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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4:28 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

What you need to know today about the race for a coronavirus vaccine

A health worker in Hollywood, Florida, injects someone during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine on September 9.
A health worker in Hollywood, Florida, injects someone during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine on September 9. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

There's been a lot of news lately about a possible coronavirus vaccine, as researchers around the world continue their work.

If you're just reading in now, here's what we know about the race for a potential vaccine:

  • Vaccine concerns persist: Only 51% of Americans surveyed now say they would get a coronavirus vaccine, a 21 point drop from May, the Pew Research Center said Thursday. The survey found that 51% will "definitely or probably" get a Covid-19 vaccine if available today, down from 72% in May. 
  • It could be mid-2021 before the US sees vaccine results... Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a Senate hearing yesterday that the American public could expect to start seeing results from widespread coronavirus vaccination in the second or third quarter of 2021. 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, he said.
  • ...But Trump disputes that timeline: Later in the day, the President told reporters Redfield was "confused" when he said that. "I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information," Trump said.
  • Vaccine efficiency depends on how many people get it: If not enough Americans get a Covid-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available, it won't help reduce the spread of the deadly virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. Even a third of Americans getting vaccinated against the coronavirus won't be enough, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
  • Wealthy countries have already bought up the expected vaccine: For when a vaccine does arrive, rich nations including the United States, Britain and Japan have already bought up more than half the expected supply. That's about 51% of available vaccines for about 13% of the world's population.

3:51 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Canada's new positive Covid-19 cases double in less than a month as officials ramp up restrictions

From CNN’s Paula Newton

People line up to be tested for Covid-19 at a testing center in Toronto on Sunday, September 13.
People line up to be tested for Covid-19 at a testing center in Toronto on Sunday, September 13. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/AP

Despite widespread mask-wearing and testing, Canada is seeing a rising Covid-19 case count with leaders imposing new restrictions on social gatherings. 

New positive Covid-19 cases have doubled in Canada in less than a month with 952 cases reported Wednesday. While this represents about a quarter of new cases, per capita, reported by the US Wednesday, the doubling trend over the past month is a “cause for concern,” according to public health officials. 

The vast majority of cases are in people under the age of 40 and although hospitalizations remain low, Canadian officials have started imposing new restrictions in recent days. 

According to government data, Canada’s positivity rate remains low at 1.4%, however, less than a month ago the positivity rate was at just 1%. 

How the government is responding: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday his government is stepping up with millions more in funding for provinces to combat the virus with more testing and contact tracing. 

On Thursday, the province of Ontario announced new restrictions on social gatherings in the Toronto area and Ottawa, the nation’s capital. 

Private, social gatherings in those regions will now be restricted to 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors although the restrictions do now apply to places like bars and restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and notably schools. 

Public health officials say those businesses and venues have not been associated with a dramatic increase in cases. Rather, it’s private parties and gatherings with friends and family which have led to the rise in cases. 

Ontario will now impose some of the most severe fines in North America for offenders with a $7,500 minimum fine for the host and jail time a possibility. 

“We will throw the book at you if you break the rules. It’s just not fair to the vast majority of people,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a news conference Friday.

“This is to send a message for the reckless, careless people who want to hold these parties and put their neighbors and community in jeopardy, so just follow the rules,” said Ford adding, "They must be a few fries short of a happy meal, these people."

Other impacted areas: The province of Quebec is also coping with a rise in cases, especially in Montreal. Public health officials say there is no definitive evidence of a second wave just yet but that the trend is worrying. 

Quebec has been imposing new but moderate restrictions in recent days, like banning karaoke, responsible for one of the worst outbreaks in the province in recent weeks. But health officials say they are still reluctant to go further with new restrictions at this point. 

“We have to have some stability in the data through time to be able to have an adequate appreciation of things because if you react to a peak and the next day it goes back down, you will have over reacted, it’s like using a cannon to kill a fly,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, during a news conference Thursday. 

 

3:02 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

CDC forecast now projects up to 218,000 total US coronavirus-related deaths by Oct. 10

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 207,000 to 218,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Oct. 10.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published Sept. 10, projected up to 217,000 coronavirus deaths by Oct. 3.

At least 197,244 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

2:58 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Here's how US schools and colleges are responding to the pandemic

University of Idaho students line up for a Covid-19 test on Wednesday, August 13, outside the Student Recreation Center in Moscow, Idaho.
University of Idaho students line up for a Covid-19 test on Wednesday, August 13, outside the Student Recreation Center in Moscow, Idaho. Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News/AP

Schools and universities are coping with augmented learning styles as Covid-19 infections continue to be reported on campuses around the US.

Here's the latest on schools and universities around the country:

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delayed in-person openings at K-5 and K-8 schools until Sept. 29.
  • 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 reported. The campus positivity rate is right around 10%.
  • Baltimore City Public Schools are struggling with virtual class attendance after the first week of school, schools CEO Sonja Santelises said Wednesday in an interview.
  • Almost 30 teenagers have to quarantine after a child was sent to Attleboro High School in Massachusetts despite knowing they were positive with Covid-19, according to Attleboro Public Schools and the town's mayor.
3:06 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Baltimore schools are struggling with virtual attendance during the pandemic

From CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski

Baltimore City Public Schools are struggling with virtual class attendance after the first week of school, Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said Wednesday in an interview with non-affiliate WYPR Baltimore Public Radio. 

"Official attendance is about 80%, but what we do know is that a lot of the attendance data is dependent on what teachers were actually able to submit," Santelises told host WYPR Sheliah Kast. "We know that our first week daily average of logins — in terms of, you know,​ students logging in daily, meaning no interruption or anything like that — is at 65%"

Andre Riley, a Baltimore City Public Schools spokesperson, told CNN that since students were able to virtually attend classes without logging on, the 65% figure may not be accurate. He said that, going forward, all students would be required to log on in order to attend class. 

Santelises said that unexpected shipping delays meant the district was still waiting on at least 10,000 devices to ensure all students had access to virtual classes.

"We know that there are families at each school that are still awaiting the arrival of devices," she said. "We're hoping by the end of September we'll be caught up."

The district lists its enrollment at 79,187 students citywide.

CNN is seeking additional clarity on the district’s attendance policy and implementation.

WATCH:

1:43 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

How New York City is trying to speed up Covid-19 test results

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A sign directs people to a Covid-19 testing site on September 14 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
A sign directs people to a Covid-19 testing site on September 14 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of the “Pandemic Response Lab” — also known as PRL — which will be dedicated to speeding up the return rate of Covid-19 tests for NYC Health and Hospitals.

The lab will be dedicated to processing tests within 24 to 48 hours and will process approximately 20,000 tests per day by November.

“As the need for testing across the country rises, PRL will build on existing capacity as part of the overall NYC testing strategy and provide faster results dedicated to serve the City,” the release said.

“The City has drastically improved turnaround times for COVID-19 tests, with over 80% of tests coming back within 72 hours or less, according to new metrics,” it added.

The new lab will also create 150 new jobs.

12:29 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Some European countries are reporting coronavirus spikes

A woman walks in downtown Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday, September 15.
A woman walks in downtown Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday, September 15. Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto/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 news conference on Thursday.

Here's a look at some of the European countries reporting increases in coronavirus cases recently:

  • Portugal reported 770 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily increase since April 10. The country’s health authorities also reported 10 deaths, the highest single-day death toll from Covid-19 since July 9.
  • 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. 
  • On Saturday, France recorded more than 10,000 new cases of coronavirus for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 
  • At least 1,210 Covid-19 cases were recorded in Italy on Sunday — the highest figure since May 12, according to government data. That spike came after 1,071 cases were recorded Saturday.
12:42 p.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Trump contradicted the CDC director on masks and vaccines. He isn't considering resigning, official says.

From CNN's Nick Valencia

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield appears at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday in Washington.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield appears at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday in Washington. Andrew Harnik/Pool/AP

Despite President Trump appearing to undermine him on the issues of masks and vaccine timing, Dr. Robert Redfield has given no indications that he might resign — or has even considered resigning — as the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a federal health official close to the situation tells CNN.

“He’s marching on,” the official said, adding Redfield has “been in this position before where he said something the President didn’t like.”

The official said Redfield is "taking it in stride" and focused on the work at hand, a day after Trump's comments at the briefing.

What this is all about: Redfield said in a Senate hearing yesterday that the American public could expect to start seeing results from widespread coronavirus vaccination in the second or third quarter of 2021. 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, he said.

Later in the day, the President told reporters Redfield was "confused" when he said that. "I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information," Trump said.

Redfield also said masks may be a more effective protection against coronavirus than any potential vaccine that the President can't stop hyping. ""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," he said.

Later, the President said Redfield's comments were incorrect and that Redfield may have misunderstood the question.

"Maybe he misunderstood it," Trump said, later adding, "As far as the masks are concerned, I hope that the vaccine is going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks."

John King reports:

11:43 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020

Mumbai police bans people from traveling across the city as Covid-19 cases mount

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

People spend time outside on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, on Thursday, September 17.
People spend time outside on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, on Thursday, September 17. Rajanish Kakade/AP

Mumbai’s police department issued fresh orders today prohibiting movement of people across the city as Covid-19 continues to spread.  

"Mumbai city continues to be threatened with the spread of Covid-19. It is considered expedient to issue a prohibitory order restricting any presence or movement of one or more persons in public places or a gathering of any sort anywhere, including religious places,” the order issued by the city police read.

What the order does: The order prohibits any movement in containment zones – sections of the city which are considered hotspots – except for essential activities. For the rest of the city, certain exemptions to the latest order will be in place. A list issued by the state government gives exemption to certain operations, including government offices, service providers, banks, ports and essential service providers. 

The order will go into effect by midnight local time on Friday and will continue until the end of September. It will be applicable to the city of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state. 

Maharashtra has recorded more than 1.1 million cases, including 30,883 deaths since the start of the pandemic.