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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8:14 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

US reports more than 67,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States reported 67,023 new coronavirus cases and 1,259 new deaths on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 4,562,038 Covid-19 infections in the US and at least 153,314 people have died.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN's map is tracking the US cases:


8:14 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Japan sees highest daily coronavirus infections for a third day in a row

From CNN's Junko Ogura

Japan reported 1,579 new Covid-19 cases and five deaths on Friday, according to the health ministry.

It's the third day in a row that the country has reported its highest daily infections.

The total number of confirmed cases in Japan stands at 36,548, with 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. There have been 1,024 deaths, with 13 from the cruise ship.

"We are closely watching the situation with a sense of high alert," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Friday, adding that they were focusing on ramping up testing.
"We will conduct tests extensively to detect and treat virus carriers. Preventing aggravation of illness is also extremely important," he said.

The capital Tokyo also reported its highest daily increase on Friday, with 463 cases. That brings the total number of infections in the city to 12,691, with more than half of those from July.

"If the situation gets worse, we'll have to consider declaring a state of emergency just for Tokyo," said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. "I want to ask everyone to take action so that we can avoid further measures."

Koike urged Tokyo residents to avoid unnecessary trips in summer holiday in August.

12:22 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Leading medical journal calls widespread false information on the coronavirus a “threat to public health”

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Widespread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic fueled by the internet “has resulted in difficulties in discerning truth from fiction” and is a growing problem, The Lancet wrote in an editorial published on Friday.

“This so-called infodemic, defined by World Health Organzation as an “overabundance of information -- some accurate and some not -- that makes it harder for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when needed,” has become a major threat to public health,” the leading medical journal wrote.

The Lancet compared dealing with “the infodemic” to the difficulty with handling the coronavirus pandemic itself.

It’s causing a “growing mistrust in science and experts” and “poor and confusing responses by political and government leaders,” the journal wrote, pointing out that the problem is compounded by some people’s use of social media as their only source of information.
The publication described those spreading misinformation on Covid-19 as “highly organized political or pseudoscientific bodies that are experienced at using nefarious techniques to propagate their narratives” and warned that they’re targeting vulnerable populations.

These types of misinformation campaigns are nothing new. Recent examples include populist politicians, the anti-vaccination movement, climate change deniers and the tobacco industry, The Lancet said, and they’re often motivated by political and financial gain.

The journal is calling for a concerted, global effort by health organizations, governments and the media to combat the spread of disinformation.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have recently started removing bogus accounts and posts containing false and dangerous information about the pandemic.

But The Lancet said too many “bogus cures and conspiracy theories” remain.

The pandemic will worsen with rising infection rates and deaths if people are confused about unproven treatments, fake cures or what is needed to get the outbreak under control.

“The key to infodemics is not to produce even more information, but to address the environmental and social factors that make spreading misinformation easy,” the publication concluded.

12:22 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

There aren't enough Americans wearing masks, coronavirus researcher says

From CNN's Andrea Kane

Pedestrians wearing masks walk along the strand at the Muscle beach section of Venice in Los Angeles on Friday, July 3.
Pedestrians wearing masks walk along the strand at the Muscle beach section of Venice in Los Angeles on Friday, July 3. Richard Vogel/AP/FILE

There are not nearly enough Americans using masks to bend the curve on the coronavirus infection rate, the head of one of the main teams forecasting the pandemic said Friday.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) revised its forecast this week for coronavirus deaths because of rising infection rates and because too few Americans were using face masks regularly, IHME’s Dr. Chris Murray told CNN.

This week’s IHME forecast of 230,822 US deaths from the virus by November is up about 11,000 from last week’s projection of 219,864 deaths.

“There's daily data that comes in on mask-wearing in each state in the US, and that's showing a small bump — maybe about a five percentage point increase in mask wearing,” Murray said. “So we're getting close to about 55% of Americans wearing a mask. That's good news, but of course it's a long way to go before we get to the levels like Singapore has at 95%, which would really save a lot of lives in this country.”

The model projects that if almost all Americans wore face masks, the number of deaths by November would drop by around 32,000, to just below 199,000 deaths.

Murray says the “good news” is that cases are peaking in Florida, Texas, California and somewhat in Arizona, which is bringing their numbers down a bit.

“But we're seeing numbers going up faster in a whole series of states in the Midwest. And that's driving up our numbers. Places, also, like Georgia and North Carolina are going up faster than we expected,” he said.

8:14 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Mexico reports more than 8,400 new coronavirus cases

From Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Mexico recorded a new daily record of 8,458 new coronavirus cases on Friday bringing the total number of infections to 424,637, its health ministry announced.

The ministry also recorded 688 new coronavirus related deaths, raising the total death toll to 46,688.

Mexico surpassed the United Kingdom's total number of coronavirus deaths, becoming the country with third highest number of Covid-19 fatalities globally, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

12:22 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Georgia governor extends public health state of emergency and renews Covid-19 restriction

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

In this Friday, July 17 file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol, in Atlanta.
In this Friday, July 17 file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol, in Atlanta. John Bazemore/AP

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed two executive orders extending existing Covid-19 safety measures and extending the Public Health State of Emergency, he said today in a press release.

The Public Health State of Emergency now runs through Sept. 10.

The executive order extending existing Covid-19 safety measures requires social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person, requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile, and outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, among other provisions. The order runs through Aug. 15.

In the release, Kemp encouraged Georgians to wear a mask, wash their hands often and practice social distancing to help flatten the curve. 

There is no mask requirement in Georgia. Earlier this month Kemp rescinded local mask mandates and sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over her the mask requirement for the city.

12:22 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

About 7% of participants in British study tested positive for coronavirus antibodies

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Paramedic Jess Baddams poses while holding a blood sample during an antibody testing programme at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub of the West Midlands Ambulance Service in Birmingham on June 5.
Paramedic Jess Baddams poses while holding a blood sample during an antibody testing programme at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub of the West Midlands Ambulance Service in Birmingham on June 5. Simon Dawson/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

About 7% of participants in a British study tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, according to results from the first month of the nationwide study. 

The test results, which indicate previous infection with coronavirus, ranged from 10.4% of Londoners to about 4.4% of people living in the southwest of England and Scotland.

The widespread United Kingdom serology, or antibody, study uses volunteers for a much larger, ongoing health study called the UK Biobank. UK Biobank has collected samples and health information from 500,000 volunteers for research.

The researchers have recruited more than 20,000 volunteers from regions across the UK for the coronavirus antibody study. They are being asked to provide monthly blood samples that the Oxford University-based Target Discovery Institute will test for the antibodies. 

The first round of results focused on 17,776 participant samples, taken in May and June. Nationally, 7.1% were positive for Covid-19 antibodies, the researchers reported on the Biobank website. Just under 11% of people under 30 had antibodies, compared to 5.4% of those over 70.

The results confirm other studies that indicate Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups appeared to be hardest hit by Covid-19, which is consistent with findings from the United States.

Among Black participants, about 11.3% tested positive for antibodies, as opposed to 6.9% of White participants. Researchers noted that the differences between ethnic groups could not be fully explained by age or place of residence. But previous infection was also higher among those living in lower socioeconomic areas.  

The team says that their continued research will provide insight into the way antibody levels change over time, hopefully answering questions about immunity, reinfection and the impact of stay-at-home orders. 

12:22 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020

Indiana student tests positive for Covid-19 on first day of school

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

As an Indiana school district welcomed students to the 2020-21 academic year, one of their students tested positive for Covid-19 on the first day of class, according to a letter sent to parents.

The Hancock County Health Department notified Greenfield-Central Junior High School Thursday afternoon that one of their students, who had attended part of the school day, tested positive for Covid-19, Superintendent Harold Olin said in a letter.

Olin said the school enacted its "Positive COVID-19 Test Protocol" once school officials became aware of the positive result.

School officials immediately isolated the student within the school's clinic, and they examined the student's schedule, including transportation and extracurricular activities, to determine who had come in close contact.