October 21 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020
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2:11 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

These photos reveal how the coronavirus curfew is transforming Paris

From CNN's Francesca Street and Gaëlle Fournier

The Champs-Elysees avenue is almost empty during curfew in Paris, on October 17.
The Champs-Elysees avenue is almost empty during curfew in Paris, on October 17. Lewis Joly/AP

Only a few weeks ago, the cafés, bars and restaurants of Paris were bustling late into the night, neon signs gleaming and masked patrons spilling onto flower-filled terraces, still reveling in their freedom after a strict spring lockdown.

The street life the city is famous for was back, and it was almost as if the French capital was back to its old self

Now, those same streets are being deserted again, as a strict new nightly curfew is imposed to combat a worrying surge in coronavirus cases in France that are part of a wider trend of numbers rising across Europe.

Hospitality venues must close and citizens stay home between between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. across Paris. Other French cities, including Aix-en-Provence, Grenoble, Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille, Rouen and Lyon are also affected.

Violating the rules carries a fine of €135 (roughly $160) for a first offense, and goes up to €1,500 ($1,760) if the offense is repeated.

Photographer Kiran Ridley took to the boulevards and alleyways of Paris on October 17 -- the night the curfew was introduced -- to capture what it's like when the city goes dark, and contrast these eerie images with snapshots of livelier scenes of the same spots back in September and early October.

See the photos here:

1:13 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

US reports more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton

A total of 60,315 new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the United States on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 933 new virus-related deaths were also reported.

At least 8,273,296 coronavirus cases have now been identified nationwide since the pandemic began, killing at least 221,052 people, according to the university's tally.

The totals include cases from 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Track US cases here:

12:54 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

India is facing a double health threat this winter: pollution and the pandemic

From CNN's Jessie Yeung, Esha Mitra and Vedika Sud

 A farmer burns straw stubble in a field near Jandiala Guru in Amritsar, India, on October 16.
 A farmer burns straw stubble in a field near Jandiala Guru in Amritsar, India, on October 16. Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

A familiar scene is taking place in northern India. Vast fields burn, flames engulfing bare stalks of already-harvested crops. Billowing smoke travels across state borders. In towns and cities, the air is thick with yellow haze.

Stubble burning, the practice of intentionally setting fire to cultivated fields to prepare the land for its next crop, is one of the chief drivers of India's so-called annual pollution season, which begins each winter.

It is especially bad in cities like the capital New Delhi, where smog from the burning crop fields, vehicular emissions, power plants, construction sites, and smoke from Diwali firecrackers combine to create a toxic cloud that lingers until spring.

Authorities have been trying for years to combat this serious public health risk -- but there's a new urgency this year, with fears that pollution could compound the danger of Covid-19.

The coronavirus outbreak in India has infected nearly 7.6 million people and killed more than 115,000, according to the country's Health Ministry. India went into a months-long nationwide total lockdown in an attempt to contain the virus -- but with little success. Presently, India has the second highest number of infections globally, after the United States, and the third highest number of deaths.

Experts and politicians now worry that the arrival of pollution season could pose a double threat, putting people at higher risk of severe infection, while increasing the strain on public health services.

"The combination of air pollution along with Covid-19, and especially as this is going to happen during the winter months, is something we need to be really concerned about and take adequate measures, so that we don't let a huge spike occur in the number of cases," said Dr. Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Read the full story:

12:02 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Covid-19 cases in US children jumped 13% in the first 2 weeks of this month, new report says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The number of Covid-19 cases in children across the United States jumped 13% in the first two weeks of October, according to a new report released Tuesday.

A total of 84,319 children nationwide were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus from October 1-15, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association.

“While children represented only 10.9% of all cases in states reporting cases by age, over 741,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic,” the AAP said.

The overall rate of infection is 986 cases per 100,000 children in the population, the group added.

However, children still make up a small number of deaths and serious cases from Covid-19, according to state by state data.

As of October 15, children represented 1%-3.6% of total hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.5% and 7.2% of all child coronavirus cases resulted in hospitalization and no more than 0.24% of total deaths. Fourteen states reported no deaths among children.

Some caveats: The data is limited because of its reliance on how each state reports its cases, but it still “underscores the urgent need to control the virus in communities so schools may reopen,” the Academy said. It defines children as those 17 and younger.

The report’s count is likely underestimated and is incomplete because not all states report data in the same way.

Forty-nine states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam contributed data for the AAP report. A smaller subset of states report information about hospitalizations and deaths by age. 

11:52 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Cathay Pacific to cut thousands of jobs and eliminate Cathay Dragon airline as Covid-19 weighs on travel

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu in Hong Kong

Passengers walk past signage for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon near the city's flagship carrier check-in counters at Hong Kong International Airport, on October 20.
Passengers walk past signage for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon near the city's flagship carrier check-in counters at Hong Kong International Airport, on October 20. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Cathay Pacific is eliminating thousands of jobs and shuttering its regional airline Cathay Dragon as the Covid-19 pandemic roils the global travel industry.

The cuts will affect 5,300 employees in Hong Kong, where the company is based. Some 600 workers outside of the Asian financial hub will also be affected, Cathay said in a statement.

The company also plans to eliminate additional jobs that remained unfilled, either through a recruitment freeze or natural attrition. All told, Cathay is reducing about 8,500 jobs across the company, accounting for about 24% of its headcount.

"We have taken every possible action to avoid job losses up to this point," said Cathay Pacific Group CEO Augustus Tang in a statement.

He said the airline has scaled back capacity, deferred new aircraft deliveries, frozen recruitment and cut executive pay, among other measures.

Even so, Tang said the company continues to burn as much as 2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($258 million) per month. Wednesday's changes will reduce the company's cash burn by about 500 million Hong Kong dollars ($65 million) per month, he added.

Read the full story here.

10:05 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020

The pandemic is speeding up automation, and 85 million jobs are on the line

From CNN Business' Hanna Ziady

Bank tellers are out and robotics engineers are in, according to a new report that says the coronavirus recession is accelerating technological changes that could displace 85 million jobs within the next five years.

"Automation, in tandem with the Covid-19 recession, is creating a 'double disruption' scenario for workers," said the report published Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, which warns that inequality is likely to increase unless displaced workers can be retrained to enter new professions.

More than two-fifths of large companies surveyed by the WEF plan to reduce their workforces due to the integration of technology.

"For the first time in recent years, job creation is starting to lag behind job destruction — and this factor is poised to affect disadvantaged workers with particular ferocity," the WEF said in its report.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp spike in unemployment around the world. Several major economies in Europe and elsewhere have extended support for wages in order to offset the alarming rise in joblessness. Unemployment in the United States, meanwhile, continues to march higher while lawmakers quarrel over new stimulus measures.

"As unemployment figures rise, it is of increasing urgency to expand social protection including support for retraining to displaced and at-risk workers as they navigate the paths... towards the 'jobs of tomorrow,'" the WEF report said.

The pandemic risks deepening existing inequalities because industries that have been hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality and retail, tend to have younger, and lower-wage workers who are disproportionately female.

The World Bank has warned that the pandemic could increase income inequality and push up to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year.

Read the full story:

10:46 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Former FDA commissioner predicts US is a week away from "rapid acceleration" in Covid-19 cases

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, then FDA Commissioner-designate, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2017.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, then FDA Commissioner-designate, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2017. Zach Gibson/Getty Images

In about a week, the United States may see a "rapid acceleration" in Covid-19 cases, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, predicted on Monday.

"It's going to be a difficult fall and winter. I think we're about two or three weeks behind Europe — so we're about a week away from starting to enter a period where we're going to see a rapid acceleration in cases," Gottlieb told CNBC's Shepard Smith.

"We're seeing hospitalizations go up in 42 states right now, cases are going up in 45 states, and there really is no backstop," Gottlieb said. "The summer was a backstop of sorts to the spring surge and we have no therapeutic backstop and this season, the fall and winter season, is when this coronavirus is going to want to spread."

8:53 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020

UK Covid-19 death toll 3 times higher than the day before

From CNN's Hilary McGann in London

The UK recorded 241 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday — more than three times the 80 deaths reported on Monday — according to the government's website. 

In each case, the person died within 28 days of first testing positive for coronavirus, the government explained. 

On Tuesday, another 21,331 cases were reported in the UK. 

9:24 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Daily coronavirus case numbers in the US are at levels not seen since the summer

From CNN's Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris

A volunteer wearing a face mask displays a sign checking for Covid-19 test appointments from motorists arriving at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, on October 8.
A volunteer wearing a face mask displays a sign checking for Covid-19 test appointments from motorists arriving at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, on October 8. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Daily coronavirus case numbers in the US are at levels not seen since the summer, and more than a dozen states set record highs for Covid-19 hospitalizations in the past week -- yet more evidence, experts say, of a difficult fall and winter ahead.

The country's seven-day average of new daily cases was above 58,300 as of Monday -- a level not seen since the first week of August, and climbing closer to the summer's peak of 67,200 on July 22.

Average daily new cases have soared 70% since September 12, when the country was at a two-month low of about 34,300.

As cold weather is likely to drive more gatherings indoors, the case level appears too high to avoid dangerous levels of infections and hospitalizations in the coming weeks, experts have said.

"(With) the fact that we're only going to see more transmission occur with indoor air, people inside, this is going to be a rough fall," Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN on Tuesday.

Read the full story: