September 1 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020
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4:00 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

California governor signs bill to protect tenants and landlords against impact of coronavirus

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on April 14.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on April 14. Rich Pedroncelli/AP/Bloomberg/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill early Tuesday morning that would protect tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of Covid-19.

According to a news release from the governor's office, "no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction."

Newsom said the pandemic had impacted everyone in California, but tenants struggling to pay monthly rent had been especially affected and deserved protection from eviction.

"This new law protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent and helps keep homeowners out of foreclosure as a result of economic hardship caused by this terrible pandemic," he said.

The governor also called for federal funding to help homeowners and tenants hurt by the financial impact of coronavirus.

"California is stepping up to protect those most at-risk because of COVID-related nonpayment, but it’s just a bridge to a more permanent solution once the federal government finally recognizes its role in stabilizing the housing market," he said. "We need a real, federal commitment of significant new funding to assist struggling tenants and homeowners in California and across the nation."

3:42 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Meet the NYC artist chronicling the pandemic by sketching people wearing masks on the subway

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Artist Devon Rodriguez is a native New Yorker born and raised in the south Bronx.
Artist Devon Rodriguez is a native New Yorker born and raised in the south Bronx. Courtesy Devon Rodriguez

An artist who used his talent to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is now documenting history with his art for a new series he's called the "Covid mask subway drawings."

Every day for almost a month, Devon Rodriguez has spent hours taking random trips on the subway in search of the perfect muse. When he finds someone, he uses a sketchbook and lead holder to bring them to life on paper without missing a detail from the creases in their mask to the curls in their hair.

"The subway has been a subject of mine for several years now," Rodriguez, 24, says. "Faces are a thing that I'm so used to capturing on the subway and now most of them are covered up with the Covid masks. I think it's interesting to capture this devastating moment in time with art. It'll reflect 2020 when I look back on them in the future. It'll be interesting to capture the different types of masks people wear and how they wear them."

With just music flooding his ears, he draws silently without interrupting his subject to perfectly capture "real life raw humanity," he says.

3:21 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Australia's New South Wales to ease border restrictions with Victoria as state's cases drop

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks at a news conference in Sydney, Australia, on August 17.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks at a news conference in Sydney, Australia, on August 17. Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Australia's New South Wales is easing border restrictions with the neighboring state of Victoria "to help residents and local businesses operate," as Victoria's cases have dropped.

On Tuesday, the NSW government announced a new "border region" that extends around 30 miles on either side of the state border, and will allow residents within the border region to enter NSW for the following:

  • To obtain necessary goods or services
  • For care or other compassionate reasons
  • To attend work or obtain educational services (where it is not reasonable for the person to do so from their state of residence)

The new border region will go into effect on September 4.

Decline in cases: Victoria saw new daily cases hit the hundreds in early August -- but this spike appears to be on the decline. On Tuesday, Victoria reported 70 new cases from the virus, according to the health department.

“We are working hard to reduce the angst and frustration caused by this border closure,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a news release Tuesday.

Victoria and NSW residents may not travel outside the border region when crossing into the other territory, the news release added.

Borders shut: Australia’s states and territories have been closed off from one another to help mitigate the virus as the second wave hit. 

In early August, Victoria was closed to all eight of Australia’s states and territories. 

3:06 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Global coronavirus deaths surpass 850,000 and cases top 25 million

The number of coronavirus-related deaths globally has now reached 850,596, according to the latest data by Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday.

The global total of Covid-19 infections has reached 25,488,239, according to JHU. 

The United States maintains the world’s highest numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths, followed by Brazil and India.

Track worldwide cases here:

2:48 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

US government offers $250 million for a PR company to "defeat despair" during the pandemic

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen and Maggie Fox

A general view of US Health and Human Services Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
A general view of US Health and Human Services Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

The US Health and Human Services Department wants to win the hearts and minds of Americans in the fight against coronavirus -- and it's willing to pay big money for it. 

Politico reported Monday that HHS was planning to offer a $250 million contract to a communications firm to help it “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the pandemic.

“By harnessing the power of traditional, digital and social media, the sports and entertainment industries, public health associations, and other creative partners to deliver important public health and economic information the administration can defeat despair, inspire hope and achieve national recovery,” a performance work document sent to several communications firms reads, according to Politico. 

Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, declined to confirm the contract amount. “The procurement process to produce PSAs with our scientists and doctors is ongoing so I can’t comment further,” Caputo said. 

Earlier this month Caputo told CNN that the department was working on a series of public service announcements that would feature celebrities talking with top US health officials such as National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

2:15 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

South Korea surpasses 20,000 total cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Gawon Bae in Seoul

A medical worker in a booth takes a coronavirus test swab sample from a woman on August 26 in Seoul, South Korea.
A medical worker in a booth takes a coronavirus test swab sample from a woman on August 26 in Seoul, South Korea. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea confirmed 235 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, raising the national total to 20,182 infections since the pandemic began.

Of Monday's new cases, 222 were locally transmitted, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll stands at 324.

Of the country's total cases, more than 15,000 have recovered so far. Some 4,660 patients remain in active quarantine, and 104 are in critical condition.

There has been a recent gradual decline in new daily cases -- but this could be due to the lower amounts of testing during the weekend, said Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho.

The Seoul metropolitan area remains under level 2 social distancing restrictions; the full effect of these rules will become more clear in the coming days, Yoon said.

Under the level 2 rules, gatherings like weddings, funerals, concerts and recreational outings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. People are also banned from eating at convenience stores after 9 p.m. and are only allowed to have takeout and delivery.

2:02 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

At least 615,000 people have registered for Hong Kong's voluntary Covid-19 testing program

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

A staff member (left) gestures to people waiting in a queue at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing centre in Hong Kong, on September 1.
A staff member (left) gestures to people waiting in a queue at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing centre in Hong Kong, on September 1. Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

At least 615,000 people have registered for Hong Kong's free mass voluntary Covid-19 testing program, according to the city's government.

The mass testing began on Tuesday local time for all residents in the city of 7.5 million.

Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, said Tuesday that the government does not have a "quantifiable target" for the number of participants but appealed to the public "to encourage as many citizens to come forward." 

In a news conference, Lam said that the relatively low number of participants wasn't a reflection of the government's popularity, but instead had to do with people not understanding the program -- so "they try to cause worries and fears among the people."

"The purpose of the program is to identify hidden carriers as far as possible in order to reduce the spread of the virus, and in turn to cut the transmission route," Lam said.

Hong Kong's testing program has sparked controversy and even boycott, just as the city is battling its third wave of coronavirus.

Watch:

1:23 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

US reports nearly 34,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States recorded 33,888 new cases of Covid-19 and 594 virus-related deaths on Monday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 6,030,587 infections and 183,597 fatalities. 

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

Follow our live tracker of US cases:

12:55 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine becomes third to begin Phase 3 trials in the US

From CNN's Andrea Kane

British drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday it has started Phase 3 trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in the United States, becoming the third company to start late-stage trials of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, has the backing of the US federal government. Rivals Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTec already have Phase 3 trials under way, also with federal government funding.

AstraZeneca said it is "recruiting up to 30,000 adults aged 18 years or over from diverse racial, ethnic and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions, including those living with HIV, and who are at increased risk of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus."

Participants will receive two active or placebo doses, spaced four weeks apart. Currently, Phase 3 trials of AstraZeneca's vaccine are going on in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. Trials are also planned for Japan and Russia.

AstraZeneca says it intends to enroll more than 50,000 volunteers globally, including 30,000 in the US, as well as participants in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Read the full story: