October 18 coronavirus news

By Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020
16 Posts
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11:47 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

NFL reports no new positive Covid-19 tests

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball while being tackled by Jayon Brown of the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at Nissan Stadium on October 13, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball while being tackled by Jayon Brown of the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at Nissan Stadium on October 13, in Nashville, Tennessee. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The National Football League confirmed there are no new positive tests for Covid-19 ahead of Sunday’s action, a league source told CNN. 

The league has 12 games scheduled for Sunday and two more on Monday. 

11:19 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

UK records more than 16,000 new Covid-19 cases 

From CNN’s Lindsay Isaac in London 

The UK recorded another 16,982 on Sunday, an increase of 811 from Saturday. 

The number of deaths however saw a decrease to 67 in the past 24 hours, according to government data

10:57 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Trump tweets rare acknowledgement coronavirus cases are rising

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

President Trump tweeted a rare acknowledgement that cases are indeed rising across the country, and that the US is not turning the corner away from the pandemic, as he has repeatedly claimed in campaign appearances.

“The United States shows more CASES than other countries,” Trump tweeted, “because it TESTS at such a high (and costly) level. No country in the world tests at this level. The more you TEST, the more CASES you will be reporting. Very simple!”

His claim that the Covid-19 spikes are due solely to increased testing, however, is a well-worn argument his White House has promoted since the summer. This is the same line Trump frequently used during previous increases in cases – a suggestion that the only reason for the rising case numbers was an increase in cases. It wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now. 

Some more context: While the number of daily tests has been rising, there is no doubt we’re seeing an increase in the actual spread of the virus, not just seeing more cases being captured by testing.

One telltale sign: hospitalizations are also rising; we’re seen major hospitalization increases in various states. Also, the national test positivity rate has also been rising since late September; in some states, it has seen a sharp spike.

10:04 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Health Secretary Azar blames Covid-19 spikes on "mitigation fatigue"

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar testifies before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 2.
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar testifies before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 2. Michael A. McCoy/AFP/Getty Images

Health Secretary Alex Azar blamed a rise in US coronavirus cases on “mitigation fatigue,” and he said he wished more seniors had worn masks at an indoor event President Trump held in Fort Myers, Florida, on Friday.  

“Cases are increasing,” Azar acknowledged on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’re seeing this happen because we’re getting colder weather and were losing that natural social distancing that happens from being out of doors.”

“People are getting tired,” he added. “We’re seeing mitigation fatigue right now.”

Azar encouraged people to continue to adhere to guidelines about face coverings, hand-washing and maintaining social distance in an effort to create what he described as a “bridge” to the time when a vaccine and treatments become available.

“Be mindful of those indoor household gatherings,” he said. “Just because you’re related to someone or friends with someone doesn’t mean you can’t transmit.”

Trump has frequently held large gatherings, in defiance of the wishes of local officials, where social distancing does not happen and people do not wear masks. Many, but not all, are outdoors. 

Pressed on Trump’s indoor event in Fort Myers, which Azar attended, the health secretary argued masks were provided and social distancing was attempted. 

“I wish everybody there would’ve worn face coverings and maintained social distancing,” he said. 

Azar said herd immunity regarding coronavirus — when a percentage of people have become sick and achieved immunity thereby protecting the rest of the population — is not the current policy of the administration.  

“No, that’s not our policy. It’s a desire through vaccination to get to herd immunity,” he said. “The desire is reduce cases, reduce cases, reduce hospitalizations, reduce fatalities.”

He added it was the overall goal of the administration to achieve that in the future once there is large distribution of a vaccine which will protect most people.

9:56 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Switzerland announces nationwide mask mandate

From CNN’s Hira Humayun in Atlanta

Switzerland announced on Sunday a series of measures including a mask mandate to curb the spread of Covid-19, to go into effect on Monday.

According to a government press release, the Swiss Federal Council introduced national measures such as a mandate to wear masks in publicly-accessible indoor areas.

Masks were required on public transport for those over the age of 12 since early July, but the additional measures will require masks at publicly accessible public transport areas such as railway stations (including platforms), airports, bus stops and tram stops as well. Masks are now also required in indoor spaces like shops, post offices, banks, museums, libraries, sports facilities, restaurants and other publicly accessibly spaces.

Masks are also required in schools, higher education institutes and child-care facilities.

The government also banned spontaneous public gatherings of more than 15 people in public places such as town squares, streets, paths and parks. Organized outdoor events such as demonstrations however, are allowed provided precautionary measures are followed. For private events of more than 15 people, food and drink should only being consumed when seated, and anyone standing up must wear a mask. For private events, hygiene rules need to be followed and contact details for those in attendance must be recorded.

“The rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the last few days is a cause for great concern,” the government said, pointing to the rising number of cases and number of hospitalizations.

“Since 19 June, the cantons have played the lead role in combating the COVID-19 epidemic in Switzerland,” the press release added, “The Confederation still expects the cantons to conduct widespread testing, implement a sound system of contract tracing and employ targeted measures to help fight the epidemic.”

10:05 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Pelosi says they must reach agreement within 48 hours to get stimulus bill before Election Day

From CNN's Manu Raju and Nicky Robertson

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on October 9, in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on October 9, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must reach an agreement within 48 hours if they want to pass a stimulus bill before Election Day. 

She also said the White House has watered down language Democrats have been pushing to create a national plan for Covid-19 testing and contact tracing.

“The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” Pelosi said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Pelosi also noted that the Trump Administration had changed much of the language on testing and tracing after the two sides seemingly came to an agreement last week.

“They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing,” Pelosi said, and noted that they are “seeking clarity” on the details of the language.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke Saturday evening for more than an hour.

8:57 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Trump defends rallies in states reporting rising coronavirus cases

From CNN's Ali Main and Daniella Mora

President Donald Trump gestures during a rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin on October 17.
President Donald Trump gestures during a rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin on October 17. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump defended holding large rallies as nearly every state in the country is seeing coronavirus cases trending in the wrong direction in an interview with CNN affiliate WTMJ on Saturday.

Although he did not address the surges during his Saturday rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin, the President was directly asked by the local Wisconsin station whether he was sending the wrong message with his actions.

"Well, I don't think so because I'm not a big shutdown believer," Trump responded. He claimed his campaign only holds outdoor rallies and that the crowds were largely masked, saying later he "didn't see anyone without" a mask at one of his rallies on Friday. Although some people have been wearing masks at Trump's recent rallies, many have not.

He also said his campaign has heard of no "incidences" where there's been a "problem" with the virus after one of his rallies.

Some more context: CNN reported on Friday that the Minnesota Department of Health says it has so far traced 20 cases of Covid-19 back to Trump's rally in Bemidji last month, or to related events. And the city of Tulsa experienced a surge in coronavirus cases a little over 2 weeks after Trump held an indoor rally there in June. There were also other large events in the city around the same time.

Faced with the record setting case count in Wisconsin, the President railed against lockdowns and touted his political success in the state in 2016.

"If you take a look at your state, which I love very much and, you know, we had a great victory there, but if you take a look at your state, they've been shut down and they've been locked down and locked up and, you know, they've been doing it for a long time and, at some point, you also have to be able to understand the disease," Trump said.

Pressed later on the fact that Wisconsin is not completely shut down, Trump said although the state has been "very toughly run," "frankly, it's not doing as well as a lot of other states," adding he wanted the state to do well and pivoting to talk about his administration's assistance to governors and progress on vaccines and therapeutics.

8:49 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Coronavirus cases are increasing in 29 US states — and only 2 are reporting decreases

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

There are only two states in the country — Vermont and Missouri — that are reporting a more than 10% improvement in the average number of reported cases over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, cases in Connecticut and Florida increased by 50% or more. Another 27 states rose between 10% and 50%.

Here's a state-by-state look at coronavirus cases across the US:

8:14 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

More than 219,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There have been at least 8,106,384 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 219,286 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

On Saturday, Johns Hopkins University reported 57,519 new cases and 711 new deaths. 

Keep in mind: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Saturday that due to routine maintenance and updates to their data reporting system, we will not see any new data from the state of Wisconsin on Saturday or Sunday.