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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3:38 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Louisiana restaurants, churches and gyms to reopen at 75% occupancy

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Gov. John Bel Edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards Louisiana Governor's office

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state’s phase 3 order allowing restaurants, churches, salons, spas and gyms to reopen at 75% occupancy with social distancing required will go into effect tonight.

Parishes with a Covid-19 positivity rate of 5% or lower for two consecutive weeks can opt-in to reopen bars for on-premises alcohol consumption.

If they do opt-in, bars will be subject to a number of restrictions, and last call will be at 10 p.m., the governor said. People younger than 21 won’t be allowed inside a bar.

Edwards said indoor social gatherings, like weddings or birthday parties, will be limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people and social distancing requirements. Outdoor crowd sizes will also be limited to 50% and a maximum of 250 people. 

More details: Sporting events, like college or high school football, will operate at a lesser capacity of 25%, with social distancing required and without alcohol sales, the governor announced. 

2:24 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Even children with mild or no symptoms can spread Covid-19, study shows

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Children with mild or no symptoms can transmit Covid-19, according to contact tracing data from three Utah child care facilities released Friday. 

The facilities said 12 children got Covid-19 in a child care facility and transmitted it to at least 12 people outside the facility, including household members. The data shows children can carry the virus from child care settings to their homes, the researchers write in a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers analyzed contact tracing data from 184 people with links to three child care facilities in Salt Lake County from April to July. 

They found at least two children who had no symptoms not only had caught the virus, but passed it to other people, including one mother who was hospitalized. One 8-month-old child spread the virus to both parents.

The researchers say that two of the facility outbreaks began with staff members who had household contacts with the virus.

More details: Overall, children accounted for 13 of the 31 confirmed Covid-19 case linked to the facility, and all of the children had mild or no symptoms.

The researchers say that contact tracing and timely Covid-19 testing for those in child care settings, including asymptomatic people, can help prevent spread of the virus. They recommend the use of face masks, especially for staff working in child care centers with children below the age of 2, who may be too young to wear masks.

2:20 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Fauci: "It is truly a waste of time to have to debunk nonsense"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he is bothered when he has to debunk nonsense. 

“The one thing that bothers me is the amount of things that aren't evidence-based. And we've seen examples of that in the United States — like claims that certain drugs have a great, positive effect, when there's no scientific evidence whatsoever that they have a positive effect. And yet it gets ingrained, and I and my colleagues have to spend a lot of time trying to debunk that,” he said during a Friday webinar with the Friends of the Global Fight.

“And you're in the middle of a pandemic and you're trying hard to address all the appropriate issues, it is truly a waste of time to have to debunk nonsense. But you know, unfortunately, we've had to do that,” he said. 

2:16 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

French prime minister announces new Covid-19 strategies over resurgence concerns

From CNN's Gaëlle Fournier and Barbara Wojazer in Paris

A man cycles as people wearing protective masks keep social distance as they wait in line for a PCR test for Covid-19 in front of the city hall of Paris on August 31.
A man cycles as people wearing protective masks keep social distance as they wait in line for a PCR test for Covid-19 in front of the city hall of Paris on August 31. Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

A nationwide lockdown is not in the French government's "mindset" despite the "clear deterioration" of the coronavirus situation in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a televised address on Friday.

Castex gave an update on the government's strategy to deal with the virus, saying he is “particularly worried” to see “a substantial increase in hospitalizations for the first time in a number of weeks.”

The prime minister said a national lockdown should be avoided and gave power to local authorities to impose restrictions, instead of the central government. 

"Measures should not be decided from Paris,” Castex explained, saying that the virus is spreading unevenly, with Marseille, Bordeaux, and the Guadeloupe area being particularly affected. Local authorities have until Monday to present measures to the prime minister.  

The prime minister also announced changes to the government's testing and isolation strategy in France.

In face of the “significant waiting times,” testing will be prioritized to people showing symptoms, to those who were in close contact with coronavirus patients, and to health care personnel, Castex said.

He added that “France has become the third European country in terms of testing” with around a million tests per week: “this is great news,” he said.

The mandatory isolation periods for people with Covid-19 will also be reduced from 14 to seven days, a “period where there is a real risk of contagion,” Castex said.

“Tomorrow depends on you, tomorrow depends on us,” he concluded. 

2:05 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

More than 192,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US

From CNN's Haley Brink

There are at least 6,417,186 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 192,381 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

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

As of Friday at 1:45 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins has reported 21,113 new cases and 628 reported deaths. 

1:55 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade Counties can move to phase 2 reopening Monday, governor says

From CNN’s Maria Cartaya

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis Pool

During a Friday news conference in Miami, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Broward and Miami-Dade Counties will move to phase two starting Monday.

“Today I’m announcing that effective Monday both Broward and Miami-Dade counties will be moved into phase two,” DeSantis said.

“Of course, the most significant aspect of that is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume. Of course, at the parents’ discretion, and we want to continue to offer parents the ability to do remote learning if that’s what they want to do,” said DeSantis.  

“This is really, really important. I mean, we’ve had a very difficult six months, but it’s been very difficult for kids. They were taken out of class in March, going to remote learning. Many of them did a good job under the circumstances, but it’s just not the same,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis said that in Miami-Dade, “Covid-positive hospitalizations have decreased by nearly 75% since the July peak, and new admissions to the hospital for Covid are down 82% since the July peak.” 

“Broward has done phenomenal as well,” added DeSantis.  

“Their hospitalizations are down by over 75% since the July peak. Their daily admissions to the hospital for Covid-positive individuals is down 85% from the peak,” said DeSantis.  

DeSantis was joined by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho.

Gimenez announced that on Monday his administration will “be looking at what businesses we can reopen that were forced to close in June because of the spike after Memorial Day.”  

“Those include entertainment venues, like movie theaters, bowling alleys, play houses and arcades operating at 50% capacity under strict rules to keep people safe,” Gimenez said. “Next week we’ll be opening more outdoor venues, like the zoo,” added Gimenez.  

“Let me be clear that Miami-Dade County will not be opening up bars and night clubs,” the mayor said. “We’re still not out of the woods yet,” Gimenez added.

Gimenez said next week his administration will have more details about phase two openings.  

1:30 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Fauci has “confidence” in Covid-19 vaccine approval process

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he has confidence that the vaccine approval process is going to be done correctly and without political pressure.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Fauci laid out the extensive process a vaccine has to go through before it can be approved. 

“The process whereby a vaccine is approved — either through an EUA to be distributed, or through a formal approval — is really based on data that comes into an independent body, called the Data and Safety Monitoring Board.”

“They have nothing to do with the company. They have nothing to do with the FDA. They're an independent group,” Fauci said. The board looks at the data and determines if there are any safety issues and if the product actually works.

Fauci said “that information would ultimately become public,” so if there was outside pressure, it would be “scrutinized very, very carefully.”

The next layer are the advisory committee “that advise the FDA, and they again, are [an] independent group,” he said.

 “And then you have the entire scientific community, including myself, that's looking very carefully at that,” he said. “We have great confidence in the FDA that they're going to do the right thing.”

There are “a lot of eyes on that. It's not something that can be snuck in in a political way,” he said. “And that's the reason why I feel really quite confident that this is going to be done correctly.”

Fauci doesn’t want to make any predictions on whether the AstraZeneca trial will resume, but outlined what generally happens when there is a pause. 

Most often, “You look at it, you investigate it, and then you just, with caution, proceed. Because a single adverse event like this could be a one-off that has nothing to do with the trial,” he said.

“So you would want to continue, but you continue with an additional degree of caution.” 

1:10 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Fauci says we may not get back to our normal lives until the end of 2021

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it could be the end of 2021 before we get back to how our lives were before Covid-19.

He told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell he’s been saying all along, “I believe that we will have a vaccine that will be available by the end of this year, the beginning of next year.” 

But there is a caveat: “By the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations, and you get the majority, or more, of the population vaccinated and protected, that's likely not going to happen to the mid or end of 2021,” he said.

“If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021.”

1:09 p.m. ET, September 11, 2020

Fauci disagrees with Trump that US has rounded the corner on Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Amanda Watts and Adrienne Vogt

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he disagrees with Trump's remarks that the US has “rounded the final turn” of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Fauci was asked, “Thursday, you said it was time to hunker down, because the fall and the winter is ‘not going to be easy.’ The President says we’ve rounded the final turn. How do you square those two messages?”

Fauci replied, “I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with that because — if you look at the thing that you just mentioned — the statistics, Andrea, they're disturbing. 

He said he hopes we don’t see surges in cases after Labor Day, as the nation did following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

“We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day, and the deaths of around 1,000,” Fauci explained.

“But when you have a baseline of infections that are 40,000 per day ,and you have threats of increased test positivity in certain regions of the country — such as the Dakotas and Montana and places like that — what we don't want to see is going into the fall season, when people will be spending more time indoors, and that's not good for a respiratory-borne virus,” Fauci said. “You don't want to start off already with a baseline that's so high.”

He warned that the country needs to get the levels down lower “so that when you go into a more precarious situation, like the fall and the winter, you won't have a situation where you really are at a disadvantage right from the very beginning.”