August 25 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020
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10:57 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Former CDC director says emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma was "politically driven"

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden speaks during a hearing on May 6 in Washington.
Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden speaks during a hearing on May 6 in Washington. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said he believes the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EUA) for the use of convalescent plasma in coronavirus patients “was politically driven.”

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn admitted Monday to having mischaracterized the benefits of the plasma when he said plasma treatment had saved the lives of 35 out of 100 coronavirus patients.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Dr. Thomas Frieden called Hahn’s comments and subsequent apology “a substantial concern.”

“The substantial concern is this appears to have been a politically driven announcement,” he said. “The way it was announced, the headline, the framing.”

Convalescent plasma has promise, said Frieden, who is now president of the global health initiative Resolve to Save Lives.

“It may help some people if given at some dose, at a certain time in infection,” he said. “We don't know the answers to those questions, and just saying ‘use it’ means we may never learn the answers, or it'll take longer to learn the answers to those questions, so that's a big concern.”

Coronavirus vaccines: Frieden called the plasma EUA announcement a “huge concern” because it’s a “dry run” for the FDA and the Trump administration in how they’re going to inform Americans about a coronavirus vaccine.

Public health experts already worry that a significant number of people won't consent to any eventual coronavirus vaccine.

“This is a failure. The only way you can get people to take vaccines is to be completely transparent and we're relying on the FDA to be completely transparent about what we know, when we know it.”

Different vaccines will most likely become available and different vaccines will work differently in different people, Frieden said.

“We will know something about how well they work, how safe they work, how much of them we’ll have, who should get them,” he said.

“Fundamentally, people have to trust them (the FDA) or the best vaccine in the world won't be able to end the pandemic.”


10:36 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Covid-19 cases among US children increased by 21% in just two weeks

From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane

Almost 443,000 children tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the United States between the start of the pandemic to August 20, according to an updated joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Since August 6, when the last report came out, there have been 74,160 new cases in children in the US, bumping the total from 358,469 to 432,629, an increase of roughly 21% in only 14 days.

The number of cases per 100,000 children has also been steadily rising, from 13 cases per 100,000 children in mid-April to 583.2 per 100,000 in the August 20 report.

And the percentage of child patients out of total coronavirus cases has also grown, from 2% to 9.3% in the same time period.

In New York City and the 21 states that reported on hospitalizations, children made up between 0.4% and 4.6% of total hospitalizations. That means between 0.2% and 8.6% of all pediatric Covid-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.

In New York City and the 45 states that reported on mortality, children represented between 0% and 0.3% of all Covid-19 deaths; 21 states reported zero child deaths. Overall, between 0% and 0.7% of all children diagnosed with Covid-19 died.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on COVID-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age so that the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health can be documented and monitored,” the report notes.

The report summarizes publicly reported data from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. The report does not include data from Alabama.

10:05 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Los Angeles County reports fewer than 1,000 Covid-19 cases for the first time since June

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Los Angeles County reported 989 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Tuesday -- the first time since June it has reported fewer than 1,000 new cases in a day.

The county also reported 51 additional deaths, according to a news release from its public health department.

“In mid-to-late July, the daily reported number of new cases was around 3,200 cases per day,” the news release stated.

While Los Angeles County continues to see a decline in coronavirus cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, its case rate remains at 196 cases per 100,000 residents. The county needs to remain under 200 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks in order for elementary schools to apply for an in-person education waiver.

"We are grateful for everyone’s sacrifices that have resulted in slowing the spread,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in the release. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health noted that it was too early to tell if the county could keep its case rate low for two weeks as it was common for fewer cases to be reported on Monday and Tuesday.  

Los Angeles County is the nation’s most populous county with over 10 million residents. To date, the county has reported a total of 233,777 positive cases and 5,605 deaths.

10:01 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Argentina reports highest daily number of new Covid-19 cases for second straight day

From CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, Colombia, and Sharif Paget in Atlanta

A health worker attends a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
A health worker attends a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina reported a highest single-day total of 8,771 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the country's total infections to 359,638, according to the Health Ministry.

The ministry also reported 197 new fatalities from the virus, bringing the total death toll to 7,563. 

Those numbers were higher than Monday, when Argentina reported 8,713 new cases, and 382 additional deaths. At the time, that was the highest number of cases reported in a single day.

Argentina has the sixth highest number of confirmed cases in Latin America behind Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

7:39 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

More than 178,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There have been at least 5,773,220 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 178,326 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Tuesday, Johns Hopkins has recorded 33,684 new cases and 1,081 reported deaths.  

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

7:08 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

More than 47,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Brazil in the last 24 hours

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo and CNN’s Sharif Paget


Soldiers from the 4th Military Region of the Brazilian Armed Forces take part in the cleaning and disinfection of the Municipal Market in the Belo Horizonte, Brazil on August 18.
Soldiers from the 4th Military Region of the Brazilian Armed Forces take part in the cleaning and disinfection of the Municipal Market in the Belo Horizonte, Brazil on August 18. Douglas Magno/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s health ministry reported Tuesday at least 47,134 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,669,995.

The ministry also reported 1,271 new coronavirus fatalities, raising the country’s death toll to 116,580.

This comes as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's eldest son, Flávio Bolsonaro, tested positive for Covid-19 today, according to his press officer. Bolsonaro's son, who is a senator, has not reported symptoms and is currently working from his home in Brasilia. 

Brazil continues to be second only to the United States in the highest total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world.

6:57 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Almost 4,000 students and nearly 600 teachers quarantined in Mississippi due to Covid-19 exposure 

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, right, listens as Gov. Tate Reeves responds to a reporter's question during the governor's Covid-19 press briefing in Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday, August 4.
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, right, listens as Gov. Tate Reeves responds to a reporter's question during the governor's Covid-19 press briefing in Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday, August 4. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

There were 144 new cases of Covid-19 involving teachers and 292 new coronavirus cases involving students in Mississippi during the week of Aug. 17 to 21, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs III.

During a news conference today, Dobbs also said there were 31 outbreaks last week and 584 teachers and 3,913 students are currently quarantined due to Covid-19 exposure. 

There were 801 new Covid-19 cases reported today for a total of 79,206 cases, he added. Mississippi also added 67 new deaths and currently has 730 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, 232 people in intensive care units and 119 on ventilators, Dobbs said.

Note: These numbers were released by the Mississippi State Health Officer, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

6:32 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Updated CDC guidance removes advice to stay home for 14 days after travel

From CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its quarantine guidance for travelers, removing direct advice to stay home for 14 days after returning from international travel or areas with a high levels of coronavirus cases.

“This updated guidance is based on risk of exposure during travel, asking travelers to think about what they did, where they were, and who they came into contact with to evaluate their risk of exposure to Covid-19,” Jasmine Reed, a CDC spokesperson, told CNN.

“Travelers who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 before or during their trip should postpone travel until 14 days after their last exposure," Reed added.

The agency’s updated guidance for after travel reminds people they may have been exposed to Covid-19 while traveling domestically or internationally, and that they can be contagious even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms.

“You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus,” the CDC says on its After You Travel page, recommending that people follow state, territorial, tribal and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

Some of these require a quarantine period. People returning from travel should also follow the usual coronavirus safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask and washing hands and keeping 6 feet away from others.

And if a person participated in a higher risk activity – traveling to certain countries, attending a mass gathering or taking a cruise, among them – the CDC recommends extra precautions: “stay home as much as possible” for 14 days; avoid people at high risk for severe illness from Covid-19; consider getting a Covid-19 test.

The CDC also updated its travel notices to include recommendations by destination, labelling which areas are at higher and lower risk.

Hear more:

5:53 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Georgia among worst in nation for new coronavirus cases for second week in a row

From CNN's Nick Valencia and Maria Cartaya

Amid pressure to decrease the number of coronavirus infections in Georgia, which are among the worst in the nation over the last two weeks, the director of communications for Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back on questions about a lack of progress made in combating Covid-19 in the state.

As first reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and WABE, the latest report from the White House coronavirus task force shows Georgia is in a "fragile" state and could suffer more without further aggressive actions to control the virus, including a statewide mandate on masks and closing bars in areas with high transmission rates, according to the report.  

CNN reached out to the White House and the task force for comment, but in the past, they have repeatedly declined to make these reports public.

Responding to questions about the task force report, Kemp's director of communications Candice Broce said in an email, "Since the last Coronavirus Task Force report was leaked to the AJC, our new cases per 100,000 people has dropped by 22.68%."  

However, for a second week in a row, Georgia is among the worst in the nation for new coronavirus cases.  

Georgia is currently third in the country for the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000, with 23.40 cases per 100,000. The state is currently averaging at least 2,485 new cases over seven-days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.  

Broce said the state has made improvements in notable metrics, including in its seven-day average of new cases, which has been steadily dropping since Georgia was at its highest levels in late July.   

In the last seven days, cases across Georgia have declined by 12%. Over the last 14 days the state has seen a 26.26% decrease in cases, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.  

Broce further defended the governor’s efforts by underscoring recent improvements made in hospitalizations and positivity rates. She added that the White House task force report, which CNN has not independently verified, shows "Georgia is making progress and has seen a decrease in new cases and a decrease in test positivity over the last week."  

Across the state: The demand for testing is declining despite substantial capacity, including in long-term facilities, which have been the source of outbreak clusters throughout the pandemic. Kemp is currently considering renewed deployment of mobile strike teams to specific areas of need using the Georgia National Guard, if needed, Broce said.  

Still, more than five months into the pandemic Georgia's governor remains unwilling to mandate masks statewide, something public health officials say would help improve the state's abysmal standing among the worst in the nation for new cases.   

Responding to questions about the possibility of a statewide mask mandate, Kemp continued to defer to local governments whom Broce said Kemp has "empowered to implement mandates through his current executive order."