October 21 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, October 22, 2020
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2:22 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

German health minister tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Josefine Ohema

German Health Minister Jens Spahn attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. 
German Health Minister Jens Spahn attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.  Markus Schreiber/Pool/AP

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has tested positive for coronavirus, his office told CNN on Wednesday.

The minister's office said so far Spahn has only developed cold symptoms and is currently in isolation at home. 

In response, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wished him well, tweeting, ''Good and quick recovery, Jens Spahn and we will keep our fingers crossed for you.''

People who have been in contact with the health minister are currently being informed, the spokesperson said. 

1:48 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Rhode Island governor says state is "not in a good place" with Covid-19 trends 

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos 

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo told reporters Wednesday that the state recorded at least 156 new Covid-19 cases and five deaths Tuesday. 

“The numbers aren’t good. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Raimondo said. 

Raimondo said the state is approaching a 3% positivity rate, which she said “is high. It’s too high.” 

“The bottom line is we are not in a good place. These are not the trends that we would like to be seeing and it’s clear we have community spread all across the state,” the governor said and emphasized “pretty much every state in America right now is seeing their cases increase.”

Raimondo said while they haven’t yet approached the threshold of “a runaway train,” she pleaded with residents to “buckle down” to ensure there isn’t a second surge requiring businesses and schools to close again. 

1:39 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

New Jersey governor says he came in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Anna Sturla

New Jersey Office of the Governor/YouTube
New Jersey Office of the Governor/YouTube

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced today he was informed that he was in close proximity to someone on Saturday that has tested positive for Covid-19. 

“I was just informed by my colleagues that I was in close proximity to someone on Saturday who has just tested positive.” Murphy said at a press event.

“I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field. I can’t ask President Trump to not come to Bedminster and do a fundraiser and have me sit here," he added.

Murphy said hospitalizations in the state are at the highest they have been in three months.

“Today, another over a thousand positive cases we're reporting,” the governor said. 

He added there were 18 deaths reported.

1:32 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Amtrak predicts travel slump will continue beyond the next year

From CNN’s Greg Wallace

A passenger catches a commuter train out of Union Station on April 28, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. 
A passenger catches a commuter train out of Union Station on April 28, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.  Scott Olson/Getty Images

Amtrak is in a “precarious position” because of insufficient federal funding and a continuing plunge in ridership due to the coronavirus pandemic, CEO William Flynn told Congress on Wednesday.

Flynn said ridership is still down 80% compared to 2019, and he warned that “it has become clear that the pandemic’s impacts will extend through, and almost certainly beyond” the next year.  

Revenue in the financial year that ended in September was only 53% of the prior year, he said.     

Amtrak has restored some of the service it had initially cut along the Eastern seaboard, but new cuts to other long-distance trains that crisscross the nation just took effect. Flynn said Amtrak is targeting “late May and June 2021” to restore service if health and demand conditions improve.  

But some of Amtrak’s future projections are based on the widespread distribution of an effective coronavirus vaccine in the next year – “which we know is not a guaranteed outcome,” he warned.   

Flynn said the service cuts and nearly 2,000 layoffs were unavoidable.   

“I must emphasize the Amtrak really had no choice but to take these actions,” he said.  

 

1:06 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

More than 221,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Naeha Quasba reacts as she holds a picture of her father, Ramasha Quasba, who died from coronavirus as she stands near empty chairs on display to represent the 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19 at the National COVID-19 Remembrance, on the ellipse behind the White House in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2020. 
Naeha Quasba reacts as she holds a picture of her father, Ramasha Quasba, who died from coronavirus as she stands near empty chairs on display to represent the 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19 at the National COVID-19 Remembrance, on the ellipse behind the White House in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2020.  Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

There are at least 8,282,666 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 221,247 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far today, Johns Hopkins has reported 9,370 new cases and 195 reported deaths.

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

 

1:20 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Here's the latest coronavirus update from New York

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New York’s test positivity rate including the oversampling of hotspot areas is 1.62%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. 

The positivity rate in the red zone is 6.61%, the governor said. 

These numbers are from Tuesday and at least 124,789 test results were reported, the governor said. 

The test positivity rate without the hotspot zones stands around 1.42% 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the state’s 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.

12:50 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Greece records its highest case increase since pandemic began

From CNN's Chris Liakos in London

A health worker checks a Covid-19 coronavirus test in Kozani, Greece, on October 16, 2020.
A health worker checks a Covid-19 coronavirus test in Kozani, Greece, on October 16, 2020. Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images

Greece recorded 865 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday — its highest daily case count since the pandemic began. 

Wednesday's number marked an increase of nearly 200 more cases than the day before. 

Greece announced six more deaths on Wednesday, and at least 86 individuals are in ICU.

The Greek government announced a local lockdown for the region of Kastoria in Northern Greece. This is the second town placed under lockdown after Kozani, also in Northern Greece,

According to Greece’s National Public Health Organization, Greece has recorded 27,334 cases and 534 deaths in total. 

12:47 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Pennsylvania sees 1,000 new Covid-19 cases for 16th consecutive day

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The Pennsylvania department of health reported 1,425 new cases of Covid-19, the 16th consecutive day the state has reported over 1,000 new infections of coronavirus. 

The statewide number of total cases now stands at 186,297.

Additionally, Pennsylvania reported 29 new due to Covid-19 bringing the statewide death total to 8,533.

The state reported 114 cases in Allegheny county and an increase of 100 new cases in Philadelphia County. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the state’s 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

12:31 p.m. ET, October 21, 2020

84 Michigan schools report new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Annie Grayer

In Michigan, there are now 445 cases of Covid-19 in 84 schools. At least 80 of those cases are from new outbreaks at 24 different schools. These cases include staff and student numbers, according to the state's official tracker.

The remainder of cases are from schools that have seen ongoing outbreaks. Most K-12 schools have fewer than 10 cases. The K-12 school with the largest number of cases is a preschool through elementary school in Alma, Michigan, with 31 cases, which include both staff and students.

Among colleges and universities in Michigan, there are 5,358 coronavirus cases. Only two colleges were listed as a part of the new outbreak group. Michigan State University had the largest number of cases with 1,622 students and staff.

According to the government tracker, new outbreaks are defined as those that are first identified during the current reporting week.

Schools are classified as having ongoing cases if there is at least one new case in the 28 days after being first identified. If 28 days pass since a school first had an outbreak, and no new cases were found, the school will be removed from the list.