September 16 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Ed Upright and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 12:51 a.m. ET, September 17, 2020
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6:29 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

France has closed scores of schools this month

From CNN's Pierre Bairin

A woman walks in front of a closed primary school in the southern French city of Marseille on September 4.
A woman walks in front of a closed primary school in the southern French city of Marseille on September 4. Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

France has already closed 81 schools and 2,100 classes due to Covid-19 cases since the start of the school term this month, according to education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.

In addition, Blanquer said about 1,200 new infections among students had been recorded since last week.

"These are numbers that remain low," Blanquer told French TV channel LCI on Wednesday.

Blanquer said the 81 closed schools represented only 0.13% of total schools in the country.

France recorded more than 10,000 new virus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic over the weekend.

This week, the cities of Marseille and Bordeaux have tightened coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings in a bid to curb rising numbers of cases.

The move comes after French Prime Minister Jean Castex addressed the nation on Friday, asking local authorities to present new measures and emphasizing that Marseille, Bordeaux and the Guadeloupe were particularly affected areas.

6:06 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Madrid to bring in new restrictions as infections rise

From CNN's Laura Perez Maestro and Ingrid Formanek

Authorities in the Spanish capital of Madrid will announce new coronavirus restrictions on Friday as the country responds to an uptick in the number of cases.

Spain has now recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the start of the outbreak, with more than 600,000 total cases.

Madrid accounts for approximately a third of all new infections, according to data from Spain's health ministry.

The president of the city’s regional government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has suggested that migrant populations are partly to blame.

“(The outbreaks are partly) due to the way of life of Madrid's immigrants and the population density of these districts,” she said Tuesday.

“It is a way of life in Madrid.”

5:42 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Chinese vaccine developer says "hundreds of thousands" of people have had Covid-19 shots

From journalist Eric Cheung in Hong Kong and CNN's Beijing Bureau

China's state-owned pharmaceutical company SinoPharm said that "hundreds of thousands" of people in the country have received Covid-19 vaccinations under an emergency use program.

The company's general counsel Zhou Song said SinoPharm has provided emergency vaccinations to high-risk groups, including medical professionals, diplomats deployed to high-risk areas, and workers for state-owned enterprises who participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a statement on its website.

"(The vaccines) have been applied ... hundreds of thousands of times, and there was not a single case that demonstrated significant negative effects, nor was anyone infected," Zhou said.

In the statement, SinoPharm said it is currently developing two Covid-19 vaccines, and both vaccines are now in Phase 3 clinical trial. 

The company also claimed that 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines can be produced by the end of this year.

Zhou said that "the vaccines were proven effective" because none of those who traveled to high-risk places after receiving the injections were infected with Covid-19.

He added that individuals receiving the vaccine will have to get two doses to generate antibodies, with the second shot coming two to four weeks after the first shot.

Wu Guizhen, chief biosecurity expert of China's CDC, told China's state-run broadcaster CGTN on Monday that Covid-19 vaccines will be ready by November.

"The public can start taking the vaccine around November or December as the performance of Phase III trials goes well," said Wu. 

4:48 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

CDC study finds coronavirus rarely kills children, but minorities at higher risk

From CNN's Andrea Kane

Children and teens from minority groups are disproportionately hit by coronavirus, just as older adults are, according to the findings of a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children from ethnic and racial minorities, those with underlying health conditions and those between the ages of 18 and 20 are more likely to die, a CDC-led research team wrote in a study published Tuesday in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report also showed just how unusual it is for children and young adults to die from coronavirus. Among the 190,000 deaths tallied in the country, only 0.08% -- or 121 -- were reported in those under 21. The most updated report from the CDC shows 377 children, teens and young adults aged up to 24 have died from coronavirus.

The researchers asked 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands to submit information on coronavirus deaths in those under 21, between February 12 and July 31. Forty-seven jurisdictions responded.

Minorities at higher risk: Among the approximately 6.5 million Covid-19 cases in the country, the researchers found a total of 391,814 cases of Covid-19 and MIS-C in those under 21. While people under 21 make up 26% of the US population, they make up only 8% of all reported cases.

Hispanics, Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Natives were disproportionately affected. A total of 44% of the 121 who died were Hispanic children, 29% were Black children, 4% were American Indian/Alaska Natives and 4% were Asian or Pacific Islander. While these groups represent 41% of the US population under the age of 21, they accounted for approximately 75% of deaths in that age range. Fourteen percent of the deaths were in white children.

Read the full story:

4:04 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Israel reports highest daily surge in Covid-19 cases as Netanyahu returns from Washington

From CNN’s Oren Liebermann

A member of the Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) national emergency medical service performs a swab sample test for Covid-19 in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights, on September 10.
A member of the Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) national emergency medical service performs a swab sample test for Covid-19 in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights, on September 10. Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

Israel recorded a new daily highest spike in coronavirus cases on Tuesday with 5,523 new diagnoses, according to Ministry of Health data -- an increase of more than 10% on the previous high set just one day earlier.

Cases are climbing throughout the country just two days before a second general lockdown is set to begin. The number of serious cases also rose to 535 on Tuesday, with 138 patients now on ventilators.

US visit: The new daily high came on the day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington, DC signing normalization agreements at the White House with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Netanyahu, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of wearing masks and social distancing, appeared to do neither at the White House, where administration officials did not require masks and many of the hundreds of attendees went without them.

Schools close early: In light of the surging cases, Netanyahu announced that schools would close on Thursday, one day earlier than planned.

The former director of public health at the Ministry of Health, who resigned her position after blaming the government for failing to heed the advice of health experts, said in her resignation letter that the reopening of schools was one of the key sources of spreading coronavirus infections throughout the country.

Israel’s second general lockdown is scheduled to start Friday afternoon and last for a period of three weeks.

4:15 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Trump mental health official accuses media of overblowing dangers of Covid-19

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, speaks while President Donald Trump, left, listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 4, 2019.
Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, speaks while President Donald Trump, left, listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 4, 2019. Pete Marovich/Abaca/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A Trump administration mental health official has accused the media of being dishonest about the coronavirus pandemic.

The assistant secretary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, also reiterated talking points about coronavirus that President Donald Trump has pushed for months, including complaints that schools should reopen for in-person learning and that very few children are affected by Covid-19.

"I just wish that the media would get honest about its coverage of Covid," McCance-Katz told embattled Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo in the HHS "Learning Curve" podcast Friday. "For children this is not a life-threatening illness."

McCance-Katz, who was appointed to SAMHSA by Trump in 2017, acknowledged that children do get severe symptoms from the virus "in rare cases," but said "with a great, great majority of children this is not a serious illness," something Trump has also repeated for months.

"And when we put them in school with safety measures in place, why can't they go to school?" she said at one point in the interview.

Many studies have shown children do get Covid-19 and do die from it. They also can spread the virus to others. The American Academy of Pediatrics says more than 500,000 children have been diagnosed with the infection.

"So, lost in all of this response to Covid and nonstop 24/7 horrors of Covid and if you can't find something to talk about, it appears to me they make things up. It just does," McCance-Katz said at another point in the interview, referring to media coverage of the pandemic.

Read the full story:

2:39 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

China locks down border city following discovery of imported Covid-19 cases

China has locked down a city on its border with Myanmar and rolled out mass testing for hundreds of thousands of residents, after two Myanmar nationals who entered the country illegally were diagnosed with Covid-19.

The two imported cases were identified among a group of six people who crossed the border illegally into the city of Ruili in China's southwestern Yunnan province on September 3. The two patients were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Sunday, according to the Ruili government.

Authorities ordered a citywide lockdown, told all residents to quarantine at home and announced a three-day mass testing program for its 200,000 residents.

As of Tuesday, the city had collected nucleic acid samples from 60,000 residents, according to Ruili's Communist Party secretary Gong Yunzhun.

Ruili authorities also vowed to step up border controls and crack down on illegal entries.

Myanmar has faced a surge in coronavirus infections since late August. The country has reported a total of 3,636 cases and 39 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

2:15 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

US reports nearly 37,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Carma Hassan

The United States reported 36,985 new Covid-19 infections and 1,077 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 6,606,293 cases, including 195,937 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:

2:08 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Pakistan reports highest daily jump in Covid-19 cases for 30 days

From CNN's Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

A health official collects a swab sample from a woman to test for Covid-19 in Karachi, Pakistan on September 14.
A health official collects a swab sample from a woman to test for Covid-19 in Karachi, Pakistan on September 14. Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan recorded 665 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the country's highest daily increase since August 16, when it reported 670 new cases.

The country has reported 303,089 total cases, according to its Ministry of Health.

The ministry also reported four new virus-related fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing Pakistan's death toll from Covid-19 to 6,393.

Schools reopen: Pakistan reopened its educational institutions Monday, according to Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Faisal Sultan.

"Let us welcome our children and students on the first day of opening of educational institutions. Please don't forget basic protective steps. Masks, reduced density in classes, hand hygiene. Parents, school administrators, teachers, students - all together," Sultan said in a tweet Monday.

CNN is tracking worldwide Covid-19 cases here: