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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5:03 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Los Angeles allows limited reopening of indoor hair salons and barbershops

From CNN's Jon Passantino

Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis
Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Pool

Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday announced that hair salons and barber shops are allowed to reopen for limited indoor operations, bringing those businesses in California’s most populous county in line with the state’s sweeping new reopening guidelines.

The announcement allows hair salons and barber shops in the county to immediately reopen with 25% indoor capacity, provided they are in compliance with health protocols to reduce spread of the coronavirus, which includes the use of face masks. 

The daily new coronavirus case rate in Los Angeles County has been reduced to 10 per 100,000, health officials said, placing it in the first tier of the state’s reopening plan, where viral risk is considered “widespread.”

In order for the county to advance to the second tier, where risk is considered “substantial,” it must reduce the infection rate to no more than seven daily new cases per 100,000.

“The virus is widespread in our community,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said. “The improvements we see do not mean victory.”

By the numbers: The county reported 51 new coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, two of which were between the ages of 18 to 29, and three who were between the ages of 30 and 49, for a total of 5,878 deaths.

Health officials urged the public to be especially careful to avoid crowds and gatherings over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. 

4:42 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Coronavirus deaths are really coronavirus deaths, CDC affirms

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Maggie Fox

Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Coronavirus deaths are just that – deaths caused by Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. 

President Trump has retweeted social media conspiracy theories saying that only a small percentage of the people reported to have died from coronavirus really did die from the virus. They have pointed to death certificates that list other underlying causes.

But that doesn’t mean the patients did not die from coronavirus, Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at CDC, said in a statement.

“In 94% of deaths with Covid-19, other conditions are listed in addition to Covid-19. These causes may include chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension,” Anderson said in the statement, provided to CNN by the CDC. “In 6% of the death certificates that list Covid-19, only one cause or condition is listed."

“The underlying cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention Covid-19, Covid-19 is listed as the underlying cause of death," the statement added.

Some context: Other top health officials, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that CDC mortality statistics are accurate, and have explained that just because a death certificate lists other conditions, it doesn’t mean one of those conditions caused a death.

What the other conditions do tell doctors, Anderson said, is that people who have chronic conditions are more likely to suffer severe disease and to die from coronavirus.

Death certificates may also include acute conditions caused by the viral infection, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure.

By the numbers: According to Johns Hopkins University, which uses independent data for its reporting on coronavirus cases and deaths, there have been more than 6 million coronavirus cases in the US and more than 184,000 people have died from it as of late Wednesday afternoon.

CDC data shows that as of Aug. 22, 161,392 death certificates listed coronavirus as a cause of death. CDC data often lags behind Johns Hopkins data. 

4:19 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

CDC documents say states should prepare to distribute Covid-19 vaccines as soon as late October

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht and Maggie Fox

Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images
Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told public health officials around the US to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October.

It’s also provided planning scenarios to help states prepare. The documents were first posted by the New York Times and the CDC confirmed to CNN it has sent them to city and state public health officials.

The scenarios offer details about distribution plans around two Covid-19 vaccines when supplies “may be constrained.” The documents prioritize particular populations for the vaccines, including health care professionals, essential workers, long-term care facility residents and staff and national security populations.

Some context: Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield asked states to speed through permits for a company the federal government has contracted with to help distribute any eventual coronavirus vaccine.

In a letter, Redfield asked them to waive any requirements that might get in the way of distributing vaccines by Nov. 1 — before Election Day— and weeks, if not months, before most experts expect any vaccine to be fully tested.

The documents do not necessarily mean a vaccine will be available by late October.

Pandemic planning exercises have for years included recommendations that the federal government ready a distribution network while scientists work on a vaccine. The Trump administration has said it’s doing this. Companies developing the vaccines are already ramping up manufacturing so that, in case one or more is found safe and effective in people, it could start going into arms immediately.

The federal government has a contract with medical and pharmaceutical supplies company McKesson to distribute coronavirus vaccines. But it will need permits and licenses from states and territories. 

“The Covid-19 vaccine landscape is evolving and uncertain, and these scenarios may evolve as more information is available,” one of the scenario documents advises.

4:13 p.m. ET, September 2, 2020

The US approaches 185,000 coronavirus-related deaths

From CNN's Haley Brink

There are at least 6,094,562 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 184,914 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Johns Hopkins has reported 20,722 new Covid-19 cases and 250 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

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.