Coronavirus USA: news summary for Wednesday 16 September

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

Coronavirus USA: live updates 16 September 2020

US coronavirus latest: 13:30 PT / 16:30 ET on Wednesday 16 Sept (22:30 CEST)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 29,674,488
Deaths: 937,204
Recoveries: 20,148,175

US

Cases: 6,616,458
Deaths: 196,436
Recoveries: 2,495,127

Coronavirus-related stories you might be interested in:

A doctored video of the Democratic presidential candidate apparently playing a notorious song by the LA rap group was retweeted by the president.

Biden leads Trump nationally by 9 points

(Reuters) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump nationally among likely US voters by 9 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that showed Trump's "law and order" message falling short with its target audience of suburban voters.

The Sept. 11-15 opinion poll, released on Wednesday, found that 50% of likely voters said they were casting their ballots for Biden while 41% were doing the same for Trump. Another 3% said they would support a third-party candidate and the rest were undecided.

The poll also showed that most American voters were locked in on their choice for president. Nine out of 10 likely Biden voters and 8 out of 10 likely Trump voters said they were “completely certain” about their choice for president. Only 1 in 10 likely Biden voters and fewer than 2 in 10 likely Trump voters appeared to be wavering in their choice.

Republicans and Democrats remain divided on a number of issues but Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers will remain in situ until a deal is struck.

An official at the health ministry confirmed the AstraZeneca vaccine trials in in South Africa have been resumed after a week-long suspension.

fire

Crews battle wildfires in US West as smoke travels the world

(Reuters) As fire crews continued to battle deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, thousands of evacuees in Oregon and other states faced a daily struggle while scientists in Europe tracked the smoke on Wednesday as it spread on an intercontinental scale. 

With state resources stretched to their limit, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night approved a request from Oregon's governor for a federal disaster declaration, bolstering federal assistance for emergency response and relief efforts.

Dozens of fires have burned some 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) of tinder-dry brush, grass and woodlands in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, ravaging several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 34 people.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated more than $1.2 million in mission assignments to bring relief to Oregon and has deployed five urban search and rescue teams to the wildfire-torn region, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Scientists in Europe tracked the smoke as it bore down on the continent, underscoring the magnitude of the disaster. The European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) is monitoring the scale and intensity of the fires and the transport of the resultant smoke across the United States and beyond.

"The fact that these fires are emitting so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can still see thick smoke over 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) away reflects just how devastating they have been in their magnitude and duration," CAMS Senior Scientist Mark Parrington said in a statement.

(Photo by RINGO CHIU / AFP)

Trump Administration Releases Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) today released two documents outlining the Trump Administration’s detailed strategy to deliver safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine doses to the American people as quickly and reliably as possible. 

The documents, developed by HHS in coordination with DoD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provide a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial, and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to Covid-19 within their respective jurisdictions.

As part of Operation Warp Speed, we have been laying the groundwork for months to distribute and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it meets FDA’s gold standard,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This in-depth, round-the-clock planning work with our state and local partners and trusted community organizations, especially through CDC, will ensure that Americans can receive a safe and effective vaccine in record time.”

Biden to outline how he would oversee coronavirus vaccine

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will lay out on Wednesday how he plans if elected to develop and distribute a safe coronavirus vaccine, seeking to draw a contrast with President Donald Trump's approach to combating the pandemic.

Biden will deliver remarks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, after being briefed by public health experts on the efforts to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The speech is part of a delicate balancing act the former vice president has struck in recent weeks, as Trump has suggested a vaccine could be approved ahead of the 3 November election. (Reuters)

Second stimulus check: how much would bipartisan relief proposal get you?

A bipartisan group of 50 United States lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a new proposal for a coronavirus aid package, which includes a second - and possibly third - round of stimulus checks for qualifying Americans. Read more...

US retail sales grow by 0.6%

US retail sales grew by just 0.6% in August as stimulus money began to dry up. Restaurants and bars saw the largest increase at 4.7%, followed by clothing and accessories (2.9%), and furniture stores (2.1%).

"We underestimated the value of masks," say Bill Gates 

Bill Gates has said that the world failed to realize the importance of wearing face masks in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic,

“The number of things that in retrospect, could have been done better on this pandemic is very, very large,” Gates said while speaking about the atest release of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report.

“Even the medical community are understanding of the importance of masks. You know, it took us several months — most respiratory diseases are coughing diseases. They’re not talking or singing diseases. And so we got that one wrong. We underestimated the value of masks."

Pic

In pictures: A peer ambassador stands next to face masks for protection against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during Move In Day 2020 - North and West Campus, at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in this undated handout photo. (Jason Koski/Cornell University/Handout via REUTERS)

Black, hispanic and Indian children account for majority of US coronavirus child deaths 

A CDC report has found that the vast majortiy of children dying from coronavirus are Hispanic, Black and/or Native Americans. Up to July 31, 121 people under 21 had died from Covid-19 in the US.

UK could impose COVID curfew on London - Evening Standard

Curfews could be imposed in London to fight a second COVID-19 wave, the Evening Standard reported on Wednesday, citing the director of the London public health unit.

"It might be local curfews so you’re not out drinking until the wee hours of the morning," Kevin Fenton, London director of Public Health England, was quoted as saying.  (Reuters).

Food donation drive

A resident in Chelsea, Massachusetts, after picking up a box of free groceries distributed by the Chelsea Collaborative's food pantry on Tuesday. The US city, which is home to just over 35,000 people, has been hard hit by the coronavirus.

(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Trump: Covid-19 will disappear thanks to "herd mentality"

Donald Trump’s town hall on Tuesday also saw the US president claim that the coronavirus would disappear without a vaccine, leading him to spark social-media mockery when he talked about “herd mentality" instead of "herd immunity”.

“It would go away without the vaccine […]. With time it goes away,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And you’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”

Trump: I up-played the coronavirus

During Tuesday’s town hall in Philadelphia, President Trump denied that he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks that contradicted statements he made to the journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year.

"I didn't downplay it,” Trump said. “I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action. My action was very strong.”

In a March interview with Woodward for the veteran reporter’s new book ‘Rage’,  the president said: "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

Trump

Trump: Vaccine could be ready in three or four weeks

US President Donald Trump says a coronavirus vaccine could be three or four weeks away, despite cautionary notes sounded by some public health officials about that accelerated timeline.

"We're very close to having a vaccine," Trump told a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia on Tuesday. "If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals.

"And we're within weeks of getting it... Could be three weeks, four weeks."

Earlier this month, top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN that most experts believe a vaccine will be ready by November or December. "It is conceivable that you can have it by October, though I don't think that that's likely."

(Text: Reuters; photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

 U.S. 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%.

Pfizer Inc PFE.N said on Tuesday participants were showing mostly mild-to-moderate side effects when given either the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine or a placebo in an ongoing late-stage study.

Some volunteers have quit Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 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 top U.S. Food and Drug Administration official on Tuesday confirmed AstraZeneca Plc’s U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold, saying the agency is planning to do “very significant work” with the company as it conducts its investigation after an illness in a participant in Britain.

A U.N.-led aviation task force aims to make a recommendation by late October on the use of COVID-19 testing to reduce long quarantine requirements that have decimated air travel, two sources said, following a meeting of the group on Tuesday.

Japanese companies plan to make the deepest cut in capital expenditure in more than a decade this year as the coronavirus pandemic hits profits, a government survey showed, underscoring the broadening economic impact of the health crisis.

chelsea

A resident picks up free groceries distributed by the Chelsea Collaborative's food pantry, in Chelsea, a city hard hit by the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Pfizer says coronavirus vaccine study shows mostly mild-to-moderate side effects

(Reuters) Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday participants were showing mostly mild-to-moderate side effects when given either the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine or a placebo in an ongoing late-stage study.

The company said in a presentation to investors that side effects included fatigue, headache, chills and muscle pain. Some participants in the trial also developed fevers - including a few high fevers. The data is blinded, meaning Pfizer does not know which patients received the vaccine or a placebo.

Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development, stressed that the independent data monitoring committee "has access to unblinded data so they would notify us if they have any safety concerns and have not done so to date."

The company has enrolled more than 29,000 people in its 44,000-volunteer trial to test the experimental Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech.

Trump

The new book by Bob Woodward, 'Rage', seen on a shelf at Shakespeare & Co., in New York on 15 September. The book is released after recordings during interviews with US President Donald J. Trump became public, in which he recognized that he underestimated intentionally the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic.  EFE/EPA/PETER FOLEY

"Problem Solvers" meet their match in US Congress coronavirus aid fight

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said Democrats were open to delaying an October recess to get a deal with Republicans on a new coronavirus aid bill, as a $1.5 trillion proposal unveiled by moderates was attacked by conservatives and liberals.

With the US presidential and congressional elections less than two months away, Congress and the White House have been unable to agree on a fifth coronavirus bill, having approved more than $3 trillion worth of measures earlier this year.

"We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement," Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a CNBC interview, adding that there were disagreements with Republicans on how to "crush the virus" that has now killed more than 194,000 people in the United States.

Wildfires have been raging across the West Coast for several weeks leaving a trail of desctruction in California, Oregon and Washington.

Oregon governor seeks more federal help as wildfires burn in US West

Oregon's governor is seeking additional federal assistance as her state battles the deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, and local residents pitched in on Tuesday to help the many people displaced by the blazes.

Dozens of wildfires have burned across some 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) in California, Oregon and Washington state since August, ravaging several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least three dozen people.

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said 16,600 firefighters were battling 25 fires on Tuesday in the most populous US state after being able to largely put out two blazes on Monday.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Monday sent a letter to the White House requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration following the federal emergency declaration on Sept. 10. The request from the Democratic governor includes a call for additional communications resources, damage-assessment teams, search-and-rescue and debris management, as well as help with shelter and medical assistance.

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.

zeneca

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.

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.

Surgeon General says US is "over the worst" with Covid-19

US 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".

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

US troop deaths: Afghanistan (2,351)

US troop deaths: Vietnam (58,220)

US troop deaths: Korea (36,574)

US. troop deaths: Iraq (4,424)

Total: 101,569

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

Coronavirus USA: live updates

Hello and welcome to our US-dedicated live blog on the coronavirus pandemic. We'll bring you all the latest developments from the United States and around the world as they unfold on Wednesday 16 September.  

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