August 23 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Jenni Marsh, Angela Dewan, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:10 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020
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2:41 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Notre Dame shares new Covid-19 infection data

From CNN’s Elizabeth Stuart

Over the last 20 days, The University of Notre Dame has confirmed more than 400 coronavirus cases in its campus community.

There has been 408 confirmed cases since Aug. 3, the school said on its online dashboard

2:38 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Houston reports more than 400 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

The city of Houston, Texas, has reported 437 new cases of Covid-19, as well as 14 new deaths, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

Turner, citing data from the Houston Health Department, said in a tweet this afternoon that the total positive cases of Covid-19 for Houston now totals 60,943. The total number of dead is 730. 

The Texas Department of State Human Services reported that, as of yesterday, there have been a total of 573,139 positive Covid-19 cases and 11,266 deaths. 

Read Turner's tweet:

1:57 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Georgia Tech reports 33 new cases of Covid-19  

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

Georgia Tech has reported 33 new cases of Covid-19, including 17 members of a Greek organization.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases at the university to 251.

1:50 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

White House expected to announce emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19

From CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Tonight’s White House press conference is expected to be about an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Last week, President Trump accused some health officials of playing politics regarding the EUA for convalescent plasma. When asked about the US Food and Drug Administration not having granted a EUA, Trump said it was political.

Today, one of the sources who is close to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said the FDA has reviewed additional data to inform its impending EUA decision. This official has not personally reviewed the data. The source said the FDA is under no obligation to consult anyone outside the agency about its decision. 

The science: Convalescent plasma is created from the blood of people who have recovered from Covid-19, and it has shown success in two other deadly coronaviruses: MERS and SARS. It has also been used to treat the flu and Ebola. 

Emergency use authorization from the FDA does not require the same level of evidence as full FDA approval.

At the end of March, the FDA created a pathway for scientists to try convalescent plasma with patients and study its impact. Physicians have been using the treatment since. So far, more than 60,000 people in the United States have been treated with convalescent plasma.

1:31 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

A tweet Trump sent on voting receives a "misleading health claims" label

From CNN's Donie O’Sullivan, Naomi Thomas and Ali Zaslav

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter appended a label to a tweet from President Trump for “making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”

Trump claimed in posts on Twitter and Facebook early Sunday morning that mail drop boxes for voting “are not Covid sanitized” as well as claiming they are a “voter security disaster."

Five hours after Trump sent the tweet, Twitter took action, saying, “We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.” 

Now accompanying the Tweet is the full security notice: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Trump’s tweet puzzled at least one scientist who noted that people are unlikely to catch the virus from touching such a box. People can just wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after touching any objects, including mail drop boxes, noted Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and a CNN contributor.

“You can completely minimize the risk of infection by sanitizing your hands after you drop in your ballot,” Bromage told CNN.

What the science says: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the main way Covid-19 spreads is from person to person and that while there is a possibility of infection from someone touching a surface and then their mouth, nose or potentially their eyes, this is not the main way the virus spreads.

The larger risk of transmission comes when people are crowded into indoor spaces together.

“So while there is a theoretical possibility for viral transfer from a voting drop box, in reality the chances of this occurring and it leads to an infection are low,” Bromage said. 

Although the exact same message was posted to the President’s Facebook account, the company has not taken specific action on the post by Sunday afternoon. 

Facebook says it affixes links to voter information to posts from politicians about the election — a policy which could cause more confusion, as CNN has previously reported. Unlike Twitter, Facebook does not fact-check politicians. 

CNN has reached out to Facebook for comment.

Read the tweet:

4:09 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Former Ukrainian prime minister is in serious condition with Covid-19, spokesperson says

From Katharina Krebs

Yulia Tymoshenko attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 3.
Yulia Tymoshenko attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 3. Evgen Kotenko/Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in a serious condition, her press secretary said in a Facebook post Sunday.

The leader of Ukrainian political party "Batkivshchyna," or "Fatherland" in English, has a temperature up to 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), according to her spokeswoman, Marina Soroka.

"She is struggling," Soroka wrote.

Some background: Tymoshenko is one of Ukraine's most prominent politicians and supports integration with the European Union.

She was the first woman appointed as prime minister in Ukraine and served from January to September 2005, and again from December 2007 to March 2010. She also co-led the Orange Revolution in 2004-2005.

12:40 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

NFL to investigate Covid-19 testing results from New Jersey lab

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

The National Football League is investigating Covid-19 testing results after several teams that use the same laboratory received positive tests on Saturday. 

"Saturday's daily Covid testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey," the league said in a statement Sunday. "We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests." 

The Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns canceled practice Sunday.

The Bears announced that nine players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. However, after following the league and union protocol, the team said the nine results turned out to be false positives. As a result, the Bears postponed Sunday's morning practice.

The Browns said testing conducted Saturday initially indicated multiple presumptive positive cases from players, coaches and support staff. The team said since returning to its facility last month it has received "encouraging results from daily testing."  

Cleveland will contact trace and self-isolate those who tested positive and others even though all are asymptomatic. The Browns will pause all activities in its facility, including practice, Sunday and will conduct virtual meetings instead.  

Around the league: New York Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters that he canceled Saturday's walkthrough practice after 10 false positives, but the team was able to practice Sunday after receiving negative test results this morning.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that 12 people, including eight players, have presumptive positive coronavirus tests. Those players will not practice Sunday. 

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement Sunday, "On Saturday, we had six players absent from practice due to our adherence to NFL Covid-19 protocol. None of those players were required to be placed on Reserve/Covid-19 and will be returning to meeting today and practice on Monday."

NFL hasn't responded to CNN's request on how many teams use the New Jersey lab. However, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane said his team was one of at least 10 impacted. Beane said a few Bills players would miss Sunday's practice.

12:13 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

East Carolina University moves to online instruction after "multiple" clusters on campus 

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

East Carolina University Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson announced in a letter today that they are moving to online classes, just two weeks after welcoming students back on campus.

"Throughout the summer, we planned and prepared our campus for the Return of Pirate Nation, and more than two weeks ago, we welcomed Pirates back to campus. We’ve completed two weeks of classes in our first eight-week block for the fall semester. However, during the last week we have experienced a rapid acceleration of Covid-19 cases, including multiple clusters,” Mitchelson wrote. 

The letter went on to say that undergraduate classes have been suspended Monday and Tuesday of this week. Online classes begin on Aug. 26. 

11:55 a.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Florida surpasses 600,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Melissa Alonso  

Florida health officials reported 2,974 new Covid-19 cases and 51 additional resident deaths on Sunday, the lowest single day figures since June, according to the state's health department.

The state has reported 594,287 coronavirus cases among Florida residents and 600,651 total cases across the state, according to the data.

The total Covid-19 death toll in the state stands at 10,325, the state said. 

To note: 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 .