Google shares Covid-19 symptoms search data to help in disease research
From CNN’s Joe Youorski and Brandon Miller
Google search's data visualization programs now include a platform to see what coronavirus-related symptoms have been looked up by users around the world, the US, states, and counties.
“We hope this data could lead to a better understanding of the pandemic’s impact,” Google said in a blog post Wednesday. “Using the dataset, researchers can develop models and create visualizations based on the popularity of symptom-related searches.”
Google has for years tried to refine algorithms to come up with ways to predict disease activity based on people’s searches for symptoms.
Google search has previously offered data to help researchers studying health impacts from heatwaves, prediction models for the seasonal flu and monitor Lyme disease incidence.
7:12 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Brazil reports more than 46,000 new coronavirus infections
From Fernanda Wenzel and Leighton Rowell
Brazil’s health ministry reported 46,934 new Covid-19 cases and an additional 1,184 virus-related deaths on Wednesday.
These new figures bring the country’s total number of cases to 3,997,865 and its death toll to 123,780.
Some context: According to figures released by the health ministry during a news conference on Wednesday, the number of deaths from coronavirus reported last week in Brazil reflected an 11% decrease from the week prior.
Brazil has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the world, behind only the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
5:59 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
University of Missouri has more than 450 students with Covid-19
From CNN's Raja Razek
The University of Missouri has reported that it has 483 active student cases of Covid-19.
According to the university's Covid-19 dashboard, a total of 683 student Covid-19 cases, which includes active cases, have been reported since the university began receiving data from the Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services on Aug. 19.
"If a student tests positive in Boone County, but isolates or quarantines outside of the county, they are no longer tracked as active or recovered cases within Boone County. Likewise, if a student tests positive in another county, but chooses to isolate in Boone County, that student will not be reflected in cumulative cases," the university said on its website.
5:56 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
CDC director says his job is "a real battle" against Covid-19
From CNN's Andrea Kane
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contrasted his first two years as head of the agency with the last eight months in an interview with Yahoo Finance today.
“I will say the first couple years at CDC… it was the time of my life,” Robert Redfield said. “I love science, I love data, I love service and I'm surrounded by over 20,000 men and women that are trying to use their skills to improve the human condition day after day. And I saw progress.”
The last eight to nine months, however, have been like being in the middle of "a real battle," he said.
"This is one of the most critical, complicated public health crises that this nation has faced in over a century… and to sort of be in the middle of that, it's a big effort. I mean it's an honor, but I sure liked the first two years a lot more because I was seeing meaningful progress in making meaningful improvements in a variety of areas,” Redfield said, listing drug use disorder, Ebola outbreaks, the AIDS epidemic, nicotine use in children and maternal mortality.
Redfield recalled the time in late February and early March when he received the first models of the pandemic.
“It was a very difficult time for me because those models — by very smart people in my agency — told me that they anticipated one million to 2.4 million people would die from Covid before October 2020. That was catastrophic, if you start to think about that. I think we all committed to do all we can to try to save human life,” he said.
5:58 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Los Angeles to allow K-12 in-person learning for students most in need
From CNN's Jon Passantino
Los Angeles County health officials announced that K-12 schools can resume limited on-campus teaching for students most in need of in-person learning.
The decision allows for K-12 students with Individualized education plans, those requiring English as a second language instruction and others needing assessments or specialized in-school services to return to campuses for in-person learning starting on Sept. 14.
“This will get children who are in the need most of in-person learning back into the classroom,” Los Angeles County Health officer Muntu Davis said.
Under state guidelines, schools located in counties in California’s first reopening tier, where coronavirus risk remains “widespread,” cannot reopen to all students for in-person learning.
However, state rules allow for school officials to apply for a waiver to reopen grades K-6 only to students if the coronavirus daily case rate falls below 200 per 100,000 residents, a metric Los Angeles County now meets.
On Wednesday, health officials said they will not yet be opening the waiver program for elementary schools while it monitors the implementation of the new K-12 in-person learning program for students with specialized needs.
5:29 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Kentucky governor urges people to keep gatherings small over Labor Day weekend
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Gov. Andy Beshear has urged Kentuckians to keep gatherings small over the upcoming Labor Day weekend, which will also feature the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
“I need you to keep your gatherings small, 10 or less, and that includes Oaks, that includes Derby, that includes Labor Day weekend,” Beshear said. “This is the only year we're asking you to do that and it's in the middle of a pandemic. I'm going to be doing it too. I made a decision that since you can't be out doing things that you want to, I shouldn't be either.”
On Tuesday, the governor announced that he would not be presenting the trophy at the Kentucky Derby in person this year and would instead be watching the race from home, with a planned video presentation of the trophy.
“So please, let's not look back and say something as special as what this weekend can be, turned into the time when this virus got out of control,” Beshear added.
5:18 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Turkey reports more than 1,500 new Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row
From CNN's Gul Tuysuz
Turkey reported 1,596 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to the Turkish health ministry, making this the third day the country has recorded more than 1,500 cases.
The Turkish health minister warned that the capital city of Ankara now leads with more cases than any other province, including the previous hotspot of Istanbul.
“Ankara has more than twice the number of cases as Istanbul,” Turkish health minister Fahrettin Koca said during his weekly coronavirus briefing to the press on Wednesday.
Last week, Turkey reintroduced remote and flexible hours for government workers who are densely based out of the capital.
While confirmed cases in Istanbul and the Aegean region have stabilized, Central Anatolia and Southeast Turkey are experiencing surges in cases, Koca said.
5:03 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Los Angeles allows limited reopening of indoor hair salons and barbershops
From CNN's Jon Passantino
Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday announced that hair salons and barber shops are allowed to reopen for limited indoor operations, bringing those businesses in California’s most populous county in line with the state’s sweeping new reopening guidelines.
The announcement allows hair salons and barber shops in the county to immediately reopen with 25% indoor capacity, provided they are in compliance with health protocols to reduce spread of the coronavirus, which includes the use of face masks.
The daily new coronavirus case rate in Los Angeles County has been reduced to 10 per 100,000, health officials said, placing it in the first tier of the state’s reopening plan, where viral risk is considered “widespread.”
In order for the county to advance to the second tier, where risk is considered “substantial,” it must reduce the infection rate to no more than seven daily new cases per 100,000.
“The virus is widespread in our community,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said. “The improvements we see do not mean victory.”
By the numbers: The county reported 51 new coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, two of which were between the ages of 18 to 29, and three who were between the ages of 30 and 49, for a total of 5,878 deaths.
Health officials urged the public to be especially careful to avoid crowds and gatherings over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
4:42 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020
Coronavirus deaths are really coronavirus deaths, CDC affirms
From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Maggie Fox
Coronavirus deaths are just that – deaths caused by Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.
President Trump has retweeted social media conspiracy theories saying that only a small percentage of the people reported to have died from coronavirus really did die from the virus. They have pointed to death certificates that list other underlying causes.
But that doesn’t mean the patients did not die from coronavirus, Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at CDC, said in a statement.
“In 94% of deaths with Covid-19, other conditions are listed in addition to Covid-19. These causes may include chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension,” Anderson said in the statement, provided to CNN by the CDC. “In 6% of the death certificates that list Covid-19, only one cause or condition is listed."
“The underlying cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention Covid-19, Covid-19 is listed as the underlying cause of death," the statement added.
Some context: Other top health officials, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that CDC mortality statistics are accurate, and have explained that just because a death certificate lists other conditions, it doesn’t mean one of those conditions caused a death.
What the other conditions do tell doctors, Anderson said, is that people who have chronic conditions are more likely to suffer severe disease and to die from coronavirus.
Death certificates may also include acute conditions caused by the viral infection, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure.
By the numbers: According to Johns Hopkins University, which uses independent data for its reporting on coronavirus cases and deaths, there have been more than 6 million coronavirus cases in the US and more than 184,000 people have died from it as of late Wednesday afternoon.
CDC data shows that as of Aug. 22, 161,392 death certificates listed coronavirus as a cause of death. CDC data often lags behind Johns Hopkins data.