August 13 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Ed Upright and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 12:13 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020
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7:09 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Los Angeles megachurch sues California over Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

Grace Community Church
Grace Community Church KCAL/KCBS

A Los Angeles megachurch that has remained open despite state guidelines ordering indoor worship services closed is suing the state over what they believe are unfair Covid-19 restrictions. 

The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church named California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, among others. 

The suit accuses the state government officials of selectively restricting gatherings and interfering with their religious freedom.

Some context: Last month, Newsom ordered churches, gyms, shopping malls and other businesses to close indoor operations in counties on the state’s watch list as coronavirus infections surged in a state that has seen more than 10,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The 38 counties on the state's watch list make up more than 90% of the state’s population.

The governor’s order came after outbreaks of the coronavirus were traced to multiple houses of worship that had previously remained open. Under the governor’s order, however, churches are allowed to continue holding services outdoors and many have since moved ceremonies online. 

Becerra’s office referred CNN to the governor’s office for comment. Spokespersons for Newsom did not immediately respond.

MacArthur told CNN on Tuesday, roughly 6,000 people had attended services at Grace Community Church in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley over the past couple of weeks and alleged that church-goers don’t “buy the deadly narrative” surrounding Covid-19. 

The church could face a fine of $1,000 per day for violating health orders.

6:54 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Coronavirus task force member defends US testing strategy

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir
Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir Pool/FILE

There is a national strategy for testing and it’s working, Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir said.

“I’m going to start being personally insulted by these kinds of questions, because we have had a national strategy for months,” said Giroir, noting that an 83-page national strategy was delivered to Congress.

He said that they take 40% of the Abbott supply chain and deliver it to public health labs around the country, and when it comes to supplies, Giroir said they take orders from every state for swabs and tubes of media, and “deliver exactly what they want, every single day.”   

“I do want to be clear about this: not every laboratory can get the exact reagent they want. I’ve tried to be clear about this all along," Giroir said.

As far as supplies used for other tests, Giroir said, “Those generic kind of things we are aware of and are working on.” 

Giroir said the Department of Defense and others are working with manufacturers to dramatically increase the supply and they will work on anything else that “pops up.” 

7:07 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

New Hampshire unveils 4 new reopening recommendations for long-term care facilities

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Gov. Chris Sununu
Gov. Chris Sununu Pool

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, along with Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, announced new reopening recommendations for long-term care facilities with the goal of gradually reducing restrictions at facilities.

Shibinette laid out the four phases within the reopening recommendations. They are...

  • Phase zero: There are two long-term facilities in the state that are currently in this phase, according to Shibinette. These facilities allow compassionate care visits and do not allow non-essential personnel, communal dining or group activities.
  • Phase 1: All non-outbreak facilities have been in this phase since July 1. This phase is for facilities located in counties with a prevalence rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000. As part of this phase, facilities allow compassionate care visits and outdoor visitation.
  • Phase 2: As of Thursday, all non-outbreak facilities will enter this phase, said Shibinette. Facilities can allow limited indoor visitation where each resident designates one person as a "support person." This person will then be allowed to have a no-contact visit with the resident. Masks and social distancing will be required. Also as part of this phase, limited nonessential personnel, such as hairdressers, will be allowed at the facility "to a degree."
  • Phase 3: If facilities can stay maintain a phase 2 for 14 days, they'll be allowed to enter phase 3. In phase 3, facilities must be located in counties with a prevalence rate of less than 10 cases per 100,000. Facilities will allow two visitors per resident and more non-essential health care personnel to enter the facility, as well as some non-medically necessary trips, communal dining and group activities with social distancing, said Shibinette.

Visitors who will be allowed to visit residents in phase 2 and 3 of the reopening plan will not have to be tested for Covid-19 prior to the visit, said Shibinette, who added that the guidance for the visit will be enough to protect residents.

As of now, facilities in Coos, Grafton and Merrimack counties will be able to enter phase 3 in 14 days if they maintain their progress, said Shibinette. She also emphasized that if cases start to go up in any county, reopening long-term care facilities can and will be scaled back.

The latest numbers: The state reported at least 34 new Covid-19 cases as well as two new deaths. The governor said there are no new hospitalizations and the statewide positivity rate is around 1%.

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

6:33 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Trump considering in-person speech at the United Nations

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump said Thursday that he’s looking into potentially delivering an in-person speech at the United Nations General Assembly this year, despite the pandemic.  

“Yeah, I’m thinking about going directly to the UN to do the speech. A lot of people will not because of Covid, will not be able to be there, as you know. But I think it’s appropriate, if we can do it’ll do it directly,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. 

This year's UNGA session is scheduled for late September and marks the 75th anniversary of the general assembly. 

The President said that this year’s general assembly “will not be like in the past because some countries won’t be able to escape the problems they’re having.”  

“I can do it the other way. I can do it viral, as they say. I can do it in that form, but I would rather do it at the United Nations, deliver it. I think it better represents the country. Also, I feel sort of a, at least a semi-obligation as the President of the United States to be at the United Nations to deliver what will be an important speech,” he said. 

6:28 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Venezuelan politician is the first government official to die from Covid-19 in the country

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon

 Dario Vivas speaks during a session of the National Assembly on September 24, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela.
Dario Vivas speaks during a session of the National Assembly on September 24, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela. Carolina Cabral/Getty Images

Venezuelan politician Dario Vivas died from Covid-19, the country's attorney general Tarek William Saab announced Thursday on Twitter. 

“With profound sadness, we receive the news that our good friend Dario Vivas passed away,” William Saab tweeted. 

Vivas was a veteran of the government of embattled president Nicolas Maduro, a congressman since 2006 and served as chief of staff of Venezuela's Capital District since January 2020. 

Vivas had been on a US Treasury sanctions list since 2017. 

He announced to Venezuelan media he had contracted Covid-19 on July 19.

At least eight other government officials have tested positive in Venezuela, including Vice President Jorge Rodriguez and Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami.  

Venezuela has currently at least 29,088 reported Covid-10 cases and approximately 247 deaths so far, according to the Maduro government. 

6:28 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Colombia surpasses 14,000 coronavirus deaths

From Stefano Pozzebon

Cemetery workers bury the coffin of a woman who reportedly died from COVID-19 at a cemetery in Medellin, Colombia, on August 12.
Cemetery workers bury the coffin of a woman who reportedly died from COVID-19 at a cemetery in Medellin, Colombia, on August 12. Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia’s health ministry reported 11,286 new cases from Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 433,805.

The ministry also reported 308 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total to 14,145.

Colombia’s capital, Bogotà, remains the biggest hotspot in the country with 149,944 reported cases.

6:08 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Brazil reports more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases

From Rodrigo Pedroso

Soldiers of the Brazilian Armed Forces disinfect the Christ The Redeemer statue at the Corcovado mountain prior to the opening of the attraction on August 15, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 13.
Soldiers of the Brazilian Armed Forces disinfect the Christ The Redeemer statue at the Corcovado mountain prior to the opening of the attraction on August 15, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 13. Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil reported at least 60,091 new cases from Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed cases to approximately 3,224,876, according to the health ministry.

The ministry also reported at least 1,262 new fatalities, bringing the total death toll to approximately 105,463. 

This is the third highest single-day total since the pandemic began. Brazil recorded at least 69,074 cases on July 29 and at least 67,860 on July 22.

6:03 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Emergency rules preventing evictions in California have been extended

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The Judicial Council of California voted to extend temporary emergency rules preventing evictions and foreclosures until Sept. 1.

The moratorium on evictions was first implemented in early April when job loss was skyrocketing as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The Judicial Council has received thousands of comments from those affected—from tenants who fear homelessness to small landlords who face losing their livelihoods or fear bankruptcy. In our ongoing conversations with Governor Newsom and the Legislature we have been responsive to their requests for additional time to develop and enact policy and legislative proposals,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement. 

This extra time provided by the council “will give us some time working with the legislature to enact an extension of those moratoriums in the needs of millions of Californians that are feeling stress and anxiety in that space,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

A possible solution: One idea being worked out is an immediate distribution of the state’s $300 million from the national mortgage settlement.

Newsom said the initial plan was to dispense those funds out over several years, with a distribution of $75 million in 2020. In this crisis, Newsom wants to accelerate that spending to address the immediate needs of vulnerable homeowners and renters, he said.

“We are committed to getting something done over the course of the next few weeks on eviction protections and addressing multiple renters, and small landlords as well,” Newsom said.


6:02 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Mississippi governor to issue guidance on high school athletics

From CNN's Raja Razek

Gov. Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves Mississippi Governor's office

In a news conference on Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he would be issuing guidance over the next several days on extracurricular activities at schools, particularly high school football games. 

Reeves said that while six counties in the state give cause for concern, almost 70 counties in the Mississippi have seen a decline in Covid-19 numbers.

"That is an exceptionally positive trend that we got to build on," he said. "That is the reason that you will see us, over the next several days, probably come out with guidance as it relates to extracurricular activities at our schools, particularly high school football games," Reeves said.

"I believe that we can play sports. We can do it in a safe way," he added. "And the way to do that is by limiting crowd size."

The latest numbers: Mississippi reported a total of at least 69,986 Covid-19 cases, with approximately 2,011 coronavirus-related deaths in the state. 

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