October 16 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Nick Thompson, CNN

Updated 12:26 AM ET, Sat October 17, 2020
29 Posts
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8:20 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Wales is considering a short "fire-break" lockdown

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

Wales could be placed under a short "fire-break" lockdown as officials try to curb a sharp rise in cases.

First Minister Mark Drakeford warned Friday that such a lockdown could last two to three weeks.

Under the plan, people would be asked to stay-in and businesses would close. "The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be," Drakeford said. 

"We are considering all this because the situation is so serious that we have no option but to look at new and different ways to keep Wales and keep you safe," he added.

The UK government's top scientific advisers have also urged ministers to impose a short national lockdown also known as a "circuit breaker."

"Doing nothing is not an option," Drakeford said Friday.

His comments come after Wales announced that it will ban travelers from high coronavirus hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, starting Friday.

In a tweet, Drakeford said he was introducing the travel ban as there had been “no formal response” from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after Drakeford sent him two letters asking him to restrict travel into Wales.

8:00 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

London despairs at new Covid rules as northern England regions rebel

From CNN's Emma Reynolds, Zahid Mahmood and Phil Black

Commuters in London wait at a bus stop on October 15.
Commuters in London wait at a bus stop on October 15. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Londoners have expressed confusion and doubt over coronavirus lockdown restrictions announced Thursday that will affect millions living in the city.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the British capital would move from the Tier 1 "medium" alert to Tier 2 "high" alert level on Saturday, urging London residents to support government efforts to suppress the spread of the virus.

Pubs and restaurants already had a 10 p.m. curfew under Tier 1, but the new rules mean Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors in any setting. Outdoor gatherings will continue to be limited to six people, and people are advised to avoid using public transport where possible.

Schools, places of worship and businesses can remain open, leading many to question the restrictions.

"I'm fed up," Rebecca Duncan, a 39-year-old from south London, told CNN.

It's like one thing starts to open up and life starts to seem slightly normal, and then something else comes along and pushes us all back."

She called the new rules "ridiculous," noting that she could still go to the gym, get a massage or sit next to strangers in a cafe, but couldn't mix with anyone from another household.

Read more:

8:23 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

A curfew in 10 French cities begins at midnight. Here's what you need to know

From CNN's Pierre Bairin and Eva Tapiero in Paris and Sarah Dean in London

Men walk past empty restaurants at Place du Tertre in Paris on October 15.
Men walk past empty restaurants at Place du Tertre in Paris on October 15. Chesnot/Getty Images

A night-time curfew will be imposed on Paris and nine other French cities starting at midnight local time on Friday.

The restrictions come as France reported a record 30,621 new daily Covid-19 cases on Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the state of emergency measure on Wednesday in a bid to slow the surge.

"The aim is to reduce private contacts, which are the most dangerous contacts," Macron said.

The curfew will last until 6 a.m. Saturday, and will then resume from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night for four weeks.

It could possibly be extended to six weeks, pending parliamentary approval.

Here's what you need to know about the restrictions:

Where will the curfew come into force?

The curfew will apply Paris, Aix-Marseille (which hosts the two cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille), Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille and Lyon.

How will it be enforced?

People who violate the night-time curfew will be fined 135 euros (about $160) for a first offense. That rises to 1,500 euros ($1,760) if the offense is repeated, Macron said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also said a 12,000-strong police force will enforce the curfew and people breaking the curfew will be fined up to 3,750 euros. A third violation could result in a three-month jail sentence.

Are there any exemptions?

People working, traveling for health reasons such as going to the hospital or pharmacy, catching a train or a plane after 9 p.m. or caring for loved ones will be allowed to travel during curfew -- as long as they have proof of their reason.

People will need to fill out a certificate declaring their movement as they did during France's spring lockdown.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that people will be allowed to walk their pets after 9 p.m.

On Friday morning, Castex tweeted: “The number of confirmed cases had increased by 53% in just a week – this demanded a strong response from the state and local authorities.”

7:38 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Indianapolis Colts shut down practice facility after positive tests

From CNN's Martijn Edelman in Atlanta

The Indianapolis Colts have shut down their practice facility in Indiana after several people within the organization tested positive for Covid-19.

"This morning, we were informed that several individuals within our organization have tested posted for Covid-19," a team spokesperson said Friday.
"The team is currently in the process of confirming those tests."

The statement added that the team would work remotely while the tests were confirmed. The Colts are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and it's unclear as of now whether the positive tests could lead to the game being delayed.

To date, 12 NFL games have been postponed or rescheduled as a result of positive Covid-19 tests.

On Wednesday the NFL cancelled the 2021 Pro Bowl, its annual all-star game, for the first time since 1949.

7:34 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Health information was supposed to unite us. Here's why it hasn't

From Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez

The statistics, recommendations, new studies and predictions haven't stopped coming since the onset of the pandemic.

Covid-19 and the coronavirus that causes this disease is constantly making headlines. Yet while doctors have become permanent fixtures on the news, the public hasn't always come along on the messy, and at times unpredictable, journey around the science.

The very same information that was supposed to unite and guide Americans through the pandemic has further divided us. As we ask ourselves how we got here, it's imperative to understand that the information itself is only a small part of the equation.

Health information, like all other types of information these days, is landing on a divided country.

Read more:

8:16 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Second English region moves to highest Covid-19 alert level after case surge

From CNN's Simon Cullen and Lauren Kent in London

People in Morecambe, England, wait for a bus on October 16.
People in Morecambe, England, wait for a bus on October 16. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Lancashire, in northwest England, will be placed under stringent restrictions after moving to the country's highest Covid-19 alert level.

The UK government had clashed with local leaders who wanted to avoid the measure, but the council officials agreed to the restrictions Friday.

Under the government restrictions, pubs and bars not serving food will close and indoor social gatherings with people from different households are banned.

The rules will be imposed from 12:01am Saturday.

Officials also recommend against travelling in and out of the region, where cases have surged in recent days.

Lancashire is the second region in England to be placed under Tier 3 rules after Liverpool earlier this week.

The decision comes as talks between leaders in the separate Greater Manchester area and the UK government stalled.

The government wants Manchester and surrounding areas to move to the highest alert level, but local leaders have rejected the request, fearing catastrophic economic damage.

Britain is in the midst of a second Covid-19 wave. The country has reported a total of 676,455 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

6:45 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Poland reports highest daily death toll

From CNN's Artur Osinski

Poland has suffered its highest daily Covid-19 death count, reporting 132 fatalities on Friday.

There have now been a total of 3,440 deaths according to the country's health ministry.

Poland is seeing a steep rise in cases along with much of Europe. On Friday it also reported 7,705 new cases of the virus, the second-highest daily case count after Thursday’s record of 8,099 cases.

Poland's prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, entered quarantine Tuesday after coming into contact with an infected person.

The country has reported 157,608 cases in total.

7:45 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

New Covid-19 cases in Europe are rising far quicker than in the US

From CNN"s Tim Lister in Spain

A person is tested for Covid-19 in Lille, France, on October 15.
A person is tested for Covid-19 in Lille, France, on October 15. Michel Spingler/AP

The rise in new Covid-19 cases in Europe is far higher than the rise in the US, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

The surge in the five worst-affected European nations was nearly 42% higher than the increase in the US in the week from October 6 to 13, according to JHU's seven-day moving average of new cases.

On October 13, that daily average in the US stood at 49,542. In the five worst-hit European countries -- France, the UK, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands -- the total daily average of new cases stood at 70,158 on the same day.

The population of the five European countries is 343 million, while the US population is 331 million. 

Europe is in the midst of a second wave of Covid-19 which has spread rapidly across the continent.

Poland, Belgium and the Czech Republic have all seen sharp increases in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks. Poland reported 8,099 new cases on Thursday -- a 24% increase on the previous day's tally, itself a record.

France and the Netherlands have also seen dramatic increases in the numbers of new cases this month.  

But the US situation remains critical. The country's moving average of cases has begun trending upward again after falling from a peak of well over 70,000 in July. 

The JHU data also shows a rapid decline in new cases registered in India, and a notable if less dramatic fall in Brazil. 

6:29 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

England’s higher Covid death rate for ethnic minorities linked to inequality

The higher coronavirus death rate for ethnic minority groups in England and Wales could be due to socio-economic factors, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS.)

The divide is most stark for men from Black African backgrounds, who die at a rate 3.8 times higher than White counterparts, while the rate for women of Black African ethnicity is 2.9 times higher.

These rates drop slightly when researchers accounted for geography, socio-economic characteristics and health measures, including pre-existing conditions. But the rate for Black African men remained 2.5 times higher than White peers, while the rate for women was 2.1 times higher.

"All ethnic groups other than Chinese females were at higher risk of Covid-19 mortality than the White ethnic population," the ONS found. The divide was "most strongly associated with demographic and socio-economic factors" and could not be explained by "pre-existing health conditions."

The trend has been covered in multiple reports and inquiries and the UK government remains under pressure to address the issue.

Today’s report confirms that when adjusting for age, rates of death involving Covid-19 remain greater for most ethnic minority groups, and most notably so for people of Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic background," Ben Humberstone, Deputy Director of the the ONS Health and Life Events Division, said in a statement Friday.

He added that the difference in risk of death was partially explained by "demographic, geographical and socioeconomic factors, such as where you live or the occupation you’re in."

"It also found that although specific pre-existing conditions place people at greater risk of Covid-19 mortality generally, it does not explain the remaining ethnic background differences in mortality.”