September 23 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Brad Lendon, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 24, 2020
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2:52 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Israel reports nearly 7,000 new Covid-19 cases in highest single-day spike

From CNN’s Oren Liebermann

Israel reported 6,861 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, surging past the previous daily high of 5,523 new infections set last week.

The new daily high in recorded cases comes as Israel’s government considers imposing tighter restrictions during the country’s second general lockdown, including limitations on prayer and protests, and scaling back work in the public and private sector.

Israel imposed the lockdown last Friday as it tried to curtail the rising number of cases throughout the country, but critics said the restrictions have too many loopholes and exceptions to adequately stop the spread of the virus.

2:34 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

US reports more than 39,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

An additional 39,334 coronavirus infections were recorded in the United States on Tuesday, raising the nationwide caseload to at least 6,896,274, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

The death toll stands at 200,807 after 921 new virus-related fatalities were recorded Tuesday.

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

CNN is tracking the cases here:

4:01 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

Analysis: Trump again minimizes the pandemic as officials warn of a fall surge

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, on September 22.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, on September 22. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A new clash between Donald Trump's political goals and his duties to public health threatens to deprive America of presidential leadership in the critical weeks that will decide if a second wave of Covid-19 swamps the country this winter.

As the US death toll from the pandemic passed 200,000, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that he was worried that the high base level of infections could make it difficult to keep the virus under control in the colder months.

While the government's top infectious diseases specialist, who has been marginalized by Trump, said serious trouble was not "inevitable," he added at the Citizen by CNN conference that "it's not acceptable to not realize that we are entering into a risk period and we've got to act accordingly."

Fauci spoke while medical indicators head in a perilous direction as the US approaches its 7 millionth infection. Cases are rising in 24 states, Washington, DC, and two territories. Wisconsin's Gov. Tony Evers warned Tuesday of a "new and dangerous stage" of the pandemic in the crucial swing state, where Trump held a rally last week. And there are now more than 59,000 cases of coronavirus on college campuses after many schools decided to open despite adopting insufficient safety measures.

Notre Dame canceled its football game on Saturday against Wake Forest after seven Fighting Irish players tested positive for the virus. The move comes just a week after Trump claimed he had orchestrated the return of football for many of Notre Dame's Midwest (and battleground state) neighbors in the Big Ten conference.

But there is no visible sign of concern from the White House about this potential pivot point on which thousands of lives may depend. That may be because it coincides with the moment of highest tension in a presidential race in which the President is trying to convince voters that the worst of the emergency has passed.

"I think we've done an amazing job ... in my opinion we're rounding the turn," the President said in an interview with a local Fox station in Detroit in which he continued to minimize the danger. On Monday, he had claimed the virus "affects virtually nobody" -- a staggering comment on the eve of such a tragic milestone.

Read the full analysis:

1:39 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

The public can trust the CDC and the FDA for coronavirus information, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

A unnamed person's attempt to manipulate information coming out of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for political reasons “has been unfortunate,” White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

"The person who was trying to influence the CDC, and even me, with emails is gone," Fauci said at the Atlantic Festival. “So, I think we can put that behind us right now.”  

Fauci appeared to be referring to Michael Caputo, who served as the assistant for public affairs in the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

Caputo, who announced last week that he was taking a leave of absence, has been accused by critics of politicizing the CDC and HHS response to the pandemic, and of trying to influence studies published in the CDC's journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, to align with the Trump administration’s position. 

When asked where Americans should go for trustworthy information on the coronavirus, Fauci replied: "I would trust the CDC, and I would trust the FDA."

"The FDA commissioner has made it very clear that he is going to make sure that the in-the-trenches scientist who look at these types of things all the time -- that's what they do for a living -- they're going to be the ones that are going to be making the recommendation (about any potential coronavirus vaccine)."
12:58 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

As the US surpasses 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, survivors have a message: This is not a hoax

From CNN's Theresa Waldrop

Members of the medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on July 28.
Members of the medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on July 28. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Even as the United States surpasses 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, there are still people who think the coronavirus is a hoax. Survivors of the disease and members of victims' families beg to differ and are sharing their very real experiences with the deadly disease.

Ann and Marvin Robinson, a married couple in Casper, Wyoming, got the virus almost three months ago. Marvin, 73, still has shortness of breath, and both are battling fatigue.

"We have friends who still believe it's a hoax. They think that it's going to go away on Election Day," Ann, 72, told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Tuesday.

"It's trying to convince people that the 200,000 people who have died were important," Ann said of her efforts to assure people of the reality of the virus.

Their friends "kind of discount the fact that older people get it that have underlying conditions, that they were going to die anyway," Ann said. "Well, I'm an older person and I have underlying conditions, and I intend to live for a lot more years."

Nearly 6.9 million people have contracted the virus nationwide, and at least 200,768 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Read the full story:

12:01 a.m. ET, September 23, 2020

"The virus is hurting us, not the public health measures," Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane

In this July 31 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, in Washington.
In this July 31 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, in Washington. Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that some people interpret public health measures he’s promoting during the coronavirus pandemic as hurting them. 

“No, the virus is hurting us, not the public health measures. The public health measures really should be looked upon as a vehicle, or a pathway to reopen the economy and to get the country back and to get employment back, it shouldn't be looked upon as an obstacle,” he said at the Atlantic Festival

Fauci said that people have been threatening him and his family “because I'm saying we should be doing public health things like wearing a mask, physical distancing, as if I'm doing something that is harmful for them.” 

He said that he is not suggesting another shutdown, but rather, opening the economy “in a measured and careful way.” 

Fauci called forces that have been downplaying the pandemic “detrimental.”

“What the general public needs is a message that's consistent, and that they can believe,” he said, noting that we are living "in a very divisive society right now,” one that is so politically charged that public health recommendations have taken on an us-versus-them approach and where wearing or not wearing a mask is a statement. 

11:44 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Saudi Arabia plans to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from next month

From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta

In this June 14, 2018 file photo, Muslim worshippers gather at the Grand Mosque in Islam's holiest city of Mecca as they perform the Umrah, or lesser pilgrimages, during the last week of the month of Ramadan.
In this June 14, 2018 file photo, Muslim worshippers gather at the Grand Mosque in Islam's holiest city of Mecca as they perform the Umrah, or lesser pilgrimages, during the last week of the month of Ramadan. Bandar Aldandani/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia will allow pilgrims living inside the country to perform the Umrah pilgrimage at a reduced capacity from early next month, after it was suspended earlier this year due to Covid-19 concerns, state news agency SPA reported Tuesday.

Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year, unlike the Ḥajj, which has specific dates. It is also much smaller than the Hajj.

According to the SPA report, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior said the Kingdom will allow pilgrims to perform Umrah in gradual reopening phases. They will also need to take health precautions.

Two phases: The first phase, which starts on October 4, allows pilgrims to attend Umrah at 30% capacity -- or around 6,000 citizens and residents. The second phase, scheduled for October 18, will increase capacity to 75%.

11:30 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Will a Covid-19 vaccine be announced on Trump administration’s "political timeline"? Fauci says no

From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane

Asked if there will be a coronavirus vaccine on the Trump administration’s “political timeline,” Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said “No.” 

“The data will determine the announcement,” Fauci said at the Atlantic Festival. 

Fauci explained that the data that’s produced by a vaccine trial is monitored by its Data and Safety Monitoring Board. “The only person who sees that data is the unblinded statistician on the Data Safety Monitoring Board, who's beholden to no one: not to the FDA, not to the President, not to me and not to the company,” he said.  

President Donald Trump has said on more than one occasion that there will be a vaccine available by Election Day in early November -- a timeline that health officials, doctors involved in trials and companies have said is unlikely.

Fauci added: "If someone tries to make an end-run, that is going to be clearly obvious."

11:00 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

US FDA considering authorization rules that could push coronavirus vaccine past Election Day

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Jeremy Diamond

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering new rules for authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine, according to three sources familiar with the situation -- and calculations show these rules would push an authorization beyond Election Day.

That would dash the hopes of President Donald Trump, who has said repeatedly the vaccine could be ready by November 3.

The sources described two different scenarios that the FDA is assessing before a pharmacy company can be given an emergency use authorization for its vaccine.

"Either way, it's going to be Thanksgiving at the earliest before a company gets an EUA," the first source said.

That source said the FDA is expected to tell vaccine makers that they need to wait two months after giving all their study participants their second doses of the vaccine until they can apply for an EUA.

Pfizer and Moderna, the two companies that began Phase 3 clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines in the US in July, have given second doses to fewer than half of their participants.

"They (the FDA) are strongly considering this move. They haven't said the 'thou shalt,' but they are giving signals that this is important to them and they are moving in this direction," the source said.

Read the full story: