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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1:37 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

US reports more than 58,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton

A total of 58,387 new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the United States on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 445 new virus-related deaths were also reported.

At least 8,212,981 coronavirus cases have now been identified nationwide since the pandemic began, killing at least 220,119 people, according to the university's tally.

The totals include cases from 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Track US cases here:

12:53 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

More Hispanic workers impacted by Covid-19 in food processing, agriculture workplaces, CDC study finds

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

More Hispanic workers were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in food processing and manufacturing plants and agriculture workplaces in the US last spring than workers of other races or ethnicities, a team led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday

A survey of meat and poultry plants and similar settings across the US found that nearly 73% of people diagnosed with coronavirus were Hispanic or Latino, 6.3% were Black and 4.1% were Asian or Pacific Islander. Yet Hispanics make up only 37% of the work force in these work places. 

This suggests “Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander workers in these workplaces might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” the researchers wrote in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

 
“Our study supports findings from prior reports that part of the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 among some racial and ethnic minority groups is likely related to occupational risk,” the team wrote.

The CDC examined information collected from state health departments about workers with confirmed Covid-19 in food processing and manufacturing plants and agricultural settings between March 1 and May 31.

They found reports on mass testing in US meat and poultry plants revealed widespread coronavirus outbreaks and found high numbers of asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections.

High-density workplaces can cause a higher risk for transmission of Covid-19, the researchers reported.

Only 36 states reported data and testing strategies varied by workplace so that influenced the number of cases detected, the CDC said. Workers hesitant to report illness could have led to an underestimation of cases.

12:05 a.m. ET, October 20, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Colorado are now the highest they've been since May

From CNN's Raja Razek

As of Monday, 381 people are hospitalized for Covid-19 in Colorado, authorities said -- the highest number the state has reported since May.

Public health authorities said in a statement that 1,000 new cases are being identified a day.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy.
11:33 p.m. ET, October 19, 2020

Long-term heart damage likely in some Covid-19 survivors, review finds

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

Long-term heart damage is likely in some survivors of Covid-19, a team of doctors reported Monday.

The doctors found that Covid-19 dysregulates the way the blood clots, and damages the lungs and their ability to process fresh oxygen into the blood, they wrote in a review for the American College of Cardiology.

Patients who have had to undergo ventilation -- and the medicated sedation that goes along with that --- are most in danger, wrote Dr. Sean Pinney of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and his colleagues.

The doctors noted that about a third of survivors of the closely-related severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus in 2003-2004 had persistently abnormal lung function a year after illness, with lower exercise capacity -- and Covid-19 appears to damage the heart even more.

A second study noted a kind of damage to the heart known as myocardial injury in about a quarter of coronavirus patients.

A third study in the same journal noted that patients with excess body fat, uncontrolled blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol face much higher risks of complications from coronavirus. Many Americans have all four problems.

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."