Coronavirus USA news summary 16 August: news, cases, deaths and stimulus checks

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Coronavirus USA live updates: news, cases, deaths and stimulus checks, today

Coronavirus USA live: latest news - 16/17 August

US coronavirus latest: 18:00 PT / 21:00 ET on Sunday 16 August (03:00 CEST on Monday 17)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 21,593,607
Deaths: 773,685
Recoveries: 13,594,900

US

Cases:  5,402,803
Deaths: 170,019
Recoveries: 1,833,067

Coronavirus-related stories you might be interested in:

 

The number of deaths in the US from coronavirus increases

 

Expert says best way to get back to work despite coronavirus

LA mayor embraces shift in Covid-19 testing strategy: simplicity and speed

(Reuters) The mayor of the second-largest US city has joined a growing clamor among health experts and politicians for a radical shift in the nation's coronavirus testing strategy - from an emphasis on the utmost accuracy to a focus on speed and simplicity.

The concept envisions mass production and distribution of low-cost, do-it-yourself diagnostic kits based on paper-strip designs that can be used frequently and produce results in minutes, similar to home pregnancy tests.

No lab equipment or special instruments would be required.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarified that its latest isolation guidance did not suggest immunity to Covid-19 re-infection.

Full story: 

Wisconsin

Security fencing is installed around the Wisconsin Center as the city prepares to host the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The convention, which begins on Monday, will be held virtually this year do to the coronavirus pandemic, with only a small number of speakers scheduled to speak from the Wisconsin Center. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

Lightfoot warns young people over recent spike 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot again warned Sunday of rising Covid-19 rates, saying young people are behind the recent uptick.​

Trump administration to push ahead with reopening schools

The White House remains determined to get American children back into the classroom as soon as possible despite the case numbers being reported across the USA: 

Nishikori tests positive for Covid-19 ahead of US Open

(Reuters) Japan's Kei Nishikori said on Sunday he had tested positive for Covid-19 while in Florida - just two weeks ahead of the US Open that begins in New York on Aug. 31.

The 30-year-old former world number four has been staying at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and pulled out of the upcoming Western & Southern Open, a warm-up tournament for many before the Grand Slam.

"This morning while still in Florida, I got tested for Covid-19 and tested positive," Nishikori said in a statement. "I will have to pull out of the Cincinnati tournament at this time.

"We were planning to fly to New York tomorrow but will obviously now stay in Florida."

Meanwhile, world number eight Belinda Bencic became the latest WTA top 10 player to withdraw from this year's US Open, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Also out of the tournament at Flushing Meadows are Ash Barty (one), Bianca Andreescu (six) Elina Svitolina (five) and Kiki Bertens (seven). 

Fire

Firefighters practice drills while waiting to be dispatched during a surge in coronavirus cases in Houston, Texas.

(Picture: Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare)

Mississippi voting rules for pandemic

CBS political reporter, Caitlin Huey-Burns, states that this is 'especially notable because just this week Kentucky reached a bipartisan agreement that the pandemic qualifies as an excuse to vote absentee.'

She adds that 'states are trying to adapt to the times, in real time. Mississippi is not.'

Florida: cases down, fatalities up

Sunday’s Covid-19 dashboard update from the Florida Department of Health featured the lowest new case numbers for Florida and Miami-Dade since June. Florida had 3,579 new cases, 900 of which came from Miami-Dade, the county with the most Covid-19 cases and deaths, by far.

For the novel coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s seen 573,416 cases and 9,587 deaths after another 107 deaths reported Sunday.

Because there tends to be less data collection and entry over the weekend, Sunday case update numbers have been lower than weekdays. Even so, this would be the lowest for the state and Miami-Dade on a Sunday since 21 June, 3,494 and 710, respectively.

Read on

Second stimulus check update: why is there no agreement?

Amid an impasse in negotiations over a coronavirus relief package in the US, Americans' wait for a second stimulus check continues.

Full story:

LA mayor embraces shift in Covid-19 testing strategy: simplicity and speed

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, this week joined a growing clamor among health experts and politicians for a radical shift in the US' coronavirus testing strategy - from an emphasis on the utmost accuracy to a focus on speed and simplicity.

The concept envisions mass production and distribution of low-cost, do-it-yourself diagnostic kits based on paper-strip designs that can be used frequently and produce results in minutes, similar to home pregnancy tests. No lab equipment or special instruments would be required.

"If we get this right, we could be doing as many as a million tests a week using paper-strip testing just here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said, per Fox.

(Reporting from Reuters)

Ventura, Calif

Drive-in concert in Ventura, California

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot performs at a drive-in concert at Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Ventura, California, on Saturday. Due to ongoing coronavirus social-distancing restrictions, drive-in concerts have become a popular way for fans to experience live music amid the pandemic.

(Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images/AFP)

Pelosi considers recalling House over USPS crisis

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering recalling US lawmakers from their August recess to tackle a growing crisis involving the United States Postal Service, Politico has reported.

Ahead of a presidential election in which the USPS is expected to have a crucial role to play in delivering an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats are accusing President Donald Trump of trying to disrupt November’s vote by strangling the postal service.

The newly-appointed postmaster general, Trump donor Louis DeJoy, has overseen a raft of cut-backs to the USPS since his June arrival in the post, leaving the service’s ability to handle the likely high number of postal votes in doubt. 

Trump has repeatedly stated his opposition to mail-in voting, claiming that it leads to increased electoral fraud.

"The president, his cronies and Republicans in Congress continue to wage their all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election," Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Friday.

A Democratic congressional aide has confirmed Politico’s report, Reuters said.

Stimulus check: how to track missing $500 for dependents under 17

The IRS has corrected an error that has seen some Americans receive CARES Act stimulus checks missing the money they were due for qualifying dependents.

Full details:

Arizona school district cancels reopening plans as teachers call in sick

A school district in Arizona has had to cancel its plans to return to in-person learning after large numbers of teachers and staff called in sick amid opposition to the reopening.

The Arizona Republic said 109 of the 600 employees in the J.O. Combs Unified School District informed area administrators that they would not be coming into work for Monday's planned resumption of classes.

"We have received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students," Gregory Wyman, the district superintendent, said in a statement on Friday, per The Guardian.

Kelly Fisher, a kindergarten teacher in Phoenix, told Reuters: "It was great to see J.O. Combs School District came together and used their collective power. I’d love to see a nationwide sick out."

South Korea, US delay military drills over Covid-19 concerns

South Korea and the United States will start their annual joint military drills on Tuesday, in what local media said was a two-day delay after a South Korean officer tested positive for the coronavirus.

The drills will start on Tuesday, "considering the Covid-19 situation", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday.

The training, which had been scheduled to begin on Sunday, was pushed back after the positive test on Friday of the Army officer, who was to have taken part, Yonhap News Agency said.

The combined drills are closely monitored by North Korea, which calls them a “rehearsal for war.” They have been reduced in recent years to facilitate US negotiations aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes.

This year's exercises will be scaled down, not mobilising US-based troops amid Covid-19 restrictions on the travel of US personnel to South Korea.

This year's programme, running to 28 August, will focus on a "combined defence posture", while exercises for the transition of wartime operational control on the Korean peninsula will be "partly conducted", the joint chiefs said in a statement.

This could delay President Moon Jae-in’s plan to take over wartime operational control from the United States before his term ends in 2022, experts say.

South Korea and the United States had cancelled their springtime drills due to the pandemic.

(Text: Reuters)

DNC

Democrats gear up for virtual national convention

A sign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, counts one day until the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which will be an almost entirely virtual event due to the coronavirus.

Originally scheduled to be held at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum in July, the event was postponed to 17 to 20 August because of the ongoing pandemic and moved to the city's Wisconsin Center, where neither delegates nor the party's presidential nominee will actually be in attendance.

Joe Biden is due to formally accept the Democrat nomination for president on Thursday, doing so virtually from his home state of Delaware.

(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Coronavirus live US updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, United States-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which as of 02:15 ET had registered nearly 21.5 million cases and over 771,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, the globe's worst-affected country, there have been just under 5.4 million cases and approximately 170,000 fatalities, JHU states.

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