August 19 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, August 20, 2020
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3:15 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

France reports highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases since end of lockdown in May

From CNN's Eva Tapiero in Paris

A firefighter takes a nasal swab sample at a coronavirus testing site in Marseille, France, on August 5.
A firefighter takes a nasal swab sample at a coronavirus testing site in Marseille, France, on August 5. Denis Thaust/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

France has set a record for new daily coronavirus cases since coming out of lockdown in mid-May, with 3,776 new cases reported by the National Health Agency on Wednesday.

That brings France's total number of confirmed cases to 225,043.

While the latest data released by the French National Health agency shows a decreasing trend of people hospitalized and in intensive care units, the agency said in a statement that “in mainland France, all indicators continue to increase and transmission of the virus intensifies."

"It concerns all age groups and more particularly young adults,” the statement added.

Following the surge in the number of new Covid-19 cases, the French government will make it mandatory to wear masks in enclosed shared spaces such as corporate offices from Sept. 1, announced the Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne on Tuesday.

2:27 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

More than 172,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Haley Brink

There are at least 5,505,074 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 172,418 people have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins has reported 22,658 new cases and 597 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

2:11 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Covid-19 deaths have nearly doubled in Paraguay over the last week

From CNN's Tim Lister and Chandler Thornton

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in Paraguay have nearly doubled in the last week, according to numbers released by the country's health ministry.

The total number of cases has risen by nearly 25% in the same period.

Paraguay's death toll from the virus was 82 on Aug. 10. The number had reached 161 by Aug. 18.

Paraguay reported 7,519 total coronavirus cases on Aug. 11, and as of Aug. 18 more than 10,000 total cases have been reported. The ministry's statistics show that a rapid increase in the number of active cases — from 1,647 at the beginning of the month to 4,043 on Aug. 18. The vast majority of cases are concentrated in the middle of the country, around the capital, Asuncion.

The health ministry's data shows a high rate of infection among people in their 20s and 30s, who account for over half the total infections. 

Some more context: In the early months of the pandemic, Paraguay had a much lower infection rate than most other Latin American countries.

The Pan American Health Organization Tuesday said that the Americas account for 64% of the world's Covid-19 deaths, according to PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne.

"The Americas have approximately 13% of the world's population, but 64% of officially reported global deaths, so far," Etienne said, adding that more than 400,000 people have died from the virus in North and South America.

2:01 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Coronavirus cases top 10,000 in Lebanon

From CNN's Ghazi Balkiz in Beirut

Workers administer a coronavirus test on May 28 in Sidon, Lebanon.
Workers administer a coronavirus test on May 28 in Sidon, Lebanon. Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Lebanon has now surpassed the 10,000 mark in nationwide coronavirus cases, after registering a record 589 new cases in the past 24 hours, the country's Ministry of Public Health said.

This brings the country's total case count to 10,347. There were also two new fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, raising the national death toll to 109, the ministry said.

The record high in new daily cases comes just a day after Lebanon's caretaker government announced a two-week countrywide lockdown starting Friday until Sept. 7.

More context: Lebanon has recently witnessed a surge of Covid-19 cases.

This comes as the country is suffering from an economic collapse and dealing with the aftermath of the port blast that ripped through the capital, killing at least 180 people, wounding around 6,000 people and displacing about 300,000 people.


1:50 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Two Boston colleges report cases of coronavirus on campus

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

Medical professionals work in the on-campus coronavirus testing lab at Boston University on July 23 in Boston.
Medical professionals work in the on-campus coronavirus testing lab at Boston University on July 23 in Boston. Charles Krupa/AP

Boston University and Emerson College are both reporting positive cases of Covid-19 as students return to campus.

Boston University is reporting 12 positive cases of Covid-19 since testing began on campus July 27. Four of those positive cases were reported Tuesday, out of 965 tests conducted, which is a 0.4% positivity rate.

According to the university's Covid-19 dashboard, 11 of the students with a positive result are in isolation. The university has conducted nearly 6,500 tests since testing began.

Emerson College is reporting one positive Covid-19 case since they began testing Aug. 10. According to Emerson's website, that person is now "receiving appropriate care."

Emerson says it has tested close to 250 members of its campus community so far.

1:41 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Illinois reports highest daily number of cases since May

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,264 new Covid-19 positive cases today, the highest daily number of cases reported since May 24.

The state now has a total of 211,889 positive cases with a 4.4% positivity rate being reported over the past seven days. 

The public health agency reported a total of 7,806 deaths statewide, up 25 from Tuesday’s report.

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


1:35 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Norway to impose 10-day quarantine on travelers from UK, Greece, Ireland and Austria

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Norway will impose a 10-day quarantine on travelers arriving from the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland and Austria, due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in those countries, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry told CNN on Wednesday.

The new restrictions will go into effect at midnight local time on Friday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now advising against non-essential travel to Austria, Greece, Ireland and the UK," the ministry said in a statement. "This also applies to Greater Copenhagen in Denmark." 

The ministry statement added that this week, these countries "have all exceeded the threshold for level of infection, which has been set at 20 confirmed new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people during the past two weeks. 

1:34 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

How US voters can stand up for their right to vote during the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

Long lines, missing absentee ballots and malfunctioning voting machines marred statewide primary elections in Georgia in June, renewing attention on voting rights there. As the battleground state gears up for this year’s presidential election, some voters fear their voices won’t be heard.

Similar scenes have played out in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Wisconsin where officials have been caught unprepared for the number of voters casting their ballots in person. The problems also fit a pattern, observed by researchers, of long lines, last minute location changes and problems with polling machines appearing to affect minority communities the most.

CNN’s Pamela Kirkland talks to an expert outside a polling station in Atlanta to find out how citizens across America can stand up for their right to vote and get their ballot counted.

Watch the video here:

1:40 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

New Jersey governor responds to Trump campaign lawsuit over mail-in voting plans: "Bring it on"

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey, on August 19.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey, on August 19. Pool/News 12 NJ

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy began his regularly scheduled coronavirus briefing on Wednesday by sharply rebuking the lawsuit filed by President Trump's reelection campaign over the state's decision to use a hybrid voting model for November's election.

“Let me begin by making an unequivocal — our democracy is stronger and fairer when all voters have the right to not just cast a ballot but to cast that ballot in confidence. The President's campaign is putting itself on record as wanting to delegitimize our November election instead of working with us to ensure that voters rights are upheld alongside public health,” Murphy said. 

“This goes far beyond attempts at weaponizing the United States Postal service to disenfranchise voters, this is now becoming a full throated propaganda campaign to undermine the election itself.”

Murphy went on to say that vote-by-mail has been used extensively across the country and in New Jersey, and added that it needs to be done to keep people safe from the coronavirus pandemic. 

“If vote-by-mail is good enough for the President, it is good enough for all of us,” he added. 

He said that the state will continue with their plans and defend them “vigorously.” 

“So as they say, bring it on,” he said.