September 1 coronavirus news

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6:02 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

University of South Carolina reports over 1,000 active cases of Covid-19

From CNN’s Annie Grayer

College students eat dinner at the Longstreet Theatre at the University of South Carolina on August 10, in Columbia, South Carolina. Students began moving back to campus housing August 9.
College students eat dinner at the Longstreet Theatre at the University of South Carolina on August 10, in Columbia, South Carolina. Students began moving back to campus housing August 9. Sean Rayford/Getty Images/FILE

At least 1,017 students at the University of South Carolina currently have Covid-19, according to the university’s latest update to its dashboard, making it one of the highest case counts recorded at a college so far. 

The university crossed the 1,000 active case mark on Aug.. 29 when it reported at least 302 cases in a single day. The overall current case load, including employees, is approximately 1,026.

Despite the climbing active case count and the fact that 60% of the university’s designated quarantine space is in use, according to its dashboard, the school still lists its alert level as “low.”

5:54 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

San Francisco to relax some Covid-19 restrictions on businesses

From CNN's Sarah Moon

In this May 27, file photo, closed businesses are seen in downtown San Francisco.
In this May 27, file photo, closed businesses are seen in downtown San Francisco. Ben Margot/AP/FILE

San Francisco officials announced plans to relax restrictions on businesses under the state’s new four-tiered coronavirus reopening system. The new system allows businesses, shopping malls and churches to begin reopening under a new timeline.

At a news conference, Mayor London Breed said San Francisco, California, is now in the second level of four tiers where coronavirus risk is considered “substantial."

The classification allows hair salons, nail salons, and massage parlors to resume operations outdoors on Tuesday, according to Breed, and outdoor gyms will be allowed to reopen as early as Sept. 9.   

Breed also announced the immediate reopening of indoor shopping malls in the city. 

“They can reopen because we are no longer on the state’s watch list,” said Breed.

Next steps: Starting mid-September, San Francisco plans to reopen hotels, outdoor movie theaters, outdoor family entertainment such as mini-golf, outdoor tour buses and boats, indoor museums, zoos, and aquariums. Houses of worship will be able to allow individual prayers indoors and outdoor services for up to 50 people, Breed said.

The mayor said she hopes to reopen more indoor business sectors by the end of this month.

7:37 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

University of Missouri reports more than 400 active cases of Covid-19 in students

From CNN’s Renee Baharaeen 

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images/FILE
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images/FILE

The University of Missouri has at least 424 active student Covid-19 cases, according to the school's Covid-19 dashboard. These numbers are for the Columbia, Missouri campus.

A total of at least 591 student cases have been reported since the university began receiving data from the Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services on Aug. 19. 

Classes at the University of Missouri resumed Monday, August 24. 

Christian Basi, Director of the University of Missouri’s News Bureau, told CNN that today’s active case number only increased by nine new cases from yesterday. 

The university hopes this significant downturn in new active cases is indication they have turned a corner.  

4:40 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Convalescent plasma should not be considered standard care for Covid-19, NIH panel says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A National Institutes of Health panel says there’s no evidence backing the use of convalescent plasma to treat coronavirus patients and says doctors should not treat it as a standard of care until more study has been done. 

“There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19,” the panel of more than three dozen experts says in a statement posted on the NIH website Tuesday.

“Convalescent plasma should not be considered standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19,” added the committee, which evaluates treatments for coronavirus.

“Prospective, well-controlled, adequately powered randomized trials are needed to determine whether convalescent plasma is effective and safe for the treatment of COVID-19. Members of the public and health care providers are encouraged to participate in these prospective clinical trials.”

Some background: Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma, and President Trump declared it a historic breakthrough at a news conference. 

The timing raised suspicions the White House had pressured FDA – something FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn denied several times.

But Hahn had also made misleading comments about the data supporting the use of convalescent plasma – which is the antibody-rich serum taken from the blood of people who have recovered from an infection. The hope is infusing this plasma into new patients will kickstart their immune response. It’s a treatment that dates back more than 100 years and has never been used broadly.

The NIH panel, led by Dr. Clifford Lane, who heads research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Medical College of Cornell University; and Dr. Henry Masur, chief of the Critical Care Medicine Department at NIH, said much more research is needed into whether the treatment works. Data published so far don’t really show whether it helps patients, they said.

“The long-term risks of treatment with COVID-19 convalescent plasma and whether its use attenuates the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, making patients more susceptible to reinfection, have not been evaluated,” the statement added.

Plus, different patients have differing levels of antibodies, so the treatment is highly variable.

4:38 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

 Cincinnati says early bar closures are causing "unintended consequences"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess.

After Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine saying there had been some unintended consequences from the state’s order closing bars early, including multiple shootings and assaults, DeWine said the state is consulting its lawyers to see if it is possible to carve Cincinnati out of the statewide order.

“Frankly, our lawyers’ initial read they gave us, was they were very skeptical if we legally could do that. But they’re going to research it and we’re going to see what they come up with,” DeWine said.

The governor said unlike Cincinnati’s police chief and Mayor John Cranley, the majority of mayors in the state believe the 10:00 p.m. liquor shutoff has been helpful rather than harmful as the state combats the Covid-19 pandemic.

4:36 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

South Carolina announces limited visitation at long-term care facilities

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

New guidelines put in place by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control will allow for limited, outdoor visitation at select long-term care facilities in the state.

The new guidelines were announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. 

Facilities must meet criteria, including staying below a certain disease transmission level, keeping adequate amounts of personal protective equipment and maintaining appropriate staffing.

Additionally, testing at the facility must be in accordance with federal requirements.

Visitors will be screened prior to their visit and the length of their visit will be contingent on whether they have had a Covid-19 virus or antibody test.

4:33 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Coronavirus vaccine should go to those most at risk of getting it and spreading it, draft report says

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

Any eventual coronavirus vaccine should go first to the people most at risk of catching it, and of spreading it to others, an independent committee said Tuesday.

The draft report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine makes recommendations similar to those that have come from other groups, but it goes into detail to explain why health workers, for instance, should be among the first to get a vaccine.

The framework document weighs four different criteria.

  • The risk of acquiring and infection: Higher priority is given to individuals who have a greater probability of being in settings where Covid-19 is circulating and exposure to a sufficient dose of the virus.
  • The risk of severe morbidity and mortality: Higher priority is given to individuals who have a greater probability of severe disease or death if they acquire infection.
  • The risk of negative societal impact: Higher priority is given to individuals with societal function and upon whom other people’s lives and livelihood depend directly and would be imperiled if they became sick.
  • And the risk of transmitting disease to others: Higher priority is given to individuals who have a higher probability of transmitting the disease to others.

“While major efforts are being made to have a significant supply of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, the committee has been tasked with considering the tough choices that will need to be made for allocating the tightly constrained initial supplies,” committee co-chair Dr. Helene Gayle, the president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust and a former HIV/AIDS expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.  

The 115-page draft is open for comment. The independent committee at the National Academies was set up at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which wanted an outside voice to advise on distributing vaccine.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will also weigh in on how to distribute vaccine.

4:27 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

More than 600 students and staff are in quarantine or isolation in two Florida counties

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

More than 600 students and staff members in two Florida counties are in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19. 

The Martin County School District tells CNN that 425 students and 31 employees have transitioned to quarantine and remote learning since August 11, the first day of school.  

Hillsborough County, which launched a Covid-19 dashboard yesterday, reports 159 students and employees have tested positive. The health department is helping contact trace, per the district.

CNN has reached out to the Florida Department of Health asking for a full list of Covid-19 cases in K-12 schools and has not heard back.

4:31 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Gyms and museums in North Carolina can open starting Friday

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper North Carolina Department of Public Safety

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state will move to phase 2.5 of reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The state will enter the new phase on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Cooper said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

"We're encouraged to see North Carolina holding steady on most and decreasing on some of our key data metrics," Cooper said. 

"Because of our stable numbers, today we're ready to take a careful step forward," he added. 

What's changing: In this new phase, mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Large venues will remain subject to these limits. 

Playgrounds may open, while museums and aquariums may do so at 50% capacity. Gyms and indoor exercise facilities can open at 30% capacity. 

Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks and dance halls will remain closed.