October 19 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020
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10:19 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Only 2 US states show a downward trend in Covid-19 cases. Here's a look at the latest figures. 

From CNN's Brandon Miller and Madeline Holcombe

As of early Monday morning, there were more than 8 million cases and over 219,000 coronavirus deaths in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Health experts say the predicted fall surge is here, and rising cases across the US appear to bear that out.

Here's what the data shows:

  • Only 2 states are showing downward trends by at least 10% in new Covid-19 cases compared to the previous week — Hawaii and Vermont. 
  • 27 states are showing upward trends.  
  • 21 states are showing steady trends.

Here's a look at where cases are rising across the country:

Despite the climbing totals, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a nationwide lockdown is not the way forward unless the pandemic gets "really, really bad."

"No, put shut down away and say, 'We're going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go,'" he said during an interview on "60 Minutes" Sunday night.

Instead of seeing restrictions as a roadblock to an open economy, Fauci told CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook during the interview the fatigued American public should see public health measures as a way to safely keep it open.

Americans can help get the virus under control, experts say, by heeding guidelines touted by officials for months: avoiding crowded settings, keeping a distance, keeping small gatherings outdoors and wearing a mask.

Hear from the mayor Austin, Texas:

8:52 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline to approve a stimulus deal before the election. Here's what you need to know. 

From Phil Mattingly and Paul LeBlanc

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during a television interview in Washington, D.C., on October 9.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during a television interview in Washington, D.C., on October 9. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday set a Tuesday deadline for her and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to reconcile significant policy disputes if they want to pass a relief bill before November 3. That time frame brings enormous pressure for a fast breakthrough that will have implications for millions of Americans struggling with the fallout of a still-raging pandemic.

However, a deal has evaded negotiators for months as the Trump administration and Pelosi have been hundreds of billions of dollars apart on topline numbers — as well as what should be included, and it's unclear if those key sticking points can be resolved before Pelosi's deadline.

Here's what you need to know about stimulus negotiations:

  • The bottom line: Pelosi expressed optimism in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday that a deal can be reached, but the hurdles facing each stage of what would be necessary to get something actually passed are numerous and each about a mile high. The best-case scenario, people involved say, is Pelosi and the administration strike some kind of deal in principle that could be drafted and considered after the election. But given the outstanding issues, even that will be quite a feat in the next 24 hours, people involved say.
  • What to watch on Monday: House Democrats will hold a private caucus conference call that will include an update on where things stand. Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak by phone Monday afternoon.
  • Days until the election: Fifteen.
  • Reality check: Over the course of the last five days, Pelosi and Mnuchin have spent roughly three and a half hours on the phone in negotiations, with staff working behind the scenes on various pieces of the talks. Pelosi, in a letter to colleagues on Sunday, outlined five central areas where there remained significant disagreement. Those listed issues didn't even include things like unemployment insurance and liability protections. As Pelosi noted: "These are a few of the issues that were discussed this weekend, but they are not exhaustive of our concerns." In other words, negotiators essentially have about a day to bridge divides that have existed since the start of these talks -- and despite months of meetings and calls, including several the last week, haven't come close to resolution.
  • That said: The effort between Pelosi and Mnuchin (and their respective staffs) is real. The push for an agreement is real. The array of major things that would have to perfectly — and quickly — fall into line for any agreement to actually go anywhere should one be reached is daunting. But this is a genuine effort to break a logjam that has been locked into place for months.
  • The clock: That Pelosi put the deadline on Mnuchin and the administration underscores that progress, to the extent it has occurred, has moved about as quickly as a fly through molasses. Even on areas where verbal agreement appeared to be reached — the Democratic priority of a national testing and tracing strategy -- the counter-proposal from the administration that came later took days, and, according to Pelosi, contained significant changes to the text. The deadline is in place to try and jam the administration into making decisions. Pelosi is aware President Donald Trump repeatedly says he wants a pre-election deal — one bigger than just about anybody else in his party is willing to accept. The countdown clock puts the onus on the administration to prove that's actually the case.

Read more here.

8:23 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

TSA screens more than 1 million for the first time since air travel cratered due to pandemic

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent checks the identification of a traveler at the security screening center in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8.
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent checks the identification of a traveler at the security screening center in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million people on Sunday, the first time it has crossed that point since the pandemic cratered air travel this spring.  

The agency said it screened 1,031,505 people on Sunday.  It is about 40 percent of the 2.6 million people the agency saw on the same day last year. 

More than 2,000 TSA employees including airport screening officers have contracted the virus and eight have died.  

 

8:27 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Austria tightens limits on social gatherings

From Nina Avramova in Vienna

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arrives for a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, October 19.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arrives for a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, October 19. Ronald Zak/AP

Indoor gatherings in Austria will be capped at six people from Friday in order to curb the spread of coronavirus, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

A maximum of twelve people will be allowed at outdoor gatherings, Kurz said at a news conference in Vienna.

Kurz admitted that the measures are “unpopular,” but added “unfortunately, they are necessary.” The limits on gatherings apply everywhere outside of work, with the exception of funerals.

“We are at a point in Austria where the growth is simply too fast, where the numbers are too high, and where we know if this trend continues then it won’t be one which we can endure for months.”

Measures will also be tightened for professional events, such as the opera or Bundesliega football games, which can take place with a maximum of 1,500 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors. 

Austria recorded its highest number of daily cases — 1,750 — last week, according to the health ministry’s dashboard. 

“Currently, the number of newly infected is doubling within roughly three weeks in Austria. If this trend doesn’t stop, or even intensifies then this means 6,000 newly infected per day in December,” warned Kurz.

8:14 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

“The next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic,” expert says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that "the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”

Vaccines won’t be available “in any meaningful way” until the third quarter of next year, he said – and even when they are, half the US population is skeptical of even taking one.

 “So, what we have right now is a major problem in messaging,” he said. “People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward, is we’ve got to get the message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality.”

Osterholm added that he doesn’t know if there is a lead when it comes to the federal government’s public health response. There are a lot of different voices, which is part of the problem.

 “We don’t have a consolidated one voice,” he said.

Osterholm highlighted the 70,000 cases of Covid-19 reported on Friday, which matched the largest number seen during the peak of the pandemic, and said that between now and the holidays, the US will see numbers “much, much larger than even the 67 to 75,000 cases,” he said.

8:21 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Switzerland imposes restrictions as infections rise

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, right, looks on as Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset speaks during a press conference announcing new measures against the coronavirus in Bern on Sunday.
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, right, looks on as Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset speaks during a press conference announcing new measures against the coronavirus in Bern on Sunday. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland introduced new restrictions on Monday after registering 8,737 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths over the weekend, according to data from the Swiss public health agency. 

From Monday large public gatherings are banned, and a nationwide mask mandate is in effect. 

Switzerland has registered 83,159 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the daily number is growing at a rapid pace.

The country's current death toll now stands at 1,837.

11:34 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

A week after vaccine trial was paused, Johnson & Johnson and FDA won’t reveal critical details

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen

Despite repeated claims that they’re committed to transparency, Johnson & Johnson and the US Food and Drug Administration still aren’t revealing critical details one week after the pharmaceutical giant announced its Covid-19 vaccine trial was on pause. 

The company and the FDA declined to answer two questions from CNN:

1) Whether the participant who became ill was in the group that received the vaccine or the placebo

2) Whether this was the first pause for the trial. 

The answers to both questions are crucial to understanding what the participant’s illness might mean for the safety of a vaccine.  

FDA spokespeople said federal regulations prohibit the agency from disclosing information about the trial. 

A Johnson & Johnson spokesman pointed CNN to the company’s October 12 statement, which did not say if it was the first pause, and did not say if the company knew whether the ill participant received the vaccine or a placebo. 

Public health experts have urged companies to be transparent about their vaccine clinical trials, considering that hundreds of millions of Americans will eventually be asked to roll up their sleeves and take a Covid-19 vaccine.  

Here are more details:

7:55 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Wales to enter two-week "fire break" lockdown as cases surge

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Londo

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford speaks during a press conference on October 19, in Cardiff.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford speaks during a press conference on October 19, in Cardiff. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Wales is to enter a two-week "fire break" lockdown that will require everyone to stay at home to fight the spread of Covid-19, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Monday. 

The lockdown will begin at 6 p.m. local time on Friday and will require all non-essential businesses such as retail stores, restaurants and bars to shut down until November 9.

This is the shortest we can make it, but that means it needs to be sharp and deep to have the impact against the virus we need it to have," said Drakeford.

The only exceptions to the stay-at-home rule will be critical workers and those in jobs that make it impossible to work from home.

“A firebreak period is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much longer and much more damaging national lockdown,” said Drakeford as he announced the so-called "circuit breaker" restrictions. “This is the moment to come together, to play our part in a common endeavour.”

Libraries, gyms and places of worship will also be closed during the lockdown, which will take place during a break period for schoolchildren.

Wales last week banned travelers from coronavirus hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from entering.

8:39 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Miami Beach Mayor accuses Florida Governor of using herd immunity to combat Covid-19

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber speaks in the video.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber speaks in the video. Mayor Dan Gelber/Facebook

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber released a video this weekend accusing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis of adopting the controversial practice of herd immunity as a strategy against the coronavirus.

It has become very clear that the state of Florida is pursuing herd immunity as its policy for combatting Covid-19,” Gelber said in the video. 

Gelber claimed that one day after DeSantis held a roundtable discussion with Dr. Martin Kulldorff and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya -- two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which according to Gelber advocates for herd immunity -- DeSantis decided to fully reopen his state. 

“I hope the governor reconsiders this approach,” Gelber said in the video.

CNN reached out to Gov. DeSantis’ press office and his communications director did not wish to comment.