August 12 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2124 GMT (0524 HKT) August 13, 2020
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1:50 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

New Jersey reports 484 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New Jersey reported 484 new cases of Covid-19 and nine more deaths from the virus, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday. 

The state has a total of 185,938 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic started and 14,046 statewide deaths related to the virus, he said. 

“New cases hovered just under 500 for the last two days,” Murphy said. 

At least 592 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 and 111 people are in ICUs.

New Jersey has a 2.09% positive infection rate from Aug. 8, which is up slightly the governor said. The state’s positive transmission rate is .92% and that is “down a little bit,” Murphy said. 

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

1:51 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Boston seeing slight uptick in coronavirus cases, mayor says 

From CNN’s Laurie Ure

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, left, addresses the media on Wednesday.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, left, addresses the media on Wednesday. WFXT/Pool

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said today the city's Tuesday numbers show 38 new Covid-19 cases, bringing that total to 14,609. There were two new deaths, for a total of 743. 

Health officials in Boston have noticed a slight uptick, "but not an established trend," in the percentage of positive tests, going from 2.1% to 2.8%, but the most recent seven-day analysis brings the city's average down to 2.5%, he said.

Emergency room visits are "not alarming increases yet, but we are seeing slight increases," the mayor said. 

Walsh said the numbers "have not reached a level that would cause us to look at rolling back any of the openings that we've already had here in the city of Boston." 

He said that increased testing may partly explain the rise.

The mayor also addressed the delay in deciding when to reopen Boston's schools. 

While acknowledging parent and teacher angst regarding safety concerns and planning, Walsh said school leaders and facility professionals continue to monitor Covid-19 data, and to work with education and union leaders, while coming up with a complete plan. 

Walsh said the schools will not be starting with all in-person learning.

"We will either be starting with a hybrid model, or a period of all-remote learning," Walsh said. 

The mayor noted that his primary focus is on building equity between children of means and those in lower income situations, and bridging the learning gap therein.

Asked how parents who work remotely can tend to children who are learning from home, Walsh said the city is going to be working with child care providers. 

"It's complicated," Walsh said. "We'll have to make a decision fairly quickly, for parents to have that predictability."

"I hope that there will be in-person learning this year," he said.

Boston school openings are currently scheduled for Sept. 10. 

Note: These numbers were released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

1:53 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

São Paulo governor becomes the 11th governor in Brazil to test positive for Covid-19

From journalists Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre and Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo

São Paulo Gov. João Dória speaks in San Pablo, Brazil, on Monday.
São Paulo Gov. João Dória speaks in San Pablo, Brazil, on Monday. São Paulo Government/Latin America News Agency

Brazil’s governor of São Paulo, João Dória announced, via Twitter, he has tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. Dória said he is asymptomatic at the moment.

"I'm fine, with no symptoms. I will continue working from home, following isolation protocols. I have faith in God that I will overcome the disease", the governor said.

São Paulo's government released a statement announcing that Dória is in isolation at his residence and will be under medical observation for the next ten days.

According to the State Health Secretary, Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn, this was the sixth test done by Dória, who used to take tests as a precaution.

Some more context: Dória becomes the 11th Brazilian governor who has tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic started. The last one was the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, diagnosed in late July. 

São Paulo records around a quarter of the total number of Covid-19 deaths registered in Brazil, according to the Ministry of Health. 

On Wednesday, the State Health Secretary reported a total of 655,181 coronavirus cases while the death toll has reached 25,869.

1:41 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

New Jersey governor signs executive order allowing schools to reopen

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at a news conference on Wednesday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at a news conference on Wednesday. News 12 New Jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that allows schools and universities to reopen for the upcoming academic year, the governor said Wednesday during the state’s Covid-19 news conference.

Universities that have been in session this summer can reopen immediately, the governor said.

“In-person instruction may fully resume immediately should institutions so desire," Murphy said. 

Social distancing and other protections would have to be strictly adhered to, he said, and students that want to continue remote learning must be accommodated. 

Parents and guardians have the option to choose all remote learning for students and students will be required to wear a face mask while in school.

Murphy said he will hold a phone call with the presidents of universities tomorrow.

“Districts that cannot meet all the health and safety standards for safe in-person instruction will begin their school year in an all-remote fashion,” Murphy said.

School districts will have to spell out a plan for reopening, he said.

1:09 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Pac-12 CEO Group chairman says students' health was first priority in decision to postpone season

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Michael Schill, chairman of the Pac-12 CEO Group, said the uncertainty of the coronavirus ultimately factored into the conference's decision to postpone the fall college football season

“The most important factor was the health and safety of our students, period,” Schill told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. 

Schill, who is also the president of the University of Oregon, said that it was unfair to students and coaches to keep delaying the season. 

“Some people say 'Oh, it's just football; oh, it's just volleyball or track.’ These are students' lives, right? They dream about this,” he said.

“This was not an easy decision … and this is also a very costly decision for the universities,” he added. 

The range of states that are included in the Pac-12 conference was also a factor in the decision.

“We include California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, [a] big variety of states. We don't even have the permission of government authorities to play in some of those areas, and the spread in some of those areas is quite significant,” he said. 

He said they are hoping to still have a spring season but will continue to assess all factors.  


12:50 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

The grandmother of Brazil's first lady dies from Covid-19

From Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and first lady Michelle Bolsonaro make a public appearance in Brasilia in late July.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and first lady Michelle Bolsonaro make a public appearance in Brasilia in late July. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Maria Aparecida Firmo Ferreira, the grandmother of Brazil’s first lady Michelle Bolsonaro, died overnight Wednesday after being diagnosed with Covid-19, CNN affiliate CNN Brasil reported. 

Her death was confirmed by the press office of the Federal District Health Secretary to CNN Brasil.

Ferreira, 80, spent 42 days hospitalized in Brasília.

According to a medical report seen by CNN Brasil, the cause of death was pneumonia due to Covid-19, and she died in the Ceilândia Regional Hospital.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, first lady Michelle Bolsonaro nor the President’s office have commented on her grandmother's death.

12:15 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Jordan closes border with Syria due to increase in Covid-19 cases

From Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul

Jordan will close its main land border crossing with Syria after a spike in local transmission of Covid-19 cases were introduced through its northern neighbor, according to the government. 

The decision to close the Jaber border crossing into Syria for a week starting on Thursday was made by the interior minister based on recommendations from a government committee overseeing borders and airport affairs, the Jordanian prime ministry said in a statement. 

“The source of the majority of these cases is the Jaber border crossing and immediate measures must be taken to stop the spread,” Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said in the meeting with the committee according to the prime ministry Twitter account. 

Razzaz said the government will be reviewing measures at the all crossings including those with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Land border crossings, which have been open to commercial traffic, are a vital trade lifeline for Jordan. 

“We have to reconsider our measures at the border crossings because they have become a source of transmission of the pandemic locally,” the prime minister said. 

At least 25 new locally transmitted cases were recorded in the 24-hour period since Tuesday morning, according to the prime minister.

The Jordanian health minister, Dr. Saad Jaber, has been tasked with coordinating with relevant authorities on taking necessary health measures including quarantining workers at the Jaber border crossing, the government said in a statement. 

Some background: Jordan had one of the strictest lockdowns regimes in the world starting in March. The measures have kept the number of infections and deaths low compared to other countries.

While restrictions have been eased domestically, all commercial air travel with the exception of repatriation flights remain suspended.

Last week, Jordan postponed plans to resume flights to several countries deemed to be low risk for Covid-19 due to what it called “instability of the epidemiological situation worldwide” and “the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, Jordan has 1,283 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.


1:02 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Big 12 conference planning on playing fall football

From CNN's David Close

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Big 12 is proceeding with a full fall sports schedule.

The conference’s board of directors have committed to testing athletes for Covid-19 three-times a week in “high contact” sports, which the conference highlights as football, volleyball and soccer. 

“Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we’ve seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement Wednesday.

The conference has revised the 2020 football schedule to a 10-game season set to kick off Sept. 26. 

Texas Christian University Chancellor Victor Boschini did allow room for a future amendment should conference advisers suggest unsafe conditions.

"If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course," Boschini said.

CNN's Andy Scholes reports:

12:01 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Masters golf tournament to be held without spectators

From CNN's David Close

A Masters logo is seen on a jacket during the 2018 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
A Masters logo is seen on a jacket during the 2018 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

November’s Masters golf tournament will be held without spectators. Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, Fred Ridley, announced Wednesday that the previously earmarked week of Nov. 9-15 would indeed be the week the club would host the famed golf major.

Ridley explained in a statement that the “potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.”

Ridley says that those fans possessing coveted 2020 tickets will be guaranteed tickets for next year’s event. 

The tournament is planning a return to its traditional April spot in the golf calendar come 2021.