September 4 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Brett McKeehan, Amy Woodyatt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, September 5, 2020
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4:43 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Medical journal editor to CNN: Trump "simply wrong" that vaccine will be available to public by October

From CNN’s Taylor Barnes in Atlanta.

Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet
Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet CNN

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical journal The Lancet, told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Friday that President Trump’s statement that a Covid-19 vaccine could be delivered by the end of October is “simply wrong.” 

“If we make a mistake and license a vaccine too early – just think – we have already got a growing anti-vaccine movement, which is extremely disturbing. We can't cut corners. There will not be a vaccine available for public use by the end of October. President Trump is simply wrong about that,” Horton said, adding: “I have no understanding why he is saying it. Because his advisers will surely be telling him that that's just impossible.”

Horton said the results of a Russian-developed vaccine are “encouraging” but that it would be “highly premature to think that this is the basis for a successful vaccine for public use,” in part since its study involved a very small number of volunteers.

Horton also lamented what he described as the “unfortunate” tone Moscow used when it presented its vaccine results on Friday, saying: “I think if we start setting nation against nation, vaccine against vaccine, company against company, this is completely going to undermine any kind of rationale response. This is a global crisis, Becky. A global crisis needs a global response and a global solution,” he said. “We do want lots of vaccines that are coming through into phase three trials because some are going to succeed and some are going to fail. But this isn't a war between countries. This should be about cooperation.”

Watch: Richard Horton say delivering the public a vaccine by October is 'impossible'

3:24 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Moderna slows enrollment of volunteers for Covid-19 vaccine trial and seeks more minorities

 From CNN's John Bonifield

In this image courtesy of the Henry Ford Health System, volunteers are given the Moderna mRNA-1273 Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE), on August 5, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. The first COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteers in Michigan received their first shots August 5, in an effort to help find a safe, effective vaccine to the deadly coronavirus.
In this image courtesy of the Henry Ford Health System, volunteers are given the Moderna mRNA-1273 Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE), on August 5, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. The first COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteers in Michigan received their first shots August 5, in an effort to help find a safe, effective vaccine to the deadly coronavirus. Henry Ford Health System/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The pharmaceutical company Moderna, which is testing a vaccine for Covid-19, said Friday that it is encouraging its trial sites to work harder to recruit diverse populations, even if those efforts slow the speed of enrollment. 

"We believe these efforts will improve the quality of the study and confidence in the vaccine by building evidence for benefit in the communities at highest risk of COVID-19," a spokesperson for Moderna told CNN in a statement. 

The deceleration was first reported by CNBC.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the network it is slightly slowing the enrollment of volunteers to ensure participation from minority communities. Specifically, trial sites that have not enrolled enough Black and African American volunteers are being told they need to increase enrollment among those populations. Bancel said the deceleration could delay the progress of the trial by about a week.  

Some context: The trial has been struggling to enroll enough minorities since at least mid-August. 

Researchers at two of the sites told CNN in August that the company had asked them to limit the number of participants they enroll to no more than 20 per day.

Part of the reason was so that care could be taken to recruit more minorities, they said.

"We need to take the time to evaluate the people who want to be in study to make sure they meet inclusion criteria," said Dr. Richard Novak, who's running the site at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

By the numbers: Current enrollment figures show 68% of volunteers are White, 20% are Hispanic or Latino, 7% are Black or African American, 3% are Asian and 1% are representative of other populations. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told CNN that phase three clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines should aim to include minorities at levels that are at least double their representation in the population to better reflect the population most affected by Covid-19.

2:57 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Fears about coronavirus' impact on malaria haven't been realized, WHO says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo
Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo World Health Organization

Fears that the coronavirus pandemic would wreck efforts to control malaria have not panned out, but disruptions will nonetheless mean more deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO predicted in April that malaria in sub-Saharan Africa could double this year alone if access to malaria preventions was severely curtailed. It issued guidance to help countries in maintaining core malaria services during this time. Many countries have gone to great lengths to maintain these essential services, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“I’m glad to say that, so far, our worst fears have not been realized,” Tedros told a forum held with the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria.

But the pandemic has disrupted health systems and services, Tedros said. A recent WHO survey of 105 countries showed that 46% of countries reported disruptions in malaria treatment and diagnosis. 

“Malaria has been with us for millennia. Covid-19 has only been with us for eight months. But many of the elements of our response to both diseases are the same,” Tedros said. “We must harness the power of science and technology. We must focus on prevention. We must protect the most vulnerable. We must come together in solidarity. And we must never accept the status-quo. We must do it through mobilization.”

Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said countries have struggled to obtain malaria treatments and diagnostics. “Today more than ever, we must sustain malaria investment, investments that have proved crucial in responding to Covid-19,” Diallo said. “I’m sure we’ll get back on track to achieve the ambitious malaria elimination goals we have set.”


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

Connecticut suspends high school football this fall due to the pandemic

From CNN’s Anna Sturla and David Close

Full-contact high school football is suspended for the fall semester, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) announced Friday. 

The decision came about after discussions with the state's Department of Public Health, which said it was "unlikely to support higher risk athletic activities (including full contact HS football) during the fall semester," according to a press release from the CIAC.

"Without DPH support, the CIAC cannot move forward with a full contact season as it would place superintendents and boards of education in the impossible position of acting against the recommendation of a state agency," the CIAC said in the release.

Some context: The CIAC initially supported a return to team practice on Sept. 21, with games beginning Oct. 1, according to the statement.

The conference said it would work in conjunction with coaches to provide football players with “the best low risk and moderate experiences possible,” though it was not immediately clear what those would be.

There are at least ten other states to have previously announced the cancellation of HS football this year, CNN reported.

1:46 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Biden says he has been tested for Covid-19 and will continue to be tested on a regular basis

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told CNN's MJ Lee that he has been tested once for Covid-19 and will continue to be tested on a regular basis.

When asked by Lee about the President's comments mocking him for wearing a mask, he replied, "It's hard to respond to something so idiotic."

1:32 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Biden on the importance of mask-wearing: "I listen to scientists. This is not a game."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was asked to weigh in on President Trump's mockery of Biden's use of face masks while in public.

The President yesterday said the mask "gives him a feeling of security." Trump added that, "If I was a psychiatrist, I'd say this guy has some big issues." Those comments run counter to the advice of public health experts, who have emphasized the importance of face coverings during the pandemic.

Today, Biden said, "It's hard to respond to something so idiotic."

"I'm a smart fella," Biden said. "I listen to scientists. This is not a game."

Remember: Masks are primarily recommended and used to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.


1:22 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Biden: Trump has made American workers' jobs "life-or-death work"

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized President Trump's response to coronavirus, saying the President is putting American workers' lives on the line.

"Donald Trump's malpractice during this pandemic has made being a working American a life-or-death work," Biden said.

Biden said Trump "doesn't see nearly 30 million Americans on unemployment," or all of the small businesses that are closed right now.

Trump doesn't understand the teachers who are "afraid that doing their job — a job they love — could bring the virus home to the people they love."

"He wants us to believe that we're doing better," Biden said.


1:43 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Biden: Trump has "botched" the Covid-19 response badly

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the state of the US economy on September 4, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the state of the US economy on September 4, in Wilmington, Delaware. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed President Trump's Covid-19 response, calling it "botched" and criticizing the President for not acting sooner.

"The President has botched the Covid response, botched it badly. I've said from the beginning we can't deal with an economic crisis until you beat the pandemic. You can't have an economic comeback when almost a thousand Americans die each day from Covid," Biden said.

"We all know it didn't have to be this bad. It didn't have to be this bad to begin with if the President just did his job. If he just took the virus seriously early on in January and February as it spread around the globe," Biden continued.

The former vice president called on Trump to set an example for the American people by following Covid-19 guidelines as right now, he said, it seems like the President "doesn't care."

"If he just set a good example like social distancing and wearing a mask. That's not too much to ask. It is almost like he doesn't care. It doesn't affect him because it doesn't effect him or his class of friends."

Biden said he released his economic plan in July and that in the next three weeks, he'd be laying out the "sharp contrast" of his plan compared "President's non plans." He noted that he would be asking Americans three questions: Who can handle the pandemic? Who can keep their promises? And, who cares about and will fight for working families?

"Give ordinary Americans just half a chance and they never let the country down. They will do extraordinary things. They will never let us down. Unlike the current President.  And unlike the current President, I won't let you down either," Biden said. "That is what this election is about. Helping people unite get together, move this country back in the direction that we can be."


1:11 p.m. ET, September 4, 2020

Biden: Trump may "leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office"

Source: Pool
Source: Pool

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that while the US added 1.4 million jobs in August, there is still "cause for concern" in the US jobs market.

"I'm grateful for everyone who found work again, and found a glimmer of hope that brings them back from the edge, but there is real cause for concern as well," Biden said.

The August jobs report marks slowdown from earlier this summer: Employers added a revised 1.7 million jobs in July and 4.8 million jobs in June.

Biden attacked President Trump while discussing the jobs report.

"Donald Trump may be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office," Biden said.

"The report reinforces the worst fears and painful truths. The economic inequities that began before the downturn have only worsened under this failed presidency," he added later on his remarks.