September 15 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020
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11:23 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Bill Gates calls US response to Covid-19 "shocking" and "mismanaged"

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Bill Gates is pictured speaking during an event in Beijing, China, in November 2019.
Bill Gates is pictured speaking during an event in Beijing, China, in November 2019. Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, called the US response to Covid-19 “shocking” and “mismanaged” in an interview published on Monday in Stat.

“You know, this has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” Gates told Stat. “It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable – the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.” 

Gates said the change to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid-19 testing guidelines for people without symptoms “blows the mind." 

He criticized US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and his mischaracterization of findings arounds convalescent plasma. Hahn has acknowledged the misstatement and said criticism of his remarks was “entirely justified.” 

“This is third grade math. I mean, are you kidding?” Gates said in the interview. “The head of the FDA got up and said it was a 35% death reduction where it’s not even a 3% reduction based on just a tiny little subset that was nonstatistical. This is unheard of.” 

Gates also mentioned Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who is now a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. CNN has reported that Atlas has advocated herd immunity through mass infection in briefings and written pieces in recent months; Atlas has denied pushing a herd immunity strategy in the White House. 

“The administrations now hired this Stanford guy who has no background at all just because he agrees with their crackpot theories,” Gates said.

10:50 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

All Covid-19 indicators in New York City are under desired thresholds, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The daily Covid-19 indicators are all under desired thresholds, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

Here's what the numbers in New York City look like:

  • The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 66, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 4.4%.
  • With regard to new reported cases on a 7-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, the city reports 259.
  • The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 city wide is at 1.05% under the 5% threshold. 

Remember: These numbers were released by the city's public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

10:44 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Pelosi wants the House to stay in session until a Covid-19 stimulus deal is reached

From CNN's Haley Byrd

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on September 10.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on September 10. Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wants the House to remain in session until congressional leaders can reach a coronavirus stimulus deal. 

“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement — an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi said during an interview with CNBC.

Her comments came after she had a phone call about the situation with House Democrats on Tuesday morning. 

“We’re optimistic that the White House at least will understand that we have to do some things,” Pelosi added.

Remember: With fewer than two months until the election, the odds for a massive stimulus compromise intended to help bolster small businesses, provide additional unemployment benefits and give more money to schools as they adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic have fallen practically to zero.

10:29 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Delta Air Lines says it has avoided most furloughs

From CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace

Delta Air Lines says most employees will not be furloughed when restrictions attached to pandemic bailout funds expire on Oct. 1.

In a new memo to employees, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said 40,000 employees took unpaid leaves of absence and one in five retired early or resigned.

Bastian said that means company flight attendants and ground-based frontline employees in the US will not be furloughed. But Bastian said he expects an "overage of pilots" come October 1 and that talks with its union continue.

"While we are all grateful for our ability to mitigate furloughs, it’s important to remember that we are still in a grim economic situation," said Bastian. "It’s clear the recovery will be long and choppy." Delta said it is still flying 30 percent of last year's passenger levels and it is burning through $750 million each month.

The clock is ticking for airline workers with no sign that Congress will take up extending payroll support. Earlier this month, United Airlines and American Airlines sent out notices to more than 30,000 employees that they would be furloughed come October 1.

10:33 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

"Strong possibility" manufacturing capacity of vaccine won’t meet supply needs, World Economic Forum says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said there is a “strong possibility” that the “current manufacturing capacity may not be enough to supply a global Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

In a statement released Tuesday, Arnaud Bernaert, head of Health and Healthcare at WEF, said there are several ways this dire situation can be addressed.

“More partnerships between researchers and manufacturers, are needed,” he said, explaining that one solution “requires hacking the current system.”

Current funding “usually comes with obligations for the manufacturers to produce on the territory of the country providing financial resources,” he explained. This may result in “limited availability” of the vaccine in other countries.

The Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN), which accounts for more than 65% of vaccines produced in each WHO region (except the European Region) “needs to be put to work,” he said.

Bernaert is suggesting a “pairing mechanism for vaccine innovators and vaccine manufacturers” – which would help find more capacity among the many vaccine candidates that are out there right now.

By doing “The Great Reset … the interest of all prevail over the ones of an elite,” Bernaert said.


8:39 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Germany believes vaccine will not be broadly available until mid-2021

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Anja Maria-Antonia Karliczek, Germany's minister of education and research, attends a news conference in Berlin on September 15.
Anja Maria-Antonia Karliczek, Germany's minister of education and research, attends a news conference in Berlin on September 15. Markus Schreiber/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Germany's Education and Research minister does not expect a coronavirus vaccine to be broadly available before mid-2021.

Anja Maria-Antonia Karliczek spoke at a government news briefing Tuesday, where the country's Health Minister Jens Spahn said that between 55 and 65% of its citizens would need to be vaccinated once the treatment has been found.

Spahn said he wanted to know more about the Russian vaccine, which has been approved by Moscow before Phase 3 trials.

“We would like to know more at times because there is not enough transparency," Spahn said, adding that he was concerned about the speed at which it had been approved. “It is not about being first,” he added.

Spahn also said he was certain there was a willingness in the population to get tested and that Germany had enough information on Covid-19 to avoid a second lockdown.

“We don’t have the same situation as in March, because we know more,” Spahn said, explaining that distancing measures, washing hands and wearing a mask had helped prevent a second wave in the country.
“If we do this in the fall and winter, and we practice this, we will get through the fall and winter well,” he said.

Germany's Ministry of Education and Research will also grant funds to biotechnology companies Curevac and BioNTech for the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Curevac will receive €252 million ($300 million) and BioNTech will receive €375 million.

8:09 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Hong Kong's mass testing drive of 1.8 million people finds 38 virus cases

From CNN's Jadyn Sham and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

A person is tested for Covid-19 at one of Hong Kong's makeshift centers for mass testing on September 14.
A person is tested for Covid-19 at one of Hong Kong's makeshift centers for mass testing on September 14. Tommy Walker/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s government said Tuesday said it had detected 38 fresh cases after examining 1.78 million people during a two-week city-wide mass coronavirus testing drive. 

Health officials carried out the testing between September 1 and September 14.

During the community testing program, 42 people tested positive, but five people had tested positive before the drive started and were known to authorities, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said Tuesday.

 “Although the Universal Community Testing Program has come to an end, the Government will continue to extend and conduct repeated testing for target groups or vulnerable groups, and would not relax its anti-epidemic efforts,” Chan said.

Hong Kong spent $68 million on the mass testing program, according to Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip, of which $47 million was spent on medical and testing support staff.

The city offered free tests to the entire population of more than 7 million people in the program.

The territory reported zero cases of local transmission with four imported cases on Tuesday.

Hong Kong currently has 4,976 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 101 deaths, according to the Center for Health Protection.

7:58 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Covid gave this kid a 100 degree fever for months

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Jonathan Lipman, left, and his son Eli Lipman on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" on September 14.
Jonathan Lipman, left, and his son Eli Lipman on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" on September 14. CNN

More than half a million children in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

The child cases are likely underreported, because the way data is collected is not consistent across states. Even then, children now represent nearly 10% of all reported cases in the US.

It's getting worse. The groups found that 72,993 new child cases were reported between August 27 and September 10, a 15% increase in child cases over two weeks.

And even though the vast majority of children have only mild symptoms after contracting Covid-19, a number of kids have suffered serious complications. Some have died.

Eli Lipman is one of the kids who has suffered from "long-haul" Covid-19. The 9-year-old has had a 100 degree fever every day for months, his dad Jonathan Lipman told CNN. Eli said he felt like "the day after you got smashed into a wall."

A version of this story appeared in the September 15 edition of CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

Read the full story here or sign up to the newsletter here.

7:22 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

More than 150 Indian medical workers have died with Covid-19 since March

From CNN's Swati Gupta 

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced that 155 health workers have died after contracting Covid-19 since March.

The ministry released the data on health worker fatalities on Tuesday, in order to provide insurance relief to the victims' families. 

Maharashtra state has the highest number of health worker fatalities with 21, including six doctors.

The majority of the deaths are among social healthcare workers, multi-purpose health workers and auxiliary nurses.

A total of 64 doctors have succumbed to Covid-19 across India since March. 

India has seen a steady uptick in the number of confirmed virus cases. On Tuesday, the health ministry recorded more than 83,000 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 4.9 million patients.