September 29 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020
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11:31 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

NYC's daily positivity rate climbs over 3% for first time in months

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

People walk in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on September 24.
People walk in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on September 24. Amir Hamja/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The daily positivity rate is above 3% in New York City for the first time in months, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

However, the city uses the seven day rolling average to determine if schools should close. That number stands at 1.38% citywide which is below the mark for school closures.

The daily positivity rate is 3.25% which is under the threshold of five percent. Nine zip codes with a serious problem are impacting the overall daily number according to the mayor who notes these are nine out of 146 zip codes in the city, but it’s still a “cause for real concern,” he said Tuesday.

“We have to be on high alert to make sure we fight back this challenge,” said the mayor.

The mayor provided the other daily metrics the city uses.

There were 71 admitted to hospitals with suspected cases of Covid-19 which is under the 200 threshold, but the confirmed positive rate is 16.4%.

There are 338 new positive cases, which is under the threshold of 550.

“This is an inflection point. We have to take more action at this point and more serious action and we will be escalating with each day depending on what we see happening on the ground and the test results we are getting,” said de Blasio.

Anyone not wearing a face covering will be offered one and anyone who refuses will be reminded they can be fined. If they still refuse, they will be fined starting today.

Private schools and child care centers will close if they do not meet the Department of Education standards.

Dr. Mitch Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals public system and who is from South Brooklyn, said the city is going to have to take action if it is not able to decrease the infections.

Testing capacity will be increased by tomorrow with 11 mobile testing sites moved to the zip codes affected.

Rapid testing capacity will be added tomorrow at community provider offices in Orthodox communities and at three Health and Hospital locations – one in Queens and two in Brooklyn.

At least 350 personnel will be on the ground starting today including those form the Test and Trace corps and the city is conducting robocalls.

Remember: These numbers were released by the city’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

11:13 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Two NFL teams suspend in-person activities following positive Covid-19 test results

From CNN's David Close

A Tennessee Titans helmet is on the sideline during a game in Nashville on September 20.
A Tennessee Titans helmet is on the sideline during a game in Nashville on September 20. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The National Football League has announced that the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings have indefinitely suspended in-person activities following three Titans players and five staff members testing positive for Covid-19. The Vikings played the Titans this past Sunday and have not announced any positive cases. 

The league and players union said in a statement that both teams are working with "our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments."

The statement added: "All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available." 

10:29 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

38% of US adults say they have "a lot" of trust in scientists to do what's right for the country

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

A new survey reveals broad trust in science around the world, although the United States shows the widest split between those on either side of the political spectrum.

The survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, is a snapshot of attitudes toward a range of scientific issues leading up to the peak months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is based on more than 32,000 interviews in 20 countries conducted from October 2019 to March 2020.

"This survey gives a portrait of global opinion on the place of science in society as challenges from the coronavirus outbreak were taking hold,” Cary Funk, Pew Research Center’s director of science and society research, said in a statement.

Overall, 38% of US adults said they have "a lot" of trust in scientists to do what's right for the country — breaking down to 62% of respondents on the left and 20% on the right. 

For comparison, 56% of US adults said same of the military, 13% said the same of news media, 11% for business leaders and 8% for national government. 

The report addresses a range of other issues, including widespread acceptance of childhood vaccines and concerns about climate change — again, with the United States showing the largest ideological gap between liberals and conservatives on the latter. In addition, 63% of US respondents said the government is doing "too little" to address climate change.

In the months since the survey was conducted, experts have publicly lamented a politicization of science surrounding the pandemic in the US — including attitudes toward masks, beliefs that political pressure may rush a vaccine to market, and questions swirling around guidelines issued by the country's top public health officials.

Read the full survey here.

9:47 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

US stocks open lower with investors skeptical about a new stimulus plan

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks slipped at today's opening bell, taking a step back after the rally at the start of the week.

Here's how things looked at the opening bell:

  • The Dow opened 0.1%, or 33 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 also kicked off 0.1% lower.
  • The Nasdaq Composite was flat.

What is this about: As we’re closing in on the end of the month and the quarter, the first presidential debate is also on schedule for tonight, and investors will be watching.

The market is hoping Washington will get its act together before the election to pass another stimulus package, but time is running out. Monday’s rally was fueled by hopes for more fiscal support, but Wall Street seems skeptical of the new stimulus plan put forward by House Democrats.

9:53 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

UK prime minister apologizes after failing to explain coronavirus restriction 

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a service in London on September 20.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a service in London on September 20.  Aaron Chown/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The British Prime Minister has apologized after failing to explain a coronavirus rule coming into effect Wednesday, in north east England. 

During a press conference to announce new skills, training and education to help the economy post Covid-19, Boris Johnson was asked to explain how the "rule of six" would apply to the areas coming under stricter restrictions. 

Johnson incorrectly said six people from different households could mix inside or in a hospitality setting, but not outside. He later apologized for misspeaking on his twitter account.  

Here's how he explained the rule:

Johnson has come under criticism from other MPs and the press for what some say are confusing Covid-19 restrictions.

9:23 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

More than 1 million people have died from coronavirus. Here's where things stand now.

A woman, wearing white, mourns on September 10 after seeing her husband's body at a cremation site in Gauhati, India. The woman's husband is said to have died from Covid-19.
A woman, wearing white, mourns on September 10 after seeing her husband's body at a cremation site in Gauhati, India. The woman's husband is said to have died from Covid-19. Anupam Nath/AP

More than 1 million people have now died of the coronavirus worldwide, less than nine months after the first death was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Here's a look at where the pandemic stands across the world:

  • A second wave in Europe: Europe, which became the second epicenter for the virus after China, imposed widespread restrictions on people's movements in the spring in an effort to curb its spread. While the measures had some success, a number of countries that were badly affected early on — such as FranceSpain and the United Kingdom — are now battling to rein in a second wave.
  • Climbing cases in India: India surpassed 6 million coronavirus cases Monday, becoming the only other country other than the US to do so. India's case numbers have been rising swiftly over the past few months: The first Covid-19 case was recorded in India on January 30 and it took six months for the country to reach 1 million infections. However, it took just two more months for India to jump from 1 to 6 million cases.
  • Preparing for a surge in the US: The United States could see an explosion in Covid-19 cases as fall and winter set in, health experts are warning. The US has already reported more than 7 million coronavirus cases, and now, only 20 states are holding steady when it comes to the average of daily new cases compared to last week, while 23 are reporting increases.
9:22 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

She died from Covid-19 just weeks after her daughter: "She was the glue that held our family together"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Shirley Bannister, right, died of Covid-19 just weeks after the death of her daughter, Demetria.
Shirley Bannister, right, died of Covid-19 just weeks after the death of her daughter, Demetria. Courtesy Bannister family

Shirley Bannister was a 57-year-old nurse who died from complications of Covid-19 on Sunday. She died just weeks after the death of her daughter Demetria Bannister, a 28-year-old teacher, who also died after testing positive for coronavirus. 

“She was the glue that held our family together,” Shirley Bannister’s brother Dennis Bell said about her. “…She was the second from the youngest of six children. But she was the mother of us all.” 

Bell said Shirley and Demetria were “best of friends.” They’d go to movies and concerts together and enjoyed scrapbooking, he said. 

“To see her with the tubes and all of that,” Bell said it was almost like a “relief” when his sister passed away, since he knew she was suffering. 

Now the family is focused on supporting his sister’s husband, he said. 


8:49 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Some in White House still don’t "believe this virus is real," former Pence aide says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Olivia Troye on CNN's "New Day" on September 29.
Olivia Troye on CNN's "New Day" on September 29. CNN

Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, said that some members of the Trump administration continue to shrug off the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I think there are still people walking around the White House today who don't actually believe this virus is real. A lot of them disregard it,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.”

More than 205,000 Americans have now died due to Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

Troye said that the Centers for Disease and Prevention was pushed to play down the risks of Covid-19 in reopening schools.

“What I saw firsthand was a lot of the manipulation of the data, trying to figure out how to tell a story that was less grim than the reality really was,” she said.

She said people in the White House tasked more junior-level staffers to find data to support the narrative that the coronavirus only affects older individuals. 

The American people have “been told falsities,” Troye said. “They’ve not been told the truth. They also need to remember this is a person making decisions on how we respond to events like this. And this was a major one. And it was just very poorly handled. [Trump] only cared about himself.” 


8:13 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Covid-19 test results could arrive in minutes, not hours or days

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh

As governments scramble to contain new surges of Covid-19, the World Health Organization announced on Monday that a new initiative will supply 120 million affordable, rapid antigen tests to low- and middle-income countries.

The tests, which will cost just $5 and deliver results in 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, could save thousands of lives.

They also have the potential to transform the way governments react to the pandemic, enabling officials to more quickly detect and respond to outbreaks before they spread.

"High-quality rapid tests show us where the virus is hiding, which is key to quickly tracing and isolating contacts and breaking the chains of transmission," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said.
"The tests are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods."

The news, which came as the world eclipsed 1 million Covid-19 deaths, is a small ray of hope in the fight against the virus.

This appeared in the September 29 edition of CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

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