August 14 coronavirus news

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8:21 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

CDC’s ensemble forecast now projects nearly 189,000 US coronavirus deaths by September 5

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 189,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Sept. 5.

The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 188,982 deaths, with a possible range of 181,375 to 201,431 deaths.

“State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

Some context: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future.

The previous ensemble forecast, published Aug. 6, projected roughly 181,000 coronavirus deaths by Aug. 29.

At least 167,029 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:13 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Inside the multibillion dollar vaccine race

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase

CNN
CNN

Four years. That’s the fastest a vaccine has ever been developed -- and most take 10 to 15.

But scientists are now racing to do it in under one.

Dozens of research teams around the world are working to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, using a mix of established techniques and new technologies.

Funding for a vaccine has never been greater, with billions of dollars pouring in from around the world to make a product that could help to control the pandemic -- but the US, China and Europe have invested the most.

Before even the most vulnerable groups can get a shot in the arm from their family doctor, however, a lot of work needs to be done -- and a lot of deals need to be made.

As the coronavirus continues to accelerate unabated, here’s what it will take to bring a vaccine to the masses and how each of the three biggest players are faring in their quest to make it happen as quickly as possible.

Read CNN's interactive on the path to a Covid-19 vaccine.

8:08 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 20 million people worldwide and killed more than 760,000. Here's what you need to know:

  • UK imposes quarantine on some European arrivals: People entering Britain from France, Malta and the Netherlands will have to quarantine for 14 days. France says it will impose reciprocal measures.
  • Fauci warns against pursuing herd immunity: The US' top infectious diseases doctor said aiming for herd immunity would lead to a massive death toll.
  • Hong Kong airport arrivals plummet: The city saw a 98.6% drop in airport arrivals year-on-year from July 2019 to July 2020.
  • Britain secures 90 million doses of two vaccine candidates: According to an "in-principle" agreement, Britain has secured early access to 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine and 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine.
  • India prepares for unusual Independence Day: Celebrations in Delhi are expected to be muted, with social distancing restrictions in place.
  • Concerns mount over Paris and Marseilles: The French cities have been declared "zones of active circulation" of coronavirus, according to a French government decree published today.  
7:27 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Shabbat dinners go virtual amid the pandemic

From CNN's Ryan Prior

Naomi Less, a ritual leader for Lab/Shul, prepares for one of the group's online services.
Naomi Less, a ritual leader for Lab/Shul, prepares for one of the group's online services. Courtesy Lab/Shul

For decades, Teme Ring was cut off from her Jewish faith.

The former lawyer was forced to give up her career in 2000, after an onslaught of autoimmune diseases and dysautonomia, conditions that also made her too weak to step into a synagogue for in-person services.

"I'm in my own personal diaspora," she said.

In recent years, Ring had hoped to reconnect with faith through a synagogue in downtown Chicago.

"I realized I really missed it," she said. "But it seemed ridiculous to belong and never show up." She only dragged herself to synagogue once, and her symptoms were such that she was physically present but spiritually absent.

Now, however, during the pandemic, with many Jewish congregations taking services online for the first time, Ring's faith has undergone its long overdue blossoming.

Empowered by technology, she can now regularly attend Shabbat and classes at two different synagogues in Chicago, and at a third in Southern California, where her parents live.

Read more:

7:13 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Hong Kong's July airport arrivals dropped 98.6% from 2019

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma

A traveler in the arrivals hall is seen on a screen at Hong Kong International Airport on July 15.
A traveler in the arrivals hall is seen on a screen at Hong Kong International Airport on July 15. Lam Yik/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Passenger arrivals at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) in July plummeted by 98.6% year-on-year, the city's airport authority has said.

"During the month, HKIA handled 96,000 passengers and 9,870 flight movements, representing year-on-year decreases of 98.6% and 73.2%, respectively," the authority said in a statement Friday.

Just 96,000 people landed at the airport in July 2020. Officials also recorded a 7.3% decline in cargo passing through the airport.

"Cargo throughput declined 7.3% to 372,000 tonnes compared to the same month last year," the statement said, noting that cargo heading to or from southeast Asia, mainland China and Europe had decreased most significantly.

Hong Kong has struggled to contain a third wave of the virus in recent weeks, with a number of local transmissions linked to family gatherings and workplaces emerging.

The city has reported 4,312 cases and 66 deaths overall, according to Johns Hopkins University.

8:05 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Teachers face Covid-19 fears as US school districts decide whether to reopen in person

From CNN's Ryan Prior

On Tuesday night, Aaron Fortner, a high school English teacher in Missoula, Montana, sat at his computer for nearly four hours watching a virtual meeting of Missoula County Public Schools' board of trustees. Leaders listened as citizens weighed in against starting the school year in person.

"Out of 50 or 60 public comments, only one person supported in-person learning," he said. "I was hopeful."

Fortner hoped on behalf of the rattled teachers he advocated for as a member of the local teacher's union. Those educators were afraid of coronavirus spreading rampantly in schools teeming with crowds of ebullient young people. Without tenure, many teachers didn't feel confident about speaking out, he said. Nonetheless, the community appeared on their side, arguing for virtual classes.

But then the board voted overwhelmingly to support a hybrid model of both online and in-person learning, to be implemented when students return on August 26. His heart sank.

"I was just blown away," he said. "It was a jaw-dropping moment after three and a half hours of public comment. It was an avalanche moment for our community."

Read the full story.

6:38 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

US Supreme Court social-distances from coronavirus decisions

From CNN's Dan Berman

The Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on July 20.
The Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on July 20. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US Supreme Court continues to send a clear message when it comes to emergency requests to block or change state actions and regulations tied to Covid-19: not interested.

Whether it's voting access, attendance limits on churches or prison crowding, the court -- steered by Chief Justice John Roberts -- is not yet stepping in to second-guess state or local officials.

The current track could make it harder for Republicans and President Donald Trump to stop states from expanding absentee voting in blue states and could hurt Democrats and liberals in red states who want to loosen voting restrictions due to coronavirus.

So far, however, the pattern has mainly benefited GOP interests and generally limited voting access.

But on Thursday, the justices again backed a state's position when they sided with Rhode Island to turn away a Republican attempt to block an agreement to no longer require two signatures to vote absentee. It's the first time the court came down on the side of expanding voting access after several rulings going the other way in GOP-controlled states like AlabamaIdahoTexas and Wisconsin.

Read more:

6:20 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

They landed dream jobs as caretakers of an Irish island -- then Covid struck

From CNN's Maureen O'Hare

Eoin Boyle and Annie Birney on Great Blasket.
Eoin Boyle and Annie Birney on Great Blasket. Courtesy Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle

It was on Valentine's Day this year that Dublin couple Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle found out they'd landed what might just be the world's most romantic job.

They'd beaten more than 50,000 other applicants to become summer caretakers of Great Blasket, an unoccupied island off Ireland's west coast. They'd be posted there from April to October 2020 and they couldn't wait to get started.

Great Blasket is part of Europe's most westerly island group and a popular Irish tourist destination. It's not a place for sticklers for electricity or hot running water, but the views are sublime and the generous rain keeps the landscape lush.

As for stiff Atlantic breezes, they power the wind turbine that generates enough electricity to charge up a mobile phone.

As the sole full-time residents, Birney and Boyle were set to manage the island's coffee shops and three vacation cottages, and the rest of the time enjoy the majestic 1,100 acres of emerald isle as their personal domain.

Then Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and their year started to look very different.

Read more:

6:08 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020

Deaths during the coronavirus surge in New York City recall the peak of the 1918 flu pandemic

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Funeral workers move the casket of someone said to have died from Covid-19 at the Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 29.
Funeral workers move the casket of someone said to have died from Covid-19 at the Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 29. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A new study has found that deaths in New York City in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic were comparable to deaths in the city at the peak of what's considered the deadliest pandemic to date -- the flu pandemic of 1918.

The relative increase in deaths during the early period of the Covid-19 pandemic was actually substantially greater than during the peak of the 1918 pandemic, according to the study published Thursday in JAMA Network Open.

"The big takeaway is that when we compare what happened, we find that the magnitude of change in deaths -- like how big a shock to the system this is -- these pandemics are very similar," said study co-author Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
"In fact, if you think about it, Covid-19's a bigger shock to our health care system today because we have usually just a lower death rate than we did in 1918. So Covid-19 is a bigger change from norms for us than the 1918 flu was."

Faust said by comparing the first two months of the pandemic in New York to the worst two months of the pandemic in New York 100 years ago, the Covid-19 period had over 70% as many deaths per capita. 

"Who knows what would be the case if we didn't have modern ICUs and we couldn't treat secondary infections with antibiotics or put people on ventilators or had oxygen," Faust said. "If you compare these viruses side by side, without all the medical bells and whistles we have today, I'd say Covid-19 is worse."

Read the full story: