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The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

Updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri July 24, 2020
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What you need to know

  • American medical experts are urging political leaders to shut down the US and start over to contain the pandemic after the US surpassed 4 million Covid-19 cases.
  • President Trump said Republicans have scrapped plans to hold convention activities in Jacksonville, as the pandemic continues to surge in Florida.
  • Mexico reported more than 700 new deaths and at least 8,400 cases in 24 hours as the country’s epidemic grows out of control. It currently has the world’s fourth largest death toll.
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NFL player opts out of 2020 season citing Covid-19 health risks

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif #76 of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks to the media during the Kansas City Chiefs media availability prior to Super Bowl LIV at the JW Marriott Turnberry on January 29 in Aventura, Florida.
PHOTO: Mark Brown/Getty Images
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif #76 of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks to the media during the Kansas City Chiefs media availability prior to Super Bowl LIV at the JW Marriott Turnberry on January 29 in Aventura, Florida.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has announced he will not play during the 2020 NFL regular season due to “the health risks associated with Covid-19.”

In a statement issued via social media on Friday, Duvernay-Tardif revealed he’s decided to take the “Opt Out Option” to sit out the season and continue his support of those affected by the pandemic.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally,” said the 7-year veteran offensive guard in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system. I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.” 

Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of his contract due to the coronavirus, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He will continue to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility to help fight Covid-19 in his native Canada.

At least one man hospitalized after 12 people in Delaware given incorrect Covid-19 test results, State Senator says

At least one man has been hospitalized in Delaware after 12 people were inadvertently given incorrect Covid-19 test results, according to Delaware Department of Health and State Senator Brian Pettyjohn.

“In partnership with Walgreens, 2,791 samples were collected for processing through the Delaware Public Health Lab in the first week of testing. In the process of results delivery, 12 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 were inadvertently given negative results by phone due to an internal DPH system error,” a statement from the Delaware Department of Health said. 

The Health Department said that while incorrect results were given over the phone, the correct test results were reported into their surveillance system and were included in statewide testing numbers and the state’s contact tracing system. The state’s health department also said they wanted to assure the public that this was not an error that occurred on site at the Walgreens testing sites. 

2 WNBA players test positive for Covid-19

Atlanta Dream center Kalani Brown and forward Glory Johnson have tested positive for Covid-19.

The test results were announced by both players on social media.

The 2020 WNBA season – which is being held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida – begins Saturday. The Dream’s first game is Sunday against the Dallas Wings.

Both players – who the Dream say tested positive for the virus during the initial quarantine period after the team traveled to Florida – will miss the start of the season. They are in self-isolation off the IMG Academy property and under the care of physicians.

Mexico reports more than 7,500 new Covid-19 cases

A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24.
PHOTO: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24.

Mexico’s health ministry announced 7,573 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 378,285.

The ministry also reported 737 new deaths due to the virus, raising the country’s death toll to 42,645.

Despite the rising number of new cases, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his claim Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is “losing steam” in the country and said the high number of cases are due to increased testing and a delay in updating the new cases.

“We need to find a balance between health and economic situation, reopening carefully, practicing all the protocols but we can’t stay immobilized. If we open and there’s an outbreak, we will close again,” Obrador said.

FDA authorizes first test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
PHOTO: Al Drago/Pool/Abaca/Sipa USA
Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first coronavirus test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases and for those who don’t think they’re infected with the virus at all.

The agency reissued an emergency use authorization for a LabCorp Covid-19 RT-PCR test after the company provided scientific proof that the test was able to detect the virus in asymptomatic people. RT-PCR tests amplify genetic matter from the virus so it’s detectable.

The emergency use authorization also allows the test to be used on pooled samples.

“Today’s authorization eliminates the need for a provider to consider risk factors such as exposure or community spread when prescribing this test,” the FDA said in a statement.

The test could be a game changer for hospitals, businesses, schools and others, the FDA said.

“FDA’s authorization of the first diagnostic test to be used for anyone, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or have other exposure risk factors, is a step toward the type of broad screening that may help enable the reopening of schools and workplaces,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement Friday.

The FDA’s emergency use authorization for the LabCorp test also allows the company to test pooled samples of up to five individual swabs at a time to help test more samples using fewer testing supplies, which are in high demand and short supply in some areas.

“By authorizing another test for use with pooled samples, we also further help increase the possibility that patients may be able to receive results sooner, while also conserving vital testing supplies, which are under increased demand during the pandemic,” Hahn said.

The test is only available through a prescription, the FDA said, and is only authorized for sample collection with LabCorp’s test kits or by a health provider.

The test first received an emergency use authorization in mid-March for testing only on people suspected of having Covid-19 and was not authorized for pool testing.

Mississippi governor announces more statewide restrictions following rise in Covid-19 cases

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, left, listens as State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, discusses the state's efforts to reduce and limit transmission from the COVID-19 virus, Monday, July 20, during a press briefing in Jackson.
PHOTO: Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, left, listens as State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, discusses the state's efforts to reduce and limit transmission from the COVID-19 virus, Monday, July 20, during a press briefing in Jackson.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced additional statewide restrictions today on social gatherings, bars, restaurants and alcohol sales, citing an increase in Covid-19 cases that are currently stressing the state’s hospitals. 

“We have over 1,600 new cases today. And that number is simply not sustainable. It pushes us towards almost 6,000 new cases in the last four days alone,” the governor said at a news conference. “We have to do things a little bit differently. We have to be willing to make sacrifices as a state and as a people.”

Reeves added six counties to the existing list of 23 counties that must follow stricter measures, including mask mandates. 

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said there are currently nine major medical hospitals in Mississippi with no intensive care unit beds available and some patients have had to be flown to Georgia to receive medical care.

“If we look at how Mississippi stands in the nation, among US states, we’re number nine in per capita cases in the last seven days. So, Mississippi is one of the leading states in the country as far as coronavirus goes, and in the Southeast, we’re led only by Louisiana and Florida,” the governor said. 

The governor’s executive order requires social gatherings consist of no more than 10 people indoors and no more than 20 people outdoors, including at parties in people’s homes.  

“There’s going to have to be additional sacrifices made by the people in Mississippi,” Reeves said. “None of those sacrifices are fun. I don’t like it. You don’t like it. We don’t like it. But we are where we are.”

23 Long Beach Island lifeguards test positive for Covid-19, health director says

Twenty-three lifeguards at beaches on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, tested positive for Covid-19 this week, according to the island’s health department. 

Eleven of them are from the borough of Harvey Cedars, while the other 12 are from the borough of Surf City, Long Beach Island Health Department Director Daniel Krupinski told CNN Friday.

“From what we gathered, it was from social life outside of work,” Krupinski said. “[Infections were] not related to interactions at work but outside of work.”

Krupinski said the cases and possible incident leading to them remains under investigation. The 23 positive cases have not impacted lifeguard operations to this point, he said.

NCAA president on fall championships: "We will continue our discussions in August"

NCAA president Mark Emmert on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Washington.
PHOTO: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
NCAA president Mark Emmert on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Washington.

No major decisions were made Friday by the NCAA Board of Governors regarding the status of fall championships.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement they will continue to “thoughtfully and aggressively monitor health conditions around the country and the implementation of the COVID-19 guidelines we issued last week.” The guidelines include daily self-health checks, face coverings and social distancing during training, competition and outside of athletics, and testing within 72 hours of competition. 

“The health and well-being of college athletes is the highest priority in deciding whether to proceed with our 22 NCAA championships beginning in late November,” he said in the statement. 

“We all remain deeply concerned about the infection trend lines we see. It is clear that the format of our championships will have to change if they are to be conducted in a safe and fair manner. We discussed other complexities in addition to the health and safety impacts, to include team availability, travel limitations and various local and state restrictions. We will continue our discussions in August.”

Bahamas prime minister warns of "grave health crisis" following a surge in Covid-19 cases

Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24.
PHOTO: Melissa Alcena/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24.

Following a warning of a “grave health crisis,” the Bahamian prime minister on Friday announced the country would go into an emergency weekend lockdown after a surge in Covid-19 cases since reopening on July 1. 

On Friday, the Bahamian Ministry of Health reported 42 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total so far to 316.

The country’s Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that other than essential workers, all Bahamians would be required to remain in their homes through the weekend other than to buy food and seek medical aid.

All religious services, dining in restaurants and social gatherings will be canceled through the weekend, Minnis said, adding that the Bahamas will likely continue to institute lockdowns during the weekends moving forward.

Minnis also announced he was reversing an order that went into effect Wednesday that banned commercial air travel from the US to the Bahamas.

Instead, he said, the Bahamas would not block tourists from any country but visitors would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and then test negative for the virus. 

Minnis urged Bahamians not to travel to coronavirus “hotspots” in “neighboring countries.”

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