August 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ed Upright and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020
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1:18 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Alabama extends mandatory mask requirement for another 5 weeks

From CNN’s Nakia McNabb

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued her seventeenth supplemental emergency proclamation containing an amended Safer at Home Order that includes extending the statewide mask requirement an additional 5 weeks. 

The amended order extends until Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. It states that individuals in Alabama will be required to wear a mask or other facial covering when in public and in close contact with other people.

“I wish we didn't have to wear masks but we are seeing significant drops in our hospitalizations and daily positive COVID-19 numbers, and I have no doubt that this is a result of a mask or not wearing a mask. It is simply the right thing to do” said Ivey.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris reported improvements in daily numbers of new cases and a decline in the number of deaths and hospitalizations.

“The percentage of tests we've seen that are positive has also declined from almost 17% in mid-July, down to around 8% now so all those are indicating that we have less transmission going on in the community. We believe the mask mandate is a reason for that” said Harris.
12:30 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

UK records highest daily virus cases since mid-June, and extends travel restrictions

From CNN's Lauren Kent

The United Kingdom reported its highest number of new daily Covid-19 cases since June 12, with 1,522 new infections on Thursday, according to government data. 

The number of new confirmed cases on Thursday is an increase from 1,048 new cases reported Wednesday and 1,184 new cases reported Tuesday. 

The cumulative total of coronavirus cases has risen to 330,368, according to government data. A further 12 deaths have been recorded, bringing the UK's official death toll to 41,477.

Meanwhile, the country removed the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from its list of "travel corridor" countries, meaning people arriving from those nations will now be required to quarantine for 14 days, transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a series of Thursday tweets.

The UK has also added Cuba to the list of countries exempt from the 14-day quarantine.

The new restrictions will go into effect for people arriving after 4 a.m. local time on Saturday (11 p.m. ET Friday).

12:01 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New York has kept virus positivity rates below 1% for almost three weeks

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York State has kept coronavirus test positivity rates under 1% for the past 20 days, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a briefing with the press Thursday morning, calling the statistic "really good news."

Just 0.9% of the 83,000 individuals tested across the state Wednesday were positive for the virus, he said.

There were four Covid-19-affiliated deaths, 490 coronavirus-related hospitalizations and 52 intubations Wednesday, he said, congratulating New Yorkers for the declining numbers.

Congratulations to New Yorkers. Stay with it, stay with it, stay with it," Cuomo said.

These numbers were released by the state, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.  

11:49 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Florida Covid-19 deaths decline for third day in a row

From CNN’s Dan Shepherd

Florida reported 3,269 new Covid-19 cases and 135 additional resident deaths on Thursday, according to the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH). This is at least the third day in a row that the number of deaths related to the virus have declined.  

Health officials are reporting 605,342 positive cases among Florida residents and 611,991 total cases across the state.    

The Florida Department of Health also shows the total Covid-19 death toll in the state standing at 10,868 Florida residents. 

Currently, there are 4,294 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the state, with two south Florida counties continuing to report the highest numbers. Miami-Dade County leads with 785 hospitalizations, while Broward County is right behind them at 546. Duval and Palm Beach counties follow with 261 and 247 hospitalizations, respectively.  

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     


11:42 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

83% of employers will choose more flexible work policies after the pandemic, says survey 

From CNN's Jeanne Sahadi

The pandemic has taught employers a lot about the value of having flexible work arrangements for employees.

So much so that 83% now say that, even after today's crisis has passed, they plan to put more flexible work policies in place, such as allowing more people to work from home or letting them adjust their schedules.

That's according to a recent survey of nearly 800 employers by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm.

Working from home has often been viewed skeptically by managers and executives who assumed it would result in less work getting done if they weren't there to oversee it. But a full 94% of employers surveyed said their company productivity was actually the same (67%) or higher (27%) than it was before the pandemic, even though so many of their employees have been working remotely this year.


11:23 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Masks will be mandatory for Spanish school children over the age of six

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro and Isa Tejera in Madrid

Spain has announced that face coverings will be mandatory in schools for children over the age of six, as part of measures that schools must adopt when they return in September.

Health Minister Salvador Illa and Education Minister Isabel Celaá said Thursday that "in person" education is their priority and showed a document containing 29 measures and five recommendations agreed with the Spain's regional governments.

Among those measures, Illa highlighted:

  • The compulsory use of masks for all children from 6 years of age 
  • A "bubble system" minimizing one classes' contact with the others
  • A safety distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet)
  • Frequent ventilation and disinfection of the classrooms
  • The use of disinfectant gel "at least 5 times a day"
  • Temperature checks done every morning either at home or at school

Illa explained that this were the "minimum mandatory measures" for all centers, but that regional governments could adapt or add other measures in their territory. A decrease in the number of pupils per class wasn't included in the document although some regions have already announced they will reduce them to 20.

The closure of a school would be "a last resort and only temporary, when there is uncontrolled and generalized transmission," said Illa. Otherwise, a positive case in a school will only quarantine that pupil's bubble.

11:00 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Lord & Taylor is officially closing all of its stores and going out of business

From CNN's Jordan Valinsky

A person walks past a Lord & Taylor store in Boston on August 4.
A person walks past a Lord & Taylor store in Boston on August 4. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Lord & Taylor -- the first department store established in the United States -- is officially going out of business, ending a nearly 200-year-run.

The company announced Thursday that all of its 38 remaining stores and website have begun liquidation sales — a sharp reversal from last week's decision that it was keeping 14 locations open.

"While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company's brands," Ed Kremer, Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer, said in a statement.

Backstory: The company was once a mainstay of high-end fashion. Hudson's Bay Company acquired Lord & Taylor in 2012 before selling it in 2019 to Le Tote, Inc., a fashion rental subscription service, for $75 million. Le Tote tried reviving the brand with a pop-up store in New York City and remodeling its remaining stores with a focus on technology.

10:57 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Pelosi and Meadows to discuss Covid-19 relief legislation, weeks after negotiations broke down

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Veronica Stracqualursi

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a news conference in Washington, DC on July 24.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a news conference in Washington, DC on July 24. Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are expected to hold a call later Thursday on coronavirus relief legislation, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Here's some background: The two haven't spoken since talks imploded weeks ago and negotiators walked away without a deal intended to bolster the economy and help struggling Americans pay their bills amid the pandemic.

There is little optimism on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue that there will be any progress on stimulus talks before lawmakers return to Washington in September, as the two sides remain far apart on even the general scope of a package, let alone the granular policy details of one.

A first step: But the fact that Pelosi and Meadows will talk -- after partisan blaming and spending the last several weeks talking past and around one another through the press -- represents the first tangible step toward restarting negotiations since they broke down.

Democrats have insisted on a topline of above $2 trillion that includes nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments. The White House has firmly opposed that topline price tag and has rejected substantial new aid for states and localities.

Read the full story here.

10:39 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

US and UK are bottom of the pile in rankings of governments' handling of coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Richard Allen Greene

Americans rank dead last -- by a long way -- among citizens of more than a dozen countries who were asked whether their nation is more united now than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Thursday.

And they come in a statistical joint last place with the British on whether their country has handled the pandemic well, the poll finds.

In the United States, fewer than two in 10 people (18%) said the country is more united now.

That's a full 21 percentage points below the next lowest-ranking countries, Germany and France, where just under four in 10 (39%) respondents expressed that opinion. Denmark had the highest percentage saying their country was more united now, with more than seven in 10 (72%) giving that answer.

Results show partisan gap in US: As with so many questions these hyper-partisan days, there's a gigantic gap between Republican and Democratic views of whether the Trump administration has handled the pandemic well.

Three quarters (76%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the government has done a good job. Only one quarter (25%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents agree.

The findings come from a Pew Research Center survey of 14 advanced economies in North America, Europe and Asia. The Washington, DC-based think tank interviewed 14,276 adults by telephone from June 10 to August 3.

A clear majority of people across the 14 countries said their own nation had handled Covid-19 well: 73% agreed, while 27% disagreed.

But in the United Kingdom and the United States, the figures were much lower: 46% and 47% respectively. They're the only two countries where a minority of people said the government had done well. In every other country polled, most people said their government had done well, from Japan with 55% up to Denmark with 95%.

The United States is not the only country where support for the government's coronavirus response broke along partisan lines -- the Pew survey detected the same pattern in the UK and in Spain.

Those results show it's not a matter of whether you're on the left or the right of the political spectrum that predicts whether you think your government has done well. The US and UK have right-leaning governments, while Spain has a left-leaning one. In each country, people with the same political bent as the government tend to say it's done well in the crisis.

Read the full story here.