August 11 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, August 12, 2020
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6:43 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

US government strikes deal with Moderna for 100 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Jen Christensen

A nurse prepares a shot during a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y.
A nurse prepares a shot during a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. Hans Pennink/AP

The Trump administration has reached a $1.525 billion deal with Moderna Inc. to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine once it is approved, according to a news release from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

President Trump announced the deal during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Moderna is one of several companies manufacturing the vaccine “at risk,” as the industry calls it, meaning the company is currently making the vaccine before it is approved. Clinical trials are currently underway to test whether it’s safe and effective.

Under this contract, worth up to $1.525 billion for 100 million doses, the doses would be owned by the US government and would be distributed and used as part of its Covid-19 vaccine campaign. If the doses are used, they would be provided to Americans at no cost. The government can also acquire up to an additional 400 million doses of this vaccine. 

The vaccine, called mRNA-1273, was developed by Moderna in collaboration with the US government. It had development help from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the US Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority, known as BARDA, supported late stage clinical trials and has helped scale up manufacturing. Moderna’s advanced stage clinical trial, which started July 27, is the first government-funded Phase 3 clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.

This contract is a part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, the federal push to get vaccines and therapeutics to market as soon as safely possible. HHS said the goal is to get effective vaccines to the American people by the end of the year. 

The government has also reached a deal with Pfizer in July to produce 100 million doses of its vaccine. In August it reached a similar deal for 100 million doses with Janssen, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arm, for its vaccine candidate. It has other deals with GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur, Novavax and AstraZeneca. 

There are 28 Covid-19 vaccines in human trials, according to the World Health Organization.

“In creating a vaccine portfolio for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration is increasing the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in Tuesday’s news release. “Today’s investment represents the next step in supporting this vaccine candidate all the way from early development by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, through clinical trials, and now large-scale manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”
6:23 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Trump calls on colleges to allow football because student athletes will "be able to fight it off"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Washington. Andrew Harnik/AP

 

President Trump insisted once again that colleges should play football and made the very dubious claim that student athletes are strong enough to withstand coronavirus, even though several major conferences have postponed or are considering postponing their football seasons.

“Hopefully we can watch colleges play football. We want to get football in colleges. These are young, strong people. They won’t have a big problem with the China virus. So, we want to see college football start and hopefully a lot of great people are going to be out there, they’re going to be playing football and they’ll be able to fight it off,” Trump said Tuesday at a news conference at the White House.

“And hopefully it won’t bother it one bit. Most of them will never get it, statistically. But we know we’ll see more cases at some point, and we will eventually develop sufficient immunity in addition to everything else that we’re doing,” he claimed. “So, college football, get out there and play football. People want to see it.”

Despite Trump’s assertions that college football players are somehow unlikely to get coronavirus or experience its severe effects, several colleges and universities have already seen a growing number of student athletes testing positive for the virus.

And though Trump insists that college football players are less likely to be severely impacted from the coronavirus because they’re “young, strong people,” research shows that 1 in 3 young adults (ages 18 to 25) are at risk of severe Covid-19, with smoking playing a big part in their level of risk.

And though earlier in the outbreak health experts underscored that older adults were most vulnerable to coronavirus, the proportion of cases in teens and young adults has gone up sixfold, according to the World Health Organization.

CNN reported earlier Tuesday that the Pac-12 has postponed all sports including football through the calendar year and the Big Ten conference has postponed the 2020 football season. Other universities and conferences have also announce a pause on college sports.

The President concluded by telling players to stand for the American flag and the national anthem, claiming that the NBA and NFL had had poor ratings for allowing players to protest during the song.

 

6:11 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

These 2 college football conferences will continue to monitor coronavirus developments

From CNN's Jill Martin

A detailed view of the trophy after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 64-17 in the ACC Football Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A detailed view of the trophy after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 64-17 in the ACC Football Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Following Tuesday’s announcements from the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences on postponing their fall sports seasons, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) say they are continuing to monitor coronavirus developments.

The ACC said it will continue to make decisions based on medical advice and local and state health guidelines.

“The safety of our students, staff and overall campus communities will always be our top priority, and we are pleased with the protocols being administered on our 15 campuses. We will continue to follow our process that has been in place for months and has served us well," the ACC said in a statement.

“We understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information and the landscape evolves," the statement added.

Commissioner Greg Sankey said the SEC looks forward "to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today."

"I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes. We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day," Sankey added.

5:43 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Medical organizations call for HHS to update Covid-19 testing prioritization guidelines

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

An urgent care worker wearing personal protective equipment is about to perform a COVID-19 test on a patient on August 10, 2020 in Winnetka, California. 
An urgent care worker wearing personal protective equipment is about to perform a COVID-19 test on a patient on August 10, 2020 in Winnetka, California.  Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The American Medical Association and other health organizations urged US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to update Covid-19 testing prioritization guidelines, as resources are still limited and many patients are still waiting over a week to receive their results.

In an open letter on Tuesday, the organizations say that they are “increasingly concerned about the serious strains” being placed on testing services and the impacts of those strains on their ability to provide medical care and contain Covid-19. 

“We recommend that the Administration consider updating its testing prioritization guidelines to ensure that those with a medically-indicated need for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, such as those with COVID-19 symptoms, those with known exposures to COVID-19, and those in need of pre-procedure testing can have ready access to testing services and timely return of test results,” the letter said.

Along with significant surges in cases, there is also an increase in demand for testing of asymptomatic individuals who wish to return to activities such as going to work or returning to college. 

They urged the administration to consider using new testing prioritization guidelines, as without improvement in supply availability, “we simply do not have the resources to meet the huge demand for testing by asymptomatic individuals without exposure to Covid-19.”

The letter also said that they recognize the need for a surveillance strategy, and recommend that updated testing guidelines “include a well-designed surveillance strategy that achieves public health goals while appropriately managing testing resources.”  

Rapid screening tests could play a significant role in asymptomatic screening and surveillance efforts and help to reopen, the letter said.

Laboratories are struggling with supply chain shortages, access to personal protective equipment and staffing issues in many places, the organizations said. These are impacting both Covid-19 care and non Covid-19 care. 

Other associations that signed the letter include The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Association for Molecular Pathology, Association of Pathology Chairs, College of American Pathologists and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

5:33 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

New Hampshire enacts mask requirements for gatherings of over 100 people

From CNN's Slover Morrrison

Fans wear masks and face coverings look on prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 02, 2020 in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Fans wear masks and face coverings look on prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 02, 2020 in Loudon, New Hampshire. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Anyone attending a gathering of more than 100 people in New Hampshire will be required to wear a face covering, Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday.

“Effective immediately any scheduled gathering of over 100 people in the state of New Hampshire will require attendees to wear masks,” said Sununu during a news conference.

“New Hampshire citizens have been diligent. They’ve been doing a great job at social distancing and wearing masks and we continue to see very positive numbers," Sununu added.

The latest numbers: The state announced at least 21 new cases of coronavirus during the briefing.  Thus far, approximately 6,861 New Hampshire residents have tested positive. The state is reporting no new deaths today.  

Note: These numbers were released by the state of New Hampshire 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.

5:25 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Connecticut governor confident schools can reopen for in-person learning safely

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

A gymnasium sits empty at the KT Murphy Elementary School on March 17, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. Stamford Public Schools closed the week before to help slow the spread of the COVID-19.
A gymnasium sits empty at the KT Murphy Elementary School on March 17, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. Stamford Public Schools closed the week before to help slow the spread of the COVID-19. John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont pushed for schools to reopen for in-person learning during a news conference Tuesday, saying he knows the state can bring students back safely.

"If Connecticut can't get their kids back into the classroom safely, no state can," the governor said, citing the state's hard work in wearing masks and social distancing.

"We've kept our infection rate one of the lowest in the country, and I think we've earned the right, and our kids have earned the right to be able to go into a classroom and see their friends, be with a teacher, and to have real in-classroom education," Lamont said.

Lamont appeared alongside Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and other educators from the Winchester school district, which is offering full in-person learning to students when the school year starts August 31. There is an option for full remote learning for those families who choose it.

Lamont said he believes students can be brought back safely based on the current public health conditions in the state.

"I wouldn't be opening my school in southern Florida. I wouldn't be opening school in Texas or Phoenix or South Central LA. But I would do it in Connecticut. I would do it right here," Lamont said.

Winchester Schools Superintendent Melony Brady-Shanley said most parents want their children to return for in-person classes, based on the results of a survey the district conducted. According to Brady-Shanley, 76% of families are opting for in-person learning, 22% for temporary distance learning and 2% for homeschooling.

"We expect that education is going to look different. However, different isn't necessarily a negative," Brady-Shanley said. "[Kids] need and benefit from in-person instruction." 

5:16 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

North Carolina reports first dog to die from Covid-19 in the state

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Jamiel Lynch 

NC State College of Veterinary Medicine & Veterinary Hospital/Facebook
NC State College of Veterinary Medicine & Veterinary Hospital/Facebook

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting their first case of SARS-CoV-2 in a dog in the state. 

On Aug. 3, an owner took their pet to the NC State Veterinary Hospital. The dog had signs of respiratory distress and died from his illness, a news release said.

The owner told the hospital that a family member had previously tested positive for Covid-19. 

The dog was tested and was positive for SARS-COV-2, the agency said.  

“There is no indication at this time that dogs can transmit the virus to other animals, so there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes.  

A necropsy was performed and the state is investigating any contributing factors to the dog’s death.  

The state did not provide any additional information on the dog and its owners.

4:48 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Pac-12 conference postpones football season 

From CNN's David Close

The Pac-12 logo seen on the field during the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.
The Pac-12 logo seen on the field during the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Pac-12 conference CEO Group unanimously voted on Tuesday to cancel the fall sports season including football. 

The conference says it would consider a “return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.”

In a statement, the Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in part, “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble... Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant."

The statement also notes that student-athletes impacted by the decision will keep their scholarships.

Some context: This comes just hours after the Big Ten conference also voted to postpone fall sports on Tuesday. The Mid-American Conference made a similar move on Sunday.

4:50 p.m. ET, August 11, 2020

Countries were more likely to shut down if their neighboring countries did, too, study suggests

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

France's President Emmanuel Macron (center) talks with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin (2nd, left) and Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven prior the start of the EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on July 18, 2020.
France's President Emmanuel Macron (center) talks with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin (2nd, left) and Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven prior the start of the EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on July 18, 2020. John Thys/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Some government decisions about school and workplace closures, event cancellations, travel restrictions and other lockdown measures that emerged early in the coronavirus pandemic were based on what other nearby countries were doing, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, examined those "nonpharmaceutical interventions" that countries adopted to respond to the pandemic, using models related to the timing of implementing such measures between January 15 and March 30.  

The researchers – from various universities in Sweden – specifically focused on nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

"We focus on the OECD, since it represents a group of countries that are relatively homogeneous from an economic and democratic perspective, which means that the alternative cost of policy adoption will be similar across these countries and they have similarly developed democratic systems and healthcare systems," the researchers wrote.

The researchers found that almost 80% of the OECD countries adopted the same Covid-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions or NPIs around the same time, within a span of two weeks.

"One answer would be that the countries were uniformly exposed to the same universal threat. Yet, our findings suggest this to be, at best, a partial answer," the researchers wrote. "With the exception of population density, it is not primarily the needs of the country in terms of exposure to COVID-19, demographic structure, or healthcare capacity that predict the speed of NPIs adoptions, but the number of earlier adopters in the same region."

The researchers also found that countries with more health care capacity, such as hospital beds, were slower to adopt restrictions and the more densely populated a country was, the faster it was to adopt restrictions. Countries with stronger democracies were found to be slower to react.

The study has some limitations, including that some of its findings are based on assumptions from models. The researchers wrote that their findings can help "inform the social view of the world as interconnected."