October 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 14, 2020
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11:25 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Pfizer to start testing its vaccine in kids as young as 12

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Drugmaker Pfizer has plans to start testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12, and parents have already expressed interest in enrolling their kids, the researcher leading the trial told CNN Tuesday.

It will be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the United States.

A team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital will begin vaccinating teenagers aged 16 and 17 this week, and will move to enroll 12-to 15-year-olds later, said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the hospital.

The company confirmed on its website it has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to enroll children as young as 12 in its trial.

"We really think a vaccine for adolescents and children is going to be critical for getting Covid under control," Frenck told CNN in a telephone interview.
"I think one of the things that is important to remember is that although the death rate for children with Covid is lower than in older adults, it's not zero," he saId, noting that more than half a million children have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the US. "It is not a nonexistent infection in children."

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11:05 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Long Island venue fined $12,000 for "super spreader" party linked to nearly 40 cases

From CNN’s Lauren del Valle

Miller Place Inn in Long Island, New York.
Miller Place Inn in Long Island, New York. Source: News 12 Long Island

A party venue in Long Island has been slapped with $12,000 in Covid-19 violation fines after 37 cases were traced back to a birthday party held there.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services traced a cluster back to "a Sweet 16 super-spreader event" at the Miller Place Inn on September 25, according to a news release from the department. 

The 81-person guest list, including 49 students and 32 adults, violated New York state executive orders limiting non-essential gatherings to 50 people or less than 50% capacity.

Some 29 guests at the party contracted the coronavirus. Seven household members and one close contact of attendees have also tested positive.

A total of 270 individuals are now under quarantine in connection to the event, the release said.

Schools affected: Eight schools have reported positive cases in connection to the party, and 35 schools have at least one student who has been affected by the event, according to the release. It was not immediately clear how those 35 schools were affected.

“This was an egregious violation and should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences that exist for flouting COVID-19 protocols. These rules and regulations exist for a reason - to keep New Yorkers safe - and we all have an obligation to act responsibly,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in the news release.

CNN has reached out to the venue for comment.

10:27 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Small family gatherings are spreading Covid-19, CDC director says 

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield appears at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 16.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield appears at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 16. Andrew Harnik/Pool/AP

Small family gatherings are becoming a growing source of coronavirus spread in the United States, health officials told the nation's governors Tuesday.

"I think in the public square, we're seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions. But what we're seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a call with the nation’s governors Tuesday afternoon, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN. 

"And particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it's really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting," Redfield said. 

Things will worsen as winter months approach, Redfield and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told governors on the call.

9:57 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Labor secretary's wife, who was at Rose Garden event, tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

The Labor Department announced on Tuesday night that Secretary Eugene Scalia's wife, Trish, has tested positive for coronavirus.

The news release said that Eugene Scalia has tested negative so far but will work from home "for the time being."

Both Eugene and Trish Scalia attended the Rose Garden event on September 26 where President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett was his pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. They were seated in the second row, directly behind first lady Melania Trump and next to former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway -- both of whom would later test positive for Covid-19.

"This afternoon, doctors confirmed that U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia's wife, Trish, tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Mrs. Scalia is experiencing mild symptoms but doing well," the release stated.
"This evening, Secretary Scalia received a test and the results were negative; he has experienced no symptoms. The Secretary and Mrs. Scalia will follow the advice of health professionals for Trish's recovery and the health of those around them. For the time being, the Secretary will work from home while continuing to carry out the mission of the Department and the President's agenda."

Read more:

9:11 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

China's Qingdao city tests more than 5.6 million people and finds no new cases so far

From Eric Cheung in Hong Kong 

This photo taken on October 12 shows a health worker taking a swab from a middle school student to be tested for Covid-19, as part of a mass testing program following a new coronavirus outbreak in Qingdao, in China's eastern Shandong province.
This photo taken on October 12 shows a health worker taking a swab from a middle school student to be tested for Covid-19, as part of a mass testing program following a new coronavirus outbreak in Qingdao, in China's eastern Shandong province. AFP/Getty Images

China's Qingdao city has tested more than 5.6 million people as of Tuesday night amid a citywide testing program, the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said in a statement.

As of 8:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, the city has collected a total of 5,603,804 nucleic acid samples. More than two million test results have been returned, and no new positive cases were reported, the commission added.

Qingdao city, located in northeastern China, announced on Monday that it would conduct a mass testing program over five days, after 12 cases were reported over the weekend. The city has a population of nine million.

7:12 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

US government invests more than $400 million in new, quick coronavirus test

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Maggie Fox 

The federal government said Tuesday it was investing close to half a billion dollars in a cartridge-based on-the-spot coronavirus test that it said would help “dramatically” expand its supply of tests by next spring.

Cue Health’s quick polymerase chain reaction or PCR test takes about 20 minutes to find the genetic material of the coronavirus – the so-called gold standard of testing. Being able to deploy it for point-of-care use should speed up testing – something that has held up control of the spread of the virus across the US. 

The Health and Human Services Department and Department of Defense said they were investing $481 million in Cue to help it produce more tests.

“This partnership with HHS and DOD will allow Cue to expand its industrial base and increase domestic production to 100,000 COVID-19 test kits per day by March 2021, and demonstrate this capacity through the delivery of six million COVID-19 tests and 30,000 instruments to the U.S. Government to support the domestic COVID-19 pandemic response,” HHS said in a statement.

“Cue’s tests provide results in about 20 minutes with the kind of accuracy provided by lab tests that can take several days, adding to our dramatically expanding supply of rapid tests that can support safe reopening,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar added.

Dr. Brett Giroir, who heads testing efforts for the federal government’s coronavirus task force, told governors in a call Tuesday the tests were used to help the National Basketball Association control the spread of coronavirus and continue play.

“This was the primary point of care test used in the NBA bubble,” Giroir said in a call, the recording of which was obtained by CNN. “If it was good enough for LeBron, we need to democratize it to the American people,” Giroir added.

“We will not have tens of thousands of these for a period of many weeks. We will have 8,000 — the first delivery in four weeks,” he added. “And we want to work selectively with a few states and a few programs to test these out in the wild, to understand how they will best complement the current ecosystem that has the antigen test up front and the big laboratory tests in the back.”

The Food and Drug Administration gave the test emergency use authorization in June.


7:02 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Global coronavirus cases surpass 38 million

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

At least 38,006,121 cases of Covid-19 have so far been recorded globally as of 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.   

The global death toll stands at 1,083,875.  

The United States leads with the most known Covid-19 infections and deaths worldwide.

There are at least 7,850,829 cases and 215,775 deaths from the disease in the country, according to Johns Hopkins count.  

The US, India and Brazil together account for more than half of the world's coronavirus cases, the figures show.  

5:08 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

Fauci says Covid-19 vaccine development "on a really good track"

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that current efforts toward Covid-19 vaccine development are “on a really good track” despite news that a second vaccine was put on hold this week. 

“A couple of the vaccines are very close to getting some sort of information,” Fauci said during a call with the nation’s governors Tuesday afternoon, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN. 

Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, mentioned vaccines being tested by Moderna and Pfizer. “We’re getting to the point where we’re almost being able to look at the first look at the data, which is a predetermined thing done by the data and safety monitoring board,” he said.

The vaccine effort, more broadly, “is on really a good track,” he said. “We should know by November or December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” he added. “It is conceivable that we might even know before then.”

The NIAID is helping sponsor some of the coronavirus vaccine trials.

“By November or December, at least in one or more of these trials, we’ll have an answer early on so we can start distributing to those groups who have the highest need,” Fauci said. 

Fauci told the governors not to be concerned by the two vaccines in clinical trials that have been placed on hold in recent weeks pending further investigation. AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine trial is on hold in the US and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was paused Monday because of an illnesses in a volunteer.

“I want to emphasize to the governors that this is not an unusual occurrence. Whenever you have clinical trials in which you’re involving tens of thousands of individuals, it is not unusual to get an adverse event and you want, out of overabundance of caution, you want to make sure that that is a not related to the actual vaccine itself,” Fauci said, calling a hold “standard procedure to do that.”

“Many very good vaccines in the course of their testing have actually been put temporarily on hold,” he assured the governors.

Some more context: Fauci’s comments and participation on the task force governors call come hours after President Trump revived efforts to publicly undermine him, tweeting that Fauci's pitching arm — a reference to his poor first pitch at Nationals Park — is "far more accurate than his prognostications."

Fauci's recommendations and assessments have largely been in line with public health experts throughout the coronavirus pandemic but not aligned with what the President perceives his political interests to be.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also reminded the governors of an upcoming deadline for states to provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a vaccine distribution plan. 

“We want you to be in close touch with your CDC liaison throughout this process as you approach the deadline for submitting a vaccine distribution plan to CDC, this Friday, October 16,” Azar said. 

4:51 p.m. ET, October 13, 2020

New Mexico tightens Covid-19 restrictions as cases rise

From CNN’s Andy Rose

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is announcing a partial rollback of the state’s economic reopening, as coronavirus numbers increase rapidly. 

“When the community spread of the virus becomes uncontrollable – and we are fast approaching that point – our only option is to simply shut down those opportunities for the virus,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement Tuesday.

Starting on Friday, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol will have to close by 10:00 p.m local time and mass gatherings will be limited to only five people.

Hotel occupancy is being reduced from 75% of normal capacity to 60%, and only after the business completes a state training program on avoiding virus spread. Hotels that are not certified by that program will only be allowed to serve 25% of their regular capacity.

New Mexico reported 488 new Covid-19 cases on Oct. 9, the state’s largest single-day total.

The governor’s office says the state has not met its benchmark goals for reopening in several weeks. 

“Absent an improvement in those data, the state of New Mexico will once again restrict indoor dining service and significantly roll back maximum occupancy allowances at other retail and dining establishments,” the office said in a statement.