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
32 Posts
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4:37 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Texas governor says state is preparing to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 during storms 

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference Sunday that officials are staging  helicopters, C-130 transport aircraft, high-profile vehicles, sheltering teams, disinfecting teams and mobile testing squads to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 during Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Abbott said he has issued a state disaster declaration for 23 counties ahead of the storms, and is asking for an emergency declaration from President Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Gulf Coast is forecast to be walloped by two hurricanes this week, bringing torrential rain, fierce winds and ferocious storm surges.

First up: Marco, which strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane Sunday. Marco is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast Monday.

Marco will be followed by Tropical Storm Laura, which is expected to strengthen to a hurricane before it makes landfall on the US mainland late Wednesday or early Thursday. Laura is forecast to make landfall on or near the Louisiana coast.

4:20 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

Georgia reports more than 1,700 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

Georgia is reporting 1,739 new Covid-19 cases and 42 additional deaths on Sunday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The department's latest status report states that as of Sunday, there have been 253,949 total confirmed cases and 5,132 deaths in Georgia. At least 2,360 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in the state.

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.

4:05 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

More than 176,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Carma Hassan

A nurse administers a Covid-19 test on F Street in Washington, DC, on August 14.
A nurse administers a Covid-19 test on F Street in Washington, DC, on August 14. Alex Brandon/AP

There are at least 5.6 million cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 176,583 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of 3 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins has reported 19,193 new cases and 230 reported deaths. 

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

4:06 p.m. ET, August 23, 2020

France reports its highest post-lockdown daily increase in Covid-19 cases

From Fanny Bobille

France has reported 4,897 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily increase post-lockdown, according to France’s national health agency (Santé Publique France). 

This brings the total Covid-19 case count in the country to 242,899 as of Sunday.  

There was also one coronavirus death reported, bringing the total death toll to 30,513, according to the national health agency.

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: