August 8 coronavirus news

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

Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT) August 9, 2020
19 Posts
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1:31 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases in the US approach 5 million

From CNN's Hollie Silverman  

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, there are at least 4,964,430 cases of coronavirus in the country and 161,810 people have died from the virus.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET, 22,675 new cases and 463 new deaths have been reported in the US since midnight.   

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

1:20 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

South Carolina launches new health campaign as coronavirus cases near 100,000 

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

On Saturday, there were 1,178 new Covid-19 cases reported and 67 additional confirmed deaths in South Carolina, according to a statement from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). 

South Carolina health officials encourage residents to fight the spread of Covid-19 as evidence increases about "high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious." 

DHEC announced its new "Fight the Spread" campaign Saturday to encourage residents to wear masks, practice social distancing and get tested, the statement said.  

The state's current positivity rate is 15.9%, DHEC reported.  

More details: There are now 98,743 total coronavirus cases in South Carolina and 1,931 deaths in the state, DHEC said.  

2:42 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

There are more than 30,000 Floridians who have been hospitalized due to Covid-19

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

A medic sanitizes an ambulance after transferring a patient to Coral Gables Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida, on July 30.
A medic sanitizes an ambulance after transferring a patient to Coral Gables Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida, on July 30. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

There are 30,251 Floridians who have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, according to Florida Department of Health (DOH).   

This figure includes "anyone who was hospitalized at some point during their illness," according to the department. 

There are currently 6,836 people hospitalized in Florida with Covid-19, down from 7,942 last Saturday morning, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). 

The counties with the most hospitalizations include Miami-Date with 1,558, Broward with 960 and Palm Beach with 419.

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  

2:44 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Mid-American Conference postpones fall sports season due to Covid-19

Frim CNN's Wayne Sterling

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has postponed all fall sports scheduled this season, including football, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The conference will also postpone MAC championships.

"The Council of Presidents unanimously voted to take this action with the health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches and communities as it top priority," the MAC said in a statement Saturday. "It is the intention of the membership to provide competitive opportunities in these sports during the the spring semester of 2021." 

Seven sports — men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball — are affected. No decision on winter sports has been made.

Some context: The MAC is the first conference from NCAA's top tier Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to postpone its football season.

Read the tweet from the MAC:

11:53 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Maryland reports more than 770 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Maryland has reported 775 new cases of Covid-19 and 11 additional deaths from the virus, according to the state’s official website.

The state currently has a 4.03% infection rate.

Note: The numbers listed were released by the state of Maryland and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

2:47 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

New York reports a 0.93% infection rate across the state

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York state has reported a 0.93% infection rate, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Out of the 74,857 people tested for Covid-19 across the state Friday, 703, or 0.93% people, tested positive, the release said.

"Despite increasing infection rates across the country and in our region, we continue to see our numbers hold at low levels, all thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers to change their behavior and our data-driven, phased reopening," Cuomo said. 

At least 573 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the state and 133 people are in intensive care units, the release said.

There were five additional Covid-19 deaths reported yesterday, whi brings the statewide total to 25,195 deaths, according to the release.

Note: The numbers listed were released by the state of New York and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

2:54 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

One of the India plane crash victims had Covid-19

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi 

Shijith Sreedhar/AP
Shijith Sreedhar/AP

One victim of Friday’s plane crash in the southern Indian state of Kerala has tested positive for coronavirus, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Saturday.

All the passengers who were on the plane will be tested for coronavirus, the minister said in a statement. All 18 victims in the crash, who include the two pilots, have been identified.

The plane was one of the repatriation flights operated by the Indian government to bring back nationals stranded abroad due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, according to the Air India website.

Shailaja Teacher, Kerala's Minister for Health, thanked rescue workers via Twitter for their timely response in the aftermath of Friday’s plane crash.

She added that some rescue workers had to prioritize saving lives and that not everyone was able to follow Covid-19 protocols. 

“We understand that while rushing to the site many of you were not able to follow COVID-19 protocol," she wrote. "Our priority was to save lives. However, now we have to be vigilant again. We urge all who have been to the crash site to take necessary measures to keep yourself and others safe."

7:40 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

As new academic year looms, public school nurses call for more funding to battle the coronavirus

From CNN's Amir Vera

As a parent, Liz Pray accepts her 13-year-old son's return to school.

As a school nurse, she doubts the Moses Lake School District in central Washington state is prepared for the challenges that come with schooling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When the pandemic began, her district and schools across Washington donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, clinics and fire stations, Pray tells CNN. Now, with school right around the corner, and Washington facing a resurgence in positive cases, she's not sure nurses will have enough PPE for the academic year.

In Florida, Lisa Kern supervises 45 school nurses who work in over 90 schools in Pasco County, just outside Tampa. Not only were nurses splitting time between schools before the pandemic hit, Kern says, but now she worries about the sustainability of the district's PPE supply.

"A school doesn't typically purchase large quantities of PPE, so the cost to do so is astronomical," Kern said. "The federal government needs to support schools to keep everyone safe."

As school nurses across the United States prepare for the start of the academic year, the National Association of School Nurses says on-campus medics are wholly unprepared because of a lack of funding and nurses.

Nurses who spoke to CNN echo that sentiment. They say keeping children and staff safe won't be tenable if they are not provided more PPE and if school districts don't hire more nurses.

Read more here.

7:03 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Inside the federal prison where three out of every four inmates have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Casey Tolan, Nelli Black and Drew Griffin

When James Giannetta first called his brother Russ in late June to tell him that the coronavirus was beginning to spread in his Texas federal prison, Russ could hear the fear in his voice. "This place is exploding," James warned. 

Russ soon got another call: James, a 65-year-old inmate with diabetes and HIV, had tested positive for the virus himself. Within days, he was rushed to a hospital as his oxygen levels plummeted. A few weeks later, after his condition deteriorated and he was placed on a ventilator, he was dead. 

As coronavirus has spread rapidly through prisons and jails around the country in recent months, the Texas lockup where Giannetta spent his last days has emerged as the hardest-hit federal prison in the United States.

More than 1,300 of the roughly 1,750 prisoners at FCI Seagoville prison and camp have tested positive for the virus, according to data from the federal Bureau of Prisons -- a stunning three out of every four inmates.

So far, three inmates at the prison, including Giannetta, have died from Covid-19. 

Five Seagoville inmates told CNN in phone interviews from behind bars that they feared for their lives as the virus rushed through the Dallas-area prison, and that the crowded conditions made it all but impossible for them to stay socially distanced.

Read more here.