CDC reverses controversial coronavirus testing guidance; Europe faces second wave

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Global cases of the coronavirus have now crossed 30 million, as new infection rates remain stubbornly high in some countries and show early signs of resurgence in others. The U.S., India and Brazil hold the highest national case tallies — together the three countries account for over half of all reported global infections. The dramatic benchmark comes as experts warn of difficult fall and winter seasons ahead. 

Here are today's top headlines: 

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 30.2 million
  • Global deaths: At least 946,685
  • U.S. cases: More than 6.67 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 197,655

CDC reverses controversial testing guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed controversial coronavirus testing guidance that said people who were exposed to an infected person but weren't showing any symptoms did "not necessarily need a test."

The new guidance says that people without symptoms who have been in close contact with an infected person "need a test."

Many public health specialists criticized the CDC's change in testing guidance in August for appearing to downplay the significance of testing people who don't have symptoms but who might be spreading the virus. 

The old CDC guidance, The New York Times reported earlier this week, was posted to the CDC's website in August despite objections from scientists within the agency. The reversal comes amid heightened concerns of political intervention by the White House inside the nation's premier health agencies, including the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration. —Will Feuer

Trump says U.S. will have enough vaccine doses for every American by April

President Donald Trump said the U.S. will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every American by April, contradicting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's forecast.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said earlier this week that a vaccine wouldn't be widely available until the summer or early fall of next year. That's in line with predictions from public health experts and scientists, who have previously said that most Americans likely won't get immunized with a coronavirus vaccine until the middle of next year. 

Trump's comments came two days after he said the U.S. government could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October. He said Wednesday that Redfield was mistaken when he said the vaccine wouldn't be widely available to the general public until the second half of 2021. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

WHO says virus 'is not going away'

A top World Health Organization official said the coronavirus is "not going away," noting that it's still killing about 50,000 people a week

"It has not burned out, it is not burning out, it is not going away," Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergencies program, said, "and especially for those countries entering their winter season in terms of people coming together more indoors."

"That is not where we want to be," he added.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on the Covid-19 pandemic, noted that global health officials have "literally hundreds" of studies ongoing that examine the extent of coronavirus infection in different populations. The studies indicate that "a majority of the world's population is susceptible to infection from this virus," she said. –Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn

San Francisco preparing for indoor dining, mayor says

Zoe looks for a little handout from diners on Grant Street in a makeshift outdoor dining area bounded by steel barricades in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
Carlos Avila Gonzalez | The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city is preparing to allow restaurants to operate inside at 25% capacity, or up to 100 people, according to a press release.

San Francisco's restaurants, which are allowed to serve patrons outside and through take out, will be permitted to offer indoor service once the city moves into the "orange" tier of California's four-tiered reopening plan, which will occur no sooner than the end of September, the release said.

The mayor warned, however, that San Francisco may not meet the criteria to enter the next tier "if local Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations do not remain stable." Before restaurants can reopen, they'll also have to complete a self-certification proving their ability to comply with the city's standards, the release said. 

"We are laying out the next steps to make sure restaurants are ready to reopen as safely as possible," Breed said in the release. — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Kentucky coronavirus measures put to test in state Supreme Court

The Kentucky Supreme Court will rule on the legality of Gov. Andy Beshear's coronavirus-related executive orders, NBC's Lexington affiliate reports. At stake are measures that enforce mask-wearing and other Covid-19 related mandates for Kentucky residents.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron is leading the challenge to Gov. Beshear's orders, saying the governor overstepped his power. "Even in the midst of a pandemic, the constitution is not suspended," Cameron said to reporters.

Beshear and his team maintain that the governor had the power to act during an emergency under state law and the constitution. "If the Attorney General wins this case, Kentucky has fewer tools to fight this virus than any other state in the nation, and we don't want to be there," Beshear said.

It is unclear how long the Supreme Court will take to make a ruling. —Hannah Miao

Parts of Europe reporting ‘worrying’ rise in hospitalizations, WHO says

Coronavirus cases rise dramatically in Europe, WHO calls it a 'wake-up call'
Coronavirus cases rise dramatically in Europe, WHO calls it a 'wake-up call'

Some European countries are reporting a rapid rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations, a "worrying trend" ahead of the influenza season approaching the Northern Hemisphere, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told CNN's "New Day" on Friday. 

Hospitalizations have doubled every eight days in the U.K., and parts of France have reported reaching capacity in their intensive-care units, Kerkhove told CNN.

"This is really worrying because as we hit the flu season — as we start to see other viruses circulating, respiratory viruses circulating — it's very difficult to distinguish Covid from flu from other respiratory pathogens that are circulating," Kerkhove said. "And if the beds are full with Covid patients, it will be very challenging for the health care system to deal with other respiratory diseases." — Noah Higgins-Dunn

Moderna expects to make 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by 2020 end

Moderna expects to produce 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, the drugmaker said in a filing with the U.S. securities regulator.

The company has previously said it expects to make 500 million to 1 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021, Reuters reported.

Moderna's experimental Covid-19 vaccine is among the furthest in development to date. So far, the company has enrolled 25,296 participants out of the 30,000 it hopes to achieve for its late-stage study as of Wednesday, according to the wire service. —Terri Cullen

Travel restrictions between U.S., Mexico, and Canada extended through Oct. 21

Aerial view of Mexico's old customs facilities (above), next to the construction site of an expansion of the crossing lanes at San Ysidro crossing port on the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Baja California state, on July 27, 2020.
Guillermo Arias | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have agreed to extend coronavirus-related border closures through Oct. 21, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter.

The travel restrictions first began on March 21 and have been extended five times before Friday's announcement. The Department of Homeland Security said the travel restrictions are "part of a North American approach to stop the spread of the virus." 

President Donald Trump on Friday said he thought the U.S.-Canada border would reopen before the end of the year, Reuters reported. —Hannah Miao

New U.S. cases continue to climb

‘Pandemic fatigue’ leads to resurgence in Europe

The coronavirus outbreak is growing across parts of Europe, where epidemiologists say "pandemic fatigue" has set in. France and Spain are now seeing more new cases every day than they did when the virus originally peaked in the spring.

"There are some worrying trends that we're starting to see," Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said Wednesday. "What is really worrying I think for us is that we're not only seeing an increase in the case numbers but we're seeing an increase in the hospitalizations. We're seeing increases in ICUs."

Intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of France are now nearing capacity, Van Kerkhove said Friday on CNN, adding that hospitalizations are doubling roughly every eight days in the United Kingdom.

Dominique Costagliola, an epidemiologist at the INSERM research institute in Paris, said the lesson to learn from Europe's experience is that the response to the pandemic must be persistent.

"When you look at the worldwide map of cases, you see that even if you control the virus in your country, the virus is still there, so it can come back," she said. "Don't think that because you are in a better situation at the moment, you can forget to pay attention to the virus." —Will Feuer

U.S. stocks little changed at open as Wall Street aims for its first weekly gain in three weeks

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher putting the market on pace for its first weekly gain of the month, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert and Yun Li.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 25 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3%. —Melodie Warner 

Le Bernardin spending "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to reopen dining rooms

Larry Busacca | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Le Bernardin is the first New York restaurant with three Michelin stars to announce it will reopen its dining rooms on Sept. 30.

To do so, Chef Eric Ripert is spending "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on upgrades related to safety, he told Bloomberg

Among the investments is installing a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that eliminates more than 99% of Covid-19 particles in the air within half an hour. Le Bernardin joins hospitals and major airports in adopting the technology. 

Le Bernardin is among the few fine-dining restaurants that have announced plans to resume indoor dining at the end of the month. The 25% capacity limit, along with the high cost of safety precautions, will make it difficult for many restaurateurs to follow their lead. —Amelia Lucas 

Latest hot spots of new U.S. cases


Second nationwide lockdown in Israel takes effect ahead of Jewish High Holidays

An Israeli national flag is seen on a bridge before Israel will enter a second nationwide lockdown amid a resurgence in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, forcing residents to stay mostly at home during the Jewish high-holiday season, on the main road leading to Jerusalem in Ein Hemd.
Ronen Zvulun | Reuters

The second nationwide lockdown in Israel took effect Friday, tethering residents mostly to their homes in an effort to slow the spread of new infections, Reuters reports.

The country saw success with its first lockdown, imposed in March and eased in May, with new daily cases tapering off to low-single digits, the wire service reports. But with average new daily infections now above 5,000, Israeli officials have said they lifted restrictions too early. 

The second lockdown comes just ahead of the Jewish High Holidays and is set to last three weeks, according to Reuters. The restrictions allow for worship activities but impose social distancing guidelines and capacity limits, the report says. —Sara Salinas

EU agrees to buy potential vaccine doses from Sanofi, GSK

The European Union has agreed to buy up to 300 million doses of a potential vaccine under development by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Reuters reports, marking the second vaccine deal for the multinational bloc. 

The EU will contribute to upfront financing of the vaccine production in exchange for EU nations' right to purchase the doses once proven safe and effective, according to the wire service. Sanofi and GSK began clinical trials of their vaccine candidate earlier this month and aim to reach the final stage of testing by December, Reuters reported. —Sara Salinas

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