August 1 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:04 a.m. ET, August 2, 2020
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8:23 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Delta flight returns to gate after travelers refuse to wear masks

From CNN's Jennifer Selva

A Delta flight was forced to return to the gate when two of their customers wouldn’t wear masks, according to Delta Air Lines spokesperson Emma Protis.

Protis told CNN in an email that Flight 1227 on July 23 was on its way from Detroit to Atlanta when they were forced to turn around.

Delta released the following statement to CNN:

Flight 1227 from Detroit to Atlanta returned to the gate following two customers who were non-compliant with crew instructions. After a short delay, the aircraft departed to Atlanta."

The two passengers were removed from the plane, Protis said.

According to Delta's website, "Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC."

8:12 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

No one attending the scaled-back Hajj in Saudi Arabia has contracted Covid-19, health ministry says

From CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh and Sharif Paget

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba in the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday, July 31.
Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba in the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday, July 31. AFP/Getty Images

No one attending this year’s scaled-back Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has contracted Covid-19 so far, the country’s health ministry said Saturday.  

The Muslim ritual, which started on Tuesday and ends on Sunday, normally hosts more than 2 million people, but after the coronavirus outbreak, Saudi authorities were forced to ban international visitors wishing to perform Hajj this year.

The Kingdom started preparing for the scaled down Hajj in February and after selecting 1,000 pilgrims – Saudis and foreign residents in the country, between the ages of 20 and 50 – enforced a 14-day pre-Hajj quarantine, tested them, provided trainings on social distancing and monitored the pilgrims, Dr. Abdullah Assiri, assistant deputy minister for preventative health at the Saudi Ministry of Health, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.  

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, congratulated Saudi Arabia Thursday for the steps it took, calling it a "powerful demonstration of the kinds of measures that countries can – and must – take to adapt to the new normal."

According to the Saudi health ministry, the kingdom registered 1,573 new coronavirus cases and 21 deaths on Saturday. 

Saudi Arabia has the highest number of cases in the Arab world with 277,478 infections, according to the ministry’s latest tally. 

8:18 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

South Africa coronavirus cases surpass 500,000

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

South Africa's National Department of Health reported over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total number of infections recorded in the country to more than 500,000. 

A total of 503,290 cases have been confirmed in the country, including more than 8,100 deaths, according to the Health Department.

South Africa is the hardest hit country on the continent. It has recorded the fifth highest number of cases in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

8:18 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Colombia records largest daily jump in new infections as total cases surpass 300,000

From journalist Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota

Health workers prepare to test people for coronavirus at a metro station in Medellin, Colombia, on July 6.
Health workers prepare to test people for coronavirus at a metro station in Medellin, Colombia, on July 6. Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia reported a new record of daily coronavirus cases after 10,673 new infections were recorded on Saturday, bringing the total to 306,181, its health ministry said.

The ministry also registered 225 coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest death toll in 10 days, raising the country's deaths to 10,330. 

Despite the surge of coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, the Colombian government is pushing for a lockdown of only the most affected communities, while large parts of the country have started partially reopening.

The state of emergency in Colombia is set to last through August 30.

6:51 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Brazil records more than 45,000 new coronavirus cases

From journalist Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre

Brazil recorded 45,392 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 2.7 million, its health ministry announced Saturday.

The country reported 1,088 new deaths due to the virus, raising the nationwide death toll to 93,563.

Brazil has the second most Covid-19 cases and deaths worldwide after the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

6:30 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Kuwait suspends flights from 31 countries due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Kuwait suspended flights from 31 countries Saturday due to the coronavirus pandemic, just as the country reopened its airport for operations, the state-run Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported Saturday. 

Citing a statement by Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), KUNA reported the barred list included the following countries:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • Spain

The DGCA was advised by Kuwait’s health ministry to suspend the flights until further notice, according to KUNA.

The Kuwait International Airport resumed commercial flights on Saturday as part of a phased reopening after a five-month suspension, KUNA reported.  

Kuwait’s health ministry recorded an additional 491 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the country’s overall total to 67,448 confirmed infections.

6:26 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford placed on NFL's Reserve/Covid-19 list

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford Leon Halip/Getty Images

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on the NFL's Reserve/Covid-19 list by his team. This move does not necessarily indicate that Stafford himself has tested positive for Covid-19.

The NFL describes the Reserve/Covid-19 category as a roster status created for a player who either tests positive for Covid-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

If a player falls into either of these categories, their team is required to immediately place the player on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. Per the agreed upon NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for Covid-19.

6:25 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Health experts recommend planning and caution when making decisions on sending kids back to school

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenha

Health experts are recommending planning and caution when making decisions about whether to send kids back to school, amid New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement Saturday that he will make a decision on reopening schools in New York this week.

Cuomo noted that he is monitoring the infection rate across the state. Health experts have cautioned against reopening in areas across the US where Covid-19 transmission levels are still high.

If you try to open schools in areas where there’s accelerated transmission, teachers will get sick, bus drivers will get sick, and all it's going to take is one teacher to wind up in the hospital very sick with Covid-19, and it will destabilize the entire school district, and that's what's going to happen," said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, on Saturday morning. "We're setting up teachers to fail."

Emergency medicine physician Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi said Saturday that planning is key when considering reopening. He recommends communities consider reopening once they have met certain requirements, including reaching a positivity rate less than 5%, mandating face masks, and implementing rapid testing, social distancing and regular hand washing. 

Fagbuyi noted that the measures "seem basic, but if you don't have any of these all in place at the same time, there's always a loophole, and once you have a loophole, it's game over."

In this case, "game over" can be fatal.

 If there's one child that gets sick and dies, unfortunately, that affects that whole community," said Fagbuyi.

Experts say considering these potential consequences of reopening can be helpful.

"We have to ask the question, are we willing to live with the end result of the inevitable situation where teachers are going to become infected? That's going to happen," said Dr. Mike Saag, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Are we willing to live with those consequences? Because I think that's what we're going to see in about three months from now, unfortunately, with the rates of infections that we have."

Saag said leaders have to be willing to act on plans that are made.

"Once a plan is made, the implementation has to follow in lockstep," said Saag. "If it doesn't, we should be expecting cases in schools, and it won't be news that somebody in Mississippi or somebody in another school system became infected."

Hotez recommended waiting for coronavirus cases to reach containment in states before schools reopen. Saag noted that New York’s cases dropped to near pre-epidemic levels before they considered reopening schools.

Cuomo said Saturday that even in New York, parents are understandably concerned. 

It’s not the school districts' choice, it's the parents' choice," said Cuomo. "And that’s why these plans are important."

Saag noted that it's a tough decision, "The question is, what are we willing to live with?"

6:21 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

MLB officially postpones Saturday’s Brewers vs. Cardinals game 

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

The Milwaukee Brewers play an intrasquad game during summer workouts at Miller Park in Milwaukee on July 17.
The Milwaukee Brewers play an intrasquad game during summer workouts at Miller Park in Milwaukee on July 17. Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Major League Baseball officially postponed Saturday’s game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in Milwaukee due to positive Covid-19 test results. 

The announcement was made in a statement issued by the league on Saturday. After two Cardinals players tested positive, Major League Baseball said that rapid test results indicated "one additional Cardinals player and multiple staff members may be positive."

The Philadelphia Phillies – whose��games this week were postponed out of "an abundance of caution" surrounding the Miami Marlins outbreak – will resume play on Monday against the Yankees in New York. Two of the three positive results from Phillies staffers were "false positives," according to the MLB. The league said it remains unclear whether the third individual "contracted COVID-19 from Marlins players and staff based on the timing of the positive test."

The league's statement added that the Marlins have reported no new positive test results on July 31. The team has been quarantining in Philadelphia since July 26. Miami is set to resume play against the Baltimore Orioles on August 4 in Baltimore.