Live Updates

August 4 coronavirus news

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What you need to know

  • President Trump criticized White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx in a tweet after she warned Covid-19 is “extraordinarily widespread” in the US.
  • Meanwhile, US lawmakers are negotiating the next emergency aid package after the $600 unemployment benefit lapsed at the end of last week.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is facing a “generational catastrophe” because of school closures during the pandemic.

Our live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

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Mexico reports more than 6,000 new Covid-19 cases

A woman puts a face mask on a mannequin while waiting for customers at her shop in Mexico City, on August 3.

Mexico reported 6,148 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its total number of infections to nearly 450,000, according to the country’s Health Ministry. 

The ministry also registered 857 new related fatalities, raising the total death toll to 48,869. 

On Monday, Mexican Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma announced that the 2020-21 school year will begin with remote learning on August 24.  

“It will begin with remote learning for not having the conditions to do it in person,” he said, adding that “we all want to return to the schools with our friends and teachers that we miss; however, the health risk remains high.” 

Texas woman blames Trump and state governor for husband's coronavirus death in his obituary

Stacey Nagy, a Texas woman who lost her husband David to the coronavirus, called out the President and state governor Greg Abbott in no uncertain terms in his obituary.

“Family members believe David’s death was needless,” the obituary read. “They blame his death and the deaths of all the other innocent people, on Trump, Abbott, and all the other politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives.”

Nagy told CNN on Tuesday night that she initially hoped putting her husband’s obituary in their local newspaper might spur members of her community to respect the seriousness of the pandemic, and was surprised when her words spread nationwide online.

“I posted it in my little town’s little newspaper, and hoped that a few of the residents would read it and start wearing masks, and I had no idea that it would have turned out the way it did,” she said.

“I felt that had things been handled properly from the very beginning, we would not be where we are now,” she added. “And it’s frustrating when you know that somebody’s died that didn’t need to die, or at least they didn’t need to die in the way they did, and in the time that they did. After this whole thing happened, I was so angry, and I just had this need to express myself and to put blame where blame belongs.”

Loving husband: Nagy told CNN how her husband lived, in addition to the manner in which he died.

“Dave was a character, he was a fun-loving person, and he loved his family dearly,” Nagy said. “You know, I could be in the kitchen washing dishes at the sink and he would come up and start kissing the back of neck, giving me chills in the back of my neck, and he was the love of my life, and I love him. He was a part of me, and I feel lost without him.”

25 people tested positive for Covid-19 at an Oregon day camp

A coronavirus outbreak at a day camp in Oregon has now infected 25 people, all under the age of 20.

The patients are 11 campers and 14 counselors at Trout Creek Bible Camp, located near the community of Corbett in eastern Multnomah County, county spokeswoman Kate Yeiser said.

The first case was reported to public health authorities on July 17, Yeiser said.

Joe Fahlman, director of the camp, said the first case was a volunteer who did not have much contact with other groups. The camp opened on June 22 and followed the state’s guidelines for summertime day camps, including maintaining cohorts of 10 people or fewer together, Fahlman said. 

The camp decided to close its doors for the following week on July 21, and ultimately decided to cancel the remainder of the summer sessions on July 27.

Mask rules: Oregon did not require the public to wear masks indoors until July 1, and the mandate did not extend to children under 12. The state moved to expand its mask mandate to outdoor public spaces when 6 feet distance cannot be maintained on July 15. 

Fahlman said the children who attended the camp mostly did outdoor activities within their cohort.

The US has reported 54,000 new cases so far today

A respiratory therapist collects Covid-19 tests in specimen sampling tubes inside Cashman Center on August 3, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The United States has now recorded at least 4,768,083 cases of coronavirus and 156,753 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Tuesday has seen 54,543 new cases and 1,351 reported deaths so far. The total figures will continue to be updated for several more hours as the day comes to a close.

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

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

Argentina reports highest spike in new coronavirus cases and deaths 

A doctor takes samples for a PCR test to a man with Covid-19 symptoms at the mobile health unit in Villa Fiorito, Buenos Aires outskirts, Argentina, on August 3.

Argentina saw its highest daily jump in coronavirus cases and related deaths on Tuesday, with 6,792 new infections and 166 fatalities.

That raises the national totals to 213,535 cases and 3,979 deaths.

The spike in figures marks a rapidly accelerating trend in new cases in Argentina.  

At a weekly briefing Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization expressed serious concern over the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the country.  

Eighth Brazilian minister tests positive for coronavirus

Brazilian minister Jorge Oliveira tested positive for Covid-19, he announced on Twitter Tuesday.

Oliveira, who heads the General Secretariat of the Presidency, became the eighth minister of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government to be diagnosed with the virus.

“I’m in isolation since today, and I’m on a remote schedule. I have mild symptoms and will do a medical follow-up,” he wrote.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 178 coronavirus cases have so far been registered among the staff of the Presidency — an increase of 65% in a period of just under a month, according to the presidential press office.

Trump attends first coronavirus task force meeting since April

President Trump tweeted that he had a “great meeting today with the CoronaVirus Task Force in the Oval Office.”

He included four pictures of task force members in the Oval Office.

From the photos, it looks like only three members of the task force wore face masks during the meeting. Two of them were Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci. 

The last time the President is known to have attended a task force briefing was in April. 

Trump says he is "looking at" possibly using executive action on unemployment benefits

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 4.

President Trump told reporters that he is “looking at” possibly signing an executive action if no deal is made by the end of this week on unemployment benefits but said that “progress” is being made on the Hill.

“We are looking at it. We’re also looking at various other things I’m allowed to do under the system, such as the payroll tax suspension. And so we’re allowed to do things,” Trump said in the briefing room Tuesday. 

Trump also sounded more encouraged by discussions today on the Hill saying, “We’re talking with the Democrats. They seem to be much more interested in solving the problems in some of the Democrat-run states and cities that have suffered greatly through bad management.”

“As far as the various things that I may or may not sign — I may not have to sign. Progress has been made as you know, very well on the Hill. We’ll see what happens, including the payroll tax suspension,” Trump added.

It remains unclear what, if any, legal authority the executive branch has to address those issues in a substantive manner. Congressional aides and lawmakers, who remain in the dark on the details, are skeptical the efforts have any validity. 

State attorneys general urge federal action to increase supply and affordability of remdesivir

Gilead Sciences headquarters sign is seen in Foster City, California on April 30.

Attorneys general from 34 states wrote a letter Tuesday to federal officials urging them to intervene to increase the supply and affordability of remdesivir, the only drug authorized by the government to treat Covid-19.  

The attorneys general warned Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services; Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; and Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration that the supply of the drug is “dangerously limited” and that the recently announced prices of the drug “will impede access to treatment.”  

Gilead Sciences owns the patent on remdesivir, and so is currently the only company allowed to sell it. In their letter, the attorneys general asked that the federal government enact the Bayh-Dole Act, which would effectively allow other pharmaceutical companies to make it as well.  

“We respectfully urge the federal government to exercise its rights under the Bayh-Dole Act, which will allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the FDA to ensure that Americans can afford and access a sufficient supply of remdesivir during this pandemic,” they wrote. 

The attorneys general pointed out in their letter that remdesivir was created with taxpayer funding.

“Remdesivir has benefited from millions of dollars of public funding, including a $30-million NIH-funded clinical trial estimated for this fiscal year alone,” they wrote. “But despite the large infusion of taxpayer monies, Gilead is unable to guarantee a supply of remdesivir sufficient to alleviate the health and safety needs of the country amid the pandemic.”

The Bayh-Dole Act would allow the federal government, using the “march-in” provision, to pass the license of a patented drug that was developed with federal funding to a third party who would compete with Gilead in an effort to increase supply and lower prices. Under the law, the Bayh-Doyle Act can be used if a patent holder fails to “alleviate health or safety needs” of consumers. 

3 senators introduce legislation aimed at increasing transparency in vaccine approval process

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, questions Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 30.

Three US senators released bipartisan legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing safety and transparency around the approval of a coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the US.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana) and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, said they introduced the Safe Authorization for Vaccines during Emergencies (SAVE) Act in part to improve public confidence in a potential vaccine amid some concerns that safety is being sacrificed in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine.

The bill would codify the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration in reviewing a potential vaccine, ensuring that recommendations on vaccine safety and efficacy be made public. The bill aims to hold the Health and Human Services Department accountable for ensuring vaccine advisory committee meetings are transparent.

“Academic institutions, researchers, and industry have all stepped up during this crisis to move towards a successful vaccine — regulators need to as well,” Braun said in a statement.

The senators plan to push for the bill to be included in an upcoming Covid-19 relief package. 

The FDA has issued guidance requiring a vaccine to be at least 50% effective in preventing infection or serious disease before it receives emergency use authorization (EUA). An EUA would greenlight a coronavirus vaccine for use on an expedited basis.

Brazil's coronavirus cases top 2.8 million

A visitor has his temperature taken at Sao Goncalo Municipal Center of Northeastern Traditions on August 2, in Sao Goncalo, Brazil.

Brazil added 51,603 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its health ministry announced on Tuesday. 

With the new cases, the country has so far registered more than 2.8 million Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began. 

The ministry also registered 1,154 new fatalities related to the virus, raising the total death toll to 95,819. 

Some background: Latin America and the Caribbean have reached over 5 million cases of Covid-19, according to a CNN tally based on Johns Hopkins University data. 

Brazil continues to be second hardest-hit country worldwide following the US and the first in the Latin American region, according to Johns Hopkins.  

Florida governor floats idea of allowing visitors at nursing homes

Even as Florida continues to report thousands of new coronavirus cases each day, Gov. Ron DeSantis today floated the idea of allowing visitors at nursing homes. 

“I think a lot of the family members understand that these are difficult circumstances,” he said today at a roundtable in Jacksonville, Florida. “Clearly they would not want policies to be done that would lead to massive amounts of people in these facilities getting infected. But I think that if you have a way forward, I think that would put a lot of people at ease, knowing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

DeSantis said he believes family members who have Covid-19 antibodies should be able to visit relatives.

The governor said he will form an exploratory committee, which will include Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, to discuss policies that could be implemented to ensure safe visitation at Florida’s 4,000 nursing home facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and various public health experts all recommend strongly against this approach. 

They say it is not known if having antibodies protects you from becoming infected again or from spreading the virus to others.

 The CDC also says:

  • Antibody test results should not be used to determine if someone can return to work.
  • Antibody test results should not be used to group people together in settings such as schools, dormitories, and correctional facilities.

CNN’s Maggie Fox contributed to this report.

More than 156,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US

There have been at least 4,758,028 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 156,426 people have died from the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins recorded 44,488 new cases and 1,024 reported deaths. 

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

Negotiators will meet tomorrow on stimulus talks

Leaving a roughly two-hour meeting with senior administration officials, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both said there had been progress in the talks but far more needed to be done to get a deal.

“We made some concessions,” Schumer said, adding, “they made some concessions, which we appreciated.”

They didn’t take questions or explain what those concessions were.

The disagreement in large part is around the scope of the stimulus bill. “The fundamental disagreement is the scope and depth of the problem,” Schumer said. “They are still wrapped around this idea that the government shouldn’t do much.” 

The four negotiators will also meet tomorrow on the stimulus talks.

Disney lost nearly $5 billion last quarter as Covid-19 hit its park and resort unit

An employee at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom wears a face mask and face shield at the entrance to the park on July 23.

Disney’s media empire was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic last quarter, with the company reporting a net loss of nearly $5 billion on Tuesday.

The company’s parks were hit particularly hard by Covid-19. Its parks and resort unit lost $3.5 billion in the quarter. The unit’s revenue was down a whopping 85% from the year ago quarter.

Overall sales for the company fell 42% to $11.8 billion.

One bright spot was Disney+, Disney’s new streaming service, which had nearly 60 million subscribers at the end of June, according to the company.

White House eyeing executive action if stimulus negotiations stall in Congress

US President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for the Great American Outdoors Act in the East Room of the White House on August 4, in Washington, DC.

A White House official said aides are eyeing various proposals for President Trump to take executive action in order to provide relief to US workers, should both sides in Congress fail to reach an agreement on a new coronavirus aid package. 

“If something isn’t reached by the end of the week, we don’t want to see it go for another week,” the official said. “President Trump is prepared to pursue any and all options,” the official said, accusing Democrats of rejecting proposals that would provide immediate relief to unemployed Americans.”

It remains unclear what, if any, legal authority the executive branch has to address those issues in a substantive manner. Congressional aides and lawmakers, who remain in the dark on the details, are skeptical the efforts have any validity. 

Where things stand: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that she still wants a sweeping stimulus deal this week — but she made it clear she is not budging on the price tag put forward by House Democrats, reflecting how far apart the two sides are despite days of talks.

Asked if she has an idea on the price tag she’s willing to settle for, Pelosi told CNN bluntly: “Yeah, $3.4 trillion.”

That price tag has been rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who last week put forward the Senate GOP plan that would cost roughly $1 trillion and has attacked House Democrats’ $3 trillion-plus bill that passed their chamber more than two months ago. And even some centrist House and Senate Democrats are squeamish about backing such an eye-popping price tag proposed by the speaker.

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have already met six times behind closed doors  — and are not near an agreement on range of issues, including expiring jobless benefits and extending the expired federal eviction moratorium, according to both sides.

Mississippi governor orders statewide mask mandate

Keeping a seat between them, sophomores' Natalie Brantley, 15, left and Yareny Aguilar-Perez, 15, are introduced to the principles of Early Childhood I at Newton County Career and Technical Center in Decatur, Mississippi, on Monday, August 3.

Mississippi Gov.Tate Reeves has issued a statewide mask mandate for the next two weeks. 

“We must pump the brakes in the hardest hit areas,” Reeves said during a news conference Tuesday.

“We are requiring masks in schools for teachers and students. We are also requiring masks at public gatherings statewide for two weeks in a push to allow schools to safely reopen,” Reeves said.

Reeves has also delayed the start of in-person learning for grades 7 to 12 in Bolivar, Coahoma, Forrest, George, Hinds, Panola, Sunflower, and Washington counties — areas that are considered hotspots.

He added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the public health risk of extended school closures outweigh the public health risk of opening them.

The governor added that if there is anything essential in this world, it is our schools.

Arkansas approaches 45,000 total Covid-19 cases

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state has reported 44,597 cumulative Covid-19 cases, with 784 new cases and 490 virus related deaths. 

Interim Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said that of those 784 active cases, 774 were community based and 10 came from correctional facilities.

Romero also said there are 526 people hospitalized for Covid-19, with 101 people on ventilators. The ventilator number has decreased by 7. 

Note: These numbers were released by the Arkansas public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

Oklahoma's Tulsa County reported more than 3,300 new Covid-19 cases in July

The Tulsa Health Department in Oklahoma reported today that 3,301 total cases were reported in the county from July 5 to July 25, an average of just over 157 cases a day.

More than 11% of those cases were in children under the age of 18 and 41% of the cases were in the 18-35 age group, according to THD. 

Currently, Tulsa County has reported 9,417 total cases and 101 total deaths. THD says that 8,010 have recovered from the virus.

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

Return to school will not look like business as usual, experts say

A worker stocks shelves of back-to-school supplies at a Target store on August 3, in Colma, California. In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, back-to-school shopping has mostly moved to online sales, with purchases shifting from clothing to laptop computers and home schooling supplies.

The return to school will not look like business as usual in the US, according to experts speaking on Tuesday during a webinar from the Alliance for Health Policy.

“Our return to school will not be a return to the school norm,” said Wendy Price, president of the National Association of School Psychologists. “Right now, school districts are hammering out one of three different educational platforms that they may be accessing.” These are full time, in-person schooling, a hybrid model and online schooling. 

In-person schooling, for example, needs to look at the safety of children and staff, in regard to things like physical distance and protecting people who are most vulnerable. Online only schooling raises other questions. “Does everybody have access to wireless or broadband WIFI, or do they have access to Chromebooks,” said Price.

Returning to school is such a “fluid and dynamic situation” that what is put into place in September may not work in January, she said. Schools may have to roll back or roll forward, keep being flexible and “really paying attention to the levels around us in our neighborhoods and our communities.”

Reopening schools also depends on where you are in the country and what the levels of Covid-19 are, Price said.

She compared members of her organization in small, rural, coronavirus-free parts of Montana who are ready to go back, with members at Boston public schools, where there are higher numbers of students and cases who are “certainly not ready.” 

Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab and director of Population Health at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, also said that the safe reopening of schools will depend on the level of Covid-19 in the community. “This isn’t simply about whether kids don’t get that sick. This is about the risk to entire communities that are born by placing kids in large groups in a school,” he said.   

While he said that children are less susceptible, fewer are symptomatic and they will have less severe infection, “we know fairly confidently now that symptomatic children are going to transmit.” 

And if there is more virus in a community, more kids will catch it and spread it. Rubin pointed to outbreaks in camps in Georgia and Missouri as examples of this.

“Kids don’t live in bubbles,” said Rubin. “They rely on parents and grandparents every day. They rely on their teachers, the school personnel.”

The safest way to reopen schools, he said, is to get community Covid-19 numbers down, he said. Once test positivity gets below five or three percent, dependent on what state leaders and departments of health are saying, “you have an opportunity to use your mitigation plan.”

The foundation for a good mitigation plan in schools, according to Rubin, starts with ensuring that sick children and teachers are kept out of the school, and then once children are in school, keeping on top of all measures like social distancing, mask use and hand hygiene, for both teachers and students.

Trump's national security adviser returns to work after testing positive for Covid-19

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien attends a briefing on Enhanced Narcotics Operations at the US Southern Command in Doral, Florida, on July 10.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien returned to work at the White House complex Tuesday, after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, a source confirms to CNN. 

O’Brien’s diagnosis marked the highest-ranking Trump administration official known to have tested positive.