October 16 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:26 AM ET, Sat October 17, 2020
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11:28 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Worst is still to come for US, warns influential Covid-19 modeler

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray.
Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray. Source: CNN

US President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is "rounding the turn."

But that's not the case, says influential Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray.

“If you look at the map in the US, what's happening is exactly what we expected,” Murray, the director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “(In) the whole northern half of the US, transmission is on the upswing.
“You look across all the northern countries in Europe, they're already well into the fall, winter surge and that's what's heading our way.”

The US has passed 8 million total cases of Covid-19 and recorded 63,000 fresh infections on Thursday -- a significant uptick from the daily numbers just a few weeks ago. More than 218,000 Americans have died from the virus.

“We expect the death toll, unfortunately, unless we change our behavior, is going to reach 390,000 deaths by February 1,” Murray said, citing IHME’s recent predictions.

“No, it's not over. The worst is still to come unfortunately.”

10:37 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

NYPD on alert after "uptick" in officer Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Brynn Gingras with contributions from Mirna Alsharif 

A police officer stands guard on 5th Avenue on June 12, in New York City.
A police officer stands guard on 5th Avenue on June 12, in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The New York City Police Department is observing “an uptick” in coronavirus cases, Detective Sophia Mason, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement to CNN.

“We are watching it very closely,” she said.

There are now 54 uniformed members and 18 civilian members who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are out sick, according to Mason, who declined to provide additional information, such as when the uptick was first observed.

In a local television interview Friday morning, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the department is doing its best to trace the cases.

9:18 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

California will avoid reopening in “fits and starts” ahead of winter months, governor says

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Angel Garcia carries Perrier into Cole Valley restaurant Zazie in San Francisco, California, on October 13.
Angel Garcia carries Perrier into Cole Valley restaurant Zazie in San Francisco, California, on October 13. Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday he plans to reopen California in a methodical way, avoiding “fits and starts,” as the state enters the fall and winter seasons.

“We are now reopening. We're doing it much more methodically, and we're doing it much more stubbornly, but in a way that I believe will ultimately aid our economic recovery,” Newsom said in an interview with the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank founded by ex-banker Michael Milken. 

Newsom said he believes California’s economy will benefit from not reopening in “fits and starts” as transmission rates rise over winter.

He noted that as the state slowly modified its original stay-at-home order, many Californians viewed it as a green light to revert to pre-pandemic lifestyles. 

“As a consequence, we started seeing mixing,” Newsom said. “We started seeing behavior that actually led to -- not a second wave, but a continuation of the first wave that we were able to temper.”

The governor has implemented a tiered reopening system for California, allowing counties to reopen in phases determined by their level of coronavirus spread. The state had reported 869,766 coronavirus cases and 16,855 deaths as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

 

7:37 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Federal government wants to deliver vaccine shots within a day or two of FDA approval, officials say

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A health worker wearing a protective mask works in a lab during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on Wednesday, September 9.
A health worker wearing a protective mask works in a lab during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on Wednesday, September 9. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The federal government hopes to start vaccinating people against coronavirus within a day or two of Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization, officials said Friday.

“We fully anticipate that both Pfizer and Moderna will have data of both safety and effectiveness of their vaccines very shortly. We are very encouraged because their clinical trials are going extraordinarily well,” Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Mango was announcing a plan for retail pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to distribute any eventual coronavirus vaccine to long-term care facilities such as nursing homes under an agreement – not a contract – with the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.

“Part of the reason we are doing this is within 24 to 48 hours of the time the emergency use authorization is authorized, we expect to be putting needles into people’s arms,” Mango said. “This is pre-staging for what we believe will be rapid deployment.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Jay Butler noted that a third of coronavirus deaths in the US have been among residents of long-term care facilities. “We believe that this plan will be the quickest and easiest way to provide vaccines to long-term care facility residents,” Butler told reporters.

The CDC asked states to submit plans for vaccine distribution Friday. Workers and residents of long-term care facilities are expected to be among the first to get vaccinated.

 

7:21 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

SEC announces changes to football schedule because of Covid-19 positive tests

From CNN's Jill Martin

The SEC logo on Dudley Field prior to a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and LSU Tigers, October 3, at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
The SEC logo on Dudley Field prior to a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and LSU Tigers, October 3, at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Southeastern Conference on Friday announced changes to the football schedule following the postponement of two games originally scheduled for Saturday because of positive Covid-19 tests and quarantining. 

On Monday, it was announced that because of positive tests and quarantine in the Vanderbilt football program, the Vanderbilt at Missouri game of Oct. 17 is rescheduled for Dec. 12. On Wednesday, it was announced that because of positive tests and quarantine in the Florida football program, the LSU at Florida game of Oct. 17 is rescheduled for Dec. 12.  

Because of extended pause of team activities for the Florida football program at the advice of health officials, the Missouri at Florida game originally scheduled for Oct. 24 is rescheduled for Oct. 31. 

The Kentucky at Missouri game, originally scheduled for Oct. 31, is rescheduled for Oct. 24.

The Georgia at Kentucky game that had been scheduled for Oct. 24 is rescheduled for Oct. 31.

7:09 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

As Covid-19 hospitalizations rise, NIH director warns more deaths may follow

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

As the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations tick up in the United States, an increase in the number of deaths will likely follow, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, warned Friday.

The US has passed the 8 million mark in total coronavirus cases, with more than 63,000 new infections on Thursday. More than 218,000 people have died.

“I also look at not just the number of cases, but hospitalizations — because that indicates people are really severely sick and they need to be in the hospital. And that curve has also started up again, which is troubling,” Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“And that probably means, unfortunately, that we may start now to see also an increase in the number of deaths each day — which is the thing we most want to prevent.” 

Collins urged Americans to ask themselves what they can do to help limit the spread of Covid-19. 

“This is a good moment for people to stop and ask themselves, what can I do to try to be sure that we limit the further infections that otherwise seem to be looming in front of us as cold weather is kicking in and people are indoors, and those curves are going upward, in the wrong direction,” Collins said. 

“There’s many reasons to be sorrowful about where we are,” he said. “This is the most significant global pandemic in more than 100 years, but the way in which it has taken a toll on so many individuals and families in the US is truly heartbreaking.”

“It’s truly tragic and we should be doing everything we can.”

Watch the interview here:

6:48 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Atlanta Public Schools postpone return to in-person learning until next year

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

APS Executive Administrator Pierre Gaither (left) and new APS superintendent Lisa Herring talk before the Swearing-In Ceremony at Atlanta Public Schools Headquarters in Atlanta on Tuesday, June 30.
APS Executive Administrator Pierre Gaither (left) and new APS superintendent Lisa Herring talk before the Swearing-In Ceremony at Atlanta Public Schools Headquarters in Atlanta on Tuesday, June 30. Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will postpone all reopening plans for in-person learning and continue with their current virtual model until at least January 2021, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring announced today.

The decision by APS comes after continued monitoring and tracking of Covid-19 health data that is trending unfavorably, consultation with public health officials and health care experts, and data secured to determine both feasibility and stakeholder feedback, Herring said in a release.

Covid-19 data published by the Georgia Department of Public Health shows recent increases in new Covid-19 cases in the community, resulting in a current average that exceeds 130 new cases per 100,000 county residents, according to the release.

“That number leaves us in substantial spread of COVID-19 and unable to reopen to in-person instruction,” Herring said.

“The decision to further delay the in-person opening of our schools was difficult. But after consulting with our teachers, staff, students, families, and public health officials, I decided this is the right approach at this time,” Herring added.

6:00 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Hispanics and Blacks died from Covid-19 at disproportionately high rates over the summer

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Hispanics and Black Americans are dying at a disproportionate rate due to Covid-19, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The study published Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report looked at the shifting demographics of deaths from the pandemic over the summer.

Between May and August, 114,411 Americans lost their lives to Covid-19. Elderly White men were among the largest number of deaths. 

But Black people accounted for nearly 18% of the deaths in this time period, despite making up just 12.5% of the US population. Hispanics accounted for more than 24% of deaths, but make up 18.5% of the population.

The demographics started to shift in the summer. The percentage of Hispanics who died increased from 16% to more than 26% of overall deaths between May and August, while the proportion of those who died who were White or Black decreased.

The CDC said that there was a geographic shift in deaths. The highest concentration of deaths early in the pandemic were in the Northeast, but the numbers shifted West and Southward. The geographic difference, though, can’t account for the increase in the percentage of deaths among the Hispanic community, the CDC said.

Researchers think the pandemic has been harder on the Hispanic community because they may have had a higher exposure to Covid-19 due to their work. Hispanics also are more likely to live in multifamily households or live with many generations in one family, making it hard to social distance.

Nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the pandemic have been in places where people live in group settings at a nursing home or long-term care facilities. Many of those deaths happened early on in the pandemic. But as nursing homes stopped allowing outside visitors and were more aggressively testing residents and isolating those who were sick, those deaths have slowed down and there has been a shift toward younger and noninstitutionalized populations over the course of the pandemic.

To limit the spread of the disease, the CDC continues to recommend people use face coverings, wash their hands frequently, keep physical distance from others and avoid large gatherings.

 

6:34 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

CVS and Walgreens will help distribute coronavirus vaccines

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Cars line up for a drive-thru coronavirus test at CVS Pharmacy on May 15, in Carver, Massachusetts. 
Cars line up for a drive-thru coronavirus test at CVS Pharmacy on May 15, in Carver, Massachusetts.  Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The federal government has designated CVS and Walgreens to distribute any coronavirus vaccine that eventually gets authorized to long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, Operation Warp Speed officials said Friday.

The two drug chains are best placed to send out mobile units to vaccinate seniors and other vulnerable people on site, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“This is a completely voluntary program on the part of every nursing home. This is an opt in program,” Mango said.

It will be up to the drug chains to figure out how to deliver the vaccines, including cold storage requirements and personal protective equipment. It will also be up to the retailers to collect from Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for administering the vaccines, which must be provided to people free of charge, officials said.

Mango said the Operation Warp Speed team did not have any idea of how many nursing homes would choose to use the retailers.

Earlier Friday, President Trump said seniors would be the first to get any vaccine. “Seniors will be the first in line for the vaccine. And we will soon be ending this pandemic,” Trump said on a visit to Fort Myers.