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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11:53 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Colorado governor will extend statewide mask order

From CNN’s Leslie Perrot in Denver

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis leaves a news conference in Denver on June 24.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis leaves a news conference in Denver on June 24. David Zalubowski/AP

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is extending the state’s mask order, he confirmed today through an email to CNN. 

“Our data has shown that mask wearing has contributed to our great success thus far in reducing the spread of the virus and helping more and more of our economy re-open rapidly including our schools. Therefore we expect the mask order to stay in place and support localized efforts to continue mask wearing and raise awareness about the importance of avoiding large groups,” Polis said in a statement emailed to CNN. “Masks and social distancing continue protecting the lives of Coloradans during this pandemic.”

The original mask mandate went into effect on July 16 and was scheduled to expire on Saturday, Aug.15.

 See which US states require people to wear masks when out in public here.

11:28 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

No current plans to delay school reopenings in New York City, mayor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

During Thursday’s news conference, New York City Mayor de Blasio was asked repeatedly about the calls from principals and teachers unions to delay the reopening of NYC schools and the many concerns voiced by school officials.

The mayor said that he was not planning to delay reopening at this time, and noted schools still have a month to prepare and put safety protocols in place.

“I really believe our schools are crucial for our kids, there is nothing that replaces in- person learning,” de Blasio said. “Our schools coming back is part of how the whole city comes back, and we’ve been planning for months to start as we would have normally on that date.”

At least 15% of teachers in the city public school systems have asked for a formal medical accommodation, certifying that they have a specific medical concerns that would keep them from returning in person at the start of the school year, de Blasio said.

The mayor said he is confident that the vast majority of teachers and administrators would come in and work in person in September, and repeatedly said he wouldn’t answer questions about what would happen if they refused to do so.

Coronavirus indicators continue to hold in the city, de Blasio said. There were 70 new hospitalizations reported, 282 individuals in the intensive care units across the city Health and Hospital system and the positivity rate remains at 1%.

11:38 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Venezuela reports new record daily number of Covid-19 cases as total nears 30,000

From journalist Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota

Health care personnel work on disinfecting in San Cristóbal, Venezuela, on August 9.
Health care personnel work on disinfecting in San Cristóbal, Venezuela, on August 9. Jorge Mantilla/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Venezuela reported 1,150 new Covid-19 cases, a new daily record for the country, bringing the total number of cases to 29,088, Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

At least 9 new deaths were also reported, bringing the country’s death toll to 247, according to data released by the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Covid-19 cases have increased in the last few weeks in Venezuela. Wednesday was the third day in a row the country reported a new daily increase record. 

At least nine government officials have tested positive for coronavirus, including Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the Socialist Party, and Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami. They have both recovered according to Venezuelan official media.

The Venezuelan opposition and international organizations have questioned the government's capacity to report the virus, accusing Maduro of misrepresenting the dimensions of the crisis. 

11:18 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

This Ohio preschool teacher travels to kids' homes to help them learn

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Ohio teacher Marea Hodge set up a preschool-on-the-go, traveling to kids’ homes to make sure they don’t fall behind in learning.

“The best thing is to have the children be so excited to see their teacher coming in,” Hodge told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “My favorite part is to see their faces light up, ready to learn.”

Hodge taught a traditional preschool class in school for years, but the coronavirus pandemic has challenged school systems and governments alike on reopening.

“It’s very, very hard for parents to decide whether they want to send their kids,” she said. “I think that it’s important that even though they can't send them in person, that they still get that education that they need. We don't want our children to fall behind in any aspect.”

She added that she hopes the government looks into a program like this and gives preschool teachers resources or financial assistance to continue teaching.

Hodge also takes precautions like wearing a mask and washing her hands while traveling to these homes because the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it is high.

“I do worry at times, but I also do a screening. So I'm always careful with where I go and who I, you know, come in contact with,” she explained. “There is a 50-50 chance of contracting it. But I can contract it anywhere else too.”

Watch the interview:

11:03 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

St. Louis order limiting bar, restaurant and nightclub capacity goes into effect today

From CNN’s Kay Jones

An order by the health commissioner in St. Louis, Missouri, goes into effect today that limits capacity of bars, restaurants and nightclubs to 50% occupancy and institutes an 11:00 p.m. closing time.

Bars and restaurants in the city have not had any orders regarding capacity limits or a curfew up until this order was signed. 

Fredrick Echols, who is the acting of health and hospitals and the health commissioner for the city, said that over 50% of the new positive cases are from people in their 20s and 30s. 

The intent of the order says it is to “ensure that the maximum number of people and businesses take prudent precautions to reduce the exposure to, and slow the spread of, Covid-19.” 

The city’s new order also states that large venues are required to reduce their capacity to 50% or less and states that all businesses should encourage employees to quarantine or isolate if they have or believe they have Covid-19 or have been exposed to the virus. 

The order is set to expire on Sept. 7. 

 

10:50 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Okinawa extends state of emergency for two weeks

From Kaori Enjoji and Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul

The southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa raised its alert over coronavirus infections to the highest of its four levels and extended its state of emergency Thursday, according to the Okinawa prefectural government.

Okinawa's state of emergency, which was set to expire on Saturday, will be extended for two weeks until Aug. 29, the government said. 

The government has asked people to refrain from non-essential outings and dining in large groups and urged residents to go shopping alone. It also asked residents to refrain from going out after 10 p.m., local time particularly in nightlife areas. Businesses in Okinawa’s largest city, Naha, have been closing at 10 p.m. local time since Aug. 1 under government orders.

Latest figures: Okinawa reported 97 new cases on Thursday, bringing the prefecture's total to 1,404. Three new infections were confirmed at US bases in Okinawa. Two cases were at Camp Courtney, while one case was reported at Camp Kadena. The total number of cases at US bases in Okinawa is 323, according to the government.

Japan recorded 974 new cases and four deaths on Wednesday, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases nationwide to 51,859.

Wednesday marks the third consecutive day that less than 1,000 new infections were recorded.

10:50 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Every New York City public school will have a certified nurse when they reopen, mayor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

People walk past a public school in New York on July 8.
People walk past a public school in New York on July 8. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Every single New York City public school building will have a certified nurse working in the building when they reopen in the fall, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a news conference on Thursday morning.

“We’re taking every precaution, but there’s a tremendous value to having a health professional present,” de Blasio said.

City officials are working in conjunction with the NYC Health & Hospitals system (the city’s public hospital system) — which brought in additional personnel to the city at the height of the coronavirus crisis — to make sure that every school is staffed when schools reopen roughly a month from now.

10:37 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

American Academy of Pediatrics releases new guidance on face coverings and testing for children

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Thursday released three new sets of guidances on cloth face coverings for children, testing protocols for children, and personal protective equipment for pediatric medical providers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On face coverings: The AAP advises that cloth face coverings can be safely worn by all children over age 2. Apart from rare exceptions, children with underlying health conditions can safely wear face coverings, which both protect the children and reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

“Just like children understand that they must wear bicycle helmets and buckle into their car seats, they will come to learn to wear masks routinely when necessary,” AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a news release announcing the new guidance. “This virus is going to be with us for some time, and face coverings are a proven, effective way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As parent prepare to send their children to school and into childcare settings, cloth face coverings should be part of their new normal.”

On testing: The testing guidance offers recommendations to help providers determine when to test for Covid-19.

Scenarios that indicate the need for a test include children with symptoms, children who have been in close contact with someone with confirmed Covid-19, or those having elective surgery.

Due to the similarities in symptoms between flu and the coronavirus, it may be necessary to test to confirm a diagnosis of Covid-19. Having an understanding of the community spread of Covid-19 could help providers make the decision to test or not, the guidance says.

The guidance also offers details on things such as the types of tests that are available, and how to counsel families after receiving results.

On PPE: The guidance for PPE says that protocols for all practices should include appropriate levels of PPE, hand hygiene, cleaning of equipment and physical facilities, and efforts to promote physical distancing as much as possible. Staff at increased risk for severe Covid-19 should be offered the most protective level of PPE.

All facilities should have written protocols that are consistent with federal state and local guidelines.

Among other things, it also says that health care workers may also consider increasing their level of PPE when performing procedures that may produce spit, tears, gags or coughs, according to the guidance.

 

11:36 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Vaccine production for Latin America to begin in Mexico in 2021, AstraZeneca executive says

From Karol Suarez in Mexico City

At a news conference Thursday morning in Mexico City, biotech firm AstraZeneca’s Executive Sylvia Varela said production for the Covid-19 vaccine will begin in 2021.

“During the first quarter of 2021, we will start manufacturing and packing in Mexico to export to other countries,” she said, adding that once they have Phase three results —expected in November —they will begin the registry.

The Phase three trial will cover 50,000 people in England, the US, South Africa and Brazil, she said

 “It’s a non-profit strategy, our goal is to bring the vaccine to Mexico as soon as possible. We feel honored to produce a vaccine in Mexico for the Mexicans and Latin America,” Varela said, adding that the final cost of the vaccine should be no more than 4 US dollars.

 “The production line set here gives us a lower price than the ones we've seen in other countries. We don't have the final cost because we're still working on it, but it will be around USD 4; it shouldn't exceed $4,” she said.

 Valera explained the agreement expects to set an equitable distribution across the region.

“We must try to set an equitable distribution in all the countries. Today we’re going to speak with the Latin American governments. They will decide their interest and purchase intention. Once we finish, we will prioritize vulnerable populations of each country to carry out this equitable access.”

“As you know, there are four memorandums of understanding for protocols of phase three in Mexico. The latest is this production agreement. When the authorities give permission, we will start producing it,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said at Thursday’s press conference.

Ebrard added that governments will request vaccines for their countries and appreciated the support and coordination from Argentina. 

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said the vaccine will be “universal and at no cost in Mexico because that's the Mexican government's plan.”

Some background: The first agreement for a Covid-19 vaccine available for all countries in Latin America, except Brazil, was announced Wednesday evening when Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said that the agreement signed between AstraZeneca and Mexican based Slim Foundation establishes the production of 150 to 250 million vaccines. The vaccines would be available for the first semester of 2021, he said.

The Mexican Foreign Minister referred to the access and distribution for the vaccine, saying, “It’s important to know that it’s a non-profit purpose; it’s that the region will have access to the vaccine. This will mean that the vaccine, instead of being distributed in Mexico in one year, will be distributed six or seven months ahead, which makes a difference for the economy and health.”