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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10:23 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

9/11 "Tribute in Light" canceled due to Covid-19 concerns

From CNN's Rob Frehse

People on the shore watch The Tribute in Light shining into the sky over Manhattan's skyline on September 11, 2019.
People on the shore watch The Tribute in Light shining into the sky over Manhattan's skyline on September 11, 2019. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

New York City’s “Tribute in Light” that honors victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum announced Thursday.

“This incredibly difficult decision was reached in consultation with our partners after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual Tribute in Light,” the group said in a statement.
“We hope to resume this iconic tribute for the 20th anniversary.”

The memorial features two blue beams of light, consisting of 88 searchlights reaching 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) into the sky, that resemble the shape of the Twin Towers near the World Trade Center site.

9:38 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Star running back Damien Williams says he's opting out of the NFL's 2020 season

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs' star running back, Damien Williams, is opting out in the 2020 NFL season in part because his mom is fighting stage 4 cancer and he is worried he may expose her to Covid-19 if he plays.

Calling his mother his "rock," he said she has been a constant presence throughout his career and suggested it could be difficult to play without her by his side.

"This is the perfect time to be with my mommy and spend time with her," he told Anderson Cooper.

Williams, who is one of three Kansas City players to opt out so far, said that his mother was the champion of their family growing up and that it's now his turn to shoulder some of the responsibility.

Williams acknowledged that after dedicating his life to football, it will be quite difficult to observe the season from home, but he added that he will be watching and wishes the best for his teammates and the season.

"I just feel like it was something I had to do. It's gong to be hard to watch, but I am cheering at home," he said. "... I'm excited just to see the season start and I am praying that it finishes."

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

Mexico surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases

From Karol Suarez

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Thursday reported 7,371 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the country's total to 505,751.

The ministry also reported 627 new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 55,293.

8:34 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

CDC’s ensemble forecast now projects nearly 189,00 US coronavirus deaths by September 5

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 189,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Sept. 5.

The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 188,982 deaths, with a possible range of 181,375 to 201,431 deaths.

“State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

Some context: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future.

The previous ensemble forecast, published Aug. 6, projected roughly 181,000 coronavirus deaths by Aug. 29.

At least 167,029 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:13 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Fauci says consequences could be "devastating" if the country reopens without the virus under control

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

 Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images/FILE
Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images/FILE

America needs to get control of Covid-19 and carefully reopen the country, or the consequences could be devastating, Dr. Anthony Fauci told actor Matthew McConaughey in an interview on Instagram Thursday.

“To think that you can ignore the biologic and get the economy back, it's not gonna happen,” said Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert. “It's just not gonna happen. You gotta do both. You gotta get control of the biologic as you carefully, open the country.” 

Fauci emphasized the importance of acting in a measured, prudent way. He noted that we have seen the consequences of jumping over the guideposts that have been established for safe reopening.

“It goes beyond the economics,” said Fauci. “If you shut down, even if there was no economic issue, what happens is that psychologically, it could be devastating." 

“If you're really shut down, children may not get their vaccinations. People don't go to hospitals when they get chest pain,” he added. “There's a lot of different things that could go wrong, beyond the economy.”

Fauci gave another grim warning.

“In fact, there's projections that if you stay shut down, the number of deaths unrelated to Covid will go up,” he said. “The number of suicides, overdoses, family issues, such as child abuse and things like that, they all go up.”

Fauci said that he believes the country can come together to overcome the virus.

“I'm old enough to have been a baby during World War II, but I remember how the country absolutely pulled together. We pulled together after 9/11. This is equivalent to that,” he said. “We've got to pull together.”

7:26 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Officials should be careful opening schools in places with high positivity rates, Fauci says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, described during a Facebook Live on Thursday how communities could approach reopening schools for in-person learning.

“We have now designations like green, which means less than 5% test positivity and less than 10 individuals per 100,000 who are infected,” said Fauci. “Then there's yellow, which is 5 to 10% case positivity, with 10 to 100 cases per 100,000. And then there's red, which is greater than 10% positive on testing and greater than 100 per 100,000 individuals.”

Fauci said those who are in the green and yellow zones should still take precautions when reopening schools.

“If you're in the green zone, with somewhat impunity, you can feel good about sending kids back. If you're in a yellow zone, you've got to make sure the schools have the capability of mitigating any risk of infection,” he said. 

Fauci said important precautions include wearing masks, opening windows and having susceptible children work remotely.

“If you're in a red zone, I think you really better be careful, and try to get your county, your city, your state, down to a yellow or green to get the children in,” Fauci warned.

“The best way to open the schools, is to get where you live closer to the green than to the red,” he added.

7:25 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Hawaii sets new one-day Covid-19 infection record

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Fewer-than-usual people are seen at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 29, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Fewer-than-usual people are seen at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 29, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Kyodo News/Getty Images

Hawaii has reported its highest single-day case count of Covid-19 with 355 cases, according to a release from the Hawaii Covid-19 Joint Information Center today. 

The state's health department has also reported at least 86 new Covid-19 cases, which are part of an existing cluster at the Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC).

At least 116 cases of Covid-19 are attributable to the facility. There are 24 staffers and 92 inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19, according to health investigators.

Note: These numbers were released by Hawaii’s Covid-19 Joint Information Center, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

7:22 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

US workers could save $150 billion due to payroll tax deferral, but will have to pay it back, group says

From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

US workers could save $150 billion between September and December of 2020 due to President Trump’s executive action of a payroll tax deferral. But workers may have to pay back the money in 2021, according to an analysis by the Anderson Economic Group released Thursday. The payroll tax is used to fund Social Security.  

The President does not have the authority to eliminate the payroll tax even for a short period, but Congress does, the group says. Unless Congress altogether eliminates the payroll tax from September to December, Americans will likely owe the deferred funds in 2021 when they’re are doing their taxes.

“The payroll tax deferral—especially if it seems likely will be put into law—would pose a big risk for struggling employers and their workers,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group. “Although the President probably has the authority to defer collecting the tax, until the law is changed most employees should assume they still owe it.”  

Americans can expect to save between $1,000 and $2,000 per month with the payroll tax deferral, the group estimates.

But ceasing contributions to Social Security, “even for a short period, would have a negative impact on a system that is already on shaky ground financially,” said Brian Peterson, director of Public Policy & Economic Analysis at the Anderson Economic Group. The Social Security Administration estimates that the fund is on pace to run out in 2035, without taking the effects of Covid-19 into account.

9:34 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

There aren't enough schools playing to have fall championships this year, NCAA president says

From CNN's Jabari Jackson


NCAA President Mark Emmert says that no fall sports championships can happen due to lack of participation among schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The only exception is “FBS football," he said.

"We cannot, now at this point, have fall NCAA championships because we don't have enough schools participating,” said Emmert in a preview of Thursday’s Social Series. “The NCAA board of governors has decided that if you do not have at least half of the schools participating you cannot have a legitimate championship. So, we can't in any Division 1 NCAA championship sport have a champion in the fall, which is everything except FBS football in the fall." 

The College Football Playoff (CFP) serves as the championship event for FBS football which brings in millions of dollars to the NCAA and participating institutions. The CFP said in a news release on Thursday that the committee will continue with their process without the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences. 

"We don't know right now what the season will bring, but as a committee, we are ready to use the protocol and the expertise of the 13 people who have been charged with selecting the teams," said Gary Barta, Iowa’s athletic director and CFP committee chair, said in a statement.

“The committee's task is to rank the teams based on what happens on the field. This week gave us a great chance to catch up with the familiar faces and welcome our three new members to the process. If the board and management committee say we are having a CFP, we will be ready," the statement added.