August 28 coronavirus news

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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. 

1:34 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

New study suggests children might silently spread coronavirus

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Children carry coronavirus in their noses and throats for weeks, even if they don’t show any symptoms, researchers in South Korea reported Friday. 

Although their study does not necessarily demonstrate that children are transmitting the virus to others, they suggested this might be responsible for “silent spread’ of the virus in communities.

"In this case series study, inapparent infections in children may have been associated with silent COVID-19 transmission in the community," the researchers, from various institutions in South Korea, wrote in the study.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Friday, included data on 91 children in South Korea diagnosed with Covid-19 between Feb. 18 and March 31.

Among those patients, 20 of them — or 22% — did not show any obvious symptoms and remained asymptomatic throughout the study. Other patients experienced fever, cough, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of smell or taste, among other symptoms. The duration of their symptoms appeared to vary, ranging from one to 36 days.

But genetic material from the virus was detectable in the children for a mean of 17.6 days. Virus could be found in the children who had no symptoms for 14 days on average.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the children were spreading virus, Calum Semple, a professor in child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool who was not involved in the study, said in a statement distributed by the UK-based Science Media Center.

“The presence of the virus genetic material in swabs the respiratory tract need not equate with transmission, particularly in people who do not have important symptoms such as cough and sneeze,” Semple said.

It's possible that virus persisted in the children for even longer than the time documented. And more research also is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a larger group of children from other parts of the world.

The data showed that only 8.5% of those patients with symptoms were diagnosed with Covid-19 at the time their symptoms began. Most — 66.2% — of those with symptoms had symptoms that were not recognized before they were diagnosed and 25.4% developed symptoms after they were diagnosed.

1:31 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Texas Christian University reports over 400 cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Texas Christian University in Fort Worth is reporting 447 active cases of Covid-19 among students and university employees, according to the latest data posted on the schools coronavirus dashboard.

More than 300 cases were reported within the last week, the dashboard shows.

In a letter to students posted Thursday, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs said that the availability of isolation beds was at 42%.

“We literally cannot keep up with the pace of the spread we are experiencing this week,” Kathy Cavins-Tull said in the letter. 

The university continues to see large gatherings both on and off campus, Cavins-Tull said, contributing to what she said was “a great deal” of the spread.

 

1:10 p.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Spain reports highest increase of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro in Madrid

Spain recorded 9,779 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest number since the pandemic began in the country, the Spanish health ministry’s data showed. The total number of cases in Spain has now reached 439,286.

A health ministry's spokesperson told CNN that although the cases were notified on Friday, "some of them are not cases diagnosed in the last 24 hours. They are notifications of cases diagnosed in previous days."

Spain has been reporting a high number of cases in the last few weeks, matching the daily increases the country saw during the peak of the pandemic. 

The Covid-19 death toll in the country rose by 15 in the last 24 hours and 129 in the last seven days. A total of 29,011 people have died from coronavirus in Spain to date.