August 9 coronavirus news

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10:50 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

US Treasury Secretary says Democrats must make the next move on stimulus talks

From CNN's Sarah Westwood, Nicky Robertson and Alison Main

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks to the press next to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on August 7.
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks to the press next to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on August 7. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNN that Democrats will need to be the ones to make the next move if stimulus talks between the administration and congressional Democrats are to restart. He said Democratic leaders need to accept a lower amount of assistance for state and local governments. 

“Anytime they have another offer to make, they can either call me or I’ll go up and see them,” Mnuchin said. “But they have to compromise.”

“I think we’ve been very clear that they need to come back with a compromise on the state and local from their trillion dollars, and the unemployment benefits, and if so we’ll respond. I think the majority of the other issues, we’ve reached a compromise on,” Mnuchin added at the White House on Sunday. 

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Mnuchin said that although governors are asking for money, they do not need $1 trillion.

“I’ve also spoke to many governors over the last few days. We offered more money for the states. They still have $150 billion from last time. Most of them haven’t even used half of the money,” Mnuchin said, “The governors are saying we need more money for education. We need help, and the President said, we’ll give it to you. But not a trillion dollars.”

10:25 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

US surpasses 5 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

There are now at least 5,000,603 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 162,441 people have died in the country from virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The university recorded the first case of coronavirus in the US on Jan. 21. It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million cases on April 28. 

It then took 43 more days to reach 2 million cases on June 10, and another 28 days to surpass 3 million cases on July 8.

Most recently, it took the US only 15 additional days to surpass 4 million cases on July 23. It has taken the US 17 days to go over 5 million cases. 

10:18 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Iraq reports more than 2,700 new coronavirus cases on Sunday

From CNN’s Aqeel Najim in Baghdad

On Sunday, Iraq’s Ministry of Health reported 2,726 new confirmed cases of coronavirus. This brings the total number of cases in Iraq to 150,115, the health ministry said. 

The health ministry also reported 82 coronavirus-related deaths. That brings the total number of deaths in the country to 5,392.

10:05 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Pelosi says Trump's executive action is asking states to contribute money they don't have

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN this morning that her advisers are telling her that President Trump's proposed executive actions are "absurdly unconstitutional."

Pelosi responded to comments made in an earlier interview on CNN with Larry Kudlow where the Trump economic adviser clarified that the President's proposal to give out-of-work Americans $400 a week is contingent upon states agreeing to provide $100. Kudlow said that the federal government would then kick in the additional $300.

Pelosi said these comments by Kudlow show the "weakness and meagerness in what the President proposed," adding that the states do not have this money.

"First of all he is saying states have the money. No, they don't," Pelosi said. "They have expense from the coronavirus. They have lost revenue. Because of that they are firing heath care workers, first responders, and the rest...Because they don't have the money."

9:28 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Trump's executive action on student loans has highest likelihood of fulfilling administration's aim

From CNN's Katherine Lobosco

President Donald Trump signs executive orders during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8.
President Donald Trump signs executive orders during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump’s directive regarding student loans seems to be the one executive action of the four he took Saturday which will deliver the results the administration hopes.

This is the only area of the four, the others being mortgage relief, unemployment aid and a payroll tax holiday, most under control of the Trump Administration and which doesn't need Congressional funding action, state governments or the private sector to fully implement.

The memorandum on student aid Trump signed Saturday directs the Education Department to extend the student loan relief granted in the CARES Act until the end of the year.

Some context: Currently, payments are paused and interest is suspended on federally held student loans until September 30.

Democrats have pushed for extending the relief for another year and making private student loans eligible.

In March, Trump waived student loan interest by executive order and the administration said borrowers could request a deferment on their payments. Congress later codified that policy into law and took it a step further by automatically suspending monthly payments.

9:40 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow defends Trump's executive actions

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

CNN
CNN

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNN that the administration expects states to be able to cover the portion of enhanced unemployment benefits that President Trump ordered through executive action on Saturday. 

If states don’t agree to participate and meet the financial requirement of paying 25% of the $400 amount, then the unemployed in those states will not receive any of the extra assistance.

Kudlow also acknowledged that some people may not receive the full enhanced benefit depending on where they live, he argued most people would get $400 per week on top of normal unemployment insurance.

“We’re talking about averages here,” Kudlow told CNN’s Dana Bash.

“Our estimates from the Treasury Department in terms of the CARES Act one was that states have not spent all the money that was allocated to them,” Kudlow said, referring to the sweeping stimulus package Congress passed in March.

More details: Kudlow said the White House expects states to use what he described as that “considerable overflow” of previous stimulus funding to pay for the unemployment benefit.

Trump’s order requires states to provide $100 of the $400 enhanced benefit, with the federal government providing the remaining $300. Some experts have said states will not be able to use those funds for this unemployment aid since it is a new program not authorized by Congress.

“We will be repurposing funds from other areas” to pay for the federal portion of the benefit, Kudlow said. “Based on our estimates, the states will be able to provide the extra $100."

Kudlow defended the President’s order establishing what the White House had described as an eviction moratorium, but which does not actually provide one.

“We’re setting up a process, a mechanism,” Kudlow said of the order.

He said the executive action establishes a process that will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to flag areas of concerning Covid-19 spread, and within those areas the moratorium could apply more broadly.

“If HHS declares emergencies, then evictions will be stopped,” he said. Kudlow noted people living in federally-financed single family homes will continue to be protected.

9:02 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appear on CNN

President Trump on Saturday signed executive actions that would provide $400 a week in federal enhanced unemployment benefits after lawmakers and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a coronavirus stimulus relief bill this week.

Trump's chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will appear on CNN at 9 a.m. ET to discuss these developments. Watch the interviews live at the top of this story.

7:47 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Just five US states have more than 40% of the country's nearly 5 million virus cases

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Health care workers at a coronavirus testing site in Miami Beach, Florida on June 24, 2020.
Health care workers at a coronavirus testing site in Miami Beach, Florida on June 24, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

The US is nearing five million cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic -- and as experts have highlighted in the past, the true number of infections could be many times higher.

The number means the country holds about a fourth of global cases of the virus and also tops the list with the most reported deaths in the world. More than 162,000 Americans have died.

The pandemic shows no sign of slowing and health officials from coast to coast have urged the use of face masks in public places and pleaded with residents to avoid all kinds of social gatherings until the spread of the virus is under control.

As of this week, five states together hold more than 40% of all US infections: California (with the most cases in the country), Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia.

Read the full story here.

6:48 a.m. ET, August 9, 2020

Some of Europe's biggest countries are seeing Covid surges -- but not this one

From CNN's Barbie Latza Nadeau and Livia Borghese

A horrifying moment in the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy on March 27, 2020, when the civil protection authorities announced that 969 people had died in just 24 hours. In the weeks before that, images of coffins stacked up in church parlors and being driven down the streets of the northern Italian town of Bergamo in a caravan of military trucks poured into the homes of Italians, by then locked down for nearly three weeks.

Now, just four months later, life in Italy, the country US Vice President Mike Pence once said "no one wanted to be like," is nearly back to normal, despite occasional spikes in cases that have been attributed to migrants arriving in the country or living in close quarters.

The death toll has leveled off at just over 35,000, with the number of new reported deaths now less than a dozen most days. The total number of cases now at 250,103 with daily increments in the low hundreds at most.

Nightclubs and schools aren't yet reopened, face masks are mandatory and social distancing is enforced, but summer is in full swing in this country. People are going out for dinner at restaurants, enjoying the summer tradition of an aperitivo on an open square, going on vacation and generally moving forward. It's nothing short of a miracle, especially compared to nations like Brazil and the United States, where the pandemic is still very much out of control.

Read the full story: