October 20 coronavirus news

By Emma Reynolds, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020
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12:53 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Argentina tops 1 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Sharif Paget

A healthcare worker conducts a nasal swab test for Covid-19 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 19.
A healthcare worker conducts a nasal swab test for Covid-19 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 19. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina has topped 1 million total known cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, according to the country's health ministry.

Argentina is the fifth country to report more than 1 million known coronavirus cases, following the US, India, Brazil and Russia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The health ministry reported 12,982 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing Argentina's total number of known cases to 1,002,662.

The country also reported 451 new fatalities from the virus, bringing the country's known coronavirus death toll to 26,716.

8:46 p.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Trump trashes Fauci and makes baseless coronavirus claims in campaign call

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

A frustrated and at times foul-mouthed President Donald Trump claimed on a campaign call that people are tired of hearing about the deadly pandemic which has killed more than 220,000 Americans and trashed Dr. Anthony Fauci as a "disaster" who has been around for "500 years."

Referring to Fauci and other health officials as "idiots," Trump declared the country ready to move on from the health disaster, even as cases are again spiking and medical experts warn the worst may be yet to come.

Baselessly claiming that if Fauci was in charge more than half a million people would be dead in the United States, Trump portrayed the recommendations offered by his own administration to mitigate spread of the disease as a burdensome annoyance.

"People are tired of Covid. I have the biggest rallies I've ever had, and we have Covid," Trump said, phoning into a call with campaign staff from his namesake hotel in Las Vegas, where he spent two nights amid a western campaign swing. "People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots."
"Fauci is a nice guy," Trump went on. "He's been here for 500 years."

A Trump adviser later questioned the wisdom of attacking Fauci just two weeks before the election. The adviser described the President's comments as "not smart" because they keep the focus on the coronavirus pandemic, the one topic campaign officials would like to avoid the most.

Read the full story:

1:09 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Covid-19 situation in Brussels "close to a tsunami," Belgian health minister says 

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

A health worker takes a test sample at a coronavirus testing center in Charleroi, Belgium on October 14.
A health worker takes a test sample at a coronavirus testing center in Charleroi, Belgium on October 14. Nicholas Maeterlinck/BELGA MAG/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus situation in the Belgian region of Wallonia and the capital Brussels is “close to a tsunami,” the health minister said in a televised interview on Sunday. 

Frank Vandenbroucke warned “the health situation in Wallonia and in Brussels is the worst and the most dangerous in the whole of Europe.” 

Belgium is now on Johns Hopkins University’s list of 10 countries currently most affected by coronavirus. 

It has the third-highest number of Covid-related deaths per 100,000 people in the world, sitting behind San Marino and Peru, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Vandenbroucke called on all Belgians to protect themselves and their relatives, adding that the epidemic "is no one’s fault, but improving the situation is everyone’s duty." 

However, the health minister defended the government’s policy of installing a curfew from midnight, and not earlier in the evening, saying that the government “did not want to make life impossible."