August 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ed Upright and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020
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8:57 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

A further one million Americans claimed unemployment benefits last week

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

Another 1 million American workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The report met economists' expectations, but it's still a disappointment: So far, we've only seen one week — at the start of August — with fewer than a million claims since March, when the pandemic started to take its toll on America's job market.

Continued jobless claims, which count people filing at least two weeks in a row, stood at 14.5 million.

These estimates do not include claims under the government's pandemic aid programs, which are in part designed to help those who cannot otherwise access regular unemployment benefits.

Read the full story here.

8:29 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

France declares 19 new virus "red zones"

From CNN's Pierre Bairin

French Prime Minister Jean Castex declared 19 more areas around the country as coronavirus “red zones” Thursday, bringing the total to 21.

France's two biggest cities, Paris and Marseille, are already classified as red zones, meaning areas where the virus is “actively” circulating and the number of active cases has exceeded 50 per 100,000 people. 

In these areas, authorities are able to make masks compulsory outdoors and close bars and restaurants, measures that Marseille has already taken. 

"We have been for a few weeks in a phase of resurgence of the epidemic [with an average country-wide incidence rate of] 39 positive cases per 100,000, four times more than a month ago," Castex added.

The PM warned: “These figures must be interpreted with caution; we are testing a lot more people. But this ramping up of tests does not explain everything: the percentage of positive people is increasing. As after the end of the lockdown on May 11, the percentage of positive results was 1%, now it is above 3.7%.”

He added that the coronavirus “circulates a lot among young people," especially the 20-30 age group. "They present positive rates close to 6% ... The asymptomatic are in [a] high number within this population."

Castex added that the government is ready for worse-case scenarios, with plans for local or national lockdowns in place, but said the country's objective "is to do everything to avoid going back to a generalized lockdown."

As a general rule, masks are going to be mandatory in France in any enclosed space where several people gather. In schools, all students over 11 years old and all teachers will be required to wear face coverings.

Fifty million free masks have been distributed to low income citizens and their children, and free masks are also available in pharmacies for people with medical conditions who have a prescription.

Castex said labs are currently testing 830,000 people weekly, and France is hoping to ramp up testing to 1 million tests per week in September.

In terms of enforcement, the PM said that on average 700 people are fined every day in the country for not wearing a mask.

7:44 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Playing professional sport during a pandemic is a "once in a lifetime experience"

From CNN's Patrick Snell

It's sport in the year 2020. Or more precisely, the first tennis grand slam of a global pandemic.

This year's US Open -- which starts on Monday -- will take place in New York City albeit with no fans in attendance.

It's an unprecedented first for the players there too. Germany's Alexander Zverev is among those living inside a "bubble" right now -- what he calls a "once in a lifetime experience."

The world No. 7 is currently residing in one of the tournament's official hotels with competitors limited to a support team of just three.

"I'm somebody that travels with the family all the time, I'm always around my dad, my mother, my brother as well, and they're all not here which is for me, a little bit weird so I traveled here only with my physical trainer and my physio," the 23-year-old told CNN from his private suite at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"None of my coaching staff or team members want to go here, they didn't feel safe. I respect that, so I was not pushing them towards it."

Read the full story here.

7:44 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

US pharma giant extends Covid-19 vaccine trials to two more Latin American countries

From CNN's Tim Lister

People walk in Santiago, Chile, on August 17.
People walk in Santiago, Chile, on August 17. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

US company Johnson & Johnson has said it will extend trials of its vaccine candidate against Covid-19 to Chile and Argentina.

The vaccine will undergo Phase 3 trials in eight countries altogether, involving some 60,000 adult volunteers. The participation of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Mexico had already been announced. 

"This study is scheduled for September, subject to review by the health authority," the company said in a statement. 

The countries have been chosen because they have some of the highest infection rates worldwide. 

"The current prevalence of the disease, the demographics of the population and the requirements of the health authorities were taken into account to ensure that the study can be carried out properly and provide relevant data," the company said. 

The study will be coordinated by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen. 

In Chile, the trial will be coordinated by the University of Chile’s School of Medicine. Miguel O’Ryan, Professor of Microbiology at the School, told Reuters that government approval was still needed for the trial, but it could begin within three weeks of the vaccine being delivered. O’Ryan said the school was prepared to recruit up to 1,000 people for the study. 

Colombian President Ivan Duque said earlier this week that his government had also signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for Phase 3 trials. 

Last week, Brazil’s regulatory authority Anvisa approved human clinical trials for the vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson. 

7:10 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Stay at home order goes into effect on Hawaiian island of Oahu

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Hawaii Governor David Ige has approved Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency order requiring individuals on Oahu to both stay at home and work from home for two weeks, according to the Governor’s press office.

The order goes into effect today, August 27, at midnight local time and continues through September 9, 2020. 

Violation of the order is punishable with fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in prison, or both.

“We have taken measures in recent weeks to address the surge in COVID cases. Although we’ve seen a leveling off in cases on Oʻahu, they’re still too high and our healthcare system is still at risk. Let’s work together to flatten the curve,” said Gov. Ige.

Exceptions to the order include certain essential activities, and work that provides essential business and government services, or performs essential public infrastructure construction, including housing. 

The order is similar to an order that went into effect in March. 

Hawaii reported an addition 276 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the state total to 7,260 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

7:20 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

The most optimistic story of the year? A Happiness Museum has opened up in Denmark

From CNN's Mark Johanson

The cozy 2,585-square-foot museum features interactive exhibits and displays exploring what generates happiness.
The cozy 2,585-square-foot museum features interactive exhibits and displays exploring what generates happiness. Courtesy The Happiness Museum

Remember that fuzzy little feeling called happiness?

In case you need a reminder: It was this word we used to use back in 2019 to describe a state of pure pleasure and contentment.

Happiness seems to have faded from our vocabulary amid the global pandemic, economic turmoil and, well, collective sense of doom and depression that is 2020. Which is why the opening of a new Happiness Museum in, where else, Denmark feels like the most optimistic story of the year.

The world's first museum dedicated explicitly to the concept of happiness had a quiet debut on July 14 in a cozy 240-square-meter (2,585 square foot) space in Copenhagen's pastel-perfect historic center.

Read the full story here.

6:01 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Spanish economy has begun recovering, says finance minister

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro and Isa Tejera in Madrid

Spain's Finance Minister Nadia Calviño said on Thursday that "the Spanish economy has started to recover" from the effects of Covid-19, although "some industries and geographic areas may have more difficulty."

Calviño told Spanish TV channel Antena 3 that that "75% of the workers who were under the ERTE furlough scheme have already returned to work," adding that the government will have to look at "whether that ERTE furlough needs to be extended beyond September for some sectors that might be more affected." 

"We need to avoid structural damage to our economy," she warned. The minister added that "this year we will have to issue €100 billion ($118bn) more debt that we had envisaged."

7:29 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New study offers more evidence that hydroxychloroquine doesn't treat coronavirus

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Hydroxychloroquine is seen on a shelf at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
Hydroxychloroquine is seen on a shelf at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

A new report has added to the growing body of evidence that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not help coronavirus patients get better. In fact, combining it with an antibiotic actually raises the risk of death by 27%, the study found.

The meta-analysis -- a study of studies -- looked at 29 different pieces of research on the drug, which was once heavily promoted by the White House and which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still touts.

“Hydroxychloroquine alone was not associated with reduced mortality in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, but the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin significantly increased mortality,” said the study, which was published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.
“There is already a great number of studies that have evaluated hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination and it seems unlikely at this stage that any efficacy will ever emerge. Our results suggest that there is no need for further studies evaluating these molecules."

The research was conducted by scientists from France’s research institute INSERM.

The US Food and Drug Administration has reversed its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine for use against coronavirus, and the National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization and European researchers have stopped supporting testing.

3:52 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Japan records nearly 900 new Covid-19 cases

From journalist Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo

Japan's Health Ministry said it recorded 898 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 new virus-related deaths nationwide on Wednesday.

Of those new cases, 236 were from the capital Tokyo.

That brings the country's total to 65,380 cases and 1,239 deaths.

Mass testing is still underway, with nearly 10,000 tests conducted yesterday.

Follow CNN's live tracker of cases and deaths worldwide: