July 23 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brad Lendon, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:09 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020
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7:40 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

He spent 128 days fighting coronavirus in a New York hospital: "This disease is no joke"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

"Miracle Larry" Kelly is home.

After 128 days in the hospital — including 51 on a ventilator — the 64-year-old New Yorker is a coronavirus survivor.

"I was one of the early cases. And in many ways I was a Guinea pig because they knew nothing about it. So, they threw everything at me," Kelly told CNN's Brianna Keilar during a live interview.

Kelly's early prognosis was so grim that doctors suggested he be taken off of life support, and family members had begun to pay their last respects. But Kelly had other ideas.

"The last text message I sent to my wife right before I was vented, I said I promise I'll never stop fighting. I kept that promise," he said.

As Kelly battled for four months, fighting a virus that to date has claimed the lives of more than 140,000 Americans, one mid-April Sunday offered a sliver of hope.

"I open my eyes on Easter Sunday, which is why I believe the moniker 'Miracle Larry' came from. But on Easter Sunday in New York, 527 people died," said Kelly. "So people were dying all around me and I didn't die. And is that a miracle? I don't know."

Further hampering Kelly's fight were complications including a coma, pneumonia in both lungs, and massive bleeding in the brain.

There were "tubes everywhere, EEG (electroencephalogram) on his brain. He looked awful. My sister didn't even want to see him like that," Kelly's daughter Jackie recalled.

Family members took turns recording messages on a mobile phone, playing them in Kelly's ear one by one inside his Mt. Sinai hospital room. Months later, the recordings have taken on a different tone.

"Jackie actually played the phone conversations with the doctors that she had with her crying and them telling them all the gloom and doom," Kelly said. "Jackie and Dawn were getting very upset and they looked over at me and I wasn't. And they were staring at me and I said to them 'well, I know how it ends.'" 

Even with a contagious sense of humor, Kelly admits to grim days during his Covid-19 fight.

"I was in a very dark place. And you know, I didn't see any white light but I saw a lot of black and dark and a pit. And I thought I was heading the other direction, which is why I probably survived. I kept thinking let me explain myself."

With family by his side, Kelly credits not only those closest to him — but also those he'd never met — for his remarkable story of survival.

"There's so many commercials on that say we're all in this together. And that's the only message I can give people. I was a stranger to those people at Mt. Sinai and they worked tirelessly to keep me alive," Kelly said, before adding a word of caution to those still doubting the severity of Covid-19.

"This disease is no joke. And if there's anybody out there thinking it's a big hoax, I'm so glad my family and a lot of my friends who know me, are following protocol because I don't want to lose any of them."

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect that Larry Kelly spent 51 days on a ventilator in a hospital.

4:03 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Arkansas reports more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Arkansas Governor's office
Arkansas Governor's office

The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting at least 1,013 new positive cases of coronavirus since Wednesday.

That brings the total statewide to at least 36,259 positive cases and at least 386 deaths since the pandemic began, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during a news conference on Thursday.

Arkansas’ cumulative positivity rate is 8%, at least 107 patients are on ventilators and at least 480 patients are hospitalized, according to Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas Department of Health Acting Secretary.

Hutchinson said some of the increase was due to delay in reporting.

4:06 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

About 41% of adults may be at higher risk for severe Covid-19 infection due to underlying conditions

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

In the United States, about 41% of adults had at least one underlying medical condition that may put them at a higher risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes, according to a new report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The research, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, looked at five conditions that tend to put people at greater risk for more severe disease from the coronavirus: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity. It did not include other conditions, such as sickle cell disease or organ transplants. 

What the study found was that the numbers of adults with these conditions varied by county –– from almost 1 in 4 adults to as many as two-thirds of adults in a county.

In half of US counties, almost 1 in 2 adults were estimated to have an underlying condition. 

There were higher proportions of people with these health conditions living in rural areas, and in Appalachia and in the Southeast. 

The most common underlying condition was obesity, followed by diabetes, COPD, heart disease and chronic kidney disease. 

What this means: The CDC authors said the data on these conditions is limited at the county level. They hope the report can help public health leaders use the information to help them make decisions about what areas might need more health resources that may be overlooked otherwise.

Rural areas, that already had been struggling with a lack of health care resources prior to the pandemic, for example, may need even more help. These areas may have smaller populations, but they have communities that have more people with underlying health conditions that may put them at greater risk of needing to be hospitalized for the disease.  

3:50 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Tennessee reports highest single-day total for coronavirus deaths

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The Tennessee Department of Health has reported 37 new coronavirus deaths Thursday, a record single-day total for the state.

The department said there has been a total of 925 Covid-19 deaths in Tennessee.

The state also added 2,570 new coronavirus cases Thursday, its highest one-day case count in 10 days. More than 1,000 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in Tennessee.

To note: The figures above were released by the Tennessee 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.

3:37 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

US reports more than 4 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Brandon Miller

There have been at least 4,005,414 cases of coronavirus in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and at least 143,820 people have died across the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

JHU recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on January 21:

  • It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million cases on April 28. 
  • It then took 43 more days to reach 2 million cases on June 10.
  • It took another 28 days to surpass 3 million cases on July 8.
  • It has taken the United States only 15 additional days to surpass 4 million cases.

The US is the global leader in Covid-19 cases, followed by Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa:

3:31 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Georgia reports more than 4,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 4,286 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 156,588.

The department also reported 25 new coronavirus-related deaths. The total Covid-19 death toll for Georgia is now 3,360. 

There were 431 new Covid-19-related hospitalizations recorded on Thursday. 

To note: These figures were released by the Georgia 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.

3:28 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Coronavirus cases in France increase by 26% in a week, health ministry says

From Pierre Buet and Alex Durie in Paris

Coronavirus cases in France have increased by 26% in one week and 66% in three weeks, the country's health ministry said Thursday. 

It comes after French Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Tuesday that "the virus circulation is increasing," yet the country is "very far" from a second wave. 

Health authorities warned Wednesday that increased testing was "in part responsible for the increase in the number of cases." 

France recorded 1,062 new cases on Thursday, according to the health ministry.

The ministry said there have been at least 179,398 Covid-19 cases recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic. It also said the death toll rose by 10 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 30,182.

3:27 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

New Jersey governor announces $6 million in assistance for small businesses

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

New Jersey Governor's office
New Jersey Governor's office

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a $6 million lease emergency assistance grant program to assist small businesses with up to $10,000 in direct help to pay their rents.

The grants, a New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) initiative, will help small businesses in 64 communities covered by the authority. The grants will be paid for through federal CARES act funding, Murphy said.

"We will not let Covid-19 take us down," Murphy said Thursday.

"We cannot get to where we need to be and where we know we will be without the women and men who own and operate the small businesses that make a municipality a community and turn a street into a gathering place for that community," he added.

Speaking at the news conference, Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the NJRA, emphasized that this is a grant and not a loan, meaning businesses are not obligated to pay it back. Anderson also said that businesses cannot exceed 5,000 square feet in order to be eligible for the grant, a requirement the authority is enforcing in order to ensure only small businesses benefit from the grant.

Murphy also reported during the news conference that over the last four months, 1.4 million New Jersey residents have filed claims for unemployment, "including 26,000 over the prior week."

This is the second straight week the state has seen a "significant decline" in unemployment filings, said Murphy.

The latest numbers: There are 344 new Covid-19 cases and 23 deaths in the state, said Murphy. The positivity rate is 2.88%. 

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

3:47 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

China announces $1 billion loan to Latin America and the Caribbean for Covid-19 vaccine access

From Karol Suarez

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced a $1 billion loan to Latin America and the Caribbean for Covid-19 vaccine access during a virtual gathering with his Latin American counterparts on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“China’s Foreign Minister said that the vaccine developed in his country will be a public benefit of universal access, and that his country will designate a loan of 1 billion dollars to support access [to the vaccine] for the nations of the region,” the statement said. 

During this daily briefing on Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador thanked China after the loan announcement. 

"We're very grateful to China, with the Chinese government, the President – you remember I had the chance to speak to him on the phone – we asked him for support with medical equipment, there have been many aid flights coming from China," he said.

"There's always been enough equipment supply, medicines, and now there is this offer," he added.