August 27 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020
20 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:44 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

US pharma giant extends Covid-19 vaccine trials to two more Latin American countries

From CNN's Tim Lister

People walk in Santiago, Chile, on August 17.
People walk in Santiago, Chile, on August 17. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

US company Johnson & Johnson has said it will extend trials of its vaccine candidate against Covid-19 to Chile and Argentina.

The vaccine will undergo Phase 3 trials in eight countries altogether, involving some 60,000 adult volunteers. The participation of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Mexico had already been announced. 

"This study is scheduled for September, subject to review by the health authority," the company said in a statement. 

The countries have been chosen because they have some of the highest infection rates worldwide. 

"The current prevalence of the disease, the demographics of the population and the requirements of the health authorities were taken into account to ensure that the study can be carried out properly and provide relevant data," the company said. 

The study will be coordinated by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen. 

In Chile, the trial will be coordinated by the University of Chile’s School of Medicine. Miguel O’Ryan, Professor of Microbiology at the School, told Reuters that government approval was still needed for the trial, but it could begin within three weeks of the vaccine being delivered. O’Ryan said the school was prepared to recruit up to 1,000 people for the study. 

Colombian President Ivan Duque said earlier this week that his government had also signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for Phase 3 trials. 

Last week, Brazil’s regulatory authority Anvisa approved human clinical trials for the vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson. 

7:10 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Stay at home order goes into effect on Hawaiian island of Oahu

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Hawaii Governor David Ige has approved Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency order requiring individuals on Oahu to both stay at home and work from home for two weeks, according to the Governor’s press office.

The order goes into effect today, August 27, at midnight local time and continues through September 9, 2020. 

Violation of the order is punishable with fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in prison, or both.

“We have taken measures in recent weeks to address the surge in COVID cases. Although we’ve seen a leveling off in cases on Oʻahu, they’re still too high and our healthcare system is still at risk. Let’s work together to flatten the curve,” said Gov. Ige.

Exceptions to the order include certain essential activities, and work that provides essential business and government services, or performs essential public infrastructure construction, including housing. 

The order is similar to an order that went into effect in March. 

Hawaii reported an addition 276 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the state total to 7,260 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

7:20 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

The most optimistic story of the year? A Happiness Museum has opened up in Denmark

From CNN's Mark Johanson

The cozy 2,585-square-foot museum features interactive exhibits and displays exploring what generates happiness.
The cozy 2,585-square-foot museum features interactive exhibits and displays exploring what generates happiness. Courtesy The Happiness Museum

Remember that fuzzy little feeling called happiness?

In case you need a reminder: It was this word we used to use back in 2019 to describe a state of pure pleasure and contentment.

Happiness seems to have faded from our vocabulary amid the global pandemic, economic turmoil and, well, collective sense of doom and depression that is 2020. Which is why the opening of a new Happiness Museum in, where else, Denmark feels like the most optimistic story of the year.

The world's first museum dedicated explicitly to the concept of happiness had a quiet debut on July 14 in a cozy 240-square-meter (2,585 square foot) space in Copenhagen's pastel-perfect historic center.

Read the full story here.

6:01 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Spanish economy has begun recovering, says finance minister

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

Spain's Finance Minister Nadia Calviño said on Thursday that "the Spanish economy has started to recover" from the effects of Covid-19, although "some industries and geographic areas may have more difficulty."

Calviño told Spanish TV channel Antena 3 that that "75% of the workers who were under the ERTE furlough scheme have already returned to work," adding that the government will have to look at "whether that ERTE furlough needs to be extended beyond September for some sectors that might be more affected." 

"We need to avoid structural damage to our economy," she warned. The minister added that "this year we will have to issue €100 billion ($118bn) more debt that we had envisaged."

7:29 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New study offers more evidence that hydroxychloroquine doesn't treat coronavirus

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Hydroxychloroquine is seen on a shelf at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
Hydroxychloroquine is seen on a shelf at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

A new report has added to the growing body of evidence that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not help coronavirus patients get better. In fact, combining it with an antibiotic actually raises the risk of death by 27%, the study found.

The meta-analysis -- a study of studies -- looked at 29 different pieces of research on the drug, which was once heavily promoted by the White House and which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still touts.

“Hydroxychloroquine alone was not associated with reduced mortality in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, but the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin significantly increased mortality,” said the study, which was published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.
“There is already a great number of studies that have evaluated hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination and it seems unlikely at this stage that any efficacy will ever emerge. Our results suggest that there is no need for further studies evaluating these molecules."

The research was conducted by scientists from France’s research institute INSERM.

The US Food and Drug Administration has reversed its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine for use against coronavirus, and the National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization and European researchers have stopped supporting testing.

3:52 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Japan records nearly 900 new Covid-19 cases

From journalist Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo

Japan's Health Ministry said it recorded 898 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 new virus-related deaths nationwide on Wednesday.

Of those new cases, 236 were from the capital Tokyo.

That brings the country's total to 65,380 cases and 1,239 deaths.

Mass testing is still underway, with nearly 10,000 tests conducted yesterday.

Follow CNN's live tracker of cases and deaths worldwide:

3:16 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

US federal agency invests in needle-free vaccine technologies 

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US federal government said Wednesday it’s investing nearly $2.5 million in efforts to create a needle-free coronavirus vaccine. 

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced four small grants to groups trying to make either oral vaccines against coronavirus, or patches that could painlessly deliver a vaccine.

“The novel routes of administration they are developing could reduce the dependence on needles and syringes that are used to deliver vaccine via intramuscular injection. Instead, a wearable skin patch or oral option for vaccines may support rapid, large-scale immunization while reducing the strain on the manufacturing supply chain,” BARDA said in a statement.

The four new technologies are also "shelf-stable" -- unlike current coronavirus vaccine candidates, they don’t have to be kept under special conditions or temperatures, making them easier to store and deliver.

The four groups:

  • Michigan-based Esperovax is working on vaccines people could take in capsules. They received $600,000 from BARDA.
  • The University of Connecticut already has a microneedle patch that can deliver pneumonia vaccines. They are now testing a coronavirus vaccine in animals. BARDA gave them $430,000.
  • Vaxess Technologies spun out of research done at Tufts University and MIT. Its patch releases a vaccine over time. BARDA gave them $749,000.
  • California-based biotech startup Verndari is creating a fast-production, sugar-based microneedle patch. BARDA awarded them $700,000.
2:43 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

WHO alarmed over rapidly escalating rates of Covid-19 in Libya

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh 

The World Health Organization is "alarmed" by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Libya, the organization said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the past two weeks alone, the number of confirmed cases in the country has more than doubled, the statement said -- and since there are acute shortages of tests and laboratory capacity, the real number of cases is likely much higher.

Libya has confirmed nearly 12,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 200 deaths, according to the latest data available from Johns Hopkins University.

Worsening the problem is the fact that years of conflict in the region have damaged Libya's healthcare system; about half of all primary health care facilities are closed, the WHO statement said.

“We are alarmed at the rapid spread of the virus in the country,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Libya, in the statement.

“We are in a vicious cycle. The virus is spreading because infected people and their contacts are lost, preventing follow up. The ever greater numbers of infected patients are placing a huge strain on the health system, which is already unable to cope with normal workloads.” 

WHO added that it's working with Libyan authorities and other international organizations like UNICEF to respond to the crisis, launch public awareness campaigns, and stepping up testing efforts.

2:09 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New Zealand to fine people not wearing a mask on public transport 

From CNN’s Zehra Jefree and Julia Hollingsworth

New Zealand said it would make not wearing a mask on public transport a finable offense.  

Offenders will be punished with a 300 New Zealand dollars ($198) infringement notice or a fine of up to a $1,000 New Zealand dollars ($658) imposed by the courts, the country's Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced Thursday in a statement.  

He said masks would be mandatory on public transport and planes from Monday, but taxis and school buses are excluded from the rule. 

The minister added that people with a disability or a physical or mental condition that makes face coverings unsuitable will be exempted, along with children under the age of 12.   

Hipkins noted that mask wearing isn't a part of New Zealand's culture, but said, “What we are asking is for people to wear a face covering just as you would buckle up when you get into a car.” 

New cases: New Zealand reported seven new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections registered since the pandemic began to 1,351, the country’s director of public health Caroline McElnay said Thursday.  

Among the new infections, one was imported while the rest were locally transmitted.