September 10 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020
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11:46 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Giroir: "We do need to test asymptomatic people … Full stop"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, underscored that asymptomatic people who think they’ve been exposed to Covid-19 should be tested for coronavirus, especially in outbreak areas.

“We do need to test asymptomatic people,” he told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “There is no doubt about that. Full stop.” 

At the end of August, the CDC suggested asymptomatic people may not need to be tested for Covid-19. Giroir said the intent was to get people tested under the supervision of public health or medical professionals and to deter any overconfidence that people may feel from a negative test. 

In hotspot areas, Giroir said “we need to test a lot.” 

“Trust me, we want to test asymptomatic people, because as you know and everyone knows, that you can have asymptomatic people who spread the virus. And indeed, that's been the biggest issue with this,” Giroir said during a Research! America forum.

12:11 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Trump's Covid-19 testing czar teases development of at-home tests

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

President Trump's coronavirus testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, told CNN's Sanjay Gupta that while at-home tests are not yet authorized or reliable enough to be read, that the public will see the administration taking "a lot of actions over the next few weeks" to spur development of these tests.

"They are not reliable enough to be read, but we're almost there, and you'll be seeing a lot of actions over the next few weeks to spur that development even more so that we can get true at-home tests, not tests that you need to do under a medical supervised situation," Giroir said.

“We're moving science forward,” he said.

"There will be a day where there will be at-home tests that are widely available in the hundreds of millions, that are cheap, that we can test as frequently as we want – we're just not there right now," Giroir added.

Giroir said we need to use the tests available to us now in a “strategic manner.”

11:30 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Trump's Covid-19 testing czar says he has “never been told to slow down testing”

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Adm. Brett Giroir attends a hearing on July 31 in Washington, DC.
Adm. Brett Giroir attends a hearing on July 31 in Washington, DC. Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said, “I have never been told to slow down testing, or to reduce our efforts – and in fact, we built on testing every single month.”

He told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta that the US is at “an inflection point” in terms of testing.

“All the investments and research that we've done over the past few months – and indeed over the past few years – we're reaping those benefits now with point of care testing,” he said.

This month, over 100 million tests should be available, he said. “Between 55% and 60% of those – that's 55 to 60 million – will be rapid point of care,” he added.

“This really puts us at an inflection point that we can really protect the elderly, we could protect the vulnerable, and we can do those kinds of screening testing for schools and work that we've been talking about for months now we have the tools to do that,” Giroir told Gupta.

11:33 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Trump's testing czar says he wants to expand testing at HBCUs

Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health with the Department of Health and Human Services, said health officials are planning to deliver more rapid point-of-care tests, which screen asymptomatic people to study the widespread circulation of coronavirus to historically Black colleges and universities.

Black and brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus throughout the pandemic.

Here's how Giroir, Trump's testing czar, described the tests: "It's testing it asymptomatic individuals to give an idea that we know that there isn't widespread circulation, that we need to up the game and really test everyone at that point. We're doing it for nursing homes and for assisted living and home health care. We're going to start doing it for K-12. We'll also deliver more to tribes and HBCUs."

He continued: 

"HBCUs — historically Black colleges and universities — we know that African Americans are at high risk of hospitalization, and their faculty are African Americans, in general. They tend to be older and high-risk grounds. So you will see this expanding more and more and more as the tests become available."
11:17 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

India sets global record for highest number of Covid-19 cases reported in a single day

From CNN’s Joe Youorski and Swati Gupta

India reported at least 95,735 virus cases Thursday, a new record for the highest number of new coronavirus cases reported in one day by a single country, according to John Hopkins University data.

Per JHU, India is seeing daily case numbers well above that of other countries, including high-reporting nations such as the U.S and Brazil.

As of Thursday morning local time, India has seen a total of 4.4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 nationwide, and more than 919,000 of them are active cases, according to India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The total number of recovered patients stands at over 3.4 million, the health ministry also said.

11:11 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Technology around developing Covid-19 vaccine may improve flu vaccine effectiveness, health expert says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

A person gets a flu shot in Washington, DC, on January 31.
A person gets a flu shot in Washington, DC, on January 31. Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that the technology around developing a vaccine could change the effectiveness and universality of the influenza vaccine.

During a Thursday webinar with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said there “has been an unprecedented use of new platforms to develop vaccines.” 

“Remember, the flu vaccine, we still develop in eggs — chicken eggs,” she said. “Which seems really archaic, given that in six months we've developed Covid vaccines using these incredible platforms.” 

“I think that if there's any silver lining to the Covid pandemic, it will be — at least one of them will be — hopefully transferring some of these rocket-sort of science, really, really dramatically fast technologies and platforms to the influenza vaccine arena.”

Marrazzo said the pause taken for the AstraZeneca trial “should give people more reassurance that we will be sure to get a safe vaccine out, that we think is effective.”

“Studies are being conducted very, very cautiously and carefully,” she said.

Marrazzo said Operation Warp Speed’s name may have caused undue vaccine hesitancy among Americans, saying that the moniker, which gave people “confidence that we were moving fast, also made a lot of people nervous, because in some ways you would like a vaccine to come at warp speed, but you also don't want the safety measures sacrificed.”

“The messaging has been the problem throughout this pandemic,” she said.

“We have not had a consistent national message for almost any aspect of pandemic control — whether it relates to how severe the illness is, whether it relates to whether masks are important, and whether it relates to when we're going to get a vaccine.”

“If we could do anything for this winter season, it would be to have a reliable, trusted, consistent national message from trusted, scientifically informed leaders to get us through this and that's what we need,” she said.

11:06 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

New York City mayor lays out indoor dining restrictions: "We have to get it right"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People in New York dine outside on June 26.
People in New York dine outside on June 26. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out the rigorous precautions being taken as indoor dining ramps up to commence in the city on Sept. 30.

“As indoor dining starts to come back it will come back with rigorous safety measures,” de Blasio said noting, “real limits,” “careful inspection,” “tight restrictions,” “smart rules,” and “careful assessment of how we are doing.”

The safety measures include:

  • 25% capacity
  • Bar tops closed for seating
  • Tables at least 6 feet apart
  • Temperature checks at every front door
  • Test and trace data collected from at least one customer at each table
  • Personal protective equipment for employees

“What a good thing that indoor dining will be back” he said adding later the measures are important because “we have to get it right.”

The mayor said the city's daily Covid-19 indicators are all under desired thresholds. The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 78, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 10%.

With regard to new reported cases on a 7-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, New York City reports 213.

The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 city wide is at 1.09%, under the 5% threshold.  

Note: These numbers were released by the citys public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

10:28 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Singapore Airlines to cut 4,300 jobs due to pandemic

From CNN’s Akanksha Sharma and Sophie Jeong

A Singapore Airlines plane prepares to land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on February 13.
A Singapore Airlines plane prepares to land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on February 13. Geric Cruz/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Singapore Airlines Group announced that it will cut around 4,300 positions across Singapore Airlines, SkillAir, and Scoot due to the debilitating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement released on Thursday.

The airline statement said that after considering a "recruitment freeze, natural attrition, and voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff affected will be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and in overseas stations."

"The company said it expects to operate under 50% of its capacity at the end of the financial year 2020/21 compared to pre-Covid levels," the statement added. 

The airline said it is more vulnerable than other major airlines in the world, as it does not have a domestic market. It said to remain viable in an uncertain landscape it will operate a smaller fleet and reduced network in the coming years.

“The next few weeks will be some of the toughest in the history of the SIA Group as some of our friends and colleagues leave the company,” Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said in a statement. 

“This is not a reflection of the strengths and capabilities of those who will be affected, but the result of an unprecedented global crisis that has engulfed the airline industry.”

10:19 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Century 21 files for bankruptcy and will close all of its stores

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

A Century21 store in Queens, New York, is pictured on May 12.
A Century21 store in Queens, New York, is pictured on May 12. John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

New York department store chain Century 21 filed for bankruptcy Thursday and said it will shut down its business.

Century 21 has 13 stores mostly in the New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. The company blamed the lack of payment on its business interruption insurance as the cause of its demise. 

Department store chains large and small were struggling even before the Covid-19 pandemic caused stores to shut temporarily and shift more purchases online. Stores that depended on clothing sales, such as Century 21, have been hit particularly hard as millions of people are out of work and millions more are working from home and not needing to buy as many dress clothes.

Larger, national department store chains, such as JCPenneyNeiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor have filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic, with Lord & Taylor announcing its own plans to shut down.

But Century 21 said the final straw was the fact that it did not get $175 million it had filed for under its business interruption insurance. It said the policy had saved it in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks — it had a store directly across the street from the World Trade Center, which was destroyed. But it said it has not been able to get the payment this time.