August 17 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 18, 2020
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11:03 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

Maryland establishes hotline to report potential Covid-19 violations

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Several of Maryland’s state agencies banded together to set up a toll-free Covid-19 prevention line for citizens to report concerns about potential situations, where coronavirus precautions are being ignored, according to a statement from Maryland State Police.

According to the statement, the new statewide toll-free hotline and corresponding email address can be used anonymously 24-hours-a-day to report situations of concern where “prevention guidelines are being ignored and the potential for the spread of COVID-19 is high.” 

Information provided to the hotline will be forwarded to local health department officials and depending on the circumstances, teams of local officials from agencies, including the health department, liquor board, and law enforcement, will “assess the situation and take the appropriate action,” according to the statement.

“Individuals violating the Governor’s Executive Order could be charged with a violation of that order, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both,” the statement said.

12:00 p.m. ET, August 17, 2020

At least 5 Florida students under quarantine after coronavirus exposure

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

At least five students and two teachers from Bradford County School District in Florida have been placed on quarantine due to exposure to Covid-19, according to David Harris, the district's assistant superintendent.

Harris said two classrooms were impacted and were assigned to remote learning. 

The Bradford County School District reopened last week.

This is the second school district in Florida that has been impacted by Covid-19 since schools reopened last week. Martin County School District has quarantined 151 students as of Monday morning.

9:55 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

Easyjet to close 3 UK bases, putting hundreds of jobs at risk

From CNN's Robert North

An aircraft, operated by EasyJet Plc, sits grounded on the tarmac at London Stansted Airport in Stansted, U.K., on July 9.
An aircraft, operated by EasyJet Plc, sits grounded on the tarmac at London Stansted Airport in Stansted, U.K., on July 9. Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Easyjet will close its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle starting August 31, said the group on Monday, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. 

It cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions compounded by quarantine measures in the UK. These rules have "created uncertainty for customers and an impact on demand for travel," said Easyjet in a statement. 

The three bases employ 670 people, and Easyjet says it has reached an agreement on voluntary redundancy with staff. London Stansted and Newcastle will remain part of its network, and some domestic and international flights will continue to operate. The airline said it will inform customers of available refunds and transfer options in the coming days.  

“We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund," said the airline's CEO, Johan Lundgren. 

9:39 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

US stocks open higher despite collapsed stimulus talks

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Wall Street opened in the higher on Monday, as investors were apparently unfazed by the collapsed stimulus negotiations, renewed US-China tensions and an ongoing pandemic.

Here's how things looked at the opening: 

  • The Dow opened 0.2%, or 54 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite kicked off 0.6% higher.

Both the S&P and the Nasdaq remain close to record highs.

9:24 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

TSA sets new pandemic-era high for travelers

From CNN's Gregory Wallace

Travelers head to their gates at Los Angeles International airport on August 12 in Los Angeles, California.
Travelers head to their gates at Los Angeles International airport on August 12 in Los Angeles, California. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The number of air travelers climbed moderately this weekend – enough to set a new pandemic-era high. 

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 862,949 people on Sunday. It was the second time the agency screened more than 800,000 people since air travel bottomed out in mid-April – and both of those days have been in August. 

For comparison, the agency saw nearly 2.6 million people on the third Sunday in August last year. 

The agency’s numbers also show the number of people it screened ticked somewhat higher above last week: up to about 29% of last year’s traffic from 27% as of last weekend.  


9:34 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

Coronavirus positivity rates are climbing in the US

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Healthcare workers facilitate Covid-19 tests on August 11 in Los Angeles, California.
Healthcare workers facilitate Covid-19 tests on August 11 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health officials are hopeful that a new saliva test could give Americans a fast and inexpensive way to learn if they have Covid-19 and help to prevent increasing spread.

The SalivaDirect test, from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

"If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine," said Nathan Grubaugh, a Yale assistant professor of epidemiology.

The test comes as frustration grows over testing delays and shortages. Seventeen states are performing fewer tests this past week compared with the previous week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

But while testing has gone down in those states, test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.

The test positivity rate is the percentage of tests being performed that come back positive for the virus. It is one of the metrics experts encourage officials to monitor when making reopening decisions.

Part of Illinois will be under new guidelines after three days in a row with a test positivity rate of 8% or higher, according to a news release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

8:27 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

Catch up: These are the latest coronavirus headlines from around the world

It's almost 8:30 a.m. ET in New York and 1:30 p.m. ET in the London, here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around the US and world:

  • Covid-19 death toll increases in US: The coronavirus death toll in the United States grew to more than 170,000. More than 1,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported nearly every day this month. The number of deaths could grow to 189,000 by September 5, according to a projection from an ensemble forecast by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Infections reported at colleges: Cases have also cropped up at colleges and universities as students return to campus. The Oklahoma State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported new cases of coronavirus.
  • Election delayed in New Zealand: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she is delaying the country's parliamentary election by four weeks to October 17 due to coronavirus concerns.
  • High school sports will begin in a week in Florida: The Florida High School Athletic Association voted to begin fall sports on August 24, according to the association’s website. All coaches will be required to view an online course titled “Covid-19 for Coaches and Administrators” that is made available by the National Federation of State High School Associations, per the FHSAA. According to the course description, it will include topics like limiting the spread, face coverings, social distancing and cleaning equipment.
  • Hong Kong extends social distancing measures: Social distancing measures — including restrictions on dine-in services and mandatory face masks — will be extended in Hong Kong until at least August 25, the city's Food and Health Bureau announced.

8:01 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

Peru, with second-highest number of infections in Latin America, adds more than 10,000 cases to total

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

Workers in protective suits prepare to lower a coffin into the ground during the burial of a Covid-19 victim in the remote highland village of Acora, Peru, on August 9, 2020.
Workers in protective suits prepare to lower a coffin into the ground during the burial of a Covid-19 victim in the remote highland village of Acora, Peru, on August 9, 2020. Carlos Mamani/AFP/Getty Images

Peru added 10,143 Covid-19 cases to its tally on Sunday evening, including 5,338 new cases in the last 24 hours and a further 4,805 confirmed in the last seven days, according to a statement released by the country’s Health Ministry.

The country has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America, following Brazil, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of Peru's confirmed infections now stands at 535,946 while the death toll has reached 26,281, according to the ministry.

Last Thursday, vice health minister Luis Suarez updated the country’s death toll to add 3,658 deaths previously unaccounted for after a revision by a special commission set up by the government. 

More lockdown measures after case surge: Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra announced new lockdown measures last week after the country saw an increase in the number of virus cases during July.

Vizcarra ordered six more regions and 34 provinces under localized lockdown. The government previously eased the country’s lockdown measures on July 1 while imposing localized lockdowns for seven of Peru’s 24 regions. 

The President also announced the return of "mandatory immobilization" across the country on Sundays: social and family gatherings have been banned, while children under 14 are allowed to go out for a walk within 500 meters of their homes for no more than 30 minutes a day, as long as they are accompanied by one adult. 

Peru's state of emergency remains in place until August 31. 

7:47 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020

See the precautions a Scottish school is taking as children return to class

CNN's Max Foster shows us how one school in Scotland has prepared to reopen and the safety measures it has put in place.