October 18 coronavirus news

By Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020
26 Posts
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3:38 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

France reports nearly 30,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

From CNN's Pierre Buet in Paris

Restaurants and cafés close before curfew in Paris, which started at 9 p.m. on October 17.
Restaurants and cafés close before curfew in Paris, which started at 9 p.m. on October 17. Adnan Farzat/NurPhoto/Getty Images

French health authorities announced 29,837 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Sunday, a figure above 25,000 for the fourth day in a row.

Case numbers released on Sundays tend to be lower because of less testing on weekends, though this is the highest number of new cases recorded on a Sunday in France since the start of the pandemic 

This comes a day after France set a new record for daily Covid-19 infections on Saturday, with 32,427 cases reported in 24 hours. 

In France, at least 33,477 people have died from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, including 85 in the past 24 hours. Positivity rate of tests is 13.2%.

France has the eighth highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world according Johns Hopkins University.

3:21 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Connecticut and New Jersey appear to have qualified for their own travel restrictions

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Transportation Security Administration workers walk through Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on September 8, when the new COVID-19 testing facility, XpresCheck, was made available for passengers.
Transportation Security Administration workers walk through Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on September 8, when the new COVID-19 testing facility, XpresCheck, was made available for passengers. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Both Connecticut and New Jersey appear to have qualified for their own travel restrictions that require out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for two weeks, according to a CNN review of Census Bureau population estimates and case counts on the states’ respective Covid-19 data dashboards. 

First, some background: On June 24, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut issued a joint travel advisory requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine for residents arriving from states with either a seven-day average percent positivity greater than 10% or a seven-day average daily case count higher than 10 per 100k residents, or .01%. 

Using the most recent Census Bureau population estimates of 3.56 million and 8.88 million for Connecticut and New Jersey respectively, both states appear to have just barely surpassed the latter threshold this month:

  • From Oct. 9 through Oct. 15, Connecticut’s seven-day average of cases stood at 366.43 cases.
  • New Jersey’s daily average currently stands at 922.86 cases from Oct. 12 through noon Sunday.

That amounts to just above .01% of each state’s respective population. 

The 1,282 new cases the New Jersey Department of Health reported Sunday afternoon pushed the state back over the edge of the .01% threshold. It had first crossed the mark for the period Oct. 8 through Oct. 14. 

On Oct. 8, the health department had reported 1,301 cases, the largest daily increase since late May. Governor Phil Murphy called it a “sobering number” at the time. 

The Connecticut Department for Public Health has not yet updated its dashboard with case tallies for Friday through this weekend.  

New York, meanwhile, has thus far steered clear of meeting the criteria for the tri-state travel advisory. It currently has a seven-day average percent positivity of 1% and seven-day average of 1,427.86 cases. Using the Census Bureau’s population estimate of 19.45 million, the seven-day average amounts to .0073%, below the threshold of 10 cases per 100k residents, or .01%. 

So what happens now? Neither the office of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont nor the Connecticut Department of Public Health immediately responded to CNN’s requests for comment on whether state officials will revise the tri-state travel advisory this week. 

During a Covid-19 news briefing Thursday, Gov. Lamont said he would consider revising the criteria for the travel rules.  

A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Murphy declined to comment further beyond his comments Thursday during a Covid-19 press conference. 

“We’re already on other states’ lists. Our job is to not complain about being on those lists but to do everything we can to break the back of the numbers and get it into shape, and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on,” Murphy said, adding that it’s best to avoid interstate travel in general during the pandemic. 

A spokesperson for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

There are currently 38 states on the tri-state travel advisory list as of Oct. 13. State officials are slated to update it every Tuesday. 

NOTE: These numbers were released by the states and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

3:16 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Pelosi says she still hopes to "find common ground" with the Trump Administration on stimulus

Nancy Pelosi during the Weekly News Conference on Capitol Hill on October 08. Pelosi spoke on the uncertainty around negotiations of another emergency COVID-19 relief package.
Nancy Pelosi during the Weekly News Conference on Capitol Hill on October 08. Pelosi spoke on the uncertainty around negotiations of another emergency COVID-19 relief package. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the language the Trump Administration sent to House Democrats concerning what would be funded for coronavirus testing under a stimulus agreement, she said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues Sunday. 

“While there was some encouraging news, much work remains,” she wrote arguing Democrats had been assured there would only be a “light touch” of editing of their language but instead it was major changes.

Earlier Sunday she said there would need to be an agreement with the Administration within 48 hours in order for a bill to be passed by Election Day. Her office said that timeframe would end Tuesday evening. 

“These unacceptable changes include, but are not limited to, the White House’s refusal to commit to a science-based national plan for testing, tracing, and treatment to crush the virus. The White House has removed 55 percent of the Heroes Act’s language for testing, tracing, and treatment. Especially disappointing was the elimination of measures to address the virus’s disproportionate and deadly impact on communities of color.  

“The White House does not appreciate the need to direct resources to culturally competent contact tracing,” Pelosi wrote. “Instead of recognizing the need for a strategic plan, they have changed words including ‘shall’ to ‘may,’ ‘requirement’ to ‘recommendation,’ and ‘strategic plan’ to ‘strategy.’”

She continued: “We are hoping to find common ground,” she wrote her colleagues. “I am optimistic that we can reach agreement before the election. To that end, we are writing language as we negotiate the priorities, so that we are fully prepared to move forward once we reach agreement.”

2:39 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Illinois reports more than 4,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Travelers walk through Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, on October 14.
Travelers walk through Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, on October 14. Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Sunday 4,245 new Covid-19 cases and 22 additional deaths. 

The preliminary seven-day positivity rate in the state is 5.3%. The state is also reporting 2,012 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 as of last night, including 408 patients in the ICU and 157 on ventilators. 

Illinois has reported 344,048 coronavirus cases to date and 9,214 total deaths. 

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

2:35 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Minnesota reports more than 1,700 new Covid-19 cases and 17 additional deaths 

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Minnesota reported 1,732 new Covid-19 cases Sunday and 17 additional deaths, according to the state's department of health

This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state to 122,812 and 2,234 total deaths. 

The latest data from John Hopkins University shows Minnesota has seen daily coronavirus case counts of more than 1,000 for 10 consecutive days. The state reported its highest daily count since the pandemic started, 2,290, on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins. 

NOTE: New Covid-19 numbers reported Sunday were released by the Minnesota Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

1:38 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Cuomo says National Governors Association sent the White House questions about vaccine distribution

From CNN's Laura Ly

Office of the Governor, New York
Office of the Governor, New York

The National Governors Association (NGA), a bipartisan association of the nation’s governors, has submitted a list of 36 questions to the White House about how to properly distribute and administer a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Sunday.

Cuomo said that although New York state authorities are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect New York lives, he said state governments will need the assistance of the federal government to safely and effectively coordinate vaccine distribution.

“This is a larger operational undertaking than anything we have done under Covid to date,” Cuomo said. “We need the federal government to be a competent partner.”

According to Cuomo, the questions that the NGA has submitted to the White House include:

  • How will the vaccine be allocated to the states – by infection rate? By population? 
  • Who determines how many doses each state will get?
  • Is there a national strategy for prioritization when vaccine supply runs short?
  • What latitude will states have in determining prioritization? 
  • Who will pay for the vaccine and all of its related personnel costs?
12:36 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Covid-19 positivity rate in New York's "red zones" is 3.19% and overall state rate is 1.08%, governor says

People walk past closed stores in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on October 9.
People walk past closed stores in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on October 9. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The average Covid-19 positivity rate in New York’s specific “red zone” focus areas in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, and Orange Counties is currently 3.19%, down from 4.34% on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

New York’s overall positivity rate, with the red zones included, is 1.08%, Cuomo said.

As of Saturday, 1,784 more New Yorkers have tested positive for Covid-19 and 7 more have died, Cuomo said.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by New York state, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

2:07 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

Italy reports 5th day of record increases in Covid-19 cases 

From CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo in Rome   

People wearing protective masks walk across the Piazza del Duomo in Milan on October 17. Italy's government has made it mandatory to wear face protection outdoors, in an attempt to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
People wearing protective masks walk across the Piazza del Duomo in Milan on October 17. Italy's government has made it mandatory to wear face protection outdoors, in an attempt to counter the spread of the coronavirus. Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Italy has recorded a record daily increase of coronavirus cases for the fifth day running, with another 11,705 positives reported, the national Civil Protection Agency said Sunday.    

There have been an additional 69 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of deaths to 36,543.  

As of Sunday, 750 coronavirus patients remain in ICU – up by 45.   

12:23 p.m. ET, October 18, 2020

New York ski resorts can open at 50% indoor capacity beginning next month, governor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

Ski resorts in New York state will be allowed to open at 50% indoor capacity beginning on Nov. 6, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Here are the restrictions at reopened ski resorts:

  • Masks will be required at all times, except when eating, drinking or skiing. 
  • Social distancing is required between parties.
  • Ski gondolas and lifts must be restricted to members of the same party.
  • Ski lessons will be limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Shared rental equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Food, beverage, retail and shuttle operations must conform to social distancing guidance.
  • Mountain capacity must be reduced by 25% on “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to poor conditions.