October 18 coronavirus news

By Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020
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4:49 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Trump visits states with large Covid outbreaks, but doesn't acknowledge the spikes

Trump speaks in Wisconsin on Friday.
Trump speaks in Wisconsin on Friday. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

As President Trump visited two states seeing major spikes in Covid-19 cases, he did not talk about the rising rates there or what the administration may do to try to curb the increases being seen nationwide.

Trump went to Michigan -- which on Thursday and Friday saw more than 2,000 cases each day, its highest daily case rates yet -- and Wisconsin, which set records this week regarding its case numbers. Friday was the sixth highest case total since the start of the pandemic.

At both rallies, and in keeping with his previous events, thousands of attendees did not wear masks. However, those who were chosen by the campaign to sit right behind the President at both events to be captured as part of television images of the President speaking were seen wearing Trump masks. Neither event featured social distancing. 

Trump's speeches covered familiar ground, with the President claiming the nation needs to open up, China is to blame for the virus, and he has recovered quickly. He also touted what he claimed was his immunity towards the virus, although it is not known if that is medically accurate. 

In Janesville, Wisconsin, Trump again emphasized erroneously that the nation was "rounding the corner," even as it heads into what appears to be a third spike in cases. "You’ll see it. We’re rounding the corner,” he said. A vaccine for the virus is close, Trump claimed, “except for a little politics." There is no evidence that progress towards a vaccine has been slowed due to political machinations.

Trump told his supporters how some states previously have seen spikes but are now going in the right direction: “My plan will crush the virus and will make Wisconsin greater than ever before, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s going to happen fast."

He also erroneously blamed reports of increases – which actually come from non-partisan universities – on Democrats.

During the rally in Muskegon, Michigan, he blamed the pandemic for his current political standing, without citing evidence. “You know, we were leading by so much, this thing wasn't even going to be an election, and then we had the plague come in. You know, this was, I had to go back to work on this stuff.”

Trump did talk about his recovery in both rallies. “Hey I'm here! Me I'm here. Right?” he told the Michigan crowd. 

3:59 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

New Mexico sees 101% surge in hospitalizations

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

A sign at the University of New Mexico encourages students to wear a mask.
A sign at the University of New Mexico encourages students to wear a mask. Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The US state of New Mexico is experiencing a 101% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations so far this month, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a tweet Saturday. 

A total of 173 people are currently hospitalized with the virus in the state, according to the governor. 

On Saturday 577 new coronavirus cases were reported for a total of 36,343 cases in total statewide, Lujan Grisham said.

This comes after the state saw three record breaking days for new Covid-19 cases this week, according to a tweet from the governor Friday.

One additional death was reported Saturday for a total of 929 deaths statewide, she said.

"Every New Mexican can and must do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, limiting their interactions with others, and wearing their masks," Lujan Grisham said in another tweet. 

The governor already tightened restrictions in the state earlier this week due to the rise in cases. The new rules started Friday and include bars and restaurants having to close by 10 p.m. local time and mass gatherings being limited to only five people.

3:57 a.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Slovakia's PM demands mass testing of entire population for Covid-19

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Slovakia's Prime Minister Igor Matovic (right) and its President Zuzana Caputova (left).
Slovakia's Prime Minister Igor Matovic (right) and its President Zuzana Caputova (left). JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images

Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic announced plans Saturday to test everyone aged 10 years and over in the country for Covid-19, Slovakian news agency TASR reported.

After seeing a recent surge of infections across Slovakia, Matovic explained that it was his belief the only way to contain the outbreak is through mass testing.  

Speaking to the nation in a televised address, Matovic promised that if the widespread testing does not happen, he would tender his resignation.

“I’m afraid that the current protective measures have thus been rendered useless,” Matovic said. “At any rate, this mass testing cannot hurt, it can only help us.” 

According to TASR, Matovic said “testing will be free-of-charge” for the population of 5.4 million. The campaign is expected to take place over two weekends starting at the end of October. 

It is not yet known whether participation will be mandatory, TASR said.