August 31 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020
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2:51 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Dozens of students suspended as coronavirus outbreak emerges at New York college, chancellor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

State University of New York College at Oneonta.
State University of New York College at Oneonta. CNY Collection/Alamy

A large party is suspected as the origin for a coronavirus outbreak at New York's SUNY Oneonta, which has led to a halt on in-person classes for at least two weeks.

Dozens of students have been suspended for violating the code of conduct, chancellor Jim Malatras told CNN's John King.

“Socializing is great, but we have to do this differently. We have to control this virus. And I’m going to keep reinforcing that but also enforcing discipline because we can't have this get out of control across the state,” he said.

“We noticed that there was a large party early last week. It resulted in several Covid cases. Twenty Covid cases became 105 cases. We stepped in immediately,” Malatras said, adding that SUNY’s upstate medical facility is doing 75,000 tests a week through the SUNY system.

The outbreak shows that the pandemic is not over yet, Malatras added.

“Covid still exists. We can't rest on our laurels to say we're out of the woods. This, I hope, serves as a wake-up call that one party can lead to more than a hundred cases,” he said.

It’s day one on the job for Malatras, who previously worked on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s panel of advisers to combat the coronavirus crisis. Cuomo will send in a team of 70 contact tracers and eight case investigators in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

To reinforce the messaging and discipline on campus, Malatras said he will focus on how everyone plays a role in this pandemic.

“Individual responsibility for the greater collective good. One individual's action can impact everyone on our college community,” he said. “We have to instill in people that it's not just your actions. Your actions have consequences on everyone else. It could impact our faculty and get them sick. It can impact the student body population so we're going to keep reinforcing that message.”
12:58 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

New York state asking Congress for federal funding

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, in New York City.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with several unions, is sending a letter to the New York congressional delegation today pleading for federal funding to address budget shortfalls.

“There is no way that the states and the local governments can cover the deficit. There is no combination of savings, efficiencies, tax increases that could ever come near covering the deficit,” said Cuomo Monday.

Among the budget shortfalls is $30 billion for New York state and $9 billion for New York City.  

12:18 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Florida reports lowest number of daily new coronavirus cases since June 15

From CNN's Tina Burnside, Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

The state of Florida is reporting 1,885 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, marking the lowest single day infections since June 15, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health. 

On June 15, the state recorded 1,758 coronavirus cases. 

To date, there are 623,471 total Covid-19 cases statewide, with 68 additional deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 11,187, according to the department of health. 

12:14 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Sweden has not reported any Covid-19 deaths for more than a week

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic, in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 27.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic, in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 27. Janerik Henriksson/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Sweden has not reported any deaths from Covid-19 for more than a week, data from the country’s Public Health Agency shows. According to the Swedish Public Health Agency's data last updated on Monday, the last fatality was recorded on Aug. 23. 

In the past 24 hours, the country has reported 43 new Covid-19 cases. 

Sweden has been seen as an outlier in the way it has handled the pandemic because of its seemingly relaxed approach, which imposed only light restrictions on daily life compared to other European nations. 

In total, the country has reported 5,808 deaths from the novel coronavirus, which corresponds to 576.38 deaths per million. 

This is more than the United States (553.07), but less than other European countries where the death toll has also been high, such as Spain (620.49), the United Kingdom (611.3) or Italy (586.77), according to information from research platform Our World in Data, which is based at the University of Oxford.

Sweden, however, has a much lower population density than all of these Covid-19 hotspots. 

The number of deaths per million in the country is much higher than some of its closest neighbors, with similar low population densities, namely Denmark (107.73), Finland (60.46), Norway (48.7) or Estonia (48.25).

Remember: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Sweden should not be America's model for pandemic response. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Gottlieb wrote that the United States should continue focusing on containing the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

12:03 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

US surpasses 6 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Amanda Watts

A healthcare worker uses a swab to test a man at a Covid-19 drive-in testing location in Houston, Texas.
A healthcare worker uses a swab to test a man at a Covid-19 drive-in testing location in Houston, Texas. Adrees Latif/Reuters

There have been at least 6,002,615 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 183,203 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

JHU recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on January 21. Here's how we got to more than six million:

  • It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million cases on April 28. 
  • It then took 43 more days to reach 2 million cases on June 10.
  • It took another 28 days to surpass 3 million cases on July 8.
  • It took the US only 15 additional days to surpass 4 million cases on July 23.
  • It took the US 17 days to go over 5 million cases. 
  • It has taken the nation 22 days since then to reach 6 million cases. 

Only two other countries in the world have over 1 million reported Covid-19 cases – Brazil with roughly 3,862,000 cases and India with 3,621,000 cases.

11:18 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Cell phone location data could help predict Covid-19 trends, new research finds

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Cell phone location data could be useful when it comes to predicting future trends in Covid-19 cases, according to new research published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. 

“Perhaps the most important observation of this study was that a decrease in activity at the workplace, transit stations, and retail locations and an increase in activity at the place of residence was associated with a significant decline in Covid-19 cases at 5, 10 and 15 days,” said the researchers, led by Dr. Shiv Sehra at Harvard Medical School.

For example, counties with the greatest use of cell phones in residential locations had a 19% lower growth rate of new cases at 15 days compared with those counties that had the lowest level of home usage.

The researchers also found that activity at grocery stores and areas that were classified as parks was not strongly associated with rates of growth in cases. However, assessing the direct effect of individual activities is difficult, they said.

The researchers used publicly available cell phone location data and new daily reported cases per capita in each US county to evaluate the association between cell phone activity on a given day, in a number of different locations, and the rate of growth in new Covid-19 cases five, 10 and 15 days later.

They found that there was a marked change in activities shortly before stay-at-home orders were issued in individual states, which included less activity in locations outside the home.

Urban counties with higher population levels and higher numbers of cases per capita had a greater increase in cell phone usage inside the home after stay-at-home orders, the researchers found.

However, as the time from the stay-at-home order increased, the use of cell phones at non-residential locations did as well. For example, the researchers said that, on average, there was a 0.5% increase per day at retail locations from the time of the initial stay-at-home order, which suggests “waning adherence to the orders over time.”

Keep in mind: The study did have some limitations, including a potential for selection bias. There could also be other differences at the county level, such as mask mandates during the study period.

11:09 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

New York City delays lay-off notices, mayor says

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

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

New York City will not issue lay-off notices Monday after discussions with municipal unions over the past several days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference today.

It was the municipal labor unions who asked for more time according to the mayor. “They’ve come in good faith” and they want to ask the state legislature to convene to discuss borrowing authority, he added.

The city will hold on issuing the notices on a day-to-day basis.

What happens next: Without help from a stimulus plan from the federal government or borrowing from the state, “That’s put us in a really tough situation where we had to prepare for something we really don’t want to do which is widespread layoffs of city workers” the mayor said.

“Time has been ticking and there has been no resolution from Washington. We’ve looked to Albany so far without results” de Blasio continued. 

“I am hoping that this pause will lead to more progress in Albany because of the intense commitment of labor to getting this done.”

Granting long-term borrowing authority will save 22,000 municipal jobs according to the mayor.

10:32 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Former FDA commissioner says US should not model Sweden's Covid-19 response

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing concerning federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis on October 25, 2017 in Washington.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing concerning federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis on October 25, 2017 in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sweden should not be America's model for pandemic response, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Some people have pointed to Sweden as a successful model for the softening of guidelines – but Gottlieb wrote that the United States should continue focusing on containing the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

"Swedish government officials initially sought to let the virus run largely unchallenged in the general population while taking steps to protect the elderly. The Swedish view was that the country could reach herd immunity without jeopardizing the economy. But holding up Sweden as an enlightened model misreads important parts of its experience," Gottlieb wrote in the op-ed.

"Many Swedes pulled back from normal activities to shelter themselves from infection anyway, even younger and middle-aged people. The country experienced 5,821 Covid deaths in a population the size of North Carolina. And Sweden is far short of herd immunity, even as the country’s economic recovery ranks among the worst in its region," Gottlieb wrote.

"Yet embrace of the 'Swedish model; is based on assumptions that sidestep some of these facts. The biggest misconception is a belief that there’s a large reservoir of Americans who are already immune to Covid," Gottlieb wrote. "Confronting a dangerous pandemic requires containing spread wherever it is reasonably possible. Sensible measures such as universal masking, testing and widespread and rapid contact tracing can help. The best way to protect the vulnerable is to try to protect everyone."

9:38 a.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Nearly 6 million cases of coronavirus have been reported in the US

The US is inching toward 6 million cases of Covid-19. As of this morning, officials have reported more than 5,997,000 cases, according to the latest tally for Johns Hopkins University.

As cases keep ticking up, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, is urging Americans to "do the right thing" until then by wearing masks and social distancing.

Here's a look at the timeline: