September 30 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Steve George and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
16 Posts
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9:46 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Belgian deaths surge as Europe struggles with second wave

People in Brussels, Belgium, on September 9. The country's death toll surged past 10,000 on Tuesday.
People in Brussels, Belgium, on September 9. The country's death toll surged past 10,000 on Tuesday. Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cases in Europe continue to rise as the continent struggles with a second wave of Covid-19.

Belgium's death toll surpassed 10,000 on Tuesday, according to Yves Van Laethem, inter-federal spokesman for the country's public health institute Sciensano.

The country has reported 117,115 cases in total.

In Germany, Angela Merkel struck a reflective note while addressing the country's parliament Tuesday, as she spoke about life during the pandemic.

The German Chancellor said that what she personally misses the most are “spontaneous encounters.”

Merkel also appealed to Germans to obey the pandemic rules as winter approaches. “I am sure: life as we know it will return, but now we have to be reasonable," Merkel said.

Elsewhere on the continent cases are spiking in Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark and Hungary.

6:55 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

There is no getting "back to normal," experts say. The sooner we accept that, the better

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh

People ride a train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 28.
People ride a train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 28. Ian Teh/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As 2020 slides into and probably infects 2021, try to take heart in one discomfiting fact: Things are most likely never going "back to normal."

It has become a well-worn phrase our politicians, officials, experts, even family, like to lean on -- an ultimate, elusive prize.

Perhaps it's nostalgia for the world of January, a place where daily life more closely resembled our past decades. Perhaps it's a bid to show control, to revert to a time when change was not so universally imposed upon us.

But January is long gone, and it's not coming back. And, psychologists will tell you, that's only bad if you can't come to terms with it.

We are slowly learning if this year's changes are permanent. If work -- for the lucky among us -- will remain from home. If we will visit the grocery store less but spend more. If we will find wearing a mask on the metro to be just part of life. If shaking hands and embracing will become less common. If most of your daily interactions will occur via video conference (rather than in person).

"Five years' change in six months" is a common slogan for the pandemic. The disruption has upended lives in jobs lost and relatives who live alone or perhaps died without saying the right goodbyes.

Yet permanently severing ties with January is not necessarily a bad thing, psychologists say. The danger comes from hankering for normality again, rather than getting on with working out how to deal with whatever is ahead.

"Politicians who pretend that 'normal' is just around the corner are fooling themselves or their followers, or perhaps both," said Thomas Davenport, the president's distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
"People who suffer tragedies eventually return to their previous happiness level," Davenport said via email. "But I think that COVID-19 is a little different, because we keep expecting it will end soon. So there is no need to permanently change your attitudes about it."

Read the full story:

5:50 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Some US communities are easing restrictions designed to stop the spread of Covid-19

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Communities across the US are loosening restrictions meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 ahead of a fall and winter season that experts warn could be especially challenging.

Florida this week reported a spike in new cases just days after the governor cleared the way for bars and restaurants to fully reopen.

In Nevada, the governor bumped the limit on public gatherings from 50 to 250 participants, though groups are still not to exceed 50% capacity of a venue.

Wyoming, which last week set a record for new Covid-19 cases, loosened rules around restaurants after the governor said data showed dine-in restaurants have "not significantly contributed" to the spread of the virus in the state.

And several California counties were given the green light to move into less restrictive tiers of the state's reopening plans, officials said.

The announcements come after the US topped more than 7.1 million infections and more than 205,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Read more here:

5:33 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Surgeries suspended at Welsh hospital after Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN's Samantha Tapfumaneyi 

Eighty-two Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in south Wales, in a major outbreak at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Much of the region is under local lockdown due to surging cases.

Officials have imposed temporary restrictions on the hospital, causing surgeries to be suspended.

Patients who would usually be taken to the hospital in an emergency will now be sent to other hospitals in the region, the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said in a statement Tuesday.

"We have taken a range of swift and decisive actions to try to manage this outbreak which include immediate closure of affected wards, risk assessments of affected and at-risk wards, reviews of infection prevention and control measures and their implementation, increased testing of healthcare staff and testing of all hospital admissions," Paul Mears, CEO of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said in a statement Tuesday.

5:29 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Seven former FDA commissioners condemn White House influence on agency 

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Seven former commissioners of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined forces Tuesday to condemn increasing White House pressure on the agency they once headed.

The administration pressure is eroding the faith Americans have in an agency set up to protect them from bad drugs, contaminated food and other dangers, Drs. Robert Califf, Scott Gottlieb, Margaret Hamburg, Jane Henney, David Kessler, Mark McClellan and Andy von Eschenbach wrote in a commentary in the Washington Post.

“The White House has said it might try to influence the scientific standards for vaccine approval put forward by the FDA or block the agency from issuing further written guidance on its criteria for judging the safety and benefits of a potential Covid-19 vaccine,” they wrote.
“On Sept. 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar revoked the FDA’s authority to establish rules for food and drug safety, instead claiming that sole authority for himself,” they added.
“This came in the wake of acknowledged acts of political influence on the FDA’s coronavirus communications, significant misstatements by the secretary and other political leaders about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, and the overruling of FDA scientists on the regulation of covid-19 laboratory tests. At risk is the FDA’s ability to make the independent, science-based decisions that are key to combating the pandemic and so much more.”

The former commissioners, who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, said the actions were undermining 114 years of work the FDA has done to build trust.

If people doubt the safety of any coronavirus vaccine, they won’t get immunized, the seven argued.

Kessler now advises the Biden campaign. Gottlieb, who was FDA commissioner under Trump until last year, is on the board of Pfizer, which is working on a Covid-19 vaccine and McClellan, who served under George W. Bush, is on the board of Johnson & Johnson, also developing a coronavirus vaccine. 

4:10 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Opinion: NYC's rising Covid-19 cases are a warning

Opinion from Jill Filipovic

Editor's Note: Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in New York and author of the book "OK Boomer, Let's Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own.

Unless we act now, the US could be in for a long, hard, deadly winter.

Covid-19 cases have ticked up in 21 states. In New York City, positive Covid-19 tests have increased so significantly that they've driven the city's positive rate above 3% -- lower than in other parts of the US, but still the highest daily rate New York has seen since June.

And Europe is already in its second wave, with the UK and France recording the most cases since the beginning of the pandemic and sobering signs from other countries such as the Czech Republic and Spain, where the health minister said Friday his government has recommended a total lockdown in Madrid.

A perfect storm for a major Covid-19 resurgence looms in many parts of the world. With rates down and life returning to something resembling normal, a false sense of security seems to have taken hold, especially in the United States.

Masks are coming off. Gatherings are getting bigger and personal safety protocols looser. Schools, gyms, salons and indoor restaurants are reopening. Many students have returned to college campuses, where they are already socializing in groups and spreading the virus.

Temperatures outdoors are dropping, which will inevitably push many more people inside to dine, exercise, celebrate and socialize. Cases in some parts of Brooklyn and Queens "continue to grow at an alarming rate," said the New York City health department Monday. Part-time in-person learning just began Tuesday for New York City schools, which as of a week ago had already seen Covid-19 cases in 100 buildings, according to The New York Times.

The question, experts say, isn't whether a second wave is coming; it's how devastating a second wave will be.

Read the full opinion:

3:16 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

How the world's best airport is adapting during the pandemic

From CNN's Lilit Marcus

What happens to the world's best airport when the aviation industry comes to a halt?

That's a question that the operators of Singapore's Changi Airport have had to answer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Changi -- which has a hawker center, butterfly garden, movie theater and more among its offerings -- is so beloved by travelers that it has won the "best airport" award from Skytrax, an airline industry group, every year since 2013.

But as the country went into lockdown and tourists could no longer enter, those amenities risked going to seed. That's when Singapore Airlines (SIA), the city-state's national carrier, decided to get creative.

"With Covid-19 drastically reducing the number of flights operated by the SIA Group, we have created unique activities that would allow us to engage with our fans and customers during this time," the airline's CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement.

The airline is unveiling several activities, including a meal served inside of a parked Airbus A380.

Read the full story:

3:17 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Covid-19 cases surged among college-aged people just as universities reopened, studies say

From CNN's Lauren M. Johnson

Cases of Covid-19 surged among college-age individuals in August and September, just as schools were opening across the United States.

Two new studies released on Tuesday take an in-depth look what may be driving the numbers up.

Study 1: In the first study, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at nearly 100,000 coronavirus cases reported to the agency between August 2 and September 5.

The study found that during that period, weekly Covid-19 cases among people aged 18-22 increased 55% nationally. Researchers found the greatest increases in the Northeast at 144% and the Midwest at 123%.

"The observed increases in Covid-19 cases among persons aged 18-22 years could be driven by many factors, including changes in behavior or risk profiles resulting from multiple social, economic, and public policy changes during this period. Because approximately 45% of persons aged 18-22 years attend colleges and universities and 55% of those attending identified as White persons, it is likely that some of this increase is linked to resumption of in-person attendance at some colleges and universities," the researchers wrote in the CDC's weekly report on death and disease, the MMWR.
"Previous reports identified young adults as being less likely than other age groups to adhere to some Covid-19 prevention measures, which places them and their close contacts at higher risk for Covid-19," they added.

Study 2: The second study, led by a team at the North Carolina Department of Health and the University of North Carolina, showed what happened in real time as students began to return to campus on August 3. The university tried to make moving in safe, spreading it out over a week, reducing crowding in dining halls and taking other measures. But the students gathered and partied, anyway.

The university quickly determined the virus was spreading too fast and moved all classes online. It also asked students to move back home or off-campus.

By August 25, 670 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed, almost all of them in people under the age of 22.

The largest cluster was at an off-campus apartment complex affiliated with the university.

Read the full story:

1:48 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

US reports more than 42,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton

The United States recorded 42,185 new coronavirus infections and 914 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The nationwide totals now stand at 7,190,230 cases, including 205,986 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: