August 8 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Laura Smith-Spark and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:10 AM ET, Sun August 9, 2020
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2:47 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

New York reports a 0.93% infection rate across the state

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York state has reported a 0.93% infection rate, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Out of the 74,857 people tested for Covid-19 across the state Friday, 703, or 0.93% people, tested positive, the release said.

"Despite increasing infection rates across the country and in our region, we continue to see our numbers hold at low levels, all thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers to change their behavior and our data-driven, phased reopening," Cuomo said. 

At least 573 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the state and 133 people are in intensive care units, the release said.

There were five additional Covid-19 deaths reported yesterday, whi brings the statewide total to 25,195 deaths, according to the release.

Note: The numbers listed were released by the state of New York and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

2:54 p.m. ET, August 8, 2020

One of the India plane crash victims had Covid-19

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi 

Shijith Sreedhar/AP
Shijith Sreedhar/AP

One victim of Friday’s plane crash in the southern Indian state of Kerala has tested positive for coronavirus, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Saturday.

All the passengers who were on the plane will be tested for coronavirus, the minister said in a statement. All 18 victims in the crash, who include the two pilots, have been identified.

The plane was one of the repatriation flights operated by the Indian government to bring back nationals stranded abroad due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, according to the Air India website.

Shailaja Teacher, Kerala's Minister for Health, thanked rescue workers via Twitter for their timely response in the aftermath of Friday’s plane crash.

She added that some rescue workers had to prioritize saving lives and that not everyone was able to follow Covid-19 protocols. 

“We understand that while rushing to the site many of you were not able to follow COVID-19 protocol," she wrote. "Our priority was to save lives. However, now we have to be vigilant again. We urge all who have been to the crash site to take necessary measures to keep yourself and others safe."

7:40 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

As new academic year looms, public school nurses call for more funding to battle the coronavirus

From CNN's Amir Vera

As a parent, Liz Pray accepts her 13-year-old son's return to school.

As a school nurse, she doubts the Moses Lake School District in central Washington state is prepared for the challenges that come with schooling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When the pandemic began, her district and schools across Washington donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, clinics and fire stations, Pray tells CNN. Now, with school right around the corner, and Washington facing a resurgence in positive cases, she's not sure nurses will have enough PPE for the academic year.

In Florida, Lisa Kern supervises 45 school nurses who work in over 90 schools in Pasco County, just outside Tampa. Not only were nurses splitting time between schools before the pandemic hit, Kern says, but now she worries about the sustainability of the district's PPE supply.

"A school doesn't typically purchase large quantities of PPE, so the cost to do so is astronomical," Kern said. "The federal government needs to support schools to keep everyone safe."

As school nurses across the United States prepare for the start of the academic year, the National Association of School Nurses says on-campus medics are wholly unprepared because of a lack of funding and nurses.

Nurses who spoke to CNN echo that sentiment. They say keeping children and staff safe won't be tenable if they are not provided more PPE and if school districts don't hire more nurses.

Read more here.

7:03 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Inside the federal prison where three out of every four inmates have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Casey Tolan, Nelli Black and Drew Griffin

When James Giannetta first called his brother Russ in late June to tell him that the coronavirus was beginning to spread in his Texas federal prison, Russ could hear the fear in his voice. "This place is exploding," James warned. 

Russ soon got another call: James, a 65-year-old inmate with diabetes and HIV, had tested positive for the virus himself. Within days, he was rushed to a hospital as his oxygen levels plummeted. A few weeks later, after his condition deteriorated and he was placed on a ventilator, he was dead. 

As coronavirus has spread rapidly through prisons and jails around the country in recent months, the Texas lockup where Giannetta spent his last days has emerged as the hardest-hit federal prison in the United States.

More than 1,300 of the roughly 1,750 prisoners at FCI Seagoville prison and camp have tested positive for the virus, according to data from the federal Bureau of Prisons -- a stunning three out of every four inmates.

So far, three inmates at the prison, including Giannetta, have died from Covid-19. 

Five Seagoville inmates told CNN in phone interviews from behind bars that they feared for their lives as the virus rushed through the Dallas-area prison, and that the crowded conditions made it all but impossible for them to stay socially distanced.

Read more here.

5:24 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Top German virologists endorse mandatory masks in classrooms

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Germany's top virologists have urged mandatory mask wearing in schools, including during classroom lessons, as schools in the country re-open after summer break.

“Due to the real danger of infections between students who are asymptomatic, we urge strict mask wearing in all grades, including during lessons,” the virologists wrote in an open letter published on the website of the Society for Virology on Saturday. 

The experts also recommend smaller learning groups to avoid too much cross-contact among students, increased measures for air circulation in classrooms, and a potential extension of Christmas holidays in case the coronavirus spikes during the winter season. 

The open letter was published as Germany is in the process of re-opening schools after the summer holidays. The northeast state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania was the first to bring children back to classrooms. Two schools were shut down there on Friday after coronavirus infections were confirmed. 

“We are warning of the error to think that children do not play a role in the pandemic and infections. Such ideas are not in line with scientific data,” the virologists wrote in their letter.

4:37 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

South Korea reports 43 new virus cases, some linked to church cluster

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul 

South Korea recorded 43 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, according to data released on Saturday.

Thirty of the cases were locally transmitted cases, 16 of which have been linked to a church in Going City, Gyeonggi Province, Kwon Joon-wook, Vice Director of South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said in a briefing.

This is the second church in Going City to have been linked to new infections, Kwon said, with 18 infections detected previously at a church in the same city,

Thirteen of the cases were imported to South Korea -- two of those are sailors from a Filipino cargo vessel that docked on Thursday.

The national total confirmed cases are 14,562, according to a KCDC press release on Saturday, and 304 people have died.

2:46 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

Germany records 1,000-plus coronavirus infections for a third straight day

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

A health care worker places a throat swab sample for Covid-19 into a tube in Berlin on August 7.
A health care worker places a throat swab sample for Covid-19 into a tube in Berlin on August 7. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Authorities in Germany said 1,122 new coronavirus patients were identified on Friday, the third day in a row that more than 1,000 cases of the virus were recorded.

Twelve more people died Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 9,195, according to Germany’s center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute.

Germany has reacted to the spike in infections with a call by the government for people to more strictly adhere to pandemic safety measures, and with a massive expansion of testing. Starting Saturday, anyone entering Germany from a high-risk country must take a mandatory PCR test on arrival.

1:41 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

The total number of coronavirus cases diagnosed in the US is ticking closer to 5 million

From CNN's Alta Spells

At least 4,941,755 cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in the United States since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Another 58,173 cases of the virus were identified on Friday, JHU data shows. At the current rate, the US could cross the 5 million cases threshold on Sunday or Monday.

There were another 1,243 virus-related deaths recorded on Friday. At least 161,347 people have now died in the US from Covid-19.

The 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:

1:14 a.m. ET, August 8, 2020

260 students and 8 teachers have been quarantined in one Georgia school district

From CNN's Mallika Kallingal, Jamiel Lynch and Devon M. Sayers

At least 260 students and eight teachers from a suburban school district in Atlanta, Georgia, were quarantined after multiple students and teachers tested positive for Covid-19 during the first week of school.

In statements posted on its website, the Cherokee County School District reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff members. Students and staff who had possible exposure with a positive case have been told to quarantine for two weeks. The students were from the county's elementary, middle and high schools.

Quarantined students will receive online instruction while they stay home, the district said.

As schools have reopened for the new academic year around the United States, parents and administrators are making difficult decisions about how to ensure students get the education they need while also staying safe in an ongoing pandemic.

While many have responded to the resurgence of cases with completely remote schooling, others have opted to return to classrooms, which the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said works if safety measures are the priority.

Read more: