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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1:46 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Trump administration sends another $5 billion to nursing homes to fight coronavirus

From CNN’s Tami Luhby

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it is sending $5 billion to nursing homes and state veterans’ homes to fight the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The money can be used to hire additional staff, implement infection control, increase testing and provide additional services, such as technology to allow residents to connect with their families.

The infusion comes from the provider relief fund contained in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that the US Congress passed in late March. It’s in addition to the $4.9 billion nursing homes are receiving to offset revenue losses and to respond to the pandemic.

Nursing home staff must complete an online training program for a facility to receive the new funds.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also start requiring nursing homes in states with a 5% or greater coronavirus positivity rate to test all staff each week. This was previously a recommendation.

The administration announced last week that it is distributing rapid testing devices to nursing homes, which had complained that they don’t have the money to conduct so many tests. More than 15,000 devices will be deployed in coming months, with more than 600 shipping this week.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said Wednesday that the increased funds are “a significant step forward,” but more is needed, especially in light of the surge of cases around the country. 

“It is equally important for Congress to provide an additional $100 billion for the HHS Provider Relief Fund, which is accessible to all health care providers impacted by COVID-19,” said CEO Mark Parkinson.

8:45 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Argentina reports record number of new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, Colombia

Dr. Adriana Coronel attends to a Covid-19 patient at the Eurnekian Ezeiza Hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday, July 14.
Dr. Adriana Coronel attends to a Covid-19 patient at the Eurnekian Ezeiza Hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday, July 14. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina saw another record daily increase of new coronavirus cases Wednesday, according to its Health Ministry.

The ministry reported 5,782 newly confirmed cases, topping Tuesday's record of 5,344 new cases. Argentina's total confirmed cases stands at 141,900.

The ministry also reported 98 new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing its death toll to 2,588.

8:23 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Brazilian Health Ministry says the coronavirus situation seems "under control" 

From journalist Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo and Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre

Brazil's interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello on July 15 in Brasilia.
Brazil's interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello on July 15 in Brasilia. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's interim health minister said Wednesday the coronavirus situation seems "under control," despite the country reporting a record number of new cases Wednesday.

In a press conference before the country's official daily Covid-19 numbers were released, interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said, "The scenario seems to me to be under control," but recognized there are still "increasing cases" and claimed the increase was because of the weather.

"It is partly due to winter, of the social change in winter, and this causes the contamination to increase," he said.

There has previously been speculation that warmer weather would lessen the spread, specifically from US President Donald Trump early in the pandemic. However, health experts have said warmer weather is unlikely to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Climate only would become an important seasonal factor in controlling COVID-19 once a large proportion of people within a given community are immune or resistant to infection,” Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a blog post in early June, citing experts in infectious disease transmission and climate modeling.

Pazuello also said he was hopeful about the health system's capacity now that they have learned more from the outbreak.

"We have a real learning curve, we understand how to do it. Collapse situations have already occurred in the north and northeast, and today, the south and southeast of the country have an organized medical structure. We are in a position to give a more effective response and to not let the system collapse," he said.

The Health Ministry released Brazil's daily coronavirus numbers shortly after the press conference, reporting 67,860 newly confirmed cases, the country's highest daily toll since the outbreak began. The ministry also added 1,284 new deaths. 

Brazil's total number of Covid-19 cases is 2,227,514 and 82,771 total deaths.

12:12 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

White House cafeteria staffer tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Administration officials were alerted tonight that a cafeteria employee on the White House grounds has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an email viewed by CNN. 

Ike’s Eatery -- located in the Executive Office building -- and the cafeteria in the New Executive Office Building have both been temporarily closed, though the email cautioned that risk of transmission is low due to precautions like gloves and masks.

Those facilities are separate from the West Wing mess, but dozens of West Wing staffers walk to Ike’s for meals. 

“There is no reason for panic or alarm,” the email reads. 

 The email says they conducted contact tracing and claim no executive office staff need to quarantine due to exposure. 

1:41 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Mexico reports another 6,000 new coronavirus cases, nearly 800 new deaths

From journalist Karol Suarez in Mexico City

A laboratory worker takes a sample of a person at a Covid-19 drive-thru test center in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on July 21.
A laboratory worker takes a sample of a person at a Covid-19 drive-thru test center in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on July 21. Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Mexico's Health Ministry reported 6,019 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 362,274.

Mexico has consistently reported 5,000 cases or more every day for the past eight days. 

The ministry also reported 790 new deaths from the virus, bringing its death toll to 41,190.

Mexico holds the fourth highest death toll from the virus worldwide, trailing the UK where the death toll is 45,586, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:12 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Trump says he would take a coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

In a snippet of an interview set to air later Wednesday night, President Trump said he would either take a coronavirus vaccine first or last, but lamented that, “either way I lose on that, right?”

“You know the way it works,” Trump said, in a clip that aired on Fox News. “If I’m the first one, they’ll say ‘he’s so selfish that he wanted to get the vaccine first,’ and then other people would say ‘hey, that is a very brave thing to do.’ I would absolutely, if they want to me to, if they thought it was right, I would take it first or I’d take it last.”

“You do know if I take it first, I’ll be – either way I lose on that, right?” Trump continued. “If I take it first. And if I don't take it, he doesn't believe in the program.”