August 18 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020
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7:39 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

More than 170 Iowa State University students test positive for Covid-19 in move-in testing 

From CNN's Raja Razek

Iowa State University said in a news release Tuesday that 175 students living in residence halls and campus apartments have tested positive for Covid-19.

 "The final days of move-in testing at Lied Recreation Center wrapped up on Sunday," read the release. "For the two weeks of COVID-19 testing, 8,094 students living in the residence halls and campus apartments were tested and 175, or 2.2%, tested positive, and 7,919, or 97.8%, tested negative." 

Director of Thielen Student Health Center Erin Baldwin said that the goal of move-in testing was to identify positive cases and intervene to mitigate the spread of the infection.

"Students who tested positive are required to isolate for 10 days. About half of the students are isolating in isolation rooms provided by the department of residence," added the release. "Quarantine rooms are also available for students notified through contact tracing that they were exposed to a positive case." 

Students moving into the residence halls after Aug. 16 will complete the required testing at TSHC's mobile lab, according to the release. 

"Now that move-in testing is complete, TSHC will provide testing for students, faculty and staff with symptoms of COVID-19," read the release. "Additional surveillance testing may be used in targeted areas throughout the fall."

7:02 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

British study shows immune overreaction in children with rare Covid-19 syndrome

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Patients with a rare, coronavirus-linked condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, suffer sudden, severe inflammation and changes in the blood that promote clotting, British researchers reported Tuesday.

In the most acute phase, the children had raised levels of inflammatory immune system molecules called cytokines, and reduced levels of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. But with treatment, these symptoms returned to normal, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Medicine.

"Clinically, these children respond to treatments that calm the immune system such as corticosteroids and immunoglobulins,” lead researcher Dr. Manu Shankar-Hari, a specialist in intensive care medicine at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London, said in a statement.

Shankar-Hari’s team studied 25 children with MIS-C. Most, but not all, tested positive for coronavirus. Those who did not, likely had contact with coronavirus patients and may have cleared all signs of the virus by the time they developed the syndrome, the team reported.

MIS-C appears different from symptoms seen in adults with coronavirus, the researchers said. Different types of immune cells are activated or suppressed in each case, which suggests they are distinct syndromes.

In addition, children who tested positive for the virus had more severe illness than the children who tested negative.

Some background: MIS-C remains rare but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 570 confirmed cases of MIS-C and 10 deaths in 40 states and Washington, DC.

More than 70% of reported cases have been in Latino or Black children.

“Most children developed MIS-C 2-4 weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2,” the CDC says. 

7:54 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

North Carolina's health department identifies Covid-19 cluster at NC State, school says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Jennifer Henderson 

Mascots appear on a student union poster at North Carolina State University in July.
Mascots appear on a student union poster at North Carolina State University in July. Gerry Broome/AP

Eight members of the Greek life system have tested positive for Covid-19 at North Carolina State University, Senior Media Relations Strategist Lauren Barker tells CNN in a statement.

These students live in either university-owned chapter houses or privately owned chapter houses, the statement says.

The students were all tested at off-campus testing sites and have been instructed to self-isolate by the university’s Student Health Services, the school said in a statement. 

As part of the university’s contact tracing program, all close contacts have been advised to quarantine for 14 days, which in some cases could mean the entire house being placed on quarantine.

In a release on Tuesday, the school said they were also notified by the Wake County Health Department of a cluster at a separate off-campus housing facility on Clark Avenue in Raleigh. The Health Department said reports indicated that a party or other gathering was hosted at the address on Aug. 6, before classes began.

It is unknown how many have tested positive from the cluster, but the state health department identifies a cluster of having five or more cases reported in close proximity.

Classes began on Aug. 10 at the university.

6:14 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Around 110 Chinese construction workers in Israel have contracted coronavirus

From Amir Tal in Jerusalem and Philip Wang

Around 110 Chinese construction workers living in a crowded compound in Petach Tikva, Israel’s fourth largest city, have tested positive for coronavirus, the local authority said.

The Petach Tikva’s Municipality said it received a report on Aug. 13 that 20 Chinese workers were infected, all of whom had lived in a compound with about 300 other Chinese workers at an industrial area on the outskirts of the city.

Mayor Rami Greenberg announced a series of quarantine measures, including the closure of the buildings, and evacuation and testing the residents. Since then, the health ministry has confirmed about 90 more cases.

The buildings are now emptied and will remain closed, the local authority said. The municipality told CNN on Tuesday the compound was in “inhumane sanitary conditions” and “not suitable for human residence.”

So far, local health authorities have tested 267 workers. Mayor Greenberg said those who were confirmed positive were transferred to quarantined motels and to hospitals. The rest were taken to various accommodations in Israel, where they will stay in quarantine for 14 days.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Israel confirmed the situation, adding the infected workers are “all in light or asymptomatic conditions.”

The Chinese Embassy also urged its citizens to cooperate with quarantine measures and to stay alert.

“For those who have lived in related area or been in close contact with infected workers, please do not hide the contact history or your own illness for the sake of other people’s health and safety,” the embassy said. “Contact [the] Health Ministry immediately for a test,” it added.

 

6:01 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Kentucky surpasses more than 40,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Jennifer Selva

The number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky has passed 40,000, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

During an afternoon news conference, Beshear said there were at least 627 new cases in the state today, bringing the total number of cases to approximately 40,299. Of the new cases, 76 are in people 18 years of age and younger.  

The state reported at least 12 new deaths but the positivity rate is down to 5.48%, according to Beshear. 

There are currently at least 622 people hospitalized –– 147 of those are in intensive care units, and 88 people are on ventilators in Kentucky.

6:06 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Alabama will allow fans at football home games

From CNN's David Close

Bryant-Denny Stadium, the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide, can seat more than 101,000 fans for a football game. This season, it will hold about a fifth of that.
Bryant-Denny Stadium, the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide, can seat more than 101,000 fans for a football game. This season, it will hold about a fifth of that. Michael Chang/Getty Images/File

Spectators will be allowed at upcoming University of Alabama home football games.

The school announced that approximately 20% of the seating capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium (approximately 20,000 fans) could be filled, but school officials have prohibited tailgating on campus.

Earlier on Monday, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), in which the Crimson Tide plays, declared it would defer to member schools to determine how many spectators will be allowed at games.

The university says the plan is in compliance with state and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Ticket holders will have to complete a HIPAA compliant questionnaire in order to gain access to games. 

The Crimson Tide will debut the new spectator plan at their home game versus Texas A&M on Oct. 3. Alabama opens their season on the road against Missouri on Sept. 26.

5:44 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Most Covid-19 infections at Notre Dame came from off-campus gatherings, president says

From CNN’s Annie Grayer

The Golden Dome sits atop the main administration building at the University of Notre Dame.
The Golden Dome sits atop the main administration building at the University of Notre Dame. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/File

Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of University of Notre Dame, said most Covid-19 infections have been the result of off-campus gatherings, according to analysis from contact tracers.

In response to a spike in cases since students have been back on campus, Jenkins announced Tuesday that all in-person classes have been suspended for two weeks.

But, students won't be punished for attending off-campus parties, Jenkins said.

“Often we learn of such gatherings through our contact tracing inquiries and we have a policy that information gained through such inquiries will not be used in any disciplinary action. We will continue to adhere to this policy because we want students to be forthright with us, so that we can discover the source of the infections in order to keep the community safe,” Jenkins said.

He said the university will take disciplinary action if the school learns of a "serious violation of our policies from other sources."

Jenkins said that “several reports” of this nature have already been submitted and are under review by the university conduct process.

Jenkins vowed that over the next two weeks, the university would enhance their testing abilities both for those who are experiencing symptoms and for those who are asymptomatic.

5:37 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

What you need to know about mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

A woman walks past mailboxes seen outside of a US Post Office in Washington, DC, on August 17.
A woman walks past mailboxes seen outside of a US Post Office in Washington, DC, on August 17. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn’t want to see it used for mail-in voting, which he falsely asserted for months would lead to voter fraud.

Amid all the controversy, CNN’s Kristen Holmes went to a post office in Chaptico, Maryland, to get the facts.

Is mail-in voting safe? What's the difference between postal ballots and absentee ballots? How do you register to vote by mail? She speaks to an expert to get your questions answered.

Watch the video:

Just to reiterate: There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in US elections, and nonpartisan experts say neither party automatically benefits from voting by mail. Check out CNN's Fact Check for more.

5:27 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

São Paulo postpones in-person classes until October

From Rodrigo Pedroso

The mayor of São Paulo city, Bruno Covas, announced Tuesday that in-person classes in the city’s public schools will be postponed until October.  

The mayor made the decision despite receiving authorization from state officials that schools can reopen in September with 35% capacity. 

"The return of classes is now reckless, we are still controlling the disease in the city,” Covas said at a news conference today. “It is much more complicated to maintain social distance within the classroom than in other places,” he added. 

The decision to postpone in-person learning was made after the results of a serological survey conducted by the municipality showed that 64% of children in São Paulo infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic. The study also concluded that 16% of the city’s children's had already contracted the virus.  

Asked about the possibility of completely postponing the resumption of classes this year, Covas said it will depend on how well the city is able to contain the spread of the virus. 

Covas added the decision to resume in-person learning will be guided by health officials, who recommended that the city suspend in-person classes until October.

The latest numbers: As of Tuesday, São Paulo state has a total of at least 711,530 confirmed Covid-19 cases and approximately 27,315 virus-related deaths.