September 4 coronavirus news

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8:57 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Widespread Covid-19 vaccination not likely available until mid-2021, World Health Organization says 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

The World Health Organization is “not expecting to see widespread vaccination [for coronavirus] until the middle of next year," spokesperson Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva Friday.

There are currently 34 vaccines globally carrying out human trials, according to WHO, with 142 vaccine candidates currently in the pre-clinical trial phase.

Harris was speaking the same day that the first peer-reviewed results of phase one and phase two clinical trials of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine – the world's first approved coronavirus vaccine for public use — were published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.

Although Harris did not reference the Russian vaccine, Harris emphasized the importance of safety and efficiency checks saying that phase three trials “will take much longer” in order to “see how truly protective” and safe any vaccine is.

Remember: Scientists not involved in the study of the Russia vaccine said while the results are a positive sign, only larger, phase three trials can confirm whether the vaccine actually prevents illness with Covid-19. 

8:47 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Georgia governor to residents: Follow coronavirus guidelines over Labor Day weekend

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp puts on a mask after speaking at a press conference announcing statewide expanded COVID testing on August 10, in Atlanta.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp puts on a mask after speaking at a press conference announcing statewide expanded COVID testing on August 10, in Atlanta. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is urging all residents not to let their guards down and to follow all public health guidelines over the Labor Day weekend. 

Kemp said that although the state is starting to see a decline in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is important for everyone to follow and enforce the guidelines outlined in the governor's executive order. This includes a ban on large gatherings and safety measures on businesses and restaurants as well as a shelter in place for the medically fragile.

"I understand that many, many of us are tired and ready to move on but we have to hunker down and keep chopping against Covid-19." Kemp said Friday
8:42 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Iraq records highest daily Covid-19 case increase since pandemic began

From CNN's Aqeel Najim in Baghdad 

Iraq reported at least 5,036 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, which is the highest daily number of infections recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, the country's Ministry of Public Health said.

The latest recorded cases brings the country's total case count to 252,075. There were also 84 new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, raising the national death toll to 7,359, the Ministry says.

9:33 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

US adds 1.4 million jobs in August, but is still down 11.5 million jobs since Covid-19 hit

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

Another 1.4 million jobs were added to the US economy in August, as the jobs recovery continued to slow.

This was in line with expectations, and down from 1.7 million jobs added in July and 4.8 million in June.

Every person who can go back to work is a win for the recovery from the unprecedented jobless crisis the Covid-19 pandemic has brought on. However, America is still down 11.5 million jobs from February.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%. It's below 10% — which was also its Great Recession peak — for the first time since March.

This means millions of families in need of benefits to make ends meet while Congress continues to argue about the next stimulus package.

During the Republican National Convention last week, President Trump promised to create 10 million new jobs in 10 months. If the predictions hold true, he'll have 8.6 million more to go — and even then, the US economy wouldn't have gained back all the jobs lost since February.

Trump's promise could prove difficult to achieve. The recovery is losing steam as the sugar rush from stimulus wears off, millions of people are still working from home, and retail, restaurants and other services industries remain battered from the pandemic.

WATCH:

8:39 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Indiana University recommends students in Greek houses move out due to Covid-19 concerns

From CNN’s Meridith Edwards

Lexie Brown, a business major at Indiana University, attends an online class on the lawn of her Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house to distance from other house residents. Over 30 Greek houses at Indiana University are currently under quarantine.
Lexie Brown, a business major at Indiana University, attends an online class on the lawn of her Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house to distance from other house residents. Over 30 Greek houses at Indiana University are currently under quarantine. Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/AP

Indiana University Bloomington is now recommending that all students living in sorority and fraternity houses reevaluate their living situations due to the quickly increasing spread of coronavirus in those environments. 

“Mitigation testing positivity rates in some houses are now above 50 percent. As such, IU's team of public health experts is extremely concerned that Greek houses are seeing uncontrolled spread of COVID-19,” the university said in a statement Thursday. “This poses a significant risk to the nearly 2,600 students currently living in Greek or other communal housing organizations, as well as to the other 42,000 IU Bloomington students, the campus's 12,000 faculty and staff, and the surrounding community.”

Greek houses are owned and operated by their respective Greek organizations, not by the university as self, so IU doesn’t have the jurisdiction to regulate the houses.

CNN previously reported that 30 fraternity and sorority houses at the school had been placed under quarantine by the county health department. 

8:12 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine generated an immune response, study says

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen and Naomi Thomas

A Covid-19 vaccine developed and tested in Russia generated neutralizing antibodies in dozens of study subjects, and while the vaccine often caused side effects such as fever, those side effects were mostly mild, according to data published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet. 

In the phase one and two studies, all 76 study participants developed antibodies to the virus that causes Covid-19, according to the report. 

The levels of neutralizing antibody response were similar to the immune response that people had after naturally recovering from Covid-19, according to the study.  

The researchers also looked at responses from T cells, another component of the immune system. 

“[Outcomes from] the trial also suggest the vaccines also produce a T cell response within 28 days,” the researchers wrote. 

Remember: Scientists not involved in the study said while the results are a positive sign, only larger, phase three trials can confirm whether the vaccine actually prevents illness with Covid-19. 

“The data on the Russian vaccine studies reported in the Lancet are encouraging,” said Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  

In the study, half of the participants developed fevers and 42% developed headaches. In addition, about 28% experienced weakness and 24% had joint pain. 

The article did not say how long these side effects lasted but said “most adverse events were mild.” 

The vaccine was registered in Russia in August, before it had gone through large-scale trials. The researchers at the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia received approval on August 26 to do a phase three trial, which is expected to have 40,000 volunteers, according to a press release from The Lancet. The researchers are already distributing the vaccine to high-risk groups, according to Kirill Dmietriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is financing Russian vaccine research. 

Gamaleya is using adenoviruses in their Covid-19 vaccines; this is the same type of approach used in the vaccine developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. The adenovirus delivers genetic material for the spike protein that sits atop the virus the causes Covid-19, and that genetic material is designed to generate an immune response to the virus that causes Covid-19.

Adenoviruses can cause a variety of symptoms, including the common cold. The researchers manipulate the virus so it will not replicate and cause illness. 

The Gamaleya vaccine is given in two doses, and each dose used a different adenovirus vector. 

“Using two different viruses gives a theoretical advantage,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

7:44 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

First clinical trial results from Russia's Covid-19 vaccine published in The Lancet medical journal

From CNN's Zahra Ullah and Matthew Chance in Moscow

Employees are seen at Russia's biotech company BIOCAD, which is working on a coronavirus vaccine.
Employees are seen at Russia's biotech company BIOCAD, which is working on a coronavirus vaccine. Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

The first peer-reviewed results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, which is named Sputnik-V, have been published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday.

Results from the two 42-day trials – which each included 38 healthy adults – “have a good safety profile with no serious adverse events” among participants, The Lancet said in a press release, noting that the vaccine-induced antibody responses in all participants.

Russia faced criticism last month when it announced the world's first approved coronavirus vaccine for public use, even before Phase 3 trials are completed. 

Russia also faced skepticism over how quickly the vaccine was registered and the initial lack of scientific data around the clinical trials. 

Naor Bar-Zeev, deputy director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University said in a linked comment that the studies are “encouraging but small,” according to The Lancet. Bar-Zeev was not involved in the Russian study, but peer reviewed it.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) funding the vaccine development said the trial results confirm the "high safety and efficacy" of the vaccine, adding in a statement Friday that the results are "a powerful response to sceptics who unreasonably criticized the Russian vaccine." 

6:53 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

America's jobs recovery is expected to have cooled off in August

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

America's jobs recovery is expected to have slowed further in August as the services sector continues to struggle.

Economists polled by Refintiv predict the US economy added 1.4 million jobs in August, down from 1.8 million jobs added in July and 4.8 million in June.

The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 9.8% in August, which would be the first time since March that it stands below 10%. That would also be below the peak unemployment rate reached during the Great Recession.

Every person who can go back to work is a win for the recovery from the unprecedented jobless crisis the Covid-19 pandemic has brought on. However, America would still be down nearly 11.5 million jobs from February, even with more than 1 million job gains last month.

Read the full story here:

6:26 a.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Czech Republic sets another new daily record for infections

From CNN's Tomas Etzler

An employee has their temperature as they arrive for a shift at the Skoda Auto AS factory, operated by Volkswagen AG, in Kvasiny, Czech Republic, on June 9, 2020.
An employee has their temperature as they arrive for a shift at the Skoda Auto AS factory, operated by Volkswagen AG, in Kvasiny, Czech Republic, on June 9, 2020. Milan Jaros/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Czech Republic has set a new daily record for the second day in a row for new coronavirus infections.

The central European country recorded 680 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, surpassing Wednesday’s record of 650, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Czech Republic has a total of 26,452 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 426 people have died of the virus.