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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5:57 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

San Diego has been taken off California's Covid-19 watch list, governor says

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom Pool

San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Placer counties are no longer on California’s Covid-19 monitoring list after meeting requirements for slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a news conference on Wednesday.

San Francisco may come off the watch list as early as Thursday, Newsom added.

While 40 of California’s 58 counties are currently on the state’s watch list, Newsom said “we want this list to go down to zero.”

More details: Counties are required to have fewer than 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks and a 7-day positivity rate below 8% to stay off the state watch list, according to guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. Counties off the watch list for 14 consecutive days are eligible to apply for a waiver to open in-person classes for elementary schools.

In Los Angeles County, which has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the state, the county’s public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said during a briefing Wednesday that the county is “doing better,” but “not doing well enough.”

While Los Angeles County has made “decent progress” with a test positivity rate below 8%, the county is still reporting about 245 cases per 100,000 residents, Ferrer said.

 

5:12 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

More than half of Kentucky counties are in the White House “danger zone,” governor said

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, August 19.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, August 19. Pool

More than half of Kentucky counties are in the White House “danger zone” designations when it comes to Covid-19 infections, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday.

“According to White House data, 20 Kentucky counties are in the red zone with a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher, and dozens more are in the 5-10 percent positivity rate yellow zone,” Beshear said via Twitter.

Kentucky recorded 655 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours as well as 12 new deaths, Beshear told reporters during a news conference in Frankfort.

The governor also emphasized that among the new cases, 91 or 14% are children age 18 years-old or younger.

Kentucky now counts a total of 40,926 cases, including a total of 842 deaths, Beshear said. 

4:32 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Massachusetts will require flu vaccines for public school students

From CNN’s Health’s Maggie Fox

Massachusetts said Wednesday it would require all schoolchildren to get influenza vaccines to stay enrolled in public schools and daycares, making it the first state to require flu shots for children over the age of 5.

“The new vaccine requirement is an important step to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Most states require that children get the 16 recommended childhood vaccines to attend public schools, but the influenza vaccine, which must be given freshly every year, has been an exception.

Public health officials including US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield have been urging all Americans to get vaccinated against flu this year so the virus doesn’t further complicate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided,” the Massachusetts health department said.

“Also exempted are K-12 students who are homeschooled and higher education students who are completely off-campus and engaged in remote learning only," the department added.

The CDC estimates that 600 children died of flu during the 2017-2018 flu season.

“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Larry Madoff, medical director of the state’s Bureau of Infectious Disease, said in a statement.

“It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.”  

5:15 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

NBA reports another week of coronavirus-free players

From CNN's David Close

The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz kneel before a first round playoff game on August 19 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz kneel before a first round playoff game on August 19 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Ashley Landis/Pool/Getty Images

Once again, no NBA players within the Disney World based campus have tested positive for Covid-19, the league reports. 

The NBA and the players union jointly announced zero positive Covid-19 test results from the 341 players tested this past week. 

The last time the NBA reported positive test results was on July 13, when 322 players were tested with two confirmed positives. 

The first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs are ongoing in Orlando, Florida. 

5:17 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

US stocks end the day down following report on Covid-19 economic recovery

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on August 3 in New York.
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on August 3 in New York. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks ended the day in the red and neither the S&P 500 nor the Nasdaq Composite reached new record highs.

The Federal Reserve's July meeting minutes reminded the market that the recovery remains fragile and that its path will depend on how well we deal with the virus in the future. That put a damper on things.

  • The Dow finished 0.3%, or 85 points, lower
  •  The S&P 500 slipped 0.4%
  •  The Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.6%

  

5:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Trump's Covid-19 testing czar says Covid-19 cases could "turn around very quickly if we’re not careful"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Adm. Brett Giroir testifies at a coronavirus hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Adm. Brett Giroir testifies at a coronavirus hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images

Covid-19 cases are declining across the United States and it’s clear “trends are going in the right direction,” Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir said during a US Department of Health and Human Services telebriefing on Wednesday. 

“We have very good data - theoretical and real data – that the plans that we’re implementing are working, and will continue to work – and will continue to work just about equivalently to a shutdown,” Giroir said. 

Giroir says wearing a mask, staying a safe distance away, washing your hands along with testing “continues to yield results.”

But Giroir doesn’t want the news to lead to complacency because “this thing could turn around very quickly if we're not careful. We saw that early on after Memorial Day, and the couple weeks afterward that sort of started the current outbreak, and it takes many weeks to get control over this once you institute measures."  

Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at HHS, said new cases are down 22% since their peak in July – but noted that “tragically,” deaths are the lagging indicator and still remain flat.  

More data: Giroir said of the 56 US jurisdictions, 80% of them (45 out of 56) are currently in a declining pattern when it comes to new cases. Six of the 56 are flat. He said five are in an upward trajectory — Guam, Hawaii, California, Indiana and Vermont. 

 

4:09 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Doctors' warning: Prepare now for how to deal with Covid-19 during hurricane season 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Experts from Duke University shared advice on Wednesday on how to prepare for the possibility of facing a hurricane during a pandemic.

Dr. Cameron Wolfe, associate professor of medicine at Duke Division of Infectious Diseases and an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health, said that when it comes to storm preparedness, communities should be “thinking about ways of incorporating Covid-specific level care and planning for the logistics of that.”

That includes thinking about things like personal protective equipment and mobile testing capacity for places like storm shelters. 

One thing that could be easy to overlook, is the mental health and emotional impact of living in a hurricane-prone place, according to Lisa Campbell, a professor of marine affairs and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“I think the layering of Covid on top of this has really got people, pretty much, you know at their wits’ ends in terms of trying to anticipate uncertainty and consequence,” she said. 

She said that places like schools and employers should be attentive to the levels of stress that people are dealing with because of this double layer. 

Dr. Andrew Godfrey, an emergency medicine specialist at Duke Health and a medical instructor in the Department of Surgery at Duke University School of Health, said that people should take the time while things are calmer to make plans for hurricanes and storms.

“What their plan would be if they were ordered to evacuate or if they needed to leave, and to try to pre-plan a little bit, as much as possible, given the constraints of Covid,” he said. 

4:29 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

There are about 2,000 students quarantined in Mississippi due to Covid-19

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch 

A student receives hand sanitizer while arriving to an elementary school in Biloxi, Mississippi.
A student receives hand sanitizer while arriving to an elementary school in Biloxi, Mississippi. WLOX

Almost 2,000 K-12 students in Mississippi have been quarantined in the state due to possible exposure to Covid-19.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, with the Mississippi Department of Health, said that 1,970 students and 328 school staff are quarantined in the state.

Dobbs said the state is also watching two outbreaks at two universities in the state – University of Mississippi and Mississippi University for Women. CNN has reached out to both universities for more information on their Covid-19 outbreaks. 

The state has reported 1,348 new Covid-19 cases and 31 new deaths today. 

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said that today’s numbers are bad and do not follow the downward trend the state has been seeing recently.

Dobbs said a major concern in the state is that the people who are dying have not been exposed to the virus in congregate settings, but are instances of community spread of the disease. 

To note: These numbers were released by the state of Mississippi and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:21 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

New data on the number of confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths in New York City

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 9 in New York City.
Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 9 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York City has 19,005 confirmed and 4,638 probable coronavirus deaths as of Aug. 19, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 23,643.

There have been 227,419 coronavirus cases in the city and 56,831 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on Aug. 19 at 1 p.m., according to the website.

To note: The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.