October 16 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Nick Thompson, CNN

Updated 0426 GMT (1226 HKT) October 17, 2020
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9:42 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Retail sales rose in September as people kept shopping

From CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn

People visit South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, on September 28.
People visit South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, on September 28. Allen J. Schaben/The Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Retail sales climbed in September for the fifth straight month as people spent on clothing, sporting goods, furniture and other items in stores and online.

US retail sales rose 1.9% in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That's well above the 0.7% rise predicted by economists surveyed by Refinitiv.

In August, retail sales grew 0.6%.

Retail sales had slumped to a seven-year low in April as coronavirus prompted stores across the country to shut their doors, though sales bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in July.

Economists and retail analysts say consumers have shifted their spending – away from travel and leisure and to areas such as home improvement and electronics. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores grew 11% in September from the month prior, while sales at sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores jumped 5.7%.

10:13 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Chris Christie: "There was no contact tracing done with me" by White House

From CNN’s Betsy Klein and Vivian Salama

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attends a news conference at the White House on September 27.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attends a news conference at the White House on September 27. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in his first televised interview since his release from the hospital, reiterated that no contact tracing was done by the White House after he tested positive for Covid-19.

“Well, I know that there was no contact tracing done with me, George. My contact tracing was done by my local county board of health. They called me while I was in the hospital to contact trace and make sure they have all that information, and I hope so,” he said during an appearance on ABC News when asked whether there was extensive White House contact tracing. 

Christie said he has spoken to the President “a number of times,” both when he was in the hospital and since he returned home when asked whether he tried to advocate tor mask usage, adding that he’s been calling for mask usage “all along,” but “everybody's going to make their own decisions on that.”

“We should be very affirmative. Leaders, all across the politics, sports, the media, should be saying to people, put your masks on and be safe until we get a vaccine that could help to protect us,” he said.

He blamed political polarization for the mixed wearing of masks in the US.

Christie expressed regret, reiterating his statement that it was a “big mistake” not to wear a mask while he was at the White House for debate prep and the Amy Coney Barrett nomination event and made a push for leaders to “be even more affirmative” about mask usage. 

“It was a mistake. You know, I was led to believe that, you know, all the people that I was interacting with at the White House had been tested and it gave you a false sense of security, and it was a mistake. You know I've been so careful George for seven months because of my asthma, wearing masks, washing my hands, social distancing and for seven months, I was able to avoid the virus and one of the worst hit states in the country in New Jersey. But I let my guard down. And it was wrong, it was just a big mistake,” he said.

“I let my guard down for a couple of days inside the White House grounds, and it costs me in a significant way,” he added.

Christie said he received the Eli Lilly antibody treatment as well as Remdesivir during his time in the intensive care unit.

Some context: The White House told staff in an email last week that it had completed "all contact tracing" for positive Covid-19 cases identified at the White House, and urged anyone who hadn't been contacted and suspected they had contact with someone infected by the virus to reach out to the White House Medical Office.

However, New York Times White House correspondent and CNN contributor Michael Shear, who tested positive for the virus following direct interaction with White House officials, told CNN late Tuesday that there's been no outreach by the White House to do contact tracing or to follow up on his condition.

At least one other White House official told CNN that they've also alerted officials that they have had direct contact with positive White House personnel and received no guidance on how to proceed.

Hear what he said:

8:41 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

32 US states show upward trend in Covid-19 as country approaches 8 million cases

From CNN's Amanda Watts and Christina Maxouris

The US is nearing 8 million Covid-19 cases and averaging more than 50,000 daily new infections — a sign the country is in for a tough winter, experts say.

Yesterday, the US topped 60,000 new cases in a single day for the first time since Aug. 14. 

More than 217,000 have died so far in the US due to the virus.

Here's what the data shows:

  • At least 32 states are showing an upward trend in new Covid-19 cases compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University data
  • 15 states are showing steady trends
  • Only 3 states are showing a downward trend in cases — Louisiana, Kentucky and Vermont

An updated forecast from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now projects the US could top 389,000 Covid-19 deaths by February 1.

And the latest ensemble forecast, published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows more than 20,000 Americans could die from the virus in just the next three weeks.

Here's a look at where cases are rising across the country:

8:24 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic.

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

The world is approaching 39 million cases of coronavirus. If you're just reading in this Friday, here's what you need to know about the pandemic:

  • The US is approaching 8 million Covid-19 cases and the pace of new infections signals a tough winter: At least 35 states are now reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. One expert told CNN it was an "ominous sign." Public health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned the country should try to lower its baseline ahead of the fall and winter months, to prepare for the new challenges that will arise, including the flu season.
  • Second English region goes into highest Covid-19 alert level: Lancashire, in North West England, will move into a "Tier 3" alert level starting Saturday, joining the city of Liverpool. Other cities are putting up resistance to a higher alert level without financial assistance from the government for local economies. Local leaders in Greater Manchester have rejected the order and are locked in battle with the UK government.
  • Curfew in 10 French cities goes into effect at midnight: Paris and nine other French cities will be subject to a night-time curfew starting at midnight local time on Friday after cases in the country increased by 53% in a week.
  • Russia reports a record-breaking single-day increase with over 15,000 new Covid-19 cases: Russia reported 15,150 new cases of coronavirus Friday, almost a 1,000 more compared to the previous record daily increase reported on Oct. 14. Russia has seen a surge in cases in the past two weeks, updating its record in single-day increases almost everyday. 
  • Deaths in Poland and new cases in Czech Republic surge: Poland has suffered its highest daily Covid-19 death count, reporting 132 fatalities on Friday. And Friday is the second day in a row that the Czech Republic reported its highest increase in infections.
8:20 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Wales is considering a short "fire-break" lockdown

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

Wales could be placed under a short "fire-break" lockdown as officials try to curb a sharp rise in cases.

First Minister Mark Drakeford warned Friday that such a lockdown could last two to three weeks.

Under the plan, people would be asked to stay-in and businesses would close. "The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be," Drakeford said. 

"We are considering all this because the situation is so serious that we have no option but to look at new and different ways to keep Wales and keep you safe," he added.

The UK government's top scientific advisers have also urged ministers to impose a short national lockdown also known as a "circuit breaker."

"Doing nothing is not an option," Drakeford said Friday.

His comments come after Wales announced that it will ban travelers from high coronavirus hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, starting Friday.

In a tweet, Drakeford said he was introducing the travel ban as there had been “no formal response” from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after Drakeford sent him two letters asking him to restrict travel into Wales.

8:00 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

London despairs at new Covid rules as northern England regions rebel

From CNN's Emma Reynolds, Zahid Mahmood and Phil Black

Commuters in London wait at a bus stop on October 15.
Commuters in London wait at a bus stop on October 15. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Londoners have expressed confusion and doubt over coronavirus lockdown restrictions announced Thursday that will affect millions living in the city.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the British capital would move from the Tier 1 "medium" alert to Tier 2 "high" alert level on Saturday, urging London residents to support government efforts to suppress the spread of the virus.

Pubs and restaurants already had a 10 p.m. curfew under Tier 1, but the new rules mean Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors in any setting. Outdoor gatherings will continue to be limited to six people, and people are advised to avoid using public transport where possible.

Schools, places of worship and businesses can remain open, leading many to question the restrictions.

"I'm fed up," Rebecca Duncan, a 39-year-old from south London, told CNN.

It's like one thing starts to open up and life starts to seem slightly normal, and then something else comes along and pushes us all back."

She called the new rules "ridiculous," noting that she could still go to the gym, get a massage or sit next to strangers in a cafe, but couldn't mix with anyone from another household.

Read more:

8:23 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

A curfew in 10 French cities begins at midnight. Here's what you need to know

From CNN's Pierre Bairin and Eva Tapiero in Paris and Sarah Dean in London

Men walk past empty restaurants at Place du Tertre in Paris on October 15.
Men walk past empty restaurants at Place du Tertre in Paris on October 15. Chesnot/Getty Images

A night-time curfew will be imposed on Paris and nine other French cities starting at midnight local time on Friday.

The restrictions come as France reported a record 30,621 new daily Covid-19 cases on Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the state of emergency measure on Wednesday in a bid to slow the surge.

"The aim is to reduce private contacts, which are the most dangerous contacts," Macron said.

The curfew will last until 6 a.m. Saturday, and will then resume from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night for four weeks.

It could possibly be extended to six weeks, pending parliamentary approval.

Here's what you need to know about the restrictions:

Where will the curfew come into force?

The curfew will apply Paris, Aix-Marseille (which hosts the two cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille), Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille and Lyon.

How will it be enforced?

People who violate the night-time curfew will be fined 135 euros (about $160) for a first offense. That rises to 1,500 euros ($1,760) if the offense is repeated, Macron said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also said a 12,000-strong police force will enforce the curfew and people breaking the curfew will be fined up to 3,750 euros. A third violation could result in a three-month jail sentence.

Are there any exemptions?

People working, traveling for health reasons such as going to the hospital or pharmacy, catching a train or a plane after 9 p.m. or caring for loved ones will be allowed to travel during curfew -- as long as they have proof of their reason.

People will need to fill out a certificate declaring their movement as they did during France's spring lockdown.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that people will be allowed to walk their pets after 9 p.m.

On Friday morning, Castex tweeted: “The number of confirmed cases had increased by 53% in just a week – this demanded a strong response from the state and local authorities.”

7:38 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Indianapolis Colts shut down practice facility after positive tests

From CNN's Martijn Edelman in Atlanta

The Indianapolis Colts have shut down their practice facility in Indiana after several people within the organization tested positive for Covid-19.

"This morning, we were informed that several individuals within our organization have tested posted for Covid-19," a team spokesperson said Friday.
"The team is currently in the process of confirming those tests."

The statement added that the team would work remotely while the tests were confirmed. The Colts are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and it's unclear as of now whether the positive tests could lead to the game being delayed.

To date, 12 NFL games have been postponed or rescheduled as a result of positive Covid-19 tests.

On Wednesday the NFL cancelled the 2021 Pro Bowl, its annual all-star game, for the first time since 1949.

7:34 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Health information was supposed to unite us. Here's why it hasn't

From Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez

The statistics, recommendations, new studies and predictions haven't stopped coming since the onset of the pandemic.

Covid-19 and the coronavirus that causes this disease is constantly making headlines. Yet while doctors have become permanent fixtures on the news, the public hasn't always come along on the messy, and at times unpredictable, journey around the science.

The very same information that was supposed to unite and guide Americans through the pandemic has further divided us. As we ask ourselves how we got here, it's imperative to understand that the information itself is only a small part of the equation.

Health information, like all other types of information these days, is landing on a divided country.

Read more: