September 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 3, 2020
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3:34 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Illinois seeing a rise in positivity rates in most of its regions, governor says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Gov. JB Pritzker
Gov. JB Pritzker Pool

Nine of the 11 regions Illinois is divided into for the state's Covid-19 response have seen an increase in positivity rates in the last two weeks, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday.

Speaking during a news briefing, Pritzker said nine regions "have continued to see their positivity rates creep upward, with four seeing more than one full percentage point increase in positivity rate."

New mitigations rules went into effect today for Region 4 — Metro East. Stricter restrictions had already been implemented in that region.

"Unfortunately, that region continues to see positivity rates of over 8% with the current 7-day rolling average sitting at 9.6%," Pritzker said.

The new restrictions for the Metro East region include closing all indoor dining and bar service.

Outdoor restaurants and bars, gaming facilities and casinos will have to close by 11 p.m. local time. A new limit on gatherings of 25 individuals or less — or 25% of overall room capacity — has also been implemented, the governor said.

These rules were also implemented last week in Region 7 of Illinois' coronavirus response plan, which includes Will and Kankakee counties. 

"These are not decisions that I make lightly. Nor would I impose these restrictions if there wasn't evidence of increasing spread of the virus in these areas," Pritzker added.

3:29 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Iowa State University will no longer have spectators at season opener football game

From CNN's David Close and Betsy Klein

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Getty Images/FILE
John Rivera/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Getty Images/FILE

Iowa State University reversed course Wednesday and announced spectators will no longer be allowed to attend the Cyclones football home opener on Sept. 12.

Director of athletics Jamie Pollard says school president Wendy Wintersteen made the decision after “weighing feedback she has received from the community.”

Pollard stated that the school is committed to hosting spectators later in the season and will reevaluate fans in the stands after the opener game vs. Louisiana. 

In an open letter to fans released Monday, Pollard said the school had expected 25,000 fans at the game and that social distancing was going to be observed.

Some background: A White House coronavirus task force report sent to officials in Iowa this week warns of dire new case increases across rural and urban areas of the state and calls for a mask mandate, the closure of bars and a plan from universities as the pandemic intensifies in the Midwest.

The report says that Iowa is in the task force-defined "red zone" and warns that the state has the highest rate of cases in the US, which increased by 77.4% from the previous week.

2:37 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Art Basel cancels Miami Beach show set for December due to the pandemic

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

 Guests attend the Art Basel Miami Beach VIP Preview 2019 at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 04, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Guests attend the Art Basel Miami Beach VIP Preview 2019 at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 04, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. Cindy Ord/Getty Images/FILE

Art Basel has canceled its upcoming Miami Beach show that was set for early December due to the ongoing pandemic, organizers said Wednesday.

"It is with great regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our December show in Miami Beach, as we know how crucial our show is for our galleries, as well as for the greater Miami arts community and economy," Art Basel's director of Americas Noah Horowitz said in a statement.

Now in its 51st year, Art Basel is a key date in the cultural calendar, offering over 250 galleries an opportunity to court collectors in an industry still heavily dependent on in-person sales. 

Some context: Art Basel debuted in Miami Beach more than a decade ago. The first edition featured 160 galleries from 23 countries and attracted 30,000 visitors. 

The next edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach will take place from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5, 2021, with preview days on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, 2021. 


3:05 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Minnesota health department reports Covid-19 death linked to Sturgis bike rally

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that a Covid-19-positive patient who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in early August has died.

“The person was in their 60s and had been hospitalized and in the ICU,” Doug Schultz, a spokesman with the department, told CNN.

The person also had underlying health conditions, Schultz said.

This is the first Covid-related death known to be tied to the rally. Minnesota, as of today, has 50 Covid-19 cases in people who reported attending Sturgis Rally, Schultz said.

As of Aug. 31, there have been at least 260 Covid-19 cases associated with people who attended the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, in early August.

CNN surveyed state health departments across the United States and has tallied cases in at least 12 states.

The rally ran from Aug. 7 to 10, with an estimated 460,000 attendee vehicles, the South Dakota Department of Transportation said.

2:18 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

National Institutes of Health awards $129 million to help speed up Covid-19 testing

From CNN's Jen Christensen

The National Institutes of Health announced a $129.3 million initiative Wednesday to immediately scale up the manufacturing of rapid tests and widen the network of high throughput labs.

The NIH said this should significantly increase the number and type of tests by millions per week.

The contracts go to nine companies as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program. The first awards went out in July.

The money will help five existing high-throughput labs expand their network of coverage as early as this month. The goal is to speed up the turnaround of test results in regions that have had backups. One contract went to Nashville-based PathGroup, which has labs concentrated in the Southeast and Midwest. The company processes about 10,000 coronavirus tests a day, but with the funding and a partnership with ThermoFisher and Illumina, it will add additional test equipment and automation that should let the lab perform 80,000 tests a day by December.

The money will also fund novel technology to make Covid-19 testing more accessible.

One company, Virginia-based MicroGEM International, created a portable lab that tests saliva samples. It can give test results in 15 minutes. That technology can also be used to detect other pathogens in the sample, such as influenza.

Funding will go to Nebraska-based MatMaCorp that created a portable mini-lab that can be used in clinics and hospitals in rural and other medically underserved communities.

A contract went to Maryland-based Maxim Biomedical for its Covid-19 test that has a single use test strip similar to a home pregnancy test that doesn’t need specialized equipment to read the results.

Another went to Virginia-based Ceres Nanoscience Inc, which created a sample prep method that improves the sensitivity of other company’s tests and reduces the processing time needed to look for the novel coronavirus. 

“Many of these tests incorporate innovations that have moved from research labs to the point of care with unprecedented speed,” Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and lead for RADx Tech, said in a statement.

Some context: On Tuesday, Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said that the turnaround times for the major referral labs has decreased over the past seven days.

These labs process about half the country’s Covid-19 tests, but people in some regions of the country are still struggling to find a test or have seen long waits for results. 

2:29 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Biden: "I think a president has the responsibility to set examples" on pandemic guidelines

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was just asked to respond to criticism from some potential voters and even President Trump about his campaign schedule, which has limited in-person events due to the pandemic.

Biden said he wished he was able to go out more, but added, "I think a president has the responsibility to set examples."

Biden said he's met with medical experts on the best ways to protect himself and the communities during campaign events.

"We've worked out a protocol where how I get on the plane, what kind of are plane I get on, how it's sanitized. Where, how I engage people. It's like when I'm engaging all of you, everywhere I go — always at a safe distance and everybody's wearing a mask," he said.

"So I'm just trying to set the example: Wearing the protective gear, a mask, which I have with me. I'm able at this distance to take it off," he added.

Watch more:

1:49 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Reopening schools safely is a "national emergency," Biden says

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Following a virtual briefing with experts on school reopenings Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden called the issue of students being able to go back to school safely during the pandemic a “national emergency.” 

“I think going back to school for millions of children and the impacts on their families and the community is a national emergency, I believe that's what it is,” he said. “Protecting our students, our educators, our communities. Getting our schools open safely and effectively. This is a national emergency.”  

He called for emergency funding for schools: “Mr. President, where are you? Where are you? Why aren't you working on this? We need emergency support funding for our schools and we need it now. Mr. President, that's your job, that's your job," he said.  

"Get off Twitter, and talk to congressional leaders from both parties, invite them to the Oval Office," he added.  

He accused the President and the education secretary of not stepping up: "Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, Secretary DeVos, haven't stepped up, and we're all seeing the results. Millions of students are now starting the new school year in the same way they finished the last one: at home. At home," he said.

1:58 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Biden on reopening schools: "We need straightforward, common sense solutions"

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos "haven't stepped up" when it comes to safely reopening schools, and he called for "straightforward, common sense solutions."

"We all want our schools to reopen safely with a plan that prioritizes the health of our students and educators and staff alike," Biden said in remarks delivered from Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden laid out some of his school reopening plans which he said were posted on his campaign website. The former vice president said the Trump administration is "starving schools of the needed funding."

"If I were president today, I would direct FEMA to make sure our kids K-12 get full access to disaster relief and emergency assistance under the Stafford Act. I'd make sure that PPE and sanitation supplies for schools qualify as emergency protective measures," Biden said. "On top of that, I would be working with leaders of Congress now, today to pass emergency packages for schools so they would have resources they need in order to be able to open safely."

Biden also said that if elected president, he would also support additional funding for mental health in schools and funds to hire additional teachers as smaller classes mean "more educators are needed."


1:40 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Biden: If Trump had done his job, "American schools would be open"


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized President Trump's response to the coronavirus crisis, saying the administration "hasn't shown much grit at all."

"If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on in this crisis, American schools would be open and they'd be open safely. Instead, American families all across this county are paying the price for his failures and his administration's failures," Biden said while speaking in Delaware today.

Biden said Trump has "no real plan" for how to reopen schools safely this fall.

"He's offering nothing but failure and delusions from the start to finish to American families and our children. They are paying the price for his failures," Biden said.