Coronavirus task force continues to urge mask usage in states without mandates
From CNN's Betsy Klein
The White House coronavirus task force continues to issue recommendations to states via weekly reports, this week again strongly recommending mask usage in some states that still do not have statewide mask mandates.
The task force told Georgia that “mitigation efforts must continue including mask wearing,” called on Iowa to “Institute mask requirements statewide,” and suggested Wyoming require “face coverings in indoor, public, and commercial spaces in all red, orange, and yellow zone counties.”
College towns in Colorado and Maryland were encouraged to more strictly limit bar and restaurant alcohol sales and indoor dining beyond their state’s respective guidelines. The task force warned that reopening the University of Wyoming was “ill-advised” amid local outbreaks. Hot spots in Idaho were encouraged to consider moving to online schooling, despite the administration’s overall push to reopen schools.
And in Wisconsin the task force warned of “rapid worsening” of cases and recommended increased social distancing “to the maximal degree possible.”
Reports for many states recommended “on-site inspection of infection control practices” in both correctional facilities and nursing homes.
CNN has reached out to all 50 states for a copy of each state’s Sept. 27 report and has received responses from 16 states as of Wednesday afternoon.
2:04 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020
New Jersey's Covid-19 positivity rate rises to 3%
From CNN's Sheena Jones
New Jersey's Covid-19 positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested — is now at 3%, the highest since mid-July, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
In addition to the rising test positivity rate, the state announced 772 additional cases of Covid-19 and 9 additional deaths from the virus, Murphy said.
One thing to note:The numbers listed were released by the state of New Jersey and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
1:42 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020
New Jersey schools reopening running smoothly, governor says
From CNN's Sheena Jones
The reopening of New Jersey schools has been running smoothly, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday at a press conference.
“Over the past three weeks we have had minimal disruptions reported,” Murphy said.
Out of the more than 802 reopening plans across the state, 403 school plans are operating under a hybrid education plan, 81 are open for in-person instruction, 278 plans are utilizing all remote learning and at least 40 plans are using a combination of the plan, Murphy said.
The state also announced they will be adding a school Covid-19 case tracker to the state’s dashboard to monitor Covid-19 cases in school.
The school Covid-19 tracker will be available on the dashboard shortly, the governor said.
12:53 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020
Wisconsin reports highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations on record
From CNN's Gregory Lemos
Wisconsin reported its highest number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations on record Wednesday.
They have 646 Covid-19-related hospitalizations and just 18% of hospital beds are available, according to the state's Covid-19 website. Thirty-two percent of hospitalized Covid-19 patients are in intensive care units, according to the website.
The state reported its highest seven-day percent positive on record Monday at 17%.
Wisconsin also reported 17 additional deaths Wednesday. For context, the state reported its highest death count on May 27 at 22.
At least 1,317 people have died in total of Covid-19 in Wisconsin.
12:39 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020
16 pharmaceutical companies and the Gates Foundation to scale up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines
From CNN's Andrea Diaz
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has signed a new joint agreement, along with 16 pharmaceutical companies, to commit to scaling up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines at "an unprecedented speed" and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad global distribution as early as possible.
"The only way to eliminate the threat of this disease somewhere is to eliminate it everywhere,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates said during a World Health organization briefing.
“The solution is not shaming the rich countries that are doing the natural thing of wanting to protect their people. The solution is to vastly increase the manufacturing capacity so we can cover everyone as soon as possible," Gates said.
The 16 pharmaceutical companies to sign this agreement are AstraZeneca; Bayer; bioMérieux; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Eisai; Eli Lilly; Gilead; GSK; Johnson & Johnson; Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada); Merck KGaA; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; and Sanofi.
"The next component we need for global elimination is the funding to pay for those vaccines. The pharmaceutical industry has already made significant commitments in this area as well. The companies involved in the agreement are committed to using donations for going profits, and using tiered pricing to make their products as affordable as possible," Gates added.
11:54 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020
Covid-19 hospitalizations are steadily rising in Missouri
From CNN’s Gregory Lemos
The state of Missouri hit another high since July for hospitalizations, according to the state's Covid-19 dashboard. Hospitalizations were at 1,139 Tuesday, according to the state’s website.
Hospitalizations have been increasing every day since Sept. 6, when the state reported 930 people hospitalized.
11:45 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020
NFL postpones Sunday's Steelers-Titans game
From CNN's David Close
The National Football League has announced that Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers-Tennessee Titans game has been postponed.
The league says it will reschedule the game to either Monday or Tuesday so that additional time can be allocated for coronavirus testing.
The Titans have had four players and five staff members test positive for Covid-19.
The NFL said in a statement that details on the new game date and time will be announced as soon as possible.
11:57 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020
New York City restaurants can begin indoor dining today at 25% capacity
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
As New York City began indoor dining Wednesday at 25% capacity, mayor Bill de Blasio said there will be "rigorous" inspection efforts particularly in the zip codes with clusters.
“There is going to be a very rigorous inspection effort in those zip codes and we are going to be looking carefully to make sure every restaurant is following the rules," he said.
Violations will lead to immediate summonses, De Blasio said
Health department professionals and other staff will be visible in restaurants Wednesday through the evening.
Asked whether he would engage in indoor dining, Mayor de Blasio said, “My outdoor dining experiences have been amazing, I’m going to keep doing that for the foreseeable future and then of course shift to indoor when the outdoor isn’t as prevalent because of the weather.”