96 employees at seafood processing plant test positive for Covid-19
From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson
Ninety-six employees at a seafood processing plant in Seward, Alaska have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
The company, OBI Seafoods, said most of the employees have not experienced any Covid-19 symptoms and none have been hospitalized, the press release said.
The infected employees were taken to Anchorage to isolate where they will be provided medical care, monitoring, security and housing.
Employees who tested negative will be placed under quarantine in Seward and will be monitored and tested every three days until no additional positive cases are identified.
The first case was discovered after a plant employee, who had sought medical care for a non-Covid 19 related issue, tested positive for the virus. The company then tested all 262 plant employees, implemented isolation protocols and began contact tracing.
CNN has reached out to OBI Seafoods for comment.
11:52 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Australian Defense Force to assist with contact tracing in Victoria as 300 new cases are reported
From CNN's Sandi Sidhu
A total of 300 new novel coronavirus cases have been detected in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, the state's premier announced Friday.
Of the 300 cases, only 51 are from a known source with connections to previous cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that health authorities had struggled to conduct contact tracing interviews with around 25% of people who had tested positive, as they were unable to contact them.
To ensure that contact tracing interviews are conducted on the same day, twenty-eight teams from the Australian Defense Force will be dispatched to go from door-to-door with health officials, Andrews said.
Before the military support teams are sent to individual homes, Andrews said that authorities would attempt to telephone first. If the call goes unanswered then they will visit the home.
Andrews warned that if the person was not at home when teams arrived, they could be subject to fines for breaching lockdown orders.
The military personnel who have been sent to Victoria State has been bolstered to 1400.
11:28 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Structural racism is a large driver of the disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases among Latinos
From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen
Counties that are predominantly Latino account for a disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases in most regions of the United States, with the exception of the South, and structural racism is in part to blame, according to a new study.
In general, the Latino/Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. While Latinos account for 18% of the US population, in June the community accounted for one in three of all confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US.
Latinos also had among the highest age-adjusted rates of Covid-19 related hospitalizations and in June made up one in five of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths.
For the study published Thursday in the Annals of Epidemiology, researchers looked at data on Covid-19 cases in deaths at the county level. In the Northeast, majority Latino counties have more than 63% of coronavirus cases and more than 66% of the deaths. In the Midwest, these counties have more than 31% of the cases and more than 22% of the deaths. In the West it’s more than 75% of the cases and more than 73% of the deaths.
These numbers are likely an undercount, the researchers said, because Latino communities, particularly in low-income areas, are less likely to have access to Covid-19 testing.
“We found that crowded housing, air pollution, jobs in the meatpacking and poultry industry and other factors put Latinos at high risk of COVID-19 infections and death,” said a lead author of the study, Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, an associate professor of prevention and community health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Rodriguez-Diaz hopes that public health leaders can use this work to inform decisions about which areas need to increase access to testing and access to language-appropriate education materials about Covid-19. The study also argues that all states need to expand Medicaid.
10:59 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Mexico reports at least 8,400 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the highest number yet
From journalist Karol Suarez in Mexico City
Mexico’s health ministry reported a new daily record in coronavirus cases Thursday, logging 8,438 new confirmed infections in 24 hours.
The ministry also said there had been 718 new deaths from the virus.
The country’s total number of confirmed coronavirus infections is now 370,712, while the death tolls stands at 41,908, according to the ministry.
Mexico has the world’s fourth highest Covid-19 death toll, trailing the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University.
10:00 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
We should have been clamping down not opening up, Bill Gates says
From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman
Americans should have clamped down on public gatherings instead of opening up, global philanthropist and coronavirus vaccine funder Bill Gates said Thursday on CNN’s Global Town Hall Coronavirus: Facts and Fears.
“There's certainly some activities that the benefit they provide versus the risk of infection means they probably shouldn't be allowed for the rest of this year and until the numbers get way, way down,” Gates said.
Going to bars is one of those activities, he said.
“I joke if people went into bars and they didn’t talk, it’d be okay to just sit quietly and drink. But, you know, restaurants, public gatherings, we should have clamped down on those even more at the time we opened them up,” said Gates. “And people said hey, your cases are increasing so you can't be opening up and people hope that we get away with that because people like to come out, but we didn't. In most parts of the country we didn't get away with it.”
Coronavirus cases are surging across parts of the United States and hundreds of people are now dying again every day from the deadly virus.
9:19 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Here's what Bill Gates says he learned from the Covid-19 pandemic
When asked what he learned from the Covid-19 outbreak, philanthropist Bill Gates said that testing needs to be "10 times faster."
Gates said he plans to invest in testing for future pandemics.
"We will invest — and I know the US government and other governments will — in having vaccine platforms that get us very rapid results. Likewise, next time we'll be able to scale up diagnostics 10 times faster than this time. And antivirals and antibodies, we'll be able to do those more quickly," he said.
Gates continued: "It's sad that it took this, you know, these deaths, the economic pain, the divisiveness that we still aren't sure how quickly it will end, but they are indeed a priority and the potential to solve these things is absolutely there. That's why I was excited in 2015 that even if tens of billions had gone into these things, this is exactly the kind of thing that could have been stopped before it did significant damage."
9:11 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Bill Gates addresses QAnon and says he hopes "the conspiracy stuff dies down"
Despite what hordes of conspiracy theorists online may believe, Bill Gates, one of the world's most magnanimous philanthropists, is not responsible for causing the coronavirus pandemic, he said today.
Gates was specifically asked on CNN's global coronavirus town hall about the fringe group known as QAnon, which claims that dozens of politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse, among other theories.
Followers also believe there is a "deep state" effort to annihilate President Trump.
"The culmination of having social media spreading things that are very titillating, to have this pandemic where people are uncertain and they prefer to have a simple explanation, it's meant that these things are really millions of messages a day, and people like myself and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci have become the target," Gates said. "And so I hope the conspiracy stuff dies down. It's really, the numbers kind of blow my mind. And it's not just the fringe people that you would normally think of."
Earlier this week: Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to QAnon which has become notorious for spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation online.
"We've been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm," Twitter's safety team said late Tuesday in a tweet. "In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called 'QAnon' activity across the service."
More than 7,000 accounts have been removed in the last several weeks, according to Twitter. It also expects that additional actions it is taking to limit the reach of QAnon activity on its platform could affect 150,000 accounts worldwide.
QAnon began as a single conspiracy theory. But its followers now act more like a virtual cult, largely adoring and believing whatever disinformation the conspiracy community spins up.
CNN's Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.
9:08 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
A coronavirus vaccine will likely be multi-dose, Bill Gates says
Early data on a coronavirus vaccine shows that it will take more than one dose to protect people from the virus, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told CNN tonight.
Gates, who along with his wife Melinda, runs the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which pledged up to $100 million in February to help contain the coronavirus outbreak around the world.
These funds have also been used to help find a vaccine for the virus, limit its spread and improve the detection and treatment of patients.
"None of the candidates that we have much data on look like they'll work with a single dose. So these are all multi-dose vaccines. If we look at the elderly, some of the constructs might require more than two doses to get the protection we want," Gates said during CNN's town hall Thursday. "The vaccine has to be safe, it's got to reduce transmission, and then it's got to protect the health of the individual. And these vaccines, the FDA laid out how they want these trials to be done. Fortunately, they required a proof of efficacy. But they set the bar pretty low at 50% efficacy. So the first vaccine that gets approved may be fairly weak in some of these criteria."
Gates said that his foundation is funding not only the first generation of vaccines and the capacity for those, "but also a second generation that will be ready four to six months later that may get us closer to 100% protection or 100% transmission reduction."
"So there's a lot of uncertainty in the vaccine enterprise, which is hard to explain, you know, when people want to summarize is the vaccine miracle on its way," Gates added.
9:01 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Here's what the next year will look like, according to Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates believes there could be some advances in testing and therapeutics in the next year.
"I think the therapeutics is actually the most promising thing and not talked about as much as the vaccines because if you have multiple therapeutics that, between them, are reducing the death rate and the amount of serious sickness by over 80%, probably over 90%, that does start to reduce the horrific burden," the philanthropist said.
"So I think by the end of the year, therapeutics will be making a big difference," he said.
Gates said by the first half of 2021, the first round of vaccines could be approved.
"Then by the end of 2021, if people are willing to take the vaccine, we'll be able to stop the transmission in the rich countries and maybe within nine months after that in the world at large," he said.