August 5 coronavirus news

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4:47 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

More than 100 students quarantined after several people test positive in Mississippi school district

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch 

WREG
WREG

Several people in the Corinth School District in Mississippi have been infected with Covid-19, Dr. Thomas Dobbs with the Mississippi State Department of Health said during a news conference.

Dobbs said that more than 100 students in the district have been quarantined after the positive tests.

In a letter to parents posted on their Facebook page today, Corinth School District said a person from Corinth Middle School tested positive as well as an employee at Corinth Elementary School. 

Dobbs said this is one of several schools that has had positive cases since returning to in-person classroom instruction in the state.

The letter said the school has done contact tracing and is asking anyone who had contact with the individuals to quarantine for 14 days. While in quarantine, children cannot attend school or any activities, the letter said. 

On Monday, the school district said two individuals from the high school had tested positive, making five positive cases reported at the high school.

In-person classes resumed in the district on July 27, according to the school calendar. Parents were able to choose for their child to return to the traditional attendance schedule or do virtual learning. Students can only enter and exit the virtual learning model at the end of a nine-week period, according to the district. 

According to the district’s reopening plan, students and staff are screened daily upon entering the building with temperature checks. Staff has to answer questions daily about if they have had symptoms in the past few days.

Guidance from the district says that all staff, parents and volunteers must wear a face covering in the school buildings. Teachers must wear a face covering in all common areas and during all student interactions.

4:31 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

New York City releases new data on confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

A person walks past flood barriers in lower Manhattan as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches New York City on August 4.
A person walks past flood barriers in lower Manhattan as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches New York City on August 4. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York City has 18,937 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,626 probable coronavirus deaths as of Aug. 5, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 23,563.

There have been 223,186 coronavirus cases in the city and 56,414 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on August 5 at 1 p.m., according to the website.

Note: The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:19 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Infectious disease experts urge White House to issue federal mask mandate

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Election Worker Darleen Jara wears a face mask with "vote!" written on it as she handles signature verifications as vote-by-mail ballots for the August 4 Washington state primary are processed at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on August 3.
Election Worker Darleen Jara wears a face mask with "vote!" written on it as she handles signature verifications as vote-by-mail ballots for the August 4 Washington state primary are processed at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on August 3. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Infectious disease experts in the United States are calling on the White House to issue a federal mask requirement across all states.

Dr. Thomas File, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Dr. Judith Feinberg, chair of the HIV Medicine Association, sent a letter on behalf of their organizations to US Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday.

The letter urges the White House Coronavirus Task Force to adopt a uniform policy on wearing masks. 

"Specifically, we urge you to publicly issue a strong federal directive calling for mask requirements in all states, to launch a public education campaign about the importance of wearing masks or face coverings, and to require all individuals in the White House complex to wear a mask at all times when they are in the company of others, both for their own protection and to serve as role models for our country," File and Feinberg wrote in the letter.

The two health experts said that "while state and local requirements are particularly effective at increasing the use of masks, this is the time for national solidarity as Covid-19 has made significant inroads into rural areas that were initially considered 'safe.'"

"Policies to greatly increase the use of masks are integral to a broader national strategy to control the Covid-19 pandemic, which must also include increasing testing capacity and its timeliness to bolster the impact of contact tracing," the pair wrote.

3:58 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Arkansas surpasses 500 coronavirus deaths

From CNN’s Molly Silverman

Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol Monday‚ July 20, 2020 in Little Rock.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol Monday‚ July 20, 2020 in Little Rock. Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported that the state has 46,293 cumulative Covid-19 cases — with 912 new cases reported since yesterday. The state has reported at least 508 fatalities. 

Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said that there are 6,937 active cases — 6,336 are community cases, 88 are cases in nursing facilities and 513 are cases in correctional facilities. 

The governor announced today that the state has set up a plan to test 100% of inmates in their prisons. Hutchinson said out of the 19 prisons, 10 facilities have already been tested and the plan is to have testing finished by the end of this month. 

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.

3:40 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

NCAA's Division III cancels fall sports championships for 2020-21

From CNN’s Dan Kamal

 

The NCAA’s Division III Presidents Council announced on Wednesday the cancellation of all 2020-21 fall sports championships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With the health and safety of the division’s student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and communities as its priority, the Division III Presidents Council made the decision Wednesday to cancel the championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related administrative and financial challenges," Chair of the President’s council Tori Murden McClure said in a news release.

“Our Championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our Management Council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year,” McClure continued.

Earlier on Wednesday, the NCAA Board of Directors gave all three divisions an Aug. 21 deadline on whether their respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year. 

3:36 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

A renewed focus on hydroxychloroquine wastes time and risks lives, 24 Yale faculty members say

From CNN's Maggie Fox

In this photo illustration a pack of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate medication is held up on March 26 in London.
In this photo illustration a pack of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate medication is held up on March 26 in London. John Phillips/Getty Images

A renewed focus on the potential use of the malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is taking time and resources away from the search for something that actually does work to help coronavirus patients and may end up costing lives, two dozen Yale University researchers said Tuesday. 

Yale cancer epidemiologist Dr. Harvey Risch launched a new round of headlines when he wrote a commentary in Newsweek last month calling for renewed research on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, despite multiple studies showing it doesn’t help and might harm patients, and decisions by the US Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization to stop further testing.

The White House, which had promoted the drug, was encouraged to renew its lobbying for the drug, even as coronavirus task force members, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Adm. Brett Giroir, all said repeatedly the drug does not work and should be dropped.

“We write with grave concern that too many are being distracted by the ardent advocacy of our Yale colleague, Dr. Harvey Risch, to promote the assertion that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) when given with antibiotics is effective in treating COVID-19, in particular as an early therapeutic intervention for the disease,” the 24 Yale staffers wrote in an open letter posted on Medium. “As his colleagues, we defend the right of Dr. Risch, a respected cancer epidemiologist, to voice his opinions. But he is not an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and he has not been swayed by the body of scientific evidence from rigorously conducted clinical trials, which refute the plausibility of his belief and arguments."

The Yale researchers said they all want the same thing: an effective treatment for coronavirus. But they said heavy pursuit of hydroxychloroquine took up resources that could be used elsewhere.

“The continuing advocacy on behalf of HCQ distracts us from advancing the science on Covid-19 and seeking more effective interventions in a time when more than 1,000 people are dying per day of this disease,” they wrote.

3:13 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

France records highest daily increase in coronavirus cases in more than 2 months

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer in Paris

A member of medical staff holds a nasal swab as he collects samples from a person at a Covid-19 drive-in test in Brest, France, on Wednesday, July 31.
A member of medical staff holds a nasal swab as he collects samples from a person at a Covid-19 drive-in test in Brest, France, on Wednesday, July 31. Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

France has recorded the highest daily rise in coronavirus infections in more than two months, according to figures published by the National Health Agency on Wednesday show.

France reported 1,695 new cases in 24 hours, making this the biggest increase since May 30, when an increase of 1,828 cases was recorded. 

The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and in intensive care units has decreased in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Agency data. 

The overall death toll in the country stands at 30,305.

3:12 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Rhode Island governor tightens restrictions on bars, gatherings and travel

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence, Rhode Island. David Goldman/AP

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is rolling back reopening in the state with a last-call for bars, restrictions on out-of-state travelers and limits on social gatherings.  

Anyone traveling into Rhode Island from 33 hot zone states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia and California, will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test or must quarantine, she announced Wednesday.  

Travelers checking into a hotel or any kind of a rental property will "need to sign a certificate of compliance, verifying that they have had a negative test result, or that they intend to quarantine for 14 days while they are here," Raimondo said. 

The National Guard will assist with informing travelers of the tightened restrictions at airports, she said.

Raimondo said 20% of bars inspected this weekend "were still not separating the bartender from the customer."  

State officials have been "bending over backwards to keep the bars open" because they are "sympathetic to the fact that restaurants are barely making it," she said. Raimondo then announced starting Friday, bars will not be allowed to operate after 11 p.m. 

More details: In an effort to crack down on gatherings, group sizes will now be reduced to 15 people or less, she said. Rhode Islanders should consider gathering with the same 15 people whenever possible, the governor said.  

Raimondo reminded residents the fine for violating the social gathering limit is $500 for each person found to be in violation. 

3:08 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

"Shame on us if we're not prepared for the next coronavirus pandemic outbreak," Fauci says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said a universal coronavirus vaccine is one of the lessons that must be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Speaking to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum, Fauci said it will be important for the nation to prepare for the next pandemic by developing a universal vaccine "that has the specificity against all the coronaviruses, so we don't have to anticipate the next time this happens."

"That's the lesson that we've learned with influenza, which is why we're developing a universal influenza vaccine. And we're going to do the same thing with coronaviruses," Fauci said.

Fauci said he hopes the country maintains corporate memory of the current crisis for when it's time to allocate resources for pandemic preparedness in the future.

 "Shame on us if we're not prepared for the next coronavirus pandemic outbreak," Fauci added.