October 28 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Vasco Cotovio, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020
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1:00 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Big Ten football game canceled due to rising Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst does a post-game interview after an NCAA college football game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 23 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst does a post-game interview after an NCAA college football game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 23 in Madison, Wisconsin. David Stluka via AP

The Big Ten football game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers scheduled for Saturday has been canceled due to several positive Covid-19 cases within the Wisconsin football program.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 people — six student-athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst — have tested positive for the virus. Additional test results are pending.

As a result, Wisconsin will pause all team-related activities for at least seven days.

"This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday," Chryst said in a statement. "I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning."

The statement continued: "I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week. But the safety of everyone in our program has to be our top priority and I support the decision made to pause our team activities."

Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first. Over the past several days we have seen a rising number of student-athletes and staff contract the virus. The responsible thing for us to do is to pause football-related activities for at least seven days.”

The game will not be rescheduled.  

Wisconsin's next scheduled game is Nov. 7 at home against Purdue. Nebraska's next scheduled game is on the road against Northwestern on Nov. 7. 

11:06 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

White House communications director says declaration that the pandemic has ended was "poorly worded"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Pool
Pool

White House communications director Alyssa Farah downplayed a press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released Tuesday that declared “ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC” as a key administration accomplishment, saying Wednesday that it was “poorly worded.”

“No absolutely not, I think that was poorly worded,” Farah said during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday morning when asked whether the President believes the pandemic has ended. 

“The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus. But what I would say is this: because of the President’s leadership, we are rounding the corner on the virus,” she added.

Farah downplayed and defended it further when pressed by CNN’s Joe Johns during a one-man gaggle. 

“We're certainly not getting ahead of it, we're still in the midst of the pandemic. We do say we're turning the corner and what we mean by that is, we're rushing therapeutics, we’re in the best place to treat the virus that we've ever been in. And by end of year we expect that we'll have the vaccine, at which point we will defeat the virus,” she said. 

She continued: “But I think the intention of that press release was to give credit to the career medical professionals and scientists has been working since day one on this pandemic.” 

And asked by Joe Johns about reports of thousands of Nebraska supporters stranded in the cold after last night’s Omaha rally, Farah directed questions to the campaign, but said, “The health and safety of those coming out to support the President is our top priority.”

On Fox, she said that rising cases and hospitalizations are “absolutely” a concern but said the administration is “working with every county and state to monitor hospital capacity,” going on to attack Joe Biden’s plans to deal with the pandemic.  

“We are ready to deal with cases as they arise. We will not have hospitals overflowing, and if there is a need to surge medical capacity or even military doctors, we’ve done that, we have the muscle memory, and we’ll be prepared to do it, but as I said, we have a vaccine coming soon,” she said. 

10:42 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

French president will address the nation as Covid-19 cases spike

From Pierre Bairin in Paris and Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he waits for the arrival of Estonia's Prime Minister before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 28.
French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he waits for the arrival of Estonia's Prime Minister before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 28. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron will announce this evening “a new stage in our fight against the virus which was decided this morning,” government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

Local media, including France’s Le Monde newspaper, report that a new lockdown will be announced by the president in an address to the nation at 8 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET) on Wednesday. CNN affiliate BFMTV are reporting that the new measures may last four weeks and come into force as early as Thursday evening. 

This potential lockdown would be less strict than the first “confinement” in the spring, with the possibility of some schools and more businesses staying open.

The French Hospital Federation, a group representing 4,800 hospitals, said in a press release on Wednesday that a full lockdown was the "only solution" that would permit French hospitals to "successfully treat all French people, whether they have Covid, whether they have any other serious illness or are affected by a serious accident." 

President of the French Hospital Federation Frédéric Valletoux, speaking on French radio station France Inter, stressed that the French "hospital system will not hold without radical measures." Reiterating the federations call for a complete lockdown Valletoux said hospitals are struggling with lower numbers of medical personnel than during the spring.                                   

What the numbers look like: France may be seeing about 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Jean-François Delfraissy, who leads the scientific council that advises the French government, warned on Monday. Speaking to France's RTL radio, Delfraissy said, "There are probably over 50,000 cases per day, we are estimating at the scientific council that we are more around 100,000 cases per day, twice as many, because beyond diagnosed cases there are many not diagnosed and asymptomatic cases."

Delfraissy added that France is in a "very difficult, even critical, situation."

11:16 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

It could be 2022 "before we start having some semblances of normality," Fauci says

From CNN Health's Andrea Diaz

From University of Melbourne
From University of Melbourne

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that even though he's "very certain" we will have a coronavirus vaccine "in the next few months," we are unlikely to be able to go about our normal lives until at least the end of next year – or perhaps 2022. 

"If we get a vaccination campaign, and by the second or third quarter of 2021 we have vaccinated a substantial proportion of the people, I think it will be easily by the end of 2021, and perhaps even into the next year, before we start having some semblances of normality," Fauci said during a University of Melbourne panel.

However, Fauci noted that political division and the fear of economic loss has affected how the country is currently doing.

"When we were trying to open up the economy again, or open up the country … and I was very much involved with Dr. Deborah Birx and putting together these guidelines, which were a gateway of Phase 1, Phase 2 – to tell you how you can gradually safely and prudently open up the country." Fauci said. "If everybody had done that uniformly, I don't think we would be in the position we're in right now."

He continued: "Masks in the United States have almost become a political statement, and I know that was carried in the news globally, it was really ... very, very difficult. In fact, people were ridiculed for their mask, depending upon which side of a particular political spectrum you were at," Fauci said, adding that it has been painful to witness this divisiveness centered around a public health issue.

Dr. Paul Offit discusses on Newsroom:

10:08 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

New Jersey governor says Covid-19 is "pretty much up and down the state"

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Trenton, New Jersey, on June 9.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Trenton, New Jersey, on June 9. Anne-Marie Caruso/Pool/The Record/AP

The Covid-19 virus is "pretty much up and down the state" said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Wednesday, adding that all options are on the table in terms of potential restrictions. 

"I continue to think it's more likely scalpel community-focused surging of capacities and enforcement, but we have to leave all options on the table," said Murphy to CNN affiliate WPIX.

He added that the state entered the surge in a "strong position," with more knowledge of the virus and the demographic shifting toward a younger population. 

"It's serious, there's no question about it," said Murphy. "It's really migrated from hotspots in particular communities or in higher education, now it's pretty much up and down the state. The big metro New York counties have the most cases."

Murphy said that New Jersey will rely on state executive orders and the same playbook used a couple weeks ago in hotspots like Lakewood to curtail spread of the virus in new hotspots like the East and North wards in Newark.

"Plusing up — surging testing, tracing, using the bullhorn including in languages other than English, so first is Portuguese in the East Ward of Newark," said Murphy. "And also cranking up compliance and enforcement."

Newark is under new restrictions this week following Covid-19 spread in the area. The new restrictions, in part, require non-essential businesses to close at 8 p.m. local time.

9:47 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Stocks open sharply lower

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks tumbled again at Wednesday’s opening bell. The drivers for the selloff are the same as on Monday: rising Covid-19 infection in Europe are sparking worries about renewed lockdowns to stave off the pandemic’s second wave, and uncertainty about next week’s election and further government stimulus is keeping investors worried about the economy.

Here's how things opened this morning:

  • The Dow opened down 2%, or some 550 points.
  • The S&P 500 fell 1.8%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.7%. 

On Monday, the Dow logged its worst day in more than seven weeks, while the S&P had its worst performance since late September.

9:47 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Trump campaign official says he doesn't know who wrote document that promotes "ending" pandemic

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

CNN
CNN

Despite spiking coronavirus cases in the United States, the White House touted that it ended the coronavirus pandemic on a list of the administration's accomplishments. When asked about the document today, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary Hogan Gidley said he did not know who wrote it and has not seen it himself.

A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release made the claim in announcing a document highlighting the administration's science and technology achievements over four years.

"Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC," the news release read. "From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease."

“I didn't write the document; I don't know who said that,” Gidley said on CNN’s 'New Day” when pressed about it by anchor Alisyn Camerota. 
“I’m not looking at the document. I don't know what the document says or how it characterizes the word ending but I'm not going to quibble over semantics,” he added.

When asked if he thinks the coronavirus pandemic has ended, Gidley said that “we’re moving in the right direction.” More than 480,000 new cases have been reported in the US since October 20.

Watch:

8:39 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Pope says he has to maintain distance because of "this lady called Covid"

From CNN's Livia Borghese & Delia Gallagher in Rome

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 28.
Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 28. Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis told a group of faithful at the Vatican on Wednesday that he would not come down from the stage to greet them because of Covid restrictions.

“I would really like to come down to greet each one of you,” the Pope said, “but we have to maintain distance because if I come down it immediately creates a crowd and this goes against the precautions that we have to take before this ‘Lady’ called Covid who does us so much harm.”

Francis was speaking at his weekly general audience, when he usually greets some of the crowd face-to-face before and after the event.

The Paul VI hall is pictured as Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience.
The Paul VI hall is pictured as Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience. Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

The Pope, who was not wearing a mask, did greet some priests who came up to the stage after the event.

Francis has come under increasing criticism for not wearing a mask at public events.

A Vatican official told CNN on Tuesday that they were “trying to convince” the Pope to wear a mask.

Fr. Augusto Zampini, coordinator of the Pope’s Commission on Covid-19 said he “hopes the Pope will start to use the mask especially during his weekly general audiences when he is close to people.”
 “We are working on that,” Zampini said.
8:35 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

China reports 183 cases in Xinjiang after testing nearly 5 million people

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

A medical worker stands by as people line up to be tested for Covid-19, in Kashgar Prefecture, in China's far-western Xinjiang region, on October 26.
A medical worker stands by as people line up to be tested for Covid-19, in Kashgar Prefecture, in China's far-western Xinjiang region, on October 26. Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/Shutterstock

Health officials in China's far-western Xinjiang region reported 183 Covid-19 infections after completing a mass testing program on Tuesday.

Of that total, only 22 exhibited symptoms, while 161 remain asymptomatic.

Authorities completed a mass testing program of 4.74 million people in the city of Kashgar in days, the Xinjiang Health Commission said in a statement.

The program was launched after a single asymptomatic case was identified over the weekend.

Xinjiang’s Health Commission said that patient is a 17-year-old girl who lives in a village in Kashgar, who has neither a fever nor cough, but tested positive for Covid-19.