September 9 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020
37 Posts
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11:51 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine is a "critical" part of the solution to the pandemic, but not a magic bullet, expert says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

While a vaccine for Covid-19 is not a magic bullet, it will play a critical part in managing the pandemic, according the Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a health research charity.

“There are no magic bullets for infectious diseases,” Farrar said, during a news briefing by the Wellcome Trust on Wednesday. “It’s always a combination of public health, of treatments, of diagnostics, of behavior, of poverty, of course — and yes, in many cases where we’re lucky, with vaccines as well.”

Farrar used Ebola as an example, saying, “Yes, it’s fantastic to have an Ebola vaccine, but we all appreciate that it’s one part of the picture, and Covid-19 will be identical.”

He added that the vaccine will be a “critical” part of the picture. He said he is optimistic that of all the vaccine candidates that are in development, there will be vaccines showing safety and efficacy data that could make a big impact on the pandemic maybe during the later parts of 2020, but certainly in 2021.

“The first-generation vaccines will not be perfect, in my view, but an imperfect vaccine can have a major impact on reducing transmission and preventing severe disease,” he said. “And the second-generation vaccines will inevitably be better.”

As the coronavirus is a human endemic infection, Farrar said that societies around the world will have to learn to live with the infection, manage it and reduce its impact through vaccination, treatment and diagnostics, as is done with many other infections.

There is also the possibility that more than one vaccine will be needed if the virus mutates, and that new challenges could arise from new clinical syndromes or changes of the virus itself.

“This is with us for a very long time,” Farrar said. “With a vaccine or without a vaccine.”

11:44 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

US health official: "I am ready to roll up my sleeve" and get vaccinated once one is deemed safe

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, attends a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, attends a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9. Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

Both Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jerome Adams, surgeon general of the United States, said they would get the Covid-19 vaccine if and when one is deemed safe. 

Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, questioned the two during the Senate Health Committee's ongoing hearing on vaccines, asking, “Will you commit to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in public view” once one is available and is approved by the FDA.

“Absolutely,” Adams answered.

“I am ready to roll up my sleeve as soon as they say it’s effective,” Collins said.

Earlier in the hearing, Adams told Sen. Bernie Sanders, “I want the American people to hear me say this: There will be no shortcuts. This vaccine will be safe. It will be effective. Or it won't get moved along.”

“And when a vaccine is either approved or authorized by the FDA, I and my family will be in line to get it,” Adams said. 

11:30 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

One in five young adults hospitalized for Covid-19 need intensive care, research shows

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Coronavirus can hit may young adults hard, new research shows.

One in five young adults hospitalized for Covid-19 needs intensive care and 2.7% of them die, according to research published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers said that young adults with certain health issues could be just as susceptible to the virus as middle-aged adults without them.

A team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied 3,222 Covid-19 patients between 18 and 34 who were treated at 419 US hospitals. About 21% of these patients ended up in the intensive care unit and 10% needed a ventilator. 

Eighty-eight patients, or 2.7%, died. The researchers said that this in-hospital death rate is lower than the rate reported for older adults with Covid-19. For comparison, they note that the rate is about double the death rate for young adults with heart attacks.

Many patients had underlying health conditions, which put them at greater risk of negative outcomes. The team identified 24.5% of patients with morbid obesity, 18.2% with diabetes and 16.1% with high blood pressure. “Young adults with more than one of these conditions faced risks comparable with those observed in middle-aged adults without them,” they wrote.

Black and Hispanic people accounted for 57% of the hospitalized patients, which is in line with reports of minority people of all ages being hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic. The researchers noted that odds of death or mechanical ventilation did not vary significantly among different races.

Research published in July found that one in three young adults is at risk of severe Covid-19. As rates of the virus increase among the younger population, the team says their findings highlight the importance of infection control among young adults.

11:28 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Risk of getting Covid-19 in the hospital is low, study finds  

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Although some patients have been avoiding essential care due to fears of catching Covid-19 in hospitals, new research published in JAMA Network Open on Wednesday suggests it’s rare for people to catch the virus while at the hospital.  

“Over the first 12 weeks of the pandemic in the US, our hospital cared for more than 9,000 patients, including approximately 700 with Covid-19 who were present for 8,656 hospital days,” researchers  from the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute wrote. “Despite the high burden of Covid-19 in our hospital, we identified only two patients who likely acquired the infection in the hospital.” 

There were 9,149 patients admitted to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital between March 7 and May 30, the first 12 weeks of the pandemic in the region.

The researchers reviewed all patients diagnosed with Covid-19 either on the third or later days of their time in hospital or who were diagnosed within 14 days of having been discharged from the hospital. 

There were 697 initial diagnoses of Covid-19, 12 of which came three or more days into the patients’ hospital stay.

The only patient who definitely acquired Covid-19 in the hospital was most likely infected by a presymptomatic spouse who visited daily before their own diagnosis, one week before the patient started having symptoms. The case occurred before implementation of visitor restrictions and universal masking, the researchers said. 

Community acquired infection was definite or likely for the other 11 patients. 

Of the 8,370 patients who were hospitalized with non-Covid related conditions and discharged through June 17, there were 11 positive tests within the health care system for Covid-19 in the two weeks after discharge. 

“Only one case was deemed to be likely hospital acquired, albeit with no known exposures inside the hospital,” the researchers said.  
11:39 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Pharmacists will be able to administer Covid-19 vaccine to anyone 3 and older, surgeon general says

From CNN's Allison Main

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing guidance to expand access to safe and effective coronavirus vaccines.

Adams said, per HHS, when Covid-19 vaccines are made available, state-licensed pharmacists will now be able to administer them to anyone age 3 and older.

"Now, more than ever, we need to help people understand vaccines are safe, vaccines are effective, vaccines are how we achieve health equity and social justice," Adams testified in a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday.


11:25 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

US surgeon general promises that vaccine cost will "not be an obstacle" for Americans

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams arrives for a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams arrives for a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9. Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

The Surgeon General of the United States promises he will not let the cost of a potential Covid-19 vaccine get in the way of getting people vaccinated. 

“As Surgeon General of the United States, I promise you, we will use every federal tool that we have to make sure that cost is not an obstacle for people receiving what will perhaps be the most important and highly anticipated vaccine of our lives," Dr. Jerome Adams said.

Speaking at the same Senate Health Committee hearing, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, agreed with Adams, “100%.”


11:32 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Health official: "Rigor of a scientific evaluation of safety and efficacy will not be compromised"

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, listens during a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, listens during a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 9. Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, promised the Senate Health Committee during a hearing on vaccines that “the rigor of a scientific evaluation of safety and efficacy will not be compromised.”

Collins said “this is foremost in all our minds. We cannot compromise here.”

The comments came a day after drug giant AstraZeneca said it had paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.

“The announcement yesterday about the AstraZeneca vaccine is a concrete example of how even a single case of an unexpected illness is sufficient to require a clinical hold for the trial in multiple countries,” Collins said.

Collins said traditionally, vaccine development requires many years of work, but that is very different during Covid-19.

“In some instances, we have done that by carrying out steps in parallel that are traditionally done in sequence. We've eliminated downtime by moving into new phases before data from the previous phase is completely analyzed. We have, as the chairman said, started to manufacture doses of all these vaccines before we know if they work, understanding that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for vaccine doses that we may have to throw away if they don't work.”

“As a scientist, I'm excited that the pace of discovery is allowing us to respond to this crisis in record time. As a physician, I'm hopeful when I think of the millions of lives that have been saved from other diseases through vaccination, and the millions more that we can save by developing a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19,” Collins concluded.


10:55 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Nearly 14% of the people in this Florida county have had Covid-19

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Nearly 14% of the population of Lafayette County, Florida, a small rural county in the northern part of the state, has at some point during the pandemic contracted coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH). 

The population of Lafayette County is 8,744, and 1,213 people have had Covid-19, per FLDOH. The FLDOH also reports the following:

  • About 87% of those infected are male. 
  • 59% are between the age of 25 and 44. 
  • 57% are White, 12% are Hispanic and 28% are Black.

More on this: Lafayette is the Florida county with the highest number of infections per capita in the state. It even surpasses Miami-Dade County, which has been considered the epicenter of the crisis. In Miami-Dade, nearly 6% of the population has at some point contracted Covid-19, per the FLDOH.

So why has such a high percent of the population in Lafayette County, Florida contracted the coronavirus? The Mayo Annex Correctional Institution in Lafayette County has reported 954 infections in inmates, according to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC). In August, the FDC announced an outbreak of 639 inmates at the facility, which houses about 1,400 inmates. 

Kerry Waldron, Florida Department of Health Administrator for Lafayette and Suwannee Counties said a large portion of the infections are related to a correctional facility. “A high percentage of those incarcerated are between the ages of 25 and 44,” Waldron said.

One inmate has died at the Mayo Annex facility, according to the FLDOH. So far during the pandemic, 111 inmates have died in Florida prisons, per the FDC.

10:50 a.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Hong Kong’s universal testing program extended for 3 days

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul and journalists Jadyn Sham and Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

A person in Hong Kong gets tested for Covid-19 on September 8.
A person in Hong Kong gets tested for Covid-19 on September 8. Li Zhihua/China News Service/Getty Images

Hong Kong will extend its universal coronavirus testing program for three days until Sept. 14, the city’s government announced on Wednesday.

Among 122 community testing centers, 57 community centers across all the 18 districts will continue to operate from Sept. 12 to 14. 

1.36 million people had registered at the testing centers since the launch of the program on Sept. 3.

Hong Kong launched the universal testing program on Sept. 1 to provide a one-off free virus testing for all citizens to “identify asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers as early as possible.”

Hong Kong confirmed six new coronavirus infections for the second day in a row on Wednesday, including one case from the universal testing program.