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
27 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:10 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Trump on what he would do differently on Covid-19 response: "not much"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal with Nicky Robertson

President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on October 19 in Phoenix, Arizona.
President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on October 19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci, claimed “some people don’t like (masks) scientifically,” and said he wouldn’t do much differently in his response to Covid-19 in clips of a Rose Garden town hall with Sinclair released Tuesday evening. 

Asked about his recent comments attacking Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Trump said he gets along “fine” with the doctor, “but he’s made mistakes.”

“He said ‘No masks, don’t wear masks,’ and then he said ‘Wear a mask.’ He didn’t want me to stop people coming in from China and then he admitted it was a great move, that I made, against him. You know, I overrode him,” Trump claimed to the conservative outlet. “With all of that I get along with him nice – I like him, he’s – Tony, he’s a nice guy.”

“He’s made bad moves,” he added, “but he’s been there a long time.”

Trump also claimed to have “no problem” with masks, despite frequently and repeatedly attacking people who wear them, but immediately added that “some people” don’t like them.

“Frankly some people don’t like it, some people don’t like it scientifically,” he claimed. Science overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that masks work.

When host Eric Bolling, a vocal Trump supporter, asked the President what he would do differently if he got a “mulligan” or a “do-over” on his Covid response, Trump replied, “not much.”

“Look it’s all over the world. You have a lot of great leaders, a lot of smart people, it’s all over the world,” he said, before blaming China.

The full Sinclair town hall airs on Wednesday night.

9:41 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Stocks open mixed as investors await stimulus news

From CNN's Anneken Tappe 

A pedestrian walks past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14.
A pedestrian walks past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14. Frank Franklin II/AP

US stocks were mixed at the opening bell in New York on Wednesday. The market is in a holding pattern, awaiting stimulus news from Washington.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to continue talks today, investors are still crossing their fingers for the possibility of another stimulus deal before the election.

Here's how things looked at the opening:

  • The Dow opened 0.2%, or 50 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 slipped 0.1%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.
9:29 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Older patients, women and those with variety of early symptoms most at risk of "long Covid," paper suggests

Older people, women and those with a wide range of symptoms in the first week of their illness appear to be most likely to develop “long Covid,” according to a preprint paper posted online by researchers at King’s College London on Wednesday.

The paper defines "long Covid" as having symptoms persist for more than four weeks, while a short duration of Covid was defined as less than 10 days, without a subsequent relapse.

About 1 in 20 people with Covid-19, or 4.5%, are likely to experience symptoms for eight weeks or more, the preprint analysis of data from the Covid Symptom Study app showed. The analysis has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The data was collected from 4,182 users of the app in the UK who reported testing positive for coronavirus and regularly logged their health information in the app.

When it came to the sets of symptoms reported, the research identified two main groups of long Covid sufferers.

  • Group 1 experienced mainly respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and shortness of breath, plus fatigue and headaches.
  • Group 2 experienced “multi-system” symptoms in many parts of the body, such as heart palpitations, gut issues, pins and needles or numbness, and “brain fog.”
“It’s important we use the knowledge we have gained from the first wave in the pandemic to reduce the long-term impact of the second. This should pave the way for trials of early interventions to reduce the long term effects,” said Dr. Claire Steves, clinical academic and senior author from King’s College London, in a news release.

While most of the people with Covid-19 in the study reported being back to normal in 11 days or less, about 1 in 7 reported symptoms lasting for at least four weeks, about 1 in 20 for at least eight weeks and about 1 in 50 for at least 12 weeks.

Long Covid sufferers were also twice as likely to report a relapse after they recovered compared with those who had “short Covid” (16% vs 8.4%).

About 1 in 5 adults older than 70, or 21.9%, who tested positive for coronavirus developed long Covid, compared with about 1 in 10 18- to 49-year-olds, the study found. Women were more likely to suffer from long Covid than men -- at 14.9% of women compared to 9.5% of men -- but only in the younger age group. 

People who developed long Covid also had a slightly higher average BMI than those with short Covid, according to the paper. The researchers also found that people with asthma were more likely to develop long Covid, but found no clear links to any other underlying health conditions.

The analysis has several limitations, including that it is based on self-reported information, was conducted online via an app, and the app users were disproportionately female and younger than 70.

The researchers used the information to develop a model to predict who is most at risk of long Covid based on their age, sex, and count of early symptoms. Statistical tests showed that this simple prediction was able to detect more than two thirds (69%) of people who went on to get Long-Covid (sensitivity), and 73% effective at avoiding false alarms (specificity). 

The team then tested this model against an independent dataset of 2,472 people who reported a positive coronavirus antibody test result with a range of symptoms and found that it gave similar predictions of risk.

9:02 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

US officials explain how the pandemic personally affected them

From CNN Jacqueline Howard

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams revealed in an interview that some of his family members and friends have been ill with Covid-19 – and that his wife had a delayed cancer diagnosis due to the pandemic. 

"I think about family members and friends of mine personally who have had the virus. And fortunately for me, none of them have succumbed. But I think that reflects a very real difference in outcomes if they have gotten it in March or April versus getting it now – with remdesivir, with steroids," Adams told NewsNation's Marni Hughes in an interview posted online on Wednesday, referring to Covid-19 treatment approaches.

"I think about my wife, who had a cancer diagnosis delayed, and who’s undergoing cancer treatment right now. I hope she does well, but again, there are real negative, negative outcomes for people who are living through this pandemic, apart from the actual virus itself," Adams said.

Meanwhile, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his father died during the coronavirus pandemic — and he wasn't able to say goodbye.

"We appreciate how much people have given and the sacrifices they have made over the last nine, ten months. My father died. I wasn’t able to be with him in the months before he died. I have not been able to mourn his loss in any type of communal setting to celebrate his life or anything – so I know the pain and the sense that everybody has that they have given so much through this unprecedented pandemic," Azar said during the same interview with NewsNation's Marni Hughes.  

According to NewsNation, the interview – which also included White House Coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx – is the first time these top health three health leaders fighting the coronavirus pandemic have sat down for an interview together.


9:20 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Azar on White House's mixed Covid-19 messages: "I am the President's Health secretary. I speak for him"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a press conference at the White House on August 23 in Washington, DC
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a press conference at the White House on August 23 in Washington, DC Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar responded to questions about mixed messaging coming from the White House about the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with NewsNation's Marni Hughes posted online on Wednesday.

Azar was asked whether there was anything to "add clarity and accuracy" on.

"Marni, I will just be very clear," Azar responded. "I am the President's Health secretary. I speak for him and I'm telling you our strategy is reduce cases, reduce hospitalizations, reduce mortality, wash your hands, watch your distance, wear your face covering when you can't watch your distance, and stay out of settings when you can't do those things."

“That is the message of this administration and the strategy of this administration for dealing with the coronavirus and that is from the President through me,” Azar added.

According to NewsNation, the interview – which also included US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx – is the first time these top health three health leaders fighting the coronavirus pandemic have sat down for an interview together.


8:42 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Covid-19 cases are rising in Europe. Here are the restrictions some countries are imposing in response.

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

European countries and regions are imposing stricter lockdown restrictions as cases of Covid-19 rise to record levels in many countries.

Here's a look at some recent measures in countries across Europe:

  • The Czech Republic has banned free movement across the country from 6 a.m. local time on Thursday until Nov. 3 due to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases. The measures come as the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Jan Hamacek test positive for the virus.
  • South Yorkshire is the latest North England region to be placed under “Very High Alert” and will move into the toughest level of restrictions. Starting on Saturday, people in Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley will not be able to meet family and friends from different households unless part of a “support bubble.” Restaurants and gyms can remain open, but bars and pubs will need to close unless they serve substantial meals. Soft play centers, casinos and adult gaming centers will also close. 
  • Scotland will introduce a new coronavirus five-tier system starting on Nov. 2 and existing restrictions have been extended for a third week. Pubs and restaurants across central Scotland are to remain closed, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Wednesday.


9:39 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

Here's where stimulus negotiations stand between Pelosi and the White House

From CNN's Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Ted Barrett

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin engaged in fast-paced negotiations on Tuesday to cut a deal on a major relief package that could pass before Election Day — but Senate Republicans continued to throw cold water on any deal with the enormous price tag envisioned by Democrats and President Trump.

After speaking for 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, the two planned to resume talks on Wednesday as they tried to continue to hash out their differences on a range of matters, including funding for state and local governments, jobless benefits, funding for schools and liability protections for businesses — among other matters.

While Pelosi and her aides sounded upbeat about the progress in the talks, time is running short, meaning it's growing more likely that any proposal would likely get voted on after the elections during a lame-duck session of Congress.

Here are key things you need to know about the negotiations:

The bottom line: If Pelosi is successful in getting Mnuchin and the White House to sign off on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus proposal and it gets drafted before the election, she’ll force the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to decide if he’s willing to hold a vote ahead of the election at a time when putting anything in the ball park of $2 trillion is going to fracture the GOP and force members to say no to something that could benefit their constituents and buoy the President even if the price tag is far more than they are comfortable with.

It’s the same negotiation that has been happening for months, and yet with less than two weeks to go until the election, the stimulus talks have become a litmus test for just how much GOP loyalty is left for a President who is sinking in the polls. After years of sticking with Trump despite his antics and despite the fact that some of the President’s policies flew in the face of long-established GOP orthodoxy, the stimulus bill is the make or break moment where Republican senators may finally throw up their hands and tell Trump "no."

The negotiation according to the negotiators: If you are paying close attention to Pelosi’s tone over the last few days, you’ll notice she’s much more upbeat about a deal than perhaps we’ve seen in weeks or even months. Suddenly what was a deadline of Tuesday evening to strike an agreement has stretched into Wednesday and perhaps will stretch even further into this week.

“Our conversation provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement. Today’s deadline enabled us to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise,” Pelosi wrote to her colleagues Tuesday evening.

Democratic House members who have been impatient with Pelosi’s negotiation, her intention to wait for the White House to capitulate on nearly every one of the Democratic priorities are watching closely with awe as they see their Speaker get one concession after another from the White House. As one Democratic member put it to me questioning Pelosi’s negotiating tactics isn’t really a game worth playing and this moment is illustrating exactly why.

Negotiations according to everyone else: GOP leaders in the Senate still believe that Pelosi and Mnuchin — despite all the happy talk — are still far from pulling this off. Aides involved and familiar with these discussions tell CNN that there are still vital chunks of information that is missing.

On Monday, aides struggled to understand what exactly Pelosi and Mnuchin had decided on when it came to rental assistance. As of Tuesday evening, there still wasn’t much clarity. Questions about how to handle liability insurance, unemployment insurance, how much exactly has been agreed to on state and local funding: it’s all still unclear to the people who will have to sit down and write this legislation.

GOP leadership aides and some Democratic aides involved tell CNN that they just don’t see that as much progress has been made as Pelosi and Mncuhin are laying out right now. Again, that doesn’t mean a deal can’t come together very quickly if the White House and Pelosi sign off, but right now they are not there yet.

Read more here.


8:17 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

US Surgeon General: "I will be getting a Covid vaccine" once one is approved

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams plans to get a Covid-19 vaccine once one is authorized or approved in the United States.

"As a Black man, as the Surgeon General of the United States, as a practicing physician, as someone who has a master's in public health, I will be getting a Covid vaccine when they tell me it has been authorized or approved and that I can get one," Adams told NewsNation's Marni Hughes in an interview posted online Wednesday.

"My family will get a Covid vaccine when they are told that they can get one because I trust the process," Adams added.

Adams also referred to incidence of vaccine hesitancy within Black and brown communities. 

"We're in the midst of a social justice movement right now. I think one of the greatest injustices in the world are the people who are pushing misinformation out there that is causing minorities in particular to disproportionately be harmed by vaccine-preventable diseases," Adams said.

"Fifty percent of Americans get a flu shot in any given year. Only 40% of Hispanics and African Americans and Native Americans get their flu shot every year," Adams said. "That results in tens of thousands of people of color dying every year because of a lack of vaccine confidence or because we haven't done enough to make it easy for them."

According to NewsNation, the interview – which also included US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx – is the first time these top health three health leaders fighting the coronavirus pandemic have sat down for an interview together.

8:18 a.m. ET, October 21, 2020

More than 2.5 million years of life have been lost to the pandemic in the US, study says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

More than 2.5 million years of life have been lost in the United States due to the coronavirus and each person who had a Covid-19-associated death lost over 13 years, according to a preprint study posted Tuesday on MedRxiv. 

MedRxiv is a preprint server, which means that the study has not year been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. 

“In this study I have attempted to quantify the extent of life lost so far in this pandemic as of October 3, 2020 where data for the age and sex distribution of over 194,000 Covid-19 associated deaths was available,” said the preprint, authored by Stephen Elledge, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

These calculations reveal a profound loss of life as measured in person-years of almost 2.5 million person-years as of early October 2020 in the United States.” 

Elledge found that a total of 2,572,102 years of life were lost due to 194,087 deaths. Breaking it down by gender, men lost 1,461,662 years from 104,896 deaths and females lost 1,110,440 years from 89,191 deaths. 

Each person lost, on average, 13.25 life years per Covid-19 associated death. Males lost slightly more years of life at 13.93 compared with females losing 12.45. 

He also found that “a significant proportion of deaths due to Covid-19 occur in individuals in their 40s, 50s and 60s who had dozens of years of expected life ahead of them.” 

To work out the number of years of life lost, Elledge used data from the Social Security Administration to look at normal life expectancies, and data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Covid-19 deaths per 10-year age group. 

The study comes to similar conclusions as others that looked at life years lost, it says, although previous studies project slightly fewer years lost per death, which could be to do with the method of analysis or the fact that they were conducted earlier in the pandemic. 

Elledge wrote that his research has potential sources of error, such as the distribution of deaths within 10-year spans provided by the CDC, the lack of distribution of ethnicities in fatality data and the effect of comorbidities on life expectancy of Covid-19 deaths.