September 9 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020
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1:52 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

US needs 200 million Covid-19 tests a month, new report recommends

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

The United States needs to perform as many as 200 million coronavirus tests every month well into next year if there’s to be any chance of controlling the pandemic, experts said in a new report released today.

That is way beyond current capacity, but new, fast tests are being developed and once they reach the market, it should be possible, according to the report from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

“Our analysis shows that the US will likely need very large numbers of all types of Covid-19 tests well into 2021 to contain outbreaks while returning toward normal activity, with a particular need for more screening tests that have very fast turnaround times,” the report reads.
“Testing capacity and test capabilities are improving, but further steps are needed by government, businesses, and manufacturers to close the gaps.”

Adm. Brett Giroir, the testing lead for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has said repeatedly that the US cannot test its way out of the pandemic. But the report from the team of experts says much more testing is vital.

“At present infection rates, a basic screening strategy will require approximately 200 million tests each month for students and staff at the nation’s primary and secondary schools and residents and staff at nursing homes for them to open safely and in stages,” wrote the team.

“But fewer than 30 million Covid-19 tests are now reported monthly in the United States. Even if infection rates decline, the testing needed in just schools and nursing homes exceeds the nation’s entire capacity now.”

1:31 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

US reports more than 26,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The United States reported 26,169 new Covid-19 infections and 434 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 6,326,791 cases, including 189,642 fatalities, have now been recorded in the US, JHU said.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking US cases here:

12:48 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

The pandemic is jeopardizing decades of work in reducing preventable childhood deaths, new report finds

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Preventable deaths in children under 5 were at the lowest number on record in 2019, according to a new report by United Nations agencies and the World Bank, released on Tuesday.

They found that there were just over 5 million preventable deaths last year, down from 12.5 million in 1990.

But the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to undermine those gains made in reducing deaths among children and young adolescents.

The report on mortality estimates comes from UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the World Bank Group.

“We must not let the Covid-19 pandemic turn back remarkable progress for our children and future generations,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

Recent surveys by UNICEF and WHO have found the pandemic is disrupting child and maternal healthcare services worldwide, including prenatal and post-natal care, vaccinations and check-ups due to fewer resources and a fear of contracting Covid-19.

“The global community has come too far towards eliminating preventable child deaths to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to stop us in our tracks,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a news release. 
“When children are denied access to health services because the system is overrun, and when women are afraid to give birth at the hospital for fear of infection, they, too, may become casualties of COVID-19,” Fore said. 

She added that millions of young children, especially newborns, could die "without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services."

Out of 77 countries surveyed by UNICEF over the summer, 68% reported disruptions in childhood checkups and vaccinations. A WHO survey of 105 countries also found 52% reported interruptions in medical services for sick kids and 51% reported disruptions in malnutrition programs.

These kinds of services are critical for preventing newborn and child deaths, WHO said.

Read the full story:

11:31 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

LA County bans trick-or-treating due to coronavirus

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Trick-or-treating will not be allowed in Los Angeles County this Halloween due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus, according to new guidance from the local health department.

“Door to door trick or treating is not allowed because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a news release.

“Trunk or treating” events where children trick-or-treat from cars are also not allowed. 

Under the guidance, gatherings or parties with non-household members are prohibited even when conducted outdoors. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions are also prohibited.

The county’s public health department is encouraging alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year, including online parties and car parades that comply with public health orders. Individuals must remain in their vehicles during these drive-thru events.

As the nation’s most populous county with over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County remains in the first tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system.

To date, Los Angeles County has reported a total of 249,241 Covid-19 cases and 6,036 deaths.

10:43 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

California university confirms nearly 400 Covid-19 cases in growing outbreak

From CNN's Sarah Moon

In this March 18 file photo, students and their parents move their belongings from their dormitories at San Diego State University.
In this March 18 file photo, students and their parents move their belongings from their dormitories at San Diego State University. Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images

San Diego State University (SDSU) in California has confirmed nearly 400 Covid-19 cases among students since the first day of fall semester, according to data from the university’s website.

“On Sept. 6, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) confirmed additional COVID-19 cases within the on- and off-campus student population, bringing the total of four (4) probable and 396 confirmed cases,” SDSU said on its website.

All in-person instruction was immediately paused last Friday after the university confirmed 120 positive cases, in addition to 64 cases previously reported since the start of fall semester on August 24. 

The university has not received any reports of faculty and staff who have tested positive.

San Diego County is currently in the second tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system, which represents “substantial” spread of the coronavirus. Under this tier, indoor businesses may reopen with 25% capacity.

9:52 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

Trump, campaign crowd appear to violate North Carolina mask order

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Smith-Reynolds Regional Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8, 2020. 
US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Smith-Reynolds Regional Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8, 2020.  Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump made his third visit to North Carolina in as many weeks on Tuesday, pushing a new end-in-sight message on coronavirus.

Whether the situation on the ground there helps him is an open question; the state still has a mask requirement in place, and many businesses -- including bars and movie theaters -- remain closed.

But the President did not wear a mask during his speech in Winston-Salem.

And while many supporters visible in stands directly behind Trump were wearing masks, most individuals higher up on the stands away from Trump and most supporters on the ground in front of Trump's podium were not sporting masks.

Before Tuesday's event, the Republican chairman of the local county commission said the President should wear a mask during his speech, a virtually unimaginable prospect for a President who has been mocking his rival for wearing one and who demanded reporters remove their face coverings when asking him questions on Monday.

"The President of the United States sets the example for everybody else. You can hear it: if the President of the United States says I don't have to wear it, I'm not going to wear it. And I can guarantee you that will be done," said David Plyler, the chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

As the campaign enters its heated final months, Trump is betting an imminent coronavirus vaccine and a rebounding economy will provide an eleventh-hour boost to his flagging reelection effort.

He has begun accelerating his public timeline on a potential Covid vaccine, saying Monday one might be available "very soon, maybe even before a very special date" -- a reference to Election Day.

And a new Trump campaign ad out Tuesday crystallized the impression the President is hoping to call an end to the coronavirus pandemic before voters decide his fate.

"In the race for a vaccine, the finish line is approaching," a narrator says in the opening lines of the commercial, concluding: "President Trump's great American comeback is now underway."

Read the full story:

9:18 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial after unexplained illness in volunteer

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A man receives an injection as UCLA and AstraZeneca begin phase 3 trials for a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
A man receives an injection as UCLA and AstraZeneca begin phase 3 trials for a potential Covid-19 vaccine. The Lundquist Institute/FILE

Drug giant AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had paused a trial of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.

It’s a standard precaution in vaccine trials, meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among volunteers.

“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN.

“This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the statement added. 

“In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.”

Safety first: Earlier Tuesday, AstraZeneca joined eight other companies in signing a pledge promising they would not seek premature government approval for any coronavirus vaccine. They promised they would wait until they had adequate data showing any potential vaccine worked safely to prevent infection.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of three coronavirus vaccines in late-stage, Phase 3 trials in the US.

It was not immediately clear if the pause involved only US trial sites or all of the company’s trial sites around the world. A Data and Safety Monitoring Board usually monitors trials for adverse events and can order a pause or halt to a trial, but AstraZeneca did not say who had stopped the trial.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson later said the illness affected a participant in Britain, but said all of the company’s trials of the vaccine globally would be paused.

Read more here.

10:31 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

Vaccine makers sign safety pledge in race for Covid-19 vaccine

From  CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Naomi Thomas

Nine vaccine makers say they have signed a joint pledge to uphold "high ethical standards," suggesting they won't seek premature government approval for any Covid-19 vaccines they develop.

"We, the undersigned biopharmaceutical companies, want to make clear our on-going commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles," the pledge, released Tuesday, reads.

The companies that signed the pledge include AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed for a quick vaccine timeline -- even referencing Election Day in November.

"(It's) going to be done in a very short period of time -- could even have it during the month of October," the President said at a press briefing on Monday. "We'll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date. You know what date I'm talking about."

On August 6, Trump said he was "optimistic" a vaccine would be ready by November 3. This has caused widespread worry that the federal government might rush a vaccine to market before it has been adequately tested.

Read the full story:

9:32 p.m. ET, September 8, 2020

UK's Boris Johnson will lower limits on social gatherings to control coronavirus spread

From CNN’s Zahid Mahmood

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on September 8, in London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on September 8, in London. Leon Neal/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce new measures on Wednesday to reduce the number of people legally allowed to socially gather from 30 to six in England to control the coronavirus spread.

The new lower limit, due to take effect starting Monday, will make it easier for police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings of more than six people unless it meets one of the exemptions.

Exemptions include, a household or support bubble larger than six, if gatherings are for work or education purposes, weddings, funerals, or organized team sports.

“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” Johnson said in a statement.

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”

The statement added the new measures are supported by the government, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance after the UK has seen the number of daily coronavirus cases rise to almost 3,000.

On Tuesday, Britain recorded an increase of 2,460 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 352,560.