Coronavirus USA live updates: cases, deaths and stimulus checks, latest news
Coronavirus USA: live updates 17 September 2020
US coronavirus latest: 15:15 PT / 18:15 ET on 17 Sept (00:15 CEST on 18 Sept)
Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus-related stories you might be interested in:
Global coronavirus cases pass 30 million
The global tally of coronavirus cases has surpassed the 30-million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. As of 19:15 ET, there had been 30,003,378 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, JHU said, with 943,243 deaths.
With just under 6.67 million cases so far, the United States has been the world's worst-affected country and accounts for over a fifth of the globe's total infections.
Second stimulus check: update on relief-bill progess
Americans are still waiting for a fifth Covid-19 economic aid package - relief legislation that could include a second stimulus check.
Taxi drivers call for debt relief amid Covid-19 crisis
Taxi cab drivers stop traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City on Thursday, as they held a day of action calling for debt forgiveness for loss of income, amid a shortage in work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP)
In 12 US states, at least 35% are obese, and more at risk of Covid-19 - CDC
Adult obesity is rising in the United States, with a greater impact on racial and ethnic minorities, a US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) report showed, at a time when the health condition is seen causing heightened risk for severe Covid-19.
In 2019, at least 35% of the adult population were obese in 12 states, up from nine in 2018, based on data taken from a telephone survey by the CDC and the state health departments. Alabama had the highest prevalence at 36.1%, followed by Alaska and Arizona, with Wyoming recording the lowest figures, with the health agency warning that obesity triples the odds of being hospitalized for Covid-19, reported Reuters.
African American and Hispanic adults had higher prevalence than White adults and were more likely to suffer worst outcomes from Covid-19, the report, released on Thursday, said. At 39.8%, Black adults suffered the most from the health condition, followed by Hispanic adults at 33.8% and 29.9% among non-Hispanic White adults. Racial and ethnic minority groups have historically had fewer opportunities for economic, physical, and emotional health, and many of these factors are contributing to the higher level of obesity, the report said.
The US health agency said college educated adults reported lower levels of obesity than people who did not graduate from college and young adults were half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged.
Texas: Gov Greg Abbot shares his latest update
'Effective Sept. 24, eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, & long-term care facilities will be able to designate up to two essential family caregivers for visitation to ensure their loved one's needs are being met.'
A Twitter thread from the Governor
More trend analysis
The team at Beautify Data continue their collection of graphs and charts related to the coronavirus for you to absorb more easily.
State-by-state cases and deaths
California, Texas, Florida, New York...
Check out the latest data where you live.
Pacific Islanders are mentors not victims
At last! Some good news about Hawaii’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s probably not what you think, and there’s a good chance you’ll have to think differently in order to appreciate it. I’m here to help.
Last week’s news featured two kinds of coronavirus stories, one unsurprisingly sad and the other surprisingly uplifting.
Read Neal Milner's piece here:
Who's saying what about the latest relief package?
There's not a day that goes past at the moment when one of those involved in the process of agreeing or signing off a new financial deal isn't saying something.
Here's a selection...
Who to trust more: politician or expert?
“We're going to have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and listen to the preparation of what we've been able to do with Operation Warp Speed, to be able to deliver it.
"When that time comes, if I just take the words of the CDC and the president, the president's right,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a press briefing on Thursday.
Another delay to New York City in-person learning at public schools
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delayed the start of in-person learning at public schools for a second time for most students on Thursday as the city grapples to safely reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While virtual lessons via the internet are already underway, in-person learning had previously been delayed to Monday 21 September, for those students who opted in. Now, only pre-kindergarten children and students with special learning needs will start on Monday, the mayor said at a news conference. Elementary school students will begin Tuesday 29 September. Middle school and high school students will start 1 October.
'This is a huge undertaking,' said de Blasio, who oversees the largest school district in the United States, serving more than 1.1 million children. 'It is difficult. It's challenging.' De Blasio said a total of 4,500 additional educators have been hired.
Batman is back...filming after coronavirus
Filming has resumed in Britain on the movie 'The Batman,' Warner Bros. said on Thursday, after a two-week shutdown caused by a member of the production - reported to be actor Robert Pattinson - who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Following a hiatus for Covid-19 quarantine precautions, filming has now resumed on The Batman in the UK,” a Warner Bros. representative said in a statement. Pattinson, the star of the superhero movie, was widely reported to be the person who tested positive in early September. The movie studio never confirmed or denied this.
The shutdown underscored the challenges that Hollywood is facing in getting back to work after months of pandemic-induced shutdowns, and the stringent safety measures they must now undertake. Filming of 'The Batman' had resumed north of London only three days prior to the positive test after being shuttered in mid-March, along with dozens of other movies and TV shows around the world due to the coronavirus.
It was not clear to what extent Pattinson, 34, best known for his breakout role in the vampire movie series 'Twilight,' had suffered any Covid-19 symptoms. 'The Batman' has about three months of material left to shoot, according to Hollywood trade outlets. Its release was pushed back earlier this year to October 2021 from June 2021.
Texas coronavirus update
President Trump has falsely accused Democrat-run states for high death tolls but four out of the top ten states with the highest number of Covid-19-related deaths are led by Republican governors: Texas, Florida, Massachusetts and Georgia.
Greg Abbott is providing his update.
Florida reported 3,255 new Covid-19 cases
The state has now surpassed 13,000 resident deaths as a result of the virus when including nonresidents who passed away here.
Florida is now up to 674,456 confirmed cases, 13,086 resident deaths and 42,047 hospitalizations attributed to the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreak, according to the state health department’s dashboard.
At least another 161 nonresidents have died from Covid-19 in the state.
Azar agrees to testify on coronavirus
Democrats plan to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar why the administration has failed to develop and implement a “science-based national strategy” to contain Covid-19.
Americans losing jobs in historic numbers as pandemic damages the economy
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to 860,000 last week, a historically high figure that reflects economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the pandemic hit the economy, the number signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with 1.7 million a year ago.
The U.S. economy collapsed at a 31.7% annual rate from April through June, by far the worst three months on record, with 22 million jobs lost over the period.
Louisiana State University coach announces coronavirus cases in team
Head coach of Louisiana State University football, Ed Orgeron, said most of his team tested positive for coronavirus.
Orgeron dropped the disclosure while answering a question about the Southeastern Conference team's depth during this pandemic.
"Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it," he told reporters in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. "So I think hopefully they won't catch it again and hopefully they won't be out for games."
Dr. Dan Diekema, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine, said the LSU disclosure is proof that college athletes are not as well protected as pro athletes such as NBA and NHL players, who are confined to bubbles.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "Enough people have to take a Covid-19 vaccine for it to be efficient"
Speaking in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed the risks of too few people taking the vaccine.
Even a third of Americans getting vaccinated against the coronavirus won't be enough, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
"It's a combination of how effective a vaccine is and how many people use it," Fauci said. "If you have a vaccine that is highly effective and not enough people get vaccinated, you're not going to realize the full, important effect of having a vaccine."
Fauci thinks it will be the final months of the year before a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective. "I would still put my money on November/December."
Al Gore: "Donald Trump is trying to gaslight coronavirus"
Speaking on CNN, former vice president of the United States Al Gore, admitted in his assessment of the administration's response to the pandemic, that Donald Trump is "trying to gaslight the virus".
"He's trying to gaslight the virus, gaslight the climate system, and they are impervious to his words. Really, our only hope is to get the best information available, and act to protect ourselves and our civilization in response."
"We need leadership. We have solutions available to us if we can get the politics and the misguided propagandistic messaging from the President out of it," he added.
Does wearing glasses protect you from coronavirus?
When researchers in China were analysing hospital data of patients with Covid-19, they noticed that few of the sick patients regularly wore glasses.
In one hospital in Suizhou, China, 276 patients were admitted over a 47 day period, but only 16 patients — less than 6 percent — had myopia or nearsightedness that required them to wear glasses for more than eight hours a day.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan in December 2019, we observed that few patients with eyeglasses were admitted in the hospital ward,” wrote the study authors.
Experts say it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the research or recommend that people start wearing eye protection in addition to masks in hopes of lowering their risk for infection.
NY mayor takes financial hit to ease city budget
New York mayor Bill de Blasio furloughs himself and staff to ease $7bn budget crisis.
U.S. Open nearly moved to Los Angeles in December due to Covid-19
This week's U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York, would likely have been played in December in Los Angeles had the British Open not been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the United States Golf Association said on Wednesday.
The USGA, whose flagship event was originally set for mid-June, only settled on a September date once organisers of the British Open, which were also considering rescheduling for the same month, decided to cancel the 2020 edition.
USGA Chief Executive Mike Davis, speaking at Winged Foot on the eve of the tournament, said heads of the PGA Tour, European Tour and organisations that run the majors got together on a regular basis as the sporting world froze in March.
"To be very transparent with you, we thought we were going to be playing the U.S. Open in December in Los Angeles. We were that close," Davis said.
Mike Ryan (WHO) on importance of 'consistent messages'
"It is important that we have consistent messaging from all levels, and it’s not for one country or one entity; consistent messaging between science and between government said the Word Health Organisation chief.
What is important is that governments, scientific institutions, step back, review the evidence, and give the most comprehensive easy-to-understand-and-digest information so that people can take the appropriate action.
It’s understanding the confusion, it’s understanding their concern, it’s understanding their apprehension. And not laughing at it and not turning that into some kind of political football."
Sterling slips after dollar rebound
The pound's recent recovery against a weaker dollar was interrupted on Thursday when the dollar strengthened following the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, while investors' attention turned to the Bank of England's policy meeting.
The Fed decided to keep interest rates on hold in the near future, disappointing investors who had bet that the Fed might unveil more policy easing.
The dollar saw its biggest daily rise in more than a week and riskier currencies - including the pound - lost out. Attention is now focused on the Bank of England's monetary policy meeting.
When could Americans get Covid vaccines in the US according to the CDC?
Debate rages on in the US over a vaccine date after President Donald Trump has said a vaccine could be available before the election November 3, and on Wednesday he said a vaccine could be released by mid-October.
NBA confirms Nov. 18 draft date
The NBA confirmed that it will hold the 2020 draft on Nov. 18.
Multiple reports emerged over the past few week that the draft date would be moved again as the NBA attempts to return to normalcy following a hiatus of more than four months necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
ESPN will broadcast the draft, but the NBA didn't announce whether it would be held virtually or in person. The league's statement added the date is subject to change "as circumstances warrant."
The Minnesota Timberwolves have the No. 1 pick in the draft. With the NBA playoffs still in progress, the league said the new dates gives teams additional time to conduct the 2020 pre-draft process, gather more information about the potential start date for the 2020-21 season and advance conversations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association regarding related Collective Bargaining Agreement matters.
The season is not expected to start before Christmas Day.
Biden outlines coronavirus vaccine plan: 'I don't trust Donald Trump'
Joe Biden rejected President Donald Trump's charge that he is spreading fear about the safety of a potential coronavirus vaccine, urging Trump to defer to scientists and not rush its rollout.
"Let me be clear: I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump," Biden said. "At this moment, the American people can’t either."
Biden warned against trying to rush out an unfinished vaccine ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Trump and his campaign have accused Biden of stoking doubt among Americans about the efficacy of a vaccine - something the Republican president has said could be made available within weeks.
The coronavirus has caused about 195,000 U.S. deaths, the most of any country, and millions of job losses, becoming a central issue in the presidential campaign. Trump has repeatedly downplayed COVID-19's risks, particularly early in the crisis and has also drawn criticism for ignoring or disputing warnings from scientists and public health officials.
Two NFL players among seven new positive Covid-19 tests
Two players and five members of staff have tested positive for Covid-19 in the latest round of testing, the National Football League (NFL) said on Wednesday.
The league said it had conducted 40,479 tests on players and staff from Sept. 6 through Saturday and that those who had returned positive results would go into self-isolation until they are reassessed.
"Individuals who test positive for Covid-19 follow the joint NFL-NFL Players Association Treatment Protocol," the NFL said in a statement.
"They are immediately isolated, not permitted to access club facilities or have direct contact with players and or personnel. Club medical staff are in regular communication with individuals who test positive to monitor symptoms."
White House staffer tests positive but 'not near' Trump
In the same briefing as the CDC contradiction, US President Donald Trump said that a White House staffer had tested positive for Covid-19 but the individual was not 'near' him or 'associated with' him.
'It was not anybody that was near me,' Trump said at a press conference. 'It was one person,' Trump added. 'It was not a person that I was associated with.'
The press briefing came one day after Trump met with three world leaders at the White House to sign a Middle East peace accord. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were present to signed agreements to establish formal ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at the press conference that the confirmed case 'did not affect' the White House event and that the individual was not near members of the press.
Trump says CDC director was confused
Speaking from the White House in his Wednesday briefing, Donald Trump flat out contradicted his own expert's testimony to a US Senate panel.
President Trump predicted on Wednesday at least 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine could be distributed in by the end of 2020, contradicting a top government health official Trump dismissed as confused.
Hours earlier, Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a Covid-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out by the middle of next year or a little later.
Director of Center for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing 'Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts' on Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., September 16, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
WHO warns of coronavirus momentum as winter looms in north
(Reuters) The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is spreading at a worrying pace in some parts of the northern hemisphere, a few months away from the winter influenza season.
"We are starting to see worrying trends in some countries," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for Covid-19, said during a social media webcast.
"We are seeing increases in hospitalisations, in intensive care units, particularly in Spain, France, Montenegro, Ukraine and some states of the United States. That is worrying because we have not seen the flu season yet."
Van Kerkhove also said hospitalisations of people aged 15-49 infected with Covid-19 were increasing in several countries. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergency expert, advised people at high risk for COVID-19 infections to get a flu vaccination.
Senior US State Dept official to visit Taiwan for weekend memorial service
(Reuters) US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach will visit Taiwan for a memorial service for former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui on Saturday, the US State Department said, a move likely to anger Beijing at a time when US-China ties are at their lowest ebb in decades.
"The United States honors President Lee’s legacy by continuing our strong bonds with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values," a State Department statement announcing Krach's trip said on Thursday.
The announcement had been widely expected after the senior US diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell, said last month that the United States would bolster ties with Taiwan by establishing a new economic dialogue with the island. He said subsequently that Krach would lead it.
The State Department statement made no mention of the dialogue.
On Monday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked about the possibility of a visit by Krach to Taipei and said China firmly opposed official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan, while warning of serious damage to China-US relations.
A doctored video of the Democratic presidential candidate apparently playing a notorious song by the LA rap group was retweeted by the president.
Bill Gates: "We underestimated the value of masks"
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."
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)
Republicans and Democrats remain divided on a number of issues but Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers will remain in situ until a deal is struck.
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.
Coronavirus USA: live updates
Hello and welcome to our US-dedicated live blog on the coronavirus pandemic. We'll bring you all the latest social, political and economic developments from the United States and around the world as they unfold on Thursday 17 September.