July 27 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, July 28, 2020
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7:52 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

MGM Resorts warns entertainment employees to expect layoffs

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The Las Vegas Strip including Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino are seen closed on May 21 in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Strip including Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino are seen closed on May 21 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

MGM Resorts – whose properties include Mandalay Bay, the Mirage and the Borgata — has warned employees in its entertainment unit that live shows are not expected to return in August, and most furloughed workers are likely to be laid off.

“Given that it is unlikely that concerts and other entertainment events will be returning to Las Vegas in the next month, it has unfortunately impacted the employees who support those shows,” the company says in a statement to CNN. “We’ve pledged to be as transparent and supportive as possible with employees and are working to reduce the impact and help them moving forward.”

A letter to employees obtained by CNN affiliate KTNV says MGM Resorts does not think it will be possible to have live shows again prior to August 31.

“MGM Employees who are not recalled on or before August 31, 2020 will be separated from the company on that date, and it now looks like that will unfortunately include the large majority of employees working in our division,” the letter sent Monday reads.

Most resort and casino operations on the Las Vegas Strip other than live shows have reopened, with extensive social distancing and mandatory masks. The company’s letter says that employees who are laid off at the end of August can still ask for assistance through the company’s Employee Emergency Grant Fund until the end of November.

 

7:42 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Miami Marlins Covid-19 cluster could put "a halt in the progression" of the season, Fauci says

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

An aerial view of Marlins Park on July 27 in Miami.
An aerial view of Marlins Park on July 27 in Miami. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

A cluster of Covid-19 cases on the Miami Marlins baseball team has already caused the postponement of three games and is calling into question the baseball season as the pandemic surges. But the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he wants to remain optimistic.

“I don't want to be saying things like canceling the season. They'll get taken out of context for sure, but this is one of the things when we were discussing, and I was involved in some of the discussions with the owners and the physicians,” Fauci said.

“This is one of the things that could really put a halt in the progression of where you're going through the season,” he added.

“Hopefully, they'll be able to continue and hopefully this is an outlier … (and) a number of players and personnel are not infected,” he said. “So, we'll just have to see how this plays out.”

Fauci said he hopes the Marlins’ coronavirus cluster doesn’t interfere with the season because teams have put a lot of effort put into starting the season in a safe way, mainly by televising games without spectators.

Baseball players don’t have the contact with each other that basketball and football players do, Fauci noted. “I think the protocols are going to be a bit depending upon the sport,” he said.

“When we were discussing what kinds of protocols would be for the best safety precautions for the baseball players, there were certain set of things that were done. That's going to be a little bit different when you're talking about a much more contact sport.”

 

7:36 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Texas reports 675 new Covid-19 deaths

From CNN’s Haley Brink

The Texas Department of State Health Services changed the method in which Covid-19 deaths are reported Monday. Covid-19 fatalities are now being identified through the cause of death on death certificates. 

"This method allows fatalities to be counted faster with more comprehensive demographic data. Using death certificates also ensures consistent reporting across the state and enables DSHS to display fatalities by date of death, providing the public with more information about when deaths occurred," the public health agency said Monday.

The death toll Monday stands at 5,713 fatalities. Compared to the 5,038 fatalities reported Sunday, the state accrued 675 Covid-19-related deaths on Monday; however, only 44 of these deaths are newly reported, according to the public health agency.

Note: These numbers were released by the Texas Department of State Health Services, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University.

7:18 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Coronavirus vaccine can end pandemic if enough people get it, Fauci says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

If enough Americans get a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available, it could end this pandemic, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday.

Some people don’t trust vaccines, Fauci said, and there is concern about the reluctance of many people to get a Covid-19 vaccine — or any vaccine for that matter.

People must understand that this is “extremely important for their own health and, importantly, for the health of the community and health of the nation because if we get a widespread uptake of vaccine, we can put an end to this pandemic and we can create a veil of immunity in this country, preventing the infection from coming back,” he said.

Fauci said it’s important to engage on the community level, not from Washington, to convince people a vaccine is safe.

“I hope we can turn around that reluctance to get vaccinated,” he said.

Two companies are starting advanced coronavirus vaccine trials in the US. Moderna started vaccinating the first Phase 3 volunteers for its experimental vaccine Monday, and Pfizer and BioNTech said they would start a phase 2/3 trial of their vaccine globally and the US this week.

7:16 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

McConnell describes GOP stimulus proposal as "starting place" ahead of bipartisan negotiations

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ted Barrett and Ian Sloan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday described the GOP stimulus proposal as “a starting place,” acknowledging that Democrats will be needed to get anything to the President’s desk.

“Every bill has to start somewhere. Republicans are in the majority in the Senate. This is a starting place. You’ll have plenty of stories to cover along the way as we have these discussions back and forth across party lines and with the administration,” he said at a briefing Monday following the roll out of the proposal.

Asked by a reporter why there is no money in the bill for election assistance, McConnell responded, "We’ve already appropriated an awful lot of money for election assistance. What we're not going to do is federalize the American election system, which is basically conducted in every single state in very different ways. We provided plenty of financial assistance, but we're not going to tell them how to conduct their elections during the pandemic or in my view in the future either. That’s why there’s not additional money in there for election assistance." 

McConnell was asked about how the bill text includes $1.75 billion for the design and construction of a Washington, DC, headquarters facility for the FBI, and if it is possible that there could be a $2 billion provision included that he didn’t know about. 

The majority leader would not say if he supported its inclusion and instead said the administration insisted on that element. 

“Well, in regard to that proposal, obviously we had to have an agreement with the administration in order get started. And they will have to answer the question as to why they insisted on that,” McConnell said.

Asked if he supports it being in there, he said, “You’ll have to ask them why they insisted that be included.”

McConnell was first asked why the money for the FBI headquarters was in the bill.

He responded. “I’m not sure it is.”

An appropriations aide to McConnell then interjected and explained off camera to everyone in the room: “There’s a limitation to honing specifically to Covid-related matters, so we’ll get more information for you.”

7:12 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Testing company Quest says it's still struggling to process coronavirus tests quickly

From CNN's Maggie Fox

People volunteer for Covid-19 surveillance testing using the Quest Diagnostics self administered PCR test on on July 12 in Livingston, Montana.
People volunteer for Covid-19 surveillance testing using the Quest Diagnostics self administered PCR test on on July 12 in Livingston, Montana. William Campbell/Getty Images

Medical testing company Quest Diagnostics said Monday it is still struggling to handle the enormous demand for coronavirus tests, with top priority patients taking more than two days to get results back and all other people having to wait seven days.

“During the past week we surpassed 9.2 million COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test results delivered to date; received the FDA’s first emergency use authorization for the use of pooled specimens with a commercial molecular diagnostic test; and saw capacity slightly exceed demand for the first time since early June,” Quest said in a statement.

“We expect that as our capacity continues to grow, we will be able to return to average turnaround times in the range of one day for priority 1 patients and three days for most other patients. We have steadily added capacity since we began to provide services in early March, but it will take time to add more.”

Quest said it has the capacity to run 135,000 tests a day to diagnose coronavirus and is working to get that up to 150,000 a day. Pooling specimens might help increase that even more, the company said.

“The laboratory industry's ability to add testing capacity is limited by a range of issues. The most significant hurdle we face now is limits to complex testing platforms and chemical reagents required to perform testing. We appreciate the efforts of our suppliers, who are working to provide these goods as quickly as they can to us and other lab providers amid rising global demand,” Quest said.

 

7:09 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Fauci: We're going to have further deaths and suffering "unless we get our arms around this"

Dr. Anthony Fauci and CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Source: CNN

Closing bars, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, and practicing hand hygiene and physical distancing can make a difference in the spread of coronavirus in the US, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert.

"The fundamental things of avoiding crowds, physical separation, universal wearing of masks, closing the bars, hand hygiene — those things matter and they can make a difference. Hopefully we'll appreciate that and do it in a very strict way," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer today.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, expressed concern about the trajectory of deaths in the US.

Asked if tens of thousands of Americans could die in the next few months, he said, "Well, that is conceivable. I mean, that's something we hope to be able to avoid, but if you look at the deaths as they're occurring right now, about a thousand per day, unless we get our arms around this, get it suppressed, we're going to have further suffering and further death and that's the reason why as I have often said many, many times, there are things we can do right now in the absence of a vaccine that could turn us around."

Watch:

6:35 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Brazil records more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

Health workers take residents' blood samples at a testing site for Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, July 17. 
Health workers take residents' blood samples at a testing site for Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, July 17.  Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Brazil's health ministry recorded 23,284 new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the country's total cases to 2,442,375.

The ministry also recorded 614 new fatalities, bringing Brazil's death toll to 87,618.

This comes as the world races to secure a vaccine, with São Paulo state's Gov. João Doria on Monday saying that he expects Brazilians to receive vaccinations against the virus in January if the current trials are successful.

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro officially returned to work on Monday morning at the Planalto Palace after testing negative for Covid-19 on Saturday.

6:31 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

MLB commissioner says Marlins will not play their two games in Miami

From CNN's Jill Martin

In an interview on MLB Network, league commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Miami Marlins will not play their games that were scheduled Monday or Tuesday in Miami.

“We’re doing some additional testing,” Manfred said. “If the testing results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles.”

Some background: A number of players and coaches on the Marlins tested positive for Covid-19.

The Marlins' home opener against the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees game at the Philadelphia Phillies, both scheduled for Monday night, have been postponed, MLB said, as the league conducts more coronavirus testing.

Eleven Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for the virus, ESPN reports. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the team is staying in Philadelphia, where it just played a three-game series, pending the results of a new round of testing. 

CNN's Wayne Sterling and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.