509 inmates and 3 staff members currently infected with the virus –– that's more than 37% of the inmate population.

FMC Carswell, which is an administrative security medical center with a minimum security satellite camp in an adjacent complex, has 1,357 total inmates, with 1,119 at the FMC and 238 at the camp.  

Increased testing at the facility started July 1, according to a statement from the Bureau of Prisons to CNN. Inmates are having temperatures taken twice a day and are receiving assessments for symptoms, which helps in slowing the transmission, according to the statement. 

Some context: The only other facility run by the bureau with more positive tests is Federal Correctional Institution Seagoville, outside of Dallas, which shows nearly 63% of its population currently Covid-19 positive, according to the numbers posted on Monday.

Of the 1,798 minimum-security inmates, there are currently at least 1,132 positive cases and 9 staff members who are positive. Mass testing at FCI Seagoville began at the end of June, the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement sent to CNN.

The Bureau of Prisons said in a statement that they are “carefully monitoring the spread of the Covid-19 virus. As with any type of emergency situation, we carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public.”