September 1 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020
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2:48 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

US government offers $250 million for a PR company to "defeat despair" during the pandemic

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen and Maggie Fox

A general view of US Health and Human Services Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
A general view of US Health and Human Services Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

The US Health and Human Services Department wants to win the hearts and minds of Americans in the fight against coronavirus -- and it's willing to pay big money for it. 

Politico reported Monday that HHS was planning to offer a $250 million contract to a communications firm to help it “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the pandemic.

“By harnessing the power of traditional, digital and social media, the sports and entertainment industries, public health associations, and other creative partners to deliver important public health and economic information the administration can defeat despair, inspire hope and achieve national recovery,” a performance work document sent to several communications firms reads, according to Politico. 

Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, declined to confirm the contract amount. “The procurement process to produce PSAs with our scientists and doctors is ongoing so I can’t comment further,” Caputo said. 

Earlier this month Caputo told CNN that the department was working on a series of public service announcements that would feature celebrities talking with top US health officials such as National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

2:15 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

South Korea surpasses 20,000 total cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Gawon Bae in Seoul

A medical worker in a booth takes a coronavirus test swab sample from a woman on August 26 in Seoul, South Korea.
A medical worker in a booth takes a coronavirus test swab sample from a woman on August 26 in Seoul, South Korea. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea confirmed 235 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, raising the national total to 20,182 infections since the pandemic began.

Of Monday's new cases, 222 were locally transmitted, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll stands at 324.

Of the country's total cases, more than 15,000 have recovered so far. Some 4,660 patients remain in active quarantine, and 104 are in critical condition.

There has been a recent gradual decline in new daily cases -- but this could be due to the lower amounts of testing during the weekend, said Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho.

The Seoul metropolitan area remains under level 2 social distancing restrictions; the full effect of these rules will become more clear in the coming days, Yoon said.

Under the level 2 rules, gatherings like weddings, funerals, concerts and recreational outings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. People are also banned from eating at convenience stores after 9 p.m. and are only allowed to have takeout and delivery.

2:02 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

At least 615,000 people have registered for Hong Kong's voluntary Covid-19 testing program

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

A staff member (left) gestures to people waiting in a queue at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing centre in Hong Kong, on September 1.
A staff member (left) gestures to people waiting in a queue at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing centre in Hong Kong, on September 1. Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

At least 615,000 people have registered for Hong Kong's free mass voluntary Covid-19 testing program, according to the city's government.

The mass testing began on Tuesday local time for all residents in the city of 7.5 million.

Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, said Tuesday that the government does not have a "quantifiable target" for the number of participants but appealed to the public "to encourage as many citizens to come forward." 

In a news conference, Lam said that the relatively low number of participants wasn't a reflection of the government's popularity, but instead had to do with people not understanding the program -- so "they try to cause worries and fears among the people."

"The purpose of the program is to identify hidden carriers as far as possible in order to reduce the spread of the virus, and in turn to cut the transmission route," Lam said.

Hong Kong's testing program has sparked controversy and even boycott, just as the city is battling its third wave of coronavirus.

Watch:

1:23 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

US reports nearly 34,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States recorded 33,888 new cases of Covid-19 and 594 virus-related deaths on Monday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 6,030,587 infections and 183,597 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:

12:55 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine becomes third to begin Phase 3 trials in the US

From CNN's Andrea Kane

British drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday it has started Phase 3 trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in the United States, becoming the third company to start late-stage trials of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, has the backing of the US federal government. Rivals Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTec already have Phase 3 trials under way, also with federal government funding.

AstraZeneca said it is "recruiting up to 30,000 adults aged 18 years or over from diverse racial, ethnic and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions, including those living with HIV, and who are at increased risk of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus."

Participants will receive two active or placebo doses, spaced four weeks apart. Currently, Phase 3 trials of AstraZeneca's vaccine are going on in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. Trials are also planned for Japan and Russia.

AstraZeneca says it intends to enroll more than 50,000 volunteers globally, including 30,000 in the US, as well as participants in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Read the full story:

12:26 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Japan confirms 434 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Japan confirmed 434 new coronavirus cases and 17 virus-related deaths nationwide on Monday, according to the country's Health Ministry.

Of the new cases, 100 were in the capital Tokyo.

Monday's figures raise the country's total to 69,104 cases and 1,309 deaths.

As of Monday, 236 patients are critically ill with the virus, according to the Health Ministry.

12:01 a.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Mississippi governor extends Covid-19 order ahead of Labor Day

From CNN’s Micha Palmer 

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks at a news conference on Monday, August 31.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks at a news conference on Monday, August 31. Pool

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that he is extending his Covid-19 mitigation orders.

With Labor Day right around the corner, the governor urged people to continue social distancing and wearing masks.

The extended restrictions come with one change -- Reeves will increase the number of spectators allowed at school sports and extracurricular events to 25%.

Infections at school: In the past week alone, there have been 123 preliminary cases of coronavirus among teachers and staff, and 251 cases among students, said Dr. Paul Byers of Mississippi's Health Department.

There are now more than 3,400 students and 450 teachers under quarantine as a result of exposure, Byers said.

He added that the state's daily cases may be slightly going up, “but it’s not as dramatic as the increases that we saw, especially after the Fourth of July, and we certainly hope that we don’t see a similar picture after Labor Day.”

11:16 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 in the Intensive Care Unit at de La Samaritana University Hospital on August 28 in Bogota, Colombia.
A health worker prepares to treat a patient with Covid-19 in the Intensive Care Unit at de La Samaritana University Hospital 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. 

11:16 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.