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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5:38 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Poland to convert stadium into its first coronavirus field hospital

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Artur Osinski

Warsaw's Narodowy stadium is pictured in May 2018.
Warsaw's Narodowy stadium is pictured in May 2018. Tgsphoto/Shutterstock

The Polish government has begun converting the Narodowy stadium in Warsaw into the country’s first field hospital for Covid-19 patients. 

The first works started on Saturday,” the government announced in a Monday tweet. 

The hospital will be set up in the stadium’s conference rooms and will have an initial capacity for 500 Covid-19 patients. Capacity could be expanded to a maximum of 1,000 beds, according to the government. 

Poland reported 132 deaths from Covid-19 on Friday -- its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. The country has now registered 175,766 cases and 3,573 deaths in total, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

5:33 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

UK government hopeful of agreement over Manchester lockdown

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

An overview show's outdoor seating areas for bars along Dale Street in Manchester, England, on Friday, October 16.
An overview show's outdoor seating areas for bars along Dale Street in Manchester, England, on Friday, October 16. Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The British government is “hopeful” of an agreement with the mayor of Manchester to increase anti-coronavirus restrictions in the city.

“We have had productive discussions in Greater Manchester over the weekend,” Britain’s Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC in an interview on Monday. “I am hopeful that we can now bring this to a conclusion.”

Jenrick said a package had been offered to Manchester, which included more resources for the city. He also said “other options” would have to be considered if an agreement could not be reached.

“The government has over-arching responsibility to protect people in all parts of the country, including in Greater Manchester, but doing so by imposition has never been our desired approach,” Jenrick said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for the city to enter the highest Tier 3 restrictions under a new system introduced in England last week. On Saturday, he said the city's rise in cases was “grave” and “worsens with each passing day.”

But Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said last week that he and other northwest regions opposed Tier 3 lockdowns, which involve the closure of pubs, restrictions on travel and a ban on socializing with people outside your household.

Burnham said the government's "flawed and unfair strategy" was asking local leaders to "gamble our residents' jobs, homes and business and large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work."

4:42 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

As coronavirus cases rise, Fauci says public health measures are the way to slow spread

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

As Covid-19 cases continue to soar across the United States, the nation's top infectious disease doctor said following public health measures is the way out of the crisis that has hobbled the economy, claimed thousands of lives and sickened millions.

Health experts say the predicted fall surge is here, and rising cases across the US appear to bear that out. The US is averaging more than 55,000 new cases a day, and 10 states reported their highest single-day cases counts on Friday. As of early Monday morning, there were more than 8.5 million cases and 219,674 coronavirus deaths in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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.

Read the full story:

4:02 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Masks made Czech Republic the envy of Europe, but cases are now skyrocketing there

From CNN's Scott McLean, Tomáš Etzler and Ivana Kottasová

A health worker holds a Covid-19 swab test tube at a drive-through testing center in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 13.
A health worker holds a Covid-19 swab test tube at a drive-through testing center in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 13. Milan Jaros/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Inside the intensive care unit at Prague's Na Bulovce Hospital some patients are hooked up to ventilators through tracheostomy tubes, others are lying face down, to help them breathe. The doctors and nurses don head-to-toe hazmat suits; as coronavirus cases surge in the Czech Republic, the country can't afford to have health workers sidelined by the virus.

There are currently more new Covid-19 cases per million people recorded in the Czech Republic than in any other major country in the world. On Friday, more than 11,100 new cases were reported in a single day, a new record. In the first 17 days of October, more people have died of the virus in the Czech Republic than during the previous eight months of the epidemic combined.

The Czech Medical Chamber and the health minister have called on Czech doctors living abroad to return home to help fight the virus. Medical students and people with medical training have also been encouraged to come forward. More than 1,000 qualified nurses who've left the profession have offered to come back to help.

For now, the Na Bulovce hospital has enough beds for everyone. But it's preparing for the worst.

"We have other back-up beds prepared in other departments in case the capacity exceeds our current possibilities," said Dr. Hana Rohacova, the head doctor at the hospital's infection disease clinic. This weekend, the government began setting up a temporary field hospital in Prague. Czech Health Minister Dr. Roman Prymula told CNN he expects the extra beds will be needed as soon as the end of this month.

It's a stunning development. Less than two months ago, the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis boasted his country was among the "best in Covid."

Read the full story:

3:21 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Analysis: Trump's campaigning stoops to new lows

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, on October 18.
President Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, on October 18. Stephen Lam/Getty Images

President Donald Trump and the pandemic he is supposed to be fighting are running out of control with the two weeks until Election Day shaping up as among the most ugly and divisive periods ever ahead of a presidential vote.

He's on a fresh collision course with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who's publicly questioning why Trump thinks mask wearing is weak after a wild weekend that saw the President, who's trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the polls and still playing to his base, pack swing state rallies that flouted his government's Covid-19 protocols.

The latest clash between the top infectious disease specialist and the President came as the pandemic that has already killed more than 219,000 Americans worsened at the start of a feared fall and winter spike that threatens to further damage Trump's reelection.

Trump is fighting for his political life campaigning at rallies that are almost the only mass participation events with no social distancing taking place in the US. His attacks are getting more extreme as the election gets closer, as he demands the locking up of his political rivals. He's claiming the election, and Thursday's presidential debate, are rigged against him.

Read the full analysis:

2:40 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

A 14-year-old girl's discovery could lead to a cure for Covid-19

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

As scientists around the world race to find a treatment for the coronavirus, a young girl among them stands out.

Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old from Frisco, Texas, has just won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge -- and a $25,000 prize -- for a discovery that could provide a potential therapy to Covid-19.

Anika's winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon," Anika told CNN.

Read more about Chebrolu's discovery:

2:32 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

More than 46,000 fans gathered for a rugby match in New Zealand -- an unusual sight in 2020

From CNN's Matias Grez

Crowds enjoy the action during the Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, on October 18.
Crowds enjoy the action during the Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, on October 18. Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

A near-capacity 46,049 crowd was present at Eden Park as New Zealand defeated Australia 27-7 in game two of rugby's Bledisloe Cup.

Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland, which re-entered lockdown in August following a small outbreak of coronavirus cases, were lifted at the start of the month to allow crowds to return to stadiums.

Eden Park was one of very few sports stadiums in the world the host a full crowd over the weekend.

Read more about the match:

1:35 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

US reports more than 48,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

A total of 48,210 new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the United States on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 388 new virus-related deaths were also reported.

At least 8,154,594 coronavirus cases have now been identified nationwide since the pandemic began, killing at least 219,674 people, according to the university's tally.

The totals include cases from 49 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

The state of Wisconsin did not report numbers on Sunday. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Saturday that due to routine maintenance and updates to their data reporting system, they would not report any new data on Saturday or Sunday.

Track US cases here:

3:23 a.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Cathay Pacific reports 83% drop in passengers in first 9 months of the year

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

An aircraft operated by Cathay Pacific Airways takes off at Hong Kong International Airport on August 7.
An aircraft operated by Cathay Pacific Airways takes off at Hong Kong International Airport on August 7. Paul Yeung/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The number of passengers flying Cathay Pacific dropped by 83.2% in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, the Hong Kong-based carrier said Monday.

Ronald Lam, chief customer and commercial officer for the airline, said he expects Cathay to be operating at about 10% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity for the rest of 2020, and less than 50% for the whole of next year.

"We assume we will be operating well below a quarter of pre-pandemic capacity in the first half of next year but will see a recovery in the second half of the year -- only assuming the vaccines currently under development prove to be effective and are widely adopted in our key markets by summer 2021," he said.