August 5 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, August 6, 2020
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9:31 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

43% of Florida's Covid-19 deaths linked to long-term care facilities

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

In Florida, 43% of all Covid-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.

To date, 3,155 out of 7,402 total deaths are associated with long-term care facilities in the state of Florida, according to the department's data.

The list of long-term care facilities with active Covid-19 cases is available here, and the list of long-term care facilities with deaths is available here, which is updated weekly.

9:30 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Moderna will price coronavirus vaccine between $32 and $37 per dose

From CNN Business's Paul La Monica

Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree living in Ormond Beach, receives his first injection as a participant in a Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4, 2020 in DeLand, Florida.
Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree living in Ormond Beach, receives his first injection as a participant in a Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4, 2020 in DeLand, Florida. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Moderna, one of the companies working on a treatment for Covid-19, said Wednesday that it's on track to finish enrollment for a phase three study of its vaccine by the end of September and plans to eventually price it below $40 per dose for most customers.

The biotech, which has received funding from the United States federal government's Operation Warp Speed program, also said it had about $400 million of customer deposits for a potential supply of its mRNA-1273 vaccine.

People have also been closely watching to see what drug companies plan to charge for treatments after biotech Gilead Sciences revealed in June that its remdesivir drug would cost $520 a vial, or $3,120 for a five-day course of six vials, for people covered by private heath insurance plans.

But Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel vowed during a conference call with analysts that its vaccine would be affordable. 

"We are working with governments around the world and others to ensure the vaccine is accessible regardless of ability to pay. And we will be responsible on price...during the pandemic," Bancel said, adding that deals for smaller amounts of the vaccine have so far cost between $32 and $37 per dose and that Moderna would charge lower prices for higher volumes of mRNA-1273.

Moderna made the announcement in its earnings release Wednesday morning. The company posted a loss that was smaller than expected but revenue that topped forecasts.

Shares of Moderna fell about 2% on the news, but the stock has soared more than 300% this year on hopes that it will be able to develop a successful coronavirus vaccine.

The company has also come under scrutiny from some investors as several insiders have sold stock as it has surged.

Moderna is just one of several companies racing to come up with a vaccine. Shares of another smaller biotech, Novavax, soared 20% Wednesday after it announced promising clinical trial results of its own.

9:32 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

HHS announces $1 billion agreement with Johnson & Johnson for potential Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

Johnson & Johnson headquarters stands in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Saturday, August 1.
Johnson & Johnson headquarters stands in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Saturday, August 1. Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The US Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced it will own 100 million doses of the Covid-19 investigational vaccine Johnson & Johnson is developing. 

In a statement, HHS said the doses from the "large-scale manufacturing and delivery" agreement could be used in clinical trials or as part of a Covid-19 vaccination campaign under the guidance of the US Food and Drug Administration.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is committing more than $1 billion for this agreement, Johnson & Johnson said in a separate statement. The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses of the vaccine candidate under a subsequent agreement, the company added.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in the statement the federal government is assembling a "portfolio of vaccines" under Operation Warp Speed and this latest partnership will increase the chances the US "will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021."

"Today’s investment represents the next step in supporting Janssen’s vaccine candidate all the way through manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people," Azar said. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is owned by Johnson & Johnson.

Manufacturing will take place while clinical trials are underway to expedite the traditional vaccine development timelines, according to the statement.

The doses would be available to the American people at no cost if used in a Covid-19 vaccination campaign. However, health care professionals could charge for the cost of administering the vaccine even if the doses are purchased by the government, according to HHS.

Janssen has received about $456 million for clinical trials and other vaccine development activities from BARDA, according to HHS.

9:25 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

"Right now, I am actually afraid for my life," Georgia teacher says 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Amy Forehand.
Amy Forehand. CNN

A first-grade teacher says she just found out yesterday that her county will proceed with allowing kindergarten and first-grade students back into her school. 

Amy Forehand, a teacher in Gwinnett County, Georgia, told CNN's "New Day" that she had been preparing for virtual learning and now has “a lot of fears” about the news that students will be returning on August 26. 

“I love my job. No teacher that I know wants to do digital learning. That's not why we signed up for this profession. Staring at a computer screen, I get it, that's not ideal. But right now, I am actually afraid for my life. And I'm not going to be able to teach any children if I am having to take extended medical leave or if I die,” she said. 

Forehand said she has asthma and is worried about her health and the well-being of her family and 2-year-old son.  

“Fears and anxiety are really high right now as we are trying to contemplate what this is going to look like for our students and for us and our safety,” she said.

Forehand said that the physical space of her school is not prepared yet for social distancing and has not been equipped with any sanitizing stations. 

“At this point in time, I have 24 beautiful 6-year-olds on my roster and I have six tables. That does not allow for social distancing,” she said. “School buses, we’ve been told, just due to logistics, there is no social distancing. Our main hallway, the way our school is laid out, we can't even have one-way directions in the hallway. And there is a very large number of students that will be coming back shortly that we will be cramming in a very small area.”

The teacher said she isn’t comfortable with the situation right now, but she is still optimistic that something will work out. 

Watch the interview:

8:57 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

All pubs and restaurants to close in Scottish city after "significant" local outbreak

From Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

All pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants are to close in the Scottish city of Aberdeen by 5 p.m. local time Wednesday after a "significant" local outbreak in the area.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures during a new conference today, saying that the high number of new cases "considerably heightens our concern that we are dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen."

According to Sturgeon, 54 cases associated with the cluster have now been confirmed. The outbreak was first identified by the local health authority last week. Sturgeon said that despite the main link in the cluster having been identified, more than 20 licensed venues "are now part of the contact tracing picture."

A further 64 cases were confirmed for the whole of Scotland on Wednesday.

New safety measures include:

  • Residents in the city will no longer be able to go into each other's houses.
  • Extended household groups may remain but may only include one other adult who is living alone.
  • Residents are advised to not travel further 5 miles from their home for recreational purposes.
  • People from other parts of Scotland have been advised not to travel to the area. 

The measures will remain in place for a seven day period, according to Sturgeon and will be extended if necessary. Sturgeon acknowledged that this was "extremely unwelcome news for the people of Aberdeen." 

"The last thing we want to do is reimpose this type of restrictions. But this outbreak is reminding us just how highly infectious Covid is," she added.

Sturgeon emphasized that this "is also about doing everything we can to ensure that our children can return to school next week."

8:56 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

University of Connecticut cancels football season because of Covid-19

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

The University of Connecticut Department of Athletics announced today that its football program will cancel all competition for the 2020-21 school year.

"After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we've decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season," director of athletics David Benedict said in a statement. "The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk."

According to the press release, members of the team will remain enrolled in classes, either virtually or in person, as full-time students at the school.  They will also retain access to facilities and support services in accordance with NCAA rules, ensuring that student-athletes remain on track academically and developmentally.    

"We engaged and listened to the concerns of our football student-athletes and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being," head football coach Randy Edsall said. "Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season."

The football student-athletes added this in the statement. 

"As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020. We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, we have not had the optimal time to train mentally & physically to be properly prepared to compete this season. We love this game and love competing. We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome."
8:55 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

US schools find there's "no one size fits all" approach to reopening

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

The start of the new school year is already proving that there is no one way to reopen schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that returning to classes does not mean anything close to returning to normal.

Reopenings are underway, with the number of cases in the US surpassing 4.7 million and 156,782 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, leaving school districts to strategize how to safely restart.

Their plans for the best way forward vary wildly.

Chicago Public Schools is expected to begin the year with full remote learning for students, according to local reports.

Meanwhile in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds pressed to have students back in the classroom by emphasizing that defying the state's 50% in-person learning mandate is against the law.

Other school leaders fall somewhere in between. In California, Los Angeles County announced that officials will not issue any waivers that would allow elementary schools to open for in-person classes. And in Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves ordered a delay in the return-to-classroom date for students in grades 7-12 in eight counties.

But as the infection rates in the country change, so will many districts' plans, said Wendy Price, president of the National Association of School Psychologists.

"There's just a litany of things that schools are going to have to consider," Price said. "And it's no one size fits all. It really isn't."

Read the full story:

8:34 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Trump claims children are "virtually immune" to coronavirus 

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Trump argued on Wednesday that children should return to US schools because they’re “almost” or “virtually immune” from the coronavirus. Even though children are less susceptible to the virus, they can still transmit it to others in their household or within their communities.   

“If you look at children, children are almost — I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. So few — they’ve gotten stronger. Hard to believe. I don’t know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do, somehow, for this. And they don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem,” Trump said. 

Trump said he would get media criticism for using the term “totally immune,” adding, “but the fact is that they are virtually immune from this problem.” 

The President also brought up that only one minor had died from coronavirus in the state of New Jersey and that he suspected the child was diabetic. He also suggested that children under the diabetic child’s age were also even more immune. 

Remember: But at least two children have died from coronavirus in New Jersey and both were under the age of five. 

The President also said older teachers should wait out the pandemic before returning to work in classrooms. 

Last month, Trump asserted that children do not catch or spread the coronavirus easily and that he’s comfortable with his children and grandchildren returning to school. 

What we know about kids and coronavirus: CNN previously reported that researchers in South Korea have found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can transmit Covid-19 within a household just as much as adults, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. They also found that children ages 9 and under transmitted the virus within their household at rates that were a lot lower. 

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS News last month that though the risk to children getting coronavirus is low, they can still transmit it to others.  

"We know the risk is low to the actual students. But we know they can transmit to others. … We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions," Adams said. 

8:32 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Jackson, Mississippi, mayor says he fears “we have yet to see the worst”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

In this Wednesday, April 1 photo, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announces a stay-at-home order for the city of Jackson to combat the spread of Covid-19.
In this Wednesday, April 1 photo, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announces a stay-at-home order for the city of Jackson to combat the spread of Covid-19. Barbara gauntt/Clarion Ledger/USA Today

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi, said he is worried that the state has “yet to see the worst” of the coronavirus pandemic as cases continue to grow. 

He said that the city’s hospitals and intensive care units are “overwhelmed” and asked for temporary hospitals to be set up during a recent meeting with the governor and Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force. 

“I fear that as we're seeing schools reopening, we have yet to see the worst,” Lumumba added in an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves just implemented a two-week temporary statewide mask mandate, which Lumumba calls “necessary.” 

“I think that we failed to operate with a sense of urgency. We issued a … mandatory facial covering mandate in the city of Jackson nearly a month ago,” Lumumba said. 

“...We warned that we were opening up too soon and that communities were having their hand forced to do so. And so I think we're seeing the ill effects of that decision,” he said. 

Lumumba also spoke out against President Trump saying in an interview “it is what it is” when asked about the coronavirus death toll. “It’s simply not OK just to say that people will die, knowing that we haven't put our best effort forward,” the mayor said.