August 11 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, August 12, 2020
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2:43 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

More than 23,000 people have died from coronavirus in New York City

From CNN's Rob Frehse

A medical worker about to take in a patient outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center on May 06, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
A medical worker about to take in a patient outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center on May 06, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City reports at least 18,966 confirmed coronavirus deaths and approximately 4,626 probable coronavirus deaths as of August 11, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.

Together, the total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is at least 23,592.

There have been approximately 224,920 coronavirus cases in the city and at least 56,599 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

Note: The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on August 11 at 1 p.m., according to the website. The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

2:46 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

UK records more than 1,100 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson sanitizes his hands during a visit to St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in London on Monday Aug. 10, 2020.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson sanitizes his hands during a visit to St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in London on Monday Aug. 10, 2020. Lucy Young/Pool/AP

The United Kingdom recorded 1,148 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, government figures show. 

This is compared to 816 recorded cases on Monday and 1,062 recorded cases on Sunday – the first time the figure had risen above 1,000 since late June, according to the UK government’s official dashboard. 

The UK is among several European countries seeing new infection clusters as fears of a possible second wave rise. Stay-at-home orders have been put in place in parts of northern England where outbreaks have been identified.

"We need to do everything we can to avoid a second wave," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday. "I'm afraid you are going to see outbreaks, we've seen them across the country in the last few weeks and months and we've also seen the immense efforts that local authorities have gone to, that local communities have gone to, to get that outbreak under control." 

On Friday, the government’s website said the reproductive rate across the UK was between 0.8-1.0 but SAGE (the government’s scientific advisory group) “does not have confidence that R is currently below 1 in England”.

“As of 9am on 11 August, 312,789 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK,” the Department of Health said Tuesday. “Cases are reported when lab tests are completed and confirmed positive. There are more cases in the UK than are confirmed, for example where people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not get tested,” it added.

2:29 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Approval of coronavirus vaccine needs to be based on evidence, NIH chief says

From CNNs Elizabeth Cohen and Dana Vigue

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins speaks during a roundtable at the American Red Cross national headquarters on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Washington.
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins speaks during a roundtable at the American Red Cross national headquarters on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

The director of the National Institutes of Health says he will “make a big noise” if President Trump were to pull an “October surprise” and pressure the US Food and Drug Administration into approving a vaccine prematurely in order to get votes on Election Day. 

“This just cannot be allowed to happen,” Dr. Francis Collins told CNN.

He said if FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn allows approval of a vaccine based on flimsy evidence, “he’s got a lot of people he’d have to answer to.”  

The fear that the US Food and Drug Administration might approve a Covid-19 vaccine without sufficient safety and efficacy data in order to please the President was first put forth publicly in a June New York Times opinion piece by two physicians at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Some background: There’s a precedent for Trump declaring a product safe and effective without any proof. For months he has said that hydroxychloroquine is both, even though high-quality studies have shown it doesn’t help coronavirus patients and could be harmful. 

“It didn’t go so well for HCQ did it?” Collins said, using an abbreviation for the drug. “Do we really need to be reminded of how important it is to make those decisions based on evidence?” 

Collins said he, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others would “certainly make a big noise about not supporting [the vaccine]” if the FDA were to approve it prematurely, adding that the vaccine cannot be approved “on the basis of anything other than science.”

2:17 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Nursing home residents on dialysis treatments could be at greater risk for Covid-19, research finds

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

A member of the dialysis team dons personal protective equipment (PPE) before treating a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at a hospital on May 1, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. 
A member of the dialysis team dons personal protective equipment (PPE) before treating a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at a hospital on May 1, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland.  Win McNamee/Getty Images

Nursing home patients who receive dialysis treatment could be at greater risk for contracting Covid-19, as well as hospitalization and death from the disease, according to research published Tuesday in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at an outbreak of Covid-19 among the 164 residents of a Maryland nursing home.

As of April 30, 15 of 32 – or almost 50% – of residents who received dialysis had positive Covid-19 test results, compared with 22 of 138 patients – or 16% – of residents who did not receive dialysis.

Hospitalization and death rates were also higher among patients who were going through dialysis.

Among the residents who tested positive, 8 of 15 were hospitalized, compared to 4 of 22 patients who did not receive dialysis treatment.

Those undergoing dialysis were also more like to die within 30 days –– about 6 out of 15 people, compared to 6 out of 22 people who were not receiving dialysis.

Some context: Residents receiving dialysis are particularly vulnerable because they often have more underlying medical conditions that have been associated with more severe Covid-19 infection, and they could be more frequently exposed to people outside of the nursing home.

“Residents leaving their rooms for dialysis could be a potential source of SARS-CoV-2 introduction into the nursing home and might pose an underrecognized source of transmission, both in the dialysis center and in the nursing home,” the researchers said. “Better monitoring and understanding of the risks associated with residents who regularly leave the facility for outpatient health care is needed.”
3:56 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Old Dominion University cancels fall sports due to the pandemic

From CNN's Dan Kamal

Running back Jeremy Cox #35 of the Old Dominion University Monarchs carries the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Lane Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Running back Jeremy Cox #35 of the Old Dominion University Monarchs carries the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Lane Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Old Dominion University announced Monday it is canceling all of its fall athletic season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In making the announcement, university president John R. Broderick said, “We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes. I know many on and off campus will be disappointed, but we must prioritize the health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans.”

Broderick added that the decision was made in collaboration with athletic director Wood Selig, coaches, medical and public health experts, and state and local officials.

"I want to compliment Dr. Selig for being such a thoughtful colleague," Broderick said. "I know there are schools where this discussion has been complicated by other factors, but for Wood and me, it was just about health and safety."

Old Dominion plays in college football’s Football Bowl Subdivision and is a member of Conference USA. The Monarchs finished with a record of 1-11 in 2019.

12:53 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

University of Massachusetts cancels 2020 football season

From CNN's Dan Kamal

UMass Minutemen helmets sit on the ground on October 26, 2019, at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, Massachusetts.
UMass Minutemen helmets sit on the ground on October 26, 2019, at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, Massachusetts. M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire/AP

University of Massachusetts athletics has announced the cancellation of the school’s 2020 football season.

In a statement released Tuesday, athletic director Ryan Bamford said, “We have been in constant communication with university leadership and our football staff since March, with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remaining our top priority."

”The continuing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic posed too great of a risk, and we reached the conclusion that attempting to play a season would not have placed the members of our program in the safest situation possible…We remain hopeful and fully intend to conduct a competitive schedule for our fall sports in the 2021 spring semester," he continued in the statement.

UMass football coach Walt Bell added: "I am absolutely heartbroken for our players, our former players, our alumni and our UMass Football community. Our job as coaches and mentors is to provide opportunities for our players and do everything in our power to not take them away. Today's news was devastating, but we will be resilient and prepared to be our best when our best is required."

"I would like to give an unbelievable amount of gratitude to our medical professionals, our administration, our campus, our athletic training staff and our operations staff for creating one of the safest environments in college football. The testing, the protocols, the risk mitigation, and the execution have been incredible," Bell said.

Football student-athletes will remain enrolled in coursework full-time, either virtually or in-person, in line with the university’s update to its fall reopening plan, announced on Aug. 6.

UMass competes as an independent in college football’s highest division, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Minutemen’s record in 2019 was 1-11.

1:04 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Fitness trainer who was put into a medically induced coma says he didn’t think Covid-19 “was real”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A California fitness trainer who had coronavirus and needed to be hospitalized and put into a medically induced coma for five days says he at first dismissed the virus and was skeptical of its severity. 

“I didn't think it was real. I thought it was something that was made up,” Mata told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “… I didn't think it was real as far as I was going to be able to contract it. I had that mindset.”

Mata said people at his gym had the same mindset of feeling invincible. 

“It's easier not to have to change and stick with my belief system of ‘it'll never happen to me,’” he said. 

Mata said he had major body aches, a high fever and loss of taste before he was put on a ventilator. 

“I realized it's something bigger than me,” he said. 

Watch:

12:37 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Here's what experts say should be considered when sending students to school

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Elementary school students use hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas, on August 5.
Elementary school students use hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas, on August 5. LM Otero/AP

Amid the coronavirus pandemic in America, getting students back to school continues to be at the forefront of many people’s minds.

There are options when it comes to reopening, and organizations such as the American Association of Pediatrics have put out guidance to help schools reopen in the safest way possible.

“However, as many school districts face budgetary constraints, schools must evaluate their options and identify measures that are particularly important and feasible for their communities,” said authors from the Division of General Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine in a commentary published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics.

The authors offer a number of suggestions on how the AAP guidelines can be used in schools to make reopening as safe as possible. 

They suggest that school districts create Covid-19 task forces that are made up of key stakeholders, including superintendents and parents, to develop procedures and policies for safety.

The authors address physical distancing, personal protective equipment and fixed cohorts of students and teachers – all things that are covered in the AAP guidelines.

“The AAP guidance states the importance of identifying symptoms and signs concerning for Covid-19 but does not discuss operational approaches in depth,” the authors said.

They recommend that schools implement multilevel screening for students and staff, which includes, among other things, reporting of symptoms by parents every morning and recording of temperature by staff when students arrive.

The AAP guidelines also don’t include an approach for testing, they said.

For this, the authors recommend a three-pronged testing approach, carried out in collaboration with local hospitals. It includes:

  • All students with symptoms should be tested.
  • Schools should conduct random staff and student testing to identify asymptomatic patients.
  • Students from high-risk households should be offered testing more frequently.

The authors also discuss the need for schools to continually be flexible, with plans in place for virtual learning and the potential need for extra nurses, psychologists and social workers in schools. 

“In summary, to maximize health and educational outcomes, school districts should adopt some or all of the measures on the AAP guidance and prioritize them after considering local Covid-19 incidence, key stakeholder input, and budgetary constraints,” the authors said. 

Another option for reopening schools is virtual learning – something which comes with its own considerations, according to authors from the University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the Research Center for Educational Technology at Kent State University, who published a separate commentary in JAMA Pediatrics on Tuesday. 

While Covid-19 led to many American students and educators being unexpectedly introduced to virtual learning, it has been around since the mid-1990s, according to the authors.

“While more than a billion children worldwide newly experienced this pandemic related abrupt transition to online education, at least 2% of US students and many more globally had already been participating in online instruction from K-12 online or virtual schools,” the authors said.

Like in person learning, virtual learning also comes with many options, including for-profit, charter and public options – something that parents need to consider and research as they look into virtual learning. 

The authors also point out that it doesn’t work for all students or all families. Factors such as access to internet can cause “significant variation” in student success. However, one group that research suggests that virtual learning can be beneficial for is students with special health care needs.

The authors suggest that parents should assess the characteristics of their children and understand the virtual school options that are available to them.

“The pandemic has encouraged many parents to explore educational alternatives, particularly for students who may have health concerns such as those with respiratory disease or who are immunocompromised,” the authors said. “With social distancing creating obstacles for traditional education, K-12 online learning may become more mainstream.”

1:05 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Georgia superintendent faces backlash for starting the school year remotely

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Chris Ragsdale, superintendent of Georgia’s Cobb County School District, speaks during an interview on August 11.
Chris Ragsdale, superintendent of Georgia’s Cobb County School District, speaks during an interview on August 11. CNN

The superintendent of Georgia’s Cobb County School District, the state’s second-largest school district, says parents are divided over his decision to reopen schools virtually. Parents who oppose the decision have protested to demand in-person learning.

“This one has pretty much been about split as far as the emails I'm getting. I get as many thank-you emails for the decision to go all-virtual as I do those emails truly wanting a face-to-face option,” superintendent Chris Ragsdale said in an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Ragsdale said that the high level of coronavirus spread, the questions around the ability to effectively test and trace and delays in testing results led to the decision to go all-remote. 

“Those three parameters were just creating a situation…that was not going to be safe for students and teachers to be in a compacted classroom with the number of students in each classroom,” he said. 

Ragsdale repeatedly said that education officials need to look to data in order to reopen schools in person, and he said they would address mask policies when that happens. 

“I think there [are] a lot of, you know, words that can be used such as 'mandate,' 'require,' and those kind of things that do carry a lot of weight in and of themselves,” he said. 

“If we can limit that high spread by wearing face coverings, then absolutely we should be doing that, all of us should be doing that,” he added. 

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