September 28 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Tara John, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020
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4:23 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Trump announces plan to deploy 150 million rapid tests to states

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Betsy Klein 

President Donald Trump speaks from the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
President Donald Trump speaks from the White House Rose Garden on Monday. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump announced a plan to deploy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests from Abbott to states across the nation to help with school reopening efforts.

Trump claims the testing effort would “allow every state on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it."

“I’m pleased to report we’re announcing our plan to distribute 150 million Abbott point of care tests in the coming weeks,” Trump said in the Rose Garden Monday.

Trump outlined that 100 million of the tests will be sent to states and territories, 50 million tests will go to protect the most vulnerable communities, 18 million will go to nursing homes, 10 million to hospice and home health, and one million for historically black colleges and tribal nation colleges.

The White House announced Aug. 27 that the federal government would purchase the tests but offered few details on rollout in the following days. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar provided some details on the ramp-up during a call with the nation’s governors on Aug. 31.

“There’s a ramp-up right now. We certainly expect that by late October, November, we’ll be getting into the 30-40 million per month and it will top at 48 million per month,” he said, according to audio obtained by CNN, adding that factories in Maine and Illinois are “just getting up” but “will achieve a mass of about 48 million (tests) within the next several months.” 

And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CNBC Sept. 14 that the tests would go to schools and nursing homes.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the administration’s coronavirus testing czar, said Monday that governors will have flexibility regarding deployment of the Abbott BinaxNOW tests, but offered some prioritization guidance. 

“Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they deem fit, but we strongly encourage governors to utilize them in settings that are uniquely in need of rapid low-tech point of care tests, like opening and keeping open our K-12 schools, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks specifically in certain demographics or locations, and screening or surveillance in congregate settings,” he said in the White House Rose Garden after taking one of the tests himself.

Giroir said that this was communicated to governors during a Monday call led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Minutes later, Trump criticized some governors for not reopening their states quickly enough.

“We have too many states that are locked down right now… nobody knows what the governors are doing actually,” Trump said.

His remarks come as cases are rising over the last week in 21 states.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included the wrong number of rapid tests that will be deployed to states. The Trump administration plans to deploy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests.

3:37 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Chicago will ease Covid-19 restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms, mayor says

From CNN's Gregory Lemos  

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference on Monday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference on Monday. Pool/WLS

Citing "sufficient progress in the fight against Covid-19," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the easing of phase four guidelines for businesses starting Oct. 1.  

Restaurants will be allowed to expand indoor capacity to 40%, bars can reopen for indoor service, and may serve until 1 a.m, according to a news release. Class sizes for fitness and after-school programs will be allowed to expand and personal services that require the removal of a mask allowed to resume.  

The city has issued additional guidelines for businesses and customers:

  • Customers must wear face coverings while seated, except while eating or drinking.
  • Customers must order from their seats.
  • Bars, taverns, and breweries must partner with a food establishment so that food is available to patrons while they are open.
  • Restaurants must obtain and keep contact information for all diners for possible contact tracing.
  • Any personal service provider must wear a mask at all times and limit services to 15 minutes if a service requires a customer's mask to be removed.
  • Hand sanitizer must be provided at the entrance of any open establishment.  

3:15 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Kenya extends Covid-19 curfew and eases other restrictions

From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi 

Charles Otieno and Jackline Adhiambo exchange rings during their wedding in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday. The wedding, attended by just a few relatives, lasted for only 15 minutes because of coronavirus restrictions.
Charles Otieno and Jackline Adhiambo exchange rings during their wedding in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday. The wedding, attended by just a few relatives, lasted for only 15 minutes because of coronavirus restrictions. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Kenya will extend its nightly Covid-19 curfew for another 60 days with shortened hours from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time, but bars and the sale of alcohol in ordinary eateries will be permitted effective Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a televised address on Monday. 

"The Covid positivity rate has fallen from 13% in June, 7% in August and is now at 4.4% in September," President Kenyatta said. 

The size of public gatherings for weddings and funerals will also be allowed to increase. 

"The possibility of a second wave is real," President Kenyatta said as he urged Kenyans to maintain caution and continue preventative measures in this "new normal."

The nationwide curfew was previously from 9 p.m. — 4 a.m. local time.

3:21 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Thousands expected to attend motorcycle rally in South Carolina

From CNN's Natasha Chen

“Myrtle Beach Bike Week,” an annual fall motorcycle rally, is underway Sept. 28 through Oct. 4 outside of city limits in Horry County, South Carolina. This year, the event required a special waiver from the state — all events with more than 250 people require such a waiver. 

One of the organizers of the event, Sonny Copeland, is located in North Carolina. Copeland told CNN the event actually spans 70 miles and often sees up to 25,000 people across the entire journey throughout the week.

When asked about special protocols during Covid-19, Copeland said he tells people to “use common sense,” and that mask wearing is up to the individual.

“I think people are smart enough to take care of themselves,” Copeland said.

But Alex Clark, director of marketing and communications for the South Carolina Department of Commerce, said no event would be granted a waiver without including plans for the requirement of face coverings in accordance to local ordinances. The approved event on South Carolina’s website is listed as having social distancing and face mask requirements.

Clark said the application for the South Carolina event waiver shows both indoors and outdoors activity. She told CNN the indoor capacity limit is 300, while the outdoor portion will be hosted on 2.43 acres, holding approximately 2,900 safely, with 6-foot social distancing at all times.

Kelly Moore, director of public information in Horry County, SC, said the county has issued two special event permits to businesses. This is fewer than the five permits issued for the same event last year.

Horry County, SC does have a face covering ordinance, which states that a person who fails to comply shall be guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fee of $25.00 for a first offense, $50.00 for a second offense, and $100.00 for a third and subsequent offense.


2:26 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

New York will deploy rapid testing machines to focus on new Covid-19 clusters

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A rapid testing machine is seen at a health facility in Brooklyn, New York, on August 27.
A rapid testing machine is seen at a health facility in Brooklyn, New York, on August 27. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York state is making 200 rapid testing machines immediately available Monday to the top zip codes with the highest percentage positivity for Covid-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The public and private schools in those zip codes are strongly encouraged to request a rapid testing machine, which can do four tests per hour, and start testing students.

“Local government should focus on those cluster zip codes in terms of mask enforcement and compliance enforcement in addition to testing. Testing, mask compliance social distancing requirements, those zip codes, bars, restaurants, masks, and additional testing,” he said. 

“The key with these clusters is to jump on them quickly, attack them from all sides, get the testing so you can do contact tracing and you can isolate, get mask compliance up, hand sanitizer, and gathering compliance bars restaurants, et cetera,” he said. 

The state will contact local government and schools but to accelerate this plan the governor is calling on local governments to contact the state. 

The top 20 of the states total 1,769 zip codes in the state have an infection rate of about 10%, the governor said.

The infection rate in the top 10 zip codes is about 15%. Those top 10 zip codes represents 2.9% of the state’s population and 25% of the cases.

Among those referenced by the governor explicitly:

  • Rockland County — 10,977 (30% positive)
  • Rockland County — 10,952 (25% positive)
  • Orange County — 10,950 (22% positive) 
  • Kings County — 11,219 (17% positive)
  • Kings County — 11,210 (11%positive)
  • Kings County — 11,204 (9% positive
  • Kings County — 11,230 (9% positive)
  • Queens County — 11,367 (6% positive)


1:07 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

United Airlines will stop pilot furloughs until at least next June

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

United Airlines has agreed to not furlough any of its pilots until at least next June, according to a union email obtained by CNN. United planned to furlough 2,850 of its 13,000 pilots in only three days when CARES Act pandemic payroll support expires.

"This historic agreement" between the United and its chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association "ensures we can protect all of our careers for the long term and keep our pilot group intact by working together," said chapter president Capt. Todd Insler.

Some context: CNN analysis finds at least 50,000 airline workers are facing furloughs that start on Thursday. Airline CEOs and labor groups are lobbying Congress for a six-month extension of the Payroll Support Program costing $28 billion.

12:41 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Covid-19 rates among adolescents are about "double" that in younger children, CDC study says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The incidence of Covid-19 among adolescents appears to be much higher than what's seen among younger children, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, published on Monday, found the average weekly incidence of Covid-19 among adolescents ages 12 to 17 between May and September was about 37 cases per 100,000 children—nearly double the 19 cases per 100,000 children ages 5 to 11.

"Since March, a period during which most U.S. schools conducted classes virtually or were closed for the summer, the incidence among adolescents was approximately double that in younger children," CDC researchers wrote in the report.

"Although mortality and hospitalization in school-aged children was low, Hispanic ethnicity, Black race, and underlying conditions were more commonly reported among children who were hospitalized or admitted to an ICU, providing additional evidence that some children might be at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19," the report said.

More on this report: The report included data on 277,285 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases among school-aged children in the United States from March 1 to Sept. 19. Among those cases, 37% were in children ages 5 to 11 and 63% were in adolescents. 

The report also noted that the weekly incidence and percentage of positive Covid-19 tests among the school-aged patients appeared to vary over time and by region.

Overall, 58% of the patients reported at least one Covid-19 symptom, 5% reported no symptoms and information was missing or unknown for the rest of the cases. The data also showed that 1.2% were hospitalized, including 404 patients who required ICU admission and 51 patients who died of Covid-19.

At least one underlying health condition was reported for 3% of all the cases, such as asthma, diabetes, psychological conditions, cardiovascular disease and severe obesity, according to the report.

The data might underestimate the true incidence of disease among school-aged children, as testing was often prioritized for people with symptoms and those without symptoms may not have been tested as often, the researchers noted.

Yet overall, the CDC researchers wrote, "These findings can provide a baseline for monitoring national trends."

12:32 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

New York extends Covid-19 residential eviction protections through the rest of the year

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended residential tenant eviction protections amid the pandemic through Jan. 1.

The “Safe Harbor Act” protects tenants from Covid-19 related residential evictions and foreclosures. 

Commercial eviction protection had already been extended, he said. 

“I want people to have fundamental stability in their lives,” the governor said.

12:40 p.m. ET, September 28, 2020

WHO announces agreement to make rapid Covid-19 tests available to low and middle income countries 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, speaks during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 28.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, speaks during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 28. WHO

The World Health Organization announced an agreement to make rapid Covid-19 tests available to lower and middle income countries across the world.

During a Monday news conference, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general said, “a substantial proportion of this rapid tests — 120 million — will be made available to low and middle income countries. These tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, at a lower price, with less sophisticated equipment.” 

Tedros said these “vital” tests will help expand testing in remote areas, “that do not have lab facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR tests.”  

Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund said, “Being able to deploy quality antigen RDTs, rapid diagnostic tests, will be a significant step forward in enabling countries to contain and combat Covid-19.”  

The tests are “not a silver bullet,” Sands said. “But hugely valuable as a complement to PCR tests.”  

“Although they're a bit less accurate — they're much faster, cheaper, and don't require a lab,” he explained. 

Sands said these tests will help low and middle income countries to “close the dramatic gap in testing between rich and poor countries.” 

“Right now, high-income countries are conducting 292 tests per day per 100,000 people. For upper middle income countries, that number is 77. For lower middle income countries, 61, and from low income countries, 14,” Sands said, though he did not expand on where that data originates.