October 17 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Rob Picheta and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT) October 18, 2020
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11:57 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

As US Covid-19 hospitalizations rise, NIH director warns more deaths may follow

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Francis Collins holds up a model of the coronavirus on Capitol Hill on July 2.
Dr. Francis Collins holds up a model of the coronavirus on Capitol Hill on July 2. Saul Loeb/AFP/Pool/Getty

As the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations rises in the United States, an increase in the number of deaths will likely follow, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, warned Friday.

The US has passed the 8 million mark in total coronavirus cases, with more than 63,000 new infections on Thursday. More than 218,000 people have died.

“I also look at not just the number of cases, but hospitalizations — because that indicates people are really severely sick and they need to be in the hospital. And that curve has also started up again, which is troubling,” Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“And that probably means, unfortunately, that we may start now to see also an increase in the number of deaths each day — which is the thing we most want to prevent.” 

Collins urged Americans to ask themselves what they can do to help limit the spread of Covid-19. 

“This is a good moment for people to stop and ask themselves, what can I do to try to be sure that we limit the further infections that otherwise seem to be looming in front of us as cold weather is kicking in and people are indoors, and those curves are going upward, in the wrong direction,” Collins said. 

“There’s many reasons to be sorrowful about where we are,” he said. “This is the most significant global pandemic in more than 100 years, but the way in which it has taken a toll on so many individuals and families in the US is truly heartbreaking.

“It’s truly tragic and we should be doing everything we can.”

11:54 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Hispanics and Blacks died from Covid-19 at disproportionately high rates over the summer

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Hispanics and Black Americans are dying at a disproportionate rate due to Covid-19, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The study published Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report looked at the shifting demographics of deaths from the pandemic over the summer.

Between May and August, 114,411 Americans lost their lives to Covid-19. Elderly White men were among the largest number of deaths. 

But Black people accounted for nearly 18% of the deaths in this time period, despite making up just 12.5% of the US population. Hispanics accounted for more than 24% of deaths, but make up 18.5% of the population.

The demographics started to shift in the summer. The percentage of Hispanics who died increased from 16% to more than 26% of overall deaths between May and August, while the proportion of those who died who were White or Black decreased.

The CDC said that there was a geographic shift in deaths. The highest concentration of deaths early in the pandemic were in the Northeast, but the numbers shifted West and Southward. The geographic difference, though, can’t account for the increase in the percentage of deaths among the Hispanic community, the CDC said.

Researchers think the pandemic has been harder on the Hispanic community because they may have had a higher exposure to Covid-19 due to their work. Hispanics also are more likely to live in multifamily households or live with many generations in one family, making it hard to social distance.

Nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the pandemic have been in places where people live in group settings at a nursing home or long-term care facilities. Many of those deaths happened early on in the pandemic. But as nursing homes stopped allowing outside visitors and were more aggressively testing residents and isolating those who were sick, those deaths have slowed down and there has been a shift toward younger and noninstitutionalized populations over the course of the pandemic.

To limit the spread of the disease, the CDC continues to recommend people use face coverings, wash their hands frequently, keep physical distance from others and avoid large gatherings.