Coronavirus USA summary: cases, deaths, news - 19 September 2020

Coronavirus USA: live updates 19 September 2020

Homeless services providers face new challenges

Alaska’s move toward the chillier season is going to mean more challenges for homeless services providers, particularly as groups navigate operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are coming to us for help,” said Lisa Sauder of Bean’s Cafe, a longtime provider in Anchorage. “They are coming to connect with resources, they’re coming to shower, they’re coming for shelter.”

The UN exploring solutions

Take a few minutes to watch the following video, which looks at the challenges facing us all now, and for future generations.

Virginia Covid-19 tracking

A look at the data behind cases and deaths across Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

California six months in

1. More than 9,000 people from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties have died from the #coronavirus in the past six months

Check out the rest of the thread below...

Out-of-work Texans are still struggling to navigate unemployment system

As 1.8 million Texans continue to claim unemployment, many complain they still can't reach the Texas Workforce Commission and are quickly losing trust in Congress to agree to a second stimulus agreement.

House Speaker still holding out for a HEROES Act

Nancy Pelosi tweeted earlier about her desire to bring science front and center of the solution.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg death: Trump vows to fill vacancy "without delay".

Donald Trump has vowed to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “without delay.”

Street to be renamed in George Floyd's honour

The Stretch of Chicago Avenue between 37th and 39th streets in Minneapolis will be called George Perry Floyd Jr place, according to the Star Tribune

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, was killed on 25 May when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck even as Floyd said he could not breathe.

Floyd’s death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests around the world against police brutality and systemic racism, attitudes to which are now at the heart of the presidential election campaign.

Extra $300 unemployment benefits in New York: how to check if I am eligible?

The state of New York has approved the $300 weekly unemployment benefits for another three weeks under President Trump’s executive order, signed last month.

Masks might provide better protection against coronavirus than a vaccine

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that wearing a face mask might provide better protection against Covid-19 than a vaccine.

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70% and if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will."

Over 200,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US

Dr. E. Wesley Ely, a professor of medicine and critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, called the 200,000 deaths a "benchmark of sadness."

"This is 200,000 people who didn't think they were going to die this year," Ely said.

"Tens of thousands of people would not have died if the U.S. response had been more effective," said Dr. Tom Frieden, now president of Resolve to Save Lives, a global public health initiative.

spray

Antiseptic spray may limit virus spread

An antiseptic nasal spray containing povidone-iodine may help curb transmission of the new coronavirus, preliminary research suggests. In test tube experiments, a team of ear, nose and throat doctors found that a povidone-iodine nasal spray inactivated the virus in as little as 15 seconds. The nasal spray they tested is typically used to disinfect the inside of the nose before surgery.

Formulations designed for use on skin are not safe in the nose, the researchers note. They reported on Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery that they now have their patients use the spray before intranasal procedures, to reduce the risk of virus transmission through the air via droplets and aerosol spread.

 

tik Tok

TikTok users play it cool over latest U.S. ban threat

Look who is not freaking out. Since July, TikTok users have braced for a threatened ban of the ultra-popular short-form video app in the United States, with some opening accounts on rival platforms and encouraging friends to do the same.

Then early on Friday Reuters broke the news that the U.S. government was preparing to block new users from downloading the Chinese-owned app from American app stores by Sept. 20. As the news filtered through their social media, teens greeted it wearily but without the tears and the emotional outpouring expected of TikTok's 100 million, mostly young fans.

"A lot of TikTok-ers are not super worked-up about this," said Lauren Harrison, a 15-year old TikTok user from Omaha, Nebraska with over 127,000 followers on the app.

RBG

Amid mourning for Ginsburg, fierce battle over U.S. Supreme Court looms

A fierce political battle was shaping up on Saturday over the future of the U.S. Supreme Court after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Democrats opposing any move by President Donald Trump to nominate a replacement this late in an election year.

Ginsburg, the senior liberal justice, died on Friday night at age 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer after 27 years on the court. Her death gives Trump, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, a chance to expand the court's conservative majority to 6-3 at a time of a gaping political divide in America.

Second stimulus check: could one be approved before the US election?

As Americans wait for a new economic aid package - relief legislation that could include a second stimulus check, a worry is that the election may hamper plans.

dollar

Fiscal fizzle saps U.S. economic recovery, a possible boost to Biden

This week's economic data offers fresh hints that the U.S. recovery will slow without new federal aid, a possible blow to President Donald Trump's reelection bid, especially since any new spending before the Nov. 3 presidential election seems unlikely.

A slowdown in U.S. consumer spending in August provided the clearest evidence this week that as millions of Americans lost the extra unemployment benefits that had sustained their finances in the early months of the Covid-19 recession, they have begun to cut back.

In an economy where consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the total output, less shopping means less overall growth.

Biden leads Trump in election polls

Democrat candidate Joe Biden would secure 52% of the vote in the 3 November election according to the latest poll released by NPR.

DT

Trump seeks to shore up military support in North Carolina campaign swing

Republican President Donald Trump takes his re-election campaign to the political swing state of North Carolina on Saturday in an effort to boost his poll numbers against Democratic rival Joe Biden and shore up support among military members there.

Trump has boasted about revitalising the U.S. armed forces with increased defence budgets but has seen his political support slip among troops.

A poll in the Military Times last month found a "slight but significant" preference among active duty military members for Biden, the former vice president, and a decline in favourability for Trump.

North Carolina has a number of military bases, and the president's rally in Fayetteville is near Fort Bragg, a large base with tens of thousands of personnel.

Pelosi

U.S. House Democrats to file measure funding government through Dec 11

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to file a stopgap funding measure that would avoid a government shutdown and keep federal agencies operating through Dec. 11, according to a House Democratic aide.

The measure, known formally as a continuing resolution or CR, was expected to be released by the Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee and taken up by the full House and the Republican-led Senate next week. But it was not immediately clear when the CR would be filed.

"We plan to file a CR with a Dec. 11 end date," said the Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Word of the CR emerged after weeks of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. With talks on new Covid-19 aid legislation stalled, lawmakers were determined to reach an agreement on the funding measure.

Hours after U.S.-Canada border closure extended to October, Trump says it 'opening pretty soon'

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said border restrictions between Canada and the United States because of the novel coronavirus pandemic would be lifted "pretty soon", just hours after the two countries confirmed they would remain in place until at least Oct. 21.

"We're looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it opened and we want to get back to normal business," Trump told reporters in Washington. "We're going to be opening the borders pretty soon."

There was no immediate explanation from the White House for the discrepancy or what Trump meant by "pretty soon."

On Twitter, Canada's Minister for Public Safety Bill Blair confirmed a month-long extension of border restrictions. "We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe."

Bill Gates on when life could return to normal, post-Coronavirus

Bill Gates has an idea about when the coronavirus pandemic could ease and when life might return to normal. In an interview with New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, he said, "In the very best case, two years from now, you would be, for some of the health things in particular, ideally back at where you were at the beginning of 2020. If we’re lucky enough that several of these vaccines work, including the ones that are low cost enough that we can scale the manufacturing.  I do think once you get into, say, December or January, the chances are that at least two or three will be approved, if the effectiveness is there. In that case, during 2021, the pandemic is going down, and in 2022, the global pandemic comes to an end".

Two-month-old baby dies from Covid-19 in Michigan

A two-month-old baby has died from Covid-19 in Michigan, officials confirmed during a news briefing this week. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun told reporters, "I was so saddened to hear this week of a two-month-old baby in Michigan who died because of Covid-19. My condolences go out to their parents and family." No further information about the baby's death was revealed. 

How Ginsburg's passing could affect November's presidential elections

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this weekend with not just the future of the Supreme Court and American law up in the air but also the influence it could have on the presidential elections in November. The big question is whether Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate confirm a replacement before the next presidential inauguration. Democrats are demanding that Republicans should wait until the newly-elected president, either Trump or Joe Biden, takes office in January.

Covid-19 contact tracing for international travellers

USA Today looks at the difficulties which airlines face at keeping passengers' contact details in case of a Covid-19 infection on board a flight. 

Coronavirus can spread by passengers on flights

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have released a study which claims that coronavirus can be spread from one passenger to others on commercial flights and gave several examples where transmission happened. "Genetic sequencing linked all four cases. The near full-length viral genomes from all four patients were 100% identical," Deborah Watson-Jones explained.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies, aged 87

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at age 87, the court said, giving President Donald Trump a chance to expand its conservative majority with a third appointment at a time of deep divisions in America with a presidential election looming.

Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights who became an icon for American liberals, died at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement. She was surrounded by her family, the court said.

Her departure could dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court, which currently has a 5-4 conservative majority, by moving it further to the right. "Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her - a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

 

Emails show top HHS official and Trump ally intimidating CDC official

A close ally of President Donald Trump who was serving as a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly sent complaints about how the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was handling a media request to the agency's director in an apparent attempt to intimidate an agency communications official, according to emails shared with CNN.

The emails show Michael Caputo, who served as the assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS until taking a leave of absence earlier this week, confronting a CDC spokesperson for responding to a question from CNN about a vaccine education campaign.

Full story:

Trump's vaccine claim questioned

In relation to the previous story, there are clear differences between expectation setting from the president and experts in the field.

Trump says US will manufacture enough vaccine doses for every American by April

President Donald Trump said Friday the US will manufacture at least 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses before the end of the year and have enough to inoculate every American by April.

“Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April, and again I’ll say even at that later stage, the delivery will go as fast as it comes,” Trump said at a White House press briefing.

Pfizer and Moderna, front-runners in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, with doubts clearly raised due to the president's record on making bold statements.

“You’re going to see members of Congress leaving Washington, D.C. to go home and pretend like they’re working hard on this particular deal when, in fact, the checks are not going out to the American people and unemployment benefits will start to cease.”

Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff

Pentagon rewriting pandemic playbook after study faults response

The Joint Chiefs of Staff is revising the plans, last updated by U.S. Northern Command in 2013, and is building on “lessons learned” from the Covid-19 response, said spokesperson Cmdr. Hayley Sims.

“The U.S. military is always planning for the future to ensure our military remains capable of protecting Americans as well as our allies and partners around the globe,” Sims said. “The plan will improve the Joint Force's response to future disease outbreaks of any kind while simultaneously implementing the National Defense Strategy."

Operation Warp Speed

The White House has issued it's usual selection of clips from the Trump briefing. Here, vaccines...

“Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number. I want to see people get money. Something like that... We’re getting closer.”

Donald Trump, US President

Business leaders seek role in New York City’s recovery

Leaders of some of the most powerful companies in New York City have offered to work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on a plan for the city’s recovery from the new coronavirus pandemic.

A letter sent to the city’s and state’s leaders on Friday calls on the two elected officials to convene a leadership initiative drawn from across industries to develop plans for how New York and other cities can re-emerge stronger from the crisis.

House Democrats to file government funding measure

Democrats in the US House of Representatives plan to file a stopgap funding measure that would avoid a government shutdown and keep federal agencies operating through 11 December, according to a House Democratic aide via Reuters.

The measure, known formally as a continuing resolution or CR, was expected to be released by the Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee and taken up by the full House and the Republican-led Senate next week. But it was not immediately clear when the CR would be filed.

'We plan to file a CR with a Dec. 11 end date,' said the Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Word of the CR emerged after weeks of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. With talks on new Covid-19 aid legislation stalled, lawmakers were determined to reach an agreement on the funding measure.

Failure to adopt the CR would threaten a partial shutdown of the federal government in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and just before the 3 November election. Current funding for US agencies runs out after 30 September, the end of the federal fiscal year. The measure's expected December end date would require Congress to address government funding again in its post-election lameduck session, when the threat of a government shutdown could re-emerge.

Covid-19 catch-up

Here is a selection of some of the coronavirus-related stories that have been making the headlines over the last 24 hours:

- Baylor season opener against Houston postponed

- April 2021 for US to have enough vaccine for all Americans, says Trump

- CDC reverses guidance that said people without symptoms may not need a test

- Michigan court rules that late arriving ballots must be counted

- Hospitals are better prepared to treat Covid-19 cases in the event of a second wave this fall, thanks to more supplies, proven drugs and a better understanding of the virus

- The president said the US coronavirus death rate would be better "if you take the blue states out."

Coronavirus live US updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, United States-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now registered over 30 million cases worldwide. As of 18:30 ET, there had been 30,323,467 cases across the globe since the start of the pandemic, leading to 948,547 deaths.

With over 6.7 million cases so far, the US has been the world's worst-affected country and accounts for over a fifth of the globe's total infections.

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