October 1 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Steve George, Tara John, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020
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5:18 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

Big contact-tracing study shows role of kids and superspreaders in coronavirus pandemic

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A health worker on a mobile testing van takes a nasal swab from a man in New Delhi, India on August 5.
A health worker on a mobile testing van takes a nasal swab from a man in New Delhi, India on August 5. Pradeep Gaur/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP Images

Children can spread coronavirus among themselves efficiently, but young adults are the primary source of coronavirus spread, according to a study published Wednesday.

The study, based on a giant contact-tracing effort involving more than 3 million people in India, shows most Covid-19 patients never infect anyone else -- the researchers found that 70% of infected people did not infect any of their contacts.

Instead, the study found that 8% of patients accounted for 60% of observed new infections.

The study also contradicts the widely held belief that children are unlikely to catch coronavirus.

“We find otherwise. They are getting infected in significant numbers,” study leader Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, and also of Princeton University, told CNN.

The team wrote in their report, which was published in the journal Science, that "while the role of children in transmission has been debated, we identify high prevalence of infection among children who were contacts of cases around their own age."

And that’s despite schools being closed in India since March, Laxminarayan noted. 

The study was based on the universal contact-tracing efforts undertaken in two large states in the south of India.

Authorities tracked down and tested more than 575,000 people exposed to nearly 85,000 confirmed coronavirus cases from March until August.

“This is the largest contact-tracing study in the world, and by a long shot,” Laxminarayan said.
“We were surprised to find that just 8% of the infected primary cases were responsible for 60% of the contacts that were infected,” he said. “That’s a hugely disproportionate effect. Superspreading has been suspected, but not really documented.”

Most of the index cases – the first patient in a chain of transmission -- were adults aged 20 to 45, the team found.

3:29 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

US CDC extends no-sail order for cruise ships through October

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A man walks with his dog at the Marina Long Beach with cruise ships docked at the port due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, California on April 11.
A man walks with his dog at the Marina Long Beach with cruise ships docked at the port due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, California on April 11. Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that the no-sail order for cruise ships would be extended through to October 31.

“This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to US jurisdiction,” the CDC said in a statement. The previous order expired on Wednesday.
“Cumulative surveillance data reported to CDC from March 1 through September 29, shows at least 3,689 Covid-19 or Covid-like illness cases on cruise ships in US waters, in addition to at least 41 reported deaths. We recognize these numbers are likely incomplete and an underestimate."

On Tuesday, a federal health official told CNN that CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield failed to convince the White House to extend it into next year.

The CDC's statement said that recent outbreaks on cruise ships had proven that the vessels could be used to "transmit and amplify" the spread of the coronavirus, raising the chance of new infections in US communities.

“Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of (coronavirus) on board," the statement said.

2:36 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

Majority of American families with children under 18 report serious financial impact from coronavirus pandemic, survey finds

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Most US families with children under 18 across all racial and ethnic groups are facing “serious financial problems” as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The survey found 61% of households in the US with children under 18 were dealing with financial hardships due to the pandemic. The poll also found more than half of US households experienced pay cuts or lost jobs over the same period of time.

The poll was conducted from July 1 to August 3 and involved 3,454 respondents, 18-years-old and above, of whom 1,000 reported having children under 18 in their homes.

The survey also found 44% of households with children reported spending all or most of their savings during the pandemic. 11% said they did not have any savings before the outbreak.

Six out of 10 families with children reported an adult in the home had lost a job, a business, was furloughed or faced reduced wages or hours since the pandemic began, the poll found, leading to “serious financial problems.” 

Since the start of the pandemic, 59% of households with children had problems caring for their children and 36% had trouble keeping their kids schooling intact, the survey revealed. 

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

12:11 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

Study finds female doctors work harder for less money

Female doctors get paid less than male doctors, but a new study shows it's not because they work less.

In fact, female doctors spend more time with patients, order more tests and spend more time discussing preventive care than their male counterparts, a team of researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"That raises the question of whether we are paying for what we really care about in health care," said Dr. Ishani Ganguli, an internal medicine specialist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, who led the study team.

Ganguli and colleagues looked at billing and time data covering more than 24 million visits to primary care doctors in the US in 2017.

"We calculated that women were paid 87 cents to the dollar for every hour worked compared to their male colleagues," Ganguli told CNN.

Read more here:

8:15 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

AstraZeneca vaccine trial still on hold in US but FDA’s Hahn won’t reveal why; it’s "confidential” 

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman and Jen Christensen

A general view of AstraZeneca is seen during Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit on August 19 in Sydney, Australia.
A general view of AstraZeneca is seen during Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit on August 19 in Sydney, Australia. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Drugmaker AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine trial in the United States is still on hold after a participant developed a serious illness, but the Food and Drug Administration commissioner won’t say why.

At the US Pharma and Biotech Summit hosted by the Financial Times Wednesday, US FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn was asked why the trial was still on pause in the US, even though it has resumed in Europe. Hahn said he couldn’t answer.

“I can’t speak to confidential commercial information and this summit knows that all too well,” he said.
“Our agency career officials in general take the issue of serious safety very seriously, the protection of the American people, very seriously ... We will look at any and all data, and we will make a decision when we have the data available to us regarding any issue, whether it's safety or effectiveness."

Hahn said he could not talk about a “specific issue” that may involve the AstraZeneca trial. 

“What I can tell you is that FDA is on the job with respect to looking at all safety and efficacy issues on all medical products,” he said.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told CNN earlier that regulators in Britain, Brazil and South Africa had all decided to resume the trials. “We are continuing to work with the FDA to facilitate review of the information needed to make a decision regarding resumption of the US trial,” the spokesperson said.

“Regulators in each individual country determine when trials can start and they do this in their own time frame.”
8:16 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

United Airlines to furlough more than 13,000 employees starting Thursday

From CNN's Pete Muntean

A United Airlines passenger checks in for a flight at San Francisco International Airport on September 02.
A United Airlines passenger checks in for a flight at San Francisco International Airport on September 02. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

United Airlines said it will begin to furlough more than 13,000 employees Thursday.

Like American Airlines, which announced earlier this evening that it too will begin furloughing workers tomorrow, United said it would recall furloughed employees if Congress reached a stimulus deal soon.

“In a continuing effort to give the federal government every opportunity to act, we have made clear to leadership in the administration, Congress and among our union partners that we can and will reverse the furlough process if the CARES Act Payroll Support Program is extended in the next few days. We implore our elected leaders to reach a compromise, get a deal done now, and save jobs," United said in a letter to employees.

The letter added: “To our departing 13,000 family members: thank you for your dedication and we look forward to welcoming you back.” 

Some context: Earlier this evening, American Airlines announced it will begin to furlough 19,000 workers tomorrow.

8:18 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

Covid-19 outbreak in Washington state connected to spa near Seattle

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The health department in King County, Washington, said at least 25 cases of Covid-19 have been connected to a spa in the city of Snoqualmie, near Seattle.

The outbreak was reported at Salish Lodge & Spa and includes 23 staff members and two guests.

The health department has asked anyone who visited the spa between Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 to get a coronavirus test and avoid contact with others for 14 days. The agency said Salish is cooperating and has agreed to temporarily suspend operations. Contract tracing has been hampered by the fact that the spa does not keep records of its visitors, except for those who stay overnight.

“We have done everything possible to protect our guests and team members since the beginning of the pandemic, including elevating our health, hygiene, safety and sanitation protocols and following health agency guidance,” Salish general manager Alan Stephens said in a statement.
8:18 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

University of Denver suspends 38 athletes from team activities for health order violations

From Raja Razek

The University of Denver has suspended 38 swimming and diving athletes from all team activities for violating state and public health order, and university policies "designed to address the spread of Covid-19," according to a message on the university's website. 

"The student-athletes attended a large, off-campus party knowing such a gathering violated restrictions," the message said. "As a result, these student-athletes will not participate in team activities for the rest of the fall quarter."

According to the message, possible outcomes for the violations could include suspension from the university for one or more academic terms. 

"We will continue to swiftly pursue disciplinary action if members of our community disregard the protocols and public health orders designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19," read the message. 

All 38 student-athletes are required to retest for Covid-19, according to the website. The university "imposed location restrictions until negative test results are received."

8:19 a.m. ET, October 1, 2020

American Airlines set to furlough 19,000 workers starting tomorrow

From CNN's Pete Muntean

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.