2 coronavirus clusters identified at UNC Chapel Hill
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Two coronavirus clusters have been identified at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to a statement posted to the school's verified Facebook page.
A cluster is defined as five or more cases in close proximity, the statement said.
The cases were identified in the Ehringhaus Community and Granville Towers, according to the statement. Ehringhaus is a residence hall and Granville Towers is a private apartment complex that serves as a housing option for some UNC Chapel Hill students, according to the school's website.
All individuals identified in the cluster are isolating and receiving medical monitoring, the statement said.
6:20 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Trump official: "There is no physical way to do 5 million tests per day in this country"
From CNN’s Marisa Peryer
Adm. Brett Giroir, White House coronavirus testing czar, said the United States wants to increase Covid-19 testing, but “there is no physical way to do 5 million tests per day in this country.”
Giroir was responding to comments by Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who told CNN’s Kate Bolduan Friday that the United States needs to be at least 4 to 5 million each day, based on current outbreak levels – and it’s testing well below that number. Jha’s remarks followed Giroir’s comments a day earlier that the United States testing is sufficient and country’s goal should not necessarily be to screen as many people as feasible.
“I don’t know why Admiral Giroir thinks that we are doing plenty of testing, when literally no public health expert I know of in the entire country agrees with his assessment,” Jha said earlier Friday.
On Friday afternoon, Giroir told CNN’s Pamela Brown, “I really felt compelled to come on this afternoon after hearing Dr. Jha this morning because just about everything he said was the opposite of what reality is, and that really troubled me, and I want to make sure that the American people understand where we are and where we're going.”
“When Dr. Jha comes on TV and attacks whether I care about this country and my patriotism, I figure if you have to stoop that low, the rest of the things must be doing OK.”
“Yes, we want to increase testing,” Giroir said. “There is no physical way to do five million tests per day in this country. If there is a way to turn it from one million to five million today, let me know.”
6:07 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Kentucky expands voting options due to coronavirus concerns
From CNN's Adam Levy
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams announced an expansion of voting options for voters this November as the coronavirus pandemic persists.
The plan includes expanded eligibility for absentee voting, three weeks of in-person early voting ahead of Election Day, and relaxed restrictions on voter identification for those who were unable to get a driver’s license or photo ID due clerk’s office closures amid the pandemic.
As part of the plan, any Kentucky voter who is concerned about contracting or spreading coronavirus is allowed to request an absentee ballot.
An online portal will be launched in the coming week for voters to request an absentee ballot online until Oct. 9, otherwise they can request absentee ballots through traditional means thereafter, Beshear said.
Mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, and they must be received no later than Nov. 6, according to the plan. Drop boxes will also be available for voters to submit their absentee ballots.
6:20 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Trump administration is doing everything it can to increase testing capacity, Giroir says
From CNN's Marisa Peryer
As the US has struggled with Covid-19 testing delays and supply chain shortages, White House testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said Friday the administration has done “everything we can do to increase testing the capacity of the country.”
When asked by CNN if it’s true that the administration has exhausted its executive authority to acquire additional supplies for labs that are processing Covid-19 tests, Giroir said, “I’m going to say definitively, yes.”
On Thursday, Giroir said US testing is sufficient and the country’s goal should not necessarily be to screen as much of the population as possible. His claim, according to Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, is not supported by experts.
“I don’t know why Admiral Giroir thinks that we are doing plenty of testing, when literally no public health expert I know of in the entire country agrees with his assessment,” Jha told CNN earlier Friday.
5:11 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
"My blood evaporates when I see people inside, in a bar or in a crowded area," Fauci says
From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said Friday that his blood does more than just boil when he sees people not following safety guideline.
“My blood evaporates when I see people inside, in a bar or in a crowded area," he said.
This is especially true when people don’t wear masks in such situations, Fauci said during an Instagram interview with The Washington Post.
“If you're going on a hike in the woods and there's nobody around for 1,000 yards, you don't really need to wear a mask,” said Fauci, adding that it’s important to always have a mask ready for use, in case people enter the vicinity.
5:19 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Columbia University and Barnard College announce all undergrad classes online
From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart
Columbia University and Barnard College in New York City jointly announced the decision to have all undergraduate courses given remotely for the fall 2020 semester. There will be no residential housing for undergraduates at Barnard, and Columbia will only have limited housing available.
Just six weeks ago, Columbia had announced its plans to bring back 60% of undergraduates in Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Those plans have since been significantly pulled back.
"Today we have concluded that we must drastically scale back the number of students we can accommodate in residence on campus, thereby limiting residential-style living only to Columbia College and SEAS undergraduates who must be present on campus due to personal or academic circumstances," said a letter sent Friday by University President Lee C. Bollinger.
Barnard College's announcement said the decision to move all undergraduate classes online came in part as a result of New York state's travel advisory list, which now includes 31 states and two territories.
"It has become clear that the state-mandated quarantine — under conditions that Barnard does not have the facilities to accommodate — would put an unreasonable burden on many of our students and their families," wrote Barnard president Sian Leah Beilock in her letter to the university community.
Barnard will refund all room and board charges and is giving a 10% tuition reduction for the fall semester, according to the letter.
4:57 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Where the number of confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths stand in New York City
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 23,615.
More data: There have been 226,043 coronavirus cases in the city and 56,690 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.
The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on Aug.14 at 1 p.m., according to the website.
The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
4:47 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
More than 96% of schools in California to begin the academic year online
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
More than 96% of California students will start the school year with distance learning, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a news conference.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bear down on the west coast, schooling remains a top concern for students, teachers, and parents.
“We don’t just want people to take lectures and just videotape them and put them online,” Newsom said. “This has to be a much more interactive process where we want students brought into the screen, truly engaged peer-to-peer and not just with the interaction of the teacher.”
How remote learning will work: Only 71% of districts are confident that students will have the technology needed for online learning. As such, California has partnered with many tech and office supply companies to ensure each student has a laptop or tablet and access to Wi-Fi.
There is a run on supplies nationwide, but many companies are prioritizing schools in providing the needed devices, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said.
“These circumstances are not ideal as students return to school,” Thurmond said, “but students continue to learn, even under these conditions.”
Educators are leaning in, State School Board President Linda Darling-Hammond, said.
“We've come a long way since spring," Darling-Hammond said.
She believes that when it is time to go back to the classroom, students and teachers will return more technologically proficient.
3:58 p.m. ET, August 14, 2020
Here's what CDC says about tests and quarantines for those who recovered from Covid-19
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
If you have recovered from Covid-19, you may not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months — as long as you don't develop symptoms again, according to recently updated guidance on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
Regarding who needs to quarantine, the guidance states, "People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms."
A CDC spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Friday that an agency webpage "was updated with that information mid-last week."
Some context: Preliminary research has suggested previously that after people are infected with the novel coronavirus, their risk of reinfection may be lower in the first three months after their initial infection — but that natural immunity to the virus could start to decline within months as their antibodies may wane over time.
Antibodies are the proteins the body makes to fight infection.