August 8 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Laura Smith-Spark and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT) August 9, 2020
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1:14 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

260 students and 8 teachers have been quarantined in one Georgia school district

From CNN's Mallika Kallingal, Jamiel Lynch and Devon M. Sayers

At least 260 students and eight teachers from a suburban school district in Atlanta, Georgia, were quarantined after multiple students and teachers tested positive for Covid-19 during the first week of school.

In statements posted on its website, the Cherokee County School District reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff members. Students and staff who had possible exposure with a positive case have been told to quarantine for two weeks. The students were from the county's elementary, middle and high schools.

Quarantined students will receive online instruction while they stay home, the district said.

As schools have reopened for the new academic year around the United States, parents and administrators are making difficult decisions about how to ensure students get the education they need while also staying safe in an ongoing pandemic.

While many have responded to the resurgence of cases with completely remote schooling, others have opted to return to classrooms, which the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said works if safety measures are the priority.

Read more:

12:11 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Japan identified more coronavirus cases on Friday than any other day since the pandemic began

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

An additional 1,601 cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Japan Friday, the country's Ministry of Health said -- the highest number Japan has seen in a single day.

It's the fourth consecutive day Japan has identified more than 1,000 cases. To date, authorities have identified 46,151 cases of Covid-19 and 1,062 virus-related fatalities.

Tokyo is among the hardest-hit cities. Authorities said 462 cases were identified in the Japanese capital Friday, while Osaka posted its own daily high of 255 cases. 

The governors of prefectures where cases are on the rise have asked citizens to avoid travel during Obon summer vacation season, which starts this weekend.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that he did not intend to bring back the state of emergency immediately, as the situation was not as threatening to the medical support system as in April. However, he said the government will keep a close eye on the situation.

Read more about the situation in Tokyo:

11:20 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Covid-19 cases are stabilizing in Australian state of Victoria thanks to strict lockdowns

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

A lone passenger walks along a platform at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia on August 7.
A lone passenger walks along a platform at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia on August 7. William West/AFP/Getty Images

The number of new Covid-19 patients identified each day in the Australian state of Victoria has begun to stabilize thanks to strict lockdown measures, the government said Saturday.

“Certainly we’re seeing some stabilization in numbers, we’ve got four to five hundred cases each day that has been more or less the average for the last week,” said Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

A total of 446 new cases and 12 deaths were recorded Friday, according to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. Sutton said that the government's models showed the lockdown measures prevented about 20,000 cases.

In May, Australia was held up as a global model for its handling of the outbreak, which started with early measures to bar entry from high-risk countries. Stricter curbs on social gatherings, expanded testing, restaurant and bar closures followed as cases rose, with some states sealing their borders.

But Covid-19 cases in Victoria rose suddenly in recent weeks, with many new infections in aged care homes and among healthcare workers. Authorities responded by instituting some of the most stringent movement restrictions in Australia's history.

Sutton said the government will not see the results of an even stricter lockdown for another week.

9:47 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

The US is approaching 5 million coronavirus cases

The US has recorded at least 4,937,441 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the latest tally from John Hopkins University.

The country often records more than 40,000 new cases daily -- and sometimes more than 60,000. That means the US is on track to soon surpass 5 million total cases.

The total includes at least 161,248 related deaths.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

9:57 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Trump details potential executive actions if Congress doesn't reach agreement on relief package

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

US President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7.
US President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7. Susan Walsh/AP

US President Donald Trump on Friday laid out the executive actions he would pursue “if Democrats continue to hold” a relief package “hostage.”

The actions would include a payroll tax deferment, extending unemployment benefits, extending an eviction moratorium and deferring student loan payments and forgiving their interest.

“My administration continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats in Congress that will extend unemployment benefits, provide protections for evictions … and get relief to American families,” Trump said during a news conference. “Yet tragically, (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer continue to insist on radical left-wing policies that have nothing to do with the China virus.”

“If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as President to get Americans the relief they need,” he continued.

Some context: Negotiations over the next stimulus package stalled on Capitol Hill today as Democrats and Trump administration officials walked away after talks broke down and devolved into partisan finger-pointing. 

Read more about the talks:

9:37 p.m. ET, August 7, 2020

Americans are moving around too much, coronavirus forecaster says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

People in many parts of the United States are moving around as much as they did before the pandemic started, a top disease forecaster said Friday.

That’s not good, said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which issues regular forecasts about the coronavirus pandemic.

More movement predicts more spread of the virus.

“If you look at the mobility data collected from cell phones in many parts of the country, we're almost back to pre-Covid levels of mobility, so we're just not being as cautious as other people are in other countries,” Murray told CNN on Friday.

Murray said that when cases start to come down, people tend to start interacting more, resulting in the up and down phenomenon many states have experienced with Covid-19 cases. 

“When things get bad in your own community, that's when people start sort of being really worried,” Murray said. “That level of caution creeps in. That puts the brakes on transmission.”

There are other things people can do to slow the pandemic besides staying put, Murray said.

“Our view about this is that there should be a universal mask mandate in the US, that should come with some penalty if you're caught without a mask, because we know penalties actually increase mask-wearing even more than just a mandate,” Murray said. 

The latest prediction: The IHME released a model Thursday projecting nearly 300,000 deaths in the US from coronavirus by December 1. 

The model calculated that if 95% of the people in the US wore masks, that number could decrease to 228,271 deaths, saving more than 66,000 lives.