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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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.

4:21 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

US stocks finish mixed

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

The trading day was nothing to write home about, as stocks finished the day the way they started it: mixed. The S&P 500 once again neared its February record close, but it eventually ended the day in the red, down 0.2%.

The headline number on initial jobless claims dropped below 1 million for the first time since mid-March, which economists believe to be a good sign even as the American jobs recovery still has a long road ahead.

Here's where things finished:

  • The Dow fell 0.3%, or 80 points.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.3%.
4:20 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Congressional action on new relief package likely to wait until September — at least

From CNN's Manu Raju, Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox

The United States Capitol is seen on August 6 in Washington.
The United States Capitol is seen on August 6 in Washington. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Republicans and Democrats have been angrily bickering for weeks over a new economic stimulus package that has bitterly divided the two parties as millions wait for badly needed relief from Washington amid the worsening coronavirus crisis. 

But there is a hardening bipartisan consensus about this: Any new measure will almost certainly have to wait at least until September to become law – and that’s being optimistic.

Here's why: While leaders in both chambers say their members can come back within 24 hours to cast a vote, the reality on Capitol Hill means that the process to draft, review and consider any legislation will take much longer than that. The next two weeks will be dominated by party conventions, taking time and focus away from negotiating any deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, herself, will be in California for at least part of the week as the Democrats formally nominate Joe Biden as their party’s nominee. The following week, the GOP will be consumed with renominating President Trump. 

Yet even if they spoke by phone during that time period and agreed to the outlines of a deal, it would take many days for staff to draft the legislative language of such a vast proposal, a process that some believe could take up to a week or more given both its sweeping size and the fraught negotiations that would undoubtedly continue over the finer points of the bill. 

And once the bill is drafted, it would go through the slog of the legislative process, and members would need some time to review it and be briefed on the details. In the House, the Rules Committee would have to meet and consider the bill and set the parameters for floor debate. In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to take the procedural steps necessary to take the bill up and cut off debate once it passed the House. 

Under the speediest scenario, just the process of voting on the bill alone could take about a week. 

But it could be slowed down, particularly in the Senate, if any senator were to object to speeding up consideration. And that would almost certainly happen – given the staunch opposition voiced by a number of Republicans over passing a package north of $1 trillion. 

And all that means the soonest Congress would act almost certainly would be early-mid September – and only after the White House and Democrats reached a consensus.

4:15 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Fauci says we’ve got to think about returning to some sense of normalcy

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Americans need to think about returning to some sort of normalcy as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“For goodness sakes, we are living – all of us – in a historic pandemic. We've never had anything like this for the last 102 years since the pandemic of 1918,” Anthony Fauci said Thursday during a conversation with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Rainmondo.

It is a challenge, but “you can’t interrupt your life, totally, indefinitely. You’ve got to try to safely get back to normal,” he said.

“I think people, sometimes, they go to one extreme versus the other. Either you’re going to lock yourself in a closet, or you're going to be out partying with no mask,” he said. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Fauci said, every night he and his wife go for a four-mile jog. Fauci donned his mask, but kept it below his mouth and nose, along his jawline. Fauci said he then can freely chat with his wife.

“If I see 50 yards ahead, someone coming, I go like that,” Fauci said, pulling up his mask to cover his nose and mouth. "You don't need to be locked down outside."

3:50 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Russian officials say "US is not currently open" to their vaccine

From CNN’s Matthew Chance, Zahra Ullah and Vivian Salama

Ampoules containing a vaccine component pass through a packaging machine in Zelenograd, Russia, on Friday.
Ampoules containing a vaccine component pass through a packaging machine in Zelenograd, Russia, on Friday. Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Russian officials in Moscow have told CNN that they have offered “unprecedented cooperation” with Operation Warp Speed, the US multi-agency body set up to accelerate access to effective Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.  

But the officials have said that the “US is not currently open” to the Russian medical advances.  

“There is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side and we believe that technologies — including vaccine, testing and treatments — are not being adopted in US because of that mistrust,” one senior Russian official told CNN.  

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump has been briefed on the new Russian vaccine. She said that American vaccines go through “rigorous” phase 3 testing and high standards.

Other US officials told CNN the Russian vaccine is considered so half-baked in the United States that it hadn’t even piqued US interest in a serious way before the rollout.

“There’s no way in hell the US tries this (Russian vaccine) on monkeys, let alone people,” one US government public health official said.   

Russian officials tell CNN that Russia is open to sharing information about vaccine and that it would allow US pharmaceutical companies to produce the Russian vaccine on American soil.     

3:48 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Georgia governor withdraws lawsuit over Atlanta mask mandate and Covid-19 restrictions 

From CNN's John Murgatroyd

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a news conference announcing expanded statewide testing on Monday.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a news conference announcing expanded statewide testing on Monday. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is withdrawing his lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City Council regarding restrictions Atlanta put in place over coronavirus, including a citywide mask mandate. 

In a written statement, the governor said he would instead address the issue in a new executive order this Saturday. 

“I sued the City of Atlanta to immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability. For weeks, we have worked in good faith with Mayor Bottoms, and she agreed to abandon the city’s Phase One roll-back plan, which included business closures and a shelter in place order. Unfortunately, the Mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia. Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next Executive Order," Kemp said.

Kemp referenced Bottoms concession on the city's phase one roll-back plan, but said she refused to compromise any further in mediation. 

"The Governor’s current Executive Order expires this Saturday, August 15, at which time he will issue a new order with relevant language," according to the statement.