October 26 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Luke McGee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 5:50 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020
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12:06 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

The White House "surrendered to the virus" yesterday, Sen. Angus King says

CNN's Aditi Sangal

Sen. Angus King speaks with CNN on Monday, October 26.
Sen. Angus King speaks with CNN on Monday, October 26. CNN

In response to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows saying the US is "not going to control" the coronavirus pandemic, Independent Sen. Angus King said that’s “unconditional surrender.”

“Remember, I don't know, five or six months ago, the President said, ‘this is war. I'm a wartime president?’ Yesterday was unconditional surrender,” King, who caucuses with the Democrats, said. “It was basically waving the white flag, saying, ‘we can't control it, there's nothing you can do.’ And that's nonsense. Of course, they can control it.”

He cited the US CDC guidelines on wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing for stopping the spread of the virus, and he blamed the White House for inconsistent messaging.

“If that had been the consistent message from the White House from the beginning, when we knew those were [the things] we had to do, and in the meantime, had they developed a really strong testing program, there would probably be 50 to 100,000 fewer deaths. We would be looking like other countries that are having surges but nothing like what we're having. And like I say, yesterday was the moment that the White House surrendered to the virus."

Cases are surging across the country and nearly 225,000 Americans have died from the virus.

“Maine is a good example of how it can work. Our governor, Janet Mills, was very tough, took a huge amount of flack in terms of how we dealt with the pandemic,” Sen. King added. “Here's the bottom line. And if the Trump folks had figured this out, they’d be in a lot better shape right now… We're closer [getting] back our economy to normal because we did these simple things and our governor, as I say, took a lot of heat but stood up and did it right.”

Watch more:

2:32 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Regional solutions can help Midwest control the coronavirus outbreak, Chicago mayor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard administer Covid-19 tests on October 9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard administer Covid-19 tests on October 9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images

With coronavirus cases surging across the US, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says regional agreements and solutions could help get the numbers under control.

“The Midwest has consistently been up for now for the last three weeks. So the virus obviously doesn't respect geographic boundaries. Everywhere around Chicago is going up,” she said, citing Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa as examples. “When you see the mobility of people traveling throughout the Midwest for jobs, for schools and so forth, it's not a total surprise but it is absolutely quite distressing and we're trying to do everything that we can. But we have to all be in this together. Meaning as a region, we have to come up with a region-wide agreements and solutions. Otherwise we're never going to be able to see this virus under control.”

There has been an uptick in hospitalizations but not in intensive care unit admissions, she reported.

As part of mitigation measures, businesses in Chicago will now have to shut down by 10 p.m. local time, following a new order that aims to curb the latest surge of Covid-19. However, with these measures in place as well as the winter approaching, Lightfoot says people are starting to gather indoors.

“Don't invite people in that are not part of your immediate family or otherwise essential to be there, like a home care worker or something along those lines. That's where we're really seeing the spread. The case investigations, the contact tracing is pointing to home social settings as the primary area of risk now,” she said.

At the same time, the city is not considering canceling Halloween because “people are going to trick or treat anyway,” she said. Instead, the city has put some rules in place to encourage safety, including limiting the number of children grouping together.

“We're asking no haunted houses, no house parties. We are also really encouraging people not to have hand-to-hand contact with children as they're handing out candy,” she said.


10:04 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

White House adviser on stimulus: "The talks have certainly slowed down. But they're not ending."

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The U.S. Capitol is shown on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. 
The U.S. Capitol is shown on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday that stimulus talks have slowed but haven’t ended as the negotiators have failed to reach a deal with just eight days to the election.

“The talks have certainly slowed down. But they’re not ending. One thing I will say is the committee chairmen on both sides, Senate and House, have been meeting and discussing various aspects,” he said during a remote appearance on CNBC from inside his White House office.

“We’ll get a report this morning. Sec. Mnuchin will be talking to them. I think he’s going to be talking to Speaker Pelosi,” he said.

He said the sides are “close” but “important policy issues” still separate them. “They’re still talking, but I acknowledge the clock is ticking.”

Kudlow reiterated that there is a “strong, V-shaped recovery,” and stimulus could help in certain targeted areas, going on to cast blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said the recovery is “self-sustaining.”

Kudlow was also pressed on comments from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on CNN about not controlling the virus. He reiterated best practices and said, “We get these pop-ups. I’m not sure there’s anything we can do about it. We’re seeing it in Europe and all around the world, perhaps that’s what chief Meadows was referring to, but we know a lot more than we knew.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, he said, is on the road with CDC teams in a “number of hot spots,” where they are “emphasizing the need for these guidelines.”

“That’s the best we can do, and it has worked in the past and hopefully it will continue to work,” he said.

Read CNN's latest reporting on the stimulus talks here.

9:58 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Care rationing could be the next step for overwhelmed hospitals in Utah

From CNN's Alta Spells

A grim warning is coming from the head of the Utah Hospital Association, who tells CNN affiliate KUTV that hospital care rationing is only days away for hospitals there.

“It’s a complex way of taking account of every patient’s situation, age, health, and the ability to survive,” said Greg Bell, the president of the hospital association, who described the system to KUTV as a way "of grading patients, or triaging or rationing care.”

A group of administrators representing the state's hospitals presented the list of "criteria they propose doctors should use if they are forced to decide which patients can stay in overcrowded intensive care units," to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. 

"We told him, ‘It looks like we’re going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues,’" Bell recounted to the Salt Lake Tribune, “'and we see no reason why it won’t.'"

According to Bell, the reason for the move is the "phenomenal case growth and spread rate” of Covid-19 in the state. 

The latest numbers: The state of Utah has reported more than 1,000 new cases per day for the last 12 days and saw its highest 7-day average for new daily cases yesterday according to information from Johns Hopkins University. 

A total of at least 104,882 cases of coronavirus and approximately 572 deaths have been reported in the state to date. 

“At the end of the day, some senior person versus some healthy young person probably would not get the nod,” Bell told KUTV during an interview Sunday night.

9:57 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

El Paso hits another record high in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Gregory Lemos  

The Texas city of El Paso set another record on Sunday as the health department reported another 1,559 cases of Covid-19. 

The city reported a total of 40,887 cases and 576 deaths, according to the city's Covid-19 dashboard. Ninety-two percent of Covid-19 cases are among the Hispanic population, according to the dashboard.  

The city has doubled its Covid-19 cases rate since Aug. 30 when the health department reported 20,424 cases, according to the dashboard.  


9:52 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Stocks fall as Covid-19 cases surge and stimulus remains in limbo 

From CNN‘s Anneken Tappe

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks tumbled at Monday's opening bell, as coronavirus, Washington intransigence and earnings are weighing on the market.

The election is only eight days away, there's still no new stimulus package and the first look at how the economy fared in the third quarter will be reported on Thursday. 

Here's how things opened: The Dow opened 1.1%, or just below 300 points, lower, while the S&P 500 – the broadest measure of the US stock market – fell 0.9%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.8%.

9:40 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Here's where the pandemic stands in the US

Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23.
Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23. Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

It's Monday morning in the US, which has recorded more than 8.6 million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began. More than 225,000 people have died in the US from Covid-19.

If you're just reading in now, here are the latest updates on the pandemic in the US:

9:28 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

1 in 5 members of Russia's lower house of parliament have had or currently have Covid-19, official says

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin in Moscow on October 26.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin in Moscow on October 26. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Getty Images

At least one out of every five lawmakers in the lower house of Russia’s parliament currently have or have had coronavirus, the speaker of the house, also known as Duma, told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting Monday.

“The situation indeed is not an easy one. The collegial body is obliged to assemble, so every time, despite the fact that we do the testing, we see that more and more of our colleagues are sick. Today, 38 lawmakers are in hospitals, one is in intensive care. You know that one lawmaker died as a result of the pandemic,” Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to a Kremlin readout. 

"Of course, we are taking certain measures to keep the parliament working, but.. we have 91 deputies who have been ill or are sick today,” Volodin added.

The 450-member Duma partially shifted to remote work last month in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

In September, Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti that a Duma member from the communist party, 67-year old Vakha Agayev, had died from coronavirus complications.

9:21 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump adviser says White House coronavirus cases are "fairly benign"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner takes part in a television interview at the White House, on Monday, October 26.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner takes part in a television interview at the White House, on Monday, October 26. Alex Brandon/AP

Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner defended Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to continue campaigning despite his close contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus, suggesting West Wing cases have been mild and Pence is taking appropriate precautions because he has “great knowledge” about the pandemic as the leader of the task force.

“I think that you have people that can criticize in every regard and I spoke to Marc Short last night, he’s feeling fine. And again, you’ve got a lot of young, healthy people in the West Wing who know that they’re taking risks coming in to work for the American people. But, you know, just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean that we can stop,” he said during an appearance on Fox News. 

Kushner continued: “We’re taking precautions, wearing masks, you know, social distancing and washing hands, doing what they can to prevent it. But people do get it… For the people in the West Wing who have gotten it so far, it’s been fairly benign cases, you know, and obviously people are moving forward. And the Vice President obviously has great knowledge about the disease and the pandemic and he knows the right protocols to follow and I have every confidence that he's following those protocols.”

Kushner was also pressed on comments from chief of staff Mark Meadows that the US is not going to control the pandemic, but didn’t offer much of a defense.

“Look, you have a global pandemic. It’s impacting every place. People have tried different way to cope with that. You have that throughout Europe, you have that through the US. You know, you have places where they've been locked down and it’s spread you have places where it's been open and it's spread and I think that ultimately, we have to have a balanced approach but the job of the federal government has been to make sure that we get all the supplies to the people who have needed it,” he said, going on to discuss US personal protective equipment. 

He added, “Look, I think that when you saw the debate, the other side said this is a very dark winter. We definitely have some challenges but President Trump's approach is we're going to defeat the virus and we're gonna get our country back to a stronger place than ever before.”