October 19 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020
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11:15 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

US-Canada border to remain closed to non-essential traffic until at least Nov. 21

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Empty lanes at the Canada-U.S. border in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Canada, on September 16.
Empty lanes at the Canada-U.S. border in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Canada, on September 16. Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Canada announced Monday that the US-Canada border will remain closed until at least Nov. 21. 

Canada’s public safety minister Bill Blair tweeted, “Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

Essential cross-border traffic for commercial goods and essential workers will continue with many of those workers exempt from Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country. 

The border restrictions were first imposed in March and have been renewed by mutual agreement every month since. 

Earlier this month, Canada loosened some border restrictions on compassionate grounds.

Family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, including couples, adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents can enter Canada but must complete a 14-day quarantine. 

Canada says other foreign nationals can apply to come to Canada on compassionate grounds given illness or death of family and friends. 

11:12 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

The health sector in French cities is "exhausted" and needs help, one mayor says

From CNN’s Sarah Dean


The mayor of Rouen, one of the cities in France now under a nighttime curfew, says the health sector is exhausted and needs more help. 

Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol told CNN that he knows the city must apply by the curfew rules, but he foresees economic damage. 

Asked if the central government is giving enough financial support to the French cities now under curfew, Mayer-Rossignol said, "You need the two legs: you can have restrictions but if you have strong restrictions you must have strong incentives and strong help."

About 20 million people – roughly a third of France's population – in the capital Paris and regions of Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille, Lyon and Rouen are affected by the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew expected to last a month.

He said that although they do have financial help “there are some specific sectors where help is desperately needed, especially the health sector”.

“The big difference with the confinement a few months ago is that when it started in March - April the whole health sector was fully mobilized and strongly committed to do everything they could to battle – and currently they are just exhausted. So we need more help,” Mayer-Rossignol added.

12:42 p.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Covid-19 positivity rate in New York City is above 2%, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgeuglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 citywide is at 2.17%, under the 5% threshold, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

The seven-day rolling average is 1.62%, he said. 

De Blasio maintained there is still a “leveling off in some of the areas of greatest concern,” adding that the city and state are in constant contact in terms of how to move forward with restrictions that are nearing their 14-day mark. 

“We got more work to do, we want to keep making that progress,” the mayor said.

He encouraged everyone in the restrictive zones to continue to “dig deeper.”

De Blasio said the city and state are in constant contact “to figure out the exact timing of each move we’ll make” with regards to the restrictions and the potential of lifting them.

“We do overall need to see more progress before we can remove restrictions,” he said.

The area of Central Queens Red Zone have seen substantial progress in terms of their numbers. 

“The goal is to stop a second wave of the coronavirus in NYC, we can stop a second wave, right now the numbers suggest we are stopping a second wave but we have to remain vigilant and this next week or two will be crucial to make sure we consolidate our progress and maintain the progress we had previously," the mayor said.

Here are some more Covid-19 statistics from NYC:

  • The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 76, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 16.4%.
  • With regard to new reported cases on a seven-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, NYC reports 471. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the citys 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.

10:34 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Slovenia declares 30-day state of emergency over Covid-19

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Slovenia has declared a 30-day state of emergency on Monday to try and curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. 

According to a spokesperson for Slovenia's government, the move comes with additional restrictions on movement between regions, as well as a reduction on the number of people who are allowed to gather at a time.

As of this Monday, a curfew will also be in place, with all movement of people being forbidden between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

Larger scale events and gatherings such as weddings and religious ceremonies will be temporarily suspended, the spokesperson added. 

10:17 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

South Africa's health minister tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize visits Clairwood Hospital on August 6 in Durban, South Africa.
Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize visits Clairwood Hospital on August 6 in Durban, South Africa. Darren Stewart/Gallo Images/Getty Images

South Africa's Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19.

"I wish to inform the public that this afternoon my wife, Dr May Mkhize and I have tested positive for COVID-19. 
"We decided to go test yesterday when I started showing mild symptoms," Mkhize said in a statement posted on his Twitter account Sunday.

"I was feeling abnormally exhausted and as the day progressed, I started losing appetite. My wife had a cough, was dizzy and extremely exhausted. Given her symptoms, the doctors advised that she must be admitted for observation and rehydration," he added.

Mkhize said their close contacts have been informed to self-isolate and get tested.

"I wish to take this opportunity to urge all South Africans to continue adhering to health protocols," Mkhize said. He noted that although the country has "made significant strides" in its fight against the pandemic, "let us not dare regress".

Read the tweet:

9:41 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Stocks open higher on hopes of another push for a stimulus deal

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

Wall Street started the week in the green on Monday. Investors are hopeful that in a last push for a stimulus deal before the election, Democrats and Republicans can finally agree after months of negotiations. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday an agreement must be reached within 48 hours if the bill is meant to pass before Election Day. 

Otherwise earnings season is roaring on. Companies reporting today include IBM, which is due after the closing bell. 

Elsewhere, China’s economy grew by 4.9% in the third quarter, showing the world what’s possible if the pandemic is more under control.

Here's how the market opened:

  • The Dow opened 0.4%, or 101 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 also rose 0.4%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened up 0.5%.

9:31 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Portugal surpasses 100,000 total Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

A health technician takes a sample from a driver at a Portuguese Red Cross COVID-19 Testing Post in Lar Militar on October 16 in Lisbon, Portugal.
A health technician takes a sample from a driver at a Portuguese Red Cross COVID-19 Testing Post in Lar Militar on October 16 in Lisbon, Portugal. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Getty Images

Portugal has surpassed 100,000 total Covid-19 cases after health authorities reported an additional 1,949 new infections on Monday.

It marks the 12th straight day with more than a 1,000 new infections for the country of 10 million people.

Health authorities in the country also reported 17 additional deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

The total number of people killed by disease has now reached 2,198.

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

Only 2 US states show a downward trend in Covid-19 cases. Here's a look at the latest figures. 

From CNN's Brandon Miller and Madeline Holcombe

As of early Monday morning, there were more than 8 million cases and over 219,000 coronavirus deaths in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Health experts say the predicted fall surge is here, and rising cases across the US appear to bear that out.

Here's what the data shows:

  • Only 2 states are showing downward trends by at least 10% in new Covid-19 cases compared to the previous week — Hawaii and Vermont. 
  • 27 states are showing upward trends.  
  • 21 states are showing steady trends.

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

Despite the climbing totals, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a nationwide lockdown is not the way forward unless the pandemic gets "really, really bad."

"No, put shut down away and say, 'We're going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go,'" he said during an interview on "60 Minutes" Sunday night.

Instead of seeing restrictions as a roadblock to an open economy, Fauci told CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook during the interview the fatigued American public should see public health measures as a way to safely keep it open.

Americans can help get the virus under control, experts say, by heeding guidelines touted by officials for months: avoiding crowded settings, keeping a distance, keeping small gatherings outdoors and wearing a mask.

Hear from the mayor Austin, Texas:

8:52 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline to approve a stimulus deal before the election. Here's what you need to know. 

From Phil Mattingly and Paul LeBlanc

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during a television interview in Washington, D.C., on October 9.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during a television interview in Washington, D.C., on October 9. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday set a Tuesday deadline for her and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to reconcile significant policy disputes if they want to pass a relief bill before November 3. That time frame brings enormous pressure for a fast breakthrough that will have implications for millions of Americans struggling with the fallout of a still-raging pandemic.

However, a deal has evaded negotiators for months as the Trump administration and Pelosi have been hundreds of billions of dollars apart on topline numbers — as well as what should be included, and it's unclear if those key sticking points can be resolved before Pelosi's deadline.

Here's what you need to know about stimulus negotiations:

  • The bottom line: Pelosi expressed optimism in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday that a deal can be reached, but the hurdles facing each stage of what would be necessary to get something actually passed are numerous and each about a mile high. The best-case scenario, people involved say, is Pelosi and the administration strike some kind of deal in principle that could be drafted and considered after the election. But given the outstanding issues, even that will be quite a feat in the next 24 hours, people involved say.
  • What to watch on Monday: House Democrats will hold a private caucus conference call that will include an update on where things stand. Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak by phone Monday afternoon.
  • Days until the election: Fifteen.
  • Reality check: Over the course of the last five days, Pelosi and Mnuchin have spent roughly three and a half hours on the phone in negotiations, with staff working behind the scenes on various pieces of the talks. Pelosi, in a letter to colleagues on Sunday, outlined five central areas where there remained significant disagreement. Those listed issues didn't even include things like unemployment insurance and liability protections. As Pelosi noted: "These are a few of the issues that were discussed this weekend, but they are not exhaustive of our concerns." In other words, negotiators essentially have about a day to bridge divides that have existed since the start of these talks -- and despite months of meetings and calls, including several the last week, haven't come close to resolution.
  • That said: The effort between Pelosi and Mnuchin (and their respective staffs) is real. The push for an agreement is real. The array of major things that would have to perfectly — and quickly — fall into line for any agreement to actually go anywhere should one be reached is daunting. But this is a genuine effort to break a logjam that has been locked into place for months.
  • The clock: That Pelosi put the deadline on Mnuchin and the administration underscores that progress, to the extent it has occurred, has moved about as quickly as a fly through molasses. Even on areas where verbal agreement appeared to be reached — the Democratic priority of a national testing and tracing strategy -- the counter-proposal from the administration that came later took days, and, according to Pelosi, contained significant changes to the text. The deadline is in place to try and jam the administration into making decisions. Pelosi is aware President Donald Trump repeatedly says he wants a pre-election deal — one bigger than just about anybody else in his party is willing to accept. The countdown clock puts the onus on the administration to prove that's actually the case.

Read more here.