This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Monday, July 27th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, and professional sports (without fans). A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Here's the latest:

4 p.m. Due to concerns about coronavirus, this year's 9/11 memorial ceremony in Lower Manhattan will not include family members reading the names of victims on stage, one of the defining and heartrending features of the annual tribute to those killed at the World Trade Center towers during the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Instead, organizers will play a recording of names of those who died during both 9/11 and the 1993 bombing of the towers, according to a spokesperson for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Relatives, however, will still be invited to gather on the memorial plaza in accordance with the state's social distancing rules.

News of the change in format was reported by the NY Post, which obtained an invitation sent to family members.

“As we continue to develop plans for this year’s 9/11 anniversary, our hope is to gather on the Memorial plaza, adhering to state and federal guidelines as they relate to social distancing and public gatherings,” read the email, which said the decision was made out of "an abundance of caution."

The memorial, an 8-acre site at the former site of the Twin Towers, reopened this month after closing in mid-March. The museum, however, has remained closed.

Jim McCaffrey, who lost his brother-in-law, FDNY Battalion Chief Orio Palmer,told NY1 that he was grateful that some form of tribute would continue nonetheless.

"If they didn't have it this year, it would give them maybe license to never have it again, which I think would be a terrible thing," he said.

Facing Pressure To Delay School Reopening, De Blasio Says Postponing Will Not Help

2 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday pushed back against mounting calls to delay the start of the public school year to give education officials more time to install the necessary safety precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

"It doesn’t add to the equation to delay," he said during his morning press briefing.

Despite the recent death of an otherwise healthy 9-year-old Florida girl from coronavirus and a large new study from South Korea that found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as much as adults do, the mayor also said he was still committed to offering some in-person instruction for all grades.

De Blasio is sticking to his school reopening plan amid growing criticism that it does not go far enough in ensuring the safety of students, teachers and staff. New York City is seeking to reopen schools under a hybrid model that allows for some in-person learning and online instruction. Families are free to opt-out of sending their kids to school and instead do full-time remote learning.

The mayor has not announced a specific start date yet, saying that he may make that decision as late as September. The entire plan from the city must still be approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

At least two city officials have come up with alternative proposals for reopening that include delaying the start of school.

A report released Monday by Jumaane Williams, the city's public advocate, noted that several of the nation’s largest school districts, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston, have delayed in-person school reopenings by at least six weeks.

"At the minimum, New York City must do the same," the report said.

Williams's report argued that the reopening of schools should occur in stages, with only elementary schools students returning to the classroom in October. By allowing older students, who are thought to do better at remote learning, to remain at home, elementary students could make use of the space at empty middle schools and high schools.

“We believe our plan moves forward with safety, guided by science and framed in justice and equity," Williams said Monday during a press conference on Zoom.

On Saturday, Brooklyn Councilmember Mark Treyger, the council's education committee chair, unveiled his own proposal that called for most high schoolers to engage in full-time remote learning. Like Williams, he has also called for the start of school to be delayed.

In an interview with Gothamist, Treyger called the mayor's plan "incomplete."

"And it does not rise to the occasion of the severity of the moment that we're in,” he said. “I believe we need a much bolder plan. We need a moon shot. We need to keep our city safe and obviously contain the virus while still prioritizing education, not just childcare for New York City's most vulnerable children.”

The mayor has argued that the pending authorization by the state along with a need to look at the most current virus data has prevented him from making any clearer pronouncements about school reopenings.

On Monday, he said it would be "irresponsible" for him to make any decisions in July.

"That's what we've learned from looking around the country, make the final decisions based on the facts at that time."

Biggest Covid Vaccine Trial Begins, Republicans Set To Unveil New Stimulus Bill

The largest trial to determine whether an experimental vaccine is effective and safe against the novel coronavirus begins on Monday, according to an announcement by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. biotech company Moderna.

The phase 3 clinical trial involving a vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the NIH, is expected to enroll 30,000 adult volunteers at about 89 sites around the country. Half of those in the study will receive two shots of the vaccine, while the other half will receive two shots of a saltwater placebo. Prior trials of the potential vaccine have been promising, with subjects having a strong immune response and only minor side effects.

“Although face coverings, physical distancing and proper isolation and quarantine of infected individuals and contacts can help us mitigate SARS-CoV-2 spread, we urgently need a safe and effective preventive vaccine to ultimately control this pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, in a statement.

“This scientifically rigorous, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is designed to determine if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 and for how long such protection may last.”

In a separate press release, Moderna said it was on track to delivering about 500 million doses per year and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year beginning in 2021. The company has a $483 million contract with the federal government to develop a vaccine. A Moderna official has told U.S. lawmakers that its vaccine would not be sold at cost, raising questions about affordability and the right of companies receiving federal funding to profit from their efforts.

Following news of the trial, Bloomberg and CNN both reported that National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for COVID-19, according to unnamed sources. If confirmed, O’Brien would be the closest official to President Donald Trump to be infected with the virus.

To date, the U.S. has reported 4.2 million coronavirus cases and at least 143,000 deaths. On Sunday, Nevada, Texas and South Carolina broke records for their seven-day averages for fatalities.

As the virus rages, concerns about the economic toll are deepening as a supplemental unemployment benefit of $600 a week are set to expire this week. Republicans, who have objected to extending the payments, are expected to announce a $1 trillion package on Monday.

But sensing the urgency and a long battle ahead with Democrats, who are seeking a much more generous stimulus package, the White House has proposed passing a narrow relief bill in the meantime.

Speaking on ABC on Sunday, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff said, “Honestly I see us being able to provide unemployment insurance, maybe a retention credit to keep people from being displaced or brought back into the workplace, helping with our schools — if we can do that along with liability protections perhaps we put that forward, get that passed as we negotiate on the rest of the bill in the weeks to come."