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
16 Posts
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9:28 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Novavax Phase 1 data shows vaccine is safe and elicits an immune response

From CNN Health's Elizabeth Cohen and Dana Vigue, CNN

A third US company has released study results showing its coronavirus vaccine is safe and elicits an immune response.

Novavax, Inc. released Phase 1 data Tuesday from 131 volunteers showing that after two doses of the vaccine, participants developed neutralizing antibodies at levels more than four times higher on average than the antibodies developed by people who had recovered from Covid-19. Neutralizing antibodies fight off the virus that causes Covid-19.

"That's good. That's really encouraging," said Novavax president Dr. Gregory Glenn.

The vaccine also induced a response from T-cells, a type of immune cell, according to an analysis of 16 randomly selected volunteers, the report stated.

The report has been submitted to a medical journal, but has not yet been reviewed by scientists outside of Novavax or published.

Read the full story here.

9:28 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

US obesity epidemic could undermine Covid-19 vaccine

From Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News

For a world crippled by the coronavirus, salvation hinges on a vaccine.

But in the United States, where at least 4.6 million people have been infected and nearly 155,000 have died, the promise of that vaccine is hampered by a vexing epidemic that long preceded Covid-19: obesity.

Scientists know that vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness. There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that Covid-19 vaccines will be any different.

"Will we have a Covid vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way," said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

"Will it still work in the obese? Our prediction is no."

Read the full story here.

8:16 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Second grader tests positive for coronavirus after attending the first day of school in Georgia

From Madeline Holcombe and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

A Georgia second grader tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the first day of school, the school district told CNN.

Sixes Elementary in the Cherokee County School district began in-person classes on Monday. But by Tuesday, a classroom was temporarily closed for deep cleaning and the teacher and 20 other students had been asked to quarantine for two weeks after the second grader tested positive.

Parents and officials have debated whether it is safe to send students back into classrooms as virus cases have surged across the country. While health experts are still investigating how children spread the virus, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has emphasized that schools need to include safety in their reopening plans.

Read the full story here.

9:28 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

The US' Operation Warp Speed adviser says media criticism slows coronavirus fight

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Critical media reporting about Operation Warp Speed, the US federal government's effort to speed development of drugs, vaccines and other measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, is distracting people working on the project, its chief adviser said.

Former pharma executive Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, complained on a US Health and Human Services Department podcast that he never expected to encounter what he considers unfavorable media coverage.

"I'm amazed that I'm being attacked on a personal basis in a way that, frankly, distracts my energy and energy of all the teams that we're working together with to deliver, and therefore decreases our chances or the speed with which we try to help humanity and the country resolve and address this issue," Slaoui said on the podcast, released on Friday.

Michael Caputo, the podcast host and assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, asked if accepting this kind of job position within the Trump administration was akin to placing "a target on your back."

"Yes. Honestly, I think I was naïve when I made the decision," answered Slaoui, who spent 30 years at drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, including as chairman of global vaccines.

Read the full story:

5:37 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Infection rates are significantly higher for minority and low-income children, study finds

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Coronavirus infection rates in the United States are significantly higher among children of minority race and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, according to a new study.

The study examined 1,000 child patients tested between March 21 and April 28 in Washington DC. Only 7.3% of White children tested positive for coronavirus, in contrast to 30% of Black children and 46.4% of Hispanic children, the study found.

Three times as many Black children reported known exposure to the virus as White children, the researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics on Wednesday.

Socioeconomic background: The test site collected basic demographic information for all patients; the research team then used survey data to estimate family income based on home addresses.

Of the 1,000 people tested, 207 were positive for coronavirus. About 9.7% of those in the highest income quartile were infected, while 37.7% in the lowest quartile tested positive, the team found.

Racial breakdown: Of the patients tested, about one third were Black and about a quarter were Hispanic.

The team found that the inequities existed even after they adjusted for age, sex and median family income.

What this means: Inequalities could be in part due to limited access to health care and resources, as well as bias and discrimination, but the researchers said that further research is needed to understand the cause.

“Understanding and addressing the root causes of these disparities are needed to mitigate the spread of infection,” the team wrote. 

These findings may even underestimate the inequities in coronavirus rates, because a physician referral was needed for testing. Minority and lower socioeconomic populations have less access to primary care physicians, meaning the inequities could be even larger in reality than observable in this study.

Because this study focused on one site, the results may not be generalizable to other geographic locations. 

3:07 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

China virus outbreak subsides, with 22 new local infections

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus cross an intersection in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, August 4.
People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus cross an intersection in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, August 4. Mark Schiefelbein/AP

China reported 27 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Tuesday, a sign its outbreak may be subsiding after a rise in figures in the past few weeks, according to the country's National Health Commission.

Five of the new cases were imported from abroad, and the remaining 22 cases were locally transmitted in Xinjiang province. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 24 new asymptomatic cases, which are counted on a separate tally.

That raises the country's total to 88,206 cases and 4,676 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

2:26 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Dominican Republic government will "intervene" after 44 hospital staff test positive

From CNN's Jessica Hasbun in the Dominican Republic and Claudia Dominguez in Atlanta 

National Health Service personnel fumigates during an operation to curb the spread of COVID-19 in San Cristobal, Domincan Republic, on June 13, 2020.
National Health Service personnel fumigates during an operation to curb the spread of COVID-19 in San Cristobal, Domincan Republic, on June 13, 2020. Erik Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

The Dominican Republic government on Tuesday said it will "intervene" at a hospital in the northern city of Nagua after 44 staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The announcement comes after the director of Antonio Yapor Heded Hospital, Dr. Emmanuel Oscar Perez, on Monday said at least seven doctors, 18 nurses and 19 administrative employees at the hospital have tested positive so far. 

The minister said that a possible "biosecurity failure" could have caused the outbreak at the hospital. 

He added that experts from the capital, Santo Domingo, along with members of the Emergency Operations Center and local authorities will be heading to the hospital to assist to contain the outbreak.  

CNN has reached out to the hospital for comment. 

The Dominican Republic has so far registered 74,295 coronavirus cases and 1,213 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

1:56 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

US records nearly 1,400 new Covid-19 deaths

The United States recorded 57,540 new coronavirus cases and 1,399 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 4,771,080 infections and 156,801 fatalities. 

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

California remains the state with the highest number of cases, at 526,685. Florida follows, then Texas, New York, and Georgia.

But New York still has the highest number of Covid deaths, at 32,725. Only one other state -- neighboring New Jersey -- has crossed the 10,000 mark in its death toll.

Follow our live tracker of US cases here:

1:32 a.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Japan reports more than 1,200 new cases as country struggles to contain spike

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on a street in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, August 4.
People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on a street in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, August 4. Koji Sasahara/AP

Japan recorded 1,240 new coronavirus cases and six virus-related deaths on Tuesday, as the country grapples with a recent spike in infections.

Tuesday's figures raise the national total to 41,841 cases and 1,035 deaths.

Of Tuesday's new cases, abut a quarter came from the country's capital, Tokyo. This is the eighth straight day that Tokyo has recorded more than 200 new daily cases.

Two thirds of the city's Tuesday cases are untraceable, meaning authorities were unable to find out the source of infection, said the metropolitan government.

Other major cities like Osaka also saw high numbers of new cases, raising concerns among local politicians. The governor of Kanagawa prefecture, which neighbors Tokyo, said he expected the rise in Tokyo cases to also spread into his prefecture.

A spike in cases: For months, Japan seemed to have the virus largely under control. Throughout most of May and June, daily case numbers hovered around several dozen, ranging from around 20 to 60 a day.

But case numbers passed 100 on June 30, and have only continued rising since then, jumping by hundreds in a matter of weeks.