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Indiana coronavirus updates for Thursday, September 17, 2020

Coronavirus updates from Thursday, Sept. 17.

INDIANAPOLIS — Thursday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Lucas Oil Stadium capacity increased for Colts vs. Jets game

The Marion County Public Health Department has approved an increase fan capacity of 7,500 fans for the Colts game against the New York Jets, according to Colts owner Jim Irsay.

The Colts and Jets play at Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 27. Capacity at the stadium had previously been limited to 2,500 fans.

Limited single-game tickets for the game go on sale Friday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. They start at $46. Find tickets at Colts.com/Tickets or Ticketmaster.com 

The Colts home opener is this Sunday, Sept. 20 against the Minnesota Vikings.

ISDH updates COVID numbers in the state

The Indiana State Department of Health reported that there are 850 new cases of coronavirus in the state, totaling more than 108,000 positive cases. 

Additionally, there are 6 new deaths, which brings that total to 3,253. 

More than 1.75 million tests have been administered in Indiana.

CVS Health adding 4 new COVID-19 testing sites in Indianapolis

CVS Health is doubling its drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites to more than 4,000 across the country. 

CVS Health is adding 18 sites in Indiana, bringing the state's total to 48. Four new sites open Friday, Sept. 18 in Indianapolis: 

  • 5611 Georgetown Road
  • 8405 Southeastern Ave.
  • 3350 N. High School Road
  • 5005 E. 56th St.

CVS Health has expanded testing to include children ages 12 and older. Testing is offered to insured and uninsured patients, with no out-of-pocket costs to patients.

Another 860,000 filed new unemployment claims last week

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high figure that reflects economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

This is down from 884,000 the week before. The pandemic has delivered an unprecedented shock to the economy. Until the pandemic upended the operations of American companies, from factories to family diners, weekly jobless aid applications had never exceeded 700,000 in the U.S.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, collapsed at an annual rate of 31.7% from April through June, by far the worst three months on record, as millions of jobs disappeared.

The economy and job market have recovered somewhat from the initial shock. Employers added 10.6 million jobs from May through August, but that's still less than half the jobs lost in March and April.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 6.63 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 196,000 deaths and 2.52 million people recovered.

Worldwide, there have been 29.87 million confirmed cases with more than 940,000 deaths and 20.31 million recoveries.

RELATED: See where confirmed Indiana coronavirus cases are with this interactive map

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The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.

President Trump says vaccine will be ready sooner than CDC director's timeline

President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready as early as next month and in mass distribution soon after, going against what the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said and calling him "confused” in projecting a longer time frame.

"I think he made a mistake," Trump said. "As soon as that vaccine comes out and it's safe and it's good and it works, whether it's Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or anybody else, we are ready to distribute it very rapidly." 

Trump also disagreed with Dr. Robert Redfield about the effectiveness of protective masks — which the president recommends but almost never wears — and said he'd telephoned Redfield to tell him so.

Earlier in the day, the CDC sent all 50 states a “playbook” for distribution of a vaccine to all Americans free of cost when one is proven safe and effective — which is not yet the case. Redfield told a congressional hearing that health care workers, first responders and others at high risk would get the vaccine first, perhaps in January or even late this year, but it was unlikely to be available more broadly, again assuming approval, before late spring or summer.

Redfield, masked at times in a Senate hearing room, also spoke emphatically of the importance of everyone wearing protective masks to stop the pandemic, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans. He floated the possibility that a vaccine might be 70% effective in inducing immunity, and said, "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

Trump would have none of that from the CDC director.

“Vaccine is much more effective than the mask," he declared.

NCAA basketball season set to open day before Thanksgiving

The NCAA men's and women's basketball season will begin Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for nonconference games.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, a Saturday. Calhoun said the council wanted to avoid a weekend start date because of potential overlaps of basketball and football games on campuses.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27.

The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13. Calhoun said the low minimum is an acknowledgement that schools probably will experience different levels of COVID-19 cases and have to alter schedules.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14. Beginning Monday, teams will be allowed to participate in strength and conditioning and sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, with an eight-hour limit on skill instruction.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed. It also was recommended each team play a minimum of four non-conference games.

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RELATED: Big Ten votes to start football season in late October