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
29 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:30 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Florida reports more than 4,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

A State Emergency Response Team member administers a COVID-19 test at the Maingate Complex at Walt Disney World on August 14 in Kissimmee, Florida.
A State Emergency Response Team member administers a COVID-19 test at the Maingate Complex at Walt Disney World on August 14 in Kissimmee, Florida. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Florida health officials reported 4,115 new Covid-19 cases and 174 additional resident deaths on Wednesday, according to Florida Department of Health (DOH). 

Cases in Florida have steadily declined since its peak on July 12 when 15,300 cases were reported, CNN's tally shows. 

The state is reporting 577,891 coronavirus cases among Florida residents and 9,932 Floridian deaths, according to DOH data. Florida health officials report 584,047 total cases across the state, DOH data shows. 

Remember: These numbers were released by Florida’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project 

11:12 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Southwest Airlines is trimming its fall schedule

From CNN’s Chris Isidore 

A Southwest Airlines plane is seen from a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on July 10 in Arlington, Virginia.
A Southwest Airlines plane is seen from a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on July 10 in Arlington, Virginia. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

After what Southwest Airlines called a “modest improvement” in bookings in August, the airline is cutting back on the flights it will offer this fall.

Southwest said in a filing Wednesday that its available seats will be down 40% in September, compared to a year ago. It had previously said its capacity would only be down 20% to 25% in the month. And the reduced capacity will continue into October, when available seats will be down 40% to 50%.

The airline said the reduced flight plans are being implemented because “passenger demand and booking trends remain inconsistent.”

The company said the modest improvement in revenue and the efforts to cut costs have allowed it to trim its cash burn rate in the third quarter. Therefore it disclosed Wednesday that it will not need an additional $2.8 billion in federal loans this fall for which it was eligible. It said it has $15.2 billion in cash on hand as of Tuesday.

Shares of Southwest rose 3% in early trading Wednesday on the news.

11:14 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Why the Miami-Dade schools head says his decision to start remote learning is "vindicated"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Schools in Gwinnett County in Georgia and UNC-Chapel Hill saw new coronavirus cases after resuming in-person classes. Seeing this, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho said his decision to reopen schools for remote learning is “vindicated.”

"Concerning what's happening in Gwinnett County and UNC, I think that our approach is the right approach. We are being vindicated," he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

“I think we cannot compromise the health and well-being, the safety, the security of our kids or the ones who teach them.”

Classes in the Miami-Dade County will start online on Aug. 31 after a week of intensive training on a single platform that all teachers and students can use, Carvalho added.

Despite the decision being at odds with the state's mandate for in-person classes and the Trump administration’s push to reopen schools, Carvalho says he has not felt any political pressure from the state or federal levels.

“I never really felt intimidated over the potential loss of funding,” he said. “We have been informed from the very beginning by the only type of information that should guide decisions about reopening of schools in a gradual, protective way which is science, data.”

“Quite frankly, we do not want to be Gwinnett County. We do not want to be UNC.”

Watch:

10:53 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

New York City reports its lowest percent of positive Covid-19 test results since crisis began

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

People line-up to take a Covid-19 test in the Sunset Park neighborhood on August 13 in New York City.
People line-up to take a Covid-19 test in the Sunset Park neighborhood on August 13 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City reported its lowest percent of positive Covid-19 test results on Wednesday since the coronavirus crisis began in March, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his daily presser. The city reported a positivity rate of 0.24%.

The city’s other indicators continued to remain below the thresholds as well. There were 64 confirmed Covid-19 hospital admissions reported, and the 7-day average of new reported coronavirus cases was 320. 

City officials are mobilizing a concentrated testing and tracing outreach in the Borough Park neighborhood in south Brooklyn after seeing an uptick in the last few days, however. De Blasio stressed it was a very recent, small uptick, citing a group of 16 cases, some of which are linked to a recent large wedding in the community. Similar to how officials reacted when they saw an uptick in neighboring Sunset Park, the city is mobilizing a targeted, flood-the-zone type of approach to test and trace residents.

De Blasio said he was working hand-in-hand with community leaders in the neighborhood in the testing and tracing efforts.

10:42 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Maryland applies for an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced today that Maryland has submitted an application to receive the additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits for Marylanders who are unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a release from Hogan’s office.

Once FEMA reviews and approves the state’s grant application, they will fund the $300 per week benefit and Maryland will fulfill the 25% state match through funding that is already paid to claimants in regular unemployment insurance benefits, the release said. 

“Maryland is doing much better on our health metrics than most of the rest of the country, we are doing much better on our economic recovery than most of the rest of the country, and we want to do whatever it takes to keep it that way,” Governor Hogan said. “But far too many Marylanders are still struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. With this critical funding, we can help those struggling Marylanders weather this storm, get back on their feet, and recover.”

According to the release, Maryland’s unemployment rate is currently at 8%.

9:52 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

White House economist: "Mitigation efforts seem to be working"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Joseph Lavorgna, Chief Economist of the National Economic Council, speaks with reporters at the White House, on August 5 in Washington, DC.
Joseph Lavorgna, Chief Economist of the National Economic Council, speaks with reporters at the White House, on August 5 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

White House economist Joe Lavorgna cast an optimistic tone during an appearance on CNBC this morning regarding both the coronavirus and the economy. 

“Mitigation efforts seem to be working,” he said of the pandemic’s spread, noting that new daily cases are down 36% from the July 25 peak. 

“More work to do, but we like what we see,” he added. 

Asked about school reopenings, he pressed the need for stimulus funding for schools, and added, ���Some of the data we’re seeing in the hotspots have really improved and we’re hoping that, in some instances, people will be able to go back to school safely,” citing “momentum” in decreasing cases and suggesting more students may go back to school than expected.

On the economic front, following the President’s executive actions, he said, “We’re in good shape right now, and that’s important,” later adding that there’s been “hardship and pain, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

He reiterated the need for stimulus negotiations to resume: “The talks that have stalled – we’d like them to occur.”

He also predicted that markets would “wobble” in a Biden administration.

8:48 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

A continent-by-continent look at where coronavirus stands across the world

More than 22 million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide since the pandemic began, and countries around the world are at different points in the fight against the virus.

Here's a look at where the pandemic stands across the world:

8:16 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

World's largest 10k will be virtual this year because of the pandemic 

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Runners make their way down Peachtree Road during the 50th AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4, 2019.
Runners make their way down Peachtree Road during the 50th AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4, 2019. Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Atlanta's 51st AJC Peachtree Road Race will be a completely virtual event in 2020, the Atlanta Track Club announced in a statement Wednesday.  

The Club, which organizes the "world's largest 10K" race, had previously postponed the event from July 4 to Thanksgiving Day, according to the statement.  

"The Club concluded that a virtual race was the safest option for participants, volunteers, staff, and the hundreds of city and state employees, many of whom are first responders, who come together to help deliver the event to Atlanta each year," the release said.  

"The curve is no longer flattened and we have significant community spread of the virus here in the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia," said Dr. Jonathan Kim, the Peachtree's Co-Medical Director. 

The virtual race will still be held on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, the release said.  

"Those who had already registered for the Peachtree will be automatically placed into the virtual event," said the release. 

7:50 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

What you need to know about coronavirus today

From CNN's Ivana Kottsasova

A version of this story appeared in the August 19 edition of CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

"UNC has a clusterf**k on its hands."

The editorial board for the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill didn't mince words in its assessment of the school's coronavirus response. The university was forced to cancel in-person classes after at least 130 students tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of classes.

The university's chancellor blamed off-campus activities for the outbreak, but the newspaper saw it differently. "We all saw this coming," the Daily Tar Heel editorial board wrote. "Though these students are not faultless, it was the University's responsibility to disincentivize such gatherings by reconsidering its plans to operate in-person earlier on."

UNC is just one of many universities across the US experiencing outbreaks just days after students started returning to campuses. Indiana's University of Notre Dame was forced to announce yesterday that all undergraduate classes will be remote for the next two weeks as it tries to get its own recent spike in cases under control.

The World Health Organization said yesterday young people are "increasingly driving" the pandemic.

Read the full story here or sign up for the newsletter.