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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2:25 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

The US now has at least 8,048,865 reported coronavirus cases

A man gets swabbed by CNA Keila Kelley at a free Covid-19 testing site in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13.
A man gets swabbed by CNA Keila Kelley at a free Covid-19 testing site in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 13. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

There are at least 8,048,865 reported cases of coronavirus in the United States -- including at least 218,575 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

On Friday, Johns Hopkins University reported 69,156 new cases and 883 additional coronavirus-related deaths in the country. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

For the latest Johns Hopkins University US numbers, check here. CNN’s map, using JHU data, continues to refresh every 15 minutes.

11:59 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Worst is still to come for US, warns influential Covid-19 modeler

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray.
Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray. Source: CNN

US President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is "rounding the turn."

But that's not the case, says influential Covid-19 modeler Dr. Chris Murray.

“If you look at the map in the US, what's happening is exactly what we expected,” Murray, the director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “(In) the whole northern half of the US, transmission is on the upswing.
“You look across all the northern countries in Europe, they're already well into the fall, winter surge and that's what's heading our way.”

The US has passed 8 million total cases of Covid-19 and recorded 63,000 fresh infections on Thursday -- a significant uptick from the daily numbers just a few weeks ago. More than 218,000 Americans have died from the virus.

“We expect the death toll, unfortunately, unless we change our behavior, is going to reach 390,000 deaths by February 1,” Murray said, citing IHME’s recent predictions.

“No, it's not over. The worst is still to come unfortunately.”

11:57 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

NYPD on alert after "uptick" in officer Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Brynn Gingras with contributions from Mirna Alsharif 

A NYPD officer stands guard on 5th Avenue at Trump Tower during a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath over the death of George Floyd on June 12 in New York City.
A NYPD officer stands guard on 5th Avenue at Trump Tower during a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath over the death of George Floyd on June 12 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The New York City Police Department is observing “an uptick” in coronavirus cases, Detective Sophia Mason, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement to CNN.

“We are watching it very closely,” she said.

There are now 54 uniformed members and 18 civilian members who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are out sick, according to Mason, who declined to provide additional information, such as when the uptick was first observed.

In a local television interview Friday morning, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the department is doing its best to trace the cases.

11:59 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020

US government wants to deliver vaccine shots within a day or two of FDA approval, officials say

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The federal government hopes to start vaccinating people against coronavirus within a day or two of Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization, officials said Friday.

“We fully anticipate that both Pfizer and Moderna will have data of both safety and effectiveness of their vaccines very shortly. We are very encouraged because their clinical trials are going extraordinarily well,” Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Mango was announcing a plan for retail pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to distribute any eventual coronavirus vaccine to long-term care facilities such as nursing homes under an agreement – not a contract – with the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.

“Part of the reason we are doing this is within 24 to 48 hours of the time the emergency use authorization is authorized, we expect to be putting needles into people’s arms,” Mango said. “This is pre-staging for what we believe will be rapid deployment.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Jay Butler noted that a third of coronavirus deaths in the US have been among residents of long-term care facilities. “We believe that this plan will be the quickest and easiest way to provide vaccines to long-term care facility residents,” Butler told reporters.

The CDC asked states to submit plans for vaccine distribution Friday. Workers and residents of long-term care facilities are expected to be among the first to get vaccinated.


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.