September 25 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Joshua Berlinger, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:58 AM ET, Sat September 26, 2020
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6:38 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Fewer than 10% in the US have antibodies to the novel coronavirus, study finds

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

A nationwide study of the blood of more than 28,000 people found that, as of July, approximately 9.3% in the United States had antibodies to the novel coronavirus. The numbers ranged from an average of 3.5% in the West to an average of 27% in the Northeast. 

“This research clearly confirms that despite high rates of COVID-19 in the United States, the number of people with antibodies is still low and we haven’t come close to achieving herd immunity. Until an effective vaccine is approved, we need to make sure our more vulnerable populations are reached with prevention measures,” one of the study authors, Dr. Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said in a statement.

For the study, which was published Friday in The Lancet, researchers led by Stanford University’s Dr. Shuchi Anand, analyzed samples of plasma — a component of blood — from more than 28,500 patients receiving dialysis in July at approximately 1,300 facilities in 46 states run by one lab.  

Why dialysis patients? “Patients receiving dialysis in the USA undergo routine monthly laboratory studies,” the researchers wrote, so there was no need for “considerable infrastructure and expense” to gather samples, nor were there other pandemic-related challenges. 

Additionally, the risk factors for getting infected with coronavirus and for developing severe disease — including advanced age, non-White race, poverty and diabetes — “are the rule rather than the exception in the US dialysis population.”

The overall percent of people who were positive for antibodies among those sampled was 8%. Because dialysis patients aren’t representative of the US population, the researchers standardized the results with respect to age, sex, race and ethnicity, and region, to get an estimate of 9.3% seropositivity for the US adult population.

They found that there was a wide variation by state: seven states had 0% seropositivity, while New York, an early pandemic hotspot, topped the list with 33%.  

The researchers were also able to see who was more likely to have antibodies. They found that, compared to the White population, residents of predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods were two to three times more likely to be seropositive; people living in poorer areas were two times more likely; and those living in the most densely populated areas were 10 times more likely.

They also compared rates from their study with population case counts from Johns Hopkins University. From that, they estimated that only 9.2% of the patients with antibodies had been officially diagnosed by a test with Covid-19. 

But, as the authors of an accompanying commentary point out, questions still remain about how long the antibodies last and how protective they are. Still, they wrote, studies like this one can help find answers if they can be repeated over time.

The study authors indicated the same. “A surveillance strategy relying on monthly testing of remainder plasma of patients receiving dialysis can produce unbiased estimates of SARS-CoV-2 spread inclusive of hard-to-reach, disadvantaged populations in the USA. Such surveillance can inform disease trends, resource allocation, and effectiveness of community interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

6:15 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

All conferences in top tier of college football now planning to play this fall

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Miami RedHawks running back Tyre Shelton runs with the ball during the Mid-American Conference championship game between the Miami RedHawks and the Central Michigan Chippewas on December 7, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.
Miami RedHawks running back Tyre Shelton runs with the ball during the Mid-American Conference championship game between the Miami RedHawks and the Central Michigan Chippewas on December 7, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images/FILE

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced on Friday its plans to start a six-game, conference-only football season on Nov. 6. 

The MAC’s announcement comes a day after the Mountain West Conference (MWC) announced plans to begin an eight-game football season on Oct. 24.

With the planned return to football for the MAC and MWC, each of the 10 conferences in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision – the top tier of college football – now plans to play football this fall.

The MAC, which suspended fall sports on Aug. 8, says that it is not planning to allow general public attendance or tailgating at football games this season. The MWC, which indefinitely postponed fall sports on Aug. 10, plans to allow each member institution to make its own decision on fan attendance in accordance with state, county, and local guidelines.

5:31 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

It will be a real challenge if the US enters fall and winter at current coronavirus levels, Fauci says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23. Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday he is concerned about the United States entering the fall and winter months with the current level of coronavirus spread.  

“Yesterday I just looked at the numbers. It was like 43,000 new cases yesterday,” Fauci told JAMA Editor in Chief Dr. Howard Bauchner in an online conversation. “You don't want to enter into the fall and winter with a community spread at that level, because if you do, you got a difficult situation that's going to be really challenging.”

Fauci noted that many activities will have to take place indoors during the fall and winter months.

“If you look at some of the super spreading type things that have occurred, almost all of them occurred in indoor situations,” he said. 

“You're going to have to do a lot of things indoors out of necessity of the temperature, and I'm afraid, with that being the case, if we don't carefully follow the guidelines … the masking, the distance, the crowds, that we may see another surge,” he added. 

5:27 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Michigan movie theaters can reopen next month

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

A closed United Artists Regal theater is shown on March 26,  in Commerce Township, Michigan.
A closed United Artists Regal theater is shown on March 26, in Commerce Township, Michigan. Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Movie theaters, arcades and bowling alleys in Michigan will be allowed to reopen starting Oct. 9, according to a statement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office.

Whitmer signed executive orders today reopening some previously closed businesses, including performance venues, and requiring K-5 students to wear face coverings in classrooms, according to the statement.

The governor also signed an order increasing the limit of non-residential indoor and outdoor gatherings.

“Michigan took some of the most aggressive action against COVID-19 in the country, and as a result, the health of our families and our economy are faring better than our neighbors in other states. As a result, we are now able to reopen movie theaters and performance venues with strict safety measures in place. I know these business owners have made incredible sacrifices during this crisis to protect our families and frontline workers, and my administration will continue working to help them get back on their feet,” Whitmer said in the statement.

2:59 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

US surpasses 7 million coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Haley Brink

A medical worker pushes a stretcher through a hallway at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on September 22 in New York City.
A medical worker pushes a stretcher through a hallway at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on September 22 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

There have been at least 7,005,746 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 203,240 people have died in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

JHU recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on Jan. 21. 

  • 98 days later, on April 28, the US hit 1 million cases.
  • 44 days later, on June 11, the US hit 2 million cases.
  • 27 days later, on July 8, the US hit 3 million cases.
  • 15 days later, on July 23, the US hit 4 million cases.
  • 17 days later, on Aug. 9, the US hit 5 million cases.
  • 22 days later, on Aug. 31, the US hit 6 million cases.
  • 25 days later, on Sept. 25, the US hit 7 million cases.

Only three other countries in the world have reported more than 1 million total Covid-19 cases:

  • India with 5.8 million total cases.
  • Brazil with 4.6 million total cases.
  • Russia with 1.1 million total cases.
1:55 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Florida's governor clears restaurants and bars to fully open

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on September 25.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on September 25. WFTS

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he has signed an order moving the state into phase three of reopening at a news conference today. 

DeSantis emphasized the impact the move will have on restaurants and bars, which can now operate at 100% capacity.

"There will not be limitations, from the state of Florida," DeSantis said.

However, the order treats restaurants and bars differently in terms of what local municipalities can do to restrict operations.

"If a local restricts between 50 and 100, they've got to provide the justification and they've got to identify what the costs are involved with doing that are," the governor added.

Conversely, bars, which were operating at 50% capacity, must be authorized to scale up to 100% by local governments.

"If you want to go beyond the 50, you can authorize it and do it," DeSantis said.

"We're not telling you [that] you have to, but we're not going to stand in the way of that," he added.

DeSantis, in "an act of executive grace," also suspended "all outstanding fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals" associated with pandemic-related mandates, such as mask requirements.

"I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing," DeSantis said.

"All these fines we're going to hold in abeyance and hope that we can move forward in a way that's more collaborative," he added.

 

1:31 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

More than 40 staff members under quarantine at an NYC middle school

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

More than 40 staff members at a New York City middle school have been asked to quarantine after one person tested positive for coronavirus, according to the school.

One person who had attended an indoor staff meeting at Staten Island's Edwin Markham Intermediate School tested positive for coronavirus. Because the meeting was longer than 30 minutes, all 43 people who attended were required to quarantine, according to posts on the school's website. 

The school closed in-person teaching on Wednesday, and reopened on Thursday, according to the school. 

The school's principal and the New York City Department of Education did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.

1:34 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Rio de Janeiro’s 2021 carnival parade postponed due to Covid-19

From CNN’s Flora Charner and Alessandra Castelli

Carnival parade floats sit unfinished at the Unidos de Padre Miguel samba school workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 21.
Carnival parade floats sit unfinished at the Unidos de Padre Miguel samba school workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 21. Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous carnival parade has been postponed for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of the League of Samba Schools, the group that organizes the two-day parade, announced the decision during a Rio de Janeiro news conference Thursday.

"Science has evolved a lot, but not to the point of giving us the guarantee that by February the population will be immunized," said the president of the Samba League, Jorge Castanheira, during a news conference. 

Castanheira said no new date had been set for the parade, which was scheduled to take place in late February.

The pre-lent holiday usually attracts millions of Brazilian and foreign tourists to Rio de Janeiro. In 2020, more than 2 million people descended upon the city, bringing more than 700 million dollars in revenue, according to state tourism agency Riotur.

Riotur acting president Fabricio Villa Flor told CNN Brasil Friday that he’s going to set up a meeting with the samba parade organizers to determine a new date.

“We are going to discuss the possibility of a new design (for the parade), but it’s difficult given the large gathering of people that occurs during carnival,” Villa Flor said.

Brazil has the world’s third-worst coronavirus outbreak after the US and India, with more than 4.6 million cases, according to the latest Johns Hopkins University data.

 

12:32 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020

New York City mayor makes outdoor dining permanent and year-round

From CNN's Sheena Jones

People in New York dine outside on June 24.
People in New York dine outside on June 24. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Outdoor dining will be permanent and year-round in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday on WNYC Radio.

Restaurants will be able to use sidewalks and streets for seating for years to come, the mayor said. 

This announcement comes as indoor dining, at limited capacity, is set to begin next week.

The mayor said restaurants will be able to add heating lamps to keep the area warm, but if restaurants completely enclose the outdoor space they will have to adhere to indoor dining guidelines. 

De Blasio appeared on the radio show to take questions from the community.