October 22 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Tara John and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020
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2:56 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Coronavirus cases are rising in Oklahoma

From CNN's Kay Jones

More than 1,600 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Oklahoma, according to the state's Department of Health.

The department recorded 1,628 new cases — the highest daily total of new cases since the pandemic began. A total of 112,483 cases have been reported in Oklahoma so far, according to the state's dashboard.

At least 11 new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 1,221.  

Hospitalizations have steadily increased over the past seven days, according to the dashboard. The department said 991 patients with Covid-19 are currently hospitalized statewide.

Note: These numbers were released by Oklahoma'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.

2:51 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Spain reports more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

People walk past a restaurant closed due to sharpest resurgences of the new coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain on October 22.
People walk past a restaurant closed due to sharpest resurgences of the new coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain on October 22. Emilio Morenatti/AP

Spain’s health ministry reported a record 20,986 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday evening, the highest daily increase since the pandemic started. 

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country is now 1,026,281. Spain surpassed 1 million cases on Wednesday. 

The country’s death toll now stands at 34,521, with 155 new fatalities recorded today.

During a news conference Thursday evening, Fernando Simón, the director of the Spanish Center for Health Emergencies, admitted the evolution of the pandemic is not favorable. 

“We don’t know what will happen in the next few days, but yes we are going upwards,” Simón said. 

Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa told reporters his country is facing difficult weeks ahead. 

“There is a lot of concern, we have very tough weeks ahead,” he warned.

“A second wave is a reality now," the minister added. 

Illa also announced that Spain’s central government and the 17 regional governments have agreed on a document containing the main criteria for a joint response to a second wave of the pandemic. 

2:43 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Utah governor warns hospitals filling up as Covid-19 cases continue to spread

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Pool/PBS Utah
Pool/PBS Utah

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said hospitals are "starting to fill up" in the state as Covid-19 cases continue to spread.

He said 20% of the patients currently in intensive care units are Covid-19 patients. Herbert warned that ICUs are becoming crowded.

"I would hope that people will take this seriously and do the best they can," the governor said. 

Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist, said the state's health care system "is at capacity."

"I don't know what to do anymore," Dunn said during the briefing.

"I'm really not trying to scare anyone, I'm just trying to inform you of what's going on and give you the facts," she said.


1:41 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

University of Toledo halts men's basketball program following positive Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

Ohio's University of Toledo announced they are pausing the men’s basketball activities for two weeks after head coach Tod Kowalczyk and six players on the team tested positive for Covid-19. 

The Rockets head coach, Tod Kowalczyk, confirmed he tested positive for the virus on Sunday. On Tuesday, the school revealed six players tested positive for Covid-19 during regular weekly surveillance testing, in compliance with NCAA Covid-19 protocols. 

"Student-athlete health and safety is always our top priority and we are going to continue to follow the prevention protocols and ongoing testing procedures already in place," Toledo athletics director Mike O'Brien said. "The Covid-19 pandemic remains a serious challenge, and our primary focus will always be on ensuring our student-athletes' health. We look forward to our men's basketball program resuming its team activities."

According to the school, the men’s basketball program is following all university Covid-19 protocols, including isolating those who tested positive, partnering with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department to conduct contact tracing and arranging for additional Covid-19 testing of all close contacts.

1:45 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Greece imposes nighttime curfew in Athens

From Chris Liakos in London and Elinda Labropoulou in Athens

A medical worker collects a swab from a commuter during rapid tests for COVID-19 at a suburb in Athens, on October 22.
A medical worker collects a swab from a commuter during rapid tests for COVID-19 at a suburb in Athens, on October 22. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced new restrictions Thursday to curb the spread of coronavirus. They include a nighttime curfew in high-risk areas and a mask mandate.

The nighttime curfew will be imposed in high-risk areas in an effort to limit outdoor parties and gatherings. The cities of Athens and Thessaloniki are considered high-risk areas in the country’s four tier-system along with more than a dozen other regions, including Zante and Heraklion.

Officials are seeing a significant rise in cases among young people, Mitsotakis said.

Along with the curfew, masks will now be mandatory outdoors.

The new measures will take effect at 6 a.m. local Saturday.

Mitsotakis went on to say Greece is in better shape than most European countries but warned of tough months ahead. 

Greece recorded 882 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths on Thursday.

The country has recorded 28,216 cases and 549 deaths in total since the pandemic started, according to Greece’s National Public Health Organization.

1:39 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

More than 222,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Brandon Miller

There are at least 8,354,300 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 222,416 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

So far today, Johns Hopkins has recorded 18,269 new cases and 240 reported deaths.

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

1:28 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

UK chief scientific adviser says widespread vaccine rollout not possible until spring 2021

From CNN's Lauren Kent

UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance during a press conference on October 22.
UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance during a press conference on October 22. Pool

Some coronavirus vaccine doses may be available before Christmas, but a widespread rollout would not be realistically possible before spring 2021, said UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance during a news conference on Thursday.

"Things are progressing well, there are vaccines that produce an immune response, they're in Phase III clinical trials. .. but I remain of the view that the possibility of sort of wider spread use of vaccines isn't going to be until spring or so next year by the time we get enough does and enough understanding of the outputs to use them," Vallance said

"We may get a few doses this side of Christmas, maybe something could happen, but I think we should more realistically be looking at spring," Vallance said. "Of course, there are no guarantees until the studies have read out, so we need to be cautious and carry on."

Vallance also refused to speculate on how effective the vaccines are going to be and said scientists would have to wait for the results from clinical trials in the next couple of months. 

"Once we know how effective the vaccines are, and how applicable they are to different groups, we can start to work out how to use them best. But you can't do that until you've seen the results of safety and efficacy," Vallance said.

Asked about the possibility of a vaccine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "It may happen, we're working flat out to ensure it does, but we can't just rely on that. And that's why we've got to do all the other things we're doing."

Johnson also pushed back on questions about another national lockdown in the UK.

"I think that really would be economically, socially, psychologically really difficult for the country. We all remember what it was like in March and April — there were lots of costs," Johnson said. "We do think that the local measures are right. And I repeat my gratitude to local leaders across the country — people who are helping to get the R down, get the virus down in their neighborhoods."

1:39 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Bulgaria makes face coverings mandatory in public places

From CNN's Nina Avramova and Amy Cassidy

Passenger wear protective masks inside a tram in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 9.
Passenger wear protective masks inside a tram in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 9. Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images

As of today people in Bulgaria will be required to wear face coverings in open public places, the health ministry announced.

The measures apply when there are crowds or when people are unable to keep a physical distance of about five feet.

Exceptions will be made for customers dining in restaurants, people exercising, conference participants while speaking and children under the age of six.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said there will be discussions with deans of medical universities in Bulgaria around the possibility for medical students to assist doctors. 

“We are entering a very serious phase of the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The biggest problem we face is related to the medics who are on the frontline. All of them are tired, some of them are sick, some are in intensive care, others are quarantined. We need help,” Angelov said. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, Bulgaria recorded 1,472 new Covid-19 cases and 29 deaths in the last 24 hours – both record high figures for the country. 

To date, Bulgaria has had 33,335 Covid-19 cases, according to the country’s health ministry.

1:10 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

CDC to roll out cell phone-based monitoring system for Covid-19 vaccine recipients

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Once a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to monitor vaccine recipients for any health problems through text messages and online surveys, as part of a new program called V-SAFE.

"V-SAFE is a new cell phone-based active surveillance program for Covid-19," Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, said during a US Food and Drug Administration open meeting on Thursday.

Through V-SAFE, which stands for "vaccine safety assessment for essential workers," health checks can be conducted via text messages and email. This would happen daily in the first week after a person receives the vaccine, and then weekly thereafter for six weeks, according to the CDC's website.

If a vaccine recipient reports any adverse events, the program will help submit a report to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS.

"It includes active telephone follow-up," Shimabukuro said. It’s a more active way to monitor for adverse events, instead of merely waiting for patients to report them.

Thursday's open meeting was held to discuss the development, authorization and licensure of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States.