"We are nearing a crisis," Wisconsin doctor says as state marks record high of Covid-19 related deaths
From CNN's Aditi Sangal
Wisconsin leaders and health experts are sounding the alarm as the state reported its highest death count on record Thursday — 27 people died of Covid-19 Wednesday, according to the state's Covid-19 website. For context, the state reported its second highest death count on May 27 at 22.
“We are nearing a crisis in my community,” said Dr. Paul Casey, medical director of the emergency department at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “This spike we're seeing in Brown County, Wisconsin, should be a wake-up call to anyone who lives here that our community is facing a crisis.”
Currently, one of Green Bay’s four hospitals has more patients than the entire city had at its peak in April, Dr. Casey told CNN on Thursday. He said he hopes the national attention on the coronavirus cases in the community “will get people to wake up.”
This comes as President Trump is set to hold two rallies this weekend in the cities of Green Bay and Lacrosse in Wisconsin. Four hospitals in Green Bay are near capacity.
“Those of us in the medical community are very worried about that,” Dr. Casey said. “We're very concerned about any large gathering, not only weddings, funerals, but much less a very large rally with a bunch of people together without masks.”
11:30 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
“Imperative” for those in zip code clusters to get tested, New York City mayor says
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 city wide is at 1.59%, under the 5% threshold, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said. The seven day rolling average is 1.52%.
The mayor said its “imperative” for those in impacted cluster zip codes to get tested adding “overwhelmingly the rest of the city is doing very very well.”
The mayor said 10 zip codes are now testing above 3% — with some having a positivity rate that runs as high as over 6%.
The city is also watching a cluster in Williamsburg Brooklyn which has not yet reached the 3% threshold. Six other zip-codes are being monitored beyond Williamsburg.
Nearly 1,000 city personnel are doing outreach and over 1,100 tests were done on Wednesday, he said. After hundreds of business visits, 130 warnings and 16 violations were issued, the mayor said, not specifying where. There were 160 school visits, he added.
The mayor said the city will continue to watch to determine whether a fuller shut down is required in hot spot communities, adding that as of now there is no indication of an upsurge with regards to schools associated with those communities.
The city's latest figures: The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 in New York City is at 75, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 22%
With regard to new reported cases on a seven-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, NYC reports at least 394.
School reopenings: The mayor, alongside the city schools chancellor, also championed what he called the success of city officials, union members, staff and families as he says half a million kids this week go through the front doors of schools.
The mayor encouraged parents to fill out waivers to allow their children to be tested monthly within schools, adding testing is to begin next week.
“Those consent forms have been sent home, we are going to start testing next week,” he said.
He said it was free, quick and easy, simple and non-invasive. “Please parents lets fill out those forms and get them back right away,” de Blasio said.
“This is a monumental milestone for our city,” Chancellor Richard Carranza said Thursday.
“We are the only major school district in the entire country to safely open our schools for in- person learning," he added.
“This was an is a colossal undertaking and wouldn’t be possible without every single staff member every family and all new Yorkers," Carranza said.
10:20 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
Wisconsin reports record high of Covid-19 related deaths and hospitalizations climbing
From CNN's Gregory Lemos
The state of Wisconsin reported a grim new milestone Thursday — 27 people died of Covid-19 Wednesday, according to the state's Covid-19 website. That is the highest death count on record for the state. For context, the state reported its second highest death count on May 27 at 22.
The state is also reporting a record high of at least 683 Covid-19 related hospitalizations, up from the 646 that were reported Wednesday.
The percentage of available hospital beds dropped one percentage point to 17%. It was 18% Wednesday. Twenty-nine percent of hospitalized Covid-19 patients are in intensive care units, down slightly from yesterday's report of 32%, according to the website.
Thirteen hundred and fifty-four people have died of Covid-19 in the state of Wisconsin, according to the website.
10:51 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
Trump “was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation 'infodemic,’” study says
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard, Betsy Klein and Maggie Fox
A new study suggests that mentions of President Trump played a big role in conversations involving Covid-19 misinformation in the first few months of the pandemic.
"We conclude that the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation 'infodemic,'" the researchers wrote in the study.
The study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was released online by the Cornell Alliance for Science on Thursday. Co-author Sarah Evanega said the peer-review process was taking too long and the authors chose to post it without outside input, and to alert news media, for quicker release.
The researchers — from Cornell University and Cision Global Insights in Michigan – analyzed media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic across the Internet, podcasts, television, radio and other platforms between January 1 and May 26. The alliance is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The analysis showed that English-language media outlets published more than 1.1 million articles mentioning Covid-19 misinformation.
Among those articles, the researchers found five different sub-sections of topics that emerged within the overall Covid-19 misinformation conversations:
Various misinformation sub-topics such as "miracle cures" and conspiracies, which made up 46.6%
Mentions of Trump within broader misinformation conversations, which made up 37.9%
Coverage of the spread of misinformation or the "infodemic" itself, which made up 23.4% fact-checking, which made up 16.4%
Mentions of Trump only in the context of misinformation, which made up 10.3%.
"It is apparent from the data that mentions of President Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation comprise by far the largest single component of the infodemic," the researchers wrote. "Trump mentions comprised 37.9% of the overall infodemic, well ahead of 'miracle cures', which comprised 26.4%."
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
10:06 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
Additional Covid-19 cases force NFL to move postponed game to later in season
From CNN's David Close
The NFL has announced the Tennessee Titans have additional members of the team who have tested positive for Covid-19. There are now five players and six staff who have tested positive for the virus this week.
The league had originally planned to reschedule Sunday's postponed Titans game with the Pittsburgh Steelers for this coming Monday or Tuesday but now says the game will be slated for later this year.
The Titans facilities remain closed with no in-person activities allowed.
The NFL statement in full reads:
The Pittsburgh-Tennessee game scheduled for Week 4 will be rescheduled to later this season after one additional Titans player and one personnel member tested positive for COVID-19 today. An announcement of the new game date will be made shortly. The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel. The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice.
10:02 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
H&M is closing 250 stores because of the coronavirus pandemic
From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky
H&M is closing 250 stores next year because of the coronavirus pandemic, as people increasingly shop online.
The fast-fashion retailer has 5,000 stores worldwide, so Thursday's announcement accounts for 5% of its total store count.
"More and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic," following temporary store closures that, at its peak, totaled about 80% of its store count, H&M said in a statement Thursday.
The Swedish retailer said its third quarter, which encompasses sales from June to August, recovered as time went on because of store reopenings and "strong and profitable" growth in online shopping. Still, September sales declined 5% compared to the same month a year ago.
"Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger," CEO Helena Helmersson said in release.
The coronavirus has accelerated the trend toward online shopping, which was already disrupting the retail industry and battering major chains before the pandemic hit. H&M rival Inditex, which owns Zara and other fast-fashion brands, said earlier this year it plans to close as many as 1,200 stores this year and next.
H&M and Inditex aren't the only retailers feeling the pinch. American Eagle Outfitter and GameStop also recently announced plans to close hundreds of stores because of the rise of online shopping.
9:54 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020
Where things stand on bipartisan negotiations for a stimulus
From CNN's Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly and Lauren Fox
As coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the US economy, House Democrats held off on a planned vote Wednesday night on their $2.2 trillion stimulus proposal to allow more time for bipartisan negotiations in a last-ditch effort to reach a deal just weeks before Election Day.
Latest on the negotiations: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still far apart, however, as negotiations continue, according to four sources briefed on the talks.
Despite optimistic words from Pelosi and Mnuchin, sources briefed on the talks said that reaching an agreement with the backing of Senate GOP leaders and the White House remains a tall order.
But for now, the two plan to continue to talking, with House Democrats delaying a vote on their own plan to create room for the two sides to come closer to a deal on Thursday.
The stimulus package: Still, the topline cost of a final package — which had been the defining hurdle throughout weeks of inaction — has narrowed, the people said, with Mnuchin's proposal running above the $1.5 trillion that the Trump administration had signaled it was open to in the talks.
But it remains short of the current $2.2 trillion House Democratic proposal — and it's far more than what Senate Republicans are willing to accept given that their conference united around a $500 billion proposal.
More importantly, the people said, the actual details of the various pieces remain far from ironed out, with issues like funds for state and local governments and the shape of liability protections still nowhere near agreement.
Mnuchin told Fox News Wednesday night that President Donald Trump had instructed him and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to significantly increase the amount of money in a White House proposal, however, he would not say if there's a magical number that would lead to a deal.
What comes next: Mnuchin said he would most likely speak with Pelosi again Wednesday night but he didn't think there would be significant progress until Thursday, when the two sides plan to continue the conversation totry and add details to the talks and narrow differences.
"We're gonna go back and do a little bit more work," Mnuchin told reporters as he left the Capitol Wednesday. "We've made a lot of progress in a lot of areas."
Time is running out, however, to strike a bipartisan deal before Election Day and pressure is running high, with lawmakers facing questions from constituents in need amid the economic and public health fallout from the pandemic.
Inside the small and independent group that sees vaccine data before anyone else
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board, a group of experts in areas like statistics, ethics and vaccine development, views “unblinded” coronavirus vaccine data as it starts to come in, reports CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“They know who got the vaccine, who got the placebo, they’re the ones who figure out if it's time to say this is working. That's not a political decision,” according to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
They can advise companies to apply for FDA review or might bring a trial to a halt, according to Gupta.
Susan Ellenberg, a professor of biostatistics at UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine and a Covid-19 DSMB member, agreed to speak with CNN.
“I think you feel powerful. You feel responsible. You know that everybody's trusting you with these data,” she said.
“We have certainly never been in a situation where the national leadership has seemed to be so involved, directly involved, in these kinds of processes,” she told Dr. Gupta about President Trump’s claims that the White House can overrule the FDA's attempt to toughen guidelines for a coronavirus vaccine.
Members of the board go through an extensive vetting process.
“We want to know they're fully independent, that they have no prior, you know, relationships with the company so that they're not conflicted any way,” Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research.
6:44 p.m. ET, October 1, 2020
When a vaccine could be available to US population
From CNN's Christina Maxouris
On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said if its Covid-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective, it could be available to the general population by late March or early April.
"I think a late Q1, early Q2 approval is a reasonable timeline, based on what we know from our vaccine," Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.
But there are several steps that will have to come before that.
If the safety and efficacy data checks out, Bancel says he expects Moderna will be able to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the US Food and Drug Administration by late January or early February. That application asks the FDA to consider fully licensing a drug, while an emergency use authorization (EUA) expedites a drug candidate for use on an emergency basis.
Moderna could file for an EUA as early as November 25 for people who are deemed high priority, including health care workers and the elderly, Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.
Until a vaccine is available, experts have for long said the country's most powerful tools against the pandemic are face masks and other safety measures like social distancing.