August 24 coronavirus news

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11:42 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Researchers say Hong Kong man is first confirmed to have Covid-19 twice — but more research is needed

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A 33-year-old man living in Hong Kong had Covid-19 twice this year, according to preliminary research out of China. 

The pre-print study — which the University of Hong Kong said on Monday has been accepted to publish in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases — found that the man’s second case of Covid-19 occurred 142 days after the first. 

The study also noted that in the first case, the man showed symptoms but in the second case he was asymptomatic, in that he did not show any noticeable symptoms. 

During his first episode of illness, the patient had a cough, sore throat, fever and headache for three days, according to the study. He tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, on March 26. 

Then during his second episode, the patient was returning to Hong Kong from traveling in Spain via the United Kingdom, and he tested positive during his entry screening at the Hong Kong airport on August 15, according to the study. The man was then hospitalized again but remained asymptomatic. 

For the study, researchers at the University of Hong Kong and various hospitals in Hong Kong analyzed specimens collected from the patient 10 days after his symptoms emerged in the first episode and then one day after hospitalization for the second episode. They analyzed genetic material in those specimens. 

The genetic analysis showed that the first infection was from a strain of the coronavirus most closely related to strains from the United States or England, which were collected in the spring, and the second was most closely related to strains from Switzerland and England, which were collected in July and August. 

“This case illustrates that re-infection can occur even just after a few months of recovery from the first infection. Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may persist in humans as is the case for other common-cold associated human coronaviruses, even if patients have acquired immunity via natural infection or via vaccination,” the researchers wrote in their study. 

“In summary, reinfection is possible 4.5 months after a first episode of symptomatic infection. Vaccination should also be considered for persons with known history of COVID-19,” they wrote. “Patients with previous COVID-19 infection should also comply with epidemiological control measures such as universal masking and social distancing.” 

Some context: The researchers called this the “first case” of re-infection of Covid-19 in their paper, but other experts are calling for more research before naming this case truly the world’s first. 

“What I think is really important is that we put this into context,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday. 

“There’s been more than 24 million cases reported to date. And we need to look at something like this on a population level. And so it's very important that we document this and that, in countries that can do this if sequencing can be done that would be very, very helpful. But we need to not jump to any conclusions,” Van Kerkhove said. “Even if this is the first documented case of reinfection, it is possible of course because with our experience with other human coronaviruses, and the MERS coronavirus and the SARS-CoV-1 coronavirus, we know that people have an antibody response for some time but it may wane.” 

 

10:57 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Miami Dolphins will allow up to 13,000 fans at home opener

From CNN's Dan Kamal

Members of the Miami Dolphins run practice drills during training camp at Nova Southern University in Davie, Florida, on August 21.
Members of the Miami Dolphins run practice drills during training camp at Nova Southern University in Davie, Florida, on August 21. Mark Brown/Getty Images

In a statement released Monday, the Miami Dolphins announced that a maximum of 13,000 fans will be allowed to the opening game against the Buffalo Bills on September 20.

Masks will be mandatory for all fans entering the Hard Rock Stadium.

Vice chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said, “When we started the process back in March of exploring what a socially-distanced stadium could look like, we made the health and safety of everyone the first priority."

"We’re happy that our elected officials recognize the attention to detail and diligence that we’ve put into creating a safe environment and that they made the decision to move forward with a 13,000-capacity stadium at this time.”

The Dolphins have instituted several policies to enhance fan safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • Socially distanced seating clusters
  • Masks required for fans when not actively eating or drinking
  • Upgraded air conditioning filters
  • Mobile touchless entry
  • Staggered entry times listed on game tickets
  • Cashless food service, parking and retail
  • No tailgating for 2020 season

Season ticket members will have first priority to purchase seats for the home opener, based on their tenure.  

The official stadium capacity is 65,326.

10:05 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Zoom is down in some parts of the world

From CNN’s Saeed Ahmed

Zoom, the video conferencing app that's become a go-to for many stuck at home during the pandemic, is down in some parts of the world. In the United States, the problem seems to be affecting those in the East Coast.

"We have received reports of users being unable to visit the Zoom website (zoom.us) and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars," the company said in a statement Monday morning. "We are currently investigating and will provide updates as we have them."

A glance at Down Detector, which tracks internet outages, show users in the United Kingdom were also experiencing issues.

Created as a business communication tool nearly a decade ago, Zoom's popularity exploded at the beginning of this year, as millions of people in lockdown began using it to host events ranging from birthday parties to religious events and even to cabinet meetings.

9:49 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

There's a Zoom outage on the first day of school in Atlanta, district says

Atlanta Public Schools just tweeted that there's a Zoom outage impacting parts of the eastern US, interrupting online education.

"We are working to resolve the issue," the agency said in statement.

This is the first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year, according to Atlanta Public School's calendar.

10:21 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

White House officials raised the possibility of fast-tracking a vaccine before phase 3 trials were completed

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Jim Acosta

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speak to reporters in Washington, DC, after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on July 30.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speak to reporters in Washington, DC, after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on July 30. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

On July 30, during broader negotiations over the coronavirus relief legislation inside Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, Sen. Chuck Schumer asked the White House officials in the room how things were going on the vaccine effort, according to two sources familiar with the meeting. 

It was at that point Meadows and Mnuchin walked through the various pieces of vaccine development, and then suggested that the AstraZeneca effort could be ready by September. As the conversation continued, the White House officials raised the possibility of an emergency use authorization before phase three trials were completed.

At that point, Speaker Nancy Pelosi interrupted to tell Mnuchin and Meadows there should be no cutting of corners during the vaccine development process.

The Financial Times first reported the details of the July meeting. 

A senior administration official previously told CNN there have not been any discussions about fast-tracking the AstraZeneca vaccine before the November election. However, this person did not rule out the possibility of an EUA on a vaccine before full approval if there is sufficient data -- although this person said the FDA would not be pushed around on the science of a vaccine.

Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services, on Sunday denied that there was any effort to fast-track vaccine development for political purposes. 

"This is not true, don’t believe it. Talk of an October surprise vaccine plot is a lurid Resistance fantasy designed to undermine the President’s Coronavirus response. And nobody, but nobody, among the career FDA regulators I know will ever stand quietly for political pressure," Caputo said.  

Meadows on Monday morning also dismissed concerns that there’s political pressure to fast-track a vaccine, reiterating how Operation Warp Speed will produce vaccines in phase three trials.

“Yeah that's not happening. I can tell you we're going through a standard clinical process like any other drug would happen and then what we're speeding up is the non testing side of it," he said. 

Additional reporting from Betsy Klein, Joe Johns, Elizabeth Cohen, and Jeremy Diamond

9:31 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak at Scottish school sees staff and students told to self-isolate

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

Staff and students have been told to self-isolate for 14 days after 22 cases of Covid-19 were detected at a school in Dundee, Scotland, according to a joint statement from the local health authority, NHS Tayside, and Dundee City Council on Sunday.

Schools in Scotland reopened on Aug. 11, with new rules stipulating that face-coverings should be worn if adults and children cannot keep a two-meter distance, crowded areas should be avoided and hands and surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis. 

The Kingspark School, where the outbreak was detected, caters for 185 students ages 5 to 18 who all have additional support needs.

According to the statement, 22 positive cases had been linked to the school as of August 23. 

The cases are made up of 17 members of staff, two students and three community contacts. 

Staff have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days from the last day they were on site. Pupils have been told to self-isolate for 14 days from August 20. Anyone who is living or coming into close contact with a student should also self-isolate for 14 days, according to advice given by authorities. The school is currently shut to all students and staff and testing has been made available to all staff.

"Since the identification of positive cases at Kingspark, a detailed contact tracing program has been under way" Dr Ellie Hothersall, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside said. 

9:18 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

New coronavirus cases are decreasing in half of US states

The US has reported more than 5.7 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic — but new cases appear to be declining in many states.

At least 25 states are reporting fewer cases in the past week compared to the previous week. Another 14 states have a steady amount of new cases.

At least 11 states are reporting an increase in new cases, but no state is seeing a more than 50% jump. Here's a look at the latest numbers:

9:15 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Dow futures soar 300 points after Trump pushes plasma treatments

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

President Donald Trump holds a press conference at the White House on August 23, to announce that the Food and Drug Administration is issuing an emergency authorization for blood plasma as a potential treatment for Covid-19.
President Donald Trump holds a press conference at the White House on August 23, to announce that the Food and Drug Administration is issuing an emergency authorization for blood plasma as a potential treatment for Covid-19. Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Stocks are set for a sharp rally on Monday after the Trump administration approved a potential Covid-19 treatment. With Wall Street in the green, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite could reach new all-time highs.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma — blood plasma taken from coronavirus survivors — to treat the virus, saying the "known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product."

Also boosting stocks, the Trump administration is reportedly considering fast-tracking an AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine prior to US election, according to the Financial Times. Although far from a certainty, investors were hopeful that a vaccine could come faster than many had expected. AstraZeneca's stock rose 3.6% in premarket trading.

After months of investors saying that only a vaccine or an effective treatment solution for the virus would help the economic recovery along, it's not surprising that the news of the plasma treatment is making waves.

Futures for all three main indexes are sharply higher:

  • Dow futures were up 1%, or about 280 points
  • Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.9%
  • Nasdaq futures jumped 1.1% higher 

Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished Friday at record levels, so any incremental increase during this session will push them to new all-time highs. The Dow, meanwhile, remains more than 5% below its February record level as of Friday's close.

8:59 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

How one French city is enforcing Covid-19 rules

From CNN's Melissa Bell

Marseille, a popular tourist city on France's southern coast, has seen a spike in positive coronavirus cases. French authorities have dispatched police to enforce coronavirus regulations. CNN's Melissa Bell reports.

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