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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1:14 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

The US reported more than 44,000 new cases on Wednesday

The United States reported 44,109 new cases of Covid-19 and 1,222 new virus-related fatalities on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 5,821,819 cases and 179,708 deaths.

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

Follow CNN's live tracker of US cases here:

1:02 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Mexico reports more than 5,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City 

Mexico recorded 5,267 new cases of Covid-19 and 626 virus-related fatalities on Wednesday.

This raises the country's total to 573,888 cases and 62,076 deaths.

Mexico has reported the third-highest number of deaths from coronavirus, behind only the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Within Latin America, Mexico has seen the third-highest number of total cases, following Brazil and Peru.

12:25 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

South Korea records highest new daily coronavirus case numbers since March

From CNN's Gawon Bee in Seoul

South Korea recorded 441 new coronavirus cases in the past day, marking the highest number of new daily cases since March 7, according to data from South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Among the new cases, 434 were locally transmitted. Of these, 313 were from the Seoul metropolitan area, health ministry officials said Thursday. 

Meanwhile, officials continue to conduct contact tracing in relation to the Sarang-jeil Church cluster; more than 900 cases have been linked to it so far.

On top of the initial 4,066 close contacts of the Sarang-jeil Church congregation and visitors, an additional 1,846 people have been identified through on-site contact tracing, officials said today.

Meanwhile, Gwangju City Mayor Lee Yong-sub issued an executive order on Thursday, banning all religious gatherings and shutting down facilities used by the public.

12:03 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Peru reports nearly 6,000 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Jennifer Landwehr in Chicago

Peru’s Health Ministry recorded 5,996 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections identified in the country to 613,378.  

The Health Ministry also confirmed 123 new fatalities, taking the country's coronavirus death toll to 28,124.

Only Brazil has recorded more Covid-19 cases in Latin America than Peru, according to Johns Hopkins University.

11:12 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

CDC director says new testing guidance reflects "updated recommendations" from the White House

From CNN’s Nick Valencia and Maggie Fox

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made controversial changes to its testing guidelines after “updated recommendations” from the White House coronavirus task force, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday. 

“These updated guidelines, coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts,” Redfield said in a statement to CNN.
“We are placing an emphasis on testing individuals with symptomatic illness, individuals with a significant exposure, vulnerable populations including nursing homes or long term care facilities, critical infrastructure workers, healthcare workers and first responders, or those individuals who may be asymptomatic when prioritized by medical and public health officials."

The changed guidelines: The Trump administration has scrambled to explain the quiet changes made to the CDC website Monday.

The previous guidelines recommended testing anyone who had been in close contact with a confirmed case, even people who do not develop symptoms. The new guidelines said only some people should get tested.

Controversy over official approval: Earlier, Adm. Brett Giroir, who heads testing efforts for the task force, told reporters that task force members had weighed in on the change -- including Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

But Fauci later denied this to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

11:05 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

The pandemic is making US drug shortages even worse, FDA says

From CNN's Andrea Kane

The coronavirus pandemic is worsening the United States' drug shortage problem, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Due to Covid-19, we've had the increasing demand for certain medications, and then we've also had an increase in hospitalizations, which has drained the supply. Patients wanting to stock up, and that's a normal reaction — that's been another reason," Valerie Jensen, associate director of the drug shortages staff at the FDA, said Wednesday on the podcast “FDA Insight”.
"And then sometimes, we've had some cases of slower manufacturing times due to labor shortages in some of the areas that have been harder hit."

Traditionally, Jensen said, drug shortages are rooted in manufacturing and quality problems involving sterile, injectable drugs especially older ones. Those are the very kinds of medications used by hospitalized patients, that are facing shortages and increased demand

There are also shortages of pharmacy drugs, like those for high blood pressure and antibiotics.

Jensen said the FDA had been in contact with more than 180 drug manufacturers since January, working to stabilize supply chains and monitor potential disruptions.

9:26 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Brazil reports more than 47,000 new coronavirus cases

From Fernanda Wenzel in São Paulo and Sharif Paget

Medical personnel treat a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit of the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital on August 13 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Medical personnel treat a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit of the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital on August 13 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Silvio Avila/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 47,161 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours on Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 3,717,156.

The ministry also reported 1,086 new coronavirus fatalities, raising Brazil's death toll to 117,666.

Calculations by CNN based on official figures show that average cases and deaths in Brazil -- measured over a seven-day period -- peaked in late July.

For new cases, the peak average was 46,393 on July 29. As of August 26, that daily average had fallen to 37,214. 

There's been a slower decline in the average number of deaths -- from a peak of 1,096 on July 25 to 938 on August 26.

Only the United States has recorded more coronavirus cases and deaths than Brazil.

8:55 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

What you need to know about the new CDC testing guidelines

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines. Now, the center no longer recommends testing for most people without symptoms -- even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.

Here's what we know so far about these new guidelines:

  • About the change: The CDC changed its site on Monday. Previously, it said "Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection." But now, it says, "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test."
  • Some experts are baffled: Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who was previously Baltimore's health commissioner, said the testing guideline changes make no sense. "These are exactly the people who should be tested," Wen said.
  • Pressure from the White House: A senior federal health official close to the process tells CNN the sudden change in CDC Covid-19 testing guidance was the result of pressure from the Trump administration. When asked by CNN whether the CDC was responding to pressure from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, the senior official said, "It's coming from the top down."
9:10 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Moderna says vaccine data shows it is well tolerated across all age groups

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

A syringe containing either the vaccine or a placebo is prepared for a participant in a Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4 in DeLand, Florida.
A syringe containing either the vaccine or a placebo is prepared for a participant in a Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna at Accel Research Sites on August 4 in DeLand, Florida. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine appears to be safe and elicits an immune response in all age groups, including the elderly, a company official said Wednesday.

Data from the phase 1 safety trial of the vaccine showed only mild adverse effects, and generated an immune response in volunteers aged 18 to 71, Dr. Jacqueline Miller, therapeutic area head for infectious diseases at Moderna, told a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The phase 1 trial was conducted in three age groups: 18 to 55, 56 to 70 and 71 plus years of age. Participants received two 100mg doses of the vaccine 28 days apart. 

Neutralizing antibodies -- which inactivate the virus -- were detected in all participants, including the upper age range, she told the meeting. All age groups also seemed to produce the same immune response -- a good sign, as older people often have weaker responses to vaccines.

The most common adverse reactions were fatigue, chills, headache and myalgia. More reports of adverse symptoms were observed after the second dose of the vaccine, but the majority of symptoms resolved within two days. 

ACIP advises the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how vaccines should be used in the population.