August 7 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:53 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020
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5:41 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

MLB announces 13 positive Covid-19 tests in the past week

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Major League Baseball announced that 13 people have tested positive for Covid-19 after one week of league testing. Seven of the positive results came from players, and six came from team staffers.

Here's how that breaks down:

  • The MLB said it tested 13,043 people in the past week as part of their monitoring process. At least 13 of these 13,043 people tested positive – which is about 0.1%.
  • The MLB said it has performed 53,826 total monitoring tests. Of those, 71 came back positive, which is also about 0.1%.
  • So far, 19 different teams have had someone test positive.

6:00 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Ireland prime minister announces new regional lockdowns due to increasing coronavirus cases

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

Ireland Prime Minister Micheál Martin attends a roundtable discussion at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, on July 21.
Ireland Prime Minister Micheál Martin attends a roundtable discussion at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, on July 21. Johanna Geron/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland Prime Minister Micheál Martin announced Friday that the government will introduce new coronavirus restrictions in three counties – Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

"We have already postponed key parts of the reopening plan and this evening, in response to the increased spread of the disease in counties Kildare, Laois, and Offaly, and acting on the very clear advice of public health officials, the government has decided to introduce a number of limited restrictions within those three counties for a period of two weeks, from midnight tonight," Martin said Friday in a televised address.

In these three counties, "everyone should restrict their movements to within their own county except for the purposes of work and for other essential journeys," he added.

Kildare is the county west of the Irish capital of Dublin. 

Some context: Over the past two weeks, at least 289 coronavirus cases have been reported in Kildare, Laois, and Offaly.

"These represent close to half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time," the Irish Department on Health said Friday in a statement.

The department said on Twitter that as of Thursday, at least 1,772 coronavirus-related deaths and approximately 26,470 total coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country.

5:59 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Here are some tips on how to manage anxiety during the pandemic

Clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior speaks with CNN on August 7.
Clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior speaks with CNN on August 7. CNN

It has been about six months since the coronavirus pandemic began, and this time of uncertainty and anxiety can take a toll on your mental health.

Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist, said there are a few things you can do to make sure you are staying healthy.

First, she said it is important to break the stigma and encouraged people to "think about their mental health as they would their physical health"

"You go to the dentist, you go to a specialist doctor if you have broken your leg. The same thing is when we need mental support," she told CNN on Friday. "But it's also important to take care of ourselves in those physical ways because they tie in hand in hand." 

Two things she says that can help with that: sleep and spending time outside.

"The data is there. These two things significantly can help us deal with crisis situations," Bonior said.

Next, she said you should think about controllability and predictability. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself, "What can I control today?" she said.

"Just because I don't know when this will end, doesn't mean that it won't end," Bonior said.

Connecting yourself to a sense of purpose and finding ways to connect to your personal values will also help with that anxiety, she said.

"When we can connect with a sense of purpose – what are our values here, what are we teaching our children or how are we helping our neighbors – that can help us rise above the stress and connect with that greater sense of purpose," she said.

5:55 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Howard University to be conducted fully online in the fall

From CNN's Adrienne Winston

Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Howard University in Washington, D.C. Shutterstock

Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick said in a statement on Friday that the upcoming fall semester, which is set to begin Aug. 24, will be fully online. 

“After consultation with our public health faculty experts, District of Columbia officials, University leadership, and monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic locally, regionally and nationally, we have made the very difficult decision to move all undergraduate courses for the Fall 2020 semester fully online, and non-residential," the statement said.

Frederick said the decision was based on nationally rising Covid-19 cases in young people and the consideration of racial disparities.

“We have also grown more painfully aware of the disparate impact of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths among people of color, with particular devastation on the Black community. Unfortunately, the stark realities of the current state of the pandemic, District requirement that students from hot spot states would fully quarantine for 14 days, and challenges to safely get students to campus from throughout the nation and around the world without creating additional exposure and risk, have proven overwhelming," the statement said.

Frederick said that a decision about the Spring 2021 semester will be made later this year. 

5:48 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

There needs to be a long-term commitment to fix systemic issues in health, Fauci says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

There has to be a long-term commitment to correct the "decades-old dilemma of the social determinants of health" that affect African Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Friday.

Speaking with Dr. Ashish Jha during a virtual discussion hosted by the Brown School of Public Health, Fauci said the coronavirus pandemic could be a wake-up call for society to change this.

Fauci explained that Covid-19 has been a "double whammy" against communities of color.

As an example, Fauci explained said Black Americans are more likely to have jobs that are considered essential.

"Already from square one, you have a greater risk of getting infected than someone who can sit behind the computer and telework all day," he said.

"Then there's the other thing that is really the chronic and decades-old dilemma of the social determinants of health, which is why African Americans have a higher degree of diabetes, of hypertension, of obesity, of heart disease, of chronic lung disease, of kidney disease," he said. "You have to make a decades-long commitment to change that."

He said this means making sure that resources – immediate testing and results and access to health care – are concentrated in African American communities and other demographics at higher risk of infection is one of the things that can be done to address racial disparities during the pandemic.

Fauci added the health disparities in the Black population that have come to light during the pandemic are maybe a "wake-up call" for society to change them.

"Take HIV. I've devoted most of my life to that. The African American community – 13% of the population is African American, 45% of the new infections are among African Americans. That's unacceptable. We've got to do things societally that change that. Maybe it'll be a wake-up call to society to change," he said.

4:08 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Fauci says when percent positive starts to tick up, states need to change what they're doing

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, removes his Washington Nationals protective mask during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, removes his Washington Nationals protective mask during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington. Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said states should look closely at their percent positive rates to gauge how their state is doing.

Fauci told Dr. Ashish Jha and the Brown School of Public Health on Friday that Dr. Deborah Birx has been looking closely at this metric.

“She went back and started analyzing, and she found out that if you really look carefully, when you have a percent positive that clicks up even a couple of percentage points, it almost never turns around spontaneously, unless you do something different than you’re doing," Fauci said.

Fauci said, “What’s happening now was triggered two weeks ago,” so making changes right when states see the points click up is key.

“So when you see that little tick going up, that means that you were doing something not particularly good,” he added. “So what you need to do is to change what you're doing.”

4:11 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Arkansas to allow absentee ballots for Covid-19 concerns, governor says

From CNN’s James Froio

During a news conference on Friday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he is signing an executive order that will allow people with "COVID-related concerns about going to the polls in November" to qualify for absentee ballots. 

“I signed the executive order today, and at the request of the county clerks it will do one other thing, and that is that it will allow the county clerks to prepare the ballots in advance for counting them beginning on Election Day at 8:30 a.m., which is a current law," Hutchinson said.

"So currently, they have a week before that they can prepare the absentee ballots without opening up the envelope, but still getting prepared so that on Election Day it is quicker to count,” he added.

Some context: Mail-in voting and absentee ballots have become a point of controversy after President Trump, without evidence, claimed that mail-in voting is particularly susceptible to fraud, casting it as a lawless, unregulated exercise where ballots are stolen from mailboxes, voter signatures are routinely forged and even the ballots themselves are illegally printed.

Trump tweeted that "there is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent."

Facts First: While rare instances of voter fraud from mail-in ballots do occur, it is nowhere near a widespread problem in the US election system.

In both 2016 and 2018, approximately 25% of US voters cast mail ballots, which includes the handful of states that conduct elections entirely by mail and traditional absentee ballots.

Read the full fact check.

4:01 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

There are two big problems with contract tracing in the US, former government official says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

In this September 19, 2017 file photo, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation speaks at The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York.
In this September 19, 2017 file photo, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation speaks at The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

There are two big problems holding America back when it comes to contact tracing and response for Covid-19: the length of time it takes to get a test result and the American drive for liberty, according to Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator.

“First and foremost is that it is taking four, five, six, seven days to get a test result,” he said during an Aspen Ideas webinar on Friday.

Asking someone who they had contact with in the last 24 hours is completely different than asking someone who they had contact with in the 24 hours prior to getting their test a week ago, Shah said.

“Every effort to look at pandemic response, including the smallpox eradication campaign from decades ago, show that, you know, the timeliness of people’s recall is everything when it comes down to this,” he said.

The second problem is what Shah referred to as “the sort of American drive for liberty” – something he said he holds very dearly.

“But, at the time of a pandemic, threatens all of us,” he said. “Asking people to sacrifice a little bit of their privacy in order to keep the country safe from a disease that is otherwise out of control should be something that our leaders ask of all of us in a measured and appropriate way.”

Having initially been asked about the use of technology in contact tracing, Shah said that there are safe ways that technology can be used that can improve contact tracing “that really do not reflect a major sacrifice in privacy beyond what we already have granted simply for the conveniences of life.”

He highlighted the system in place if someone goes to South Korea, where someone is joined into a system when they land, gets a test, goes to where they are quarantining, where they are sent food and a care package, and test results are sent within hours. This is all tied into a system that allows people to very easily report their contacts, he said.

“That’s what you need to have everywhere in order for this to work,” he said.

3:24 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Houston municipal courts to suspend all jury trials through September due to the pandemic

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

Houston has extended the suspension of all jury trials in its municipal courts through Sept. 30 because of the spread of Covid-19, the city said Friday.

The city came to this conclusion “due to changing circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and to encourage the health and safety of the public and court staff members,” according to a statement from the city.

The decision was also made in conjunction with the Texas Supreme Court’s order. The city added that its municipal courts remain open for all other proceedings.

By the numbers: Harris County, where Houston is located, has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Texas with over 80,000 cases so far.