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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9:05 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

The US reported its highest number of fatalities yesterday since May 

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy

Deaths from the virus remain high in the US.

Coronavirus has infected more than 5 million people and killed over 166,000 in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Wednesday alone, there were 55,910 reported new cases and 1,499 deaths — the highest number of fatalities since May.

Meanwhile, the seven-day average of daily coronavirus deaths was over 1,000 on Wednesday, the 17th consecutive day the US averaged over 1,000 deaths per day.

Adjusting for population, states in the Southeast are seeing the most new cases. Georgia and Florida — states led by Republican governors who have not issued face mask requirements — have the highest per capita new cases over the past seven days, followed by Alabama and Mississippi.

On Wednesday, Florida health officials announced more than 8,000 new case reports and 212 new deaths.

Track the virus in the US here.

9:05 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Dallas superintendent says starting school again is a balancing act

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Michael Hinojosa on CNN's "New Day" on August 13.
Michael Hinojosa on CNN's "New Day" on August 13. CNN

Classes in the Dallas Independent School District were supposed to start next Monday, but they’ve been moved to Sept. 8 as officials continue to monitor coronavirus cases. 

“The numbers in Texas and Dallas County are getting better, but we still don't know exactly where we're going to end up. And yes, our employees are scared to death, and so we're trying to balance that,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said on CNN’s “New Day.” 

There is a meeting today with the school board, and 50 people have signed up to speak, according to Hinojosa.

The superintendent said that the district is working with the county health department in the case that cases spike up again while school is in session.

“We have a lot of things we have to juggle. … We’re almost in a catch-22, but any time we make a decision to pivot if we start, we are told we could have five-day rolling shutdowns as we have cases,” he said. 


8:57 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

First-time jobless claims fall below 1 million for the first time since March

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

A person fills out unemployment paperwork in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on July 15.
A person fills out unemployment paperwork in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on July 15. Nick Oxford for The Washington Post/Getty Images

Another 963,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

This was the lowest number of weekly initial claims since the pandemic shut down the US economy. It is the first time in five months that fewer than 1 million have filed for first-time jobless benefits.

Economists say it's encouraging that claims for unemployment are going down because it means people keep returning to work. That said, the persistently high claims numbers also tell us this recovery won't be an easy or quick feat.

Continued jobless claims, which count people who have filed for unemployment benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 15.5 million.

9:26 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Cruises on the Mediterranean Sea return Aug. 16 — but it's not back to business as usual 

Barbie Latza Nadeau with Livia Borghese and Nicola Ruotolo

Costa Deliziosa cruise ship
Costa Deliziosa cruise ship Courtesy MSC Cruises

On Aug. 16, one of the most common sights on the Mediterranean Sea will return once again: cruise ships.

But it's not back to business as usual for this beleaguered travel sector, which has lost an estimated half of its $150 billion in annual global revenue since the Diamond Princess, docked off the coast of Japan in February, became emblematic for how fast the new Covid-19 can spread on a ship.

That triggered a global shutdown of sea cruises until July, when the few that dared start up again were hit with infections right away. The 180 passengers on the Norwegian cruise liner MS Roald Amundsen are still under quarantine after 36 crew members and four guests tested positive on an Arctic voyage.

Fears over potential fresh outbreaks prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July to extend a "no sail order" until September 2020. Some cruise lines have gone further, canceling voyages until December or even 2021.

How will the Mediterranean cruises be different?

The Med cruises on offer for the moment are only for residents of Europe's 26-nation Schengen Area, according to new stipulations set forth by the Italian government on August 10.

During the cruise, people will not be allowed off the ship onto Italian soil unless they are part of tightly controlled organized excursions with fellow passengers only and minimum contact with the general population..

The MSC Grandiosa will be the first to test the waters on August 16 with a seven-night cruise that will stop in Genoa, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valletta, Malta.

"Stringent safety measures"

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC's executive chairman, said in a statement that all passengers and crew will be tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to board.

"During the pause in our operations, we focused on developing a comprehensive operating protocol that builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place on board our ships," Vago said in a statement posted on the company website.

The procedures include Covid-19 testing for all guests and crew before embarkation and shore visits only as part of approved excursions, he said.

"With all of these measures in place, we aim to offer our guests the safest possible holiday."

Leonardo Massa, MSC's Italy country manager, told CNN that the security procedures to access the ship will be threefold.

Passengers will need to fill out a form and have their temperature taken followed by an immunofluorescence test to detect the potential for the virus. If they pass that test, they can then check in and get their cruise card.

Read more here.

8:36 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Over 2,000 people are quarantined as US schools reopen

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy

Coronavirus continues to spread at high rates across the South, Midwest and West — even as the total number of new cases has declined following a summer surge.

Nationally, over the past seven days, the United States is averaging about 53,000 new cases per day, down 11% from the week prior. As educators and parents clash over starting in-person classes, some schools that have reopened have seen new cases.

More than 2,000 students, teachers and staff have been placed under quarantine in the few reopened districts in several states, a CNN tally of reported cases show. Of those, at least 230 positive coronavirus cases have been reported among the school districts reopened for in-person learning.

Here are some of the impacted areas:

  • In Georgia, just outside Atlanta, more than 1,100 students, teachers and staff in the Cherokee County School District are under quarantine due to dozens of Covid-19 positive cases or exposure. Schools reopened 10 days ago.
  • In Florida, a day after the Martin County School District reopened for in-person teaching, an entire elementary class and one bus route were placed under quarantine after a student showed coronavirus symptoms, spokeswoman Jennifer DeShazo said Wednesday.
  • Several states including Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Indiana reported cases of teachers, students and sports players testing positive for coronavirus. At Oklahoma's Broken Arrow Public Schools District, 33 employees tested positive last week, Superintendent Janet Vinson said.

The White House released new recommendations for schools. They are primarily basic hygiene tips and don't outline what schools should do if they find coronavirus cases in their halls. The recommendations also encourage the use of masks, but do not require students, teachers or staff to wear them.

President Trump said the federal government will provide up to 125 million masks to school districts nationwide.

8:14 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Mexico and Argentina will produce up to 250 million vaccines for Latin America, Argentina's president says

From CNN's Claudia Rebaza in London

President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez speaks during a press conference on August 12 in Olivos, Argentina.
President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez speaks during a press conference on August 12 in Olivos, Argentina. Juan Mabromata/Pool/Getty Images

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has signed an agreement with Mexico-based Slim Foundation to produce its coronavirus vaccine for the entirety of Latin America, with the exception of Brazil.

Between 150 and 250 million vaccine doses should be available by early 2021, Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez announced on Wednesday evening.

"The laboratory (AstraZeneca) has signed an agreement with the Slim Foundation to produce between 150 to 250 million vaccines destined for all of Latin America, with the exception of Brazil," Fernandez said.
"They are going to be available for the first semester of 2021. They will be fairly distributed between countries in accordance to demand and the requests by governments from each of these countries."

Fernandez added: "Latin American production will be the responsibility of Argentina and Mexico and it will allow a fair access to the vaccine for all countries in the region."

The Argentinian leader said the price of the vaccine would be between $3 and $4 per dose, adding that this was "significant for Latin America because it allows all our countries to be able to get [the vaccine.]"

AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.

8:00 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

It's 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 20 million people worldwide and has caused more than 749,000 deaths. Here's what you need to know:

  • Cases surge across Europe: Covid-19 rates are up in Spain, Germany, Greece and France as European governments juggle reopening with containing outbreaks.
  • Indian man who stood beside Modi tests positive: Nitya Gopal Das, the head of Ram Janmabhoomi trust, tested positive for coronavirus Thursday. He stood directly next to Indian leader Narendra Modi at an event on August 5.
  • Mexico approaches 500,000 cases: The country has also recorded 54,666 deaths, the third-highest death toll globally.
  • Hong Kong tries to contain third wave: The city reported 69 new cases Thursday, 65 of which were locally transmitted.
  • Study says 13% of Londoners have antibodies: Key workers and health care employees were most likely to have previously had Covid-19, according to the new research.
  • China says imported chicken wings tested positive: The wings were imported from Brazil and coronavirus was detected on a surface sample.

7:43 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Cases surge in Europe amid concerns over a second Covid-19 wave

Tourists wear protective masks while visiting the Eiffel Tower on August 2 in Paris, France.
Tourists wear protective masks while visiting the Eiffel Tower on August 2 in Paris, France. Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto/AP

Coronavirus cases are spiking once again in multiple European countries as governments attempt to reopen nations while containing outbreaks. Here are some of the nations most affected.


Spain has recorded one of the highest increases in coronavirus cases in Europe, with 100.4 cases per 100,000 people recorded over the last 14 days, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Its Aragon region has been particularly hard hit by the resurgence, with 7,139 cases diagnosed in the 14 days up to August 11.

That rate is higher than anywhere else in Spain and one of the worst in Europe, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health and the ECDC.


On Wednesday France recorded its biggest spike in cases since officials eased its pandemic lockdown, reporting an increase of 2,524 cases in 24 hours.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Tuesday that the coronavirus situation in the country was "trending in the wrong direction."

Despite a clear increase in cases, the number of ICU admissions and deaths remains down according to French Minister for Health Olivier Véran.


Germany’s daily new infection tally soared above 1,000 again on Wednesday, after several days with lower numbers, according to data from the country’s center for disease prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, which said the trend was concerning.

The government is now offering free tests for anyone entering the country.


Greece registered its highest daily increase of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began on Wednesday, with 262 new cases recorded, according to the country's National Public Health Organization.

The majority of new cases were registered in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s two largest cities.

8:07 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Indian religious leader who stood beside Narendra Modi at ceremony tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

An Indian religious leader who stood directly next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a controversial ceremony in early August has tested positive for coronavirus.

Nitya Gopal Das, the head of Ram Janmabhoomi trust, tested positive on Thursday, according to a senior official in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where he lives. 

He stood beside Modi during an August 5 ceremony in Ayodhya, a town in Uttar Pradesh.

The ceremony was a deeply controversial one, marking the laying of the foundations for a Hindu temple at a disputed site.

For decades, Hindu groups have campaigned for a temple to Lord Ram be built at the Ayodhya location, where a 16th-century mosque was demolished by right-wing groups in 1992.

Modi laid a 40-kilogram (88-pound) silver brick during the ceremony, which was attended by 175 dignitaries, including 135 religious devotees.

The Indian leader was seen wearing a face mask at the event. 

Das tested positive when a rapid antigen test was conducted for the virus after he showed flu-like symptoms, according to Sarvagya Ram Mishra, District Magistrate of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. 

"Obviously we are tracing his contacts and anyone who has been in contact with him will have to take adequate precautions," Mishra said.