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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8:23 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Los Angeles County records its most Covid-19 cases since August

From CNN's Jon Passantino

Los Angeles County public health officials on Thursday reported more new Covid-19 cases than on any single day since late August, when the region last saw a dramatic surge in infections.

Public health officials reported 1,745 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday and 19 additional deaths, for a total of 305,070 positive cases and 7,044 deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic. The increase was not associated with a backlog of data. 

Some context: The rise in new confirmed cases came as public health officials expressed growing alarm over a recent increase in infections, some of which can be attributed to fans gathering for parties and events to watch the city’s MLB and NBA teams win championship titles. 

“The high numbers of daily cases are very concerning because, as we have seen in the past, increases in cases lead to increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County director of public health, said in a statement Thursday. “As individuals, we get to choose whether to party or help our economy recover; we get to choose whether to protect others from our respiratory droplets or infect others who may go on to need hospital care or even die.”

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with 10 million residents, remains in the first of California’s four-tier coronavirus reopening system, where the disease is considered “widespread,” forcing the closure of most nonessential indoor business operations.

 

8:47 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

US records its highest single-day record for Covid-19 infections

From CNN’s Haley Brink

There have been 85,357 daily new coronavirus cases in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

This is now the highest single-day reporting since the pandemic began.

 

7:18 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Oregon sets new single-day record for Covid-19

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The Oregon Health Authority reported 575 new cases of Covid-19 in the state Thursday, breaking the state’s single-day record.

The previous high was 550 cases set six days earlier.

“Preliminary data show this increase reflects continued widespread community transmission resulting in small clusters and outbreaks statewide,” the OHA said in a written statement.

Health officials are strongly encouraging Oregonians to forgo tradition Halloween trick-or-treating and get-togethers this year.

The state’s coronavirus death toll is now 673. 

To note: These numbers were released by the state’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.

3:02 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Ohio governor says the "virus is raging" in his state

From CNN’s Lauren del Valle

The Ohio Channel
The Ohio Channel

Ohio recorded at least 3,590 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, the highest daily count in the state since the pandemic began. 

Gov. Mike DeWine also announced 192 new hospitalizations and 19 new deaths due to the virus.

"The virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There is no place to hide," DeWine said at a news conference Thursday. 

Eighty three of 88 counties in Ohio are now considered "high incident counties," DeWine said. 

Righty now, 78% of state residents are living in a county labeled "red" for "very high exposure and spread." 

DeWine announced that he's asked leaders of every community to create a "Covid Defense team" that should include county commissioners, mayors, local hospital leaders, business leaders and religious leaders. The teams should assess and understand the situation and focus on what steps to take to turn the situation in their community around.

"We're simply letting our guard down," chief executive officer of University of Cincinnati Health and Covid-19 adviser to DeWine, Dr. Richard Lofgren, said at the news conference. 

While businesses and establishments are following restrictions, the virus is spreading in private social events, Lofgren said. 

To note: These numbers were released by the state’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.

2:36 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Greece imposes more regional lockdowns as Covid-19 cases rise

From CNN’s Chris Liakos

People are tested for Covid-19 by medical staff in the waterfront of Thessaloniki on Thursday, October 29.
People are tested for Covid-19 by medical staff in the waterfront of Thessaloniki on Thursday, October 29. Sakis Mitrolidis//AFP/Getty Images

Greece announced today it will impose further regional lockdowns to curb the coronavirus resurgence.

The country’s second largest city of Thessaloniki along with the city of Larissa and the Rhodope region will enter lockdown starting Friday at 6 a.m. local time. These brings the total regional lockdowns to seven.

“The average age of the new infections as well as the daily contact tracing shows that cases are connected to mass social gatherings, entertainment gatherings and sports activities,” said Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias.

More context: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce stricter measures Friday that would last one month.

He said his aim remains to avoid a national lockdown and instead will focus on the intensification of the containment measures. Greek media outlets have reported that a stricter curfew could be announced.  

According to Greece’s National Public Health Organization, Greece has recorded 35,510 coronavirus cases and 615 deaths from the disease in total. 

1:44 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

CDC's ensemble forecast now projects up to 256,000 US Covid-19 deaths by Nov. 21

From CNN’s Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 243,000 to 256,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Nov. 21. 

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published Oct. 21, projected up to 247,000 coronavirus deaths by Nov. 14.

At least 228,143 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

2:27 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Moderna and Pfizer might have Covid-19 vaccine results at same time, Fauci says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine lab tech processes blood samples from volunteers are taking part in the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine study, Wednesday, September 2 in Miami, Florida.
A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine lab tech processes blood samples from volunteers are taking part in the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine study, Wednesday, September 2 in Miami, Florida. Taimy Alvarez/AP

Moderna and Pfizer appear to be "neck and neck" in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine — so much so that the United States could see critical safety and efficacy data for both companies' vaccine candidates around the same time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Facebook Live session on Thursday. 

Currently, there are six Covid-19 vaccine candidates in the United States — four of which are in Phase 3 trials, Fauci said, adding that Moderna and Pfizer are "neck and neck." 

"Pfizer and Moderna, both went into Phase 3 on July 27," Fauci told Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, during the Facebook Live session. 

"Close behind them is the AstraZeneca, and the Johnson or J & J or the Janssen trial — and then we have the trial of Novavax and then ultimately we have Sanofi," Fauci said. "So we would likely, Francis, start seeing results from Moderna and Pfizer at approximately the same time."

11:55 a.m. ET, October 29, 2020

Inside a field hospital in Czech Republic as surge in Covid-19 cases strains its the health care system

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Members of the Czech Army set up equipment and beds inside a field hospital for Covid-19 patients on October 22 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Members of the Czech Army set up equipment and beds inside a field hospital for Covid-19 patients on October 22 in Prague, Czech Republic. Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

The Czech Republic has a field hospital set up in Prague and a second one is under construction in Brno at a convention center.

There are temporary bathrooms and a row of cubicles set up to accommodate beds, complete with dividers, curtains, cabinets and electrical and plumbing set up.

“They’re turning what was an empty shell into a fully functioning hospital. They want to have it done by the end of next week. When it is finished, it should be able to house more than 300 patients,” CNN’s Scott McLean reported. 

With 1,448.7 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, 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 Czech Republic is also leading the EU on deaths per capita over the past 14 days, with 13.5 Covid-19 fatalities per 100,000 people. 

This comes as the health care system in the Czech Republic is reeling under the strain of a surge in coronavirus cases. Hospitals have started to burst at the seams, stretching intensive care units to their limits, while also lacking staff

“About 1,000 health care workers are testing positive for the virus every single day. So while PPE, bed space is relatively easy to come by, it's not so easy to order doctors and nurses in bulk,” McLean added.

Read more on how the Czech Republic is trying to tackle the shortage of health workers here.

CNN's Scott McLean reports:

12:01 p.m. ET, October 29, 2020

The Czech Republic is trying to tackle a shortage of health care workers as Covid-19 cases surge

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Health care workers transport a Covid-19 patient from an intensive care unit in Kyjov to a hospital in Brno, Czech Republic, on October 22.
Health care workers transport a Covid-19 patient from an intensive care unit in Kyjov to a hospital in Brno, Czech Republic, on October 22. Petr David Josek/AP

The Czech Republic now has the highest rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths per capita in the European Union. Part of this case count are health care workers who are also testing positive for the virus, creating a shortage of staff at hospitals that are already bursting at the seams.

“The Czech health system has never faced such a challenge before. Every day, there is an increase of over 1,000 sick health care workers. With 10 million people in the Czech Republic, this is a serious number,” Dr. Milan Kubek, President of the Czech Medical Chamber, told CNN.

The Czech Medical Chamber and the health minister have called on Czech doctors living abroad to return home to help fight the virus. Medical students and people with medical training have also been encouraged to come forward. More than 1,000 qualified nurses who've left the profession have offered to come back to help.

“The health care system in the Czech Republic has already collapsed because hospitals, with a few exceptions, are not able to provide long-term care for non-Covid patients,” says Jiri Vyhnal, head ER doctor at the Kyjov hospital says.

Kubek is also hoping for help from abroad. But there’s a problem: When Italy appealed for help from abroad at the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, military doctors and nurse around the world answered the call. The Czech Republic did not.

The military doctors were needed in the country at the time, Czech deputy defense minister Jan Havranek claimed. But he admitted that the first wave in the Czech Republic was “rather milld.”

The next time, he said, the Czech Republic will think harder when another country asks for help.

“We realize that it's a two-way street and we cannot just ask without giving back,” Havranek said.

Meanwhile, foreign help is on the way with dozens of medical workers from the US National Guard and hundreds from Europe. But that is not nearly enough. The hospital that’s supposed to be staffing the second Czech field hospital in Brno said it is stretched so thin that it's currently negotiating with Germany, Poland and the Red Cross to try to get staff in place.

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