September 17 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, September 18, 2020
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11:11 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

It will take up to nine months to get the American public vaccinated, CDC director says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a hearing with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on September 16 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a hearing with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on September 16 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/New York Times/AP

Even if a vaccine for Covid-19 was released today, it would take six to nine months for enough people to receive it to create immunity, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

“I think we have to assume that if we had a vaccine, say, released today, that it’s going to take us probably in the order of nine months, six to nine months to get the American public vaccinated,” Redfield said during the Senate Appropriations Hearing on coronavirus response efforts.

“In order to have enough of us immunized so we have immunity, I think it’s going to take us six to nine months,” he said.

In this time, it’s important for people to embrace mitigation steps such as physically distancing, mask use and avoiding crowds, he said.

11:09 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Dr. Tom Frieden: US nearing 200,000 Covid-19 deaths is a "reflection of a failing national response"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Dr. Tom Frieden speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, September 16.
Dr. Tom Frieden speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, September 16. CNN

As the United States approaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths, Dr. Tom Frieden, a former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said Wednesday that the number of reported deaths are a "reflection of a failing national response."

"The actual number is higher because not all deaths have been identified and this is just a horrifying number," Frieden told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "It's more people than die from suicide or overdose or homicide or HIV. In fact, Covid is on track to be the number three leading cause of death in all of the US for this year."

The former CDC director said he's concerned that Americans will get "hardened" to the number of coronavirus deaths.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the US has reported at least 196,465 coronavirus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

According to Johns Hopkins, 1,293 deaths were reported Tuesday, which is the highest one-day total since Aug. 19.

"If you look at Germany, one fifth are death rate," Frieden said. "If you look at South Korea, 80 times fewer deaths than we've had. These are lives that have been lost and jobs that have been lost because we haven't had an organized, consistent, coherent federal response."

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases and deaths:

11:04 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

A mask may provide better protection against Covid-19 than a vaccine, CDC director says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on September 16 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on September 16 in Washington, DC. Andrew Harnik/AP

Wearing a face mask might provide better protection against Covid-19 than a vaccine, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during Wednesday's Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70% and if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will," Redfield explained, adding that the American public has not yet embraced the use of face masks to a level that could effectively control the outbreak.

"So I do want to keep asking the American public to take the responsibility, particularly the 18 to 25 year olds where we're seeing the outbreak in America continue to go like this," Redfield said.

9:30 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Wales locks down one of its biggest regions after a spike in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Samantha Tapfumaneyi

The Welsh government has locked down one of the nation’s biggest regions -- barring people from entering or leaving -- following a sharp increase in coronavirus cases.

Rhondda Cynon Taf, in south Wales, is the second county to be locked down. It has a population of nearly 240,000 people. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people’s health.”

The new measures will be imposed on Thursday from 1 p.m. ET. The rules apply to everyone living within Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The government said people will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse.

Enforcement of the new restrictions will be undertaken by the local authority and by the police.