September 30 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Steve George and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
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8:02 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

American Airlines set to furlough 19,000 workers starting tomorrow

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Jets are parked on runway 28 at the Pittsburgh International Airport on March 27, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jets are parked on runway 28 at the Pittsburgh International Airport on March 27, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

American Airlines says it is poised to furlough 19,000 workers starting tomorrow. But, the airline says it is ready to reverse the furloughs should Congress strike a deal soon. 

In a new letter to employees, American CEO Doug Parker says he was hopeful that Wednesday talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would result in an 11th hour deal to extend airline payroll support by six months, avoiding furloughs. 

“Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any of these efforts will come to fruition,” Parker wrote to employees. “However, in an effort to encourage cooperation and keep hope alive for our team, I informed the Secretary that if these efforts to extend PSP are successful over the next few days, we will reverse our furlough processes and recall any impacted team members.”

Some context: A CNN analysis found that roughly 50,000 flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, and gate agents will face losing their jobs at the stroke of midnight. 

7:48 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

New CDC coronavirus forecast sees a general flattening of deaths 

From CNN's Maggie Fox 

The latest forecast from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects between 219,000 and 232,000 Americans will have died from coronavirus by Oct. 24.

The so-called ensemble forecast, based on more than three dozen other forecast models, shows a large variation in predictions of how many people are likely to die in the coming three weeks.

“This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID-19 deaths reported over the next four weeks and predicts that 2,700 to 8,600 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending October 24, 2020,” the CDC said in its projection. 

Some of the variation depends on how people are expected to comply with social distancing measures.

The last CDC ensemble forecast, released Sept. 24, projected 214,000 to 226,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Oct. 17.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, 206,825 people have died from coronavirus in the US, with 7.2 million reported cases.

7:07 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

MLB will allow limited number of fans to attend World Series

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

The Phillie Phanatic shows off the foul ball he caught amongst the cardboard cutout fans during an MLB baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Phillie Phanatic shows off the foul ball he caught amongst the cardboard cutout fans during an MLB baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rich Schultz/Getty Images

A limited number of fans will be able to attend the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and the World Series in Texas next month, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced Wednesday in a statement.

Both best-of-seven game series will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

MLB will make about 11,500 tickets available for each game with 10,550 fans spread throughout the ballpark and 950 in suites. Tickets go on sale on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m ET.

MLB said it has received approvals to host fans and will implement health and safety protocols in conjunction with state and local regulations such as:

  • Tickets in the seating bowl will be sold in groups of four contiguous seats, called pods. 
  • Each pod will be a minimum of six feet from each other.
  • No seats will be sold within 20 feet of where a player can be located on the field, in the dugouts or in the bullpen.
  • Masks will be mandatory for all fans except when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats.

Game 1 of the NLCS is Oct. 12 and will be the first time fans will attend any game during the 2020 season.

The 116th World Series begins on Oct. 20. The Fall Classic will be the first neutral site World Series in modern baseball history.

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

Mississippi governor lifts mask mandate except for schools

From CNN’s Claudia Dominguez

Gov. Reeves speaks at a news conference on Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi.
Gov. Reeves speaks at a news conference on Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi. Mississippi Public Broadcasting/Pool

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said the statewide mask mandate will end on Wednesday given that the numbers for average new Covid-19 cases have declined.

“It has been a great few weeks for Covid-19 numbers,” Reeves said. “We’ve cut our average number of new cases in half, we’ve cut hospitalizations by two thirds of what they once were.” 

Covid-19-related hospitalizations declined in the state to below 600 patients, from approximately 1,250 patients at the peak of the pandemic in July, according to the governor. The number of patients in intensive care unit beds has also declined to 138 from 337 at its peak.

Reeves said that while the mask mandate was lifted, he would still be wearing a mask and said he expected Mississippians to do the same.

“It is the smart, prudent, and wise thing to do,” he said. “I believe this is the right decision to make at this time. I believe that this will protect my fellow Mississippians and give us the opportunity should things not continue to improve or stay relatively flat, it gives us more opportunity in the future.”

Reeves said a new limited executive order would go into effect immediately to prevent “rampant Covid-19 transmission." 

The new order keeps limitations on large gatherings, bars, parties and stadiums. Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people, outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 100 people.

Social distancing rules would also remain and mask requirements will still be in place at schools, the governor said.

Reeves also urged schools that were closed to reopen.

“It can be done safely,” he said. Reeves also said a small increase in K-12 activities would be allowed.

Some more context: Thirty of Mississippi’s 82 counties have reported an increase in cases from the previous two weeks, Reeves said. 

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said at the news conference that while there was general decline in most counties, some counties have seen “modest increases."

“Jones, Lamar and Lee counties saw a 5% increase in cases over the previous week,” Dobbs said.  

5:21 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Georgia extends Covid-19 public health emergency to November

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks away after greeting Vice President Mike Pence as he arrived on Air Force Two at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on Wednesday, September 30.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks away after greeting Vice President Mike Pence as he arrived on Air Force Two at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on Wednesday, September 30. Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order today extending the state’s current Covid-19 restrictions and the public health state of emergency, according to a news release from his office.

The governor’s new executive order takes effect on Oct. 1 at 12 a.m. and runs through Oct. 15 at 11:59 p.m. The public health emergency has been extended until Nov. 9, the release said.

With the new executive order, workers at restaurants and bars can return to work once they have been symptom-free for 24 hours following a known or suspected positive Covid-19 diagnosis, according to the release.

Georgia will also allow certain SAT and ACT test score deadlines to be extended for HOPE and Zell scholarship eligibility.

Nearly all other previous guidelines and restrictions pertaining to the state of Georgia's Covid-19 pandemic response remain unchanged, according to the release. 

4:47 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Spanish government imposes strict coronavirus restrictions on Madrid

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

Members of the Spanish Military Emergencies Unit wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect the Lope de Vega Cultural Center in the Vallecas neighborhood where rapid tests for Covid-19 were conducted to residents of the area, on September 30 in Madrid.
Members of the Spanish Military Emergencies Unit wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect the Lope de Vega Cultural Center in the Vallecas neighborhood where rapid tests for Covid-19 were conducted to residents of the area, on September 30 in Madrid. Oscar Del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

The Spanish government has announced new coronavirus restrictions to be implemented in the next 48 hours which will largely force Madrid into a form of lockdown.

The new measures, agreed by simple majority after a meeting between the government and the heads of the various Spanish autonomous regions, were announced by Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa during a news conference on Wednesday.

According to Illa, the restrictions apply to municipalities with more than 500 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, where the number of positive cases surpasses 10% of all PCR tests or regions that have an intensive care unit occupation above 35%.

Some context: There are currently 10 municipalities which fall under the criteria, including Madrid and people living in the wider Madrid autonomous region. 

“Madrid is special because the health of Madrid is the health of Spain,” Illa said as he announced the new measures, calling the situation there “complex” and “worrying."

The new restrictions require people to stay at home except to go to work, classes, and to meet legal obligations or due to extreme circumstances.

Shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50% and to close earlier.

Gatherings will remain restricted to no more than six people, in both public or private spaces.

The move comes after a steady increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the Madrid area over the past couple of months and, according to Illa, was approved with 13 votes in favor, one abstention and five votes against. Among the regions that voted against are Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia, the north African enclave Ceuta and the capital Madrid.

3:04 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

More than 206,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

There are at least 7,210,067 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 206,494 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins has reported 19,837 new cases and 508 reported deaths.

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

Track Covid-19 cases in the US

2:56 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Coronavirus task force continues to urge mask usage in states without mandates

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

A sign in New Orleans asks people to wear a mask, in this photo taken in July.
A sign in New Orleans asks people to wear a mask, in this photo taken in July. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force continues to issue recommendations to states via weekly reports, this week again strongly recommending mask usage in some states that still do not have statewide mask mandates.

The task force told Georgia that “mitigation efforts must continue including mask wearing,” called on Iowa to “Institute mask requirements statewide,” and suggested Wyoming require “face coverings in indoor, public, and commercial spaces in all red, orange, and yellow zone counties.” 

College towns in Colorado and Maryland were encouraged to more strictly limit bar and restaurant alcohol sales and indoor dining beyond their state’s respective guidelines. The task force warned that reopening the University of Wyoming was “ill-advised” amid local outbreaks. Hot spots in Idaho were encouraged to consider moving to online schooling, despite the administration’s overall push to reopen schools.

And in Wisconsin the task force warned of “rapid worsening” of cases and recommended increased social distancing “to the maximal degree possible.”

Reports for many states recommended “on-site inspection of infection control practices” in both correctional facilities and nursing homes.

CNN has reached out to all 50 states for a copy of each state’s Sept. 27 report and has received responses from 16 states as of Wednesday afternoon. 

2:04 p.m. ET, September 30, 2020

New Jersey's Covid-19 positivity rate rises to 3%

From CNN's Sheena Jones

A doctor arrives to attend a passenger being tested for COVID-19 at a testing facility at Newark Liberty International Airport on September 8, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. 
A doctor arrives to attend a passenger being tested for COVID-19 at a testing facility at Newark Liberty International Airport on September 8, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey.  Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

New Jersey's Covid-19 positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested — is now at 3%, the highest since mid-July, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. 

In addition to the rising test positivity rate, the state announced 772 additional cases of Covid-19 and 9 additional deaths from the virus, Murphy said. 

One thing to note: The numbers listed were released by the state of New Jersey and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.