This Week in Coronavirus: September 11 to September 17

Here’s our recap of the past week in the coronavirus pandemic from our tracking, policy analysis, polling, and journalism.

With U.S. coronavirus case and death cumulative totals continuing to lead the world, KFF President and CEO Drew Altman wrote a featured essay for The BMJ discussing two fundamental policy decisions made by the Trump Administration that set the U.S. on the controversial and highly criticized course it has taken on COVID-19. He writes, “The US coronavirus failure was not inevitable and does not have to be permanent. But it is historically aberrant for our federal government to follow and not lead in a national crisis, and equally unusual for our country to divide rather than unify in a time of crisis.” Additionally, KFF released an overview of President Trump’s record on health care, which features a section on his COVID-19 response.

An analysis by Epic Health Research Network and KFF of 50 million patients’ records finds disparities for people of color across the spectrum of the COVID-19 pandemic, including higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death. Further, people of color are sicker when they test positive and the disparities in hospitalization and death remain when accounting for underlying health conditions and differences in sociodemographic factors.

As public health officials and policymakers prepare for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine, a Policy Watch post examines flu vaccination rates, highlighting the lower rates among adults of color. Insights into the potential barriers and issues that should be addressed as part of a vaccination strategy are discussed.


Here are the latest coronavirus stats from KFF’s tracking resources:

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide surpassed 30 million this week – with an increase of approximately 1.9 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 35,400 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total to nearly 945,000 confirmed deaths.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. neared 6.7 million this week. There was an approximate increase of 278,000 confirmed cases between September 11 and September 17. Approximately 6,000 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to approximately 197,600.


State Social Distancing Actions (includes Washington D.C.) that went into effect this week:

Extensions: GA, IA, MS, WY

Rollbacks: FL, IA, MI, MS, UT


The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • COVID-19 Racial Disparities in Testing, Infection, Hospitalization, and Death: Analysis of Epic Patient Data (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • President Trump’s Record on Health Care (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • Drew Altman: Understanding the US Failure on Coronavirus (Perspective)
  • Racial Disparities in Flu Vaccination: Implications for COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts (Policy Watch Post)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of September 16 (Interactive)
  • Updated: Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19 (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of September 18 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • Updated: Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19 (Issue Brief)


The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Lack of Antigen Test Reporting Leaves Country ‘Blind to the Pandemic’ (KHN, USA Today)
  • COVID Vaccine Trials Move at Warp Speed, But Recruiting Black Volunteers Takes Time (KHN, NPR)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New This Week (The Guardian)
  • Tough to Tell COVID From Smoke Inhalation Symptoms — And Flu Season’s Coming (KHN)
  • COVID Exodus Fills Vacation Towns With New Medical Pressures (KHN)
  • NIH ‘Very Concerned’ About Serious Side Effect in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • ‘Terrible Role-Modeling’: California Lawmakers Flout Pandemic Etiquette (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • Readers and Tweeters Grapple With COVID Therapies and Forecasts (KHN)
  • Students’ Mass Migration Back to College Gets a Failing Grade (KHN, NPR)
  • In Face of COVID Threat, More Dialysis Patients Bring Treatment Home (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • Urban Hospitals of Last Resort Cling to Life in Time of COVID (KHN, NPR)
  • Black Women Turn to Midwives to Avoid COVID and ‘Feel Cared For’ (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • A Pandemic Upshot: Seniors Are Having Second Thoughts About Where to Live (KHN, CNN)

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.