October 15 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Angela Dewan, Melissa Mahtani and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020
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11:29 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Nursing home coronavirus outbreak leaves 12 dead

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Twelve residents at a Northern California nursing home have died from the coronavirus, Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center confirmed in a news release on Thursday.

Since the start of the pandemic, the nursing home in Santa Clara County has reported 75 confirmed cases of the virus among residents and 54 confirmed cases among staff members, according to the release.

All staff members and 63 residents have recovered.

“To add an additional level of protection we are committed to facility wide testing on all residents and staff in collaboration with local public health departments,” Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center said in the release.
“We are working closely with the state and local health department and continue to follow their guidance, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).”

Santa Clara County has reported a total of 22,859 coronavirus cases and 367 deaths and is currently in the third tier of the state’s reopening system, which represents a "moderate" spread of the virus. 


11:00 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Study finds one Chinese Covid-19 vaccine is safe

From CNN's Leanna Faulk

A Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed in China is “safe and well tolerated,” a new study published Thursday reports.  

The vaccine, called BBIBP-CorV, is created by China's state-run pharmaceutical group Sinopharm. Its Phase 1/2 study, involving more than 600 volunteers, showed that they all developed an immune response and none had severe adverse reactions, the researchers reported in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.  

The trial was unable to determine how effective the vaccine is at preventing infection with the virus.

How the vaccine works: The vaccine uses one of the oldest and best-tested approaches to making vaccines -- inactivating or “killing” a virus and then using it to train the immune system. 

This vaccine candidate is different from those being designed in the United States, which use pieces of genetic sequence of the coronavirus. 

10:22 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Shutting down the country is "off the table," Fauci says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a US Senate committee hearing on September 23, in Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a US Senate committee hearing on September 23, in Washington. Graeme Jennings/AFP/Getty Images

As the United States enters the fall and winter months with coronavirus cases on the rise, people must double down on public health measures, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, adding that shutting down the country is “off the table."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that his calls for people to strictly follow public health measures do not mean that he wants to shut down the country.

“That’s off the table. We're not talking about that,” Fauci said during a Yahoo News Interview. “We're talking about intensifying some public health measures that are really simple and easy to understand and to do it uniformly as a country, instead of in a haphazard way.”

He emphasized five basic public health measures:

  1. Wearing masks
  2. Physical distancing
  3. Avoiding crowds
  4. Washing hands
  5. Opting for outdoor settings over indoor settings
10:04 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Covid is the "most serious emergency that New Mexico has ever faced," governor says

From CNN’s Raja Razek

In this April 15, 2020, file photo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham puts on her face mask when not speaking during an update on the coronavirus outbreak in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In this April 15, 2020, file photo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham puts on her face mask when not speaking during an update on the coronavirus outbreak in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP

New Mexico is reporting the highest infection levels the state has seen since the pandemic began, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a news conference on Thursday.

The positivity rate is 8.1%, and hospitalizations are up 74%.

"These are the highest levels we've been at, and in a very bad way," Lujan Grisham said. The state had been doing well before this, she said -- "and now, we're in those columns where we're leading the country, if not in the number one position, nearing it for uncontrollable spread."

"This is the most serious emergency that New Mexico has ever faced,” she added.

Emergency order: The governor is extending the emergency public health order, with new mitigation efforts going into effect tomorrow.

These include limiting gatherings to five people or fewer. All establishments serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. Visitors from high-risk states must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New Mexico.

Hospital beds running out: Hospitals in the state are also running out of ICU beds, said the state's health and human services secretary.

"Our ICU beds, as was mentioned in Albuquerque, and many of you know, are full, with University over 100% full in ICUs," said Secretary Dr. David Scrase.

"This is a serious time for the state of New Mexico," he added. "You can see the curve here, and it really is dwarfing previous curves."  
9:23 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Michigan and Arkansas report highest daily jump in new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Jennifer Henderson

Arkansas and Michigan both reported their highest number of daily new Covid-19 cases today, according to their respective state health authorities.

Arkansas reported 1,278 new cases and 11 virus-related fatalities today. That raises the state's total to 96,524 confirmed infections and 1,645 deaths.

There are currently 587 Covid patients still in hospital, with 103 on ventilators.

Michigan reported 2,030 new cases and 32 deaths today.

However, the numbers include a backlog of cases from the day before due to a “slowdown in the reporting of electronic laboratory results,” according to a news release from the Michigan State Emergency Operations Center. 

A spokesperson from the state's Department of Health and Human Services said there's no way to calculate how many cases reported today were part of yesterday’s backlog.  

7:50 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

New model predicts 389,000 total Covid-19 deaths in the US by Feb. 1

From CNN's Maggie Fox

An influential model of the coronavirus pandemic predicts 389,087 Covid-19 fatalities in the US by Feb. 1 – 6,000 fewer deaths than the last forecast, even though the researchers behind the model say the spread of the virus is worsening. 

The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, shows the pandemic moving into younger populations – thus the forecast of fewer deaths. The last forecast, released on Oct. 10, projected about 395,000 deaths by Feb. 1.

“Daily cases have begun to increase and transmission has intensified in the northern half of the United States,” the IHME said in its new forecast. “We expect deaths to stop declining and begin increasing in the next one to two weeks. The winter surge appears to have begun somewhat later than the surge in Europe. Daily deaths will reach over 2,000 a day in January even with many states re-imposing mandates before the end of the year.”

More data: The model projects just 314,000 deaths by Feb. 1 if everyone uses masks and more than 477,000 deaths if mask mandates are eased. Daily deaths would rise to more than 5,500 if mandates were eased but should settle at around 2,200 at current predictions.

“Expanding mask use remains the best strategy to delay and reduce the magnitude of the surge,” the IHME said.

The worsening spread will likely force many Midwestern states to reimpose restrictions, the IHME said.

The model predicts 2.4 million coronavirus deaths globally by Feb. 1.

7:42 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Remdesivir has "little or no effect on mortality" of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, WHO study finds

From CNN's John Bonifield

Ulrich Perrey/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Ulrich Perrey/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The antiviral drug remdesivir has "little or no effect on mortality for hospitalized patients," with Covid-19, the World Health Organization said Thursday, and it doesn’t seem to help patients recover any faster, either.

WHO says it’s “conclusive evidence” about remdesivir – and the findings are disappointing.

Until now, remdesivir was the only drug that appeared to have specific effects for coronavirus. It was the only drug specifically with an Emergency Use Authorization specifically for Covid-19 from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Results of the WHO study have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. But WHO posted them to a pre-print server.

The WHO study reviewed remdesivir and three other repurposed drugs: hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon. None of them helped patients live any longer or get out of the hospital any sooner.

The trial was able to generate conclusive evidence on the impact the drugs had on mortality, the need for ventilation, and duration of hospital stay, according to WHO's press office.

"For each drug in the study, the effect on mortality was disappointingly unpromising," WHO statement said.

Prior to the WHO study, a large controlled study of remdesivir in the US found that it shortens recovery time by about a third in severely ill, hospitalized adults with Covid-19, but does little to help those with milder cases.

President Trump was given a five-day course of remdesivir as part of his Covid-19 treatment, one of the doctors treating him said on Oct. 3.

The maker of remdesivir, Gilead, did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment about WHO's study. 


6:20 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Chris Christie spent 7 days in intensive care: "I was wrong to not wear a mask"

From CNN's Dana Bash

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he has recovered from Covid-19 in a new statement, in which he added that he was wrong to not wear a mask at Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's announcement and during debate prep with the President.

“I believed that when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that and I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong,” Christie wrote. “I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others,” he added.

Christie also wrote: “No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others.”

5:45 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Georgia governor extends Covid-19 restrictions through Oct. 31

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and John Murgatroyd

Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing expanded statewide COVID testing on August 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing expanded statewide COVID testing on August 10 in Atlanta, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order today, extending current Covid-19 restrictions with minimal changes.

The new executive order will take effect on Oct. 16 at 12 a.m. local time and runs through Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Georgia’s public health emergency remains in place until Nov. 9, according to the governor’s office.