October 26 coronavirus news

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

Updated 5:50 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020
37 Posts
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12:15 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Florida reports more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases  

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Florida health officials are reporting 3,377 new Covid-19 cases and 20 additional deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).    

To date, Florida has recorded a total of 782,013 Covid-19 cases statewide and 16,652 Floridian deaths, DOH data shows. 

A total of 48,281 Floridians have been hospitalized this year because of coronavirus, DOH reports. 

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

2:37 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

New research shows decline in non-coronavirus hospitalizations during pandemic

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Medical workers load an ambulance outside of Mount Sinai Hospital on September 22 in New York.
Medical workers load an ambulance outside of Mount Sinai Hospital on September 22 in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Two studies released Monday reveal a decline in hospitalizations during the coronavirus pandemic, supporting concerns that people are delaying necessary medical care.

Researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine examined hospital admissions within the NYU Langone Health system comparing the March through May period for 2020, 2019 and 2018. They found a significant decrease in the number of hospitalizations for non-coronavirus conditions such as heart attacks and appendicitis during the peak of the pandemic. 

The number of non-Covid hospitalizations dropped to 3,657 in 2020 from 6,411 in 2019 and 5,368 in 2018, they reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The drop in hospitalizations was seen for various conditions, from complications of chronic health conditions to emergencies and injuries.

In a separate study, researchers from Stanford University and Weill Cornell Medical Center found a significant drop in hospitalizations across both systems for heart attacks, strokes, appendicitis and bleeding surrounding the brain during the pandemic. 

Their results included a 39% decrease in heart attack cases and 49% decrease in stroke cases at Weill Cornell Medical Center. The researchers note that their findings, in combination with an increasing number of non-coronavirus at-home deaths, reveal a discouraging pattern.

While the researchers note that the results of their respective studies may not be generalizable to the whole population, their findings match previous research showing a decline in hospitalizations across the country since Covid-19 took hold. The concerns they raise are in line with doctors who have been sounding the alarm that deferring care during the pandemic could cost some people their lives.

Multiple factors are likely at play, including loss of income or insurance and changes in patient lifestyle. Many health professionals have suggested that fear of catching Covid-19 has been a driving factor keeping people out of doctors’ offices and emergency rooms at times when they need in-person care. 

11:23 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

A Texas children's hospital is now taking non-Covid-19 patients to help overwhelmed medical center

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

As the University Medical Center of El Paso continues to be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients as local cases surge, El Paso Children's Hospital will begin taking non-Covid patients starting Monday hospital officials tell CNN.  

"It's a banana sandwich here as I'm sure you've heard," UMC Director of Public Affairs Ryan Mielke told CNN Monday.  "We are overwhelmed with patients at this point. However, we have a strong partnership with El Paso Children's hospital." 

Mielke said the ninth floor of Children's is open for non-Covid patients from UMC and the transfers have already begun.   

Mielke said the hospital has received more than 100 additional medical staff and has set up emergency isolation tents in the hospital parking lots where Covid-19 overflow patients are being sent.

Mielke confirmed hospital staff are becoming infected as well.  

“We are not immune by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. 

He said that while the hospital is adequately staffed at the moment, they have asked the governor for additional medical personnel, a service the Department of Emergency Management provides.  

"The bottom line is the coronavirus is spreading fast and it's spreading fast throughout our city," Mielke said.  

11:39 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Dow drops more than 600 points

Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14.
Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14. Frank Franklin II/AP

Stock losses accelerated on Monday with the Dow dropping more than 600 points or 2% following a record surge of new coronavirus cases and languishing stimulus talks in DC. 

11:04 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

New York City positivity rate is at 1.74%, mayor says

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 city wide is at 1.74%, under the 5% threshold, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

The seven-day rolling average is 1.73%, he said. 

With regard to new reported cases on a seven-day average, with a threshold of 550 cases, NYC is slightly above the threshold with 551 cases. 

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 75, under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 28%.

The positivity rate in New York city public schools is at .15%, according to the mayor.

New York City will begin adding public school testing data on it’s Covid-19 data page.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the citys 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

12:06 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

The White House "surrendered to the virus" yesterday, Sen. Angus King says

CNN's Aditi Sangal

Sen. Angus King speaks with CNN on Monday, October 26.
Sen. Angus King speaks with CNN on Monday, October 26. CNN

In response to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows saying the US is "not going to control" the coronavirus pandemic, Independent Sen. Angus King said that’s “unconditional surrender.”

“Remember, I don't know, five or six months ago, the President said, ‘this is war. I'm a wartime president?’ Yesterday was unconditional surrender,” King, who caucuses with the Democrats, said. “It was basically waving the white flag, saying, ‘we can't control it, there's nothing you can do.’ And that's nonsense. Of course, they can control it.”

He cited the US CDC guidelines on wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing for stopping the spread of the virus, and he blamed the White House for inconsistent messaging.

“If that had been the consistent message from the White House from the beginning, when we knew those were [the things] we had to do, and in the meantime, had they developed a really strong testing program, there would probably be 50 to 100,000 fewer deaths. We would be looking like other countries that are having surges but nothing like what we're having. And like I say, yesterday was the moment that the White House surrendered to the virus."

Cases are surging across the country and nearly 225,000 Americans have died from the virus.

“Maine is a good example of how it can work. Our governor, Janet Mills, was very tough, took a huge amount of flack in terms of how we dealt with the pandemic,” Sen. King added. “Here's the bottom line. And if the Trump folks had figured this out, they’d be in a lot better shape right now… We're closer [getting] back our economy to normal because we did these simple things and our governor, as I say, took a lot of heat but stood up and did it right.”

Watch more:

2:32 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Regional solutions can help Midwest control the coronavirus outbreak, Chicago mayor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard administer Covid-19 tests on October 9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard administer Covid-19 tests on October 9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images

With coronavirus cases surging across the US, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says regional agreements and solutions could help get the numbers under control.

“The Midwest has consistently been up for now for the last three weeks. So the virus obviously doesn't respect geographic boundaries. Everywhere around Chicago is going up,” she said, citing Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa as examples. “When you see the mobility of people traveling throughout the Midwest for jobs, for schools and so forth, it's not a total surprise but it is absolutely quite distressing and we're trying to do everything that we can. But we have to all be in this together. Meaning as a region, we have to come up with a region-wide agreements and solutions. Otherwise we're never going to be able to see this virus under control.”

There has been an uptick in hospitalizations but not in intensive care unit admissions, she reported.

As part of mitigation measures, businesses in Chicago will now have to shut down by 10 p.m. local time, following a new order that aims to curb the latest surge of Covid-19. However, with these measures in place as well as the winter approaching, Lightfoot says people are starting to gather indoors.

“Don't invite people in that are not part of your immediate family or otherwise essential to be there, like a home care worker or something along those lines. That's where we're really seeing the spread. The case investigations, the contact tracing is pointing to home social settings as the primary area of risk now,” she said.

At the same time, the city is not considering canceling Halloween because “people are going to trick or treat anyway,” she said. Instead, the city has put some rules in place to encourage safety, including limiting the number of children grouping together.

“We're asking no haunted houses, no house parties. We are also really encouraging people not to have hand-to-hand contact with children as they're handing out candy,” she said.


10:04 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

White House adviser on stimulus: "The talks have certainly slowed down. But they're not ending."

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The U.S. Capitol is shown on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. 
The U.S. Capitol is shown on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday that stimulus talks have slowed but haven’t ended as the negotiators have failed to reach a deal with just eight days to the election.

“The talks have certainly slowed down. But they’re not ending. One thing I will say is the committee chairmen on both sides, Senate and House, have been meeting and discussing various aspects,” he said during a remote appearance on CNBC from inside his White House office.

“We’ll get a report this morning. Sec. Mnuchin will be talking to them. I think he’s going to be talking to Speaker Pelosi,” he said.

He said the sides are “close” but “important policy issues” still separate them. “They’re still talking, but I acknowledge the clock is ticking.”

Kudlow reiterated that there is a “strong, V-shaped recovery,” and stimulus could help in certain targeted areas, going on to cast blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said the recovery is “self-sustaining.”

Kudlow was also pressed on comments from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on CNN about not controlling the virus. He reiterated best practices and said, “We get these pop-ups. I’m not sure there’s anything we can do about it. We’re seeing it in Europe and all around the world, perhaps that’s what chief Meadows was referring to, but we know a lot more than we knew.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, he said, is on the road with CDC teams in a “number of hot spots,” where they are “emphasizing the need for these guidelines.”

“That’s the best we can do, and it has worked in the past and hopefully it will continue to work,” he said.

Read CNN's latest reporting on the stimulus talks here.

9:58 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Care rationing could be the next step for overwhelmed hospitals in Utah

From CNN's Alta Spells

A grim warning is coming from the head of the Utah Hospital Association, who tells CNN affiliate KUTV that hospital care rationing is only days away for hospitals there.

“It’s a complex way of taking account of every patient’s situation, age, health, and the ability to survive,” said Greg Bell, the president of the hospital association, who described the system to KUTV as a way "of grading patients, or triaging or rationing care.”

A group of administrators representing the state's hospitals presented the list of "criteria they propose doctors should use if they are forced to decide which patients can stay in overcrowded intensive care units," to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. 

"We told him, ‘It looks like we’re going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues,’" Bell recounted to the Salt Lake Tribune, “'and we see no reason why it won’t.'"

According to Bell, the reason for the move is the "phenomenal case growth and spread rate” of Covid-19 in the state. 

The latest numbers: The state of Utah has reported more than 1,000 new cases per day for the last 12 days and saw its highest 7-day average for new daily cases yesterday according to information from Johns Hopkins University. 

A total of at least 104,882 cases of coronavirus and approximately 572 deaths have been reported in the state to date. 

“At the end of the day, some senior person versus some healthy young person probably would not get the nod,” Bell told KUTV during an interview Sunday night.