October 26 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Luke McGee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 5:50 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020
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4:20 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Stocks tumble as Covid-19 cases surge and stimulus is nowhere to be found

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

A woman with an umbrella passes the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.
A woman with an umbrella passes the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Mark Lennihan/AP

Wall Street took a dive on Monday as coronavirus, Washington intransigence and earnings weighed on the market. All of this is creating a cocktail of uncertainty that the market doesn't like one bit.

US stocks sold off all day, from the opening to the closing bell, and the selloff just gathered pace during the trading session.

The Dow closed down 650 points, or 2.3%, after falling as many as 965 points at its low point. Not a single Dow stock closed in the green. It was the index's worst day since Sept. 3.

The S&P 500 — the broadest measure of the US stock market — closed down 1.9%, making it the index's worst day since late September.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which had briefly bounced back from its lows in the morning, finished down 1.6%.

Energy, industrials and financials stocks are the among the worst performers of the day. Those sectors that are more sensitive to the economy and the pace of the recovery felt more pain Monday, said Eric Freedman, CIO at US Bank.  But there were losses across all sectors.

3:53 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

US to ship 36.7 million rapid Covid-19 tests to states by end of the week, HHS says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 nasal swab test.
Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 nasal swab test. Abbott Laboratories/AP

The United States is on track to ship 36.7 million BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care Covid-19 tests to states by the end of this week, the US Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN on Monday.

"To protect seniors and to facilitate the continued re-opening of schools, businesses and the economy, the Trump administration prioritized scaling-up our state and national point of care testing capacity," Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, the department's assistant secretary for health, said in a news release on Sunday.

The BinaxNOW antigen tests, developed by Abbott, are intended to help governors with reopening their states, according to the news release. The federal government previously announced it wants to deploy 150 million BinaxNOW Covid-19 tests nationally; HHS confirmed to CNN on Monday that the 36.7 million tests are part of that total.

But Giroir added in the news release that testing does not replace following the guidelines of avoiding crowds, washing hands and wearing a mask.

"Combining personal responsibility with smart, targeted testing is a proven formula to prevent outbreaks — but we cannot 'test our way' out of this pandemic," Giroir said. "Public vigilance in adhering to precautionary measures is required — especially as we clearly see the onset of mitigation fatigue."

Giroir had said on Sept. 1 that the Trump administration would begin to send the low-cost antigen tests to states starting in mid-September. On Sept. 28, Giroir said the 6.5 million tests the government shipped to governors across the country that week were a “real step forward in our testing.” At that time, Giroir said that production and shipment of the tests “didn’t happen overnight.”

3:09 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Fauci says the "primary" goal of a Covid-19 vaccine is to prevent people from getting sick

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images

The main goal for a coronavirus vaccine is to prevent people from getting ill, and actually preventing infection is secondary, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday. 

“The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Yahoo Finance interview.

He said that a vaccine that prevents infection would be even better.

“If the vaccine also allows you to prevent initial infection, that would be great,” Fauci said. “But what I would settle for – and all of my colleagues would settle for – is the primary endpoint to prevent clinically recognizable disease.”

2:24 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

More than half of US states reported their highest single-day of new Covid-19 cases in October 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts, Virginia Langmaid and Haley Brink

University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu conducts Covid-19 tests in Seattle, Washington, on October 23.
University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu conducts Covid-19 tests in Seattle, Washington, on October 23. Elaine Thompson/AP

More than half of the states across the nation have reported their highest single-day of new Covid-19 cases during the month of October, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

So far this month, 27 states reported at least one record high day of new cases over the last few weeks. Here's the list of states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Colorado
  4. Idaho
  5. Illinois
  6. Indiana
  7. Kansas
  8. Kentucky
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Missouri
  12. Montana
  13. Nebraska
  14. New Hampshire
  15. New Mexico
  16. North Carolina
  17. North Dakota
  18. Ohio
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Oregon
  21. South Dakota
  22. Tennessee
  23. Utah
  24. Washington
  25. West Virginia
  26. Wisconsin
  27. Wyoming 

11 states reported their highest single-day of new deaths during the month of October: Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah & Wisconsin. 

2:02 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pelosi blames White House handling of virus as a key reason why they haven't reached stimulus deal 

From CNN's Manu Raju

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on October 22 in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on October 22 in Washington, DC. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

In a letter to the Democratic Caucus, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cited the White House's resistance to meeting her demands on Covid-19 testing and tracing as a key reason why a stimulus deal has not been reached.

“The Republicans’ continued surrender to the virus – particularly amid the recent wave of cases – is official malfeasance," she wrote. 

“We must come to agreement as soon as possible. But we cannot accept the Administration’s refusal to crush the virus, honor our heroes or put money in the pockets of the American people," Pelosi wrote. 

3:07 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Fauci on current surge in US Covid-19 cases: "No matter how you look at it, it's not good news"

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on September 23 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on September 23 in Washington, DC. Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The current surge of coronavirus cases is not a second wave because the first wave never ended, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

“I look at it more as an elongated and an exacerbation of the original first wave,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Yahoo Finance interview.

“It's kind of semantics,” Fauci added. “You want to call it the third wave or an extended first wave? No matter how you look at it, it's not good news.”

Fauci noted that the US never reached a low baseline of cases, which he would consider to be around 10,000 per day. Instead, cases have shot up and down throughout the pandemic, ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 per day. 

“We've never really had waves in the sense of up and then down to a good baseline,” he said. “It's been up and wavering up and down, until now we're at the highest baseline we've ever been – which is really quite precarious.”

1:07 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pennsylvania health official warns against small family gatherings during holidays

From CNN's Anna Sturla

Pennsylvania's secretary of health warned against small family gatherings during the holidays during a press conference Monday.

"As we approach the holidays, we need to rethink those gatherings. We need to think about more and more gatherings being virtual, or only staying with the family that you live with," Dr. Rachel Levine said. "I think that's a sacrifice, but that sacrificed could mean people don't get sick in your family."

During part of the conference where she repeated the state's official guidance to avoid larger gatherings, Dr. Levine added that residents should "maybe also though, avoid smaller gatherings."

 

1:06 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Nurses make up most of the hospitalized Covid-19 cases among health care workers

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Nearly 6% of all hospitalized patients with Covid-19 work in health care and most in that group were nurses, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 4% of health care workers who were hospitalized died.

The CDC-led Covid research team reviewed the charts of nearly 7,000 Covid-19 patients who were in the hospital between March 1 and May 31. 

Most were women. A large proportion were Black. These patients skewed much younger than the general Covid-19 patient population. The median age of a health care professional who was hospitalized was 49, compared to 62 for the country as a whole, the team reported in in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

Nearly 90% of hospitalized health care professionals with Covid-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common, reported at nearly 73%, was obesity. 

In addition to infection prevention and control efforts, the CDC researchers said there is a need for prevention and management programs to help people control their weight. Obesity significantly increases the risk for severe Covid-19 illness.

This research is in keeping with earlier studies. Research in China also found that people in nursing-related occupations accounted for the most cases among the health care profession.

Nurses may be most at risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus because they have extended cumulative exposure time. Nurses have the most close and frequent contact with sick patients. 

12:47 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

New Mexico sets record for hospitalizations 3 days in a row

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

New Mexico has reported record numbers of people hospitalized for Covid-19 for three days in a row, state data shows.

On Friday, the state reported it had 229 people hospitalized for Covid-19, surpassing the previous record high of 223 set on May 15. 

Since then, the number has only climbed. The state reported 264 hospitalizations on Saturday and 287 hospitalizations yesterday, state data shows. 

The state’s dashboard does not specify how these numbers relate to the state’s overall hospital capacity.

New Mexico is currently reporting a total of 41,863 cases of Covid-19 and 967 deaths from the virus.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by New Mexico’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.