August 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brad Lendon, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:09 a.m. ET, August 4, 2020
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1:38 p.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Birx warns Covid-19 is "extraordinarily widespread" in the US. Here's a look at the latest figures. 

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and John King

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As back-to-school season gears up in the US, a top health expert says the country has entered a "new phase" of the coronavirus pandemic with cases rising in both urban and rural areas.

"But I want to be very clear," Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told CNN on Sunday. "What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. So everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus and that is why we keep saying, no matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance."

So far, more than 4.6 million Americans have been infected and more than 150,000 have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US recorded nearly 1.9 million cases in July alone. And the country's death toll is now projected to reach at least 173,000 by August 22, according to a new composite forecast from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Watch CNN’s John King break down the latest Covid-19 figures and trends in the US:

12:33 p.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Columbus schools will start year completely remotely

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Public schools in Columbus, Ohio, will start the school year completely remotely for grades K-12 until at least Oct. 27, the end of the first quarter.

The district initially had planned to for pre-K-8 students to start the year in a hybrid learning model, with high school students in an all virtual mode.

For the district's one year-round school, Woodcrest Elementary, virtual classes will begin on July 29 and go until Oct. 26.

According to a news release, the change in plans was made after public health conditions in Franklin County got worse, "especially within the communities that Columbus City Schools serves, since the initial plan announcement."

"Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System currently rates Franklin County at Level 3, Red, indicating very high exposure and spread of COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases is rapidly increasing, and the level of risk is high even with strict health and safety protocols in place for our schools,” according to the release.

By CNN's count, 61 of the largest 101 districts in the US are now starting the school year with all online learning.

12:50 p.m. ET, August 3, 2020

More than 500 new Covid-19 cases reported in Pennsylvania

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Pennsylvania's Department of Health is monitoring two counties that have recently had an increase in coronavirus cases.

Allegheny County had an increase of 68 cases and Philadelphia County had an increase of 71 cases, according to the state's Department of Health.

As CNN previously reported, an alert was sent to health care providers about the changing Covid-19 case demographics in the state, as there are more cases in younger age groups. 

The state added 565 new cases of coronavirus, according to the health department. Pennsylvania reported no new deaths as a result of coronavirus.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.


1:40 p.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Brazilian president’s chief of staff tests positive for Covid-19

From Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo

Andressa Anholete/Getty Images
Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

The Brazilian Presidency’s Chief of Staff Office Minister Walter Braga Netto, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, according to his office.

He is the 7th minister out of 23 to test positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. 

According to a release from his press office, the minister is well and asymptomatic and will work remotely starting Monday.

Recently Marcos Pontes, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, and first lady Michelle Bolsonaro also tested positive.

Minister of Woman, Family, and Human Rights Damares Alves did her Covid-19 test today and is awaiting results, as well as Agriculture Minister Teresa Cristina.

President Bolsonaro tested positive to Covid-19 on July 7, but since his last test result on July 25 where he tested negative, he is out of isolation and back to his activities.


11:48 a.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Randomized coronavirus testing to become mandatory at White House complex

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Randomized coronavirus testing will become mandatory for staff of the Executive Office of the President as of today, a White House official tells CNN.  

“As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary," this official said.

Some background: President Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, according to an official familiar with what happened.

O'Brien's diagnosis marks the highest-ranking Trump administration official known to have tested positive. It's unclear when O'Brien last met with Trump. Their last public appearance together was over two weeks ago during a visit to US Southern Command in Miami on July 10.

1:43 p.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Florida reports more than 4,700 new resident Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

 Joe Raedle/Getty Images
 Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The state of Florida is reporting at least 4,716 new cases of Covid-19 among Floridians and 73 additional resident deaths on Monday, according to Florida Department of Health (DOH).  

Florida’s state-supported Covid-19 testing sites in the path of Tropical Storm Isaias on Florida’s east coast are now slated to reopen since temporarily closing since Thursday evening in anticipation of Hurricane Isaias, CNN has reported. 

There are now 486,384 cases among residents and 491,884 total cases in the state, including out-of-state residents, DOH reports. Florida has reported 7,157 resident deaths to date, DOH data shows.

There are currently 7,969 people hospitalized in Florida with Covid-19, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

You can see more of Florida's daily Covid-19 data here.  

Note: These numbers were released by Florida's public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project 

11:41 a.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Emergency department visits decreased by up to 63.5% during pandemic, study finds

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Emergency department visits decreased by up to 63.5% during the first onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic in five states, while hospital admissions increased by up to 149%, new research shows.

Dr. Molly Jeffery of the Mayo Clinic and colleagues aimed to understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hospitalizations. The team focused on 24 emergency departments in five large health systems in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina from the beginning of January to the end of April. 

What the research discovered: Jeffery’s team found that emergency department visits decreased by a range of 41.5% in Colorado to 63.5% in New York.

The rates plunged in March, when there was an increase in national public health messaging about the risk of Covid-19, they reported in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.

The researchers suggest this could be due to fears of being exposed to coronavirus in the ED, concerns about extended wait times or a sense of civic responsibility to conserve health care resources needed to respond to the pandemic. 

During the same four month period, more people were being admitted to the hospital at the same time coronavirus infections were on the rise. The increases ranged from 149% in New York to 22% in North Carolina. The team noted that admission rates remained stable until coronavirus rates in each area began to rise. 

Next steps: Because the researchers did not look into which emergency department visits were for Covid-19, they say further research is needed to understand the association between the virus and other emergency department visits. They also note that the results of the study may not generalize to populations beyond the five health systems studied. 

They say that public health care leaders and systems should encourage those who are experiencing serious symptoms to visit the emergency department and communicate with the public about the best avenue to receive care during the pandemic. 

This fits in with other research suggesting that people were staying away from hospitals and were not calling 911 for health emergencies even when they needed to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June that non-coronavirus emergency visits across the US were down by 42% from last year.

“Persons experiencing chest pain, loss of motor function, altered mental status or other life-threatening issues should seek immediate emergency care regardless of the pandemic,” the CDC advised.


11:27 a.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Maryland added 870 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

There were 870 new Covid-19 cases recorded Monday by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), while the state added eight more deaths attributed to the virus.

In total, Maryland now counts 91,144 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,389 deaths, according to the MDH data.

The statewide positivity rate dropped from 4.6% to 4.36%.


11:12 a.m. ET, August 3, 2020

Portugal reports no coronavirus deaths for first time since March

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Lisbon

Portugal has reported no new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours for the first time since March 16, the country’s health authorities announced on Monday.

“Zero deaths is for us a motive of great satisfaction,” the Portuguese Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales told journalists at a press conference on Monday.

The number of new deaths had slowly been declining despite small outbreaks in the Lisbon area in the past few weeks and currently stands at 1,738.

Moved by the news, an emotional Lacerda Sales confessed it had been “very difficult” to relay bad news over the past few months and said the government “was very happy that this has happened.”

“We look at these numbers with humility and with caution because we know that, from on moment to the next, this situation can reverse itself,” he said. “I wanted to convey this message of trust and hope for the Portuguese, but to also ask you for an individual and collective effort so that you help us maintain this process and guarantee that we have many more days with zero deaths.”