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
22 Posts
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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

Read the full story here:

6:59 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

London wants to "reinvent itself" after the pandemic, with flexible season tickets for travel

From CNN's Emma Reynolds and Kara Fox

Even as coronavirus cases rise across Europe and in the UK, London's leaders are looking for ways to help the capital "reinvent itself" and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

The City of London wants to revamp the capital's transport network to suit different commuting patterns as more people work from home, with the creation of "flexible working" season tickets one option being considered.

It also wants to encourage small businesses and arts organizations back to the capital’s center by providing affordable and "hyper flexible" working spaces, according to a new report from the City of London Corporation, published on Tuesday.

This could include transforming offices into hubs that can be rented flexibly, or turning unused space into artists’ studios or pop-up galleries. 

"London is today facing major challenges,” said Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, in a news release. "Coronavirus, the UK’s exit from the European Union and increasing protectionism across the globe are all threats to the capital’s role as an international business hub."

"Some trends have been accelerated by the pandemic, while others appear to have been reversed," she said. "We must reimagine London in order to seize the moment and ensure it evolves in response to this new paradigm."

The City’s goal is for a fifth of office tenants in London’s "Square Mile" to be new businesses within five years, according to the report, "London Recharged: Our vision for London in 2025."

It wants half of all journeys from major train stations to workplaces to be made on foot or by bicycle -- and 99% of all above-ground journeys under one kilometer. The report suggests prioritizing pedestrians at crossings and developing routes through the city’s green "arteries."

It also wants to increase the numbers of evening and weekend visitors to the city center by 50%, reduce buildings' carbon emissions and ensure buses and daytime delivery vehicles are electric.

It recommends making the case for visa and immigration changes to make it simpler for skilled workers to enter the UK; establishing a fund to support digital transformation and providing dedicated funding for underrepresented groups.

6:48 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Plague history shows how a pandemic's course can be shaped

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt

Researchers gathered information from personal wills, parish registers and bills of mortality.
Researchers gathered information from personal wills, parish registers and bills of mortality. Museum of London Archaeology

Plague outbreaks in London spread four times faster in the 17th century than they did in the 14th century, researchers have estimated after studying troves of wills and death records. 

Researchers from Canada's McMaster University analyzed thousands of documents spanning 300 years -- including personal wills and testaments, parish registers and the London Bills of Mortality -- to search for patterns on how the plague spread through the population. 

Plague, one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history, caused an estimated 50 million deaths in Europe during the Middle Ages, when it was known as the Black Death.

Researchers believe that factors including population density, living conditions and cooler temperatures could help to explain the acceleration of the disease in London -- and assist with our understanding of modern pandemics, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic.

"A given pathogen can cause very different epidemics, whether it's in the same place over time, or in different places," David Earn, a mathematics professor at McMaster and lead author of the research, told CNN.

"The characteristics of the community can strongly influence the pattern of the epidemic," he said. "And of course, the behavioral response of individuals can also influence the pattern of the epidemic." 

The findings could provide clues to how the current coronavirus pandemic, and any future pandemics could behave.

Read the full story here:

5:50 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

All 62 residents in one Kansas nursing home infected with Covid-19, 10 dead

From CNN’s Joe Sutton 

A Covid-19 outbreak at a Kansas nursing home has left every resident infected with the disease and 10 dead, according to the county health department.

All 62 residents at the privately-owned Andbe Home in the city of Norton tested positive for Covid-19, the Norton County Health Department said in a news release.   

Of the 62 residents, 10 have died, one is in hospital and the remaining 51 are being cared for at the nursing home, the health department said.

Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and not allowing outside visitors into the facility," it added.

Family members have been notified, according to the news release. 

Norton is located a little over five hours west of Kansas City. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the state of Kansas has recorded 71,557 cases and 870 deaths as of Monday.

6:35 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Hong Kong announces minor relaxation of social distancing measures after drop in cases

From CNN's Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong

People in Hong Kong wait to cross a road on October 18.
People in Hong Kong wait to cross a road on October 18. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong has announced a minor relaxation of its social distancing measures after cases in the region dropped for seven days, its Secretary for Food and Health announced.

Professor Sophia Chan announced the news after there were no community outbreaks or untraceable cases in the past three days.

The changes mean that, from October 23:

  • Local tour groups can resume with up to 30 people
  • Wedding banquets, conferences and meetings can take place with up to 50 people
  • Team sports can resume in swimming pools
  • Live performances can resume in museums

However, Hong Kong's four-person rule, midnight curfew and mandatory mask-wearing regulations have been extended until October 29.

Chan said the department continues to prepare for the possibility of a fourth wave of the virus. 

4:58 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Senior Covid-19 patients suffer "brain fog" in drawn-out recovery

From Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News

"Lord, give me back my memory."

For months, as Marilyn Walters struggled to recover from Covid-19, she has repeated this prayer day and night.

Like other older adults who've become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls "brain fog" -- difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to remember what happened a short time before.

This sudden cognitive dysfunction is a common concern for seniors who've survived a serious bout of Covid-19.

"Many older patients are having trouble organizing themselves and planning what they need to do to get through the day," said Dr. Zijian Chen, medical director of the Center for Post-Covid Care at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. "They're reporting that they've become more and more forgetful."

Read the full story:

4:36 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Deadline looms for Manchester to comply with UK government's anti-epidemic restrictions

From CNN’s Luke McGee in London

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham speaks to the media outside the Central Library in Manchester, England, on October 15.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham speaks to the media outside the Central Library in Manchester, England, on October 15. Martin Rickett/Pool/Getty Images

The British government has set a noon (7 a.m. ET) deadline to reach an agreement with Manchester today on enacting anti-epidemic measures.

Manchester authorities, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burham, have been at odds with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government about how to handle the recent spike in cases -- and whether to move the city from the UK's second tier of restrictions to its most severe third tier.

“The deteriorating public health situation in Greater Manchester means that we need to take action urgently,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said in a statement on Monday.

Burnham has resisted the government's efforts to increase the severity of his city's measures, urging for more financial measures to protect workers placed under stricter rules.

However, Johnson's government has called on Manchester authorities to enact lockdown-like measures in order to stop the virus from spreading. The Prime Minister said he would intervene if regional leaders could not reach a deal with the national government.

“There are now more COVID-19 patients in Greater Manchester Hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined. But, unfortunately, despite recognizing the gravity of the situation, local leaders have been so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control,” Jenrick said in the statement.
“I have written to local leaders this evening to make clear that if we cannot reach agreement by midday tomorrow (Tuesday) then I must advise the Prime Minister that despite our best endeavors we’ve been unable to reach agreement.”