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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5:12 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

White House announces purchase of 150 million rapid Covid-19 tests

From CNN's Matthew Hoye

Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 test.
Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 test.  Abbott Laboratories via AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced the purchase of 150 million rapid Covid-19 tests on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

“This is a major development that will help our country to remain open, get Americans back to work, and kids back to school!” McEnany tweeted.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal with Abbott Laboratories is worth $750 million.

Some background: Abbott Labs got emergency approval yesterday from the US Food and Drug Administration for its rapid antigen test, which can detect a Covid-19 infection in 15 minutes.

The FDA's emergency use authorization is for Abbott's BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card. The size of a credit card, BinaxNOW will cost $5 and will come with a free mobile app that will let people who test negative display a temporary, date-stamped health pass that is renewed each time a new test is taken.

The antigen test, which involves a nasal swab, uses the same type of technology as a flu test. Abbott says it anticipates producing 50 million BinaxNOW tests a month by October.

"The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing," said Joseph Petrosino, a professor of virology at Baylor College of Medicine, in a statement released by Abbott.

With reporting from CNN's David Goldman, Andrea Kane and Nadia Kounang.

5:00 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Ohio governor says state is seeing highest increases of Covid-19 cases in rural counties

From CNN's Gisela Crespo 

New cases of Covid-19 in Ohio are continuing to move to rural counties, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday. 

Speaking during a news briefing, DeWine said the counties with the highest increases of Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks all have a population of under 60,000. 

"We're seeing a real movement toward our rural counties," DeWine said. 

DeWine explained the state has seen a slight increase in new cases compared to last week. "This is not surprising as more students are going back to school and people are moving around more," he added. 

How the numbers look: In the last 24 hours, Ohio reported 1,244 new cases and 32 new deaths. The state has now reported a total of 118,828 cases and 4,076 total deaths. 

NOTE: The numbers below were released by the Ohio Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:58 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Minnesota recorded its first back-to-back days of double-digit deaths since the third week of June

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Minnesota recorded its first back-to-back days of double-digit coronavirus deaths since the third week of June, according to the state's health department.

The department is also reporting 1,158 new cases of Covid-19 and 13 new deaths from the virus. 

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

4:49 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Germany expects to have Covid-19 vaccine ready by early 2021

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen

German health authorities expect one or more vaccines against the novel coronavirus will be ready by early 2021, said the German center for disease prevention on Thursday. 

“Current data suggests that one or several COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be certified, first production quantities started and doses delivered by the beginning or 2021,” said the Robert-Koch-Institute (RKI) in its latest epidemiological bulletin. 

However, the institute also warns that there could be shortages of new Covid-19 vaccines. 

“It is expected that at the beginning there will not be enough vaccine available for the entire population so that prioritizing will be necessary," the RKI added. 

Germany currently has several Covid-19 vaccine candidates in various phases of testing. Among the most advanced are efforts by Biontech/Pfizer and CureVac, both of which have received special grants from the German government to speed up testing and expand production capacities.

5:16 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Lebanon records highest daily Covid-19 case increase since pandemic began

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Health workers handle a coronavirus test at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 11.
Health workers handle a coronavirus test at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 11. Stringer/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Lebanon reported 689 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, which is the highest daily number of infections recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, the country's Ministry of Public Health said.

The latest recorded cases bring the country's total case count to 14,935. There were also seven new fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, raising the national death toll to 146, the ministry said.

This comes as the country decided on Thursday to reduce lockdown hours starting Friday, according to a statement released by the country Interior Ministery.

Lebanon is currently under a curfew that went into effect last Friday. It takes place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. (local time). All but essential businesses must remain closed during this curfew.

On Friday, the daily lockdown hours will be reduced by four hours. It will be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (local time).

Lebanon's new Covid-19 cases have been more than doubled since the Beirut port blast on Aug. 4, which killed at least 180 people, wounded around 6,000 people and displaced about 300,000 people.

4:42 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Stocks finish higher

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

Stocks finished higher on Thursday, and the S&P 500 again closed at an all-time high, up 0.2%. It was its fifth-straight record.

It was also a big day for the Dow, which briefly turned positive for the year for the first time since the pandemic hit. The index closed 0.6%, or 161 points, higher.

The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.3%.

Earlier in the day, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell updated the public on changes to the central bank’s monetary policy framework.

The bottom line: interest rates will be lower for longer. That’s good for stocks and boosted the market.

4:13 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Kamala Harris: The reality of Covid-19 "absent" from Republican National Convention

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris slammed President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic during an address on Thursday.

Harris highlighted the lack of attention the pandemic has received during the Republican National Convention.

"The numbers that define this crisis are staggering," Harris said.

"We need to see and we need to hear what is happening in our country. The quiet desperation that has taken over so many lives in America. The family, packing in at five 'o clock in the morning, hoping the local food bank still has something left when they get to the front of the line. The 50-year-old store manager, who's been laid off and knows he can't pay the rent on the first of the month. ... The alarming and disproportionate rate at which Black, Latino and indigenous families are contracting and dying of Covid-19. That is the reality of America right now. A reality completely absent from this week's Republican National Convention."

Harris also drew a sharp contrast between the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

"Unlike the Democratic convention, which was very clear-eyed about the challenges we are facing and how we will tackle them, the Republican convention is designed for one purpose: to soothe Donald Trump's ego," she said.

3:49 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

United Airlines could furlough 20% of its pilots this fall

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Workers load cargo onto a United Airlines plane at San Francisco International Airport on July 8.
Workers load cargo onto a United Airlines plane at San Francisco International Airport on July 8. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

United Airlines says roughly 20% of its pilots could be furloughed after restrictions attached to a federal bailout expire this fall.

In a new memo to pilots, United's head of flight operations said new furlough WARN notices will be sent to an additional 600 pilots, meaning a total 2,850 United pilots could be furloughed as a result of the pandemic. 

"With travel demand dramatically reduced, our airline will need to become much smaller," United senior vice president of flight operations Bryan Quigley said.

Some context: Major airlines have been barred from shedding any jobs until the CARES Act expires Oct. 1. In the memo, United said while it remains “hopeful that Congress will make head-way on an extension of the Payroll Support Program, we need to prepare and plan for the future should an extension not be granted.”

3:20 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Iowa governor closes bars in 6 counties due to uptick in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that she is closing all bars, taverns, breweries and nightclubs in six counties because of an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Starting Thursday afternoon, bars in six counties will close until further notice; the counties include Blackhawk, Dallas Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Story, Reynolds said.  

Restaurants in those counties can stay open, but must stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m., she said.   

"I am again calling on all police officers in the state to assist in the enforcement of these measures," Reynolds said.

The latest numbers: The state reported 921 new Covid-19 cases and 59,688 total cases. Iowa currently has a 9.7% positivity rate, according to the state health website.