September 10 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020
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6:31 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

At least 3 teachers in 3 states have died due to Covid-19 complications in recent weeks

From CNN’s Alec Snyder and Elizabeth Hartfield

At least three teachers in three states have died due to complications of Covid-19 in recent weeks, according to reports from CNN and local media outlets.

AshLee DeMarinis, a 34-year-old middle school teacher in at John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Missouri, died Sunday at Missouri Baptist Medical Center after battling complications related to Covid-19 for three weeks, CNN affiliate KMOV reported.

“Our district has been informed that one of our beloved teachers, Ms. AshLee DeMarinis, has passed away,” superintendent Alex McCaul and other administrators said in a letter notifying the school community of her death. “Ms. DeMarinis was a wonderful teacher loved by students, staff and members of our community. Her commitment and passion for her students and community to succeed should be an inspiration for all of us.”

While McCaul would not confirm that DeMarinis, a social skills teacher, had passed away due to Covid-19, he told CNN that contact tracers had come to the school where DeMarinis taught, as was required by the local health department, and determined that she hadn’t had close contact with any teachers, staff or students. Students had not returned to the classrooms at John Evans Middle School when DeMarinis first became ill. 

Thomas Slade, a teacher at Vancleave High School in Jackson County, Mississippi, for 13 years died last week, district superintendent John Strycker said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I send this letter to you. This past week, our school family lost one of our staff members — Vancleave High School teacher, Mr. Thomas Slade,” Strycker wrote. “Slade served the Jackson County School District honorably and with distinction as department chairman and history teacher at Vancleave High School. He was truly the personification of a public servant, devoting his life and career to serving the community where he was raised.”

CNN affiliate WLOX reported that Slade died on Sunday due to complications related to Covid-19.

Students began returning to the classroom in Jackson County on Aug. 6, according to the school district’s reopening guide.

CNN previously reported that a third grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, died on Monday from complications caused by Covid-19, according to a news release from Richland School District Two, which shared the information about the teacher’s death with permission from her parents, “who wish to remind others about the seriousness of this disease caused by the coronavirus.”

According to the school district, Demetria “Demi” Bannister began her teaching career five years ago and had just started her third year of teaching third grade.

Bannister’s last day at Windsor Elementary School was Aug. 28, the last workday for teachers before starting the school year teaching her students virtually from her home Aug. 31.

5:48 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

AstraZeneca says it could still have vaccine approval by end of this year, even with recent setback

From CNN's Jen Christensen

AstraZeneca should still be on track to have a set of data to submit for approval of a Covid-19 vaccine before the end of the year, despite having to pause the trial because of an illness in a volunteer, company CEO Pascal Soriot said Thursday.

“It depends on how fast the regulator will review and give approval,” Soriot told Britain’s Tortoise Media during an online event about the pandemic. “So we could still have a vaccine by the end of this year, maybe out next year. By the end of this year is still feasible.”

The company has been working with Britain’s University of Oxford to develop the vaccine. The trial has shown promising early results, but was paused Tuesday because of an unexplained illness in one of its volunteers.

Regulators will review the data to determine when and if the trial can proceed. Experts said it’s common for vaccine trials to pause for investigators to review results. The World Health Organization’s chief scientist said Thursday that it is a normal procedure that is good clinical practice.

Soriot said the company will be ready to resume manufacturing once the trial starts up again. He said he believes that the late stage trials being conducted by Pfizer and Moderna could also produce results quickly and that those vaccines also have the potential to be released before the end of the year.

6:03 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Coronavirus vaccine standard will be higher than an emergency authorization, FDA official says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The standard for authorizing any eventual coronavirus vaccine will be like an “emergency use authorization plus,” a top US Food and Drug Administration official said Thursday.

FDA requirements will be stricter than for an emergency use authorization for an experimental drug, said Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. But it will not be as stringent as the requirements for full licensure.

“For us, for a vaccine for which there is adequate manufacturing information, if we going to do an emergency use authorization, it is going to really be like an emergency use authorization plus,” Marks told a seminar hosted by Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy.

Vaccines are not licensed as drugs, but rather as biologics under a Biologics License Application or BLA.

Emergency use authorization is a “relatively low bar,” Marks said. “It’s a product that may be effective,” he added.

A BLA requires substantial data from controlled clinical trials showing the product is effective. “Along that spectrum it is going to be closer to the BLA, even though that is not going to be exactly identical,” Marks said.

Usually, a full license requires details about how a product would be manufactured, along with extensive safety data from months of follow-up. “But the substantial information about efficacy and the most important information regarding safety will be there,” Marks said.

5:00 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

6 Ohio counties report sustained increases of Covid-19 case rates, governor says

From CNN's Nakia McNabb

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a news conference on Thursday, September 10.
Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a news conference on Thursday, September 10. Office of the Governor

Ohio is seeing consistently high positivity rates of Covid-19 in six counties, Gov. Mike DeWine said. Overall, Ohio’s transmission rates have stabilized, but Butler, Mercer, Preble, Putnam, Montgomery and Summit counties all meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's threshold for high instances. 

“Putnam County is at a high level of cases, 280 cases per hundred thousand population. Putnam County has had 95 cases during the past two weeks. The county's total since the beginning of the pandemic is 430 cases, so you can see they're getting a lot of them in a rush. The county is seeing a sustained increase in new cases growing from an average of five cases per day on August 19 to an average of 11 cases on August 29. The primary source of spread in Putnam County is within families, ” DeWine said.

The governor also reported on the status of cases at a nearby University. DeWine said Butler County has specifically been affected by numbers influenced by Miami University, stating that between Sept. 2 and 8, there were 545 student positive cases and the previous week, there were 495 cases. In addition to the Miami University student cases, DeWine said there have also been small outbreaks at workplaces and long-term care facilities in Butler County.

“Mercer County continues as red because they meet the CDC threshold for high incidence. Their number is 206 cases per hundred thousand. Their per case number sadly increased this past week from 179 last week to 206 this week, so we've seen it coming down from Mercer County for a couple of weeks now we're seeing it starting to go back up. Still a very high-level Mercer County continues to see spread throughout the community. They've had outbreaks at workplaces and long-term care facilities and they've got just pretty much spread throughout the county,” DeWine said.

Wittenberg University in Springfield is contributing to the increased number of cases in the area with an increase of more than 70 new cases this week. These cases are being associated with out of class social gatherings. To help combat the spread the university announced on Sept. 9, classes will be remote for two weeks.

4:30 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Trump administration takes data seriously, White House coronavirus task force coordinator says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas


White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Thursday that when presented with data on the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has taken it seriously.

“I know that in the times that I have presented to anyone in the administration, they have taken the data that I have shown them very seriously,” Birx said at a media briefing at the University of South Carolina.

President Trump told investigative reporter Bob Woodward that he purposely downplayed the danger of Covid-19, excerpts of interviews obtained by CNN show.

4:04 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

White House coronavirus task force coordinator urges people to get tested after Labor Day weekend

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

People who may have relaxed social distancing precautions over Labor Day weekend should get tested for Covid-19, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Thursday.

“Our nature is to want to be with others and socialize,” Birx said at a media briefing at the University of South Carolina. “What we're asking people to do is to socialize smart.”

Birx said that much of asymptomatic spread is happening between and within families and in settings like neighborhood parties.

“Just because we know someone, we think that there's no way that they could have Covid, but I want to tell you, you can't tell,” Birx said.

Birx urged those who socialized closely with others over Labor Day weekend, especially without a mask, to get tested.  

3:53 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

CDC's ensemble forecast now projects up to 217,000 US Covid-19 deaths by October

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 205,000 to 217,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Oct. 3.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future.

The previous ensemble forecast, published Sept. 3, projected up to 211,000 coronavirus deaths by Sept. 26.

At least 191,444 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

3:57 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

University of Central Florida places an entire class on quarantine

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

The University of Central Florida has placed an entire class on quarantine after it was reported that a student who had tested positive for Covid-19 attended a class where face coverings were not worn the entire time and the faculty member moved the tables closer and the class ate together, the school’s interim provost Michael D. Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important our health measures are to prevent the spread of Covid-19. If a student tests positive in a face-to-face class, in general we will not need to quarantine the class — as long as everyone has been wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing. That is how powerful these simple steps are to prevent infection,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that there were numerous reports of faculty members and students not wearing a face covering during class.

“I am concerned — really, shocked — about several reports of faculty members not wearing face coverings during class and advising students that they can take theirs off. Wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing are critical to preventing the spread of Covid-19,” Johnson said.

UCF reported 75 cases of Covid-19 among students and staff the week of Sept. 5, according to the school’s coronavirus dashboard.

CNN has reached out to UCF to see if additional cases have been identified among the class.

4:13 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Adults with Covid-19 about "twice as likely" to say they have dined at a restaurant, CDC study says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Adults who test positive for Covid-19 were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those who test negative, according to a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, published on Thursday, included data on 314 adults who were tested for Covid-19 in July because they were experiencing symptoms: 154 tested positive and 160 tested negative. The tests were done at 11 different health care facilities across the United States, in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

The researchers – from the CDC and other institutions – took a close look at how those patients responded to questions about wearing masks and various activities in the community, including whether they recently dined at a restaurant, hung out a bar or went to a gym.

What the study found: The data showed that 42% of the adults who tested positive reported having close contact with at least one person known to have Covid-19, compared with 14% of those who tested negative – and most, 51%, of the close contacts were family members.

The researchers also found that 71% of the adults with Covid-19 and 74% of those who tested negative reported always using a face covering while in public.

There were no significant differences between those who tested positive versus negative when it came to shopping, gathering with fewer than 10 people in a home, going to an office, going to a gym, going to a salon, using public transportation or attending religious gatherings, according to the study.

However, the data showed that people who tested positive were more likely to have reported dining at a restaurant in the two weeks before they started to feel ill.

"Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill," the researchers wrote.

"In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop, but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset," the researchers added.

As states reopen, the CDC's guidelines for restaurants and bars list dining options from the lowest to the highest risk on the agency's website:

  • Lowest risk: Food service limited to drive-through, delivery, take-out and curbside pick-up.
  • More risk: On-site dining limited to outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Even more risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Highest risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart.

The study's limitations: The study comes with some limitations, including that more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a larger group of patients, and the question assessing dining at a restaurant did not distinguish between indoor versus outdoor dining. 

"Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation. Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance," the researchers wrote. "Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use."