October 8 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 1:12 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020
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11:31 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

New York City closes 169 schools as part of new Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

A total of 169 public school sites are now closed in areas where there are clusters of Covid-19 cases in New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

There were 108 initially closed on Tuesday in conjunction with the state. The new restrictions called for an additional 61 to be closed, he said.

“The school sites that were closed previously will remain closed for that two week period even if they don’t end up under the new state rules… were still keeping them closed because based on our data it was the right thing to do," de Blasio said.

Additionally, there are 308 school sites in the yellow zone that will begin mandatory weekly testing starting October 9.

The earliest the schools closed Tuesday could come back is Wednesday, Oct. 21. 

Here are some of the other restrictions in place:

  • All non-essential businesses in the “red zone” will be closed, restaurants will be takeout only, mass gatherings are prohibited, and houses of worship can operate at 25% capacity, and a maximum of 10 people in side, the mayor said.
  • Schools in the “orange zones” will be closed – both public and nonpublic. High risk businesses including gyms will be closed. Restaurants are permitted outdoor only with a maximum of 4 people per table. Gatherings indoor or outdoor must be 10 people or less. Houses of worship can function at 33% capacity, and a maximum of 25 people inside. 
  • Within the “yellow zones” schools will be open but subject to mandatory weekly Covid-19 testing. All businesses remain open. Both indoor and outdoor dining is permitted with a maximum of 4 people per table. Gatherings must be 25 people or less, whether they be indoor or outdoor. Houses of worship are allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
10:58 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

FDA won’t comment on status of Emergency Use Authorizations for two antibody treatments

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Vehicles drive in front of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, on August 25.
Vehicles drive in front of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, on August 25. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration told CNN Thursday morning that the agency doesn’t have any comments on the applications for Emergency Use Authorizations for Eli Lilly and Regeneron antibody treatments.

"Per policy, we cannot confirm, deny or comment on product applications," FDA spokesperson Chanapa Tantibanchachai told CNN via email.

Both Eli Lilly and Regeneron have already submitted requests to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for their single monoclonal antibody therapies.

This comes after President Trump said on Fox Business Thursday morning that both Eli Lilly and Regeneron will both get EUAs.

"Regeneron, I view it as a cure, not just a therapeutic...and Eli Lilly has a great drug," Trump said. "Very much along the lines of Regeneron. It's great, and what I'm doing is I'm going to supply this drug."

10:31 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

One of Europe's largest airports gets ready to distribute potential Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Brussels Airport is accelerating preparations to be ready to receive and ship the first Covid-19 vaccines, once one is approved for distribution, the airport said in a statement Wednesday.  

A taskforce at the cargo division of the airport, is working "full force on preparing scenarios" for the import and export of the various types of vaccines in a "safe and efficient way," the statement said.

The task force is running through "all scenarios for the various types of vaccines in close consultation with the pharmaceutical companies with which Brussels Airport works. Each type of vaccine demands a different form of transport, packaging and storage.

Some vaccines, for example, have to be shipped on dry ice, while others will demand refrigeration at the customary 2-8 degrees Celsius," the statement said.

Some context: Brussels Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling about 26,4 million passengers and 667,220 tonnes of freight annually, it says on its website.


10:30 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

US could have "tens or hundreds of thousands of doses” of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail this fall, Azar says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Shelby Lin Erdman


US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Operation Warp Speed has applied “the same methods” to therapeutics as it has to support vaccines and there could be "tens or hundreds of thousands of doses" of Regeneron's antibody cocktail available soon.

“We've applied the same methods to supporting therapeutics too,” he said during a Goldman Sachs Healthcare virtual event on Thursday. “That includes, for instance, support for both development and manufacturing of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, of which we could have tens or hundreds of thousands of doses this fall, pending FDA authorization.” 

“OWS supported clinical trials continue for remdesivir in combination with other drugs. In addition to anticoagulants and other options,” Azar said. 

“We're also supporting several randomized controlled clinical trials to produce more data on convalescent plasma,” he added, noting “to which Americans have enjoyed broader access than anywhere else on Earth.” 

Some background: Regeneron's experimental antibody treatment is still in large-scale clinical trials, but has been available for compassionate use, something the FDA has to approve on an individual basis, like it did for President Trump.

The antibody therapy is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies that is designed specifically to block infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, according to the company's statement.

A cocktail antibody therapy uses two or more lab-engineered antibodies. Regeneron's cocktail includes a monoclonal antibody that targets the spike protein the virus uses to drill into healthy cells, and another antibody that targets a different part of the novel coronavirus. With two, the hope is to trap and shut down viral replication.

10:25 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

UK nightlife “on the brink” of collapse under new restrictions, trade bodies say

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

Fabric nightclub is seen on October 1 in London.
Fabric nightclub is seen on October 1 in London. Peter Summers/Getty Images

Hospitality industry bodies are warning that any further Covid restrictions will be a “catastrophe” for UK nightlife.

Several organizations say the entire industry is already “on the brink” of collapse because of new restrictions such as the 10 p.m. curfew in England and other measures that would close bars and restaurants in much of the central Scottish regions.

The UK Hospitality and the Scottish Beer and Pub Association have said thousands of jobs could be lost and many businesses forced to shut down if more restrictions or a full lockdown come into effect.

"This is a total catastrophe. Scottish hospitality is already on the brink and is unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence," Willie Macleod of UKHospitality said.

“Forced closures will spell the end for many venues which have no cash flow and will have exhausted their reserves. Severe restrictions to those businesses not forced to close will amount to a closure for many. It is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost," Macleod added.

Scottish Premier Nicola Sturgeon announced $52 million in support of affected businesses, but this “will not even come close to covering the required furlough contributions for the period, never mind ongoing fixed costs and stock," Emma McClarkin of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association said.

Across the rest of the UK, industry bodies have expressed concern around the 10 p.m. curfew that is currently in effect in England and Wales, demanding the government publish scientific evidence to support its decision. 

In a letter addressed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week, Campaign for Real Ale chairman Nik Antona said "Publicans who have already spent thousands making their premises Covid-secure now face dwindling levels of trade as a result of these government decisions, which will undoubtedly lead to permanent closure.”

10:19 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

US health secretary projects "having enough for every American who wants a vaccine by March to April 2021"

From CNN's Amanda Watts


US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar projects that the United States will have enough vaccines for “every American” who wants one by March or April of 2021. 

Speaking during a Goldman Sachs Healthcare virtual event on Thursday, Azar gave an update on the timeline for vaccines in the US.  

“The good news is that we're doing everything we can to ensure that we have supplies manufactured,” he said. “Pending FDA authorizations, we believe we may have up to 100 million doses by the end of the year, enough to cover especially vulnerable populations. And we project having enough for every American who wants a vaccine by March to April 2021.”  

Operation Warp Speed is a “complex endeavor, and especially so during a global pandemic,” Azar said.

“Industrial scale manufacturing of a product while it's still in clinical trials is rare in drug development,” he said, adding that it makes little business sense to spend money on a product that may never get used. “Something that should make any Goldman analysts recoil in horror.”

“Manufacturing has now begun on an industrial scale for all six OWS supported vaccines. More than 23 manufacturing facilities across the US had been augmented and scaled up with our support,” he said. 

 “We're also supporting the procurement and manufacturing of the ancillary supplies needed for vaccines, such as vials and syringes, with more than a billion currently under procurement," Azar added.

9:55 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

US stocks open higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan on October 2 in New York City.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan on October 2 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks rose at the opening bell in New York on Thursday, as stimulus hopes continue to dominate the market.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department’s report on jobless claims showed a slight improvement in first-time claims, but a significant one million drop in continued jobless claims.

Here's where things opened:

  • The Dow rose 0.4%, or 103 points.
  • The S&P 500 opened 0.5% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7%.
9:19 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases increase 56% in a week in England

From CNN's Livvy Doherty

A completed test kit is collected from a driver at a Covid-19 testing center in London, on September 30.
A completed test kit is collected from a driver at a Covid-19 testing center in London, on September 30. Dominic Lipinski/PA Images/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in England have increased by 56% in a week, according the latest figures from the UK government’s NHS Test and Trace.

At least 51,475 people tested positive for Covid-19 during the week of Sept. 24 through Sept. 30 –– a 56% increase from the previous week. According to the weekly Test and Trace roundup, positive figures have been “rising steeply over the past 5 weeks with over 7 times as many positive cases identified in the most recent week compared to the end of August.”

There has been an increase of 27% in the number of people tested since the end of August.

A total of at least 7,654,018 people have now been tested for coronavirus at least once in England since Test and Trace began on May 28.

9:01 a.m. ET, October 8, 2020

Another 840,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Paper covers the windows of a closed storefront on Madison Avenue in New York, on September 26.
Paper covers the windows of a closed storefront on Madison Avenue in New York, on September 26. Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The pace of America's jobs recovery continues to slow.

Another 840,000 workers filed for initial unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That was down from 849,000 in the previous week.

California has halted the processing of its initial claims for a second-straight week to work on its benefit backlog and fraud prevention. Thursday's report includes an estimate based on previous claims for the state.

Claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance stood at 464,437. PUA is targeted as those workers who aren't eligible for regular benefits, such as the self-employed.

Together, regular and PUA first-time claims stood at 1.3 million last week, on an unadjusted basis.

Continued claims, which count people who have filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 11 million, down almost 1 million.