October 22 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Tara John and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020
23 Posts
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6:32 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Faulty US Covid-19 response meant 130,000 to 210,000 avoidable deaths, report finds

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on October 20.
President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on October 20. Saul Leob/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump Administration’s faltering response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to anywhere between 130,000 and 210,000 deaths in the United States that could have been prevented, according to a report released Thursday by a team of disaster preparedness experts.

Insufficient testing, a lack of national mask mandates or guidance, a delayed overall response and outright mocking of basic public health practices by the administration has put the US at the top of the global coronavirus death toll, the report from Columbia University Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness finds

“We estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership,” the report reads.

“Even with the dramatic recent appearance of new COVID-19 waves globally, the abject failures of U.S. government policies and crisis messaging persist. U.S. fatalities have remained disproportionately high throughout the pandemic when compared to even other high-mortality countries,” it adds.

“The inability of the U.S. to mitigate the pandemic is especially stark when contrasted with the response of high income nations, such as South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada, as well as low- and middle-income countries as varied as Thailand, Pakistan, Honduras, and Malaysia. All of these nations have had greater success in protecting their populations from the impact of the coronavirus.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has tallied more than 8.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 222,000 deaths.

“The data establishes that a significant number of lives could have been saved if the Trump administration acted on the advice from the scientific and public health community,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia. “As the country faces a second wave of this virus, we need to hold leadership accountable. The magnitude of loss, caused by a disorganized response, will have devastating and long-lasting consequences for millions of American families.”

When measured by deaths per 100,000 population, the report calculates that the US mortality rate is 50 times higher than Japan’s, and more than twice as high as Canada’s. “Although both the U.S. and South Korea confirmed their first case of coronavirus on January 20, South Korea was able to institute an aggressive diagnostic testing strategy and isolate infected patients, leading to a proportional mortality rate today that is 78 times smaller than that of the United States,” the report reads.

“From the moment the pandemic was first identified, President Trump and his team have downplayed the crisis and ignored basic and widely known public health guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia. “To stop the ongoing epidemic in the U.S., it is urgent to examine the available data, identify the failures, call out the Administration’s relentless misinformation, and hold the Trump Administration accountable for its failure to slow the virus’s spread and the more than 200,000 lives that have been unnecessarily lost.”

The research team compared the US response to the policies in other countries. If the US had followed the policies and protocols of Australia, as few as 11,699 people may have died, the report estimates.

Following Japan’s policies would have led to as few as 4,315 deaths in the US, the Columbia team calculated. Even France did better and had the US followed France’s lead, 162,240 Americans would have died -- around 60,000 fewer than the current total.

6:10 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

India slowly opens up as it lifts suspension on work, student, and medical visas

From CNN’s Manveena Suri in New Delhi 

The Indian government has lifted a months-long suspension on issuing work, student and medical visas. Under the relaxation, all existing visas, except for electronic, tourist and medical visas, will be restored with immediate effect.

For those with expired visas, new ones in the appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian embassies and high commissions.

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants. 

“In view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February, 2020… Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc,” read a press release issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday.

International flights remain suspended to and from India except for those operating as part of the country’s Vande Bharat repatriation program and flights that have been authorized by the country’s civil aviation ministry to operate within a travel bubble. 

In recent months, India has established travel corridors with several countries. Many of these are due to be extended in the coming days for the winter season, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

A new travel bubble agreement has also been set up with Bangladesh to resume flights for the first time between the neighboring countries from October 28. 

5:29 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Princess Diana interviewer Martin Bashir "seriously unwell" with Covid-19

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

Martin Bashir arriving for the Pride of Britain Awards held at the The Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on October 28, 2019.
Martin Bashir arriving for the Pride of Britain Awards held at the The Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on October 28, 2019. Ian West/PA Images/Getty Images

BBC journalist Martin Bashir, well known for his interviews with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, is “seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications,” the corporation says.

“Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery. We’d ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time,” a BBC spokesperson said in a statement.

The British journalist made headlines in 1995 with his interview with Princess Diana, in which she confirmed Prince Charles’s affair with Camilla.

“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she told Bashir.

He also famously interviewed Jackson over an extended period, during which the entertainer granted rare access to his private life.

Bashir later moved to the US where he worked for cable news channel MSNBC. However, he resigned over controversial remarks he made about former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin in 2013.

He re-joined the BBC in 2016.

9:49 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Belgium's deputy prime minister in ICU with Covid-19

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has been admitted into intensive care during treatment for Covid-19, her spokesperson says.

The spokesperson has told CNN that Wilmès is conscious, stable and able to communicate with her team."Her condition is not alarming,” the spokesperson added.

Wilmès was admitted to the ICU on Wednesday night.

The news comes days after the country's health minister said the outbreak in the Belgian region of Wallonia and the capital Brussels is “close to a tsunami."

Frank Vandenbroucke warned “the health situation in Wallonia and in Brussels is the worst and the most dangerous in the whole of Europe.” 

However, during a Sunday news conference, the health minister defended the government’s policy of installing a curfew from midnight, and not earlier in the evening, saying that the government “did not want to make life impossible." 

According to CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization, Belgium and the Czech Republic are seeing the highest number of new coronavirus cases worldwide when measured against their populations. 

As of October 16, both countries were reporting a daily average of more than 800 new cases per million of their populations, with the Czech Republic at 817 and Belgium tallying 811.

4:52 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Czech Republic posts another daily high increase in Covid-19 cases, as restrictions tighten

From CNN's Tomas Etzler in Prague

A healthcare worker conducts a Covid-19 test at a drive-in testing station in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 10.
A healthcare worker conducts a Covid-19 test at a drive-in testing station in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 10. Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

The Czech Republic registered 14,968 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to new data from the Ministry of Health released Thursday.

The increase is 2,842 more than yesterday's update. To date, at least 208,915 people have been infected in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Some 4,417 patients are being treated in hospital for the virus. At least 1,739 have died.

The country was previously hailed as a success story during Europe's first wave of Covid-19 in March. But authorities are now struggling to cope with the rising number of infections throughout the country, and the government is enacting further restrictions on movement in order to stop the virus from spreading further.

Those measures went into effect at 6 a.m. local time and are expected to last until November 3.

4:37 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Experts worry the worst of the fall surge in the US is yet to come

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

The US reported more than 1,100 new Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday -- the highest daily toll recorded in more than a month.

The toll follows a pattern of other concerning trends across the country, including climbing cases and hospitalizations that are reminiscent of previous surges. Only this time, doctors say Americans will likely see the worst surge yet.

At least 31 states are now reporting more new Covid-19 cases than the previous week and only one state -- Hawaii -- is trending in the right direction. Hospitalizations are also on the rise, with tens of thousands of patients nationwide and hospital systems already taking a hard hit.

And some experts predict the country's daily death toll, which usually lags behind rising cases, will also begin creeping upward. More than 2,300 Americans could be dying daily by early January, according to a model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Read the full story:

4:24 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Police drones will monitor Australia's Victoria state while local sporting heroes clash over 1,000 miles away

From Meenketan Jha

The Geelong Cats line up for the national anthem during the 2020 AFL Second Preliminary Final match with  the Brisbane Lions at The Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, on October 17.
The Geelong Cats line up for the national anthem during the 2020 AFL Second Preliminary Final match with the Brisbane Lions at The Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, on October 17. Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images

Police in the Australian state of Victoria plan to use drones to ensure that members of the public are following social distancing rules during the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final on Saturday.

The game, between Victoria-based clubs Geelong and Richmond, will take place at The Gabba in Brisbane, Queensland and is expected to host a 30,000 crowd, according to the AFL's official website.

The AFL final is one of the most watched televised sporting events in the country. Victoria is easing lockdown measures that were put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, but indoor gatherings are still banned in Melbourne, the state's biggest city. No more than two households, up to 10 people, can gather outdoors in public spaces.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius of Victoria Police said drones give authorities " a real-time appreciation of crowd numbers, crowd behavior."

"It allows us to adopt policing tactics which are most appropriate to ensure that what's occurring at that location remains Covid safe," Cornelius said of the drones at a news conference Thursday.

The annual AFL grand final is traditionally played in Melbourne on the last Saturday of September but was moved this year to Brisbane -- more than 1,000 miles away -- because of the pandemic.

3:58 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Tokyo airport to open Covid-19 testing center that returns results in 2 hours

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

A woman walks past the departure board at Narita airport near Tokyo, on April 3.
A woman walks past the departure board at Narita airport near Tokyo, on April 3. Kyodo News/Sipa USA

Tokyo's Narita Airport will open a Covid-19 testing center next month that will return results within two hours.

International passengers arriving at Terminal 1 and 2 will be routed to a testing reception center, where they will take a PCR test. Those who test negative will be issued with a certificate.  

The test and certificate cost $380. Asahiko Tamura, the president of Narita Airport, said the center will open on November 9.

"We believe this will be an important facility towards the resumption of international travel," Tamura said at a news conference on Thursday.
3:34 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Germany reports fresh single-day high in new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Samantha Beech

A medical worker takes a nasal swab at a coronavirus testing center in Cologne, Germany, on October 15.
A medical worker takes a nasal swab at a coronavirus testing center in Cologne, Germany, on October 15. Martin Meissner/AP

Germany identified a new high of 11,287 cases of Covid-19 in a single day, the country's center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reported Thursday. Another 30 people died from the virus.

More than 392,000 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Germany since the pandemic began, killing 9,905 people, according to the RKI.

Germany is one of several countries throughout Europe battling a new wave of Covid-19 cases.