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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1:18 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

A look at the latest coronavirus numbers in the Carolinas

From CNN's Natasha Chen and Melissa Alonso  

North Carolina health officials reported 2,102 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

This marks the third consecutive day the state reports more than 2,000 new cases, CNN's tally shows.  

The state department reported 2,684 new cases on Friday, the state's current record, and 2,532 cases on Thursday, CNN has reported.  

North Carolina's total cases now stands at 243,725, according to the health department's dashboard

Meanwhile, South Carolina Health officials reported 810 new Covid-19 cases and 22 deaths on Saturday, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 

This brings the total number of cases in South Carolina to 156,655 while confirmed deaths stand at 3,427, DHEC data shows.  

DHEC reported the state's percent positive yesterday was 11.4%, not including antibody tests. 

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

1:12 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

How New York plans to combat coronavirus this fall

From CNN's Laura Ly

A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for Covid-19 at a pop up testing site in New York on October 8.
A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for Covid-19 at a pop up testing site in New York on October 8. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York state will employ a “micro-cluster” strategy to combat Covid-19 during the fall months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Saturday.

Cuomo acknowledged that the state will likely see an increase in the transmission rate in the coming months due to schools reopening and cooler weather driving people indoors. Additionally, increased rates throughout the country will continue to affect New York, because many people have continued to travel to New York, Cuomo said. 

The “micro-cluster” strategy will use enhanced data that the state has been able to collect through increased testing and will enable state authorities to fight Covid-19 on a “block by block” level, rather than on a larger state, region, or county level. 

Cuomo said the state has now been able to collect testing data that is so specific that they are not permitted to show it because it would violate privacy laws. However, the data will allow the state to target Covid-19 clusters to the block(s) where it is originating, and therefore allow for targeted mitigation and enforcement efforts, he said. 

By fighting “micro-clusters” at the block level, rather than at a larger state or county level, mitigation efforts will cause less disruption to other areas with low transmission rates, Cuomo said.

When a “micro-cluster” is identified, the state will ramp up testing, mitigation, and social distancing enforcement in those specific areas, Cuomo said, adding that this approach would continue even after a vaccine becomes available.

12:34 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Here are some of the latest coronavirus numbers across Europe

Covid-19 cases are surging across Europe, and some areas are implementing new restrictions to fight the second wave of the pandemic.

Here's a look at some of the latest coronavirus figures across the continent:

  • The Czech Republic registered 11,105 new coronavirus cases on Friday, new data from the Ministry of Health revealed, marking an increase of 1,384 since Thursday’s confirmed total – a new record high in the daily number of new infections across the country.  
  • Germany saw another daily record in new Coronavirus infections, the country’s center for disease control, the Robert-Koch-Institute reported on Saturday.  Authorities recorded 7,830 new infections in a span of 24 hours — an increase about around 500 cases compared to the day before.
  • Italy has recorded an increase of 10,925 coronavirus cases since Friday’s confirmed total, the national Civil Protection Agency revealed Saturday, marking a new record high in daily increase figures.  
  • The Netherlands recorded 8,141 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, marking a new daily record, according to data from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on Saturday.
  • The UK has recorded another 150 coronavirus deaths and 16,171 new cases in the past 24 hours, government figures showed on Saturday.

12:31 p.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Some New York movie theaters can reopen next week, governor says

New York movie theaters outside of New York City and not in “red zones” with high Covid-19 rates may reopen on Friday at 25% capacity, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at an ongoing press conference on Saturday.

Theaters will be allowed to have a maximum of 50 people per screen, Cuomo said.

Cuomo added that only counties outside of New York City that are below a 2% positivity rate over 14 days and have no cluster-zones will be able to reopen their movie theaters.

Masks will be required at all times, except when seated and eating or drinking. All seats must be assigned, social distancing guidelines must be adhered to, additional staffing is required to control occupancy and seating compliance and and all theaters will be required to meet enhanced air filitration, ventiliation, and purification standards, Cuomo said.

11:29 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Kamala Harris will return to the campaign trail after staffer tests positive for Covid-19

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Biden campaign has announced that Sen. Kamala Harris will travel to Florida Monday. 

This will be her first in person campaign event since the campaign announced Thursday that Harris was canceling all her events through the weekend “out of an abundance of caution” after her communications director and a flight crew member from her plane tested positive for coronavirus. 

Harris underwent PCR testing for Covid-19 Friday. The virus was not detected.

11:09 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Here's the latest on the pandemic across the US

The US has surpassed 8 million Covid-19 cases this week, and on Friday, at least ten states reported their highest coronavirus case totals since the pandemic began.

If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across the country:

  • The most new cases since July: The US reported at least 69,000 new Covid-19 infections Friday — the most in a single day since July. Experts are warning that this nationwide rise in cases could mark the start of a fall surge.
  • Outbreak tied to Trump rally: In Minnesota, public health officials say they've so far traced at least 20 cases of the virus back to a rally held by President Trump last month, or to related events. Of the 20 cases,16 are among people who attended the rally. Four people said they participated in counter-protests the same day, the state's health department told CNN.
  • A possible vaccine plan: In an open letter published Friday by Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, the company said it plans to apply for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine as early as November. "Assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," the letter said.
  • Christie's warning to Americans: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie revealed Thursday he spent seven days in an intensive care unit before recovering from Covid-19, and implored Americans to wear masks and take the pandemic "very seriously." "The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly," Christie said in a statement. "No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others."

And here's a look at where cases are rising across the US:

10:45 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Biden on Trump's coronavirus response: "He has panicked and tried to wish it away"

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin in a statement released the same day President Trump is scheduled to hold a rally in the state.

"Wisconsin is in the grips of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country. Jill and I are praying for the health of those who’ve contracted the virus, and for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one. We have lost far too many lives to this pandemic — and the sad fact is, it didn’t have to be this way," Biden said in the Saturday statement.

He went on to slam President Trump's handling of the pandemic.

"President Trump is knowingly downplaying the severity of the virus. At virtually every turn, he has panicked and tried to wish it away, rather than doing the hard work to get it under control," Biden said.

Wisconsin reported its highest daily count of coronavirus cases yesterday with 3,861 new cases. Its previous high was 3,747 on Thursday.

President Trump is scheduled to hold a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin at 7 p.m. ET.

9:15 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

These 10 states reported their highest number of new coronavirus cases on Friday

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

On Friday, at least ten states reported their highest coronavirus case totals since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here's a look at the states' cases, according to Johns Hopkins University: 

  • Colorado reported 1,312 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 1,142 cases on Thursday. 
  • Idaho reported 1,094 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 729 cases on July 15.  
  • Indiana reported 2,283 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 1,943 cases on Thursday. 
  • Minnesota reported 2,290 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 1,516 on Oct. 10. 
  • New Mexico reported 812 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 668 on Thursday.
  • North Carolina reported 2,684 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 2,532 on Thursday.
  • North Dakota reported 864 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 706 on Thursday.
  • West Virginia reported 502 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 374 on Oct. 9.  
  • Wisconsin reported 3,861 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 3,747 on Thursday.
  • Wyoming reported 290 coronavirus cases. Its previous high was 243 on Oct. 9. 


8:36 a.m. ET, October 17, 2020

Wisconsin records its highest number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

There were 3,861 new cases of coronavirus reported in Wisconsin on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, charting a new record high number of cases for the state. 

Wisconsin's previous high was 3,743 cases, which was set on Thursday. 

On Friday, United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned that Wisconsin is a Covid-19 red state, with a rising positivity rate. 

"I want you all to be aware that Wisconsin is currently one of our red states. Meaning, your positivity rates are over 10% and going in the wrong direction. Cases are in the red, going in the wrong direction," he said

"It is critical that we actually understand where this virus is circulating so that we could get cases under control and reverse positivity,” he added. 

Adams spoke at a news conference announcing a new Covid-19 surge testing location in Neenah, Wisconsin. 

The COVID Tracking project reports Wisconsin’s positivity rate at 23.91% as of Saturday morning. 

President Trump is set to hold a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin on Saturday evening.