October 29 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton and Luke McGee, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020
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5:50 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Angela Merkel slams populists who call virus harmless

From CNN's Claudia Otto in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks on October 29 in Berlin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks on October 29 in Berlin. Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Populists who call coronavirus harmless are "dangerous and irresponsible," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, adding that disinformation damages the fight against coronavirus.

Merkel's latest comments follow her announcement that Germany is set to impose impose a partial lockdown, which will see restaurants, bars and clubs closed as COVID-19 cases grow in order to avoid a national health emergency.

"Lies and disinformation, conspiracy, and hatred damage not only the democratic debate, but also the fight against the virus," Merkel said on Thursday. "It is only with solidarity and transparency that we will be able to confront the pandemic."

Merkel's speech on Thursday was disrupted by shouts from opposition parliamentarians, with lawmakers from Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party interrupting several times.

Merkel also warned the coronavirus situation in Germany is worsening and if the current trajectory continues, intensive care units could be overwhelmed in the coming weeks. She added that schools and kindergartens should remain open with increased hygiene measures.

"The measures we take now are suitably necessary and proportionate," Merkel said.

"Freedom is not doing what everybody wants but freedom is responsibility," she said. "We are in a dramatic situation -- it affects us all."

5:32 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Analysis: Trump bet against science, and voters are casting judgment

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at iG Flight Services, in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, on October 26.
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at iG Flight Services, in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, on October 26. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The failed bet laid by President Donald Trump to ignore science and prioritize his political goals early in the pandemic, revealed Wednesday in fresh detail by new Jared Kushner tapes, is backfiring in devastating fashion at the critical moment of his reelection bid.

Dark warnings by scientists and new data showing a nationwide explosion in a virus Trump says is going away, crashing stock markets and real-time examples of the White House's delusions about its failed response are consuming the President as tens of millions of early voters cast judgment.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden, leading in the polls with five days of campaigning to go, is accusing the administration of surrendering to the virus and offering to shoulder the nation's grief in the grim months to come.

The extent to which the country's worsening trajectory has overtaken the final days of the campaign emphasizes how the election has become a personal referendum on Trump and how he mishandled the worst domestic crisis in decades.

The roots of his current difficulties were bedded down months ago.

"Trump's now back in charge. It's not the doctors," the first son-in-law and White House adviser, Kushner, said back in April in tapes of interviews with Bob Woodward, obtained by CNN.

To win next Tuesday, the President will have to convince sufficient Americans to build an Electoral College majority that his populist anti-Washington message, cultural themes, hardline "law and order" rhetoric and claimed expertise in rebuilding the ravaged economy are more important than his botched choices on a pandemic that is getting worse every day.

Read the full analysis:

4:56 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

More than 40 US states are reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

The US is adding an average of more than 74,000 new Covid-19 cases to the national total every day -- a record high in a pandemic that experts say is likely to worsen.

The seven-day average is part of a fall surge that has brought the national case count to more than 8.8 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Four of the five highest number of cases in a single day were recorded in the past seven days, with the top two reported on Friday and Saturday. And 41 states are reporting at least 10% more cases compared to the week before.

When it comes to the climbing metric, the US is "not in a good place," director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a virtual Q&A on Wednesday. Health experts have pushed measures against the virus to bring the baseline of infections down before colder months drove them back up. But rising records of cases and hospitalizations are making up "a bad recipe for a tough time ahead," Fauci said.

Rising hospitalizations: In the Midwest, residents are being impacted by the rising cases with spiking rates of hospitalizations.

Indiana and Wisconsin reported their peak levels of coronavirus hospitalizations. And Kansas saw the most ICU hospitalizations of the virus in one day, the same day the state surpassed 1,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

Read the full story:

4:34 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Czech Republic records highest rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths per capita in EU

From CNN's Tomas Etzler in Brno, Czech Republic and Lauren Kent

The Czech Republic now has the highest rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths per capita in the European Union, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The country recorded 1,448.7 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, according to a ECDC report released Wednesday. That surpasses Belgium, which recorded 1,424.2 new infections per 100,000 people.

The Czech Republic is also leading the EU for deaths per capita over the past 14 days, with 13.5 Covid-19 fatalities per 100,000 people. 

On Wednesday, which was a public holiday in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Health recorded 12,977 new coronavirus cases. That's down from Tuesday's record high of 15,663 new cases.

As of Wednesday, there were 174,965 active infections in the Czech Republic, including 6,624 patients in hospital. The total death toll stands at 2,675, according to the Ministry of Health.

New health minister: Czech President Milos Zeman will appoint Jan Blatný, the deputy director of the Faculty Hospital in the southeastern city of Brno, as the new Minister of Health on Thursday, according to the President's spokesman. Blatný will be the country's third health minister in the past six weeks. Earlier this year, Blatný tweeted that Covid-19 is just a "worse flu."

4:22 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Taiwan just went 200 days without a local coronavirus transmission

From CNN's Meenketan Jha in Hong Kong

Taiwan on Thursday marked 200 straight days without recording any locally transmitted Covid-19 infections, according to the Taiwanese Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

The island, which last saw a new local case on April 12, has recorded 554 total coronavirus infections -- just 55 of them locally transmitted, according to the CDC.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) asked the public to continue to adhere to virus prevention measures, such as washing hands, wearing masks, and observing social distancing.

"If you have suspected symptoms, please be sure to contact the health bureau or each county's care center, and follow the instructions for medical treatment; do not take public transportation," an official with the center said in the news conference. 

Success story: Taiwan, a self-governing island of more than 23 million people, is a world leader in its handling of the coronavirus. The government sprang into action after word of the virus' emergence in the Chinese city of Wuhan began to spread on social media last December.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told CNN earlier that health officials began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan and put in place additional travel restrictions before Beijing public acknowledged the gravity of the outbreak.

As much of the world waited for more information, Taiwan activated its CECC, which coordinates different ministries in an emergency, and the military was brought in to boost the production of face masks and other personal protective equipment.

3:54 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Immunity to coronavirus lingers for months, study finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Immunity to Covid-19 infection lingers for at least five months, researchers reported -- and probably longer than that.

While the report may seem confusing and contradictory to a similar report out of Britain this week, it really isn't. People's bodies produce an army of immune compounds in response to an infection and some are overwhelming at first, dying off quickly, while others build more slowly.

The new report out Wednesday shows 90% of people who recover from Covid-19 infections keep a stable antibody response.

"While some reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, we have found just the opposite -- that more than 90% of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months," Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who led the study team, said in a statement.
"This is essential for effective vaccine development."

Read more:

3:27 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Analysis: As most countries struggle to plan weeks ahead, China just set its agenda for the next 15 years

Analysis from CNN's James Griffiths in Hong Kong

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on October 14.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on October 14. Ju Peng/Xinhua/Sipa USA

The coronavirus pandemic has left governments in disarray and made planning even weeks ahead difficult. In Beijing this week, however, China's leaders met to set specific policy for much of the coming decade.

In a series of closed-door meetings in the capital, top Chinese Communist Party officials hashed out the country's next five-year plan -- and even drew up a "vision" for 2035, a long-term proposal for the year which President Xi Jinping has set as a deadline for China to "basically achieve socialist modernization."

Whatever is agreed at the plenum, by a tiny cohort of leaders, will shape policy for the entire country of 1.3 billion people, implemented at all levels by Communist Party bureaucrats, state-controlled enterprises, and the all-powerful security state.

While full details of the fresh five-year plan may not be unveiled until China's rubber-stamp parliament meets next year, key goals that have been previewed in state media include a pivot away from GDP growth at all costs, cutting carbon emissions and achieving self-sufficiency in technology and science, amid increasing pressure from the United States on that front.

This kind of long-term planning is in contrast to the often flip-flopping nature of democracies, where promises and plans set in place by one government are vulnerable to being undone by the next -- a point often highlighted in Chinese state media to defend the legitimacy of Beijing's authoritarian system.

Few American presidents have put this into starker relief than Donald Trump, who upon taking office scrapped a major trade deal, withdrew the US from the Paris climate accord, and set about dismantling the Iran nuclear agreement, essentially reversing all the long-term policy established by the Obama administration.

Read the full analysis:

2:24 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Sisters charged for allegedly stabbing store security guard 27 times after he told them to wear a mask

From CNN's Lauren M. Johnson and Kay Jones

Two sisters are being held on attempted first-degree murder charges in Illinois for allegedly stabbing a store security guard after being told they needed to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer.

The sisters entered a retail store and got into a verbal altercation with the victim, a 32-year-old man who was working as a security guard, Chicago Police said.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said the man had told the sisters they had to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer.

Their argument became physical when Jessica Hill, 21, pulled out a knife and stabbed him in his back, neck, and arms 27 times, according to the criminal complaint.

Her sister, 18-year-old Jayla Hill, held the victim down by his hair while the attack occurred, according to the complaint.

Police said the victim is in stable condition.

Read more:

3:28 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Germany reports new daily high in coronavirus infections

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

A man provides a nasal swab at a Covid-19 test station in Cologne, Germany, on October 23.
A man provides a nasal swab at a Covid-19 test station in Cologne, Germany, on October 23. Marius Becker/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany reported 16,774 new coronavirus infections for the past 24 hours, the highest since the pandemic began, according to the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

This is the second consecutive day the number of new infections have reached a new high in Germany. Yesterday, 14,964 cases were reported.

Germany's total caseload now stands at 481,013. The country's coronavirus death toll also rose by 89 on Wednesday to reach 10,272, according to the RKI.

Stricter lockdown: On Wednesday night, the German government decided to implement wide-ranging lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Starting from Monday, bars, restaurants and cafes will be shut except for takeout services. Theaters and concert halls will stop operating, as will amateur and recreational sports facilities. 

“We have to act and we have to act now”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as she announced the new measures.