August 25 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
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10:54 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Spanish capital will mandate masks in schools for children

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro in Madrid

The president of Spain's Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, speaks during a presentation of the regional government's strategy for the return to the schools on August 25 in Madrid.
The president of Spain's Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, speaks during a presentation of the regional government's strategy for the return to the schools on August 25 in Madrid. Óscar J.Barroso/Europa Press/Getty Images

The president of Spain's Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, announced at a press conference on Tuesday the measures under which the education centers will open in the capital. 

Díaz Ayuso said masks will be mandatory for children from 6 years of age at all times while in the center. "This measure could be changed to 11 years of age if the situation in the region improved," she added.

She also explained that classes will be reduced to 20 pupils and that 11,000 new teachers will be hired to allow that ratio. All centers will be provided with disinfectant gel, thermometers and masks, and the cleaning procedures will be made more thorough. Díaz Ayuso added that 100.000 tests will be performed to centre's personnel.

Catalonia's President, Quim Torra, announced similar measures on Monday. He said children 12 years old and up in Catalonia will have to wear masks at school, and from the age of six in those territories with "higher risk of contagion." Classes will also be reduced to 20 students and 500,000 tests will be carried out in Catalan schools and high schools.

In Spain, the regional governments retain the responsibility and the decision power on education, as well as health, so each of the 17 regions will have to decide which measures they see fit for the schools and other educational centers to reopen in their territory. 

10:24 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Students in this Connecticut city will start the school year online after Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

Children in public schools in Danbury, Connecticut, will start the year with entirely remote learning, superintendent Sal Pascarella told CNN. 

The move comes as the city is facing a "serious outbreak" of Covid-19, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

"In order to safeguard the health and safety of our students and staff, I have decided to accept the recommendation of local health officials to start the school year this Fall in Distance Learning for all students," Pascarella said in a letter to the community.

The superintendent will revisit the decision on Oct. 1, with full-day childcare available in the meantime, he added.

Some background: There were at least 178 new Covid-19 cases reported in Danbury between Aug. 2 and 20, compared to the 40 new cases recorded in the two weeks before, according to the state department of public health. That represents a 345% increase in new reported cases.

10:17 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

North Carolina State pauses athletic activities due to Covid-19 clusters

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh on August 7.
Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh on August 7. Jonathan Drake/Reuters

North Carolina State Athletics has temporarily paused all athletic-related activities, including football, "due to an identified cluster within its programs," the school announced Monday in a statement.

"Based on the information available to us, we are making the necessary and swift decision to pause athletic-related activities until we have additional information," said Boo Corrigan, Director of Athletics. "We will continue to work with all appropriate parties to evaluate the most responsible path moving forward and will provide further details when available."  

NC State said it will continue to follow established protocols in consultation with campus and local health officials.

9:48 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Fauci says he is sometimes referred to as the "skunk at the picnic." Here's why.

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on July 31 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on July 31 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images)

In an email interview with The Washington Post, that's how Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is sometimes referred to as the "skunk at the picnic" at the White House — but added that Vice President Mike Pence, head of the administration's coronavirus task force, still listens to his counsel. 

Fauci's emailed comments were published in an article about Pence in The Washington Post on Monday. 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised Pence in an email to The Post as "a truly decent person, and very smart, who is trying to do his best in a very difficult and fluid situation." 

Fauci wrote that Pence is "an optimist," but the vice president has never prevented Fauci from sharing grim information with the President.

"I am sometimes referred to as 'the skunk at the picnic' but Pence never directly asks me, the skunk, to be quiet or leave," Fauci wrote to the Post. "Some may say that Pence and his team are ‘too ideological’ but they are after all political people. This is not unexpected."
9:06 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Argentina reports highest number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

A health worker cleans the bodybag of a Covid-19 victim in the intensive care uni of a hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 18.
A health worker cleans the bodybag of a Covid-19 victim in the intensive care uni of a hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 18. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina reported its highest number of both new Covid-19 cases and deaths Monday, according to numbers released from the Health Ministry.

On Monday, the ministry reported 382 new deaths from the virus — its highest daily increase since the outbreak started. The previous record — 282 new deaths — was reported on Aug. 19.

Argentina's death toll from the virus now stands at at least 7,366.

The ministry also reported a record 8,713 new cases Monday, bringing the country's total number for cases to at least 350,867. Its previous record for new cases was set on Aug. 20, when the ministry reported 8,225 new cases.

Argentina has the 6th highest number of confirmed cases in Latin America behind Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil and the 12th highest death toll worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest tally.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated the number of new Covid-19 deaths in Argentina. There were 382 new deaths on Monday.

3:43 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Patients were infected twice with the coronavirus, say virologists

From CNN's Mick Krever and Jacqueline Howard

Two European patients, one in Belgium and one in the Netherlands, have been infected twice by the coronavirus, virologists say.

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst told VRT News that a Belgian woman was infected first in mid-March, then again in June. Her symptoms were mild enough to avoid hospitalization, he said.

“We were able to genetically sequence the virus in the two cases,” Van Ranst said in a television interview on Monday night. “And there is indeed enough difference to be able to say that this is another strain, a second infection.”

“Good news, it is not,” he said. “Because you hope of course that when you’re infected, that you’re then out of the danger zone for a long while. And hopefully that is so in most cases. At the very least, there appear now to be exceptions.”

Meanwhile, a patient was infected twice in the Netherlands, virologist Marion Koopmans told NOS, the Dutch national broadcaster.

Koopmans said it was an “older patient with a compromised immune system,” according to NOS. Koopmans confirmed to NOS that the RNA profiles of the two viruses that infected this patient differed.

The news comes after a 33-year-old man living in Hong Kong was reported to have had Covid-19 twice this year, according to preliminary research.

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. 

The genetic analysis showed that the first infection was from a strain of the coronavirus most closely related to strains from the US 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.

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. 

Hong Kong researchers say man got Covid-19 twice:

8:09 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Here's the latest on Covid-19 cases in Europe

Bicycle police patrol on the Trocadero esplanade, near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on August 24.
Bicycle police patrol on the Trocadero esplanade, near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on August 24. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

As European authorities battle to control further waves of the pandemic, Covid-19 infections are rising across the continent. Here are the latest developments:

France: French health authorities are warning of a strong increase in coronavirus circulation, specifically among young adults. On Monday, its health ministry said 3.6% of tests for Covid-19 came back positive in the week of August 15-21, compared to 1.4% at the start of the summer.

France has recorded 244,854 cases and 30,528 deaths, including 1,955 cases and 15 deaths in the past 24 hours, Monday figures showed.

Meanwhile, nearly one-third (30%) of vacationers tested at a nudist village in southern France's Cap d'Agde municipality have tested positive, according to local health authorities. Occitanie Regional Health Authorities conducted three days of testing last week in Cap d'Agde, a locality known for nudist beaches and resorts The two first rounds of testing found 95 people positive among 490 people tested, and additional tests are being analyzed. Authorities report 50 additional positive cases among vacationers who went through Cap d'Agde and were tested upon their return home.

Germany: A further 1,278 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Germany since Monday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) revealed Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases nationwide to 234,853. 

According to the RKI, the number of cases in Germany has “risen markedly” in recent weeks and demonstrates a “very concerning” trend in the national infection rate. 

On Monday, Germany issued a travel warning for Paris and the Cote d'Azur region of southeastern France due to high levels of coronavirus infection. 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, the government said. 

Spain: Spain has recorded 19,382 new coronavirus cases since Friday, according to health ministry data on Monday.

Some of the 17 Spanish regions have decided to tighten safety measures as the number of infections continues to climb. Madrid's regional government Justice Secretary, Enrique López, asked citizens on Monday to "avoid unnecessary gatherings." Catalan President, Quim Torra, announced that Catalonia is banning gatherings of over 10 people, given that "70% of the contagions happen during social gatherings,” adding that "the next three weeks are decisive."

UK: A potential coronavirus vaccine being jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca could be put before regulators by the end of this year, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group said Tuesday. “It is just possible that, if the cases accrue rapidly in the clinical trials, we could have that data before regulators this year, and then there would be a process that they go through in order to make a full assessment of the data,” Professor Andrew Pollard said. However, speaking to BBC Radio 4, Pollard cautioned that the process could take longer depending on how much data scientists are able to gather. 

The Scottish government announced on Tuesday that students over the age of 12 will be advised to wear face coverings at school. This comes after an outbreak at a school in Dundee, which saw 22 people test positive for Covid-19.

Italy: Italy registered 953 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Civil Protection on Monday. In the past week the country has seen an increase of over 6,000 cases, the highest since May 11-17. It has had a total of 260,298 cases and 35,441 deaths. 

Belarus: Belarus will become the first country to receive doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed in Russia as part of a new agreement reached by President Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko on Monday.

According to the state-owned Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BeITA), the two leaders agreed that Belarusian citizens will participate in the third stage of Russian vaccine trials, on a voluntary basis.

7:57 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

The office, as you know it, is dead

From CNN' Business' Matt Egan

Empty desks are pictured at Cushman & Wakefield Plc's offices during the first phase of the reoccupation of their headquarters in London, on June 24.
Empty desks are pictured at Cushman & Wakefield Plc's offices during the first phase of the reoccupation of their headquarters in London, on June 24. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Bustling skyscrapers and office parks packed with workers could be a relic of the pre-pandemic world.

The health crisis has forced millions of Americans to abandon their offices in favor of working from home, for better or worse. Now there are signs this may not be a short-term phenomenon, but more of a permanent shift in favor of remote work even after a Covid-19 vaccine is in place.

More than two-thirds (68%) of large company CEOs plan to downsize their office space, according to a survey released Tuesday by KPMG.

The pandemic is proving employees don't need to work in cubicles to be successful. And that in turn raises questions about the value of expensive office space, especially in high-priced cities like New York and San Francisco.

The survey, which captured responses mostly from companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, suggests that even if a vaccine were to be approved tomorrow, the shift to a more nimble virtual work model is not going away. Corporate America is accelerating its investments in digital transformation.

Read the full story here.

7:23 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Belarus to become first country to receive Russian coronavirus vaccine

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Minsk 

Belarus will become the first country to receive doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed in Russia as part of a new agreement reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko on Monday. 

According to the state-owned Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BeITA), the two leaders agreed that Belarusian citizens will participate in the third stage of Russian vaccine trials, on a voluntary basis.

In a press release, the Kremlin added that the telephone call between Putin and Lukashenko focused on “bilateral cooperation” between the two states, as well as the situation in Belarus. 

Mass demonstrations over August's disputed presidential election are now entering a third week in Belarus.

“Alexander Lukashenko informed [Putin] about the measures being taken to normalize the situation in the country,” the Kremlin statement added.