July 22 coronavirus news

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12:39 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Global coronavirus cases surpass 15 million

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported worldwide reached 15,000,424 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of cases.

The global Covid-19 death toll rose to 617,832, according to JHU. 

The United States leads the world in total confirmed cases, nearing 4 million.

Here's a look at the country's with the highest number of cases and where they stand on Covid-19 deaths:

1:31 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Bill Gates will answer your questions at a CNN coronavirus town hall tomorrow. Ask yours here.

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

Microsoft founder Bill Gates — whose foundation has pledged millions in Covid-19 relief efforts — will take viewers' questions during a special CNN coronavirus town hall on Thursday.

Leave your questions for Gates below, and tune in to the one-hour special at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

12:26 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

United Airlines says it has banned fewer than 30 passengers for mask violations

From CNN's Greg Wallace

United Airlines planes sit parked at San Francisco International Airport on July 8 in San Francisco.
United Airlines planes sit parked at San Francisco International Airport on July 8 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fewer than 30 passengers have been banned from United Airlines flights for refusing to wear a mask while on its planes, the airline said Wednesday.  

United and other major US airlines rolled out policies in mid-June threatening a ban for any passenger who refuses to wear a mask onboard their planes. United’s policy calls for airline officials to conduct an investigation and consider a ban when the passenger does not comply with crew member instructions.  

United announced this morning its mask requirement will soon expand to include airports – from check-in through baggage claim. Until now, it has only required passengers wear masks when boarding and while aboard planes. Some airports already require the wearing of masks under local rules for public facilities. It is also requiring passengers who want to claim an “extraordinary circumstances” exemption from the mask requirement receive permission from United.  

United executives said on a call with reporters that most passengers are complying with the requirements, and that the bans will be lifted when the mask requirement is rescinded.  

The officials also said fewer than 1% of customers are changing their flight plans when informed their plane will be more than 70% full. United, at times, sells flights until they are filled up, but says it informs passengers when it happens so they are able to rebook. Other carriers have limited the number of passengers on a given flight. 

There is no federal requirement that passengers wear masks aboard planes. 

12:08 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Baltimore mandates face coverings and suspends indoor dining

From CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph

A sign is displayed near the entrance of a food hall in Baltimore on July 15.
A sign is displayed near the entrance of a food hall in Baltimore on July 15. Julio Cortez/AP

Baltimore City Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young signed an Executive Order Wednesday suspending indoor dining at restaurants and bars effective Friday at 5 p.m ET.

“Under the Mayor's order, restaurants and bars are permitted to continue with outdoor dining that's socially distanced, along with offering carryout and delivery services,” Young’s office said in a press release.

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the city’s health commissioner, also issued a health order Wednesday, mandating the use of face coverings within the city for all individuals over the age of 2.

"These decisions were not easy, but are rooted in current data and trends we're seeing in COVID-19 cases in Baltimore City," Dr. Dzirasa said. "When considered together, this information warrants the implementation of restrictions to help halt the further spread of COVID-19," she said.

Residents will be required to wear face coverings when in public and and unable to socially distance at least six feet from others. They aren’t required to wear face coverings while seated at outdoor dining establishments.

The dining restriction and face covering mandate will be in place for two weeks and evaluated by city health officials daily, the city says.

Covid case counts, death rates, ICU and hospital bed utilization, case positivity rates and the number of coronavirus tests performs are the markers the Baltimore City Health Department will be monitoring. 

12:56 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Fauci says he goes to the White House almost every day to meet with the coronavirus task force

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci stands behind President Donald Trump at a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15.
Dr. Anthony Fauci stands behind President Donald Trump at a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he goes to the White House almost every day to meet with the Coronavirus Task Force.

When asked during a webinar with the TB Alliance on Wednesday about how he splits his time between his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, he said, “It’s almost a 50/50 – half the day at the NIAID and half the day at the White House.”

Fauci said he spends most of the morning working with his team at NIAID on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics – and “almost every day, I go down to the White House and meet with the Coronavirus Task Force.”

“Like today, I’m meeting with the group of doctors before the Task Force meeting, namely Debbie Birx and Bob Redfield and Steve Hahn and others,” he said.

Fauci said he then attends the Task Force meeting with the Vice President, after which he meets with people at the White House “with regards to that responsibility,” he said.

Watch:

12:33 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Phase 3 trials will watch for possibility of vaccine-induced enhancement of infection, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Certain safety elements, including the possibility of vaccine-induced enhancement of infection, will be paid special attention in the Phase 3 trials of Covid-19 vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said during a webinar Wednesday with the TB Alliance.

Phase 1 data gives you immediate safety, not necessarily all the parameters, and Phase 2 gives you more, Fauci said, but as they go into Phase 3, which is fundamentally efficacy to see if it works in the field, “we are also going to pay a special attention to certain safety elements.”

One of these, he said, is they “want to keep a special eye on is the possibility of vaccine-induced enhancement of infection.”

Fauci explained that this is when “you get vaccinated, you get infected, and the fact that you have been vaccinated with a level, an inadequate level, of suboptimal antibodies, that you can actually enhance the infection, because you’ve been vaccinated.”

He said they want to, and will, keep an eye on this in Phase 3 trials.

Fauci said that he doesn’t have a particular reason to believe this will be a problem, but as they have seen these kind of issues before, he wants to pay attention to it.

“I don’t use the word ‘I’m worried about it.’ Rather than worry, I try to do something about it,” he said.

Watch:

11:40 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Young people are driving the spread of Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan

California, the first state to shut down months ago, has now become a coronavirus hotspot, surpassing New York with the most coronavirus cases in the nation.

Earlier this month, the governor shut down bars and indoor operations for restaurants and other businesses hoping to limit social gatherings in enclosed spaces.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, California has reported more than 409,000 Covid-19 cases.

In Los Angeles, the number of daily hospitalizations hit a new high for the fourth time in a week Monday, according to officials.

Los Angeles County officials said Tuesday young people were driving the spread of the virus, with 57% of new cases reported in people under 41 years old.

"The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said in a statement.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN earlier this week he was on the "brink" of issuing another stay-at-home order for the city, urging residents to avoid gatherings.

12:20 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Fauci calls for “sustained commitment” on pandemic preparedness

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Wednesday called for a "sustained commitment" on pandemic preparedness.

Speaking with the TB Alliance, Fauci said that "between crises," it is difficult to allocate resources for something that might happen when there are competing priorities.

"You get through a crisis and then you realize that you are not as well prepared as you should have been," he explained.

"I do hope that with all the pain and suffering that the world is going through now with Covid-19, that we do not forget that when we get through this – which we will get through it – that we know that it will happen again. It certainly will. And that's the reason that I think we really need to push to have a sustained commitment," he said. 

"Emerging infections will continue to occur long after we're all gone, so let's prepare for them," Fauci added.

Watch:

12:11 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020

Fauci says there is “not a chance” he would walk away from Covid-19 challenge

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said there is “not a chance” he would walk away from the challenge of Covid-19.

“I would never do that,” Fauci said, after being asked what keeps him from going back to his day job. “This is such an important public health challenge that we are facing.”

“This is what I do. This is what I’ve been doing all my life. This is what I’ve been trained for. This is what I have all my experience in,” he continued.

Walking away from this challenge would be unimaginable “no matter what they throw at me,” he said.

 “This is just too important. There’s too much at stake for the world for me to walk away from this,” he said. “Not a chance.”

Watch: