August 31 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020
17 Posts
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7:14 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

SWAT tracer team deployed to address cluster at US university

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pictured speaking during a daily media briefing in New York City on July 23.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pictured speaking during a daily media briefing in New York City on July 23. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

In person instruction at the State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta has been suspended for two weeks after a coronavirus cluster developed at the school.

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said he had deployed a SWAT team of 71 contact tracers and 8 case investigators to address the outbreak.

Cuomo said the state is also setting up 3 free rapid testing sites in the city, which will be open to all residents. The site locations will be announced Monday.

"We have had reports of several large parties of our students at Oneonta last week and unfortunately, because of those larger gatherings, there were several students who were symptomatic of COVID and upon testing we found that 20 were positive for the COVID virus," said SUNY Oneanta chancellor Jim Malatras.

Five students in Oneonta have been suspended for holding parties against college policy, Malatras said. Additionally, three campus organizations have been suspended.

New York State guidance dictates that schools must go to "remote learning with limited on-campus activity for two weeks when 5 percent or 100 individuals test positive for COVID-19 within a two-week period," the Governor said in a press release.

7:07 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

What school gym class looks like in a pandemic

From CNN's Matt Villano

For students from Meraki High School outside Sacramento, California, staying fit during the coronavirus pandemic has been as easy as playing solitaire.

Since the school shut down this spring, its students have taken part in a modified physical education class with the help of a special deck of "Super Fitness Fun Cards." The cards have different exercises on each one. Students can shuffle the cards, take a predetermined number of them, then do the exercises that the cards depict.

The tool is the brainchild of Dan DeJager, physical literacy and wellness advisor at the school in Fair Oaks, California. DeJager is a self-proclaimed "gaming nerd," and uses the deck in conjunction with instructional videos, Zoom meetings and scavenger hunts to keep kids interested in physical education while they're engaged in virtual learning.

"It's a great brain break," he said of the cards. "Even if you don't feel like you're working hard, just getting regular exercise can make a huge difference in your day."

Read the full story here:

6:29 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

India presses ahead with reopening as daily coronavirus caseload surges to record-breaking high

From CNN's Nectar Gan and Esha Mitra

India is entering a new phase of reopening that will see subway trains running for the first time in months -- despite skyrocketing daily coronavirus infections that are showing no sign of slowing down.

The country of 1.3 billion people has reported more than 75,000 infections for five consecutive days -- the fastest growing caseload of any country in the world.

It recorded 85,687 new Covid-19 infections last Wednesday -- the world's highest single-day spike since the pandemic began -- surpassing the previous record of 77,255 cases, set by the United States on July 16.

India's infection rate has increased exponentially in recent weeks. It took almost six months for the country to record 1 million cases, another three weeks to hit 2 million, and only 16 more days to hit 3 million.

At this rate, India's total number of cases, now at over 3.6 million, is on track to outnumber that of Brazil to become the second highest in the world, behind the US.

Read the full story here:

6:08 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

One shot of coronavirus vaccine likely won't be enough

From CNN's John Bonifield, Elizabeth Cohen and Dana Vigue

When a coronavirus vaccine comes on the market, people will likely need two doses, not just one -- and that could cause real problems.

Some of the potential problems are logistical. Difficulties procuring test kits and protective gear throughout the pandemic point to supply chain issues that could also plague the distribution of double doses of vaccines for an entire country.

Other potential concerns are more human. Convincing people to show up to get a vaccine not once, but twice, could be a formidable undertaking.

"There's no question that this is going to be the most complicated, largest vaccination program in human history, and that's going to take a level of effort, a level of sophistication, that we've never tried before," said Dr. Kelly Moore, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University.

Read the full story here:

5:22 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

With Canada and Mexico borders closed, Americans are trapped in their own healthcare system

From CNN's Caitlin Hu

"Want to hear the joke about insulin?" goes the bleak gag about America's drug prices. "You have to go to Canada to get it."

But even that's not an option anymore.

Pandemic travel restrictions have made Americans prisoners of their country. Even within North America, Mexico and Canada have closed thousands of miles of border to all but essential travel, roiling plans for vacation, work, and school. For cash-strapped Americans, it has also cut off access to medicines and healthcare services that they can't afford at home -- at a time when money is tighter than ever.

Stephanie Boland's nine-year-old son was diagnosed with diabetes in December. Traveling to Canada to fill his insulin prescription took a half-day's drive from where they live in Brainerd, Minnesota, but it was worth it -- the purchase was a simple, over-the-counter affair. One pack of injection pens, which would last several months, cost less than a hundred dollars, she says, compared to a list price of $530 at home.

As their son's disease began to rewrite the routines of daily life, the Bolands planned to cross into Canada again to restock. Then the pandemic hit.

Read the full story here:

3:58 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Twitter removes QAnon supporter's false claim about Covid-19 death statistics that Trump had retweeted

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Jamie Gumbrecht

Twitter on Sunday took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory -- a post that US President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier in the day.

The tweet -- which has been replaced with a message saying, "This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules -- from "Mel Q," copied from someone else's Facebook post, claimed that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had "quietly" updated its numbers "to admit that only 6%" of people listed as coronavirus deaths "actually died from Covid," since "the other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses."

That's not what the CDC said.

As of Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, Twitter had not removed a second tweet, also retweeted by the President on Sunday, that spread the same false claim. The second tweet, by Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis, linked to an article on the right-wing website Gateway Pundit that was based on the QAnon supporter's tweet.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on Trump's retweets.

Read the full story:

3:14 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

As US Covid-19 cases near 6 million, Dr. Birx says people shouldn't wait for a vaccine to "do the right thing"

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

As the United States nears 6 million Covid-19 cases, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response urged Americans not to wait for a vaccine to stop community spread of the virus.

"Do the right thing today," Dr. Deborah Birx said. "Because if we do the right thing today, we go into the fall with much fewer cases."

As researchers race to develop a vaccine to get control of the virus that has infected more than 5.9 million people and killed at least 183,069 in the US, health experts and officials continue to say preventative measures, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds can keep infections low and economies open in the interim. But as the pandemic drags on, experts worry that the public has become fatigued or complacent in those measures.

"Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing," Birx said.

She urged vigilance, noting that crowds gathered at concert venues can spread the virus, but so too can people gathered in a backyard.

"We know we can't always be perfect. We know that we'll put this message out about private gatherings and something will happen and you'll realize you have been in a situation, you've been around people, you didn't have your mask on," Birx said. "That is the time to make sure you're protecting others in your household and around you by wearing a mask when you're around them, even if they're family."

Read the full story:

2:45 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Lady Gaga's masks were the real winner of the MTV Video Music Awards

From CNN's Sandra Gonzalez

Lady Gaga asked viewers to mask up while speaking at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, and she led by example.

During her multiple appearances during the show, Gaga displayed an impressive collection of masks, but it's fair to assume she didn't pick these up at GAP or have them mailed to her by her auntie who can sew.

These masks were 100% what one would expect from Gaga, the woman who once made charcuterie into a fashion statement.

Read here to see her best masks:

2:09 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

India has now recorded more Covid-19 deaths than any other country except the US and Brazil

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

At least 64,469 people have now died after contracting Covid-19 in India since the pandemic began, more than any other country except the United States and Brazil.

Mexico had identified more novel coronavirus related-deaths than India until Sunday, when Indian authorities identified another 971 fatalities. Mexico's death toll stood at 64,158 as of Sunday.

Cases have been skyrocketing in India in recent weeks, though that may be partially due to the high numbers of people being tested.

Indian authorities confirmed 78,512 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday -- the fifth consecutive day the country has recorded more than 75,000 daily new cases, according to the Health Ministry.  More than 3.6 million people have contracted the virus in India since the pandemic began.

As of Saturday, the country has tested more than 41.4 million people.

New Delhi surge: Authorities in the Indian capital recorded more than 2,000 positive Covid-19 tests on Sunday -- the highest since July 10, authorities said.

CNN is tracking global coronavirus cases here: