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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10:03 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Texas' Covid-19 positivity rate drops below 20%

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends a news conference in Dallas on August 6.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends a news conference in Dallas on August 6. LM Otero/AP

The seven day positivity rate in Texas has dropped to 16.08%, according to the latest data released by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

The positivity rate in the state has been over 20% for the past week. 

During a news conference in Lubbock on Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott said that Texas DSHS is looking into why the positivity rate has been so high recently. 

“First, during the month of July, there were several surge testing operations where we dramatically increased the amount of testing in different regions at different periods of time. And that led to a very abundant, number of tests that were done,” Abbott said. “At the same time, however, we saw a lot of people, a lot of residents in different regions, step toward wanting to get tested. We have observed for the past couple of weeks, a decline in the number of people stepping forward to get tested.”

Texas DSHS reported 6,755 new cases on Thursday afternoon, with 255 new fatalities linked to Covid-19. There are 513,575 total cases in the state and 9,289 total deaths. 

The latest report also shows a total of 128,526 active cases statewide. 

Remember: The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested. So, as more and more people are being tested, the focus is shifting to the positivity rate  — how many of those tested are actually infected.

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

9:21 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

California becomes first state to surpass 600,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Stella Chan

California has now reported 602,997 coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University  — giving it the dubious distinction of having the most Covid-19 cases of any US state.

At least 10,999 Californians have died with coronavirus since the pandemic began. This number, though high, is far below the 32,805 people who have died in New York state.

Florida and Texas rank second and third on the nation’s case list, with more than 557,000 and 530,000 cases respectively.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said California's hospitalization and ICU rates were down, describing them as “another indication that we are turning a corner on this pandemic."

CNN's map is tracking US cases:


8:57 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

New Jersey to use hybrid voting model for November general elections, governor confirms

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN's "New Day" on August 14.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN's "New Day" on August 14. CNN

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed that the state will pursue a “hybrid model” for the November election.

“In the general election, it doesn’t matter what party you’re in, everybody gets a ballot. So we’re going to have a hybrid model in November,” Murphy said on CNN’s “New Day.”

It will be up to voters to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person, according to Murphy.

New Jersey used a similar model for its primary election on July 7. “It was a success. Not perfect, but overwhelmingly a success,” he said. 

President Trump has attacked mail-in voting as fraudulent, despite no widespread voter fraud in US elections. 

In the New Jersey city of Paterson, four people, including a city councilman, were charged with voting fraud related to the May 12 municipal election.

“I’m pretty sure that we have a higher probability of being hit by lightning than we do uncovering voter fraud,” Murphy said. 


8:45 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Georgia parent says Covid-19 outbreak in school was her "worst fears" come true

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Hilary Porterfield on CNN's "New Day" on August 14.
Hilary Porterfield on CNN's "New Day" on August 14. CNN

In Georgia's Cherokee County School District, more than 1,000 students, teachers and staff members are under quarantine after Covid-19 cases were reported.

Hilary Porterfield, a parent of a high school student in the district, was told her daughter may have been exposed to the virus — six days after the potential exposure.

“It was terrifying. It was my worst fears…come true,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Porterfield said that masks are encouraged but not mandated and there is an ineffective amount of contact tracing. In addition, her daughter said there were seating charts for classes, but students weren’t following it.  

Porterfield said there was an email recently from the superintendent outlining how masks stop the spread of coronavirus. “However, he still has yet to mandate that mask requirement,” she said.

“I think he just doesn't want to admit that he was wrong, that he opened the schools with unsafe measures,” she said. 

She is not “absolutely not” confident that proper safety measures will be taken to ensure there are no other future outbreaks once school is back to in-person classes. 


8:32 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Scientists are creating a coronavirus strain that could be used in human challenge trials of a Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Elizabeth Cohen and Jacqueline Howard

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, confirmed to CNN on Friday that scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are working to create a strain of coronavirus that could be used in human challenge trials of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Fauci, director of the NIAID, described this approach as a "Plan D" – and the work is still preliminary. If needed, such human challenge trials would be in a matter of months at the earliest. 

"We’re taking preliminary steps," he said.

Human challenge trials are typically used for when a virus is not widely circulating – the coronavirus is – and therefore, this approach may not be necessary, according to Fauci.

"Should there be a need for human challenge studies to fully assess candidate vaccines or therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2, NIAID has begun investigations of the technical and ethical considerations of conducting human challenge studies," the agency told Reuters.

Reuters first reported on Friday that government scientists have begun efforts to manufacture a strain of the novel coronavirus that could be used in human challenge trials of vaccines and some drugmakers — including AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson  — told the news service they would consider human challenge trials to test Covid-19 vaccines if needed.

8:21 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

CDC’s ensemble forecast now projects nearly 189,000 US coronavirus deaths by September 5

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 189,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Sept. 5.

The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 188,982 deaths, with a possible range of 181,375 to 201,431 deaths.

“State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

Some context: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future.

The previous ensemble forecast, published Aug. 6, projected roughly 181,000 coronavirus deaths by Aug. 29.

At least 167,029 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:13 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Inside the multibillion dollar vaccine race

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase


Four years. That’s the fastest a vaccine has ever been developed -- and most take 10 to 15.

But scientists are now racing to do it in under one.

Dozens of research teams around the world are working to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, using a mix of established techniques and new technologies.

Funding for a vaccine has never been greater, with billions of dollars pouring in from around the world to make a product that could help to control the pandemic -- but the US, China and Europe have invested the most.

Before even the most vulnerable groups can get a shot in the arm from their family doctor, however, a lot of work needs to be done -- and a lot of deals need to be made.

As the coronavirus continues to accelerate unabated, here’s what it will take to bring a vaccine to the masses and how each of the three biggest players are faring in their quest to make it happen as quickly as possible.

Read CNN's interactive on the path to a Covid-19 vaccine.

8:08 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 20 million people worldwide and killed more than 760,000. Here's what you need to know:

  • UK imposes quarantine on some European arrivals: People entering Britain from France, Malta and the Netherlands will have to quarantine for 14 days. France says it will impose reciprocal measures.
  • Fauci warns against pursuing herd immunity: The US' top infectious diseases doctor said aiming for herd immunity would lead to a massive death toll.
  • Hong Kong airport arrivals plummet: The city saw a 98.6% drop in airport arrivals year-on-year from July 2019 to July 2020.
  • Britain secures 90 million doses of two vaccine candidates: According to an "in-principle" agreement, Britain has secured early access to 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine and 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine.
  • India prepares for unusual Independence Day: Celebrations in Delhi are expected to be muted, with social distancing restrictions in place.
  • Concerns mount over Paris and Marseilles: The French cities have been declared "zones of active circulation" of coronavirus, according to a French government decree published today.  
7:27 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Shabbat dinners go virtual amid the pandemic

From CNN's Ryan Prior

Naomi Less, a ritual leader for Lab/Shul, prepares for one of the group's online services.
Naomi Less, a ritual leader for Lab/Shul, prepares for one of the group's online services. Courtesy Lab/Shul

For decades, Teme Ring was cut off from her Jewish faith.

The former lawyer was forced to give up her career in 2000, after an onslaught of autoimmune diseases and dysautonomia, conditions that also made her too weak to step into a synagogue for in-person services.

"I'm in my own personal diaspora," she said.

In recent years, Ring had hoped to reconnect with faith through a synagogue in downtown Chicago.

"I realized I really missed it," she said. "But it seemed ridiculous to belong and never show up." She only dragged herself to synagogue once, and her symptoms were such that she was physically present but spiritually absent.

Now, however, during the pandemic, with many Jewish congregations taking services online for the first time, Ring's faith has undergone its long overdue blossoming.

Empowered by technology, she can now regularly attend Shabbat and classes at two different synagogues in Chicago, and at a third in Southern California, where her parents live.

Read more: