The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Brett McKeehan, James Griffiths and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 1946 GMT (0346 HKT) September 12, 2020
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2:36 p.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Michigan State University students told to "self-quarantine immediately" to contain outbreak

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph


The health department in Ingham County, Michigan, has “strongly" recommended that all local Michigan State University students “self-quarantine immediately to contain a Covid-19 outbreak."

There are at least 342 individuals affiliated with the university who have tested positive for the virus since Aug. 24.

At least a third of new cases are individuals who recently attended parties or social gatherings, and at least a third of those gatherings are associated with a fraternity or sorority, the health department said Saturday in a statement.

Only 23 university-affiliated people tested positive for the virus in the three weeks before the case surge. The increase in cases began as students returned to East Lansing for their fall semester. 

“Although MSU classes are predominately online, many students had binding off-campus leases or simply desired to physically return to the university community,” the statement said. “Self-quarantine should last for 14 days, continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, September 26. This recommendation is not an emergency order; however, more stringent and mandatory restrictions will be imposed if students do not comply and break the transmission cycle.”



1:28 p.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Florida reports more than 3,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Chandler Thornton

Florida's health department has reported 3,227 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 661,571.

The health department also reported 108 new deaths from the virus, bringing the death toll to 12,600.

As of Saturday, the total number of tests performed in the state is 4,881,475.


12:49 p.m. ET, September 12, 2020

New York state continues to report a Covid-19 infection rate below 1%

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York state has kept coronavirus infection rates below 1% for the past 36 days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

Friday marks a new record-high for total number of test results reported to the state. Of the 102,925 test results reported, 849, or 0.82%, were positive.

There were two coronavirus-related deaths reported in New York, the statement said.

1:27 p.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Former Iraqi soccer star dies from Covid-19

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Nadhim Shaker in 2010.
Nadhim Shaker in 2010. Osama Faisal/AP

Nadhim Shaker, one of Iraq's most famous soccer stars in the 1970s and 1980s, has died in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil from Covid-19, health officials told CNN on Saturday.

Shaker, 63-years-old, who was one of the most talented defenders in Iraqi football history and a former Iraq national team coach, died in a local hospital on Friday.

"Iraqi sport has lost one of its bright symbols, who presented achievements to the homeland, worked hard to develop the sport, and spread joy in Iraqis' hearts." Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted Saturday.

Iraq has recorded 286,778 coronavirus cases and 7,941 virus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

A military band and soccer fans escort the coffin of former Iraqi soccer star Nadhim Shaker during his funeral procession in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 12.
A military band and soccer fans escort the coffin of former Iraqi soccer star Nadhim Shaker during his funeral procession in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 12. Khalid Mohammed/AP

11:09 a.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Education expert shares how children can maintain friendships while wearing face masks


While it may be hard to tell if someone is smiling underneath their mask, Akimi Gibson, Sesame Workshop's vice president and education publisher for Sesame Learning, said a mask is "a sign of friendship."

"You're helping your friends stay safe and healthy. Did you know we can show your smiles beneath our masks? Our cheeks rise up, our eyes get smaller and there's so many other cues, so many other signals we can provide," Gibson said during CNN and "Sesame Street's" back-to-school town hall.

Gibson said a "a virtual and air high five or an elbow bump and, potentially my favorite one is, using your kind words" are great ways to make new friends.

10:53 a.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Melania Trump and Jill Biden wish students well as they return to school during the pandemic


First Lady Melania Trump and Jill Biden, the the wife of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, shared words of encouragement for students, parents and educators adapting to virtual and in-person learning as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

"Each of you have a bright future, and if you work hard, you will grow up to be whatever you want to be. So do your school work. Listen to your parents and teachers. And be kind to your classmates. School can be hard sometimes. But remember, you have something very special to offer and we are all here to help you succeed," Trump said in a message during CNN and "Sesame Street's" back-to-school town hall.

Biden encouraged parents to "hang in there."

"You're doing great. And to the educators, thank you. Our students need us more than ever. And I've never been prouder to be a teacher. Have a great school year. Wear your masks. And stay safe," Biden said.


10:47 a.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Khan Academy founder shares advice on how students can thrive through remote learning


One of the most important things parents can do to make sure their child thrives while learning virtually this year is to engage with the lessons they are receiving, Sal Khan, founder of online learning organization Khan Academy, told CNN today.

The more the lessons can be applied, the more they will sink in, Khan said during CNN and "Sesame Street's" back-to-school town hall.

"One of the few advantages of distance learning is as a parent you can eavesdrop on what kids are learning. Try to ask them about it. When you're having lunch together, when you're having dinner, I heard you talking about photosynthesis. Tell me more about that. That will make the kids perk up; oh, you're interested in that. You can also try to learn alongside your child," he said.
10:43 a.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Children should ask their teachers first before going in for a hug


Andrea Jemmott, a kindergarten teacher at KIPP Voice Academy, said children should ask their teachers first before trying to give them a hug while on campus.

"It's okay to be scared and it's okay to need a hug. Ask your teacher if it's okay to hug first. I know here at camp Jacksonville, teachers decided over the summer if a student came up and hugged us, we would definitely hug back. Sometimes we can't stop them. They're coming full force with a hug and we hug them," Jemmott said during CNN and "Sesame Street's" back-to-school town hall today.

Jemmott offered a few alternatives teachers can offer to students instead of a hug.

"We also have taught them other ways to comfort themselves, like air fives. We do elbow bumps. We wink. But the big favorite here is the air hug. So if you feel like you need a hug, ask your teacher and then get an air hug. I hope that makes you feel less scared," she said.


10:30 a.m. ET, September 12, 2020

Children need to know "and feel that school is separate from their home life," Gupta says


With so many students learning from home this academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Sanjay Gupta urged parents to make sure children "know and feel that school is separate from their home life."

"Setting up a learning area or a desk can help re-enforce that separation. Also, I got to tell you, it's important that they still follow a school routine," Gupta said during CNN and "Sesame Street's" back-to-school town hall this morning.