September 8 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:04 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020
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1:02 a.m. ET, September 8, 2020

US reports more than 24,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States recorded 24,362 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the nationwide total to at least 6,300,727 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The death toll rose to at least 189,206 after 265 new virus-related fatalities were also recorded Monday.

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

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

12:45 a.m. ET, September 8, 2020

It's highly unlikely that food is a source of Covid-19 contamination, experts say

From CNN's Lauren M. Johnson and Naomi Thomas

A team of experts on food contamination says it is highly unlikely that food is a source of Covid-19 transmission.

The International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) looked at the evidence that coronavirus might be carried on food or its packaging and found very little.

Their finding mirrors earlier reporting from the US Food and Drug Administration that there is no real risk of getting the virus that causes Covid-19 from food or food packaging.

"To date, there has not been any evidence that food, food packaging or food handling is a source or important transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in Covid-19," the organization said in a statement.
"There are no foods that should be considered a risk or warrant consideration as a vector for SARS-CoV-2."

While it is possible that people could eat something contaminated with the virus and become infected that way, it's never been seen to have happened, they said.

However, it is still prudent to emphasize good food hygiene practices, the group said.

Read the full story:

12:19 a.m. ET, September 8, 2020

Another federal official raises questions about Trump's vaccine timeline

From CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen

Another federal official is making it clear that despite US President Donald Trump's predictions, there's hardly any chance a vaccine will be available to Americans by Election Day.

"I don't know any scientist involved in this effort who thinks we will be getting shots into arms any time before Election Day," said the official, who is familiar with Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's effort to develop coronavirus vaccines.

Trump, however, has projected optimism for a quicker timeline.

"(It's) going to be done in a very short period of time -- could even have it during the month of October," the President said at a press briefing Monday. "We'll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date. You know what date I'm talking about."

On August 6, Trump said he was "optimistic" a vaccine would be ready by around November 3.

"I believe we'll have the vaccine before the end of the year, certainly, but around that date, yes. I think so," Trump said.

And at a rally last week, he said, "It will be delivered before the end of the year, in my opinion, before the end of the year, but it really might even be delivered before the end of October."

The federal official is not the first to cast skepticism on Trump's forecast.

It's "extremely unlikely, but not impossible" that a Covid-19 vaccine could be authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration before the end of October, Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told NPR last week.

Dr. Larry Corey, who's leading a group set up by the National Institutes of Health to work on coronavirus vaccines, also said he doesn't think there will be a vaccine available by Election Day.

"I would agree with Dr. Slaoui. The chances are very low, very remote," said Corey, who leads the COVID-19 Prevention Network.

Read why the US likely won't have a vaccine by Election Day:

10:39 p.m. ET, September 7, 2020

Mexico reports nearly 3,500 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Natalie Gallón in Mexico City and Sharif Paget in Atlanta

Mexico’s Health Ministry identified 3,486 new Covid-19 infections on Monday, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 637,509.

The Health Ministry also recorded 223 new virus-related fatalities, raising Mexico’s death toll to 67,781.

Mexico has the world’s fourth-highest count of coronavirus deaths, trailing the United States, Brazil and India respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Excess deaths: Over the weekend, Mexico’s Health Ministry said it had recorded 122,765 excess deaths in the country during the pandemic.

Mexico’s government has said for months that its death toll from Covid-19 is higher than official figures due to low testing in the country. But that lack of testing makes it impossible to know exactly how many of the total amount of excess deaths were due to the virus.

9:53 p.m. ET, September 7, 2020

New graphics from WHO illustrate dire pandemic conditions in Americas compared to rest of world

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Covid-19 cases per 1 million population reported in the last seven days by countries, territories and areas, from Aug. 3 to Sept. 6, 2020.
Covid-19 cases per 1 million population reported in the last seven days by countries, territories and areas, from Aug. 3 to Sept. 6, 2020. World Health Organization

New graphics from the World Health Organization illustrate how much worse the coronavirus pandemic is in the Americas compared to other regions of the world.

The US has more cases and more deaths than any other country, with Brazil coming in a close second.

“The United States of America and Brazil account for nearly three quarters of all COVID-19 cases in the Americas,” WHO said.

Yet US President Donald Trump continues to claim that the US case count and death counts are improving, and compare favorably to Europe’s.

How these regions compare: While the WHO Americas region and European regions have similar populations -- around 1 billion for the Americas compared to 900 million for Europe -- WHO’s statistics show the Americas account for 46% of all new coronavirus cases over the past seven days, and 59% of newly reported deaths.

Cumulatively, the Americas accounts for 55% of all coronavirus deaths globally, with roughly one-seventh of the total global population.

Europe, in contrast, accounts for 13% of all reported new cases over the past seven days, 8% of deaths and 25% of the global total cumulative deaths.

WHO says the Americas reported nearly 3.5 times as many new cases as reported by Europe in the past seven days. New cases in the Americas now account for 52% of cumulative cases worldwide.

1:52 a.m. ET, September 8, 2020

Trump tries and fails to get reporter to remove mask at news conference

From CNN's Ali Main

In his Monday afternoon news conference, US President Donald Trump got into an exchange with Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason after Mason would not remove his face mask at the request of the President.

The President stopped Mason as he began to ask the first question, saying "you're going to have to take that off, please." He gestured to the space between the reporter and the podium, inquiring, "you' many feet are you away?"

Mason replied that he would just speak louder to counter the effects of the mask. 

Trump was not satisfied with this response, telling the reporter his voice was "very muffled" with the face covering, "so if you would take it off, it would be a lot easier."

Mason raised his voice and repeated his offer to speak louder, asking "is that better?"

The President sighed saying, "it's better. Yeah, it's better."

Later in the news conference, Trump remarked that one reporter who did remove his mask sounded "so clear. As opposed to everybody else, where they refuse."

This is not the first time that the President has requested a reporter take off his or her mask so that he could hear a question more clearly, but his disappointment with Mason's response was notable.


9:49 p.m. ET, September 7, 2020

Trump: We could have a vaccine "before a very special date"

US President Donald Trump said there could be a coronavirus vaccine "before a very special date."

While Trump did not mention which date, he has previously suggested that a vaccine for coronavirus could be ready before Election Day.

"President Trump is getting this vaccine in record time. By the way, if this were the Obama administration, you wouldn't have that vaccine for three years, and you probably wouldn't have it at all," Trump said today at a news conference.

"So, we're going to have a vaccine very soon. Maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I'm talking about," he added.

Facts First: It's possible that a vaccine could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration at some point in November, but there is obviously no firm timeline or guarantee that one will be. And even when one is approved, it will likely still be many months before it's widely available across the US.

You can read CNN's full fact check on Trump's previous suggestion that there could be a vaccine ready before Election Day here.

9:44 p.m. ET, September 7, 2020

People celebrated Labor Day in the US with large events all weekend long

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Labor Day celebrations were in full swing on the weekend -- and many included the large crowds of people health experts feared would form.

Many gathered in large groups on Saturday. In San Francisco, city officials announced on Sunday morning they would be closing the parking lot at Ocean Beach after a gathering celebrating Burning Man culture attracted a big crowd. More than 1,000 people flocked to the event at the beach, according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who called the gathering "reckless and selfish."

Throngs of people were expected at Tybee Island beaches in Georgia over the weekend, CNN affiliate WTOC reported. And images from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, showed umbrellas lined up side-by-side down the beach.

In Atlanta, many weekend Labor Day parties were on the schedule, including "The Biggest Labor Day Weekend Party in the City" hosted by rapper Gucci Mane and a "Sunday Funday" rooftop party advertised with an image of people standing close together, some without masks.

In the days leading up to the holiday weekend, experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged people should continue to keep distance, wear masks and avoid groups as they enjoy the weekend.