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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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.

7:35 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

UK test shortage is "unacceptable," says government minister, as cases surge

From CNN’s Mick Krever in London

A woman administers a swab test at a Covid-19 testing site in London on September 15.
A woman administers a swab test at a Covid-19 testing site in London on September 15. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

It is “unacceptable” that some people in the UK have reportedly been asked to wait weeks, or travel hundreds of miles, for a coronavirus test, the country's Home Secretary said on Tuesday.

“Clearly there is much more work that needs to be undertaken,�� Priti Patel told the BBC. “Coronavirus is increasing, and therefore the demand is increasing as well for testing.”

Meanwhile, a membership organization for the National Health Service on Tuesday said that a testing shortage was starting to force some of its members’ staff to “self-isolate in the absence of a test,” and that it was concerned about preparations for the coming winter. 

“The government has always seemed more concerned with managing the political implications of operational problems rather than being open and honest about them,” said Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers.

The UK Government says it is conducting just over 200,000 tests per day. 

Reported coronavirus infections have been surging in the country. There were an average of 3,004 new infections per day in the last seven days, compared to 2,032 per day in the previous seven-day period. 

The British government has at times sent mixed messages on who should be getting coronavirus tests.

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that there had been “a rise in the number of people who are not eligible for a test coming forward and getting those tests.” He estimated that 25% of those getting tested were not eligible. 

UK government guidelines are that only those displaying one of three symptoms, or those who have been asked by a government body, are eligible for a test.

Nonetheless, on July 21, Hancock tweeted that “anybody who needs a test can get a test,” and that “if you have symptoms, if in doubt, get a test.”

On September 9, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that “the world we want to move to as fast as possible is a world in which everybody can take enabling tests at the beginning of the day, and antigen tests to identify whether or not we have the virus.”

6:50 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

No locally transmitted virus infections in Hong Kong for the first time in months

From CNN's Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong

People walk in Hong Kong on September 8.
People walk in Hong Kong on September 8. Zhang Wei/China News Service/Getty Images

Hong Kong reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases or the first time since July 7, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.

The city also announced the easing of restrictions starting on Friday. Venues including bars, swimming pools, theme parks and clubs will be able to open, while dine-in services at restaurants will be extended until midnight. 

Chan said despite the drop in cases group gatherings will still be limited to no more than four people and mask wearing in public will still be mandatory.

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

6:37 a.m. ET, September 15, 2020

Bipartisan group of US House members pressure party leaders to cut stimulus deal

From CNN's Manu Raju

A bipartisan group of US House members is unveiling a sweeping proposal to inject up to $2 trillion in aid to the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, a move aimed at jump-starting talks that have devolved into bitter acrimony and finger-pointing between the White House and Democratic leaders in the heat of this election year.

The proposal touches on many of the elements under discussion -- aid to small businesses and schools, a new round of checks to Americans, more jobless benefits and funding to help with the November elections -- while achieving bipartisan consensus on issues that have left the two sides bickering for the past several months, such as money for cash-strapped states and cities.

While the proposal stands little chance of becoming law, and just specifies overall numbers while leaving out many policy details, it represents a rare bipartisan breakthrough given Congress has been locked in a partisan impasse for months after Washington poured $3 trillion in the spring to help an economy ravaged by the pandemic.

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