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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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.

5:43 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Stanford cancels almost all in-person classes this fall

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

 Philip Pacheco/Getty Images/FILE
 Philip Pacheco/Getty Images/FILE

Stanford University is canceling almost all in-person classes this fall, according to a letter to the community from Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

The president says in his letter the decision comes with “great regret” but that the public health situation due to Covid-19 does not make it feasible for students to return to campus.

Here's what the letter said: 

"Last Friday, the State of California issued guidance for institutions of higher education to inform reopening considerations. We believe this guidance is thoughtful and responsible, reflecting a continued commitment by the State to control the pandemic,” the letter said. “The guidance also reflects the deep challenges associated with trying to provide anything close to a ‘normal’ on-campus undergraduate experience given the current state of the pandemic," Tessier-Lavigne wrote.

Stanford is also suspending plans to provide housing for first year, sophomore, and new transfer students in the fall, he said. However, existing undergraduates with approved special circumstances will be allowed. 

The university is located in Santa Clara County which is one of the 38 counties on California’s “watch list” for reopening.

Approximately 16,000 students attend Stanford.

5:34 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Schools in Kentucky must recognize how "traumatic quarantine can be," governor says

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Governor's office
Kentucky Governor's office

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said schools that are planning to reopen “at a time when we know there are going to be a lot of families and a lot of kids going into quarantine,” should make sure they recognize how traumatic quarantine can be for those children.

“Let’s make sure we have already set up the mental health counseling that we will need, for kids to go through that,” Beshear said. “Let’s make sure that we are putting them first and that we are prepared for that trauma, that will come along with it and that is within the rest of our calculation.”

The governor brought up the subject after discussing how his Covid-19 scare had affected his own children, who asked if Beshear and his wife were going to die, whether they themselves were going to die, and about who would care for them if the governor and his wife were to die.

5:27 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Recommendations for who will get first Covid-19 vaccines expected by Labor Day, NIH director says

From CNN’s Wes Bruer and Lauren Mascarhenas

A COVID-19 vaccination is prepared at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government's Operation Warp Speed program.
A COVID-19 vaccination is prepared at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government's Operation Warp Speed program. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said he expects “interim, high-level recommendations” from the National Academy of Sciences on who should get priority for Covid-19 vaccinations by Labor Day.  

“That would probably include such people as the elderly, residents of nursing homes, health care providers, other people at high risk for chronic illnesses. So we thought it was very important to have that conversation, really at a high level, and thought about it in advance, so the head of the CDC and I asked the National Academy of Sciences to convene a panel,” Collins said Thursday on a media call with Operation Warp Speed leadership.

After recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences are submitted, they will be reviewed by the US Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“We will then, when we get down to the real point of having a vaccine that's been proved safe and effective, make those recommendations about how that should be prioritized. So I think it's a pretty good plan. We're thinking ahead, recognizing that we are going to be in a better place than anybody almost ever has been with a new vaccine, where you already have a lot of doses, but you still have to be thoughtful about how to choose the priorities in the first few months until we can immunize everybody,” Collins said.

4:57 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

California's Covid-19 death rate remains high as overall cases and hospitalizations drop

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A worker with CleanHarbors sprays disinfectant inside a Marin County Fire Department ambulance on April 14 in Greenbrae, California.
A worker with CleanHarbors sprays disinfectant inside a Marin County Fire Department ambulance on April 14 in Greenbrae, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The number of people dying from Covid-19 every day in California remains high, despite a decline in cases and hospitalizations. The 14-day positivity rate has also dropped to under 6% for the first time since June 28.

Yet the state reported another 160 fatalities today, bringing the state’s total to at least 10,648, according to the California Department of Public Health. 

Deaths have been in the triple digits nearly every day for the past two weeks, including Aug. 1, when the state reported at least 219 deaths – the most recorded in a single day.

In recent days, California’s data has been plagued with errors in its electronic lab reporting system. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the errors have been resolved, but daily case updates will include a backlog of previously unreported cases which will be reallocated to the date to which they belong.

Today’s case report added at least 7,085 new cases. It is unclear how many of those were actually recorded within the most recent 24-hour reporting period.

Newsom expressed optimism about the latest trends, saying Wednesday they are an indication that California “is turning the corner on this pandemic.”

4:49 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Don't expect to have a vaccine by October, NIH director says

From CNN's Wes Bruer and Lauren Mascarhenas

Dr. Francis Collins testifies during a hearing on Operation Warp Speed on July 2 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Dr. Francis Collins testifies during a hearing on Operation Warp Speed on July 2 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the United States should not expect to see an approved vaccine by October – a reference to speculation that President Trump could prematurely rush a vaccine through the regulatory process prior to Election Day.

“The only way I could imagine that is if, in fact, one of the phase three trials that's now underway enrolled at just absolute record speed, turned out to be 100% effective, and was therefore judged safe and effective even before they had gotten all the number of volunteers signed up that they expected. I mean, that's sort of a number of unlikelihoods piled on top of each other,” Collins said on Thursday during a media call with Operation Warp Speed leadership.

“So again, I would not expect to see, on the basis of what we know, scientifically, that we'd be at the point where FDA would have the chance to make such a judgment until considerably later than October first. Maybe November, December would be my best bet," she added.

Collins, who was joined on the call by Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said that Operation Warp Speed is still on track to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective Covid-19 vaccine no later than January 2021.

4:46 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Kansas City mayor extends Covid-19 state of emergency into next year

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, is extending the city’s coronavirus state of emergency into the beginning of next year.

Emergency orders now will be in effect until at least Jan. 16.

“It is now obvious to everyone that Covid-19 is not going away over the next five months,” Kansas City Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said in a written statement Thursday.

The extension was signed by Mayor Quinton Lucas, requiring most people to continue wearing face coverings while in public places and capping crowds at bars to 50% capacity.

“Until there’s a widely available vaccine, Covid-19 is here to stay—with serious potential health consequences for those infected,” Lucas wrote.

Some context: Kansas City, Missouri, has seen a dramatic spike in Covid-19 cases, according the city’s health department, with a one-day record of 249 new cases reported on Monday.

4:36 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Wisconsin surpasses 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths "in just over 6 months," governor says

From CNN's Raja Razek

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers Office of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said that in just over six months, the state's Covid-19-related death toll has surpassed 1,000 people. 

"This is a devastating milestone," Evers said today during a news conference. "Every corner of Wisconsin has felt the tragic impact of this virus as 52 of Wisconsin's 72 counties have reported at least one Covid-19 death."

The governor also discussed the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 in Wisconsin. 

"The infection rate for Latinx Wisonsonites is over five times that of white Wisconsinites," he said. "And Black Wisconsinites are experiencing a death rate over four times higher than their white counterparts." 

Asked if he is considering any statewide restrictions pertaining to schools in general, Evers said, "At this point in time, I don't see the need for any kind of order."

4:35 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

US is doing the "appropriate amount of testing" to reduce Covid-19 spread, HHS official says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Thursday that people should not get hung up on a number, when asked if there was a number of tests that the US should be doing.

“We are doing the appropriate amount of testing now to reduce the spread, flatten the curve, save lives – because it’s not the number,” Giroir said during a call with reporters organized by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“I could probably, you know, go do a 100 million tests by testing people on the street, giving them $100 to be tested,” he said. “That’s not what we’re trying to do.”

They are trying to ensure that sick people who need to be tested are tested, protecting vulnerable and high-risk populations, and supporting public health testing in areas where it is important to test a lot of asymptomatic people, he said.

“Don’t get hung up on a number,” Giroir said. “The people who are peddling numbers are spectators, not part of the system. They do not understand how this should be strategically used.”

Giroir said they have proven “time and time again” that doing strategic testing in support of good policy works.

“A number is meaningless unless it’s used appropriately,” he said.

Giroir did, however, say he supports providing supplies so that at least 2% of the population can be tested per month, because it helps to be able to detect outbreaks, which is usually done by a percent positivity.