October 23 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Tara John, Ed Upright, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020
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4:49 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Ukraine reports new daily high of more than 7,500 Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

Ukraine reported 7,517 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, hitting a new daily high since the start of the pandemic, according to data published by the country’s National Security and Defense council. 

The country also registered 121 additional deaths related to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 6,164. 

4:08 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Task force warns several US regions show signs of "deterioration" amid Covid-19 surges

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

With more than two dozen states reporting rising Covid-19 infections, new reports from leading health officials show a worsening of the pandemic across several US regions.

In White House coronavirus task force reports obtained by CNN this week, officials say there are "early signs of deterioration in the Sun Belt and continued deterioration in the Midwest and across the Northern States."

The data comes as more state leaders have sounded the alarm on increasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The national average of new daily cases has climbed to just under 60,000 -- a level that hasn't been seen since the first week of August.

On Wednesday, at least 14 states saw their highest seven-day average of new daily cases, according to Johns Hopkins University: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. And at least five states -- Illinois, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah -- reported their highest daily case counts Thursday.

Meanwhile, more than 41,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitals in states like Missouri and Idaho say they'll soon be facing a crisis if hospitalizations continue to surge.

Deaths are also creeping upward. On Wednesday, the US reported the highest daily death toll in more than a month, with more than 1,100 new deaths. And an updated model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects more than 140,000 Americans will likely die from the virus in the next three months.

Read the full story:

3:58 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Australia is allowing more of its stranded citizens to return home from overseas

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, on October 16.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, on October 16. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has agreed to raise the quota of Australian citizens stranded abroad that can return to the country.

"We agreed to increase caps again for a number of jurisdictions which will further assist Australians coming back from overseas," Morrison said at a news conference in Canberra Friday.

Australia has some of the strictest border rules in the world. Only Australians are allowed into the country -- and there's a limit on how many are allowed in. In July, around 4,000 people each week were allowed to return.

All Australians must go through a 14-day quarantine in a state facility, and pay 3,000 Australian dollars ($2,100) to do so.

According to Morrison, there are 26,000 Australians stranded overseas who are trying to get back. But starting next month, an additional 140 people will be able to return each week to Perth in Western Australia, and another 150 will be able to return each week to Queensland. Another 100 arrivals will be allowed each fortnight into Adelaide, in South Australia.

Reopening target: Morrison said that the government was pushing forward with the "reopening framework for Australia by Christmas" -- likely a reference to having borders between states and territories open again.

"We look forward to that opening, and the commitment by Christmas of this year, certainly seven out of the eight states and territories will be open, and that'll be a great day for Australia. And you never know, it might be eight," Morrison said. 

Australia has reported more than 27,000 coronavirus cases and 900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

3:57 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

South Korea reports highest number of new coronavirus cases in over a month

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

Workers wearing personal protective equipment disinfect a street to prevent the spread of coronavirus on October 6, in Seoul, South Korea. 
Workers wearing personal protective equipment disinfect a street to prevent the spread of coronavirus on October 6, in Seoul, South Korea.  Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea on Friday reported 155 new cases of Covid-19, including 138 that were locally transmitted, according to a news release from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA).

This was the highest number of cases since September 11, when the number of daily infections hit 176, according to CNN's analysis of KCDA data.

Health official Yoon Tae-ho said the increase is “mainly due to cluster infections in vulnerable facilities with many high-risk groups, such as nursing hospitals, nursing facilities, and day care facilities for the elderly.”

The national total of confirmed cases is now 25,698 including 455 deaths, according to the KCDA press release.

3:04 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Germany reports more than 11,000 new Covid-19 cases for a second straight day

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

An employee carries out a smear test at a Covid-19 testing site in Baden-Württemberg, Heilbronn in Germany, on October 21.
An employee carries out a smear test at a Covid-19 testing site in Baden-Württemberg, Heilbronn in Germany, on October 21. Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany has recorded more than 11,000 new daily coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s disease control and prevention agency.

The data on Friday shows that 11,242 new cases were recorded within 24 hours, bringing the country's total to 403,291 coronavirus infections since the outbreak began. The death toll stands at 9,954.

Lothar Wieler, head of RKI, described the situation as "very serious."

On Thursday, Germany recorded its highest daily infection rate, with 11,287 new cases within 24 hours. It was the first time that more than 10,000 Covid-19 cases were recorded in a single day since the pandemic arrived in the country.

The German government has also issued travel warnings for popular ski resorts in countries including Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.

2:36 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

People with Down syndrome have 10 times the risk of death from Covid-19 as those without, study finds

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. 
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

People with Down syndrome have 10 times the risk of dying from Covid-19 compared to those without the disability, a team of researchers reported Thursday.  

They also found a four-fold increased risk of coronavirus-related hospitalizations for those with Down syndrome, “a group that is not currently strategically protected,” according to the report in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

“This was after adjustment for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and care home residence, which our results suggest explained some but not all of the increased risk,” the researchers wrote.

Their analysis involved more than 8 million adults who were part of a coronavirus risk assessment project sponsored by the British government. Of the 8.26 million people in the tracking study, 4,053 had Down syndrome. Of those, 68 people with the disability died and 40% were killed by Covid-19. Seventeen died of pneumonia or pneumonitis and 35% died of other causes.

Those numbers compare with more than 41,000 people without Down syndrome who died, but just 20% died from the coronavirus, 14% from pneumonia or pneumonitis and 65% died of other causes.

Down syndrome is not included in any guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the UK’s health ministry as a condition that would put people at increased risk for Covid-19. 

“However it is associated with immune dysfunction, congenital heart failure, and pulmonary pathology and, given its prevalence, may be a relevant albeit unconfirmed risk factor for severe Covid-19,” researchers concluded.

Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition diagnosed in the United States every year, according to the CDC, with more than 6,000 babies born with the disability every year. Down syndrome occurs in one in every 700 babies.

2:07 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

The pandemic is causing "unacceptable" shortages in US drug supplies, report says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Bottles of pills sit on shelves at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
Bottles of pills sit on shelves at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is causing "unacceptable" shortages of US drug supplies in the United States, according to a report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

The report says shortages have limited 29 of 40 drugs critical for treating Covid-19 patients, including propofol, albuterol, midazolam, hydroxychloroquine, fentanyl, azithromycin and morphine, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The FDA, which has more stringent criteria for shortages, show 18 of 40 are on the Drug Shortage list.

Another 67 out of 156 critical acute drugs -- including diazepam, phenobarbital, lidocaine and acetaminophen -- are in short supply, the report said.

"Drug shortages can be a matter of life and death, and some shortages mean that a life-saving drug is not available to U.S. patients at any price," the authors wrote.

"The urgency with the drug shortage supply issue is related directly to the major increase in COVID-19 cases that we will experience in the coming months," Michael Osterholm, the director of CIDRAP, said in a news release.

"This, in turn, will dramatically increase the need for specific COVID-19 treatment drugs, while at the same, COVID-19 is having a major impact on two of the three key drug manufacturing areas of the world, India and Italy," Osterholm added.

Read more:

1:36 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

2 US churches won a lawsuit against Covid-19 restrictions. Now their members no longer have to wear masks

From CNN’s Raja Razek

A federal judge has ruled that Colorado's Denver Bible Church and Community Baptist Church do not have to limit their indoor occupancy and members will not be required to wear masks as required by the state's Covid-19 health mandate.  

Judge Daniel Domenico partially granted the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on October 15 after a lawsuit was filed against state and federal officials by Pastor Robert Enyart of Denver Bible Church and Joey Rhoads of Community Baptist Church.  

"The court does not doubt that the state made these decisions in good faith, in an effort to balance the benefits of more public interaction against the added risk that inheres in it," read the court document. 

"But the Constitution does not allow the state to tell a congregation how large it can be when comparable secular gatherings are not so limited, or to tell a congregation that its reason for wishing to remove facial coverings is less important than a restaurant's or spa's."

In a phone call with CNN, Enyart said, "We have a right, even an obligation to worship him (God), and that's without government interference." 

"The government has put artificial limits on how many people could attend. And those limits, make it pretty much impossible for families to know if they could come to Church," he added. "It is too arbitrary, and we are so thankful this federal judge rules gave us preliminary injunction to strike down the one arbitrary limit and the mask requirement."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis's press secretary Conor Cahill told CNN in an email, "We're not going to comment on pending litigation." 

He added: "Attorney General on Monday filed an Emergency Motion for Stay of Injunction Pending Appeal in the Tenth Circuit." 

1:11 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

More than 71,000 coronavirus cases were reported in the US on Thursday

From CNN's Joe Sutton

The United States reported 71,671 new cases of Covid-19 and 856 virus-related deaths on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

To date, at least 8,407,702  cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the US. At least 223,032 people have died.

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

Track cases here: