U.S. Reports Record Infections for Second Day: Virus Update

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The U.S. reported at least 89,663 cases Friday, breaking a record for a second straight day as infections and hospitalizations surge around the nation in the closing days of the presidential race. The total number of cases in the country also exceeded 9 million.

In a final campaign sprint in Michigan, President Donald Trump claimed without substantiation that U.S. doctors are lying about the number of Americans who’ve died from Covid-19, saying they inflate the figure because they are paid more money for deaths attributed to the virus. Total U.S. deaths as of Friday evening were 229,544.

Global cases surpassed 45 million.Italy and Greece reported infection records, increasing pressure on their governments to follow Germany and France in further tightening restrictions on public life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it wouldlift a ban on cruises in U.S. waters, even as government scientists warned that ships remain vulnerable to deadly outbreaks.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 45.4 million; deaths top 1.18 million
  • Hospitals are under strain fromPoland to Utah
  • Pfizer, Astra vaccines inaccelerated U.K. reviews
  • Operation Warp Speed could shape up to be an$18 billion bargain
  • Lockdowns overshadowrecord growth in euro area’s big four
  • How do people catch Covid-19?:QuickTake
  • Vaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart in hopeful sign

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U.S. Reports Record Infections for Second Day (8 a.m. HK)

The U.S. reported at least 89,663 cases Friday, the most since the start of the outbreak for a second day in a row, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The record came in the final days of a presidential race in which Trump’s management of the virus is a central issue, and infections and hospitalizations are rising especially fast in several key states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

It was the fourth time in the last week that a national record was broken. The first Covid-19 case in the U.S. was reported in January in Washington State.

U.K. Weighs New Restrictions (6:56 a.m. HK)

The U.K. government is considering imposing new national restrictions next week, the Times reported. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce measures on Monday to close everything except for essential stores, nurseries, schools and universities.

The measures are under discussion and no final decision has been made, the report said.

The U.K.’s drug regulator has startedaccelerated reviews of Covid-19 vaccines under development from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc, as Britain gets ready to approve the first successful shot as quickly as possible.

Trump Claims at Rally Doctors Lie About Virus Dead for Money (6:22 a.m. HK)

President Trump claimedwithout substantiation that U.S. doctors are lying about the number of Americans who’ve died from Covid-19, saying they inflate the figure because they are paid more money for deaths attributed to the virus.

There’s no evidence for the president’s assertion, and physician groups have castigated him for maligning their profession.

“Our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid. You know that, right?” Trump told a rally audience in Waterford Township, Michigan, on Friday.

Ohio Breaks Record Again (6:19 a.m. HK)

Ohio broke a record for new infections the third time this week, reporting 3,845 cases. That compares with the 21-day average of 2,223 cases. New hospitalizations surged to 168, compared with the 21-day average of 127. Governor Mike DeWine again asked citizens to “help us slow this spread down: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands.”

Tiger in Tennessee Is Infected (5:55 p.m. NY)

A Malaysian tiger at the zoo in Knoxville, Tennessee, has contracted the coronavirus, and two others are presumed infected, the zoo said in astatement.

The three tigers, Arya, a female, and Bashir and Tanvir, two males, “exhibited mild coughing, lethargy and decrease in appetite” and were tested for the coronavirus. Bashir’s test was positive. The zoo is waiting for the others’ results.

Trump Administration to Put 180-Day Ban on Many Asylum Requests (5:23 p.m. NY)

The Trump administration is expected to announce a 180-day ban on a range ofasylum requests citing the threat posed by the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter, in its latest effort to restrict immigration ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Under the new rule, anyone entering or trying to enter the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico would be ineligible for asylum — and subject to removal — because of potential national security threats to the U.S. amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Colorado Issues Warning on Hospitalizations (5:09 p.m. NY)

Colorado health officials warned that rising hospitalizations could soon strain the medical system, surpassing records from the outbreak last spring within two weeks. “There is a small window to improve transmission control over the next few weeks,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. In a statement, state health officials said intensive care units could filled by December or January.

Denver has ordered most businesses to limit capacity to 25%. Pueblo, the state’s ninth largest city, imposed an overnight curfew amid a deadly surge.

France Reports Biggest Death Toll Since April (4:51 p.m. NY)

France reported themost daily Covid-19 deaths since April, the same day a lockdown came into effect aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

An additional 545 people died from the virus, bringing the total to 36,565, France’s public health agency said on its website on Friday. Confirmed cases rose by 49,215 to 1.33 million, the second-biggest increase, trailing only that of Oct. 25.

The country has closed bars, restaurants, and non-essential services until at least December, while allowing schools and most businesses to operate. President Emmanuel Macron says the goal is to protect public health while avoiding another debilitating blow to the economy.

French shoppers last week were stocking up on essential items, particularly pasta and toilet paper, in anticipation of a partial national lockdown announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, according to Nielsen.

Utah Governor Calls for End to Anti-Mask Protest (4:30 p.m. NY)

Governor Gary Herbert said he was “disgusted” by a pellet gun shooting overnight outside a state health office and called for an end to protests by anti-mask demonstrators at the home of the state epidemiologist, Angela Dunn. “These protests are disgraceful,” he wrote on social media.

Utah’s cases spiked to another daily record, 2,292, as total deaths passed 600. State officials are warning of new crisis protocols as its health system is being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases.

CDC Lifts Cruise Ship Ban (3:46 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it wouldlift a ban on cruises in U.S. waters, even as government scientists warned that ships remain vulnerable to deadly Covid-19 outbreaks.

The agency provided a list of detailed requirements that cruise lines must meet to resume U.S. operations — meaning that ships could return to U.S. ports in the next few months.

Yet the CDC said recent outbreaks show cruise travel “facilitates and amplifies” Covid-19 transmission even at reduced passenger capacities and would pose a risk of fueling spread without proper oversight.

California Opens Lab to Double Testing Capacity (3:44 p.m. NY)

California is opening a $25 million lab in Los Angeles County that could double the number of coronavirus tests the most-populous state processes each day. The facility, built with diagnostics company PerkinElmer Inc., should be able to process 150,000 tests daily by March, Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday, up from about 120,000 currently.

“We’ve got to box this disease in,” Newsom said. “More testing is foundational.”

The Dakotas, Hardest Hit in U.S., Break Records Again (3:23 p.m. NY)

The Dakotas, which lead the nation in per capita cases and hospitalizations, again broke records for new cases Friday. South Dakota reported 1,560 confirmed or possible cases, while North Dakota reported another 1,357. Neither state has mandated masks or other anti-virus measures, though cities in each state have either begun to do so or are considering it.

North Dakota surpassed 500 total deaths, while South Dakota now has 415 fatalities.

Cuomo Will Allow School Openings in N.Y. Hot Spots (3:40 p.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has established protocols that would allow students in Covid cluster areas toreturn to school.

Cuomo said he has been working with public and private schools, including yeshivas and Catholic schools, in zones with the highest positive infection rates.

All students will be required to test negative before returning to school, Cuomo said. There also will be a required random surveillance, with testing of 25% of the school population every week, according to state officials.

Cuomo shut schools and businesses in the areas weeks ago as cases surged. Many of the zones had large Orthodox Jewish communities, and some have sued the government.

San Francisco to Pause Reopening Plan (3 p.m. NY)

San Francisco will hold off on expanded reopenings set to take place Nov. 3, citing a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The city had planned to expand indoor capacity to 50% from 25% at restaurants, movie theaters, museums and places of worship, along with reopening indoor pools, gym locker rooms and bowling alleys.

San Francisco has been one of the most successful areas of California in containing the the virus, allowing it to move into the state’s least-restrictive tier for economic activity. Local officials have credited stringent measures and a slow approach to reopening for keeping cases low, with the city’s test-positivity rate at less than 1%. Still, infections are starting to rise, Mayor London Breed said Friday.

“Given what we’re seeing in our numbers here as well as across the country and the world, we want to make sure we continue our cautious and deliberate approach,” Breed said in a statement, noting that Halloween and Election Day in particular will present added risks of spread.

Arizona Cases Rising as Pence Makes Campaign Stop (2:20 p.m. NY)

Arizona reported 1,565 cases Friday, the most since mid-September and the fifth time this week it exceeded 1,000. The rise came as Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House coronavirus task force, visited the state where polls show Democratic challenger Joe Biden has a slight edge over the president.

On Twitter, Governor Doug Ducey welcomed the vice president but also released ashort clip reminding citizens to continue wearing masks and maintaining social distance as cases and hospitalizations are ticking up again.

Belgium Imposes Lockdown to Avert Health-Care Collapse (2:15 p.m. NY)

The number of daily hospital admissions in Belgium is doubling every eight days. The country risks running out of available intensive-care beds by the end of next week after it took only eight days for the number of Covid-19 patients being treated in intensive care units to soar from 525 on Oct. 21 to 1,057 yesterday.

All non-essential stores will close in Belgium and there will be a partial ban of visits to family and friends. Schools will also stay closed for two weeks. A night curfew is already in place and bars and restaurants were closed earlier this month.

Spain’s Cases Top 9,000 for Third Day (1:17 p.m. NY)

Spain counted more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day, the biggest infection streak since pandemic began.

Italy ICU Levels ‘Much Better’ Than in Spring (12:30 p.m. NY)

Italy’s new cases exceeded 30,000 for the first time on Friday and the positive-test rate rose to 14.5%, heightening pressure on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government to impose astricter lockdown.

While hospitalizations are rising, the number of patients in intensive-care units, or ICUs, is at less than half the peak level of last spring.

“The number of available intensive-care beds is much higher than in March and the occupancy situation is much better,” said Franco Locatelli, head of Italy’s public health institute.

Greek Leader to Address Nation (12:20 p.m. NY)

Greece reported a one-day record of 1,690 coronavirus cases, compared with fewer than 500 at the start of last week.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to present further measure to curb the spread of the virus in a nationally broadcast address on Saturday.

N.J. Cases Top 2,000 for First Time Since May (11:20 a.m. NY)

New Jersey surpassed 2,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time since May.

Hospitalizations for Covid exceeded 1,000 for a third straight day and intensive-care patients reached a four-month high.

“We’re still in the fight,” Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

U.K. ‘Striving to Avoid’ Lockdown (8:51 a.m. NY)

Boris Johnson’s government is sticking with itslocal plan to tackle coronavirus hot spots rather than impose a national lockdown, amid growing warnings that tougher measures are needed to contain the pandemic.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Friday it would be “desperately unfair” to impose blanket measures when Covid-19 rates vary so much across England, adding that the government is “striving to avoid” a national lockdown. But he didn’t deny reports that it is considering adding a new tougher level of restrictions for the worst-hit areas of the country.

The number of people who currently have the virus is now above half a million in England, according to figures published on Friday by the Office for National Statistics, which said Covid infections are sharply increasing among secondary school children. The total rate of infections rose to one in 100 in the week through Oct. 23, from 1 in 130, it said.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Virginia Van Natta, Vincent Del Giudice, Kara Wetzel, Stacie Sherman, Nick Wadhams, Alan Katz, Paul Tugwell, Marco Bertacche, David R Baker, Albertina Torsoli, Angelica LaVito, Jordan Fabian, and James Ludden

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