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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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
NCAA

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.

7:10 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Thousands of new Covid-19 cases reported in Georgia

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland 

Georgia's health department has reported 2,674 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday.  

The statewide Covid-19 total is now 228,668.

The department also reported 83 new coronavirus-related deaths, which brings the total in the state to 4,538.  

According to the department of health, the state reported 136 deaths Tuesday – its most in a single day since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – and another 109 deaths Wednesday.

Note: These numbers were released by the Georgia Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

7:05 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Fauci says presence of symptoms long after coronavirus recovery is "very disturbing"

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The presence of ongoing symptoms after coronavirus recovery is “very disturbing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told actor Matthew McConaughey in an interview on Instagram on Thursday.

“We're starting to see more and more people who apparently recover from the actual viral part of it, and then weeks later, they feel weak, they feel tired, they feel sluggish, they feel short of breath,” said Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. “It's a chronic projection forward of symptoms, even though the virus is gone, and we think that's probably an immunological effect.”

Fauci said that although health experts are learning more about the virus every week, there is much that is still unknown. 

“It's very disturbing, because if this is true for a lot of people, then just recovering from this may not be OK." 

7:09 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Los Angeles megachurch sues California over Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

Grace Community Church
Grace Community Church KCAL/KCBS

A Los Angeles megachurch that has remained open despite state guidelines ordering indoor worship services closed is suing the state over what they believe are unfair Covid-19 restrictions. 

The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church named California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, among others. 

The suit accuses the state government officials of selectively restricting gatherings and interfering with their religious freedom.

Some context: Last month, Newsom ordered churches, gyms, shopping malls and other businesses to close indoor operations in counties on the state’s watch list as coronavirus infections surged in a state that has seen more than 10,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The 38 counties on the state's watch list make up more than 90% of the state’s population.

The governor’s order came after outbreaks of the coronavirus were traced to multiple houses of worship that had previously remained open.��Under the governor’s order, however, churches are allowed to continue holding services outdoors and many have since moved ceremonies online. 

Becerra’s office referred CNN to the governor’s office for comment. Spokespersons for Newsom did not immediately respond.

MacArthur told CNN on Tuesday, roughly 6,000 people had attended services at Grace Community Church in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley over the past couple of weeks and alleged that church-goers don’t “buy the deadly narrative” surrounding Covid-19. 

The church could face a fine of $1,000 per day for violating health orders.

6:54 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Coronavirus task force member defends US testing strategy

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir
Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir Pool/FILE

There is a national strategy for testing and it’s working, Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir said.

“I’m going to start being personally insulted by these kinds of questions, because we have had a national strategy for months,” said Giroir, noting that an 83-page national strategy was delivered to Congress.

He said that they take 40% of the Abbott supply chain and deliver it to public health labs around the country, and when it comes to supplies, Giroir said they take orders from every state for swabs and tubes of media, and “deliver exactly what they want, every single day.”   

“I do want to be clear about this: not every laboratory can get the exact reagent they want. I’ve tried to be clear about this all along," Giroir said.

As far as supplies used for other tests, Giroir said, “Those generic kind of things we are aware of and are working on.” 

Giroir said the Department of Defense and others are working with manufacturers to dramatically increase the supply and they will work on anything else that “pops up.” 

7:07 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

New Hampshire unveils 4 new reopening recommendations for long-term care facilities

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Gov. Chris Sununu
Gov. Chris Sununu Pool

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, along with Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, announced new reopening recommendations for long-term care facilities with the goal of gradually reducing restrictions at facilities.

Shibinette laid out the four phases within the reopening recommendations. They are...

  • Phase zero: There are two long-term facilities in the state that are currently in this phase, according to Shibinette. These facilities allow compassionate care visits and do not allow non-essential personnel, communal dining or group activities.
  • Phase 1: All non-outbreak facilities have been in this phase since July 1. This phase is for facilities located in counties with a prevalence rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000. As part of this phase, facilities allow compassionate care visits and outdoor visitation.
  • Phase 2: As of Thursday, all non-outbreak facilities will enter this phase, said Shibinette. Facilities can allow limited indoor visitation where each resident designates one person as a "support person." This person will then be allowed to have a no-contact visit with the resident. Masks and social distancing will be required. Also as part of this phase, limited nonessential personnel, such as hairdressers, will be allowed at the facility "to a degree."
  • Phase 3: If facilities can stay maintain a phase 2 for 14 days, they'll be allowed to enter phase 3. In phase 3, facilities must be located in counties with a prevalence rate of less than 10 cases per 100,000. Facilities will allow two visitors per resident and more non-essential health care personnel to enter the facility, as well as some non-medically necessary trips, communal dining and group activities with social distancing, said Shibinette.

Visitors who will be allowed to visit residents in phase 2 and 3 of the reopening plan will not have to be tested for Covid-19 prior to the visit, said Shibinette, who added that the guidance for the visit will be enough to protect residents.

As of now, facilities in Coos, Grafton and Merrimack counties will be able to enter phase 3 in 14 days if they maintain their progress, said Shibinette. She also emphasized that if cases start to go up in any county, reopening long-term care facilities can and will be scaled back.

The latest numbers: The state reported at least 34 new Covid-19 cases as well as two new deaths. The governor said there are no new hospitalizations and the statewide positivity rate is around 1%.

Note: The numbers listed were released by the New Hampshire governor’s office and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

6:33 p.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Trump considering in-person speech at the United Nations

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump said Thursday that he’s looking into potentially delivering an in-person speech at the United Nations General Assembly this year, despite the pandemic.  

“Yeah, I’m thinking about going directly to the UN to do the speech. A lot of people will not because of Covid, will not be able to be there, as you know. But I think it’s appropriate, if we can do it’ll do it directly,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. 

This year's UNGA session is scheduled for late September and marks the 75th anniversary of the general assembly. 

The President said that this year’s general assembly “will not be like in the past because some countries won’t be able to escape the problems they’re having.”  

“I can do it the other way. I can do it viral, as they say. I can do it in that form, but I would rather do it at the United Nations, deliver it. I think it better represents the country. Also, I feel sort of a, at least a semi-obligation as the President of the United States to be at the United Nations to deliver what will be an important speech,” he said.