October 17 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Rob Picheta and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:06 AM ET, Sun October 18, 2020
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4:01 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic in the US

A worker places signs informing customers and employees to wear masks and socially distance outside a store in downtown Fargo, North Dakota on October 14.
A worker places signs informing customers and employees to wear masks and socially distance outside a store in downtown Fargo, North Dakota on October 14. Dan Koeck/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases this week, as experts say a dangerous fall surge of coronavirus infections is well underway.

Here's a look at the latest updates on the pandemic in the US:

  • The most new cases since July: The US reported at least 69,000 new Covid-19 infections Friday — the most in a single day since July. Additionally, at least 10 US states reported their highest single-day tallies of new Covid-19 infections Friday.
  • Trump events tonight: President Trump is holding rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin this evening. Both states set new records for the highest number of new cases reported in one day on Friday. Meanwhile, a Wisconsin doctor is urging residents to not hold any gatherings as coronavirus cases surge in the state. 
  • Outbreak tied to Trump rally: In Minnesota, public health officials say they've so far traced at least 20 cases of the virus back to a rally held by President Trump last month, or to related events. Of the 20 cases,16 are among people who attended the rally. Four people said they participated in counter-protests the same day, the state's health department told CNN.
  • A possible vaccine plan: In an open letter published Friday by Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, the company said it plans to apply for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine as early as November. "Assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," the letter said.

4:00 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Kamala Harris tests negative for Covid-19 ahead of her return to campaign trail

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright

 

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris was tested for Covid-19 Saturday, and the virus was not detected, per a Harris aide.

Earlier today, the Biden campaign announced that Kamala Harris would travel to Florida Monday, marking her first in-person event since the campaign halted her travel after a positive coronavirus case on her staff.

On Thursday, the campaign said Harris was canceling all her events through the weekend “out of an abundance of caution” after her communications director and a flight crew member from her plane tested positive for coronavirus. 

3:33 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

President Trump is on his way to Michigan for a rally

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 17. Trump will be heading on a three-day campaign trip which will take him to Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona.
President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 17. Trump will be heading on a three-day campaign trip which will take him to Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump is on his way to Michigan for a 5 p.m. ET rally in Muskegon. He'll have a second rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, later this evening.

He did not speak to reporters as he boarded Air Force One moments ago.

Some context: Both Michigan and Wisconsin are reporting a rise in coronavirus cases.

Michigan’s Friday Covid-19 case count of 2,015 was the state’s highest number of positive test results reported in one day, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Lynn Sutfin.

Wisconsin reported 3,861 coronavirus cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Its previous high was 3,747 on Thursday.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams addressed a surge of new cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin and said the state's test-positivity rates are "going in the wrong direction."

"It is critical that we actually understand where this virus is circulating so that we could get cases under control and reverse positivity," he said Friday in Neenah, Wisconsin, while announcing a new testing location there.

3:04 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

How some US states are responding to climbing coronavirus numbers

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Jason Hanna

Many states across the US are reporting rising coronavirus cases.

The upticks have prompted state leaders to push new measures, like mask enforcements and gathering limits, in hopes of curbing the spread.

  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced changes to the state's health measures, including requiring hospitals to reserve at least 10% of staffed general and ICU beds for Covid-19 patients.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week ordered new mass gathering limitations and a 10 p.m. closing time for establishments serving alcohol.
  • And in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said this month he instructed authorities to step up mask enforcement.

Meanwhile, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams addressed a surge of new cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin and said the state's test-positivity rates are "going in the wrong direction."

"It is critical that we actually understand where this virus is circulating so that we could get cases under control and reverse positivity," he said Friday in Neenah, Wisconsin, while announcing a new testing location there.

2:17 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Michigan reports its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Michigan’s Friday Covid-19 case count of 2,015 was the state’s highest number of positive test results reported in one day, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Lynn Sutfin.

News of the record comes just hours before President Trump is set to hold a rally in the state.

Sutfin told CNN they are closely tracking the data and the onset dates of illness for these cases for more precise insight into the spread of Covid-19 in Michigan.

“We are very concerned about the recent increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths and will continue to work to identify policies to protect people and slow the spread of COVID-19. It is imperative that everyone takes this very seriously and wears a mask, washes hands and maintains physical distancing,” Sutfin said.

President Trump is set to hold a rally in Muskegon, Michigan at 5 p.m. ET today. He'll have a second rally in Wisconsin later this evening.

1:43 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Ahead of Trump rally, Wisconsin doctor says people shouldn't be holding gatherings

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Trump is set to hold a campaign rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, later today — but a doctor is telling residents to not hold any gatherings as coronavirus cases surge in the state. 

“We’re seeing an unprecedented number of cases in the community. Rates [are] now approximately three to four times what they were during the course of the summer. And it's spreading quite quickly. So we're telling people they shouldn't be having any kind of indoor or outdoor gatherings with people, outside of the people that they actually live with at home,” said Dr. Michael Landrum, an infectious disease specialist at Bellin Health in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  

Wisconsin set a new record of 3,861 coronavirus cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The COVID Tracking Project reports Wisconsin’s positivity rate is at 23.91% as of Saturday morning.

“It’s spreading at large gatherings like weddings. It's spreading at small family gatherings. … Rates are so high in the community right now that even things that were perhaps once considered more safe, like a small interaction, someone coming over to your house to drop off some groceries and they come inside for a little bit, even that now we're seeing cases from those kinds of small interactions,” Landrum said in an interview on CNN. 

Watch:

1:33 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Alabama coach Nick Saban cleared to be at today's game after third negative Covid-19 test

From CNN’s Cesar Marin

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was cleared to be on the sideline for tonight's pivotal game against the University of Georgia after he tested negative for coronavirus for the third straight day according to the university.

"Those three negative tests satisfied the SEC protocol for a false positive," the team's physician, Dr. Jimmy Robinson said in a statement.

Here's the statement from Robinson:

“Upon evaluation today, Coach Saban remains completely asymptomatic. To address the potential for a false positive, the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol allows for follow-up testing to clear the individual’s return to activity. That protocol requires three negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. 
Because Coach Saban remained asymptomatic, he received PCR testing at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and today through the SEC appointed lab. Each of those tests were negative and were reported via the SEC’s third-party testing provider to the conference office in Birmingham. Those three negative tests satisfied the SEC protocol for a false positive. Out of an abundance of caution, two additional PCR tests were administered at the same time on Thursday and Friday and were tested by a separate lab. Those tests were also negative. 
Due to the fact that Coach Saban has remained completely symptom-free and had five negative PCR tests, split between two separate labs, the initial test from Wednesday is considered a false positive under the SEC protocols. Again, that initial positive result came from an outside lab we’ve used to supplement the SEC mandated testing. We have been in constant communication with the conference office throughout this process to ensure compliance with all applicable protocols. In accordance with the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol and with the approval of The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force, Coach Saban is medically cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately.”
1:25 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

More than 218,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Hollie Silverman  

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally, there have been at least 8,069,856 cases of coronavirus in the US since the pandemic began. At least 218,812 people have died in the US from coronavirus.   

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.  

As of 1:15 p.m. ET today, 20,991 new cases and 237 new deaths have been reported in the US since midnight.  

1:18 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

A look at the latest coronavirus numbers in the Carolinas

From CNN's Natasha Chen and Melissa Alonso  

North Carolina health officials reported 2,102 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

This marks the third consecutive day the state reports more than 2,000 new cases, CNN's tally shows.  

The state department reported 2,684 new cases on Friday, the state's current record, and 2,532 cases on Thursday, CNN has reported.  

North Carolina's total cases now stands at 243,725, according to the health department's dashboard

Meanwhile, South Carolina Health officials reported 810 new Covid-19 cases and 22 deaths on Saturday, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 

This brings the total number of cases in South Carolina to 156,655 while confirmed deaths stand at 3,427, DHEC data shows.  

DHEC reported the state's percent positive yesterday was 11.4%, not including antibody tests. 

Remember: These numbers were released by state public health agencies, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project