Coronavirus updates: Trump says ‘not much’ he’d change about COVID response

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStock
Ovidiu Dugulan/iStock

By MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

Over 40.7 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has varied from country to country. Still, the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 220,955 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 883,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 862,000 cases and over 760,000 cases, respectively.

More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

Here’s how the news developed Tuesday. All times Eastern:

Oct 20, 9:27 pm
Trump says there’s ‘not much’ he’d do differently with COVID response

Despite the U.S. leading globally with nearly 221,000 deaths and 8.1 million cases, President Donald Trump told a town hall there was “not much” he’d do differently with the country’s coronavirus response.

The president was asked to reflect on his handling of the pandemic during a town hall on Sinclair’s “America This Week with Eric Bolling,” but the president, who was hospitalized with the disease earlier this month, pivoted to other nations’ responses.

“Look it’s all over the world, you have a lot of great leaders, a lot of smart people, it’s all over the world,” he said.

Brazil, which is second in the world in fatalities with 154,837, has more than 66,000 fewer than America, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And while countries in Asia are now reopening fully after embracing science, Trump continues to attack doctors like Anthony Fauci.

Trump also continued to blame China for the spread of the virus, and cited his travel ban in preventing spread, but did not mention the numerous studies that have shown many East Coast cases came from Europe, where he did not ban travel until more than a month later.

Oct 20, 8:09 pm
New US cases rose by double-digit percentage last week: HHS memo

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. saw a major increase over the last week, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.

The memo said 387,590 new cases were confirmed during the period of Oct. 12 and Oct. 18, which represented a 12.6% increase from the previous seven-day period.
 
There were 4,878 deaths recorded during that seven-day period, which was a 0.6% decrease compared with the previous week, according to the memo.

The national test-positivity rate decreased to 5.7% from 5.9% in week-to-week comparisons. Roughly 21% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, according to HHS.
 
The agency said 44 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, four jurisdictions are at plateau and eight are going down.
 
In the District of Columbia, the COVID caseload hit a two-month high on Oct. 14, with a seven-day rolling average of 1,801 new cases.

In New York, which was the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, there were 938 reported hospitalizations on Oct. 13, which was highest the state had recorded since June 25.

Oct 20, 8:09 pm
New US cases rose by double-digit percentage last week: HHS memo

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. saw a major increase over the last week, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.

The memo said 387,590 new cases were confirmed during the period of Oct. 12 and Oct. 18, which represented a 12.6% increase from the previous seven-day period.
 
There were 4,878 deaths recorded during that seven-day period, which was a 0.6% decrease compared with the previous week, according to the memo.

The national test-positivity rate decreased to 5.7% from 5.9% in week-to-week comparisons. Roughly 21% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, according to HHS.
 
The agency said 44 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, four jurisdictions are at plateau and eight are going down.
 
In the District of Columbia, the COVID caseload hit a two-month high on Oct. 14, with a seven-day rolling average of 1,801 new cases.

In New York, which was the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, there were 938 reported hospitalizations on Oct. 13, which was highest the state had recorded since June 25.

ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 6:33 pm
Harvard Law School to continue online-only in spring

Harvard Law School alerted its students Tuesday that classes will remain online-only for the spring 2021 semester.

Dean John Manning cited rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and around the world as one of the reasons it won’t be bringing its students back to campus.
 
“Cases have recently been on the rise in Massachusetts, as more communities in and around Boston and the eastern half of the Commonwealth have been deemed high risk,” Manning said in the letter.

The dean said the school is working on accommodations for students, including “new courses in time-zone friendly teaching blocks” and “new on-campus housing options” for certain students.
 
“While we recognize that the public health situation may change between now and the new year, and we of course very much hope that scientific developments will allow greater in-person activity very soon, we also recognize that students, staff, and faculty must have sufficient time to make appropriate plans for the remainder of the school year,” he wrote.

ABC News’ Lauren Lantry contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 6:07 pm
New Orleans Saints announce plan to bring back fans

The New Orleans Saints and Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Tuesday a phased plan to bring fans back to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which has a maximum capacity of 74,295 seats.

Season ticket holders will have access to 3,000 seats for this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

If health data in the city shows no major increases in cases, the team will allow 6,000 fans for the Nov. 15 game against the San Francisco 49ers and the Nov. 22 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Seating capacity would then increase to 15,000 for the Dec. 20 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Christmas Day game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Fans are “encouraged” to wear face masks, according to a statement from the team.

New Orleans has had 13,271 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 589 related deaths, according to the city’s health department.

The city’s seven-day average for new cases has remained relatively steady in October at around 36, according to the Health Department. About 64.5% of the city’s hospitals are in use, the health department said.

Oct 20, 4:29 pm
Belgium sees 88% jump in deaths

Belgium has seen a 69% increase in COVID-19 cases and an 88% jump in fatalities in the last week, according to the Health Ministry.

The nation has reported a total of 10,443 fatalities, including 221 deaths in the last week. With a population of around 11 million, Belgium has one of the highest per capita fatality rates in the world.

Belgium’s test-positivity rate stands at 15%.

ABC News’ Aicha El Hammar and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 4:01 pm
COVID-19 patients in hospitals 5 times more likely to die than those hospitalized with flu, CDC says

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are five times more likely to die compared to patients hospitalized with the flu, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. They were also more likely to need more time in the hospital to recuperate, and to develop medical complications like blood clots.

Among patients with COVID-19, the risk for certain complications, including respiratory and kidney problems, was higher for Black and Hispanic patients compared to white patients.

The study, however, was only among hospitals from within the Veterans Health Administration, so it may not be directly applicable across other hospital settings.

ABC News’ Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 2:56 pm
Ohio reports record high number of new hospitalizations

Ohio reported 216 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours — a record high for the state, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

Ohio now has a total of 17,388 patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, according to state data.

“In the past day, 2,015 new cases have been reported in Ohio, and our numbers continue to rise at a rate that should concern all of us,” the governor tweeted.

Ohio has over 185,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19. At least 5,083 have died.

Oct 20, 2:42 pm
Cuomo discourages New Yorkers from unnecessary travel to NJ, PA, CT

In New York, where the statewide positivity rate is 1.3%, neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania now meet the criteria for New York’s growing list of states on its travel advisory, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Because “there is no practical way to quarantine New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut,” the states won’t be added to the list, Cuomo said in a statement. However, the governor said he’s discouraging nonessential travel between the states.

New York’s travel advisory requires people coming to the Empire State to quarantine for two weeks if they’re arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a one-week average or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a one-week rolling average.

These are the states and territories currently on New York’s list: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

ABC News’ J. Gabriel Ware contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 1:39 pm
Over 299,000 excess deaths in US this year, two-thirds attributed to COVID-19, says CDC

The official COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. “might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality,” according to a new report from the CDC.

“Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths have occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with two thirds of these attributed to COVID-19,” the CDC said.

The largest percentage increase in excess deaths was seen in two groups: Hispanic/Latinos and young adults (ages 25-44).

ABC News’ Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 11:53 am
Greece reports record rise in cases

Greece is reporting 667 new COVID-19 cases — the nation’s highest one-day rise.

Greece’s daily increases may appear to be a fraction compared to its European Union neighbors, but the small Mediterranean nation was widely praised in the beginning of the outbreak for containing the spread through strict lockdowns.

Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias has acknowledged pressure is increasing, and according to local media, there’s a fear that a surge in hospitalizations will quickly overwhelm health services.

Greece now has a total of 25,802 COVID-19 cases and at least 520 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 11:18 am
Heathrow Airport now offering rapid tests to some passengers

London’s Heathrow Airport announced Tuesday that it will now offer a rapid COVID-19 test service for passengers flying to Hong Kong, as a growing list of countries and territories around the world require travelers from the United Kingdom and other “high-risk” places to provide evidence of a negative test result prior to their departure.

The new pre-departure diagnostic tests, a U.K. first, cost 80 pounds (about $104) and aim to provide departing passengers at Heathrow with their results in around 60 minutes. These tests, which include LAMP and Antigen tests, can be processed quickly and without being sent to a laboratory, but aren’t as sensitive or reliable as RT-PCR tests.

“Ultimately, we need a common international standard for pre-departure testing, and we welcome the U.K. government’s recent announcement that it wants to take a global lead in establishing this,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in a statement Tuesday.

Oct 20, 10:34 am
India reports lowest daily case count in 3 months

India confirmed another 46,790 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, its lowest daily tally in three months.

An additional 587 deaths from the disease were also registered. The country’s cumulative totals now stand at 7,597,063 confirmed cases and 115,197 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India is only the second country in the world to surpass 7 million total cases, after the United States.

The vast country of nearly 1.4 billion people was on track to become the pandemic’s worst-hit nation within weeks and overtake the United States, where more than 8.2 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. But since hitting a peak of 97,894 new cases registered in a single day in September, India’s average number of daily cases has steadily declined.

Oct 20, 10:05 am
Pakistan sees 140% increase in COVID-19 deaths

The head of Pakistan’s COVID-19 response, Asad Umar, said Tuesday that the country has seen a 140% increase in deaths from the disease in recent weeks due to people “recklessly ignoring” the social distancing rules.

“If we do not change our current path we will lose both lives and livelihoods,” Umar, who also serves as Pakistan’s planning and development minister, warned in a post on his official Twitter account.

Umar’s warning comes after the National Command and Operations Center registered 618 new cases and 14 deaths in the past 24 hours, a significant jump from the previous day.

Pakistan’s cumulative total now stands at 324,077 cases with 6,673 deaths.

Oct 20, 9:40 am
Russia reports over 16,000 new cases for 1st time

Russia confirmed another 16,319 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, its highest single-day tally yet.

It’s the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that Russia’s daily case count has exceeded 16,000.

More than 30% of the newly confirmed cases — 4,999 — were reported in the capital, Moscow, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.

An additional 269 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide in the past 24 hours, just under last week’s peak of 286. The cumulative totals now stand at 1,431,635 cases and 24,635 deaths, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters, which noted that the current growth rate in infections is 1.2%.

Although Russia has been breaking its own records for daily case counts and deaths almost every day since Oct. 9, authorities there are resisting shutting down businesses again. Few measures have been imposed in Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak and recent surge.

The Eastern European country of 145 million people has the fourth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

ABC News’ Alina Lobzina contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 8:21 am
UK to launch controversial vaccine trials where volunteers will be infected

In a bid to speed up the race to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the U.K. government announced Tuesday morning that it will be launching some controversial vaccine studies known as challenge trials.

In a world first for COVID-19, young healthy volunteers will be vaccinated, then intentionally exposed to the potentially deadly virus in order to test vaccines in a controlled environment. Although some medical experts view them as ethically questionable, the benefit of challenge trials is that they can be completed in a much shorter timeframe than typical late-stage studies.

The experiment will take place in a quarantine ward of a hospital in north London. After inhaling a diluted dose of the virus, the trial participants will be closely monitored, thus enabling scientists and doctors to better understand the disease and how a vaccine can fight it.

“Human challenge studies can increase our understanding of COVID-19 in unique ways and accelerate development of the many potential new COVID-19 treatments and vaccines,” said Dr. Chris Chiu of Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease, a lead researcher on the human challenge study.

Oct 20, 8:08 am
Italy’s hard-hit Lombardy region to impose curfew

The Italian region that was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic will soon impose a nightly curfew, following a sharp rise in infections.

A curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time is expected to begin in Italy’s northern Lombardy region on Thursday night and last until at least Nov. 13. All residents must stay home during this period, unless for reasons of health, work or necessity. Non-food shops and retail centers will also be shut on weekends.

Lombardy’s regional government received authorization on Monday from Italian Health Minister Robert Speranza to implement more restrictive measures.

The move comes after Italy reported 10,010 new cases of COVID-19 last Friday, the country’s highest daily tally since the start of its outbreak, shattering a previous record of 8,804 set last Thursday. Lombardy had the greatest number of cases of any other region that day, at 2,419.

Overall, Italy has confirmed at least 423,578 cases with 36,616 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data from the country’s civil protection agency.

Oct 20, 6:58 am
Columbian cyclist Fernando Gaviria tests positive for second time this year

Colombian cyclist Fernando Gaviria has been withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for COVID-19, his team said in a statement Tuesday.

It’s the second time Gaviria has tested positive for the disease, after contracting it in March.

All other riders and staff members on Gaviria’s UAE Team Emirates had negative test results but will be tested again Tuesday.

“Gaviria was immediately isolated following the test result and is feeling well and is completely asymptomatic,” the team said in the statement.

Gaviria, who has won five stages at the Giro d’Italia during his career, is not the first to withdraw from the annual road cycling stage race due to COVID-19. Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, Britain’s Simon Yates and Australia’s Michael Matthews were all forced to pull out last week after testing positive.

The Giro d’Italia, the second Grand Tour of 2020 after the Tour de France took pace between August and September, kicked off on Oct. 3 after initially being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The race concludes on Oct. 25.

Oct 20, 5:30 am
Outbreak at Kansas nursing home kills 10 residents

A COVID-19 outbreak at a privately-owned nursing home in northwestern Kansas has killed at least 10 residents, officials said.

All 62 residents at the Andbe Home in Norton, a four-hour drive from Wichita, have tested positive for COVID-19. Ten have since died, one remains hospitalized and the other 51 are being cared for at the nursing home, according to a press release from the Norton County Health Department.

Some staff members have also tested positive for COVID-19 and the remaining staff are being tested. The Norton County Health Department said it has been working with the Andbe Home, Norton County Hospital and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding the outbreak.

“Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their room and not allowing outside visitors into the facility,” the agency said in Monday’s press release. “Family members of the residents have been notified.”

Northwestern Kansas has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks, and Norton County had the greatest number of new cases per 100,000 residents of any county in the United States for the two weeks ending Sunday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Cases in Norton County, which is home to some 5,400 residents, increased from 46 two weeks ago to 340 as of Monday, according to data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Oct 20, 5:06 am
Analysis shows rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 41 US states

An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico found there were increases in hospitalizations over the past two weeks in 41 states.

The analysis also found increases in newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 39 states, increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 27 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in 13 states.

Over the last five weeks, cases have been steadily increasing across the nation. The United States is currently averaging over 55,000 new cases a day — the highest that average has been since Aug. 5. New cases have surged by over 61% since Sept. 12. Meanwhile, current COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to hover between 36,000 and 37,000.

In the past week alone, the country has recorded nearly 386,000 new cases, including two days where there were over 60,000 cases reported — the highest daily figures since late July.

Sixteen states reported record weekly increases in new cases. Fourteen states hit a record number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations last week, while two states saw a record number of current hospitalizations in a day. Two states reported their highest weekly death tolls from COVID-19.

This week, the United States is on track to top one million cases for the month of October, making it the fourth month on record to surpass the grim milestone.

The trends were all analyzed from data collected and published by the COVID Tracking Project over the past two weeks, using the linear regression trend line of the seven-day moving average to examine whether a state’s key indicators were increasing, decreasing or remained flat.

Oct 20, 4:36 am
US reports more than 58,000 new cases as death toll tops 220,000

There were 58,387 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally is up by more than 10,000 from the previous day but remains under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 445 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Monday, up by 56 from the previous day’s death toll and down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 8,214,754 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 220,133 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks.

The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States continued to increase by double digits in week-over-week comparisons, while the number of new deaths from the disease also ticked upward, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Monday night.

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