October 23 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Tara John, Ed Upright, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020
52 Posts
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4:22 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

NIH director says Covid-19 vaccine authorization "might not happen" by end of year

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, is seen after a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic on September 9, 2020 in Washington DC. 
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, is seen after a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic on September 9, 2020 in Washington DC.  Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

While he remains "cautiously optimistic" that the United States could have a Covid-19 vaccine authorized by the end of the year, the National Institutes of Health's Dr. Francis Collins warned on Friday that "it might take longer."

"I’m cautiously optimistic that by the end of 2020, there will be at least one vaccine that has reached that stage of an emergency use authorization but I don't know that for sure — and it might not happen and it might take longer," Collins, director of the NIH, said while speaking to the National Press Club in a virtual event on Friday. 

Collins added that it remains "a good thing" the US has more than one vaccine candidate in development.

"It’s a good thing we have this menu of diverse scientific approaches," Collins said. "If you were betting the whole thing on one vaccine I'd be a lot more worried."

Additionally, a potential Covid-19 vaccine will need to have at least 50% effectiveness to be considered for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, Collins said.

"FDA is not going to approve a vaccine that has less than 50% effectiveness," he added.

3:46 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

AstraZeneca will resume its Covid-19 vaccine trial in the US

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Drugmaker AstraZeneca will resume the trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in the United States, which has been on hold since September.

The company said the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the restart Thursday after reviewing all of the global safety data and concluding it was safe to resume. The trial had already resumed in other countries.

The trial was paused after a volunteer in Britain developed a neurological condition suffered by one of the participants in its coronavirus vaccine clinical trials around the world.

Government health officials, as well as outside experts, have said the hold is an example of how the safety process is working and protecting Americans from any potentially dangerous vaccines. Regulators wanted to check to make sure any problems could not have been caused by the vaccine. 

The company has been working with Britain’s University of Oxford to develop the vaccine, one of four that started late-stage, Phase 3 trials in the US.

An internal AstraZeneca safety report obtained by CNN last month showed the study volunteer, a previously healthy 37-year-old woman, “experienced confirmed transverse myelitis” after receiving her second dose of the vaccine, and was hospitalized on Sept. 5. The woman was enrolled in the UK arm of the trial, which is run by the University of Oxford.  

The document, labeled an “initial report,” described how the study participant had trouble walking, weakness and pain in her arms, and other symptoms. 

The company said in the release Thursday that results from late-stage trials are expected later this year, depending on infection rates where the trials are being conducted.

4:32 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Covid-19 "could be here for years" if only half of Americans take the vaccine, NIH director says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A volunteer receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as part of a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.
A volunteer receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as part of a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The percentage of Americans willing to take a Covid-19 vaccine appears to be falling – and if only half of the country is willing to get vaccinated, Covid-19 could stick around for years, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, warned on Friday.

"When I look at the attitudes that are out there now about this vaccine and about who would be interested in taking it – it's really, really troubling," Collins said, speaking at a National Press Club in a virtual event.

"I've been talking so optimistically about how we are likely to have a vaccine by the end of the year, but if only 50% of Americans are interested in taking it, we're never going to get to that point of immunity across the population where Covid-19 goes away. It could be here for years," Collins said.

Only 51% of Americans said they would try to get a Covid-19 vaccine once one is widely available at a low cost, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS earlier this month, and that percentage has dropped since May.

Watch:

4:03 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Colombia's vice president tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jaide Garcia and Stefano Pozzebon

Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President of Colombia, on May 14, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia.
Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President of Colombia, on May 14, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez confirmed she tested positive for Covid-19 on her Twitter account Friday.

"Yesterday I took the #COVID19 test," she tweeted. "I inform all Colombians that the test result was positive. Thank God, I am in a good state [of health] and I am complying with a thorough quarantine."

The vice president called on all Colombians to remain steadfast in following the biosecurity measures put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, adding that the "pandemic is a reality, which can affect us all."

Colombia has 990,373 confirmed cases and 29,637 deaths as of Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is the third highest case tally in Latin America after Brazil and Argentina.

3:49 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

France sets new record for Covid-19 infections​ with more than 42,000 new cases in 24 hours

From Fanny Bobille

French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd L) chairs a meeting with the medical staff of the René Dubos hospital center, in Pontoise, in the Val d'Oise, on October 23, 2020, as the country faces a new wave of infections to the Covid-19.
French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd L) chairs a meeting with the medical staff of the René Dubos hospital center, in Pontoise, in the Val d'Oise, on October 23, 2020, as the country faces a new wave of infections to the Covid-19. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

France reported a new daily record for coronavirus infections with 42,032 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to numbers released by country's health agency on Friday.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in France to 1,041,075, according to French government statistics, and marks the first time the government's coronavirus case tally has surpassed 1 million. 

France also recorded 298 additional coronavirus deaths, bringing the death toll to 34,508, according to the French Health Agency. 

According to government data, an additional 976 coronavirus patients have been admitted to the hospital, and a further 122 coronavirus patients entered intensive care in the last 24 hours. 

Speaking at a health center this afternoon, French President Emmanuel Macron said he expects France will have to live with the virus until at least the summer of 2021.

"When I listen to the scientists, and the Scientific Council, we foresee [living with the virus] at best until next summer," Macron said. "It is still too early to say whether we are moving towards wider local re-confinements, we will try each time to reduce the places, the moments when we have identified that the virus was circulating a lot. This is the strategy we will pursue."

Macron added that the government aims to implement new restrictions in the most targeted way possible. 

From midnight on Friday, France's nighttime coronavirus curfew will be extended more widely, with 46 million French people affected, announced French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday. 

To note: According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, France has recorded 1,048,924 coronavirus cases and 34,236 deaths. CNN's Paris Bureau is working on clarifying the discrepancy between state statistics and the university's numbers.

2:16 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

More than 100 Covid-19 cases tied to Charlotte church event

From CNN’s Tina Burnside  

The number of Covid-19 cases tied to a church convocation event in Charlotte, North Carolina, now stands at 101, according to a news release from the Mecklenburg County Department of Health. 

In the release, the county said 99 coronavirus cases are in Mecklenburg County and two additional cases in Iredell County are linked to convocation events at the United House of Prayer for All People on Oct. 4 through Oct. 11.

The county says at least three deaths and one cluster of 12 residents at a senior living community are also connected with this outbreak. 

Public health officials have also attempted to contact more than 137 close contacts of the 99 confirmed cases, the release stated. 

2:38 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

More than 223,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US

A cyclist takes pictures of the public art project “IN AMERICA How could this happen…” on the DC Armory Parade Ground October 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The art piece, created by local artist Susanne Brennan Firstenberg, will be on display for two weeks with flags planted to represent lives that have been lost to COVID-19. 
A cyclist takes pictures of the public art project “IN AMERICA How could this happen…” on the DC Armory Parade Ground October 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The art piece, created by local artist Susanne Brennan Firstenberg, will be on display for two weeks with flags planted to represent lives that have been lost to COVID-19.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

There are at least 8,440,895 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 223,381 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

So far today, Johns Hopkins has recorded 33,193 new cases and 349 reported deaths.

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

1:27 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Canadian government will invest $214 million in Covid-19 vaccine development, Trudeau says

From Evan Simko-Bednarski

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arriving at a press conference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Ontario, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arriving at a press conference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Ontario, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged $214 million Friday toward efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

Of that money, Trudeau said his administration is providing "up to $173 million" toward Quebec-based Medicago Inc.'s vaccine candidate, and their Quebec City-based factory.

Trudeau also announced $18.2 million for Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems, and an additional $23 million towards various early-stage vaccine candidates. 

The prime minister said the Canadian government had begun distributing hundreds of thousands of rapid Covid-19 tests to provincial governments. 

The investment comes as Covid-19 cases in Canada are on the rise. 

"Yesterday, Canada had the highest ever number of new cases of Covid-19," Trudeau said. "We have to get these numbers down. This is serious, and everybody must do their part."

"People's lives are at stake," Trudeau added. "We can't afford to be careless or think that this virus will just go away on its own."

 

1:12 p.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Trump and Mnuchin say differences still remain in stimulus talks

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Haley Byrd

US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 23, 2020.
US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 23, 2020. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during an Oval Office meeting on Friday that some significant differences between the Trump administration and Democrats still need to be resolved before reaching a stimulus deal.

Asked for an update on the stimulus talks, Mnuchin told reporters, “The President’s been very clear in his instructions to me. That if we can get the right deal we’re going to do that.” 

“We’ve been speaking to the (House) speaker. I would say we’ve offered compromises. The speaker, on a number of issues, has still dug in. If she wants to compromise, there will be a deal. But we’ve made lots of progress in lots of areas, but there’s still some significant differences that we’re working on,” he added. 

The President, speaking from the Resolute Desk for an announcement on the normalization in relations between Israel and Sudan, claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “wants to bail out poorly run Democrat states.” 

“We just don’t want that. We want Covid-related,” Trump said, later adding, “We don’t want to reward areas of our country who have not done a good job.” 

The President also asserted that Pelosi wants to wait until after the election to strike a stimulus deal. “I don’t think she wants the people to get the money before the election,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Pelosi on Friday continued to express optimism about a potential coronavirus stimulus package, saying negotiators “could be very close.”

“We’re writing the bill, and hopefully we’ll be able to resolve some of the differences,” she said during an interview on MSNBC.

“I think the President wants a bill. I really do,” she said, adding that it’s still possible lawmakers could approve the legislation before the election, depending on how the GOP Senate reacts.

“We could be very close,” Pelosi said. “As I say, we’re close enough to put pen to paper.”