Coronavirus USA: news summary for Tuesday 15 September

Coronavirus USA live updates: cases, deaths and stimulus checks, latest news

Coronavirus USA: live updates

US coronavirus latest: 13:00 PT / 16:00 ET Tuesday 15 Sept (22:00 CEST)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 29,391,667
Deaths: 930,700
Recoveries: 19,943,599

US

Cases: 6,590,827
Deaths: 195,386
Recoveries: 2,477,942

Coronavirus-related stories you might be interested in:

Li-Meng Yan and her team of researchers published a 26-page document laying out how Covid-19 could have been developed artificially in Chinese labs.

Joe Biden contrasts US war deaths to national deaths from Covid-19

U.S. troops deaths: Afghanistan (2,351)

U.S. troops deaths: Vietnam (58,220)

U.S. troops deaths: Korea (36,574)

U.S. troops deaths: Iraq (4,424)

Total: 101,569

U.S. deaths during Coronavirus pandemic, up to 22:00 CEST 15 September 2020: Total: 195,386

Surgeon General says U.S. is "over the worst" with Covid-19

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams believes that the United States is "over the hump" in the battle against Covid-19 - in sharp contrast to comments made just a few days ago by Dr. Anthony Fauci who described the latest data on the virus as "disturbing".

"I know that there is a lot of fatigue. I know it feels like this has been going on for forever, but honestly, we are I think over the hump," Adams told reporters at a press briefing in California. "It's important to understand, we don't have to wait until we get a vaccine to drive down community transmission. "If you all take the measures now to lower community spread—wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance—we could very quickly get into a better situation in safely reopening".

 

 

vaccine

Some volunteers quit J&J Covid-19 vaccine trial after AstraZeneca scare

Some volunteers have quit Johnson & Johnson's Covid19 vaccine trial in Spain after news of side effects in a participant in AstraZeneca's trial, the Spanish programme's lead investigator told Reuters on Tuesday. The investigator, Alberto Borobia, said there were enough reserve volunteers for the trial to continue as normal, but added, "Many have called to ask us some more detail about the risk of the vaccine, whether what happened with that vaccine had anything to do with the one we are studying, these types of questions". He did not say how many people had dropped out.

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trials were placed on hold worldwide on 6 September after a serious side effect was reported in one volunteer in Britain. Trials resumed in Britain and Brazil on Monday following the green light from British regulators but remain on hold in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson's Belgian Janssen unit began Phase II trials of its Covid-19 vaccine on 190 people in Spain on Monday with those tests due to conclude on 22 September. Trials are also being carried out in the Netherlands and Germany, taking the total number of participants in all three countries to 550.

Volunteers in drug trials have the right to withdraw from clinical trials at any time and for whatever reason.

Bipartisan coronavirus relief proposal unveiled

The Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 50 Republican and Democrat lawmakers, has unveiled the "March to Common Ground" proposal for a coronavirus aid package.

Read more here: 

Problem Solvers Caucus unveils "March to Common Ground" relief-bill proposal

The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 50 US lawmakers, has unveiled its proposal for a coronavirus relief package in the US, amid an impasse in attempts to push through an aid package in Congress.

The proposal, called the "March to Common Ground", would cost a potential $2tn, and is "a framework to hopefully get the negotiators back to the table”, Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) told CNBC today.

Novavax aims for 2bn Covid-19 vaccine doses with expanded India deal

US drug developer Novavax Inc said on Tuesday it was doubling its potential Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity to two billion doses annually under an agreement with Serum Institute of India, sending its shares up about 7%.

In August, Novavax signed a deal with Serum Institute, the world's largest producer of vaccines, to produce a minimum of one billion doses of its vaccine candidate, when approved, for low- and middle-income countries and India.

As part of the expanded agreement, Serum Institute will also manufacture the antigen component of the vaccine, dubbed NVX-CoV2373, which Novavax said will bring its manufacturing capacity to over two billion doses by mid-2021.

Novavax's vaccine is currently in mid-stage trials after an early-stage study showed it produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus. The company plans to begin late-stage trials in the third quarter.

Last month, Novavax said it will supply 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the UK beginning as early as the first quarter of 2021.

The company is also preparing to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by January after it was awarded $1.6 billion for its potential vaccine, and has also signed supply agreements with Canada and Japan.

Other drugmakers such as Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have already begun large late-stage studies of their experimental vaccines.

(Text: Reuters)

House lawmakers to table relief proposal

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is to introduce a new proposal for a coronavirus relief package in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, as Congress struggles to agree on a fifth piece of Covid-19 aid legislation.

Per Politico, the House Problem Solvers Caucus is to table a $2tn bill that would include enhanced unemployment benefits and a second round of stimulus checks.

However, the bill's overall spend means it is not likely to gain any traction in the Republican-controlled Senate, whose Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has sought to limit the next relief package to closer to $1tn

Covid New York

A sign at a public park in Brooklyn, New York City, instructs people to keep their distance from each other amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

WHO advice on mask wearing

A thread from the World Health Organization on mask types, how to wear them and things not to do...

Alabama and JeffCo health leaders learned a lot after 6 months with Covid-19

When the coronavirus first came to Alabama, the Alabama Public Health Officer admitted doctors didn’t know a lot about the disease. “In a scientific sense we learned about the virus we didn’t know. We learned how contagious it is than say influenza. We learned how deadly it is for certain groups of people,” Dr. Scott Harris said.

At the Jefferson County Health Department Dr. Mark Wilson said they learned the disease spread quickly through respiratory means versus surface contamination. Wilson said they learned more about treating patients.

We have also learned this disease doesn’t go away when the infection goes away. A lot of people are having trouble for weeks and months,” Wilson said.

Pandemic-proof Apple to kick off lineup for critical holiday season 

Apple Inc shares have soared this year even as a pandemic has crippled economies around the world, thanks in large part to booming product sales that have beat Wall Street expectations.

On Tuesday, Apple is expected to unveil updates to several key products, including the Apple Watch and iPad, that will help determine whether it keeps up that streak.

Here's how to follow it all live:

Horsfield out of US Open after positive Covid-19 test

Sam Horsfield has withdrawn from this week's US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York after testing positive for Covid-19, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said on Monday.

The 24-year-old Briton had returned a negative test last Thursday but tested positive after arriving in New York, forcing him out of the second major of the year which will take place from Sept. 17-20.

'It goes without saying that I am hugely disappointed to not have the opportunity to play in my fourth US Open but clearly the safety of the tournament and other players is paramount,' Horsfield, who competed in the 2015, 2016 and 2019 editions, wrote on Twitter. Horsfield won the Hero Open and Celtic Classic, two of the six tournaments on the European Tour's UK Swing, to rise to No. 81 in the world and qualify for the U.S. Open.

'Sam had an excellent year... We are disappointed to lose a player of his calibre from the US Open field,' said USGA senior managing director John Bodenhamer. Horsfield, the second golfer to test positive ahead of the US Open after PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Scottie Sheffler, will be replaced in the field by Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini.

Chinese firms bet on plant-based meat amid healthy eating trend

Beijing-based startup Zhenmeat, whose products include plant-based meatballs, beef patty, steak, pork loin, crayfish and dumplings, is one of many small Chinese companies entering the market. Its “meatballs” are now available on a trial basis at a Beijing store of Chinese hot-pot chain Hope Tree.

“Now after Covid-19 consumers are more concerned about health and restaurant brands are responding to this,” Zhenmeat founder and CEO Vince Lu told Reuters in an interview, adding that sales were “up considerably” since June.

Full report:

Hawaii: likely further delay to tourism return

Hawaii Department of Health officials today reported 80 new infections statewide, bringing the state’s totals since the beginning of the pandemic to 10,779 Covid-19 cases.

No new deaths were reported today, leaving the official statewide death toll at 99. A total of 86 deaths have been on Oahu, nine on Maui, three on the Big Island, while one was a Kauai resident who died on the mainland, according to state health officials.

State health officials, however, have yet to count the latest reported coronavirus-related deaths on Hawaii island at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, where 10 residents died following an outbreak there.

Mnuchin update on relief bill and deficit

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is a key player in the ongoing discussions over a new coronavirus relief bill and has been providing us with regular updates, from his perspective, on the situation over a second round of stimulus checks.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Mnuchin suggested a positive outcome on the Economic Impact Payments was still possible, despite Republicans and Democrats still struggling to find a compromise.

China coronavirus vaccine may be ready for public in November - official

Coronavirus vaccines being developed in China may be ready for use by the general public as early as November, an official with the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. China has four Covid-19 vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.

At least three of those have already been offered to essential workers under an emergency use programme launched in July. Phase 3 clinical trials were proceeding smoothly and the vaccines could be ready for the general public in November or December, CDC chief biosafety expert Guizhen Wu said in an interview with state TV late on Monday. Wu, who said she has experienced no abnormal symptoms in recent months after taking an experimental vaccine herself in April, did not specify which vaccines she was referring to.

A unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech are developing the three vaccines under the state's emergency use programme. A fourth Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June. Sinopharm said in July that its vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of this year after the conclusion of Phase 3 trials.

Global vaccine makers are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the virus which has killed more than 925,000 people. Leading Western vaccine makers pledged earlier this month to uphold scientific study standards and reject any political pressure to rush the process.

Wildfires intensify economic pain in the West

“We know that the damage is widespread, but we don’t really know how many homes, how many structures have been destroyed,” said Adam Kamins, an economist who tracks natural disasters for Moody’s Analytics. “I imagine the number is going to be an unbearably high one.’’

The fires are unlikely to make much of a dent in the overall $20 trillion U.S. economy. The financial fallout will be measured in the low billions of dollars, not in hundreds of billions or trillions. To make a nationwide impact, Kamins said, it would take something like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which disrupted oil supplies.

Texas changing the case reporting

The Texas Department of State Health Services said it will now “primarily rely” on a new calculation of the daily positivity rate — defined as the share of tests that yield positive results — that takes into account the date on which a coronavirus test was administered.

Officials said the new metric will give a more accurate representation of viral transmission in Texas on a given day.

Covid-19 has set global health progress back decades - Gates Foundation

The knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic have halted and reversed global health progress, setting it back 25 years and exposing millions to the risk of deadly disease and poverty, a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation warned on Tuesday. Because of Covid-19, extreme poverty has increased by 7%, and routine vaccine coverage - a good proxy measure for how health systems are functioning - is dropping to levels last seen in the 1990s, the report said.

'It's a huge setback,' Bill Gates, co-chair of the Foundation and a leading philanthropic funder of global health and development, told a media briefing on the report's findings. The Foundation's Goalkeepers report, which tracks progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reducing poverty and improving health, found that in the past year, by nearly every indicator, the world has regressed. Alongside dropping rates of routine immunisation, which the report described as 'setting the world back about 25 years in 25 weeks', rising levels of poverty and economic damage from the pandemic are reinforcing inequalities, it said. It found that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women, racial and ethnic minority communities and people living in extreme poverty. 'After 20 consecutive years of declines in extreme poverty, we've now seen a reversal,' said Mark Suzman, chief executive of the Gates Foundation, in an interview with Reuters.

'We've had nearly 40 million people thrown back into extreme poverty. That's well over a million a week since the virus hit.' The report cited International Monetary Fund projections that, despite the $18 trillion dollars already spent on trying to stimulate economies around the world, the global economy will lose $12 trillion or more by the end of 2021 - the biggest global GDP loss since the end of World War Two.

While the scene is 'bleak' right now, Gates said he was confident the world would emerge from the pandemic and resume progress towards the goals on improving global health. 'Whether is takes us two years, or even three, we do believe that we'll overcome this and get back on track,' he said.

Changing fortunes during a pandemic

Overnight, he went from having a roof over his head to living in a flimsy tent purchased with his last $75

Jeff Lello has never been rich, but the 42-year-old could pocket $100 cash most weekend nights at the steakhouse chain where he waited tables. He always had enough money for groceries, his car and the modest Orlando apartment he rented with roommates.

But when he reported for work on a Friday night in March, the manager ushered him and the rest of the staff into an office and told them they were laid off indefinitely as the restaurant, along with much of the country, shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Full story:

German ski resort Covid-19 outbreak linked to US citizen who didn't self-isolate

(CNN)  A coronavirus outbreak at a Bavarian ski resort has been trcaed back to an American citizen working at a lodge operated by the US Army. "There is an investigation for possible assault through negligence," said Andrea Meyer, from the state prosecutor's office.

The unnamed person, who had recently returned to Bavaria following a holiday abroad,  continued to socialize despite having Covid-19 symptoms, according to Stephan Scharf, press officer at Garmisch-Partenkirchen District Administrator's Office. Sharf said the individual took a coronavirus test and was told to stay indoors until they received their results, but did not do so.

Trump

Trump camp shifting new ad focus to economy after law-and-order emphasis

(Reuters) President Donald Trump's re-election campaign plans to emphasize the U.S. economy in a $10 million ad buy, following its focus in recent months on 'law and order,' a senior Trump campaign official said on Monday.

Trump has led Democratic opponent Joe Biden on the handling of the U.S. economy in opinion polls ahead of the 3 November election, while trailing him in areas such as who would better manage the coronavirus pandemic and healthcare. The Trump campaign still plans to highlight the law-and-order theme, which Trump emphasized throughout a summer of protests for racial justice ignited by the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota.

But the new ads will instead focus on the economy, the official said. Trump has vowed to rebuild the pandemic-battered economy if given a second term. "It's a focus on the economy as the defining issue of the campaign. Law and order is something that the campaign and the president will still talk about for sure," the official said.

The official, who confirmed Fox News' report on the ad buy, said the new ads would run in several states vital to Trump winning re-election. Trump is embarking on a heavier fundraising schedule in coming weeks as his re-election campaign faces a possible cash crunch that has forced it to pull back television advertising in some crucial states.

Seven U.S. states have reported record one-day increases in COVID-19 cases so far this month even as the average daily number of new infections is falling nationally.

Naomi Osaka, Lewis Hamilton and other athletes around the world bring protests against police brutality and racial inequality to the playing field.

The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the United States fell 15% last week from the previous seven days, and deaths fell for a fourth week in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial remains on hold in the United States pending a U.S. investigation into a serious side effect in Britain even as other trials of the vaccine resume, sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

 The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Utah anti-mask protester compares situation to that of George Floyd

Treasury's Mnuchin, Fed's Powell to testify before Senate panel on Sept. 24 on coronavirus relief

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on coronavirus relief, the committee said in a statement on Monday. (Reuters)

NY gyms close as New York Sports Clubs owner files for bankruptcy

The parent company of New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts gyms has become the latest gym operator to file for bankruptcy, reports the WSJ...

d

In pictures: Seniors at a Brooklyn High School wait in line to return books and get their schedules for the year on September 14, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. While New York’s infection rate is currently below one percent, the U.S. as a whole stands at more than 6.7 million confirmed cases and nearly 200,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it the world leader in both.

Almost 550,000 children have tested positive for coronavirus in the US

Nearly 550,000 children in the US have been confirmed as Covid-19 positive, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association (via CNN). 

72,993 new child cases were reported from 27 August through 10 September, representing a 15% increase over two weeks. 

Arizona small businesses have recieved $8.6 billion loans

The White House has announced that the government has provided $8.6 billion to loans to small businesses in Arizona.

So far, more than 85,700 small businesses in the state have recieved the SBA loans since the start of the pandamic. 

Brazil registers 15,155 new coronavirus cases

Brazil registered 15,115 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, totalling 4,345,610, the health ministry said. Deaths rose by 381 to 131,625. 

Wall Street closes higher on Covid-19 vaccine hopes

(Reuters) U.S. stocks ended sharply higher on Monday as signs of progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine and a spurt of multibillion-dollar deals lifted investor optimism. Drugmaker AstraZeneca resumed its British clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development. Also, Pfizer Inc rose after the drugmaker and German biotech firm BioNTech proposed to expand their Phase 3 pivotal Covid-19 vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants. "The market loves anything with a vaccine because that is the ultimate solution here. And we'll see more and more headlines," on that going forward, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, New York.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 321.54 points, or 1.16%, to 27,987.18, the S&P 500 gained 42.29 points, or 1.27%, to 3,383.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 203.11 points, or 1.87%, to 11,056.65. All of the S&P 500 sectors were higher, and tech heavyweight Apple Inc gave the S&P 500 its biggest boost. 

US needs 176m Covid-19 tests per month to safely reopen schools

A report by health-policy experts at the Rockefeller Foundation and Duke University has concluded that the US will need to conduct 176 million coronavirus tests per month in order to safely re-open schools.

However, according to the report, reaching that figure will be difficult, as the current testing capacity is around 21 million tests per month.

“The goal is to give schools, businesses, and other critical institutions a pathway toward operating safely even for higher-risk populations and with continuing community spread," the report says. 

Trump

“Science” editor slams Trump's coronavirus response

The Editor-in-Chief of the reputed academic journal Science has written a scathing criticism of Donald Trump, accusing the president of having "demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States” due to his lies and distortions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people," said H. Holden Thorp, adding that it "may be the most shameful moment in the history of US science policy.” (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

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