October 19 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020
33 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
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.

8:23 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

TSA screens more than 1 million for the first time since air travel cratered due to pandemic

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent checks the identification of a traveler at the security screening center in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8.
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent checks the identification of a traveler at the security screening center in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million people on Sunday, the first time it has crossed that point since the pandemic cratered air travel this spring.  

The agency said it screened 1,031,505 people on Sunday.  It is about 40 percent of the 2.6 million people the agency saw on the same day last year. 

More than 2,000 TSA employees including airport screening officers have contracted the virus and eight have died.  

 

8:27 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Austria tightens limits on social gatherings

From Nina Avramova in Vienna

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arrives for a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, October 19.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arrives for a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, October 19. Ronald Zak/AP

Indoor gatherings in Austria will be capped at six people from Friday in order to curb the spread of coronavirus, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

A maximum of twelve people will be allowed at outdoor gatherings, Kurz said at a news conference in Vienna.

Kurz admitted that the measures are “unpopular,” but added “unfortunately, they are necessary.” The limits on gatherings apply everywhere outside of work, with the exception of funerals.

“We are at a point in Austria where the growth is simply too fast, where the numbers are too high, and where we know if this trend continues then it won’t be one which we can endure for months.”

Measures will also be tightened for professional events, such as the opera or Bundesliega football games, which can take place with a maximum of 1,500 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors. 

Austria recorded its highest number of daily cases — 1,750 — last week, according to the health ministry’s dashboard. 

“Currently, the number of newly infected is doubling within roughly three weeks in Austria. If this trend doesn’t stop, or even intensifies then this means 6,000 newly infected per day in December,” warned Kurz.

8:14 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

“The next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic,” expert says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that "the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”

Vaccines won’t be available “in any meaningful way” until the third quarter of next year, he said – and even when they are, half the US population is skeptical of even taking one.

 “So, what we have right now is a major problem in messaging,” he said. “People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward, is we’ve got to get the message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality.”

Osterholm added that he doesn’t know if there is a lead when it comes to the federal government’s public health response. There are a lot of different voices, which is part of the problem.

 “We don’t have a consolidated one voice,” he said.

Osterholm highlighted the 70,000 cases of Covid-19 reported on Friday, which matched the largest number seen during the peak of the pandemic, and said that between now and the holidays, the US will see numbers “much, much larger than even the 67 to 75,000 cases,” he said.

8:21 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Switzerland imposes restrictions as infections rise

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, right, looks on as Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset speaks during a press conference announcing new measures against the coronavirus in Bern on Sunday.
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, right, looks on as Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset speaks during a press conference announcing new measures against the coronavirus in Bern on Sunday. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland introduced new restrictions on Monday after registering 8,737 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths over the weekend, according to data from the Swiss public health agency. 

From Monday large public gatherings are banned, and a nationwide mask mandate is in effect. 

Switzerland has registered 83,159 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the daily number is growing at a rapid pace.

The country's current death toll now stands at 1,837.