July 27 coronavirus news

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11:28 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Bolivia tops 70,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Thornton Chandler

A health worker takes a sample from a senior citizen at a nursing home to test her for Covid-19 on July 17 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
A health worker takes a sample from a senior citizen at a nursing home to test her for Covid-19 on July 17 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Dico Solis/AP

Bolivia's health ministry reported 1,752 new Covid-19 cases Monday, bringing the country's total to 71,181.

The ministry also reported 64 new fatalities from the virus, raising the country's death toll to 2,647.

There are at least 15 government officials in Bolivia who have announced they have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bolivia's interm president Jeanine Áñez, who previously tested positive, announced Monday she was discharged from the hospital after recovering from the virus.

11:10 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Late-stage vaccine trials can't be sped up, expert says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Vaccine maker Moderna started its final, phase 3 trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States Monday, and this is the stage that can’t be sped up, a top vaccine expert said.

Development of a coronavirus vaccine has been extremely fast so far, Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN.

“Typically vaccine development programs take 15 years on average. This vaccine development program is probably going to take a year and a half,” Offit said.

But the last part, the Phase 3 trial, will have to be taken more slowly, he said.

“The proof is in the pudding. The Phase 3 trial’s the pudding and now you’re going to test hopefully 10, 15 or 20 thousand people that will get this vaccine, 15,000 people that will get placebo and you’ll see to what extent this is really safe and you’ll see to what extent it’s effective.”

Data on whether the Moderna vaccine prevents infection should be available by the end of the year, and, if all goes well, it should be available for use by early 2021, although the vaccination process will take months.

“I’m willing to wait to see the data,” Offit said.

Mitigate risk: Offit said the Phase 3 trial helps to mitigate any sense of risk. “If you test it on 10,000 or 15,000 people and you find that it’s safe, you can say it doesn’t have an uncommon side-effect problem,” he said. But very rare side-effects won’t become obvious until after the vaccine is on the market, he said.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech also said Monday they were about to start a phase 2/3 trial of their experimental coronavirus vaccine in the US.

10:51 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Mexico nears 400,000 coronavirus cases, the second highest in Latin America

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Medical workers handle a test tube containing a coronavirus test swab on July 22 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Medical workers handle a test tube containing a coronavirus test swab on July 22 in Mexico City, Mexico. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Mexico recorded 4,973 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the country's total to 395,489.

On Friday, Mexico surpassed Peru's total number of coronavirus cases, making it the country with the second highest number of infections in Latin America and sixth highest worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Brazil, where cases have now surpassed 2.4 million, has reported the highest number of infections in Latin America.

The Mexican health ministry also recorded 342 new fatalities from the virus, bringing the country's death toll to 44,022.

CNN is tracking worldwide Covid-19 cases here:

10:37 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Nearly 7 million more children could suffer from acute malnutrition due to Covid-19 pandemic, analysis says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Nearly 7 million more children worldwide could suffer from acute malnutrition due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an analysis published Monday in the Lancet medical journal. 

Disruptions in mobility and food systems caused by even relatively short lockdowns will result in a decrease of nearly 8% of gross national income (GNI) per capita compared to pre-pandemic projections.

A drop in the GNI per capita is associated with a rise in acute malnutrition or child wasting, which is low weight for height and a strong predictor of mortality among children under five, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 

These projections suggest a 14% increase in the number of children under 5 with moderate or severe wasting, meaning an additional 6.7 million could be affected this year compared to pre-pandemic projections, UNICEF said.

Nearly 130,000 additional deaths from wasting in children under 5 are projected, with more than half of them occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Increased risk of malnutrition: Covid-19  "is expected to increase the risk of all forms of malnutrition," the team at the Standing Together for Nutrition consortium wrote, adding their estimates are likely to be conservative as the duration of the pandemic is unknown. 

Nutrition services hit: Covid-19 has resulted in a 30% reduction of essential nutrition services in low and middle-income countries, leaders of four United Nations agencies said in accompanying comments. Some of these countries have seen a complete shutdown of these services during lockdown. The UN estimates a minimum of $2.4 billion is needed to treat and prevent child wasting. 

Call for urgent action: The UN called for five "urgent actions" to protect children's right to nutrition during the pandemic, including maintaining school meals and expanding social protections that include diet services. 

"We are issuing a call for action to protect children’s right to nutrition in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires a swift response and investments from governments, donors, the private sector, and the UN," four UN leaders wrote in a commentary in the Lancet.
9:45 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

China reports highest number of local Covid-19 cases since early March for second day in a row

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

China reported 68 novel coronavirus cases on Monday, including 64 locally transmitted infections, the country's National Health Commission said on Tuesday morning.

This is the second consecutive day that China has reported the highest number of local cases since March 6. On Monday, the country reported 57 new local infections for Sunday.

Among the 64 locally transmitted cases reported on Tuesday, 57 were in Xinjiang, six in Liaoning, and one in Beijing. China also reported a further 34 new asymptomatic infections, which are not included in its overall tally.

The far western region of Xinjiang has seen a fresh coronavirus outbreak in its capital Urumqi since July 15, after nearly five months of no new cases.

The total number of confirmed infections across China now stands at 83,959, according to the National Health Commission. The death toll remains at 4,634.

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.