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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11:28 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

The US government says it will pay for any future coronavirus vaccine for all Americans

From CNN's Andrea Kane

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will pay for any Covid-19 vaccine that is authorized or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to allow for "broad vaccine access and coverage for all Americans."

The agency also announced it will help cover a larger portion of the cost of new Covid-19 treatments that may be coming down the pipeline for Medicare recipients.

"There are several vaccines in Phase 3 trials, production and distribution plans are well underway, and CMS is doing its part by laying the essential groundwork for coverage and payment when a vaccine does arise. It'll be widely available and accessible to seniors and every American," CMS administrator Seema Verma said during a briefing Wednesday.

She said that while the federal government is paying for the vaccine, insurers including Medicare, Medicaid and private plans must cover the cost of administering it.

Read more:

10:59 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

England's Covid-19 cases have doubled in the past 3 weeks, according to this study

From CNN’s Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta

A medical laboratory assistant prepares Covid-19 tests for analysis in a laboratory at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside, England, on Tuesday October 20.
A medical laboratory assistant prepares Covid-19 tests for analysis in a laboratory at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside, England, on Tuesday October 20. Peter Byrne/PA via AP

The number of coronavirus cases across England has doubled in the past three weeks, according to interim findings published by a team of researchers at Imperial College London.

"The second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage,” the researchers found.

Paul Elliott, the head of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Imperial College, warned more must be done to stop the virus from spreading further.

"Now more than ever we must all work together to curb further spread of the virus and avoid subsequent overwhelming of the health service,” Elliott said.

The data: Researchers tested 85,971 people from across England between October 16-25. They found that prevalence of the virus continues to rise across all age groups and all regions in England, with the biggest increase in those aged 55-64 (from 0.37% to 1.2%). However, the highest rate of positivity was for those aged 18-24 (2.2%).

The geographic distribution of the virus was uneven, with the highest prevalence of the virus found in Yorkshire and The Humber (2.7%) and the North West (2.3%), according to the study.

The number of positive cases was doubling every nine days, the study found. 

10:34 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

The second-highest ranking officer in the US Space Force has tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne

Gen. David D. Thompson, the US Space Force's second-highest ranking officer, has tested positive for Covid-19, the US Air Force said in a statement Wednesday. 

Thompson, who is the vice chief of space operations, took a test after a close family member tested positive for the virus.

“In accordance with established COVID policies, General Thompson is self-quarantining and working remotely from home,” the statement read.

The US Space Force is a newly formed military service branch structured within the Department of the Air Force.

The Space Force “trains, equips and maintains mission-ready space forces that provide missile warning, space domain awareness, positioning, navigation and timing, communications and space electronic warfare,” according to the US Defense Department.

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9:33 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Covid-19 antibody therapies are showing promising early results in separate trials

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Days after Eli Lilly and Company said it would stop a trial of its Covid-19 antibody therapy in hospitalized patients because it was not effective, the company on Wednesday published promising interim results from a trial involving patients with mild and moderate Covid-19.

Also on Wednesday, biopharmaceutical company Regeneron reported its monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment helped people with mild and moderate Covid-19.

There are at least 78 monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19 in various stages of development in labs around the world, but those made by Lilly and Regeneron have been among the most closely watched. Both Lilly and Regeneron have already applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorizations that would open up their antibody treatments to more people with Covid-19.

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9:08 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Trump falsely claims California requires people to wear "special" and "complex" mask at all times

From CNN's Daniel Dale in Washington

President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked former Vice President Joe Biden and others for wearing masks.

At a campaign rally in Arizona on Wednesday -- at which there was no social distancing and most attendees did not wear masks -- Trump started mocking what he claimed are the mask requirements in California.

"In California, you have a special mask. You cannot, under any circumstances, take it off. You have to eat through the mask," the President said.

Facts FirstTrump's story was false. Californians are not required to wear "complex" or "special" masks; basic face coverings, even homemade ones, are acceptable there. Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a statewide mask order, Californians are not required to wear masks at all times; they can remove them when at home, when alone in a room outside their home, when outdoors more than 6 feet from others, and when eating or drinking. And while people can transmit the coronavirus or get infected with it while wearing masks, face masks have proven effective in reducing the chances of transmission; they are much better than "nothing."

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7:52 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

The US is heading for a "really rough time" in the weeks ahead, infectious disease expert says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Peter Hotez
Dr. Peter Hotez CNN

The United States is going to face a “really rough time” over the next couple of months as the daily number of coronavirus cases rises, Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Wednesday. 

Hotez urged Americans to “get ready.”

“I think we'll head towards 100,000 new cases per day as we go into December. Deaths will go up and, and we're going to have to figure out family by family who we're going to social distance with,” Hotez told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“We're headed towards a doubling of the number of Americans who perished in this epidemic by the end of the year, early January,” he predicted.

“It's going to be a really rough time as we move into the end of November and into December.”

Hotez said Americans can expect a “pretty awful winter.”

5:46 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Dodgers and Lakers fans asked to quarantine in Los Angeles following championship wins

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Tony Gutierrez/AP
Tony Gutierrez/AP

In the wake of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers winning championship titles this year, revelers in the city have been asked to quarantine for the next two weeks. 

Los Angeles Health Director Barbara Ferrer said anyone who celebrated with others without wearing a face covering or practicing social distancing should take precautions. 

“For the next 14 days, remain apart from others as much as possible. Get tested and monitor yourself for symptoms of illness. If you know that you were in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19, please quarantine for the full 14 days, even if you have a negative test result,” Ferrer told fans in a news conference Wednesday.

Ferrer attributed an increase in cases partly to gatherings for sports events and celebrations for the Lakers and Dodgers.

5:04 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

State-by-state Covid-19 vaccine distribution could lead to confusion, former HHS secretary warns

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Leaving vaccine distribution plans completely up to the states could lead to confusion, a former health and human services secretary said Wednesday.

"The state-by-state approach is, you know, to put a fine point on it, is pretty nuts as far as I'm concerned,” former Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a live panel from the Aspen Institute. “It leaves a … high possibility of very inequitable distribution and kind of chaotic transportation to get to sites where you vaccinate."

Sebelius added: "Not having a national strategy on everything from communication to, you know, health protection, has not really been very effective so, I'm hoping when we get the vaccine that we would have a national framework with a clear national identification of priority. ... Without that national strategy, I'm very worried it could look like, you know the PPE where every state was fighting with every other state and fighting with the federal government."


3:38 p.m. ET, October 28, 2020

Fauci on masks: "It almost becomes a political statement. We've got to get away from that."

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23. Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

There's no doubt that wearing masks "makes a difference," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized on Wednesday.

"We don't want to shut down completely," Fauci told Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of the medical journal JAMA, during a virtual Q&A session.

"If you don't want to shut down, at least do the fundamental basic things, which are really the flagship of which is wearing a mask," Fauci said. We can't have this very inconsistent wearing that you see, where you see some states that absolutely refuse to wear a mask."

Fauci added that the politicization of masks should stop.

"It almost becomes a political statement. We've got to get away from that,” he said.