September 14 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020
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4:42 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

US reports more than 34,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States reported 34,450 new Covid-19 infections and 378 virus-related deaths on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 6,520,235 cases, including 194,081 fatalities, have now been recorded in the US.

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

CNN is tracking US cases here:

4:43 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Cathay Pacific says it's losing up to $258 million a month as passengers drop nearly 99%

From CNN's Michelle Toh in Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific planes seen parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport on March 10, 2020. 
Cathay Pacific planes seen parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport on March 10, 2020.  Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Cathay Pacific Group, the owner of Hong Kong's flagship airline, says it's losing hundreds of millions of dollars a month as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel global demand for travel.

The company said Monday that its two main carriers -- Cathay Pacific and regional sister airline Cathay Dragon -- only carried about 36,000 passengers altogether last month, plunging 98.8% compared to the same time a year ago.

While the company has continuously taken steps to cut costs, it is still "burning cash" at a rate of 1.5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($194 million) to 2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($258 million) per month, according to chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam.

“We are weathering the storm for now, but the fact remains that we simply will not survive unless we adapt our airlines for the new travel market," he said in a statement.
"A restructuring will therefore be inevitable to protect the company, the Hong Kong aviation hub, and the livelihoods of as many people as possible."

Cathay was bailed out by Hong Kong's government in June. That helped give the company "time and a platform from which to transform our business and continue to operate in the short term," said Lam. "However, it is an investment that we need to repay."

The company expects a long road back to recovery. Lam noted that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently pushed back its global forecast for an industry rebound "by a year to 2024, demonstrating just how slow a return to pre-pandemic levels will be."

4:17 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

France reports more than 7,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Schams Elwazer

France’s daily coronavirus infections dipped slightly on Sunday, a day after the country recorded more than 10,000 new cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Health authorities said Sunday’s total number of new Covid-19 cases was 7,183, down from Saturday’s high of 10,561.

No lockdown: A nationwide lockdown is not in the French government's "mindset" despite the "clear deterioration" of the coronavirus situation in the country, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a televised address on Friday.

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

2:27 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Analysis: Trump ignores science at dangerous indoor rally

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

US President Donald Trump offered a glaring new example of his refusal to put medical science before politics with a large indoor rally Sunday night that made a mockery of social distancing, while the pandemic he mismanaged has now claimed more than 194,000 American lives.

The event in Nevada -- his second rally in the state in as many days -- did not only risk the health of those present, thousands of whom were packed together inside a manufacturing facility in defiance of the state's ban on local gatherings of 50 people or more. It also has the potential to turn into a super spreader event that could seed Covid-19 outbreaks in the wider community.

Trump hadn't held an indoor rally in nearly three months, since his last one, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which the city saw a surge in cases and multiple campaign staffers along with Secret Service agents tested positive for the virus.

The jarring scenes of the indoor event clashed with footage from the first weekend of NFL games that went ahead in cavernous empty stadiums, reflecting how almost alone the President, who might be expected to set an example, is responsible for the most dangerous breaches of his own government's coronavirus recommendations.

Rare precautions: CNN's Brian Stelter reported that major television networks, including CNN, decided not to send their crews and correspondents into the rally for their own safety. It's not unusual for media companies to take steps to shield their employees in war zones abroad, but such precautions are exceedingly rare on home soil.

Read the full analysis:

1:24 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Japan reports more than 400 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, announced that her government decided to lower its coronavirus rank and loosen voluntary refrainment from large-scale public events, traveling and dining out at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office on September 10.
Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, announced that her government decided to lower its coronavirus rank and loosen voluntary refrainment from large-scale public events, traveling and dining out at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office on September 10. The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

Japan recorded 441 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, bringing its total caseload to 76,369, the Japanese Health Ministry announced Monday.

The country also reported three new deaths on Sunday, with its total death toll now at 1,455.

In the capital Tokyo, the total number of infections has surpassed 23,000, with 146 new cases confirmed Sunday, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Easing restrictions: Japan has been grappling with a second wave of infections since July, with more than 1,000 cases recorded daily during its peak in August. But the daily infections have been decreasing in recent weeks, and authorities are planning to ease restrictions.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike plans to end the 10 p.m. closure request on Tuesday for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in central Tokyo.

The Japanese government has decided to ease the attendance restrictions for events including professional sports games. From September 19, the current restriction limiting the number of attendees in stadiums and large-scale facilities to 5,000 will be scrapped.

12:37 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

South Korea to stockpile additional personal protective equipment for winter

From CNN's Jake Kwon in Seoul

South Korea is planning to stockpile 4 million sets of additional personal protective equipment by December to prepare for a large scale spread of the coronavirus, according to its Ministry of Health.

The government also plans to secure additional ECMO machines -- a specialized heart-lung bypass machine used when the lungs cannot function themselves -- and ventilators, Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho said in a briefing Monday.

New cases: South Korea recorded 109 Covid-19 infections on Sunday, of which 98 were locally transmitted. Some 81 of the local cases were found in the Seoul metropolitan area, according to data from the ministry. Five new deaths were also reported on Sunday.

The country's total caseload stands at 22,285, including 363 deaths.

12:02 a.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Pfizer proposes expanding Covid-19 vaccine trial to include more diversity

From CNN's Dakin Andone

The race for a coronavirus vaccine shows no signs of slowing as more companies move their vaccine candidates through clinical trials, growing closer to determining which will be considered safe and effective. 

One such candidate is in development by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which announced along with its German partner BioNTech on Saturday they proposed expanding Phase 3 clinical trials to include 44,000 participants and more diverse patient populations, including people as young as 16. 

That's up from the initial plan of 30,000 participants, a benchmark they plan to meet next week, according to a news release

Diversity matters: The proposal, which would need approval by the Food and Drug Administration, would allow the companies to collect more data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate while diversifying the pool of participants.

"I think we should strive to have as more diverse population as possible," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CBS on "Face the Nation" Sunday, stressing the importance of having a diverse group of volunteers given the heightened impact Covid-19 has had on communities of color.
"But right now we are not bad. Actually, we have a population that globally only 60% are Caucasians, 40%, approximately, minorities," he said.

Read the full story:

11:29 p.m. ET, September 13, 2020

New Zealand extends coronavirus restrictions upon discovery of one new case

From CNN's Isaac Yee and Angus Watson

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives to speak at the Business NZ Election Conference on September 11, in Auckland, New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives to speak at the Business NZ Election Conference on September 11, in Auckland, New Zealand. Hannah Peters/Getty Images

New Zealand will extend its current coronavirus restrictions for another week as the country reported one new case on Monday.

“Cabinet has decided on a short extension to the current restrictions of alert level 2.5 for Auckland and level 2 for the rest of the country,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a news briefing.
“For Auckland, cabinet will review the current level 2.5 settings at our meeting on Monday the 21st of September with a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position for containing the cluster,” she said.

If that change was agreed, the new measures would come into effect on September 23, according to Ardern.

“As we know more cases will emerge from this cluster's tail, these cases can still continue to pose risks,” she warned.

Under the extended restrictions in Auckland, social gatherings are limited to 10 people while businesses can open as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. 

Ardern said the cabinet had agreed “in principle” that the rest of New Zealand outside of Auckland will move to level 1 restrictions at 11:59 p.m. on September 21, as long as cases continue to “track as they are and maintaining the containment we have seen.”

She also praised New Zealand’s testing efforts. “Over 100,000 tests have taken place nationwide that have not shown any spread of the virus to date in other parts of New Zealand, despite the resumption of inter-regional travel," she said.

So far, New Zealand has reported a total of 1,447 coronavirus infections and 24 deaths.

10:56 p.m. ET, September 13, 2020

Australia's Victoria state reports lowest daily rise in Covid-19 cases since late June

From CNN's Eric Cheung and Isaac Yee

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a news conference on September 14, in Melbourne, Australia.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a news conference on September 14, in Melbourne, Australia. Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Australia's Victoria state recorded 35 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, according to Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services.

This is the state's lowest daily increase in infections since June 26, according to statistics from the department.

The total number of cases confirmed in Victoria now stands at 19,870. Seven deaths were also recorded on Sunday, bringing the total death toll in the state to 730.

Protests: Over the weekend, anti-lockdown protests were held in Melbourne, leading to the arrest of at least 88 people. Video of the demonstrations showed police in riot gear arresting protesters in the streets while onlookers chanted “freedom.”

On Sunday night, Victoria also began slowly lifting certain coronavirus lockdown restrictions, according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. In Melbourne, playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment have been reopened, while those living alone or single parents are allowed to have one other person in their home.