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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10:52 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

New York City mayor delays in-person learning for most students

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A classroom at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York is pictured on September 8.
A classroom at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York is pictured on September 8. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delayed K-5 and K-8 school's in-person openings until Sept. 29.

The mayor also delayed middle and high schools' in-person learning until Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, 3-K, Pre-K and District 75 schools, which serve special education kids, will open for in person learning as planned on Sept. 21.

The decision came in coordination with teacher union leaders.

9:53 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

New restrictions and rising cases: Here's the latest on the pandemic in Europe

People walk in Madrid, Spain, on September 16.
People walk in Madrid, Spain, on September 16. Manu Fernandez/AP

The World Health Organization has warned that a “very serious situation” is unfolding in Europe, as "alarming rates of transmission" of the coronavirus surge across the continent.

Weekly cases are now exceeding those reported in March — when the pandemic first peaked, WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge said during a press conference on Thursday.

Kluge said that more than half of Europe's countries have reported an increase of more than 10% in new cases in the past two weeks. 

Here's what else we know about the coronavirus pandemic across Europe:

  • A dramatic spike in England: The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England has risen by 167% since the end of August, the National public health body reported today. Positive cases have been rising since the start of July and are now double the number recorded when the country's Test and Trace initiative launched on May 28. 
  • New restrictions expected in Spain's capital: Authorities in Madrid will announce new coronavirus restrictions on Friday as the country responds to an uptick in the number of cases.
  • Part of Wales is on lockdown: The Welsh government 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 the south of Wales, is the second county to be locked down. It has a population of nearly 240,000 people.

Reporting from CNN's Amy Cassidy, Laura Perez Maestro, Ingrid Formanek and Samantha Tapfumaneyi

9:03 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Another 860,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Another 860,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

What that number means: It was another week-on-week decline for jobless claims, but the improvements have been slow and the jobs recovery is running out of steam. Weekly claims have improved since mid-August, when they briefly inched higher. 

Continued jobless claims, counting workers who have filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 12.6 million, down significantly from last week.

Worse still, these numbers don't include claims filed under the government's various other jobless aid programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits for those who aren't usually eligible, such as the self-employed. 

9:03 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

College student who tested positive for Covid-19: "It seemed kind of inevitable"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Keir Metter, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Keir Metter, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. CNN

With some college campuses becoming hotbeds for coronavirus across the United States, universities are trying to gain control of outbreaks.

Since move-in started at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in late August, more than 2,000 students have tested positive for Covid-19, CNN’s Omar Jimenez reported. The campus positivity rate is right around 10%, students are restricted to essential activities only, and there is isolated housing for students who’ve tested positive. 

Freshman Keir Metter is in isolated housing at the university with mild symptoms, and he told Jimenez that it’s difficult for administrators to control students’ activities. 

“They can't send everyone home, because we'll spread it all across the country if we do,” Metter said. “Obviously, I don't want to have Covid, but it seemed kind of inevitable” coming into the school year, he added. 

University Chancellor Rebecca Blank said that the school is continuing to test students and isolate them. “We're almost certainly going to see significant case numbers continue over this coming week,” she said. 

Testing is free to all students, and it is required now for those living in dorms and in off-campus fraternities and sororities. 

The school said it is investigating more than 380 student violations and reviewing 12 students for emergency suspension, a step that's been taken at other schools, Jimenez reported.

WATCH:

8:29 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Trump spreading wrong information about Covid-19 is "lethal," Miami Beach mayor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Dan Gelber, mayor of Miami Beach, on CNN's "New Day" on September 17.
Dan Gelber, mayor of Miami Beach, on CNN's "New Day" on September 17. CNN

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber says that President Trump is spreading misinformation about coronavirus — and that is “lethal.”

“Without a vaccine, good information is your vaccine. Misinformation, wrong information, withholding of information just becomes lethal,” Gelber said on CNN’s “New Day.” 

Gelber said that 39 people died from Covid-19 yesterday in Miami-Dade County.

“That was a good day compared to other days. And when 39 people dying is a good day, you know you're giving out really bad information. And unfortunately, the President is giving it out,” he said. 

He said he worries about both residents and visitors not following guidelines as the pandemic continues. 

“If all we're going to do is the same thing and the President is going to mock people who wear masks and have events where everybody is not wearing a mask, so that I have residents and visitors who say, ‘Why should I wear a mask? You’re an idiot,’” he added. 

Gelber continued to press Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to implement a statewide mask mandate. 

“We’re not in as good as shape as we were. We were at 2%…before we reopened last time; now we're at 4 to 5%,” he said about the coronavirus infection rate. 

Watch:

8:50 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

It's 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

People wait outside a residential building in Mumbai, India, as a health worker takes a swab sample to test for Covid-19 on September 13.
People wait outside a residential building in Mumbai, India, as a health worker takes a swab sample to test for Covid-19 on September 13. Rajanish Kakade/AP

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 29.8 million people worldwide and killed more than 941,000. Here's what you need to know today:

  • WHO warns of "alarming" Europe surge: The World Health Organization said a “very serious situation” is unfolding in Europe, as "alarming rates of transmission" are recorded across the continent.
  • India cases rise yet again: India reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Thursday, adding 97,894 new cases in the past 24 hours.
  • Pharma company ramps up vaccine capacity: German company BioNTech is drastically increasing its production capacities for a possible Covid-19 vaccine. The company is partnering with US company Pfizer on a vaccine candidate.
  • Fauci issues vaccine warning: If not enough Americans take a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, it won't help reduce the spread of the deadly virus, the US' top infectious disease official said.
  • Indonesians without masks forced to dig graves: Villagers who refuse to wear masks are being forced to dig graves for Covid-19 victims in one part of rural Indonesia, in the hopes that the manual labor will convince others to do their part to help stop the pandemic.
8:22 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

More than 1.5 million people put under strict restrictions in northeast England

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock makes a statement in London's House of Commons on September 17.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock makes a statement in London's House of Commons on September 17. House of Commons/PA/Getty Images

Northeast England has been placed under strict pandemic restrictions amid a "concerning rise" in Covid-19 infection rates, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday.

The measures will apply to seven areas -- including the cities of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham -- and will affect over 1.5 million people. 

The restrictions include a ban on socializing outside households or support bubbles, and a mandated closing time of 10pm for all bars, pubs, restaurants, and leisure centers. 

Hospitality venues will only be allowed to offer table service. 

The measures come into effect as of midnight Friday morning local time.  With winter approaching, Hancock stressed the need to take "immediate action" against the virus.

England has reported a total of 326,425 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

7:45 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Voting in person is safe, emphasize Democrats ahead of US election

From CNN's Abby Phillip, Jeremy Herb and Kristen Holmes

After months of warnings about the risks posed by in-person voting in a push to expand access to mail-in ballots, Democrats across the country are increasingly focused on communicating to voters that it is safe to cast their ballots in a voting booth.

The shift comes after a national legal campaign has successfully resulted in expanded access to mail-in voting in nearly every state -- prompting an unprecedented shift in the way millions of Americans will be able to vote due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But as voting is set to begin in more states in the coming weeks, Democrats have settled on a strategy of emphasizing that all voting options, including in-person early and Election Day voting, are safe amid the pandemic.

Read more:

7:29 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

A testing deal promoted by White House is failing to fix lack of US virus screening strategy

From CNN's Curt Devine and Drew Griffin

A deal for 150 million rapid coronavirus tests the White House promoted last month as a potential game-changer in battling the pandemic fails to fix the lack of an overarching strategy for a new phase of testing the nation needs to embrace, multiple health experts and state and local officials say.

The Trump administration's purchase of the new Abbott Laboratories antigen tests, which can detect the virus in 15 minutes, was hailed by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as a major development that would help Americans get back to work and school.

But without detailed federal guidance, states and cities remain divided, and some of them stifled, on how to best to use those types of rapid tests and others for the testing technique known as "screening."

Screening involves routinely testing people whether or not they have symptoms. Because an estimated 40% of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the idea is to focus on groups, such as those in nursing homes, schools or higher-risk workplaces, and use point-of-care tests or other techniques to test everyone in those groups and isolate the infected.

Epidemiologists say communities should implement screening to limit outbreaks.

Read more: