August 31 coronavirus news

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11:27 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Colombia reports more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases as unemployment soars

From CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota and Leighton Rowell in Atlanta

A health worker prepares to treat a patient with Covid-19 on August 28 in Bogota, Colombia.
A health worker prepares to treat a patient with Covid-19 on August 28 in Bogota, Colombia. Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

Colombia’s Health Ministry reported 7,230 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday -- the lowest daily increase since August 4. 

This marks the country’s fifth consecutive day reporting fewer than 10,000 new cases. 

It also reported 299 new virus-related deaths.

Monday's figures bring Colombia's total to 615,168 cases and 19,663 deaths, according to the ministry.

Rising unemployment: As the number of new infections declines, unemployment is on the rise in Colombia.

The unemployment rate topped 20% in July -- double the rate reported in July 2019, according to the country’s national statistics agency.

On Saturday, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez announced the government’s plan to open a credit line worth $370 million for the bankrupt state airline Avianca to help prevent further layoffs.

After overtaking Mexico on Thursday, August 27, Colombia now trails only Brazil and Peru with the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

11:01 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Global survey shows 74% of people are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A patient receives a coronavirus vaccine as part of a study at the Research Centers of America on August 13 in Hollywood, Florida.
A patient receives a coronavirus vaccine as part of a study at the Research Centers of America on August 13 in Hollywood, Florida. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

About three-quarters of people surveyed around the world say they’d be willing to get a coronavirus vaccine if one came out, with the most enthusiasm in China and the least in Russia.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum, surveyed nearly 20,000 people across 27 countries.

The survey showed:

  • 74% of all adults surveyed would get the vaccine if it were available.
  • China had the highest support for vaccination, with 97% of those surveyed saying they would get immunized.
  • Russians showed the least interest, with just 54% saying they would.
  • 67% of Americans said they’d get the vaccine while 33% expressed little or no interest. Of those who said they would refuse, 60% said side-effects were their biggest worry and 37% said they did not think it will be effective.
  • Only 40% of all respondents expect a vaccine to be available this year.

Experts expressed concern that more than a quarter of people worldwide would not get the vaccine.

“The 26% shortfall in vaccine confidence is significant enough to compromise the effectiveness of rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine,” said Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum, in a statement.
10:45 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Mexico nears 600,000 total cases of coronavirus

From CNN’s Karol Suárez in Mexico City 

Mexico reported 3,719 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 599,560. 

The country’s Health Ministry also reported 256 new deaths. The death toll stands at 64,414.

Mexico has recorded the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America, behind Brazil, Peru and Colombia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

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

The US has reported more than 31,000 new Covid-19 cases so far today

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

Mend Urgent Care workers perform drive-up Covid-19 tests at Woodbury University on August 24 in Burbank, California.
Mend Urgent Care workers perform drive-up Covid-19 tests at Woodbury University on August 24 in Burbank, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The United States has reported 31,313 new coronavirus cases and 560 virus-related deaths so far on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The national total now stands at 6,028,617 Covid-19 cases and 183,579 fatalities. 

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

Follow our live tracker of US cases:

8:09 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Premier pleads for Quebecers to be careful after more than 100 students and staff are in isolation

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

The Quebec government says it will not hesitate to shut down schools again if Quebecers do not show more caution in the coming weeks.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault issued the warning Monday after health officials confirmed more than 100 staff and students are currently in quarantine or isolation as a precaution after possible exposure to Covid-19 in schools.

“There is a challenge ahead of us, and it is important for us to be more disciplined,” said the premier in French, adding that some Quebecers were now ‘slacking’ on some pandemic rules.

"Above all, I do not want to close the schools," said Legault, adding, "We owe this to our children. In order for our children to stay in school, we have to be careful."

Provincial officials in Quebec confirmed Monday that 81 students in Quebec City are in isolation after three cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at two high schools.

And in the Laurentians region of Quebec 4 teachers have tested positive for Covid-19, sending more than 30 staff and students into isolation for 2 weeks as a precaution.

Most of Canada, including Quebec, has been experiencing a recent spike in cases.

Earlier in the summer, Canada averaged about 350 new positive coronavirus cases per day, but that number has increased to an average of 435 over the last week, according to Canadian public health officials.

7:21 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Georgia governor extends coronavirus public gathering restrictions for two more weeks

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk through City Market in Savannah, Georgia, on Wednesday, August 19.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk through City Market in Savannah, Georgia, on Wednesday, August 19. Colin Douglas Gray/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended statewide limits on public gatherings for another two weeks.

The order continues to ban public gatherings of 50 or more people unless they can maintain six feet of social distancing. The new order announced Monday expires at the end of the day on Sept. 15.

Despite the extension, the governor’s office says the state is making progress in fighting coronavirus.

“Currently, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia are at their lowest since July 6,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Cases reported yesterday were at their lowest point since June 22.”

The governor also extended the state’s general state of emergency through Oct. 10.

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

AstraZeneca says it will “follow the science” as it enters Phase 3 trials in the US

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

British drug maker AstraZeneca – which announced Monday the US launch of Phase 3 trials for its coronavirus vaccine – said its “core values to follow the science" and "put patients first," according to a statement.

The statement come on the same day that the World Health Organization cautioned countries against rushing to develop coronavirus vaccines and to use great care in granting emergency use authorization. Those remarks appeared to be directed toward China, Russia and the United States.

Both China and Russia say they will start deploying vaccines before completing late-stage clinical trials, and US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn has said if the US gets enough data from advanced stage trials, it might be possible to authorize a vaccine before the trials are completed.

In its statement, AstraZeneca said, “At the heart of AstraZeneca’s core values is to ‘follow the science’ and adhere to the highest scientific and clinical standards, making the safety and efficacy of the vaccine of paramount importance. The Company’s submissions for market authorisation will meet the stringent requirements established by regulators everywhere around the world.” 

AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with the University of Oxford, also said it will enroll more than 50,000 volunteers globally, including 30,000 in the United States, as well as participants in “Latin America, Asia, Europe, Russia and Africa that will provide data for ethnically diverse populations.”

In US trials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he wants to see minorities enrolled at levels that are at least double their percentages in the population, or roughly 65%. 

Neither Moderna nor Pfizer/BioNTech – the two other drugmakers with coronavirus vaccine candidates in large-scale phase 3 trials in the US – have finished enrolling their stated goals of 30,000 volunteers each.

7:04 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Brazil's Rio de Janeiro to reopen cultural centers tomorrow

From Journalist Rodrigo Pedroso

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is set to reopen cultural centers such as museums, amusement parks and libraries on Tuesday as the city enters the first part of the final phase in its reopening plan, the city announced Monday.

Theaters, stadiums and sunbathing on beaches will stay closed.

The move comes after Rio saw a decrease in new Covid-19 infections and deaths over the past two weeks. If cases and deaths continue to decline, the city expects to enter the second part of phase six, phase 6B, on Oct. 1.  

The latest numbers: On Monday, the state of Rio de Janeiro reported at least 329 new Covid-19 cases, bringing its total count to approximately 223,631.

The state’s Health Ministry also reported at least 38 new deaths, bringing that total to approximately 16,065 people.

The Rio de Janeiro state is the third-most severely impacted by the pandemic in the country, to date. Brazil is second only to the United States in terms of the highest total number of coronavirus cases and deaths globally.  

6:56 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Florida governor and White House advisor discourage testing asymptomatic individuals

From CNN’s Renee Baharaeen

White House Coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas
White House Coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas The Florida Governor's Office

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and White House Coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas discouraged testing individuals with no coronavirus symptoms at a Monday roundtable event in Tallahassee, Florida. 

This comes after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised testing guidelines last week. The new recommendations suggest asymptomatic people may not need to be tested for Covid-19, even if they've been in close contact with an infected person.

“We really have to be careful about testing, and I think the CDC guideline now is very clear that asymptomatic people – that’s not a priority for a test. The CDC is not saying you cannot get a test. They’re just saying there’s a rationale for getting a test, and if you are concerned, you can contact your doctor or your local health official,” Atlas said.  

But, some experts are still concerned about asymptomatic spread. 

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN “I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is.”

Atlas said that although asymptomatic spread can occur, symptomatic individuals are “super spreaders” of the virus.