August 28 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Steve George, Tara John and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 8:11 a.m. ET, August 29, 2020
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4:12 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Operation Warp Speed officials can't see coronavirus vaccine data early, official says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Operation Warp Speed officials cannot peek early at any data coming out of clinical trials of experimental coronavirus vaccine, an official told reporters Friday. 

Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services, sought to reassure reporters that the process of approving any eventual coronavirus vaccine will be the same as for any vaccine. 

“There is a thing called a Data Safety Monitoring Board, an independent body that is assigned to each clinical trial,” Mango said during a telephone briefing. “We have no insight into the data until the DSMB says we can look at it. They can come back and say, ‘This is not a good vaccine.’ They could come back before we even have 30,000 folks enrolled and say ‘We have enough. This looks great.’”

Adverse reactions to the vaccine could also trigger the DSMB to stop the trial.

Makers of vaccines in advanced clinical trials in the US are seeking to enroll at least 30,000 volunteers so they can tell whether the vaccine is really safe and protects people from infection. But there could be enough data even before 30,000 people are enrolled, Mango said.

“What we are really looking for is cases — the number of positive cases from both the placebo and the vaccine group,” Mango said. “Once we get to 150 or so, statistically that is significant regardless of how many enrollees we have in the trial."

“That may be surprising to some, but really the number of events that have to occur … is relatively small,” added US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

3:47 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Turkey records highest coronavirus death toll since May

From CNN’s Gul Tuysuz in Istanbul

Turkey announced 36 new coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, according to the Turkish health ministry. This marks the highest daily number of fatalities since mid-May.

The country's daily positives of Covid-19 cases have been on an upward trajectory, hitting a high of 1,517 for the first time since June, according to the health ministry's numbers.  

Turkey has increased it testing capacity over the last week and currently tests more than 100,000 people per day, according to the ministry's numbers.

“Our active cases and critical condition patients are on the rise… the key to preventing deaths and lowering the number of patients is adherence to the preventative measures,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted, along with the daily coronavirus number update.  

Earlier this week as a part of new measures, the Turkish interior ministry issued a limitation for wedding and engagement parties. In 14 provinces including Ankara, Bursa, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Mardin, Urfa, and Van wedding parties are limited to an hour and must be held without dancing or food and beverage service, except for water. 

Engagement, bachelorette and circumcision parties have been banned in the listed provinces, according to the interior ministry. 

Government offices throughout the country will not be able to serve beverages, except for bottled water, the ministry said. Turkish government offices traditionally have tea and coffee services. 

3:39 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio says schools will start on time

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, speaks during a news conference at New Bridges Elementary School in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday, August 19.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, speaks during a news conference at New Bridges Elementary School in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday, August 19. Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools are still on track to start in-person learning on Sept. 10.

Teachers will stick with the same students through both in-person and remote instruction, de Blasio said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” Friday.

Asked whether the schools around the city had enough substitute teachers and were adept technologically at handling remote learning needs, de Blasio said the pool for substitute teachers “was ready” and that teachers “have four months of remote teaching under their belt."

The mayor expressed anger and frustration when asked about how outdoor schooling would be funded, saying “so many people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.” He said schools could use football fields, courtyards and spaces on closed-off streets that would serve no extra cost to the city's Department of Education.

Youth sports will also return on or around Sept. 15, with a permit required to restart leagues. Leagues receiving permits will be given three strikes of violating health and Covid-19 guidelines before having their play suspended.

 

2:59 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Operation Warp Speed to continue if Trump loses election, White House official says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Operation Warp Speed, the White House's race for a Covid-19 vaccine, will likely continue if Donald Trump loses the presidential election in November, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said during a phone call with reporters on Friday. 

"The vast majority of folks who are working on Operation Warp Speed are not political appointees of the Trump administration," Mango said, mentioning some officials such as Dr. Janet Woodcock, who heads the drug approval branch at the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance.

“Folks like Dr. Messonnier and others who are career officials at the CDC,” Mango added. Dr. Nancy Messonnier is director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC.

3:01 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

CDC director says pharmacists will be "important component" of distributing Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds a protective mask while testifying during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds a protective mask while testifying during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington. Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

Pharmacists will be able to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to children and adults once a vaccine becomes available, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a phone call with reporters on Friday.

Last week, the US Health and Human Services Department said it would authorize any state-licensed pharmacist to administer childhood vaccines. The department said it had amended the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to allow all state-licensed pharmacists to immunize children over the age of 3.

"It was one of the really important decisions to engage pharmacists to be able to distribute vaccines," Redfield said on Friday.

"It’s really been one of the most important public health decisions for getting vaccine distributed to the American public," Redfield said. "We do see that pharmacies will continue to be an important component of our vaccine distribution plan."

2:39 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

White House official: "We're absolutely on track" with vaccine

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said that the White House's Operation Warp Speed was "absolutely on track... if not a little ahead" in the race to have a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

"There are no guarantees in science but what Operation Warp Speed does is maximize the probability of having at least one vaccine," Mango said during a phone call with reporters on Friday.

"We’re very pleased where we are right now," Mango added. "We obviously have two of our six vaccine candidates that are in phase three clinical trials right now. ... We will have four vaccines in phase three clinical trials by the middle of next month."

Mango added that manufacturing is already underway for three vaccines.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has previously said he's "cautiously optimistic" the US could have safe and effective vaccine in late fall or early winter.

2:27 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

France sees biggest rise in daily coronavirus cases since late March

From Pierre Buet and Alexander Durie in Paris

A medical staff member collects a swab sample from a woman at a Covid-19 mobile test center on the beach in Saint-Nic, France, on August 12.
A medical staff member collects a swab sample from a woman at a Covid-19 mobile test center on the beach in Saint-Nic, France, on August 12. Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

French health authorities said the coronavirus pandemic is "growing exponentially" as they reported a record an increase of 7,379 new daily cases on Friday — the biggest increase since late March.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has only been one day with more cases recorded in 24 hours — that was on March 31, during the height of the pandemic in France. The daily increase in cases has tripled in less than a week, as French health authorities recorded less than 2,000 new cases on Monday.

Testing has greatly increased in France within the past several weeks. There were 893,146 tests reported in the past seven days, while there were 554,855 tests reported during the week of Aug. 10-16. The number of positive tests is also on the rise, rising from 3.7% on Wednesday to 3.9% today, according to French health ministry data. At the end of lockdown in early May, this number was at around 1%, according to Health Minister Olivier Véran.

In a news conference Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex had warned that "now is the time to intervene because the growth of the epidemic can be exponential if we don't react."

French health authorities also warn that "hospital indicators are on the rise."

As of Friday, 4,535 people are hospitalized, the same number as on Thursday, and 387 are in intensive care units. About 70% of ICU patients are in the Paris area, Northern France and the Mediterranean regions of Provence and Occitanie.

A total of 30,596 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic, according to French health ministry data.

2:23 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, group says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

The coronavirus pandemic has had an especially harsh impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and they need special support, a group of specialists said Friday.

Many of these people have lost the critical support they need and cannot advocate for themselves, Dr. John Constantino, director of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and a group of colleagues at other institutions said. 

Web-based technology often is not helpful to them and many cannot understand what they need to do to protect themselves form the virus.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities were disproportionately isolated prior to the pandemic, and the intensification of that isolation stands only to weaken the community for all citizens,” they wrote in a letter to the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Most people with intellectual and developmental disabilities require in-person care or critical therapeutic support in their living environments, the authors say, something that many of them have temporarily lost access to during the pandemic.

Restoring this must be a first priority, but in-person staff must ensure that they protect their clients from Covid-19 infection. 

While there has been emerging guidance on the safe care and support of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it is still evolving and has not reached all the places where it is “desperately needed.”

The authors also said that it is not always presented in a way that can be fully comprehended by the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

1:58 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

More than 181,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Haley Brink

Vehicles wait in line at a Covid-19 testing center outside Nissan Stadium on August 3 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Vehicles wait in line at a Covid-19 testing center outside Nissan Stadium on August 3 in Nashville, Tennessee. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

There have been at least 5,889,652 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 181,186 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Friday, Johns Hopkins has recorded 21,867 new cases and 362 reported deaths. 

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