August 14 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Brad Lendon, Melissa Macaya, Zamira Rahim and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 12:36 a.m. ET, August 15, 2020
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1:49 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Seattle schools to start academic year with remote learning

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Seattle public schools will begin the school year with remote learning for most students, according to an update posted to the district’s website.

The choice, made by the school board Wednesday, means that more than 53,000 students will not be in classrooms when the school year starts on Sept. 2, according to the district website.

The district is the largest in the state of Washington.

Exceptions will be made “for students receiving special education services in alignment with Individualized Education Programs,” the announcement on the decision said.

“It is the recommendation of staff and the school board that the district continues this remote model until the risk of significant transmission of COVID-19 cases has decreased enough to resume in-person instruction,” the announcement added.
1:49 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Early results suggest Chinese vaccine is safe and induces immune response, but more research is needed

From CNN's John Bonifield and Dana Vigue

Interim results of phase one and two trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm is safe and induces an immune response. 

However, researchers said more study is needed to know whether the vaccine protects people against the virus.

The phase one trial, conducted in Henan Province, China, involved 96 people given high, medium or low doses of the vaccine, or a placebo, which does nothing. The Phase 2 trial, involved 224 adults given the medium dose of the vaccine, or a placebo.

Within seven days after injection, adverse reactions were reported in 15% of trial participants. The most common adverse reaction was injection site pain, followed by fever. All adverse reactions were mild and did not require any treatment. 

In the phase two study, the vaccine prompted a neutralizing antibody response in 97.6% of participants. The researchers found that participants had greater neutralizing antibody responses when they were given the second dose of the vaccine three weeks after the first dose rather than two weeks after the first dose.

"My impressions is that they are getting reasonable levels of virus neutralizing antibodies," Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist at Baylor College of Medicine and a CNN medical analyst, said. "Based on this and safety profile, I believe that this is definitely a vaccine worth pursuing in Phase three clinical trials. I also think that this could be as good as the Operation Warp Speed vaccines in terms of efficacy and safety, but we really need those large trials."

Some background: The US government is supporting six vaccine candidates so far through the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program. Two have moved into large, phase three trials on tens of thousands in the United States.

There are 29 vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

12:31 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Vaccine trial investigator says results unlikely to come before end of the year

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A syringe containing either a vaccine or a placebo is prepared for a participant in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4 in DeLand, Florida.
A syringe containing either a vaccine or a placebo is prepared for a participant in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4 in DeLand, Florida. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Dr. Evan Anderson, principal investigator for the Moderna coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at Emory University, says the trial won’t yield results until after Election Day.

“At this point, it looks very unlikely that we would see any results before late November or December, at best, in my opinion. But it does depend how much Covid-19 is circulating in the community at the time that the study is ongoing,” Anderson said in an interview with CNN's Kate Bolduan. 

Moderna is the first company to begin its phase three clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine in the US.

Enrollment is increasing rapidly, according to Anderson, and he predicts that full enrollment won’t happen until September.

Anderson said there would need to be studies to look at dosing and responses of children to the vaccine to determine if it is safe for them, and cautions that could “take a while.” 

“I think it would be good to be able to start those studies soon so that we might be able to help protect children from Covid-19, as it is quite clear that they are infected with some frequency and do suffer life-threatening and even fatal events related to Covid-19 and the inflammatory syndrome that occurs afterwards,” he said.

12:25 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Michigan partners with Ford and FEMA to provide millions of free masks

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference in Lansing, Michigan, on August 14.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference in Lansing, Michigan, on August 14. Pool/WLNS

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced four million free masks will be provided to the state's most vulnerable residents, through a partnership with Ford Motor Company and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  

"This partnership is going to save lives," Whitmer said during a news conference on Friday.

The measure is part of Michigan's "Mask up Michigan" campaign, and masks will be distributed to schools, homeless shelters and seniors, Whitmer said. 

Whitmer juxtaposed the swift mitigation action taken in her state against the response in Florida and Georgia throughout the pandemic.   

"Georgia was the first state in the country to reopen its economy, and is now averaging five times the number of new cases of coronavirus in a day, five times more than the state of Michigan. And while states like Georgia and Florida and Texas reported hundreds of new deaths last week, Michigan had 43," Whitmer said.  

12:10 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

NYC museums and cultural institutions can reopen with restrictions

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Museums and cultural institutions across New York City can open – with restrictions – beginning Aug. 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Twitter Friday.

Cuomo tweeted that timed ticketing will be required as well as face coverings.

Read his tweet:

12:07 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Brazil's economy fell almost 11% in the last quarter

From Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre and Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

A man walks in front of a shuttered shop on June 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A man walks in front of a shuttered shop on June 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

The Brazilian economy has fallen 10.98% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of the year, according to a report released by the country’s Central Bank on Friday.

The data is from the Economic Activity Index, a preview report to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which will be released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) on Sept. 1.

In the first quarter, Brazil had already registered a fall of 1.5% in its GDP, according to IBGE.

President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that Brazil is in a better situation than other countries when it comes to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and that the Brazilian economy should recover “until the end of the year.”

The unemployment rate in Brazil rose to 13.3% in the quarter ended in June, reaching 12.8 million people, according to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE). 

A total of 8.9 million people lost their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Brazil — representing the sharpest contraction on record.

11:59 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

How collecting Covid-19 impact data by race helped Milwaukee better strategize its response

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

The Democratic National Convention has been scaled back from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as positivity rates for Covid-19 in the area remain high, according to Jeanette Kowalik, Commissioner of health at the Milwaukee Health Department.

Through the pandemic, Milwaukee has collected data on the impact of coronavirus by race, after it became the first city county to declare racism a public health crisis last year, making race a priority in conversation. With this data, they learned that the impact of racism was playing out through the pandemic, Kowalik told CNN's Poppy Harlow

“Honestly, having data about the impact of race and Covid by race and ethnicity was very, very important for us because that informed our ability to adjust our strategy,” she added.

“[It] helped us alter our strategy so we could increase our outreach, add additional testing sites, just really help our communities of color prevent their exposure to Covid-19,” she said, adding that important conversations also began in the community because of this.

“I don't think those conversations would have happened if we didn't start sharing the data that more people of color were being impacted by Covid-19. So the orders are meant to protect our community. It doesn't matter where people live, in the city if they're in more affluent areas or more underresourced areas, but the orders are meant for our base protections.”


11:48 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

This Arizona teacher explains why he quit his job when his school decided to reopen

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

When the governing board of the Queen Creek Unified School District in Arizona voted for all schools to have full-time in-person classes, teacher Matt Chicci resigned. He said the school didn’t meet the standards set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which was the reason behind his decision.

"The infection rate is still high [in] Maricopa county, that we live in,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “Our superintendent of public instruction has even said that schools in Arizona shouldn't be opening. And so if the county health department and our superintendent are saying it's not safe to reopen, it's not safe to do so.”

“It was an agonizing decision to make, but for me and my family, it was the right one.”

One of Chicci’s family members is also at high risk, which was a factor in the decision-making process, he said.

“So if I'm put into a classroom of 30 or more kids, it's a small room, there's one exit, the ventilation isn't all that great for schools. They did increase the air flow,��but that doesn't mean they put in the proper filter to filter out virus particles. So it's not a good situation,” Chicci said.

He emphasized the need for positivity rates to decrease and better social distancing plans before reopening schools that would help him feel safe to return.

“The other thing is being able to social distance. In a class of 30 I can only keep them two feet apart. We did the math and we need classes of 10,” he explained.

While the school district said in a statement that parents were given the option to choose between online or in-person learning, the same choice wasn’t given to teachers, Chicci said.

“It wasn’t an option. We weren't given the option to teach from home,” he said. “A lot of us would have stayed if we had had that option or if we even had some kind of hybrid option to where we had smaller class sizes.”


12:06 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Spain reports nearly 3,000 new Covid-19 cases in past 24 hours

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Lisbon

Spanish health authorities have reported an additional 2,987 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the largest daily increase since April.

The increase follows a rising trend in new cases seen in the past few weeks, after local outbreaks in the Madrid, Catalonia and Aragon regions. 

Health authorities also reported 62 new deaths from Covid-19 and an increase of 7 people admitted into Spanish intensive care units.

The Spanish Ministry of Health report follows an earlier announcement by Health Minister Salvador Illa of a reintroduction of certain anti-coronavirus social distancing measures to curb the outbreaks across the country.