August 22 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Brett McKeehan, Angela Dewan, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0435 GMT (1235 HKT) August 23, 2020
27 Posts
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3:55 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

Georgia now has more than 5,000 Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Kay Jones

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp puts on a mask after speaking at a press conference announcing statewide expanded Covid-19 testing on August 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp puts on a mask after speaking at a press conference announcing statewide expanded Covid-19 testing on August 10 in Atlanta, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 95 new Covid-19 related deaths on Saturday, bringing the state's total to 5,092. 

The department reported 2,615 new cases for a total of 252,222 since the pandemic began.

The state's positivity rate is 9.2% for Saturday and 10.6% overall since the pandemic began, according to the department.

Note: These numbers were released by Georgia'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.

2:47 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

House Oversight Committee releases internal Postal Service documents showing service drop  

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Sam Fossum

As the US House of Representatives debates legislation to provide additional funding for the US Postal Service and ban operational changes that have slowed mail delivery, the House Oversight Committee has released a new internal USPS slide presentation prepared for the Postmaster General that shows reduced service since July. 

“To those who still claim there are ‘no delays’ and that these reports are just ‘conspiracy theories,’ I hope this new data causes them to re-think their position and support our urgent legislation today," House Oversight chair Carolyn Maloney said in a statement. "We have all seen the headlines from every corner of our country, we have read the stories and seen pictures, we have heard directly from our constituents, and these new documents show that the delays are far worse than we were told.”

According to the documents, obtained and released by the committee, there has been an overall drop in service across all mail types including First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail and Periodicals. The slide show is dated Aug. 12, 2020. 

CNN has reached out to USPS for comment on the documents.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has previously acknowledged a dip in service, telling Postal Service employees that changes he oversaw have had "unintended consequences," but he continued to describe them as necessary.

Some context: During a US Senate committee hearing on Friday, DeJoy said that a "substantial portion" of the current delays stem from complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"A substantial portion of our delays are related to Covid. I won't go as far as to not say that we had maybe a 4 or 5% hit on our service level or delay. All sorts of mail: marketing mail, everything because it got stuck on a dock," he told lawmakers. "And we're drastically bringing that down. And once that is aligned, we should have a smooth running system, at a, you know, much more high performance grade."

DeJoy, along with USPS Board of Governors chairman Robert Duncan, will testify before the Oversight Committee Monday morning. 

2:37 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

New Jersey reports lowest Covid-19 hospitalization rate since March 24

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New Jersey has reported its lowest number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations since March 24, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday afternoon.

The state currently has 376 Covid-19 hospitalizations, and at its peak had 8,013 hospitalizations.

“It’s incredible what we’ve achieved by pulling together as one New Jersey family, but we’re not over the finish line yet. Keep it up,” the governor said.

Read the tweet:

2:30 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

Covid-19 death toll in California nears 12,000

From CNN's Melissa Alonso and Jack Hannah 

California health officials reported 6,556 new Covid-19 cases for the past two days, bringing the total number to 656,892, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  

The 6,556 new cases are not a single day count since it includes "cases from prior to yesterday," CDPH said on Saturday in a daily update. 

The 7-day positivity rate in California is 5.7% and the 14-day positivity rate is 6.4%, CDPH said. 

California has reported 11,988 Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to CDPH. 

To note: These numbers were released by California'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.

1:39 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

South Carolina nears 110,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Natasha Chen

South Carolina's Health Department recorded 825 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 109,962.

The health department also reported 33 new deaths from the virus, bringing the state's death toll to 2,372.

On Friday, the state's percentage of positive cases was 13.7%.

South Carolina does not have a statewide mask mandate as the governor has previously said it is encouraged but must be mandated at a local level.

12:48 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

Italy reports more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since May

From CNN’s Livia Borghese

A total of 1,071 new coronavirus cases have been recorded across Italy as of Saturday, the highest figure since May 12, according to new government data.   

Figures released by the Italian authorities on Saturday confirm that there are currently 17,503 active coronavirus cases in Italy – up by 825 since Friday – while the total number of cases, including deaths and recoveries, now stands at 258,136.  

Meanwhile, a further three deaths have been recorded over the last 24 hours, while 64 coronavirus patients currently remain in intensive care. 

According to local health officials, the surge in cases in some regions has been linked to people returning to Italy from overseas.  

In Italy’s Lazio region, an additional 215 cases have been registered – of these, the regional Health Department says 61% have been linked to people returning from vacation, including a number of travelers returning from Sardinia.  

“Hospitals and intensive care units are under control,” regional health assessor Alessio D’Amato said Saturday in a statement, appealing to young people to not assume they are “invincible” to the virus.  

“The virus is subtle and can create serious problems to you and your loved ones,” D’Amato added.  

12:32 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Mississippi dropped below 1,000 for first time in 2 months

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in Mississippi dropped below 1,000 for the first time in two months on Friday, according to the state's Gov. Tate Reeves.

"We're down almost 25% from the peak," Reeves said in a press briefing Saturday, responding to a question of whether he had concerns about the tropical storms affecting hospitals since Covid-19 hospitalizations are still high.

The number of patients in intensive care unit beds was at 339 two weeks ago and has dropped to 260, Reeves added.

"They are at levels higher than we want them to be, and they are at levels higher than they were through March and April, but I have full confidence in our health care system that we can handle any damage and major catastrophe that come before us," the governor said.

12:04 p.m. ET, August 22, 2020

UK reports more than 1,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Luke Henderson

The United Kingdom recorded 1,288 new Covid-19 cases and 18 new deaths on Saturday, government figures show.

This is compared to 1,033 recorded cases and two deaths on Friday, according to the UK government’s official dashboard.

The latest figures were released after tighter coronavirus restrictions came into force in the northern England regions of Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle following a "rising tide of Covid-19 cases," the government said. 

Professor Sir Mark Walport, from the UK government’s scientific advisory board, SAGE, cautioned on Saturday that the percentage of new cases in the UK is rising in some parts of the country, warning that “much more draconian measures” may need to be enforced if there is a significant rise in the infection rate.   

“Is there a situation where it could get out of control? Well, obviously, that is possible and that is why it is so important that we all work together,” Walport told BBC Radio 4.

More data: There are currently 21.5 cases per 100,000 people across the United Kingdom, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  

11:53 a.m. ET, August 22, 2020

Maryland's Covid-19 test positive rate remains around 3%

From CNN's Sheena Jones

The Covid-19 testing positive rate in Maryland remains at 3.09%, according to data posted on the website for the state's health department.

There was only a 0.01% change in the rate in the last 24-hours, the website said.

The state announced 624 additional cases of Covid-19 and 10 deaths from the virus.

Maryland has a statewide total of 103,523 cases of the virus and 3,546 deaths.

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