October 20 coronavirus news

By Emma Reynolds, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020
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8:43 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Miami Beach mayor accuses Florida governor of advocating for herd immunity approach

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber on CNN's "New Day" on October 20.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber on CNN's "New Day" on October 20. CNN

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing him of adopting a controversial declaration that advocates for herd immunity.

“The idea of the Great Barrington Declaration is to let those with, quote, minimal risk build it up naturally while trying to protect others. The problem is those others are about a third of the population,” Gelber said in an interview on CNN. “And they don't just include the elderly, they include people with asthma, people who might have weight problems, people with diabetes, and those people aren't living in segregated communities; they're living in homes with younger people or other people.” 

He said it would lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

While the state’s case level remains stable, Gelber said he is concerned about not being able to enforce mandatory mask orders and curfews for bars. He said he also worries about visitors to his city spreading Covid-19 to their home states. 

“We are trying to literally protect our residents from their government at this point, because we can't even impose a requirement that people get citations for not wearing a mask. And that's become a real problem, because I worry about the uptick becoming a surge,” Gelber said.


8:38 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Ireland's postal service encourages people to "send love" to the elderly, with free mail as country heads into Europe's strictest lockdown

From CNN's Kara Fox

As the Republic of Ireland prepares for some of the most stringent lockdown measures in Europe, the country's postal service says it will deliver letters, cards, and packages to nursing and care homes for free. 

Ireland’s An Post says the initiative "is about reaching out with compassion, staying connected and sending love to each other."

Visits to long term residential care facilities will be suspended under the country's new coronavirus restrictions, with exceptions made for those in critical and compassionate circumstances.

Customers in Ireland who want to send cards, letters or parcels to care home residents just need to write FREEPOST where they would normally affix a stamp, and then send the items through mailboxes or at the post office as usual, An Post says. 

Ireland’s new restrictions: Under the level 5 lockdown, which come into effect at midnight on Wednesday for 6 weeks:

  • People will be banned from traveling more than 5km from their homes (with exemptions for essential reasons)
  • Indoor social or family gatherings will be prohibited
  • Non-essential retail outlets will be forced to shut
  • Bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs will be able to provide takeaway and delivery services only
  • People will be able to meet with one other household in an outdoor setting
  • Up to 25 guests will be able to attend weddings and funerals
  • Single parents or people living alone who are at risk of social isolation or mental health issues will be able to buddy up with one other person in a similar position. 

But unlike during the level 5 lockdown implemented earlier in the pandemic, schools and childcare services will remain open. 

Ireland's Taoiseach, or prime minister, Micheál Martin said Monday that the decision to keep schools open was a necessity: "We cannot, and will not, allow our children and young people's futures to be another victim of this disease."

Ireland recorded 7,495 new cases and 26 deaths last week, a considerable jump in cases from the week before, when 4,510 cases and 17 deaths were recorded.  

On Monday, the total number of cases recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic surpassed 50,000 and the death toll was 1,852, according to the health department.

10:10 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

NIH director says it is "very unlikely" a Covid-19 vaccine will be authorized before late November

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, attends a hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, attends a hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC. Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

The United States is unlikely to have a Covid-19 vaccine authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration before late November at the earliest, according to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health.

"I would think it's very unlikely – given the timetables and the standards that have to be followed – that you will hear about an emergency use authorization before late November at the earliest," Collins said during an interview with NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday.

"These will be vaccines that are tested with the most rigorous standards for safety and efficacy," Collins said. "If we get to the point by sometime, maybe the end of this year, where one or more of those is judged to be safe and effective, it will be because it's safe and effective."

The White House Coronavirus Task Force still meets at least once a week with the Vice President to discuss issues such as "the worsening of the pandemic in the middle of the country," Collins added.

"We have not met with the President in quite some time," he said. "I think the President primarily is getting his information from the Vice President, from Dr. Atlas."

Dr. Scott Atlas, who has made controversial comments about mask-wearing recently, serves as the White House coronavirus adviser.

After Donald Trump's attack on Dr Anthony Fauci, Collins said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was "probably the most highly respected infectious disease expert in the world," adding: "I have great confidence in him."

Collins also warned that the US "never got over the first wave" of the virus that hit New York particularly hard, saying "we never really drove the cases down to the baseline."

"We had another big terrible burst in the summer taking the lives of tens of thousands of people in the Southeast. Here we are now with 220,000 dead – and we're going straight up again with the number of cases that are happening each day," Collins said.

He said this was because the US had not succeeded in introducing "really effective public health measures" such as mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing, adding that his family will not be gathering for Thanksgiving this year.

8:29 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

The Czech Republic is bringing back a mask mandate that saved it from coronavirus in spring. But is it too late? 

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

A health care worker in Prague, Czech Republic, conducts a Covid-19 test on October 10.
A health care worker in Prague, Czech Republic, conducts a Covid-19 test on October 10. Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

The Czech Republic has gone back to square one in its battle against Covid-19, reinstating a strict mask mandate that was in place in the spring, and which the government lifted over the summer, believing it had the epidemic under control.

The country's Heath Minister Roman Prymula announced Monday that masks will now be compulsory in all urban areas and in cars. Previously, they were only mandatory indoors and on public transport, including at outdoor stations.

There are few exceptions to the rules, with face coverings not mandatory when a person is exercising, or when they can keep a two-meter distance from people who are not from the same household. If someone is in a car on their own or with other members of their household, they don't have to wear a mask. Children under the age of two are also exempt.

The Czechs were among the first in the world to adopt strict mask rules during the first wave of the pandemic and, coupled with the country's decision to impose a strict lockdown relatively early, it was effective in sparing the country the worst ravages of Covid-19. 

But the Czech Republic appears to have become a victim of its own success. After easing restrictions over the summer, it is currently reporting more new Covid-19 cases per million people than any major country in the world.

Read the full story here:

8:06 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Russia reports more than 16,000 coronavirus cases for the first time

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Russia reported another daily record of 16,319 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, according to the country’s coronavirus response center. 

The center reported 269 deaths in the past 24 hours, and added that the current growth rate in the infections is 1.2%. 

It said the number of new cases in Moscow -- Russia's most affected city -- had decreased slightly, falling below 5,000 for the first time in days. 

The total number of reported coronavirus cases in Russia as of October 20 is 1,431,635. It has reported 24,635 deaths, although the real figure is likely to be higher, due to the way the country calculates deaths, and reports of high excess mortality this year.

8:33 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

What's next for no-touch air travel?

From CNN's John Walton

People are happy to hold boarding passes on their phones -- what about passport and other biometric details?
People are happy to hold boarding passes on their phones -- what about passport and other biometric details? Lufthansa

How many times do you touch the cabin in an airplane when you fly? How about the airport? How many times do the people working there touch your belongings?

The answer, as a rule, is "quite a lot."

But airlines, airports and the wider aviation industry want it to be "quite a bit less" in future. 

"Touchless travel" comprises a fairly wide collection of changes to the environment around us, from hands-free flushing in airport and airplane lavatories to automated scan-and-board gates, controlling your inflight entertainment system from your phone or tablet, and more.

"Touchless travel promises peace of mind," explains Daniel Baron from LIFT Aero Design, an aircraft cabin design studio with offices in Tokyo and Singapore, calling it "the state of not having to even think about 'clean,' made possible by technologies and processes to mitigate angst along the journey."

It includes not just touch-free but also "less-touch" and "fewer-touch" travel.

"We have seen incremental improvements over the past decade, mostly touchless faucets and toilet lids and flush buttons. Next will be soap dispensers and hand dryers, plus the doors and locks," says Baron.

Some of this, such as infrared sensing faucets, is automated -- but some of it is redesigning physical parts of the experience, such as doors or trash cans you can open with your feet.

Read the full story here:

7:59 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

UK's first rapid pre-flight Covid-19 testing facilities launched at Heathrow Airport

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

The UK's first rapid pre-flight Covid-19 testing facilities launched at London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday.

The test "costs £80 ($104) and aims to provide departing passengers with their results in around 60 minutes," airport service providers Collinson and Swissport announced in a statement on Tuesday. 

The new facilities, located at terminals 2 and 5, will initially supply Oxford LAMP rapid Covid-19 tests for passengers traveling to destinations that require pre-departure tests as part of local government requirements, including Hong Kong and Italy, the statement says.

The facilities "will seek to add other tests, including Antigen, as global governments continue to accept a wider variety of testing methods as an alternative to travel restrictions and quarantines," the statement adds.

Airlines British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific will offer the testing to passengers. The testing facilities will initially be open for four weeks, monitoring passenger and airline demand, according to the statement.

7:59 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Fauci calls Trump's attacks on him a "distraction" and responds by quoting "The Godfather"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at a hearing  in Washington, DC. on September 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at a hearing in Washington, DC. on September 23. Alex Edelman/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci brushed off President Trump's attacks on him on Monday, calling them a "distraction" and emphasizing that he just wants to do his job.

Asked in an interview with KNX Radio in Los Angeles whether he ever feels like leaving his role at the White House due to Trump's attacks, Fauci responded with a quote from "The Godfather.”

"It depends if you take it personally. I focus totally on the health and the welfare of the people of this country. That's what I devoted 50 years of my career towards," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. 

"That's the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it's like in 'The Godfather' -- 'Nothing personal, strictly business,' as far as I'm concerned," Fauci said. "I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country. That's all I want to do."

Earlier Monday, President Trump claimed during a campaign call that people were tired of hearing about the coronavirus pandemic and criticized Fauci, calling him a "disaster."

"I would prefer not to comment on that and to just get on with what we're really trying to do," Fauci said.

"What we're trying to do is protect the health and the welfare and the safety of the American people, predominantly, and ultimately of the world, by taking a look at the challenge that we're facing now as we're seeing an uptick in cases, higher than they've ever been," Fauci said.

"Many, many states that had been doing reasonably well are now showing upticks. That's what we should be concentrating on," Fauci said. "All that other stuff is a distraction and I would really prefer to stay away from that."

Fauci added that: "In this country, there is a fatigue of Covid. We've been dealing with this now for almost nine months."


7:35 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

The pandemic is a tough time. Here are some ways to cope...

From CNN's Sandee LaMotte

Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires burn in unincorporated Napa County, California, on August 18.
Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires burn in unincorporated Napa County, California, on August 18. Noah Berger/AP

The coronavirus pandemic -- and all of the other things going on around us right now -- have left many people feeling the strain, pushed from one peak of anxiety to the next.

"It's the pandemic, it's the social unrest, it's climate change and the wildfires. It's the election, it's upcoming holidays," said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association's senior director of health care innovation.

"I can't remember any time in my lifetime, or most people's adult lifetimes, where you've had this many adversities," Wright said. "It's the cumulative effect of one thing on top of another on top of another -- to the point where I think people are either just going numb to it or feel so overwhelmed that they're frozen."

If your coping skills already seem pretty worn down, there are actions you can take to boost your well-being and strengthen your endurance during this stressful time.

  1. Get some exercise
  2. Get a mental and physical reward with yoga
  3. Improve your sleep
  4. Reach for relaxation
  5. Practise deep breathing
  6. Meditate for change
  7. Practise appreciation

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