September 22 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Tara John, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020
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6:30 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on 200,000 deaths: "I really thought we would rise more to this challenge"

Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks during Anderson Cooper Full Circle.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks during Anderson Cooper Full Circle. Source: CNN

As the US passes the grim milestone of more than 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said at the beginning of the pandemic, he never thought this many people would die from the virus.

He said when early models were predicting even 60,000 deaths by August, he thought that was a high number.

"I really thought we would rise more to this challenge, but sadly, we haven't," Gupta said. "No one likes to hear that these deaths were preventable," he said on CNN's Anderson Cooper Full Circle.

Comparing the coronavirus pandemic to the 1918 influenza pandemic, he said there are a lot of parallels.

In 1918 there were three major peaks of infection. One of them was in October when thousands of people died in a single month as people started gathering indoors again, Gupta said.

"That model for 1918 is a little bit of a cautionary tale," he said, pointing to the importance of wearing masks and continuing safety measures as we enter into the fall season.

Watch here:

5:08 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

UNC Charlotte will resume some in-person instruction in October

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

UNC Charlotte.
UNC Charlotte. Shutterstock

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte announced today that “after careful consideration of available data and consultation with both county health officials and the UNC System,” they will resume select in-person instruction on Oct. 1, according to a statement from the university.

“The ongoing decline in Mecklenburg County’s infection rate, coupled with UNC Charlotte’s comprehensive safety protocols, allows the University to move forward with a measured approach to on-campus living, learning and working this fall semester,” the statement said.

The school is placing an emphasis on the return to on-campus instruction in specific areas of academic study, including programs like engineering, science lab classes, studio and performance art classes, clinical programs in the College of Health and Human Services, architecture, and courses serving primarily first-year students in order to ensure that those students can “successfully transition to University instruction, build community and access campus support.”

According to the statement, all undergraduate classes will be suspended on Sept. 28 and 29 to allow for campus move-in dates.

3:51 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Notre Dame football game postponed after players test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Notre Dame Stadium is seen before a football game on September 12 in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Notre Dame Stadium is seen before a football game on September 12 in Notre Dame, Indiana. Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports

Following multiple positive Covid-19 tests among student-athletes at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish have postponed Saturday’s game against Wake Forest. Seven football players tested positive out of 94 tested. They are in isolation and contact tracing is underway.

In a statement, Notre Dame Athletics announced that the football program has decided to pause all football-related activities until further testing can be completed. Combined with testing results from last week, a total of 13 football players are now in isolation, with 10 in quarantine.

“With student-athlete health and safety our primary focus, we will continue to follow our prevention protocols and ongoing testing procedures,” said football Coach Brian Kelly. “We managed an increase in positivity rates in August, and the players handled it wonderfully. We knew COVID would present challenges throughout the season, and we'll always put student-athlete health and safety at the forefront of our decision making. We look forward to resuming team activities and getting back on the playing field.”

Notre Dame, which is 2-0 so far this season, is currently the seventh ranked football team in the nation.

3:32 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

North Carolina can open large outdoor venues at 7% capacity if stable Covid-19 trends continue, governor says

From CNN’s Gisela Crespo

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a press conference on September 22.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a press conference on September 22. Governor Roy Cooper/Facebook

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that large outdoor venues will be allowed to open at 7% capacity starting October 2 if stable Covid-19 trends continue. 

"Because of our continued stability, we plan to take another step toward Phase 3 in the coming days if our progress holds," Cooper said during a news briefing. 

The state defines large venues as those with the capacity of seating more than 10,000 people, according to a news release. Cooper said during the news briefing today's announcement will allow these facilities to start putting safety measures in place. 

State and health officials will continue monitoring trends over the next week to decide if other restrictions can be eased. The current executive order that allowed North Carolina to move to a 2.5 reopening phase is set to expire on October 2nd. 

Cooper said the state has reported 195,549 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases to date, and at least 3,286 deaths. The state reported 1,168 new cases since yesterday, Cooper added. 

One thing to note: The numbers below were released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

3:02 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

National Institutes of Health to expand Covid-19 convalescent plasma trials

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

The National Institutes of Health is expanding trials of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, according to an agency announcement Tuesday. The trials are receiving $48 million through Operation Warp Speed.

The trials are enrolling hospitalized patients in two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials at sites around the country.

Convalescent plasma is the blood product that is taken from volunteers who have recovered from Covid-19. That plasma has antibodies — proteins the body naturally produces to fight against a threat like a virus — that can help stimulate an immune response in someone who is sick.

“The evidence on convalescent plasma as a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19 is promising but incomplete. We need to carry out rigorous randomized control clinical trials to determine how this therapy can improve outcomes,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a press release. “While the world waits for an effective vaccine, it is vital that we simultaneously expand the options for available treatments for those currently suffering from the worst effects of this disease.”

In the trials, volunteers will be randomly assigned to receive standard care or the plasma treatment. Scientists will then compare the results to see if the treatment is effective. Results should be available in the fall.

Some background on this: In August, the US Food and Drug Administration announced emergency authorization for the treatment. The authorization was based on early observational studies that showed the therapy held some promise. These two trials are considered the gold standard that should provide definitive evidence if the treatment works against Covid-19.

So far, 105,802 patients who have recovered from Covid-19 have donated their plasma and 83,610 Covid-19 patients have been treated with this approach in the US, according to Mayo Clinic’s 

2:30 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Detroit woman who survived Covid-19 after a month in a coma says she's still experiencing challenges

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Heather-Elizabeth Brown — a 35-year-old Detroit area police chaplain who survived Covid-19 after spending a month in a coma — said she is still experiencing challenges related to the virus, even though she did not have any preexisting conditions before she was diagnosed.

"I would say that the after-effects when it comes to breathing and when it comes to energy are two of the biggest struggles that I have," Brown told CNN's Brianna Keilar.

Brown said that she does breathing exercises because her "breath support" isn't there. She said simple activities like getting up stairs and walking to her car "winds" her.

Brown added that her energy levels have also been impacted.

"The fatigue factor is also a really big part of the after-effects of this disease. I find that I can't get through a whole day without having to stop and lie down and rest just because I'm absolutely exhausted from doing every day simple tasks," she said.

She is currently undergoing therapies as she deals with post-coronavirus health struggles.

Her message to people about coronavirus is this: "I absolutely want people to know that Covid is a real disease. It's not fake. It's not made-up. It's not a conspiracy. It is something that is communicable and it is something that can be very dangerous .... I didn't have preexisting conditions, and I still ended up on a ventilator for 31 days, and I was very close to losing my life."

Brown also urges people to continue to social distance, wear masks and practice proper hygiene "in order to make sure we protect ourselves as much as possible, but also protect the rest of the people in our community who may be more vulnerable."

Watch here:

2:09 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Most people show symptoms at some point during Covid-19 infection, research shows

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Most people with coronavirus develop symptoms at some point during infection, according to research published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. The researchers found some evidence suggesting those who show no symptoms may be less likely to pass it on to their close contacts.

Diana Buitrago-Garcia, of the University of Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues reviewed 94 studies of people diagnosed with Covid-19 between March and June of this year.

In 79 studies from a range of settings, they found 20% of people did not show any symptoms during the course of Covid-19 infection. The researchers note that differences and potential biases among the studies limit the certainty of that estimate.

In seven studies with defined populations of people who received coronavirus screening and follow up, 31% showed no symptoms. These populations included health care workers, a village in Italy, blood donors and those evacuated from a setting where coronavirus transmission was confirmed.

The researchers also found that those who had contact with asymptomatic people with Covid-19 were less likely to contract the virus than those who had contact with coronavirus-positive people who did show symptoms.

The researchers noteed that social distancing measures are important, since transmission can and does occur from people without symptoms and those who have yet to develop symptoms. They also emphasized the importance of testing and contact tracing.

1:00 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

NFL reports no new Covid-19 cases among players

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

The National Football League and the NFL Players Association report no new Covid-19 cases among the league’s 2,438 players from Sept. 13 to 19, according to testing results released Tuesday.

There were five new confirmed positive test results among 5,407 team personnel tested during the same timeframe. 

Individuals who test positive are immediately isolated, not permitted access club facilities, or have direct contact with players or personnel.

12:35 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Vaccinating whole world against Covid-19 won't happen until 2024, manufacturer says

From CNN's John Bonifield

Adar Poonawalla, CEO and executive director of the Serum Institute of India, speaks during an interview on September 22.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO and executive director of the Serum Institute of India, speaks during an interview on September 22. CNN

India's Serum Institute, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, says it will take until 2024 for the whole world to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. 

"Realistically, for the whole world, for everyone on this planet – or at least 90% – to get it, it's going to be at least 2024," Adar Poonawalla, CEO and executive director of the Serum Institute of India, told CNN.

Poonawalla said some of the challenges of getting vaccines from the point of research and approval to administering them to patients include scaling up manufacturing of the vaccines and raising billions of dollars to fund procurement of the necessary doses. 

He said administering the vaccines in certain complex geographies and countries is also a challenge.

The Serum Institute of India is working with five Covid-19 vaccine developers and is gearing up to make hundreds of millions of doses. But even then, the vaccine supply will only go so far in the short term.

Take India, for example, with a population of 1.4 billion.

"By July, August next year, even if we were to produce 400 million does, they're still going to struggle to vaccinate everyone using those doses,” Poonawalla said.