October 28 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Vasco Cotovio, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020
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2:24 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

US reports more than 73,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton

The United States reported 73,240 new Covid-19 cases and 985 deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The nationwide totals now stand at 8,778,680 confirmed Covid-19 infections and at least 226,711 virus-related fatalities.

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

CNN is tracking the US cases:

3:31 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

It might not be clear whether Covid-19 vaccines work until after they're already being used, experts warn

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

A health worker injects a woman during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on September 9.
A health worker injects a woman during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on September 9. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

It might not become clear which Covid-19 vaccines work best -- or whether they work at all -- until after they’ve already been authorized and are being given to many people, a team of experts said Tuesday.

With 44 vaccines in clinical trials -- meaning they are being tested in people -- it will be difficult to tell which ones are the most effective in preventing disease, said the experts led by Dr. Susanne Hodgson of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute.

People may expect the vaccines will at least protect against severe infection. “However, protection against severe disease and death is difficult to assess in phase 3 clinical trials due to the unfeasibly large numbers of participants required,” the experts wrote in a review in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
“Instead, data to address this end point might be available only from large phase 4 trials or epidemiological studies done after widespread deployment of a vaccine.”

So called Phase 4 trials are usually studies done after regulators approve a vaccine.

Prevention of severe infections: Vaccine developers said at first, people may have to make do with a vaccine that prevents detectable infection, and hope that also means it is preventing severe infections.

“Only a small proportion of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop severe disease, which means an extremely large number of volunteers is needed in a clinical trial for there to be enough cases to get a reliable measure of vaccine efficacy,” study co-author Kate Emary, a researcher at the University of Oxford, said in a statement. 

“This means that it is likely that we will only know if a vaccine protects against severe disease once it has been deployed and given to a large population,” she added.

Human challenge trials: The team is also urging caution in the use of data provided by controlled human infection studies or challenge trials now underway in Britain. “It is unclear if results from these studies, which are likely to only include young volunteers, will predict vaccine efficacy in older adults,” they wrote.

The researchers are urging vaccine makers to commit to a long-term follow-up of volunteers in Covid-19 vaccine trials because it’s “important, both to evaluate efficacy against severe disease and mortality, and to ensure ongoing evaluation of vaccine safety.” 

Four vaccines under development in the US are in the most advanced, Phase 3 clinical trials.

1:44 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Coronavirus second wave hits Pakistan

From CNN’s Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Pakistan’s health ministry has announced that the country is now experiencing its second wave of Covid-19 infections. 

Special assistant to the Prime Minister on health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, said at a news conference on Tuesday that he was concerned by the “rate of positivity which increased to 2 and a half percent,” and by the fact that the number of new daily cases has jumped to a range of 700 to 750 per day.  

Sultan announced that stricter restrictions and fines will be imposed in the coming days to ensure the public complies with safety procedures previously outlined by the government. Newer, data-based lockdowns would be implemented in neighborhoods hardest hit by the virus, he added.

He said the country “has reached a point where serious decisions have to be made in order to clamp down on the growth of the virus.”

According to the Health Ministry, there are currently 11,627 active cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. In the past 24 hours, 825 new cases and 14 deaths were recorded.

2:27 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

MLB confirms Dodgers' Justin Turner tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jill Martin

Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after striking out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning in Game Six of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on October 27.
Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after striking out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning in Game Six of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on October 27. Rob Carr/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for Covid-19, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said after the Dodgers won the World Series in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday. Turner was removed during the game.

“It’s a bittersweet night for us,” Manfred said in an on-field interview on FOX Sports. “We’re glad to be done. I think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get the season completed, but obviously we’re concerned when any of our players test positive. We learned during the game that Justin was a positive. He was immediately isolated to prevent spread.”

In a tweet, Turner said he felt "great" and had "no symptoms."

“Thanks to everyone reaching out!” Turner said. “I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA”

However, Turner later returned to the field to celebrate with his teammates and the World Series trophy. This was shown on FOX Sports 1 in a World Series postgame show moments ago.

The Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the best-of-seven series four games to two, ending a 32-year wait to be crowned champions.

Read more about the game here:

2:37 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Los Angeles County health officials raise concerns over coronavirus spread amid MLB World Series

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on Covid-19 in Los Angeles, on March 6.
Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on Covid-19 in Los Angeles, on March 6. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles County health officials are raising concerns over an increased spread of coronavirus, laying blame in part on Dodgers fans gathering for MLB World Series viewing parties.

The county reported 1,586 new cases and 29 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.

“COVID-19 spread has increased in L.A. County, and this is a cause for concern,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a news release on Tuesday.

According to the release, customers at restaurants were seen not following public health orders while watching sporting events on television. The department is urging all restaurants and bars that show sports events to follow public health orders including, “not allowing customers to congregate in any areas or around televisions, ensuring guests are seated at a table, and keeping at least six feet of physical distance between tables.” 

“Employees should always be wearing appropriate face coverings, and customers should use a face covering when they are not eating or drinking,” the department added. 

Officials have issued 48 citations to businesses in the past two weeks for noncompliance with health orders, for a total of 194 citations since the end of August, the department said.

“We continue to warn about the dangers of gatherings and public celebrations because these events create many opportunities for COVID-19 transmission,” Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in the release. “We encourage all fans to watch and celebrate the World Series safely at home with members of your household and not in gatherings of any size, especially where people are cheering, yelling, and congregating in close distance without face coverings.”

To date, Los Angeles County has reported a total of 302,077 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,027 deaths.

12:25 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Only a "small, misguided minority" of Americans aren't wearing masks, says former CDC director

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Most Americans seem to understand the importance of responding to Covid-19 with public health measures, like mask-wearing, but the federal response is lacking, former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said Tuesday. 

“Only about one out of 10 people are not wearing masks,” Frieden told CNN. “That’s a small and misguided minority.”
“Today data came out from the Centers for Disease Control that shows that the proportion of people who report they’re wearing masks went up from 78% to 89%,” he added. 

Frieden called the federal coronavirus response “a colossal failure.”

“Most people get it. What we lack is a coordinated federal response,” Frieden said. 

3:09 a.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Melania Trump focuses on Covid and slams Democrats for politicizing pandemic in campaign speech

From CNN's Allie Malloy and Kate Bennett

First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a rally for Donald Trump for president at The Barn at Stoneybrooke in Atglen, Pennsylvania, on October 27.
First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a rally for Donald Trump for president at The Barn at Stoneybrooke in Atglen, Pennsylvania, on October 27. Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

First lady Melania Trump focused on the Covid-19 pandemic in her first solo campaign event of 2020 and blasted Democrats for allegedly politicizing the pandemic.

Melania directly attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on the coronavirus, claiming: "Now he suggests that he could have done a better job. Well, the American people can look at Joe Biden's 36 years in Congress and eight years in the vice presidency and determine whether they think he'll finally be able to get something done for the American people."

The first lady also spoke about her family's struggle with the virus and demonstrated compassion for those suffering the virus -- something rarely done by President Donald Trump in rallies.

"Like many of you, I have experienced the firsthand effects of Covid-19 -- not only as a patient -- but as a worried mother and wife. I know there are many people who have lost loved ones or know people who have been forever impacted by this silent enemy," Melania Trump said in Pennsylvania.

Read the full story:

10:24 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020

Australia's Victoria State reports 2 new Covid-19 cases, 2 new deaths

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

Australia's Victoria State on Wednesday reported two new Covid-19 cases and two new deaths from the virus after two consecutive days of no new cases and deaths, according to Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services.

The two new cases are close contacts of other positive cases, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a news conference Wednesday. The two deaths, a man in his 70s and a man in his 80s, occurred several weeks ago but were now confirmed to be coronavirus-related deaths, Andrews added.

Emerging from lockdown: This comes after the state eased restrictions Wednesday, with the city of Melbourne moved out of lockdown. 

Andrews urged Victorians to remain vigilant as 180,000 workers return to work with the reopening of retail stores, cafes and restaurants, beauty salons and pubs.

"The greatest support is for everybody to remain vigilant so that we can be Covid safe and open, find that Covid normal, and then lock it in," Andrews said.
10:18 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020

Hawaii will allow travelers from Japan to avoid quarantine with a negative Covid-19 test

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Hawaii will soon allow travelers from Japan to enter without undergoing quarantine, as long as they present a negative Covid-19 test before flying.

This is the first time Hawaii has allowed travelers from outside of the United States to do so since the pandemic began.

The program follows the same guidelines as flights coming from the US mainland, with travelers required to get a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of travel from a group of pre-approved testing providers.

“Many of Hawaii’s families trace their ancestry back to Japan,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday, “And welcoming our Japanese guests back to Hawaii is an important step in maintaining the close relationship between our two regions.”

The first flight from Hawaii to Japan is expected to arrive on November 6, with only 10 such flights scheduled for the entire month. If there are no unexpected problems, Hawaii Airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways intend to significantly increase the number of flights from Japan to Hawaii in December.

“Welcoming visitors from a country that's so dear to us is important,” Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green said.

Discussions are already underway with the governments of Canada, South Korea, Thailand and New Zealand about expanding the program to those countries.