This Week in Coronavirus: September 25 to October 1

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

The President of the United States is now among the over 7 million Americans confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The news of his case broke on the heels of the first of three presidential debates where Democratic nominee Joe Biden criticized the President’s response to the pandemic and his personal mask wearing behavior, while the President dismissively noted how Biden was always wearing a mask. Trump and Vice President Pence have been attending campaign rallies without wearing masks, and KHN reporting reveals this is occurring while the White House Coronavirus Task Force is simultaneously recommending that governors implement mask mandates.   KHN’s Editor in Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal discusses officials’ and the public’s varied compliance and response to mask wearing in the context of other public safety rules and behaviors that are more consistently followed and enforced.

Another – of many — contentious subjects at Tuesday’s debate was the Supreme Court.  The upcoming case at the high court California v. Texas has the potential to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, including the popular provision which prohibits most exclusions of pre-existing conditions from coverage. In a new Policy Watch post Karen Pollitz, Jennifer Kates and Josh Michaud examine whether having COVID-19 would be considered a pre-existing condition and what could happen if the ACA is overturned.

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

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide surpassed 34 million this week – with an increase of approximately 2.1 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were nearly 40,000 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total to over 1 million confirmed deaths.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. neared 7.3 million this week. There was an approximate increase of 292,500 confirmed cases between September 25 and October 1. Approximately 5,000 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to approximately 207,800.

Race/Ethnicity Data: Hispanic individuals made up a higher share of cases compared to their share of the total population in 44 of 46 states reporting cases. In 9 states (NH, NC, NE, OR, WA, MN, VA, PA, ME), Hispanic peoples’ share of cases was more than 3 times their share of the population. COVID-19 continues to have a sharp, disproportionate impact on American Indian/Alaska Native as well as Asian people in some states.  Black individuals made up a higher share of cases/deaths compared to their share of the population in 43 of 50 states reporting cases and 34 of 48 states reporting deaths. In 6 states (MI, MO, WI, KS, HI and ME) the share of COVID-19 related deaths among Black people was at least two times higher than their share of the total population.

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

Extensions: AL, CT, GA, IA, ME, MI, NH, NJ, OK, RI, SC, TN, WY

Rollbacks: MD, NC, OR

Lifted Face Mask Requirement: MS

New Restrictions: IL

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • Is COVID-19 a Pre-Existing Condition? What Could Happen if the ACA is Overturned (Policy Watch Post)
  • Updated: Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19 (Issue Brief)
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of September 30 (Interactive)
  • State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • World Bank Coronavirus Vaccine Financing Plan Expected To Be Considered By Board, Says Bank President (KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Post-COVID Clinics Get Jump-Start From Patients With Lingering Illness (KHN, CNN)
  • Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New This Week (The Guardian)
  • Efforts to Keep COVID-19 out of Prisons Fuel Outbreaks in County Jails (KHN)
  • What We Know About the Airborne Spread of the Coronavirus (KHN, PolitiFact)
  • We Follow Laws on Seat Belts and Smoking. Why Not on Masks? (KHN, NY Times)
  • The Mask Hypocrisy: How COVID Memos Contradict the White House’s Public Face (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • A Fair to Remember: County Fairs Weigh Risk of Outbreak Against Financial Ruin (KHN)
  • New Laws Keep Pandemic-Weary California at Forefront of Health Policy Innovation (KHN)
  • Evictions Damage Public Health. The CDC Aims to Curb Them ― For Now. (KHN, NPR)
  • Thousands of Minks Dead as COVID Outbreak Escalates on Utah Farms (KHN)
  • Trump’s COVID Program for Uninsured People: It Exists, but Falls Short (KHN, PolitiFact)

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.