The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim, Vasco Cotovio, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:52 a.m. ET, October 31, 2020
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3:52 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

About 20% of grocery store workers had Covid-19, and most didn't have symptoms, study found

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Grocery store work puts employees at serious risk for infection, a new study found, particularly those who have to interact with customers.

These workers likely became a "significant transmission source" for Covid-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic.

The analysis, published Thursday in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is the first to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, exposure risks and psychological distress grocery workers have felt during the pandemic.

In the study, 20% of the 104 grocery workers tested at a store in Boston in May had positive nasal swab tests.

This was a significantly higher rate of infection than what was seen in the surrounding communities, the researchers said. Workers who dealt with customers were five times as likely to test positive for Covid-19 as colleagues in other positions.

But three out of four of those who tested positive had no symptoms.

Read more:

3:21 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Coronavirus fail: How one summer camp's freewheeling approach led to 118 cases

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid and Maggie Fox

Here's what not to do at summer camp.

A single Covid-19 positive camper set off a chain of infection that reached more than three-quarters of students, counselors and staffers at a faith-based retreat in Wisconsin over the summer, health officials reported Thursday.

Camp organizers had tried to prevent just such a superspreading by requiring proof of immunity -- an effort that failed completely, Wisconsin health officials reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly health report, the MMWR.

The 152 high school-aged boys from 21 states and territories and foreign countries, counselors and staff were asked to produce negative Covid-19 tests or proof they had been infected and recovered; to self-quarantine at home for a week before traveling to the camp; and to wear masks while traveling.

Once there, the camp organizers seemed to feel free to let the boys loose.

"At the retreat, students and counselors were not required to wear masks or social distance, and students mixed freely. Classes were held in outdoor pavilions with approximately 20 students per class seated less than 6 feet apart at tables," the team, led by Ian Pray of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, wrote.
"Beds in dormitory rooms and yurts were tightly spaced with three to four sets of bunks each, shared bathrooms, and shared common areas."

By the second week of the camp, 24 students were displaying symptoms, and two had tested positive for Covid-19. Still, camp staff did little to contain the spread.

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2:42 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Global Covid-19 cases surpass 45 million 

More than 45 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded worldwide since the pandemic began, according to a tally by John Hopkins University. 

As of Friday, the global total stands at 45,029,008 cases and 1,181,075 virus-related deaths.

CNN is tracking global cases:

4:25 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Germany reports record new Covid-19 case numbers for a third straight day

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Cars line up at the coronavirus testing drive-in station at Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Germany, on October 13, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Cars line up at the coronavirus testing drive-in station at Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Germany, on October 13, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

Germany on Friday reported 18,681 new Covid-19 infections in 24 hours, according to the country’s disease control and prevention agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

That marks a fresh highest single-day jump in cases for the third day in a row. The previous highest number had been 16,774 new cases, reported on Thursday.

Germany has now confirmed 499,694 cases and 10,349 virus-related deaths, according to RKI.

2:24 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Many counties that hosted Trump rallies had a significant increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Nadia Kounang

A CNN investigation of 17 Trump campaign rallies finds that 14 of the host counties -- 82% of them -- had an increased rate of new Covid-19 cases one month after the rally.

The 17 rallies occurred between August 17 and September 26. CNN evaluated the rate of new daily cases per 100,000 residents at four weeks before the rally, on the rally date, and four weeks after the rally at the county level and at the state level.

Of the 14 host counties that had increased infection rates, eight of the counties had declining rates of infection in the month before the rally. The other six counties already had increasing rates of infection in that preceding month.

CNN's analysis also found that in 10 counties, the new rates of infection were growing faster than the overall rate for the state.

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1:54 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Japan eases travel restrictions for China and 8 other locations

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

Japan eased travel restrictions for China and eight other countries and regions on Friday, according to a news release from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Japan lowered its travel risk advisory level for China, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam from level 3 to level 2 after assessing the infection situation and movement restrictions in each location, along with business needs toward Japan’s economic recovery, according to the release.

The Foreign Ministry also raised the travel risk advisory level for Myanmar and Jordan from level 2 to level 3 on Friday.

The level 3 advisory means the public is advised to cancel any trips to those locations.

The level 2 advisory means the public is advised to avoid unnecessary, non-urgent trips.

1:26 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

US reports record high of more than 88,500 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States reported 88,521 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University -- the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

The previous daily high was 83,731 cases, reported on October 23.

An additional 971 virus-related fatalities were also confirmed on Thursday, according to JHU's tally.

The nationwide totals now stand at 8,944,934 cases and 228,656 deaths.

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:

1:05 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

China's most controlled region is facing the country's biggest coronavirus outbreak in months

From CNN's Ben Westcott and James Griffiths

Xinjiang, the heavily policed region of western China where the government has been accused of detaining more than a million Muslims, is facing a new coronavirus outbreak.

While the rest of the country is reporting only a handful of daily cases -- with most of those imported -- Xinjiang has this week recorded dozens of new infections. On Thursday, the region reported 14 new cases, taking its total active caseload to 197, according to China's National Health Commission.

It's the country's biggest coronavirus cluster since more than 180 infections were reported in the capital Beijing in June. And it has raised eyebrows, given the heavy surveillance and security prevalent in the region, and the drastic response the government enacted earlier this year.

During China's initial outbreak, Xinjiang was subjected to strict lockdown measures on par with those imposed in the city of Wuhan -- the original epicenter of the virus -- despite having reported only some 70 cases and three deaths. When the regional capital Urumqi suffered an outbreak in July, authorities launched a strict lockdown, canceling flights, inspecting markets and restaurants, and testing residents.

Allegations of abuse: On Thursday, Xinjiang officials said the factory at the heart of the latest outbreak employed 252 workers and produces leisure and sportswear, which they added was set up as part of a plan to "help villagers find jobs and increase their income."

Factories and businesses based in Xinjiang have faced allegations of forced labor and poor conditions in the past. Last month, the United States issued new import restrictions against Chinese companies it accuses of using slave labor, including products from suspected mass prison camps in the region.

Adrian Zenz, a leading expert on the Chinese government's policies in Xinjiang, said the factory at the heart of the latest outbreak was emblematic of those used for "coercive labor training," a purported poverty alleviation program targeting "so-called rural surplus laborers."

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12:41 a.m. ET, October 30, 2020

Taiwan just went 200 days without a locally transmitted case. Here's how they did it

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger

As much of the world struggles to contain new waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Taiwan just marked its 200th consecutive day without a locally transmitted case of the disease.

Taipei's response to the pandemic has been one of the world's most effective. The island of 23 million people last reported a locally transmitted case on April 12. As of Thursday, it had confirmed 553 cases -- only 55 of which were local transmissions -- and seven deaths.

Taiwan has never had to enact strict lockdowns like Europe, nor did it resort to drastic restrictions on civil freedoms like in mainland China. So how did they do it?

  • They acted immediately: Authorities had begun screening passengers from Wuhan, where the virus was first identified, by December 31, 2019. By mid-January, they had banned visitors from Wuhan and implemented wider screening for visitors. By March, nearly all foreign nationals were banned from entering.
  • Their geography helps: Taiwan is an island, so it's easier for officials to control entry and exit through its borders.
  • They have experience: After suffering through the deadly outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Taiwan worked to build up its capacity to deal with a pandemic, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an interview last month.
  • They invested in health infrastructure: After SARS, authorities set up a Central Epidemic Command Center to coordinate between different ministries. The government also invested in mass testing and quick and effective contact tracing.

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