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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7:05 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Quarantine failure led to more than 18,000 infections and 700 deaths, inquiry hears

From CNN's Meenketen Jha

The Honourable Jennifer Coate AO speaks during opening statements for the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry in Melbourne, Australia, on July 20.
The Honourable Jennifer Coate AO speaks during opening statements for the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry in Melbourne, Australia, on July 20. James Ross/Pool/Getty Images

Failed quarantine measures in two hotels in the Australian state of Victoria lead to the deaths of 768 people and the infection of 18,418, according to closing submissions at the Covid-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry.

Ben Ihle, counsel, assisting at the Victorian inquiry, said that the hotel quarantine became a "seeding ground" for the virus, as authorities linked the massive Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria to the hotel cluster using genomic sequencing.

The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain the virus is responsible for the deaths of 768 and infection of some 18,418 others. One only needs to pause and reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of the devastation and despair. This was a program that failed to meet its primary objective -- to keep people safe from the virus," Ilhe said Monday.

"On the 23rd May, Victoria's Covid-19 death toll was 19. As of today, the total number of Covid related deaths in Victoria is 787," Ilhe added.

The number of cases in the state has risen exponentially from June to the present day. "As of 15th June, Victoria had record 1,732 confirmed cases of Covid-19. As of today, that number 20,150," Ilhe said.

The movement of the virus from the hotel cluster to the rest of the state was responsible for 99% of infections in the state, added Ilhe.

8:13 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Some countries are eying Sweden's "light-touch" Covid-19 response. It's a gamble that could backfire

Analysis by CNN's Angela Dewan in London

An expert on the spread of Covid-19 proclaimed last week that the pandemic in Sweden was essentially over — the virus there was "running out of steam," he said, as researchers suggest Swedes could be building immunity.

Such comments have emboldened governments flirting with the idea of adopting Sweden's "light-touch" approach, in the hope they can soften the blow to their economies.

There was reason for optimism when Kim Sneppen, from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, made his comments. Sweden's infection and death rates had been low for weeks, despite a second wave rolling over Europe. It seemed to mark a turnaround for the country, which experienced one of the highest death tolls in the world per capita during the spring.

The problem is, the science isn't in on whether immunity is building in Sweden at all, after the country resisted lockdowns and let the virus spread through much of its population.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, nonetheless, announced changes to restrictions in England last week, shaping the country's Covid-19 response in the image of Sweden's. Experts in both the UK and Sweden are warning that doing so could be dangerous.

Read the full story:

6:01 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Intensive care admissions more than triple in southern French region this month

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz in London and Pierre Bairin in Paris

Health workers at La Timone public hospital in Marseille, southeastern France, on September 25.
Health workers at La Timone public hospital in Marseille, southeastern France, on September 25. Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus admissions at intensive care units (ICU) in the Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur region of southern France have tripled since the beginning of September, according to official statistics.

In the region -- which includes the cities of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence -- only 55 ICU beds were occupied by Covid-19 patients on September 1, going up to 170 patients by September 27, according to the French health authority website.
The number of Covid-19 ICU patients in Paris went up from 169 to 339 in the same period. In France overall, the figure went up to 1,112 by September 27 compared to 418 at the start of the month, the health authority says. 

A restaurant owner removes chairs and tables on a terrace in Marseille on September 27, as the city closes for seven days due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A restaurant owner removes chairs and tables on a terrace in Marseille on September 27, as the city closes for seven days due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Marseille spike: Bars and restaurants closed for seven days in the Marseille area, starting Sunday night, due to the deteriorating situation there.

The situation in the south of France will be reviewed after seven days, and could be extended by a further week if there is no improvement, the French Health Minister tweeted.

"We have learned about the virus and we have organized ourselves so we can mobilize up to 12,000 resuscitation beds," Olivier Veran wrote on Twitter.

But this mobilization means we have to discontinue other treatments. We have to keep this in mind and avoid it as much as possible for the health of the French."

Overall, France has recorded 538,569 coronavirus patients since the start of the outbreak, with an additional 11,123 logged in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday 8 a.m. ET. 

At least 31,727 people have died, with 27 registered in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday, said the health authority.

5:22 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

1 in 3 parents won't get flu vaccine for their child during pandemic, study finds

From CNN's Sandee LaMotte

One-third of American parents have no plans to get their children vaccinated for the flu this year, according to the National Poll on Children's Health released Monday, despite the very real possibility their child could also catch the deadly Covid-19.

In addition, two-thirds of parents don't believe getting a flu shot for their child is more important this year, despite advice to the contrary from major government organizations and pediatricians.

"Children younger than 5 years old -- especially those younger than 2 -- are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications," the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that getting a flu shot during the pandemic -- for all ages -- is more important than ever.

"We may see peaks of flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which could overwhelm the health care system, strain testing capacity and potentially reduce our ability to catch and treat both respiratory illnesses effectively," said Sarah Clark, associate director of the poll done by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Michigan Medicine, in a statement.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, once again stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this year, while speaking during the CITIZEN by CNN Conference on Tuesday.

"You should get it no later than the end of October," he told the moderator, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "If it's available now, you should get it now."

"Don't wait until any time beyond October," he added.

Read the full story:

4:27 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

US reports nearly 37,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States recorded 36,919 new coronavirus infections and 266 virus-related deaths on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The nationwide totals now stand at 7,115,338 cases, including 204,758 fatalities, per JHU's tally.

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:

3:50 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Opinion: Trump team using $300 million in taxpayer dollars to make us feel better about Covid-19

Opinion from Dean Obeidallah

Editor's Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio's daily program "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

Over the past two weeks, an alarming 24% rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases confirmed on a daily basis in the United States has raised the daily infection average to nearly 43,000. Twice last week the US broke 50,000 new cases confirmed in a day. While that's below the daily average of 65,000 in July's deadly spike, it's still well above the 35,000 daily new cases seen just a few weeks ago.

Does that mean Donald Trump is now going to stop having rallies where he jams thousands on top of each other with few wearing masks -- as he did Saturday night in Pennsylvania -- and instead promote social distancing to prevent any further upticks in the virus? Stop laughing. Of course it doesn't.

Trump typically only does what he believes benefits himself personally and, in this case, he apparently believes the optics of holding packed rallies will somehow help his flailing campaign close the nine-point gap between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Instead, Trump's latest ploy is to try to convince voters into believing he did a great job handling the virus -- and the worst part is he's using our tax dollars to do this. As Politico recently reported, Trump's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is moving quickly to roll out a $300 million-plus advertising campaign to "defeat despair" about Covid-19. The campaign will include celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid and singer CeCe Winans and Politico reported that HHS is said to be pursuing television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Garth Brooks to take part as well.

Read the full opinion:

3:33 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Beijing asks frozen food importers to avoid importing goods from coronavirus hotspots

From Isaac Yee in Hong Kong and CNN’s Beijing bureau

Beijing’s Municipal Commerce Bureau on Monday called on frozen food importers to avoid importing goods from coronavirus hotspots.

“All relevant enterprises shall strengthen prevention and control from overseas sources, take the initiative to avoid importing cold chain foods from areas severely hit by the pandemic,” the bureau said in a statement. 

The bureau added that companies should “strengthen the management of imported cold chain foods and establish and improve early warning and reporting mechanisms for preventing the import of the novel coronavirus.”

The bureau said the actions were necessary because customs and local authorities across the country have repeatedly detected coronavirus on imported frozen foods, “proving that cold chain foods are indeed at risk of contamination.”

On Saturday, China Customs said that samples taken from the outer packaging of imported Russian aquatic products in Shandong province tested positive for coronavirus. A day earlier, China Customs said the inner packaging of a batch of frozen fish from Brazil also tested positive for the virus.

Read more about coronavirus and food:

2:33 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Melbourne lifts curfew after nearly 2 months of lockdown as coronavirus cases fall

From CNN's Jessie Yeung

Five million residents in Melbourne, Australia, emerged from a long lockdown on Monday, with stringent restrictions loosening after nearly two months as the state continues to see a drop in coronavirus cases.

Victoria state's Premier Daniel Andrews announced late Sunday night that the city would enter "the second step toward reopening," which included lifting a nightly curfew that had mandated residents stay home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

"Seven weeks ago, our average case numbers were peaking at more than 400 every single day," Andrews said in a statement on Sunday. "Today, Melbourne's rolling case average is 22.1. It's a remarkable thing -- and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian."

On Monday, Victoria only recorded five new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours -- the lowest daily increase in 108 days, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

The loosened restrictions include: reopening outdoor pools and childcare centers, and allowing outdoor public gatherings between two households as long as the group is capped at five people. Food distribution centers, supermarkets, meat processing plants and other workplaces will be allowed to return to full working capacity.

In total, 127,000 people will now be able to return to work under the reopening plan, according to Andrews.

Read the full story:

1:58 a.m. ET, September 28, 2020

Mother of teacher who died of Covid-19 dies from it weeks later

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The mother of a South Carolina teacher who died from Covid-19 earlier this month has died after she was infected by the virus, according to a relative.

Shirley Bannister, 57, died from complications from Covid-19 on Sunday, according to her brother, Dennis Bell.

Bannister is the mother of Demetria Bannister, a 28-year-old elementary school teacher who died earlier this month, just a few days after testing positive for Covid-19.

Bannister "got really sick about two, three days after her daughter died" on September 7, Bell told CNN in a phone interview.

Bell said his sister was "overwhelmed" after her daughter died just weeks before.

Bannister had a history of asthma and diabetes, and after testing positive for Covid-19, "she actually went to the hospital twice, the second time they decided to keep her," said Bell.

"She had so much to give, so this is like an unexpected gut punch for the whole family," Bell said.

Read the full story: