Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative for coronavirus Friday.
“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected," the Biden campaign said.
Biden is touching down in Michigan at this hour for a pair of campaign events in the Detroit area. He is expected to deliver remarks on health care and participate in a voter mobilization event.
2:51 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
Obama will campaign for Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday
From CNN's Jeff Zeleny
Former President Barack Obama will make his first campaign stop for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden next week on Wednesday in Philadelphia, an official tells CNN.
This is a solo campaign stop for Obama, the first of a handful he is poised to make in the final two weeks of the campaign and comes on the eve of the final debate.
Biden is scheduled to be in debate prep that day, the official said, and the two are not expected to campaign together — until possibly the final weekend or days of the race.
2:45 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
These will be the topics for the last presidential debate
From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield
The Commission on Presidential Debates has released the topics for the final presidential debate that will take place next Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee.
The six topics are:
"Race in America"
As was also the case with the first debate, the topics list is subject to change based on news.
The debate will start at 9:00 p.m. ET and run for 90 minutes without commercial breaks. NBC journalist Kristen Welker will be the moderator.
3:03 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
In appeal to Florida seniors, Trump strikes empathetic tone on Covid-19 as cases continue to surge
From CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Christina Maxouris and Jason Hanna
As the US surpassed 8 million Covid-19 cases, President Trump struck a noticeably different and more empathetic tone in an appeal to seniors in Fort Myers, Florida, on Friday, telling Americans he feels their pain.
“My heart breaks for every grieving family that has lost a precious loved one,” Trump said, addressing the burden Covid-19 has placed on seniors. “I feel their anguish and I mourn their loss. I feel their pain. I know that the terrible pain that they have gone through, and you lose someone, and it’s nothing to describe what you have to bear. There’s nothing to describe it.”
The President doesn’t often address the human toll the virus has taken on Americans, other than to say that one death from the virus is too many.
Trump also spoke of unity, saying that “in times of challenge we turn to our fellow Americans for a shoulder to lean on. We turn to god for healing and strength, and together we will overcome.”
But Trump soon returned to more familiar territory, claiming once again the US is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic and attacking those who point to rising cases across the country.
“My message to America’s seniors today is one of optimism, confidence and hope. Your sacrifice has not been in vain. The light at the end of the tunnel is here. We are rounding the turn,” he said. “Don’t listen to the cynics and angry partisans and professional pessimists. We are Americans and we will prevail. We are prevailing, we are.”
Latest US Covid-19 data: The US has recorded more than 8,008,000 cases, Johns Hopkins University says. That total is likely a vast undercount of actual infection totals because of a low testing capacity early in the pandemic, researchers have said in several reports.
Perhaps more concerning than Friday's milestone is a recent rise in cases per day. The country's one-week average of new daily cases has moved above 53,000 — an increase of more than 55% in just over a month, Johns Hopkins data show.
Watch the moment:
2:29 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
Thousands of Virginians register to vote after deadline extended
From CNN's Greg Wallace
The reopening of voter registration in Virginia this week allowed more than 14,000 people to newly register or update their registration, an official said Friday.
Department of Elections spokesperson Andrea Gaines told CNN that 7,293 voters registered or updated their registrations on Wednesday, and 7,044 registered or updated their registrations on Thursday.
The registration window was reopened after the state’s citizen’s portal website was unavailable for much of the day on Tuesday, the final scheduled day to register. The issue was caused by a construction crew hitting a data cable, officials said, and service was restored Tuesday afternoon.
There are nearly 6 million voters registered for the November election in Virginia.
2:15 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
Trump's speaking in Florida
From CNN’s Nikki Carvajal
Moments ago, President Trump took the stage in Fort Myers, Florida, to speak at a "Protecting America’s Seniors" event.
According to excerpts of his speech from the White House, Trump will give a message of "optimism, confidence, and hope" to the nation's seniors.
"America’s seniors remind us that we have inherited an extraordinary legacy. You are the generation that defeated fascism, triumphed over communism, sent American astronauts to the moon, and built our country into the greatest and most powerful nation the world has ever known," Trump will say according to the prepared remarks.
1:25 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
Here's how many people watched the Biden and Trump town halls
From CNN's Brian Stelter
Joe Biden's town hall on ABC averaged 13.9 million viewers on Thursday night, easily surpassing the Nielsen ratings for President Trump's town hall on NBC.
That alone was a result virtually no one in the TV business expected. And that's not even the most surprising part.
The Trump town hall was simulcast by two of NBC's cable channels, MSNBC and CNBC, but even when those channels are included in the total, Biden — on only one network — still prevailed.
The Trump town hall averaged 10.6 million viewers on the NBC broadcast network. On MSNBC, Trump reached 1.74 million viewers, and on CNBC, about 671,000 viewers. So Trump's gross audience across the three channels was 13 million, about one million fewer than Biden's audience on ABC alone.
Staffers at ABC News privately admitted to their surprise when the preliminary ratings came in on Friday.
The Nielsen ratings only measure viewership on TV sets. Both town halls were also live-streamed to phones, computers and other devices.
In the run-up to Thursday night, the Biden campaign embraced the popular ratings narrative and predicted that Trump would outrate Biden. Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said "we're gonna have a much bigger audience than Joe."
Trump has been a Nielsen connoisseur for decades. While hosting "The Apprentice" on NBC, he paid close attention to the performance of his show and routinely exaggerated its success. He has continued to fixate on TV ratings during his years in the White House and has frequently congratulated Fox News for its ratings victories.
Young activists to protest Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination
From CNN's Rachel Janfaza
Young Americans from across the country will protest the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the steps of the Supreme Court on Saturday, organizers tell CNN.
The rally, which organizers are calling “McConnell v. Justice,” will show elected officials that young people are committed to holding their elected officials accountable, organizers say.
Progressive activists from Alabama, Colorado, California, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Virginia and more are traveling to Washington, DC, for the event.
These leaders care about a number of issues including racial justice, police reform, LGBTQIA rights, disability rights, access to reproductive rights, immigrant rights, environmental justice and gun violence prevention – all of which, they say, are at stake with Barrett’s nomination.
The organizers are also calling for the Senate to halt the nomination process of Barrett, demanding that there should be “no confirmation until inauguration.”
“We have the most at stake in whomever is nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States,” organizers of the rally wrote in a press release, noting that young people will be around the longest to witness the impact of Barrett becoming a justice if she is confirmed.
The youth-led rally will feature a number of speakers including: Aalayah Eastmond, 19-year-old gun violence prevention activist; Mari Copeny, 13-year-old environmental justice activist who has fought for clean drinking water in Flint, Michigan; Rachel Gonzalez, 21-year-old disability justice activist who has advocated for the Affordable Care Act; and Ty Hobson-Powell, 25-year-old leader in the fight for DC statehood.
In addition to the featured speakers, young people from across the country are joining the McConnell v. Justice coalition.
Tay Anderson, 22-year-old director-at-large on the Denver School Board, told CNN that he has traveled to D.C. with 60 young Coloradans between the ages of 13 and 45.
“If we have to travel 1,600 miles from Colorado, we will,” Anderson said, adding that many in his group had never been to DC prior to their arrival Thursday.
Jonathan Sweeney, a 22-year-old from Ohio, told CNN that he is joining the McConnell v. Justice protest because as a gay man, he “can't afford to have Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court.” Sweeney added that, as an Ohioan, his vote could end up in the hands of the Supreme Court.
Likewise, Deja Foxx, a 20-year-old advocate for reproductive rights, traveled from California for the protest.
Foxx told CNN she cast her first ever presidential election ballot for Biden and Harris before getting on the plane to DC Friday.
“I’m protesting because I know that when you have control over your body, you have control over your future,” Foxx said Friday, adding that she believes Barrett “poses a serious threat to choice for my generation and those to come,” she said.