August 15 coronavirus news

By Tara John, Melissa Macaya, Zamira Rahim, Laura Smith-Spark, Alaa Elassar and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:20 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020
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5:43 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

Record number of new Covid-19 cases reported to WHO in last 24 hours

From CNN Health's Ben Tinker

There were 294,237 new Covid-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours, according to a situation report published Saturday. The total number of cases that have been reported to WHO from around the globe is now 21 million.

The rise in newly reported cases sets another record for cases reported to WHO within a 24-hour period. The previous record was set July 31 when 292,527 new cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Saturday's report noted there were 9,985 additional Covid-19 deaths reported to WHO in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths worldwide to 755,786.

5:31 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

Sheriff in Florida tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at a press conference on March 21 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at a press conference on March 21 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Boyzell Hosey/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

The sheriff is suffering from mild symptoms and has lost his senses of taste and smell, the release said. Pinellas County is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area.

Gualtieri is not experiencing any fever or respiratory issues, according to the release.

He will remain at home for the next 10 days at the direction of the Department of Health and work remotely, the release said. 

5:08 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

15-year-old boy is the youngest person in metro Atlanta to die from Covid-19

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian and Natasha Chen

A 15-year-old boy from metro Atlanta became the second youngest person to die due to complications from Covid-19 in Georgia, according to the latest statistics released by the state health department.

The boy had other medical conditions, Nancy Nydam of the Georgia Department of Public Health told CNN. No further details on how the boy contracted coronavirus or whether he may have exposed other individuals to the virus were available.

A 7-year-old boy from Savannah is the youngest Georgian to die from Covid-19. The boy drowned in a bathtub after having a seizure due to a high fever and he tested positive for Covid-19 postmortem, according to Chatham County Coroner Bill Wessinger. The preliminary autopsy report says the child died from drowning, secondary to seizure due to fever from Covid-19.

4:40 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

Lebanon reports almost 400 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz

Lebanon has reported 397 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the country’s Public Health Ministry said Saturday.

That takes the total number of infections in Lebanon to 8,442. Three people have died in the previous day, taking the total number of deaths reported as a result of the coronavirus to 97.

It comes as Lebanese President Michel Aoun said it would be "impossible" for him to step down following calls for him to resign over the deadly blast in Beirut. Aoun said if he were to resign, there would be a "void of power" in the country. On Monday, Lebanon's former Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his resignation and that of his government in the wake of the deadly blast, which he called a "disaster beyond measure."

4:25 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

Nine University of Oklahoma football players test positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Cesar Marin

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

University of Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley announced Saturday that nine of his players tested positive for coronavirus. The results came back after the team returned from a one-week break from preseason practices.

"We did conduct a Covid test as planned with our players last night, got the results this morning we had nine players tested positive for Covid. We had a couple of other that have been isolated due to contract tracing," Riley told the media in a video conference call on Saturday. "Disappointed by the news. We've done such a tremendous job this entire time. You know when (you) give players time, there is risk in that. This isn't the NBA, we don't have a bubble. We all have to continue to work to do a better job by all accounts. We're still confident in the plan that we have."

The Oklahoma Sooners are part of the Big 12 Conference, which this week said it intends to move forward with a fall football season. 

Oklahoma is currently scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Missouri State on September 12.

4:18 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

New York will provide health personnel and supervision so 9/11 "Tribute in Light" tradition can continue, governor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York will provide health personnel and supervision so that the official 9/11 Memorial and Museum "Tribute in Light" tradition can continue this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a series of tweets on Saturday.


4:17 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

Emergency medicine physician says patients' hearts are "on fire" due to Covid-19

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The American Heart Association recently warned that coronavirus can cause "devastating" and lasting cardiac complications. While the warning is concerning, it is not news to those treating coronavirus patients on the frontlines, said Dr. Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician at Columbia University Medical School.

"Basically this virus can put some patients' bodies on fire, including their hearts," Kass said. "We're seeing this damage happen in patients that are 30, 40 and 50 years old. These aren't the patients that are elderly and immunocompromised ... They're the patients that are surviving this virus, but now they're going to have a new chronic medical condition related to surviving this virus that we need to recognize and treat."

4:12 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

France sees another record for post-lockdown coronavirus cases, ICU and hospitalizations rising

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer

With 3,310 new cases in 24 hours, France has passed another record of post-lockdown daily coronavirus cases, according to numbers released by the National Health Agency on Saturday.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 29 to 4,857, according to the national agency website. The number of patients in intensive care also slightly increased to 376.

The death toll stands at 30,409, according to the national health agency.

4:09 p.m. ET, August 15, 2020

South Africa downgrades Covid-19 restrictions as the peak eases

From CNN’s David McKenzie

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a significant downgrade of South Africa’s strict Covid-19 restrictions on Saturday during a televised address to the nation and said that the country appears to be moving beyond the peak of infections. 

“I address you this evening amidst signs of hope,” Ramaphosa said, adding that fewer people were being admitted to health facilities in the country.

Ramaphosa announced that the alcohol ban will be lifted in the coming days and the controversial ban on cigarette sales will be rescinded. 

Large gatherings and international travel are still not allowed and a curfew will remain in place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., but travel between South African provinces will now be allowed.  

Ramaphosa said that the swift action to lock down the country in March had a significant impact on the transmission of the virus.

“Difficult days still lie ahead, but we have proven our resilience as a nation for the past five months,” he said.