Coronavirus USA news summary for 28 September: cases, deaths and stimulus checks, latest news

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

Coronavirus live USA: latest Covid-19 news

US coronavirus latest: 14:15 PT / 17:15 ET Monday 27 Sept (23:15 CEST)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 33,230,260
Deaths: 999,369
Recoveries: 22,976,092

US

Cases: 7,139,734
Deaths: 204,967
Recoveries: 2,766,304

Here are a selection of recent articles that may be of interest:

Dr. Anthony Fauci,Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine Covid-19, focusing on an update on the federal response in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Graeme JENNINGS / POOL / AFP)

Fauci says he is worried coronavirus task force member is giving bad information to Trump - CNN

The top US infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, said on Monday he was concerned that White House coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas was at times providing misleading or incorrect information on the pandemic to President Donald Trump, CNN reported.

"Well yeah, I'm concerned that sometimes things are said that are really taken either out of context or actually incorrect," Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said when asked by CNN if he was worried Atlas was sharing misleading information. (Reuters)

Governors respond after White House confirms it will send out 150m rapid point-of-care tests

Several state governors have taken to Twitter to respond after President Donald Trump confirmed that 150 millon rapid point-of-care tests would be sent out over the coming two weeks. 

"Arizonans continue to step up to contain the spread of #COVID19. Students are returning to the classroom, people are getting back to work, & we are working with our universities to fight the virus & protect our communities. Thank you to @VP and the Administration for the support," tweeted Gov. Doug Ducey.

"Following discussions over the weekend with the WhiteHouse about rapid-testing resources for New Jersey, we’ve secured 2.6 million BinaxNOW rapid tests – significantly scaling up our testing capabilities. The first 170,000 tests will come within the next two weeks," said NJ Governor Phil Murphy.

"I just received word from the @WhiteHouse that Connecticut will be awarded tens of thousands of rapid #COVID19 tests—and roughly a million in total by the end of the year. This will further enhance our ability to be a leader in testing nationwide," said Conneticut Governor Ned Lamont. 

$300 unemployment benefits: will there be a new round of payments in October?

The $300-a-week enhanced unemployment benefit approved by Donald Trump only covers six weeks of payments from the 1 August. Could there be another round of payments in October? Read more...

Government confirms it will send out 150m rapid point-of-care tests

The White House has confirmed that it will send out 150 million rapid coronavius tests to states, with vice-president Mike Pence hailing it as a historic move. 

"A Historic day for America! The announcement today of the distribution of 150 MILLION rapid point-of-care tests is testament to the leadership of President DonaldTrump, the great team at the WhiteHouse, the partnership forged with Governors & American innovation!" tweeted Pence. 

Government to send out millions of Covid-19 tests in a bid to reopen schools through 12th grade

The federal government will start distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week, according to reports. 

The tests will be sent to states based on their population size and can be used as governors see fit, but the administration is urging them to use the tests to reopen schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. 

A senior administration source told The Associated Press that 6.5 million tests will go out this week and that a total of 100 million tests will be distributed to governors over the next several weeks.

Chicago mayor loosens Covid-related capacity restrictions for businesses including bars, restaurants

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday loosened Covid-19-related capacity restrictions for businesses such as bars, restaurants and health clubs, a move that will go into effect later this week.

The new guidelines, which will take effect on Thursday, will increase indoor capacity to 40% for certain businesses, reopen bars for indoor service and increase maximum group sizes for fitness classes and after-school programming, a statement from the mayor's office said.

Covid-19 death toll is likely an "underestimate", says WHO

As the official global coronavirus death toll nears one million, the WHO has said that this figure is likely lower than the real total. 

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly,” WHO director, Mike Ryan said. “But I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid.”

The US has accounted for more than 20% of the global death toll, with 204,861 official deaths to date. 

Panama to pay $1.9 million for WHO COVID-19 vaccine program

Panama's health ministry has agreed to spend $1.9 million next month in an initial payment for COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization's COVAX vaccine program, officials said on Monday.​

Health vice-minister Ivette Berrio said Panama's government hoped to make 1.3 million shots available through COVAX, about a fifth of the Central American nations overall vaccine requirement. (Reuters)

Coronavirus one of top voter concerns ahead of presidential debate

The coronavirus pandemic, along with the economy and racial inequality, are among the top voter concerns ahead of the first Trump-Biden presidential debate.

“Just seeing how everything has been handled by President Donald Trump. It hasn’t really been handled in a way that a president who controls the entire country should handle the situation,” Mikaella Whynter, an independent voter from West Palm Beach, Florida told CNBC. 

“Opening back up the schools recently and just seeing how on the news that kids are coming in with corona and they’re getting infected by this thing: These decisions aren’t being made properly because nobody’s taking precautions. Nobody wants to wear masks and then they wonder why cases are rising so much.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

Pelosi says Trump's reported debts are a national security issue

US President Donald Trump's debts reported by the New York Times on Sunday raised national security issues, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday, adding that the public deserves to know to whom he owes money.

Pelosi, in an interview with MSNBC, said it was not clear who held the debts and if it involved different countries, which could hold leverage over the Republican president: "To me this is a national security question." (Reuters)

Brooklyn "major contributor" to New York's rising positivity rate

New York State has seen its positivity rate rise to 1.5% mainly on the back of a large increase in cases in Brooklyn, Orange County and Rockland.

“We’re also seeing in these numbers, significant actions in clusters. It's basically Brooklyn, Orange, and Rockland that are increasing this number,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Brooklyn, whose positivity rate is at 2.6%, is "a major contributor", he added.

“We have specific zip codes in Brooklyn that we’re going to be looking at because its very targeted, and our health officials are going to be reaching out to those Brooklyn communities, Orange and Rockland today to do additional testing and compliance measures in those areas.”

Gates Foundation signs deal on rapid Covid-19 tests

The Bill and Melina Gates foundation has secured agreements with two manufacturers for the deployment of 120 million easy-to-use rapid coronavirus diagnostic tests over the next six months, the WHO has announced. The tests will be destined for developing nations.

US "not in a good place", says Dr Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci has told ABC’s Good Morning America that the US “is not in a good place” in its battle with the coronavirus, with the country averaging more than 40,000 new cases a day. 

This is some four times higher than the figure of 10,000 daily cases which, according to Dr Fauci, the US needs to drop to if it is to get the pandemic under control.

"There are states that are starting to show an uptick in cases and even some increase in hospitalizations in some states," the US' top infectious disease expert said on Monday. 

"And I hope not, but we very might well start seeing increases in deaths. That’s really something that I had discussed some time ago as something you don’t want to be in a position like that as the weather starts getting cold."

Inovoc Covid-19 vaccine trial halted

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Monday that a planned mid-to-late-stage trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate has been put on partial clinical hold by the US Food and Drug Administration, which sought additional information.

The US drug developer said it was working to address the agency's queries by October, including on the vaccine delivery device, after which the US agency would have 30 days to decide whether the trial should proceed.

The company said the pause was not due to any side effects in its early-stage study of the vaccine, which is continuing. Shares of the company were halted after the news.

The company in June had reported encouraging results from an early-stage human trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine. INO-4800.

Inovio's development timeline is already lagging behind those of rivals such as Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca, all of which have begun late-stage studies of their coronavirus vaccine candidates.

(Reuters)

Coronavirus relief bill: what's the state of play?

Democratic congressional leaders and White House chiefs have said they are to restart negotiations over a coronavirus economic stimulus bill.

Full details:

“Everything he says is false” - CDC director lays into Atlas

Dr Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has reportedly laid into Dr Scott Atlas, a recent Donald Trump appointee to the White House coronavirus task force.

According to NBC News, Redfield was overheard in a phone conversation complaining that Atlas, who joined the task force in August, is providing President Trump with inaccurate information about the Covid-19 crisis. "Everything he says is false,” Redfield is said to have declared.

NBC added that Redfield has acknowledged that he was talking about Atlas in the phone call.

United to offer Hawaii testing

In case you haven't already seen this, United is the first US airline to offer a Covid-19 testing program.

Passengers booked from United’s San Francisco hub to Hawaii, one of its most popular destinations, will have that option starting 15 October, the airline said last week. The date is when Hawaii is scheduled to lift a two-week quarantine requirement on arriving travellers as long as they test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their departure.

Passengers will be responsible for payment. Firm pricing is still in the works but the tests will at first cost $250.

Stimulus check deadline approaching

As talks continue for a new relief bill, here's when and how to register for coronavirus relief payments if you don't normally file tax returns.

Our Emily has a look at what you need to know.

Delaware: CARES Act spending decision

There are plenty of decisions being made in every state about how to use their coronavirus aid. Tomorrow sees the people from Delaware have their say.

Trump's Operation Warp Speed had big military involvement

The Trump administration's Operation Warp Seed vaccine programme is a highly structured organization in which military personnel vastly outnumber civilian scientists, health news website Stat News reported on Monday citing an organizational chart from 30 July.

The document shows that roughly 60 military officials, including at least four generals, are involved in the leadership, the report added, saying that many of them have never worked in healthcare or vaccine development.

Searching for safety at home

'The shadow pandemic requires new thinking to help those who need a safe home' is an opinion piece in the Colorado Sun that explores the alarming statistics behind an increase in domestic violence as people have been forced to stay at home.

"Worldwide, the data is alarming with dramatic increases of calls to domestic abuse hotlines surging by 30-55% in places like the United Kingdom, France and Latin America, and across Colorado."

Read the full story.

Couple married 70 years battles Covid-19 side by side

Dorothy and Howard Smith, 88 and 89, got married on July 22, 1950, and they’re just as in love today as they were back then, they told CNN.

He sleeps with my hand in his hand all night long, facing me in the bed, holding my hand. He wants to hold my hand. He’s a hand-holder. He’s a lover,” Dorothy said.

Dorothy had trouble breathing, and Howard had a bad cough. They’re both doing a lot better.

That’s how we got in the same room, which was unheard of. Nobody had ever heard of that. So, we’ve been side by side,” Dorothy said.

The two met when they were in their teens and started dating in high school.

Full story:

Folsom state prison announces first Covid death

A Folsom State Prison inmate has become the first at the facility to die from what appears to be coronavirus-related complications, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Sunday.

The inmate died at an outside hospital on Saturday, the CDCR said.

Mapping the pandemic

Covid-19 has spread around the planet, sending billions of people into lockdown as health services struggle to cope.

The Guardian has provided a handy summary to show where the virus has spread, and where it has been most deadly.

Pandemic takes food insecurity to new levels

Even before the pandemic hit, some 13.7 million households, or 10.5% of all US households, experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.

That works out to more than 35 million Americans who were either unable to acquire enough food to meet their needs, or uncertain of where their next meal might come from, last year.

Full analysis from NPR:

How Covid-19 shut down Texas

Forgotten how we got here? The Houston Chronicle team has put together a timeline of events that led us to the state reopening.

Coronavirus just one concern for Trump

As the pressure intensifies ahead of November's election, President Trump has plenty on his plate that needs addressing.

The latest is the New York Times' investigation into his finances and, much like with the current pandemic that has taken over 200,000 lives in the US, Trump's initial response has been 'Fake news'.

Full story:

The forgotten front porch Is making a comeback

Thanks to the pandemic, the front porch is enjoying a new golden age. Like their near cousins, stoops, steps, even fire escapes, porches offer a semipublic setting where we can meet friends and neighbors face-to-face—even if those faces are masked.

In the words of Claude Stephens, founder of a tongue-in-cheek group called Professional Porch Sitters Union Local 1339, a porch is “the only place where you can feel like you are outside and inside at the same time; out with all of the neighbors and alone reading a book.”

The WSJ looks at the front porch...

Second stimulus check: How much Pelosi and Democrats would spend in new relief bill

Democrats are working on a new $2.4 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that could include a second round of stimulus checks. Read more....

 S.Korea reports lowest coronavirus cases since 11 August

South Korea on Monday reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since Aug. 11, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA) said. Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported.

The numbers were the lowest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church whose members attended a large political rally in Seoul on Aug. 15, KCDA data showed. (Reuters)

Grocery stores bracing for second wave

Grocery stores across the US are stocking up on goods in anticipation of the second wave of the coronavirus in a bid to avoid the empty shelves seen back in March and April.  

Positive Covid-19 test rates top 25% in some U.S. Midwest states

The number of tests coming back positive for Covid-19 is topping 25% in several states in the U.S. Midwest as cases and hospitalizations also surge in the region, according to a Reuters analysis.

North Dakota's positive test rate has averaged 30% over the past seven days compared with 6% the prior week. The positivity rate has risen to 26% in South Dakota, up from 17% the previous week, according to the analysis using testing data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Minnesota and Montana are averaging 7% of tests coming back positive, but Montana's positivity rate rose on Sunday to 20%, according to the analysis. The World Health Organization considers rates above 5% concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

Several states such as New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine have positive test rates of less than 1%. At the same time that positive test rates are climbing in the Midwest, cases and hospitalizations are setting records in those states.

In the past week, seven states in the Midwest and western region have reported record one-day rises in new infections - Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Wisconsin set records for new cases twice last week and is now reporting more new infections each day than Florida. South Dakota set records for new cases three times last week.

While a recent increase in testing might explain some of the increase in cases, hospitalizations have also surged in the Midwest and are not influenced by the number of tests performed. Wisconsin's hospitalizations set new records seven days in a row last week, rising to 574 on Saturday from 362 a week ago.

South Dakota's hospitalizations have set records six of the last seven days, rising to 216 on Sunday from 170 seven days earlier. Wyoming and North Dakota also had record numbers of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals last week. All Midwest states except Ohio reported more cases in the past four weeks as compared with the prior four weeks, according to the Reuters analysis. (Reuters)

Wyoming hits new record in daily cases

Wyoming has reported 168 new daily cases, which is a new record for the state. More cases have been announced in Wyoming over the last seven days than in any other week-long stretch of the pandemic.

 

Australia Covid-19 hot spot says cases fall to single digits

Australia's coronavirus hotspot of Victoria said on Monday its daily rise in new coronavirus infections fell to single digits for the first time in more than three months, as the state began winding back some restrictions.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne into a hard lockdown in early August but lifted a night curfew on Sunday thanks to a steady fall in new daily case numbers. The southeastern state reported just five new cases and three deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, after daily cases topped 700 in early August. (Reuters)

Remembering the victims of the pandemic

As the US passes the grim milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths, World News tonight has paid homage to some of the victims from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico...

WHO directors talk lessons learned during the pandemic

In a Q&A with Aleksandra Kuzmanovic, Dr. Mike Ryan and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, two of the main faces of the WHO during coronavirus pandemic, open up about the lessons they have learned during these unprecedented times...

British ministers prepare for social lockdown in northern Britain, London - The Times

The British government is planning to enforce a total social lockdown across a majority of northern Britain and potentially London, to combat a second wave of Covid-19, The Times reported late on Sunday.

Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially, the report said. Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any new national lockdown would threaten jobs, livelihoods and human contact.

The report added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.

Britain had last week imposed new measures that required people to work from home where possible and had ordered restaurants and bars to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of COVID-19, with new restrictions lasting probably six months.

Schools and shops be allowed to remain open, along with factories and offices at which staff could not work from home, the Times added, citing a senior government source.

Positive test rates top 25% in some US Midwest states

The US heartland has become the latest epicenter for the coronavirus in the country, with positive coronavirus test rates reaching 25% in some Midwest states.

Brazil reports 14,318 new cases of coronavirus, 335 deaths

Brazil recorded 14,318 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 335 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Brazil has registered more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has reached 141,741, according to the data.

1 in 5 Americans spending more now than before the pandemic

This could some way to explaining Amazon's soaring profits, as a new surveys finds that 1 in 5 Americans is spending more money now than they were before the pandemic..

Detecting coronavirus with infrared

This CNBC report focuses on how infrared is fast becoming the method of choice for detecting coronavirus symptoms in places where people congregate....

Florida surpasses 700,000 coronavirus cases

Florida has reported 1,882 of Covid-19 cases this Sunday, bringing the state's total 700,564. 

Florida becomes the third state to surpass the 700,000-mark after California and Texas. Florida confirmed 10 more deaths from the virus as its total death toll reaches 14,032. 

Coronavirus cases growing "at an alarming rate" in Brooklyn and Queens

While the overall positivity rate is around 1% in New York City, coronavirus cases in parts of Brooklyn and Queens “continue to grow at an alarming rate”, NY's Department of Health has said in a statement. 

Here are the affected neighborhoods, with their respective test positivity rate (via CNN):

Gravesend/Homecrest (6.75%)

Midwood (5.34%)

Kew Gardens (3.82%)

Edgemere/Far Rockaway (3.9%)

Borough Park (4.63%)

Bensonhurst/Mapleton (4.41%)

Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (3.91%)

Flatlands/Midwood (3.85%) 

.