August 24 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020
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6:32 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

California's Covid-19 hospitalizations down 20% over past 2 weeks

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A nurse cares for a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit at El Centro Regional Medical Center on July 28 in El Centro, California.
A nurse cares for a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit at El Centro Regional Medical Center on July 28 in El Centro, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Covid-19 hospitalizations in California are down 20% over the past two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today. Intensive care unit rates are down 19% over the same reporting period.

A total of 4,946 new cases were added to the state’s total today, well below the seven-day case average of 5,798. This brings California’s case total to 668,615, with 12,152 deaths, according to an update from the state's Department of Public Health.

Five counties – Orange, Napa, Calaveras, Sierra, and Mono – have been removed from a so-called "watch list," Newsom announced today. If the counties can maintain their data for the next 14 days, they can begin reopening more sectors to the public. Currently, 36 counties remain on the monitoring list.

California’s positivity rate is holding steady at 6.5% for the past 14 days.

About 34% of all cases in California are centered in Los Angeles County. This is down significantly from June, when L.A. accounted for almost half of all cases in the state.

Los Angeles Department of Public Health reported just under 1,200 new cases today for a total of 232,893.

Note: These numbers were released by California Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:52 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Ohio State University issues temporary suspensions to students for breaking Covid rules

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Ohio State University issued 228 interim suspensions on Monday to students who they say have broken the university’s Covid-19 regulations around socializing, Benjamin Johnson, the university’s spokesperson, confirmed to CNN. 

In a letter sent to the community on Aug. 21, the vice president of student life, Melissa Shivers, outlined that students must wear a mask, practice social distancing, and that gatherings could not include more than 10 people. Shivers warned that the university’s student conduct team was in the process of opening dozens of cases that would likely result in interim suspensions. Shivers also made clear that student organizations involved in unsafe gatherings could lose their university recognition and funding.

“Perhaps knowing about the action we are taking will influence your decisions and prompt you to encourage others to take this situation seriously” Shivers wrote in her letter on Aug. 21. “And remember that this is all about more than the individual. We have one shot at this – responding to what so many of you asked for: an on campus semester at Ohio State.”

The Office of Student Life is also monitoring off-campus neighborhoods and is reporting individuals to student conduct, Johnson told CNN.

OSU students moved back to campus starting on Aug. 19. Classes are scheduled to begin at the university on Tuesday.

4:54 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

More than 177,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There are at least 5,730,294 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 177,065 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Monday, Johns Hopkins has reported 28,615 new cases and 263 reported deaths. 

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

5:08 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Minnesota links 27 Covid-19 cases to motorcycle rally

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

A man rides past a discarded face mask during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 8 in Sturgis, South Dakota.
A man rides past a discarded face mask during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 8 in Sturgis, South Dakota. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

There are now 27 cases of Covid-19 in Minnesota linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that took place in South Dakota earlier this month. 

Kris Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Division at Minnesota Department of Health, said Monday during a briefing that of the 27 cases, 25 said they attended Sturgis and two either worked or volunteered at the event. One person who was hospitalized last week was released after three days, Ehresmann added. 

The health department had reported 15 cases linked to the motorcycle rally last week. 

5:16 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be tested regularly for coronavirus

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrive to speak at a news conference on August 12 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrive to speak at a news conference on August 12 in Wilmington, Delaware. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be regularly tested for coronavirus as the campaign has increased some of its Covid-19 health protocols in the final stretch before Election Day, a campaign official confirmed to CNN. 

The campaign will make public if either the Biden or Harris test positive for the virus, the official said.

Read a statement from Biden campaign staffer Andrew Bates:

"Joe Biden sounded the alarm about COVID-19 early, when Donald Trump was falsely promising our nation that the virus was 'under control' and that we could trust Xi Jinping to contain the disease. For the entirety of this outbreak, Joe Biden has lived his values, modeling and strongly encouraging responsible behavior to keep Americans safe while proposing the kind of desperately-needed national strategy for defeating this pandemic that Donald Trump still has not provided. Donald Trump has been the polar opposite: failing us on testing and PPE, failing to act on early warnings, trusting China over both the U.S. intelligence community as well as Joe Biden, and frequently contradicting his own public health experts. This announcement is another step demonstrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' commitment to turn the page on Trump's catastrophic mismanagement during the worst public health crisis in 100 years." 

 Bloomberg was first to report the news. 


4:33 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

NFL says no players tested positive for Covid-19 in latest results

From CNN's Dan Kamal

Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Alex Burstow/Getty Images

The National Football League announced Monday zero Covid-19 test results among players after 58,397 tests were administered to 8,573 players and personnel from Aug. 12-20.

Of the 8,573 persons tested, six had confirmed positive results, all non-players.

Prior to Aug. 12, 9,983 players and personnel received “intake testing,” with 170 positive tests, or 1.7%. In ongoing testing after intake through Aug. 11, the overall positivity rate dropped to 0.81% among players, 0.46% overall.

The NFL says the overall positivity rate has not exceeded 1.7% for any club since testing began.

4:26 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

S&P 500 and Nasdaq set new records after Trump pushes plasma treatments 

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

Stocks rallied Monday after the Trump administration approved a potential Covid-19 treatment. Wall Street finished in the green, and both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite finished at all-time highs.

The S&P ended up 1%, finishing above 3,400 points for the first time ever. The Nasdaq closed 0.6% higher. Both indexes surpassed the record levels they reached on Friday. 

The Dow closed 1.4%, or 378 points, higher. 

Even though the index performed the best out of the three major benchmarks, it remains more than 4% below the all-time high it hit in February.

4:06 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Germany issues travel warning for Paris and France's Cote d'Azur region

From CNN's AJ Davis and Lauren Kent

Germany has issued a travel warning for Paris and the Cote d'Azur region of southeastern France due to high levels of coronavirus infection, according to a German Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Monday. 

"The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions on international air travel and have adverse effects on the public life in France," the German foreign ministry said. "There are currently warnings against unnecessary tourist trips to the Île-de-France region (with the capital Paris) and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur due to the high number of infections."

"In these regions, the number of new infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for seven days, which is why they have been classified as risk areas," added the statement. 

Travelers returning from these regions will be required to get a free coronavirus PCR test upon arrival in Germany and could be obligated to quarantine for 14 days. 

3:41 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Trump tells supporters "vaccines are going to be, I believe, announced very soon"

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi and Jason Hoffman 

US President Donald Trump addresses supporters on the tarmac at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, North Carolina. on August 24, 2020.
US President Donald Trump addresses supporters on the tarmac at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, North Carolina. on August 24, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump gave brief remarks to supporters at the Asheville Regional Airport landing zone, echoing much of what he said in Charlotte, touting the stock market, the employment numbers, and saying the pandemic will go away.

The President also again predicted a vaccine will be announced shortly.

“The vaccines are going to be, I believe, announced very soon,” Trump said, before praising convalescent plasma, calling it an “incredible thing.”

The President also said he expects the economic comeback from coronavirus to be strong next year, saying “next year we are going to have one of the best years economically and in other ways that we have ever had before.”

Some background:  On Saturday, Trump accused, without providing any evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration of deliberately delaying coronavirus vaccine trials, pressuring the man he had picked to head the agency.

"The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics," Trump tweeted, continuing to push his unfounded theory that there is a "deep state" embedded within the government bureaucracy working against his reelection.

He accused the agency of delaying a vaccine for the virus until after the fall election, tweeting, "Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!" Trump ended his tweet by tagging the Twitter account of FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who he nominated last year to take up the role.

Hahn assured Americans earlier this month that the agency "will not cut corners" to approve a vaccine.

Trump has promised that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year, though vaccinologists told CNN that timeline is unrealistic. And his latest comments won't allay the fears some experts and Americans have that the administration will rush to prepare a vaccine at the expense of science and safety.

The FDA doesn't conduct the trials itself, but instead oversees the people who do, according to the agency. As CNN previously reported, one vaccine candidate, developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, moved to phase 3 clinical trials late last month.