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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9:19 p.m. ET, October 14, 2020

Italy records its highest daily coronavirus case increase since the pandemic began

From CNN’s Zahid Mahmood in London and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

A woman undergoes a swab test for Covid-19 at a drive-through testing site of the Santa Maria della Pieta hospital in Rome on October 12.
A woman undergoes a swab test for Covid-19 at a drive-through testing site of the Santa Maria della Pieta hospital in Rome on October 12. Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Italy on Wednesday recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the latest figures from the country's Ministry of Health show. 

Italian health authorities said there had been 7,332 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to at least 372,799.

The number exceeds the previous daily high set during the first wave of the pandemic on March 21, when at least 6,557 cases were recorded over a 24-hour period. 

Over the past day, 43 people have died of coronavirus, bringing Italy’s total number of deaths to at least 36,289.

The number of patients in intensive care has increased by 25.

Some background: Italy was one of the worst-hit countries in Europe during the first wave of the pandemic and the country is battling to contain another outbreak.

Additional restrictions were announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Health Minister Roberto Speranza making masks mandatory indoors except when at home and urging people to not gather in groups of more than six at home. 

9:41 p.m. ET, October 14, 2020

"Most transmission is actually still happening in households," WHO says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Technical lead head Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove attends a newsconference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents amid the coronavirus outbreak on July 3 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Technical lead head Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove attends a newsconference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents amid the coronavirus outbreak on July 3 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday underscored that most transmission of Covid-19 is still happening in households.

Speaking during a social media Q&A, Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said if someone tests positive for Covid-19, that they should be cared for in a medical facility -- but she said she understands that cannot always happen.

“We realize that that is not possible globally, with so many cases that we are seeing, but it is important that if you are in a high risk group -- if you are over 60, if you have any underlying conditions -- that you are cared for in a medical facility,” she said. “The reason for that is because you are at a higher risk of developing severe disease and of death.”

If an infected person is cared for at home, “There's the possibility that the virus will spread within the household,” she said.

“Most transmission is actually still happening in households,” Van Kerkhove said. “This we knew from the beginning, from the outbreaks that were detected in China. And one of the most important things that they did in China was recognizing this, and then isolating individuals who are infected outside of the home.”
8:42 p.m. ET, October 14, 2020

Experts say a herd immunity strategy to fight the pandemic can be dangerous

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

After months of effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, herd immunity has emerged as a controversial topic. 

During a call with reporters on Monday, White House senior administration officials discussed a controversial declaration written by some scientists that advocates for ending lockdowns, building immunity and pushing for those who are not vulnerable to Covid-19 to resume normal life.

The Great Barrington Declaration aligns "very strongly with what the President has said for months -- that is strongly protect the high-risk elderly and vulnerable and open schools and restore society to function," a senior administration official said during the call.

Yet many experts warn that the idea to allow the novel coronavirus to circulate freely -- also known as a "herd immunity" approach -- is dangerous.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has even called it "unethical."

"Allowing a dangerous virus that we don't fully understand to run free is simply unethical," Tedros said during a briefing on Monday. "It's not an option."

Tedros explained that herd immunity is a "concept used for vaccination," not pandemic control.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic," Tedros said. "Letting the virus circulate unchecked, therefore, means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death."

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