September 11 coronavirus updates

By Helen Regan, Brad Lendon, Amy Woodyatt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT) September 16, 2020
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2:02 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020

CDC says Covid-19 death rate is under 1% for everyone but people over 70

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it had changed the way it was reporting death rates for coronavirus, and will now report the infection fatality ratio by age.

It’s all still based on approximations, and as part of the update the CDC also estimates it’s missing most cases of coronavirus in the US -- by a factor of 11.

According to the updated “best estimate” numbers posted on the agency’s website:

  • 0.003% of children 18 and younger who are infected with coronavirus die.
  • The fatality rate is 0.02% of people aged 20 to 49.
  • 0.5% of people aged 50 to 69.
  • 5.4% of people 70 and older.

Transmission time: Under the best estimate scenario, it takes about six days, on average, for people to develop symptoms after they’ve been in contact with the virus.

ICU care: Just below 24% of people under the age of 50 who are hospitalized will need ICU care, the CDC estimates. This rises to 36% of people 50 to 64, and 35% of people 65 and older.

Fatality rate for those hospitalized:

  • About 2.4% of people ages 18 to 49 who are hospitalized die, the CDC estimates.
  • It rises to 10% of those 50 to 64 who are hospitalized.
  • And more than 26% of people over 65 who are hospitalized.

Not only are the numbers an estimate, but reports of death rates lag by weeks, the CDC said. On average, it takes about 45 days for a coronavirus death to be reported.

Asymptomatic cases: The CDC calculates that 40% of cases are asymptomatic, and that these people without symptoms are about 75% as infectious as people with symptoms, although this is “highly uncertain.”

Infection fatality ratio is one of several ways of reporting mortality rates. It’s calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the number of actual infections -- and since the true number of coronavirus infections is not known, it is by necessity an estimate.

3:31 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Birx says she’ll get a Covid-19 vaccine and would advise Trump to get one too

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, on June 26.  Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she’ll “absolutely” get a coronavirus vaccine right away when one is approved, if she’s eligible.

“The reason I said if I'm eligible is because the first vaccines that come off, we're getting advice on who best to use those on because obviously we want it to be for the people who need it the most,” she said in an interview with WTVD during a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We're going to have lots of vaccine in January and February, but in October, November and December, there'll be less vaccine available,” she said. “It's very important that the people who need it the most are prioritized.”

“So, if I am eligible, I would. I always get my flu shot,” Birx said. 

She also said she’d recommend President Trump get one, too.

“Absolutely. I give the same advice to any person not matter if they’re president, vice president or my parents.”

12:50 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Birx urges college students to get tested, wear masks to protect against Covid-19 

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Thursday urged college students to get tested for Covid-19 and to wear masks.

“To every student out there, please get tested,” Birx said during an interview with CNN affiliate WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“It is really critically important because I know that if you know that you're positive, that you will protect others for those 14 days, and you'll really ensure that you don't spread the virus.”

Birx said she’s been traveling around the country talking to governors and heads of universities about how to keep people safe at school, including in North Carolina, which has seen a number of recent coronavirus clusters on college campuses around the state.

“It's very difficult to tell a young person to have a certain type of very restricted behavior for three and a half months, but what I do know, if they know that they're positive, they will do what is needed to protect others,” she added.

And taking classes online does not mean students will be isolated, she noted.

“Many of those college students, even though they're online, are living in the college town, and they're living off campus, in many cases,” she said.

“How do we get information to them, how do we encourage them to be tested, how do we encourage them to protect the vulnerable members of the community, to really ensure that they are wearing masks and when they’re in the community, they're wearing masks and protecting those around them and I think that's really going to become very key,” Birx said.

12:13 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Watch the entire CNN coronavirus town hall

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosted a global town hall answering your questions about what the future holds for the fight against Covid-19.

They were joined by guests including National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Leana Wen, and Terrance Bannister, who lost his 28-year-old cousin to coronavirus just days after she was diagnosed.

Watch here:

12:07 a.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Time to "hunker down" to get through fall and winter, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Coronavirus is not going to ease up and is in fact likely to worsen again in the fall and winter in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday.

“I just think we need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it's not going to be easy,” Fauci said in a talk with doctors from Harvard.

Fauci said that as fall approaches "and we do more indoor things, we're likely going to see upticks in Covid-19."

The US is still reporting about 36,000 Covid-19 cases a day right now, which is better than mid-August when the number was almost 80,000 a day. But it’s still too high, Fauci said.

“I keep looking at that curve, and I get more depressed about the fact that we never really get down to the baseline that I'd like,” he said.

Fauci predicted the US will continue to see coronavirus surges in some places. 

“I don't talk about second surges because we're still in the first surge,” he said. “We're going to see these surges that we've seen in the southern states, in the Midwest and now, if you look at the map, it's Montana, North and South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa. Those are the ones that are surging.”

Fauci said it’s hard to predict at this point how influenza may play into the pandemic this winter. He pointed to Australia’s mild flu season this year because of Covid-19 mitigation efforts such as mask-wearing and social distancing. 

“What I would like to see is keeping the lid on, keeping the baseline down until we get a vaccine,” he said. Fauci, as he has said before, believes a coronavirus vaccine will be available by late this year or early in 2021.

“I think that’s going to be the thing that turns it around,” he said.

11:41 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Mexico reports nearly 5,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Natalie Gallón in Mexico City and Samantha Beech in Atlanta

A worker gets his temperature taken prior to being tested for Covid-19 in Mexico City, on Thursday, September 10.
A worker gets his temperature taken prior to being tested for Covid-19 in Mexico City, on Thursday, September 10. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Mexico's Health Ministry reported 4,857 new Covid-19 cases and 554 new virus-related deaths on Thursday.

That brings the total number of cases confirmed in the country to 652,364, including at least 69,649 fatalities.

The latest figures come as Mexico’s government responded to the pausing of the AstraZeneca vaccine trial.

What happened: The company put global trials of its coronavirus vaccine on hold this week over an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. Mexico was a participant in the phase 3 trials of that vaccine candidate and is still offering volunteers for other vaccine trials. 

The reaction: Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a statement Thursday that Mexicans can be “assured” of a vaccine against the coronavirus in future. "We are not betting -- as we say -- all the eggs in one basket," he said, adding that Mexico is involved in several vaccine projects.

Mexico has the world's fourth-highest coronavirus death toll after the United States, Brazil, and India, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is ranked seventh by JHU, in terms of the highest Covid-19 case numbers in the world.

10:32 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

More than 28 million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide

From CNN’s Samantha Beech in Atlanta

At least 28,054,396 people globally have been infected with the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

JHU also reported that as of 10.30 p.m. ET on Thursday, 907,980 have died around the world. 

The United States is the worst affected country, with 6,397,132 cases. India, Brazil and Russia follow.

The US also leads the world in terms of the most deaths attributable to the coronavirus, reporting a total of 191,769 fatalities. 

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here:

10:30 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.

10:29 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

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.