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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11:34 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

NYC mayor says city is at 1.31% positivity

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 citywide is at 1.31%, under the 5% threshold, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

The seven-day rolling average is 1.49% he said. 

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 88, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 18.6%

With regard to new reported cases on a seven-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, NYC reports 499. 

Note: These numbers were released by the city's public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database, drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

11:12 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

NYC Mayor: "There does not need to be a second wave"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded on what he said is the “the fight we’re waging against a second wave of coronavirus,” noting that the city is seeing a “plateauing” in test results, though there is “more to do.”

“There does not need to be a second wave in NYC, we can stop a second wave in NY if we act decisively now,” he said. “We are seeing a plateauing now of the test results and that is a very good sign, but much much more to do.”

“A second wave would mean a lot shuts down, we go backwards, no one wants that. So we can stop this once and for all in these areas of Brooklyn and Queens where there’s concern and therefore protect the whole city, and that’s what we’re going to do," he added.

He said officials are “flooding the zone” with testing.

Test and Trace head Ted Long said in the last two weeks, more than 17,000 tests have been taken in the clusters. Thirty-two new test sites were built out in the clusters, including 18 in the red zones. A large testing site is open today at the Kew Gardens Hills Branch public library.

The city is also partnering with Medicaid plans, which cover 1.2 million New Yorkers on testing outreach, de Blasio said. 

The Mayor said in terms of enforcement, 1700 inspections were done Wednesday, and 25 summons were issued. 

There have been over 18,000 in the last two weeks with a total of 288 summonses issued, including 11 summonses for $15,000.

11:10 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Trump says he's willing to go bigger on stimulus — but McConnell disagrees

From CNN’s Phil Mattingly

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at a press conference at the US Capitol on September 22 in Washington, DC.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at a press conference at the US Capitol on September 22 in Washington, DC. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking in Kentucky, once again threw cold water on the “big” stimulus agreement President Trump says he’s interested in securing. 

"I'm proposing what we think is appropriate,” McConnell said of Senate Republicans.

McConnell plans to put a roughly $500 billion proposal on the floor next week – approximately a quarter of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are currently talking about on the topline. 

Senate Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition to a big deal at this point and McConnell’s move to put the targeted proposal on the floor, which Democrats are expected to block, is seen more as a political messaging/protection move for his vulnerable members than as a serious proposal.

1:50 p.m. ET, October 15, 2020

London will move to "high" coronavirus alert level, says UK health secretary

From CNN's Lauren Kent

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks in the House Of Commons, London, on October 15.
Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks in the House Of Commons, London, on October 15. Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/AP

London will be moved from medium coronavirus alert level Tier 1 to high coronavirus alert level Tier 2, the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday,

He urged London residents to support government efforts to suppress the spread of the virus.  

“Working closely with the Mayor, with cross-party council leadership, with local public health officials and the national team, we have together agreed that London needs to move to local Covid alert level ‘High’,” Hancock said in a statement to the House of Commons. 

“We know from the first peak that the infection can spread fast and put huge pressures on the NHS, so we must act now to prevent the need for tougher measures later on,” he added.  

According to the Health Secretary, tougher restrictive measures for all areas placed under Tier 2 will come into force at one minute past midnight Saturday local time (that's 7:01 p.m. ET.)  

London residents will no longer be able to meet with other households in any indoor setting, including at home or in restaurants, and the "rule of six" will still apply for all outdoor venues.   

“To Londoners and all who work in our great capital, I want to say thank you for what you have done to suppress the virus once.  We now all need to play our part in getting the virus under control once again, and I know the sacrifices that this will mean,” Hancock said.  

Earlier on Thursday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the capital has reached a “critical moment” in its fight against the pandemic, warning that the virus is spreading rapidly “in every corner” of the city.  

“We will soon reach an average of 100 cases per 100,000 people, with a significant number of boroughs already over that threshold,” Khan said in a statement at City Hall.  
“Hospital admissions are up, more patients are going into intensive care and, sadly, the number of Londoners dying every day is increasing again,” he added.  

CNN reports from London and Bordeaux, France: 

10:19 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

"It's going to get worse," Wisconsin doctor warns as Covid-19 cases rise in the state

From CNN's Aditi Sangal


Covid-19 cases are surging in Wisconsin, and “it’s going to get worse,” says Dr. Paul Casey, medical director of the emergency department at a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“We predict it will peak mid-November," he said.

Over the course of three weeks, there has been “an alarming spike” in patients with Covid-19 who need admission to the hospital, he reported. 

“What that has done is placed entire wards full of Covid patients on top of all the other patients we have to take care of. Under normal circumstances, hospital capacity is typically 70% to 80%. So you throw on top of that an entire ward of patients with Covid-19, it stretches us to the limit,” he said.

Wisconsin’s seven-day moving average of daily positive cases is 21.8%.

Given his own prediction of the coronavirus crisis worsening in his community, he is anticipating a reduction in non-emergency services.

“We have not yet eliminated needed but non-emergency surgery. So, for example, if you need a hip replacement, that's not an emergency, but you need it. Those kind of surgeries will have to be delayed until the pandemic is over. We have not gotten there yet, but we're very, very close.”

Casey also warned that while they're currently able to take care of all patients that come in, if this surge continues, the system is soon going to be overwhelmed.

"The thing we need the most is for the spread of this virus to stop," he said. "We have enough PPE, we have enough hospital beds, but that's soon going to be different."

Watch more:

10:16 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Vaccine scientist says increase in Covid-19 is a “very ominous sign”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt


Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, says he is “very worried” as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States.

“We are now about to exceed 60,000 new cases a day, so we are looking at a doubling of new cases a day over just the last few weeks. This is a very ominous sign. I think we are in for a pretty bad fall and winter,” Hotez said in an interview on CNN.

“This is not a time for rallies. This is not a time for…crowding a lot of people together, especially speaking loudly and cheering, which is releasing virus. This is the time when we could be entering one of the worst periods of our epidemic and one of the worst periods in modern American public health. I'm very worried for the nation,” he added.

Hotez decried the continued lack of a national plan for the pandemic, and encouraged people to start planning themselves for the winter. He also said people should have a network of family, friends or mental health providers to be able to talk to.

“This is a normal reaction to a very tough situation and especially since we're being largely abandoned by the federal government,” he said. 

Hotez added that the US will very likely be in a much better situation by this time next year, but “it’s a matter of getting through these next few months.” 

Watch more:

10:13 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

Peru's Machu Picchu to reopen gradually on Saturday

Machu Picchu is seen on June 15 in southern Peru.
Machu Picchu is seen on June 15 in southern Peru. Percy Hurtado/AFP/Getty Images

Peru’s Machu Picchu will gradually reopen starting on Saturday, Cusco’s regional governor Jean Paul Benavente announced on Thursday, according to state news agency Andina.

The Inca ruins have been closed for seven months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The famous UNESCO World Heritage site, which recently reopened for a single Japanese tourist after he was stranded in Peru for seven months, will expand to slowly allow more tourists.

Locals can visit the site starting on Saturday, Benavente announced, while national tourists will be allowed in November followed gradually by international visitors. 

Visits will be limited to 675 people a day in groups of 8 people. The site will only allow 30% of its usual capacity, Alejandro Neyra, Minister of Culture announced, according to Andina. 

"The coordinated work between the central government and the region has allowed us to get the Safe Travels stamp, a recognition that implies safety amid this pandemic, as well as commitment and responsibility to all," Benavente added. 

10:08 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

US stocks tumble on concerns about no stimulus deal and more Covid-19 restrictions to come

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan on October 2 in New York City.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan on October 2 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Wall Street opened sharply in the red on Thursday.

Investors have plenty to worry about: There is still no US stimulus deal on the horizon and Europe is returning to restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The Dow opened 1.1%, or 322 points, lower, while the S&P 500 – the broadest measure of the US stock market – fell 1.3%.

The Nasdaq Composite opened down 1.6%.

It's looking to be the third straight day of losses for the three indexes.

Investors got a mixed bag of economic data Thursday morning:

First-time jobless claims rose and more people moved onto benefit programs designed to bridge the gap after regular aid rolls off. Meanwhile, the New York Federal Reserve Bank's manufacturing index came in far lower than expected, while the Philadelphia Fed's business index beat expectations.

10:10 a.m. ET, October 15, 2020

"We really have to be careful this time," Fauci warns about Thanksgiving

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas


Everyone needs to be careful around Thanksgiving this year and evaluate the risks and benefits of celebrating in the traditional way, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on “Good Morning America” Thursday.

“Understanding that everyone has this traditional, emotional, understandable warm feeling about the holidays and bringing a group of people, friends and family together in their house, indoors, that’s understandable,” Fauci said. “But we really have to be careful this time, and each individual family evaluate the risk/benefit of doing that.” 

In particular, when people are coming in from out of town and may have been on planes or in airports and then coming into the house, he said.

If there are elderly or vulnerable people there, Fauci gave this advice:

“You better consider whether you want to do that now or maybe just forestall it and just wait and say, you know, this is an unfortunate and unusual situation, I may not want to take the risk. But then, it’s up to the individuals and the choices they make.”

Dr. Fauci warns public to be cautious ahead of winter: