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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1:28 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

US reports more than 44,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States reported 44,091 new coronavirus cases and 1,324 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national totals to at least 5,482,416 cases and 171,821 deaths.

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

Follow CNN's live tracker of US cases:

1:01 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Drake University students asked to leave campus for violating health and safety protocols

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

The Knapp Center on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 23, 2018.
The Knapp Center on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 23, 2018. Kirby Lee/AP

Fourteen students at Drake University in Iowa were asked to leave campus after violating health and safety protocols, according to a letter from the Dean of Students Jerry Parker.

The students will be off campus for at least 14 days, and several “are now facing repercussions through the Code of Student Conduct,” the letter said.

Returning students had to sign an agreement called the Drake Together Compact, which outlines Covid-19 protocols for the school year. One of the directives in this agreement bans students from hosting or attending a party on-campus or off-campus, punishable by disciplinary action.

“If we are going to get through the fall semester, it will come down to our decisions and our actions," Parker said in the letter.
"I want to be crystal clear: we are serious and we will not hesitate to take the necessary actions to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, jeopardizing the health and safety of others.”
12:29 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Appalachian State University identifies coronavirus cluster associated with football team

The Appalachian State University logo on the goalpost during a game on October 19, 2019.
The Appalachian State University logo on the goalpost during a game on October 19, 2019. Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A coronavirus cluster has been identified at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, with links to the university’s football team, according to a news release from the school and the Appalachian District Health Department.

So far, seven students and four staff have tested positive and remain active cases, the release said.

The state defines a cluster as at least five positive cases within 14 days of each other, and with epidemiological links between them.

The 11 people identified in the campus cluster have been instructed to self-isolate, and their close contacts have been told to quarantine. The university's athletics department has suspended practice after consulting with the health department.

12:01 a.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Seoul to seek damages from church at center of fresh coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Jake Kwon in Seoul

Public officials disinfect as a precaution against the coronavirus near the Sarang-jeil church in Seoul, South Korea on August 16.
Public officials disinfect as a precaution against the coronavirus near the Sarang-jeil church in Seoul, South Korea on August 16. Park Dong-joo/Yonhap/AP

The South Korean capital Seoul will seek damages from the church at the center of its current Covid-19 outbreak, Acting Mayor Seo Jeong-hyup said today.

In a briefing, Seo said the city government is reviewing the legal basis for the civil suit against the Sarang-jeil church and its Reverend, Jun Kwang-hoon.

Seo alleged that Jun and his church had wasted the city’s administrative resources and budget and complicated contact tracing efforts by "avoidance, falsehood, and noncompliance during the testing and epidemiological investigation."

Church cluster: On Monday, Seoul reported a cluster of cases related to the church in the city. A total of 568 people linked to the Sarang-jeil church have since tested positive for the virus, authorities said. 

Tuesday saw 283 local and 14 imported cases in South Korea, marking the country's sixth consecutive day of triple-digit new cases. 

Some 89% of the new cases were found in the Seoul metropolitan area, according to Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip.

“If Seoul’s disease prevention net falls, the nation’s prevention net falls too,” Seo said.

Church's denial: At a news conference Monday, Sarang-jeil church's legal team denied the allegations of wrongdoing levied against the church and Rev. Jun. The church's representatives said that they had fully cooperated with the authorities and said they would be suing the government for defamation.

11:38 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

New Zealand reports 6 new cases, as army is deployed to guard isolation facilities  

From CNN's Zehra Jafree

Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a news conference at the Ministry of Health on August 17, in Wellington, New Zealand. 
Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a news conference at the Ministry of Health on August 17, in Wellington, New Zealand.  Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand recorded six new coronavirus cases in the past day, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said at a news briefing on Wednesday. 

Five cases were locally transmitted, linked to a cluster in the country's most populous city, Auckland.

The sixth case was a person who recently arrived from overseas, and is in "managed isolation," Bloomfield said. 

These new infections raise the national total to 1,299 cases.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the latest figures "encouraging," and said, "we are not seeing a surge in community cases."

"The perimeter of the virus is not expanding exponentially and risks like daily doubling of cases as we saw during the first outbreak has not occurred over the past week. So far the rollout of our resurgence plan is working as we intended," Ardern said. 

Army deployed: Over the next six weeks, 500 more army personnel will be deployed to manage quarantine facilities, Ardern announced. This brings the total number of military personnel supporting New Zealand's Covid-19 response to around 1,200.

The country conducted more than 23,000 coronavirus tests on Tuesday, taking the total number of tests done since the pandemic began to 639,415.

10:54 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Australia signs deal with AstraZeneca for potential coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, takes a tour at the AstraZeneca laboratories in Sydney's Macquarie Park on Wednesday.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, takes a tour at the AstraZeneca laboratories in Sydney's Macquarie Park on Wednesday. Nick Moir/Pool/Getty Images

Australia has secured a deal with the UK-based drug company AstraZeneca for access to a potential Covid-19 vaccine should trials prove successful.

AstraZeneca is currently developing a vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, and has already reached agreements with several governments -- including the US and UK -- to produce at least 2 billion doses, with the first deliveries starting as early as September.

Under the deal, Australians would receive the vaccine for free, an Australian government statement said on Tuesday.

“If this vaccine proves successful we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” wrote Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the statement.

“However there is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing our discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researchers at the same time to find a vaccine." 

Speaking Wednesday, Morrison acknowledged that there were "big hurdles" in producing a successful vaccine but said the AstraZeneca-Oxford University project is "one of the best prospects in the world today."

There is no stated cost of the Australian government’s deal with AstraZeneca; however the Australian government has indicated that it will spend billions of dollars on its vaccine strategy.

The strategy includes the purchase of 100 million needles, syringes and other consumables from US company Becton Dickinson, with an order already placed worth 24.7 million Australian dollars ( $17.9 million).

11:21 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Mexico reports more than 5,500 new cases, as authorities claim downward trend

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City

A health care worker puts on a protective suit before submitting members of the Tlaxcala State Congress to a Covid 19 test on August 10.  
A health care worker puts on a protective suit before submitting members of the Tlaxcala State Congress to a Covid 19 test on August 10.   Jesus Alvarado/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Mexico recorded 5,506 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 751 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday, raising the country's total to 531,239 infections and 57,774 fatalities.

The new figures were released shortly after Mexico's Health Ministry announced what it called "good news" on Tuesday morning, claiming the country is "in a decreasing phase" of the coronavirus outbreak.

"The trend is clear and proves that consistently in most of the country, the new cases are decreasing, the number of deaths, there is a decrease over the past six weeks, hospital beds are being unoccupied," the Health Ministry said in a briefing.

On Monday, Mexico recorded its lowest number of new cases since June, with 3,571 new infections.

Mexico holds the third-highest number of deaths in the world from coronavirus, following only the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In Latin America, Mexico has the third highest number of coronavirus cases, behind only Brazil and Peru. 

10:53 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Coronavirus cases surpass 22 million worldwide

From CNN’s Samantha Beech in Atlanta

More than 22 million coronavirus cases have now been recorded globally, including nearly 800,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The total case count stands at 22,054,300, and the death toll at 779,443.  

The United States has the highest figures, with more than 5.48 million cases and 171,793 deaths. Brazil follows next with 3.4 million cases and 109,888 deaths. 

Earlier Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization said the Americas account for 64% of the world's Covid-19 deaths.

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here:

11:20 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Fauci does not foresee a Covid-19 vaccine mandate in the United States 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis on July 31, in Washington, DC. 
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis on July 31, in Washington, DC.  Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, says he does not foresee a Covid-19 vaccine mandate in the United States. 

“I don't think you'll ever see a mandating of vaccine, particularly for the general public,” Fauci said on Tuesday during a Healthline.com town hall.
Fauci said everyone has the right to refuse a vaccine. “If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there's nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine," he said.

America’s top infectious diseases doctor did say in some areas, like the medical sector, many health care workers are asked to vaccinate in order to have contact with patients.  

“When you're in the medical sector, depending on the policy of a hospital, the hospital may say -- if you refuse to take a given vaccine, whether that's a hepatitis vaccine, or a flu vaccine or perhaps even the Covid vaccine, that you might not be able to have person-to-person contact with patients,” he explained.