September 3 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:07 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020
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10:45 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Fauci: It's "conceivable" but not likely vaccine will be ready in October

Source: CNN
Source: CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it's "conceivable" but not likely that there will be a coronavirus vaccine ready by October.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told public health officials around the US to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October. But today, asked about that timeline, Fauci said November or December is more likely.

"These are all guesstimates," he told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

"It is conceivable that you could have it by October, though I don't think that that's likely," Fauci added.

10:10 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine trial should have enough data to know if it works by end of October, CEO says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Albert Bourla said the ongoing clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine has enrolled about 23,000 participants, and some are already getting the second dose of the vaccine. 

Pfizer “should be able to have enough events to say, if the product works or not” by the end of October, Bourla said, speaking on Thursday to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations.

“We have already worked on the rest of the file,” he said, meaning if the vaccine is effective, “we are going to start submitting to the FDA, on a rolling base.”

Bourla said if they are able to determine the vaccine is safe and effective “in the October time frame,” the company could “submit immediately for approval.” 

Pfizer is in the “very advanced stage” of the clinical trial, Bourla said, confirming that as of yesterday, 23,000 patients were enrolled into the study. Pfizer is aiming to enroll 30,000 patients in the Phase 3 trial.

9:54 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Bolivia records more than 100 new Covid-19 deaths in a day for the first time

From CNN's Hira Humayun

Health workers carry the coffin of a Covid-19 victim from the San Jose nursing home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on July 20.
Health workers carry the coffin of a Covid-19 victim from the San Jose nursing home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on July 20. AFP/Getty Images

Bolivia recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 deaths in a day on Wednesday with 102 deaths, according to Bolivian Health Ministry data.

This is the first time that Bolivia has had more than 100 deaths in a single day from the virus. Previously, the highest number of deaths in a day was 92 on Aug. 4 and Aug. 29.

The country’s total death toll from the virus is at least 5,203. There have been a total of 117,928 reported cases, according to the health ministry.

9:47 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

US stocks open lower despite better-than-expected jobless claims report 

From CNN's Anneken S. Tappe

US stocks kicked off the day lower on Thursday, pulling back after a record-breaking session on Wednesday when both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at all-time highs. 

The dip in stocks comes on the heels of a better-than-expected jobless claims report, showing fewer initial and continued claims for unemployment benefits.

That said, claims under the government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program have been on the rise.

 Here is where things stood at the opening:

  • The Dow opened more or less flat.
  • The S&P fell 0.5%.
  • The Nasdaq opened 1.6% lower.
9:31 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

France's recovery plan is the biggest in Europe, official says

From Pierre Bairin in Paris

French Prime Minister Jean Castex speaks during a press conference on September 3, 2020 to present the Government's crisis recovery plan for economy from the Covid-19 pandemic.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex speaks during a press conference on September 3, 2020 to present the Government's crisis recovery plan for economy from the Covid-19 pandemic. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

French prime minister Jean Castex says country's recovery plan, worth 100 billion euro (about $118 billion USD), is the “biggest stimulus package of all European countries."

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, he said the value is the equivalent of 4% of France’s GDP and four times larger than the stimulus package put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. 

The plan — which was announced today and is called "Restart France" — includes 70 measures centered around three major themes: ecological transition (30 billion euros), business competitiveness (35 billion euros) and social and territorial cohesion (35 billion euros).

The plan has a clear emphasis on a green transition of the economy with 11 billion euros for the transport sector including 4.7 billion for improvements of the rail network and 6 billion earmarked for energy-efficient building renovations including 2 billion for peoples’ homes. The hydrogen industry — seen as a key in the transition away from fossil fuels - is set to get two billion euro as part of the two-year stimulus plan.

Castex said the stimulus package would generate 160,000 new jobs by the end of next year. 

The prime minister said no extra household or corporate tax would be levied to pay for this plan but that 40% or 40 billion euros would come from the 750 billion euro EU recovery fund. 

9:20 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Overall prevalence of Covid-19 in Scotland is low, but virus is still spreading, first minister says

From Sharon Braithwaite

Members of the public get tested for Covid-19 at a coronavirus mobile testing centre in West Dunbartonshire on September 3 in Dumbarton, Scotland.
Members of the public get tested for Covid-19 at a coronavirus mobile testing centre in West Dunbartonshire on September 3 in Dumbarton, Scotland. Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland’s coronavirus "R-number" – which represents how quickly the virus is spreading – could be as high as 1.4, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.

A number at that level means that one infected person is transmitting the virus to an average of 1.4 people.

 “We think that the ‘R-number’ in Scotland increased last week and it is probably now above one. Perhaps as high as 1.4,” she said.

“I said recently that the R number is of a slightly less concern when overall prevalence of the virus is low. And overall prevalence of the virus is still low in Scotland right now. But nevertheless, this is a further reminder that the virus is spreading again here just as it is elsewhere in the UK, across Europe and indeed in the wider world.”

8:52 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

WHO Africa prepares Covid-19 vaccination allocation plan

From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi 

Learners go through the regular morning checks on their arrival at the Melpark Primary School in Johannesburg on Thursday, September 3.
Learners go through the regular morning checks on their arrival at the Melpark Primary School in Johannesburg on Thursday, September 3. Denis Farrell/AP

All 54 countries in Africa have expressed interest in a plan to guarantee fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization’s Area Manager in Immunization and Vaccine Development, Dr. Richard Mihigo, says. 

“Once a vaccine is licensed and approved, COVAX aims to secure 220 million doses for the continent” to be distributed to all African countries proportional to population size, according to Mihigo.

The initial doses will cover 20% of Africa's population and prioritize frontline health care workers and vulnerable groups with pre-existing conditions. 

Higher and middle income countries on the continent have agreed to self-finance their doses, but the remaining countries will be eligible to receive financial support through the initiative.

South Africa remains the only country on the continent currently running clinical trials for the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, but other countries including Uganda and Kenya have expressed interest in starting clinical trials, Mihigo added.

“Whenever an effective and safe vaccine is available, it will be available to all the people of Africa at the same time as the developed world,” Mihigo said. 

8:47 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

As stimulus deadlock continues, Schumer calls GOP proposal as "emaciated"

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a letter to his Democratic colleagues, ripped into the forthcoming scaled-back Senate Republican stimulus proposal, underscoring the massive gulf that continues to exist between the parties in the negotiations for a new coronavirus relief package.

"Republicans may call their proposal 'skinny,' but it would be more appropriate to call it 'emaciated,'" Schumer wrote Thursday to his members. "Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people."

The letter sets the stage for a partisan battle that will re-commence in earnest when senators return from the summer recess period next week. Talks between Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top White House officials imploded nearly a month ago and have yet to make any headway in the weeks since. Democrats have pressed for a wide-ranging, multi-trillion dollar proposal to provide funds for schools, rental assistance for states and localities, health providers and small businesses.

Some context: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the top GOP negotiators, have rejected the Democratic topline repeatedly and pressed to move a smaller scale package consisting primarily of areas where at least topline bipartisan agreement exists.

Pelosi and Schumer have refused, castigating Republicans for underestimating the scale of the need created by the worst pandemic in a century.

The dynamics have led to an increasingly pessimistic view on Capitol Hill that a new relief package —following on the $2.2 trillion CARES Act — is even possible at all. Meadows, in private conversations with Senate Republicans, has repeated said he doesn't think a deal is possible with Democrats given their current posture, multiple sources have told CNN.

"It's tough to go more than a month with literally zero progress," one person involved in the negotiations told CNN. "Yet somehow that's exactly what has happened."

The divide carries with it massive ramifications for the weeks ahead, as the country continues to grapple with the economic devastation created by the pandemic and the public policy response to it. Lawmakers themselves face the threat of a government shutdown at the end of September if an agreement isn't reached on an all-encompassing funding measure.

Read more here.

8:45 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Fewer than 1 million Americans filed for unemployment for the first time in a month

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell below a million again last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. This happened before — in early August — before claims reversed course and bounced higher.

Another 881,000 Americans filed initial claims for benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Continued jobless claims, which count people filing for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at a seasonally adjusted 13.3 million, more than 1 million lower than last week.

A wonky aspect in the report: The Labor Department changed its methodology for seasonal adjustments starting with this report. Usually, seasonal adjustments are designed to smooth the data and make it more easily comparable. But during the pandemic's unprecedented effect on the labor market they have added some noise to the data.

On an unadjusted basis, unemployment insurance claims rose to more than 833,000, an increase of about 7,500.

Still, the trend is mostly pointing in the right direction. The US jobs market is gradually recovering from the pandemic lockdown shock. That said, millions of people continue to rely on state benefits to make ends meet while Congress is squabbling about a next round of stimulus.

These numbers don't include claims for the government's other, pandemic-specific programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

The Labor Department will again review its adjustment models at the start of next year.