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U.S. reports over 73,000 new COVID-19 cases; Wisconsin faces "urgent crisis"

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Some hospitals struggle with COVID-19 care
Care rationing likely just days away at some facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients 02:00

The United States has added more than 73,000 new cases to its total coronavirus case count as states nationwide continue to battle a fresh virus surge. 

Wisconsin's governor said his state is facing an "urgent crisis."

"There's no way to sugarcoat it—we are facing an urgent crisis and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors, and the people you care about," said Governor Tony Evers.

More than 10,000 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 in his state, and over 5,200 new cases were reported on Tuesday. 

Globally, more than 2 million cases were reported last week, according to the World Health Organization – an exponential increase in a short time not seen since the start of the pandemic. The European region was home to the largest chunk of new cases.

"Although the number of deaths is gradually increasing, the proportion of deaths to cases remains relatively low, compared to the early phase of the pandemic in the spring," the World Health Organization said.

Early Voting Begins In Swing State Of Wisconsin
Residents wait in line to vote in the Midtown neighborhood on October 20, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Getty Images

Contributing: The Associated Press


Antibody screening in Orange County finds COVID-19 more widespread than thought

The coronavirus could be far more widespread in Orange County than previously thought, researchers announced Wednesday.

CBS Los Angeles reports a UC Irvine study found 11.5% of county residents have antibodies for COVID-19, contrasted with previous estimates of less than 2%.

According to researchers, Latino and low-income residents had the highest prevalence of SARS-CoV-02 antibodies with rates of 17% and 15%, respectively.

Nearly 3,000 random people enrolled for the study, and all participants provided demographic information, revealed whether they had experienced any coronavirus symptoms, and were asked if they'd be willing to undergo blood screening for antibodies. 

Read more here.


2021 Boston Marathon postponed until at least the fall

The 2021 Boston Marathon has been postponed until at least the fall of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday. CBS Boston reports no official date for the 2021 race has been set yet. 

"With fewer than six months until Patriots' Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April," B.A.A. CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement.

The B.A.A. been meeting with its "COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group" to figure out how to hold the next marathon.

"By shifting our focus to a fall date, we can continue to work with stakeholders to adjust the in-person experience for runners and supporters alike. Prioritizing the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members, we continue to assess all elements of the race including a potential reduced field size or weekend date," Grilk said.

The B.A.A. said other details about registration for runners and the field size "will also be forthcoming."

"We know there will be many questions and we will look to address them in the coming months ahead," Grilk said.

Read more here.


Minnesota reports nearly 2,000 new cases

Minnesota health officials reported 1,916 new cases of the coronavirus and 19 new deaths on Wednesday as case growth continues to rise statewide. The new numbers put Minnesota's total cases since the pandemic began at 139,444 and brings total deaths to 2,387.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Minnesota has risen over the past two weeks from 1,262 on October 13 to 1,715 on Monday, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Case counts statewide jumped over 2,000 three times in the past two weeks.

Neighboring states continue to see the highest per capita case growth in the nation with more than 1,200 new cases per 100,000 people in both North Dakota and South Dakota in the past 14 days. 

By Associated Press

Boston's Logan International Airport has testing site

Boston's Logan International Airport has a coronavirus testing site. The site opened in Terminal E and is operated by health and wellness company XpresSpa Group.

It's available for airport and airline employees at first but will test travelers in mid-November. The facility will offer three types of tests -- quick test that returns results within 15 minutes; a nasal swab test; and a blood antibody test. The company says it will process about 400 tests a day.

It already operates coronavirus testing facilities at Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. 

Virus Outbreak Massachusetts
A swab test is administered to a woman at the new XpresCheck COVID-19 testing facility at Boston Logan International Airport on October 28, 2020, in Boston.  Elise Amendola/AP
By Associated Press

Wisconsin cancels Nebraska game after coach, 11 others test positive

No. 9 Wisconsin has canceled its game at Nebraska on Saturday and paused all team activities for at least seven days after a dozen people within the program including coach Paul Chryst tested positive for COVID-19. 

School officials said athletic director Barry Alvarez and chancellor Rebecca Blank made the decision in consultation with Big Ten officials. The game with Nebraska won't be rescheduled.

"This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday," Chryst said in a statement. "I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning."

Wisconsin said six players and six staff members had tested positive over the last five days.

Illinois Wisconsin Football
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst talks to players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois on October 23, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin. Morry Gash/AP


Read more here.


Stocks tumble again as virus cases spread

Stocks tumbled again on Wednesday as virus cases spread and European countries move toward imposing more restrictions. The U.S. financial markets were down across the board, with the Dow Jones industrial average sinking nearly 750 points as of mid-day, to just over 26,700.

The S&P 500 fell 2.5%. Losses were even bigger in markets in Europe, where many are bracing for more lockdowns as hospitals began to fill with coronavirus patients.  

"Today, markets will focus 100% of coronavirus inflection, which cuts only one way — to sell," said Jamie Cox, Managing Partner for Harris Financial Group about today's market sell-off, in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

Caution continues to hang over markets. Restrictions on businesses and other activities to help curb surging infections could choke off economic improvements seen since the summer. Fresh pandemic precautions are also drawing a public backlash despite spiking levels of illness in European countries.

Read more here.



Germany's Merkel seeks limited lockdown

Alarmed by the steady rise in new coronavirus cases, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing governors of the country's 16 states to agree to a partial lockdown Wednesday that could include further restrictions on public gatherings and the closure of bars and restaurants.

Germany's disease control agency said a record 14,964 new cases were recorded across the country in the past 24 hours, taking the total since the start of the outbreak to 449,275. Germany also saw a further 27 COVID-related deaths, raising its overall death toll to 10,098, the Robert Koch Institute said.

Merkel has repeatedly urged Germans over the past two weeks to reduce their social contacts in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, so far with little success. 

Weekly Government Cabinet Meeting
German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly government cabinet meeting on October 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images

Owners of restaurants and bars planned to stage a protest demanding more government support if their establishments are forced to close down again. The rally at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate was backed by musicians who warn that the lockdown will badly hurt Germany's already ailing hospitality and entertainment industry.

"It's not enough if we get loans because most event organizers and musicians don't have any kind of income and then they even end up having to repay the loans," Bernhard Brink, a singer-songwriter, told news channel n-tv.

"We have to get money now in order to survive," he added. "There are a lot of people out there who have huge problems right now." 

By Associated Press

Pope Francis continues to shun protective mask

Pope Francis has blamed "this lady called COVID" for forcing him to keep his distance again from the faithful during his general audience, which was far smaller than usual amid soaring coronavirus infections in Italy. Francis again eschewed a protective mask Wednesday even when he greeted a few maskless clergymen at the end of his audience.

While the prelates wore masks throughout the hour-long audience, they took them off when they lined up to shake Francis' hand and speak briefly with him one-on-one.

A Vatican official who is a key member of Francis' COVID-19 response commission, the Rev. Augusto Zampini, acknowledged Tuesday that at age 83 and with part of his lung removed after an illness in his youth, Francis would be at high risk for complications if he were to become infected.

Vatican Pope Mask
Pope Francis shares a word with Monsignor Luis Maria Rodrigo Ewart as he arrives in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, on October 28, 2020.  Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Zampini said he hoped Francis would don a mask at least when he greeted people during the general audience. "We are working on that," he said.

Read more here



N.J. virus hospitalizations top 1,000 for first time since early July

New Jersey is reporting 1,010 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 – the first time the number has climbed above 1,000 in the state since July 2.

Officials reported 1,663 new positive cases Tuesday, pushing the state's cumulative total to 231,331. Governor Phil Murphy called the numbers "sobering." 

"We are still in the midst of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously," he tweeted. 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will now start fining travelers who don't wear a mask or face covering, CBS New York reports. Face coverings are required at Port Authority facilities, including airport terminals, train stations and bus terminals to help protect fellow passengers and employees from the spread of COVID-19.

Starting November 2, anyone who refuses to wear a mask or face covering could face a $50 fine.


Virginia retirement community reports 16 deaths, 105 infections

Health officials in Virginia say 16 residents at a retirement community have died amid a coronavirus outbreak. CBS affiliate WTVR reports that Chesterfield County health officials confirmed the deaths on Tuesday.

Chesterfield Health Director Alexander Samuel also said the outbreak has infected 69 residents and 36 staff at Tyler's Retreat at Iron Bridge. 

"The facility acts in the best interest of its residents to promote their health, safety, and welfare," Tyler's Retreat at Iron Bridge said in a statement to WTVR. "We continue to work closely with the Department of Health and follow all local, state and federal reporting guidelines and regulations."

The facility is owned by Ohio-based Saber Health Care Group.

The Virginia Department of Health reports that long-term care facilities have had 478 COVID-19 outbreaks, 13,000 cases and 1,754 deaths. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for about 49% of the 3,600 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Read more here 



Connecticut positive rate is highest since early June

The state of Connecticut now has a 4.1% COVID-19 positivity test rate. The state hasn't seen such a high number since June 6, CBS New York reports.

Governor Ned Lamont's administration plans to extend an executive order to allow outdoor dining. The governor says he thinks at this point, "Outdoors is so much safer than indoors."

On Tuesday, Lamont posted video of a crowded establishment in Bridgeport from over the weekend.

Bridgeport's mayor says this was the third violation of COVID executive orders for the unnamed location. He says it has been shut down and needs to appeal to the state to reopen.


Official leading vaccine distribution says "no shortcuts" taken on safety

Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's unprecedented effort to accelerate production and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, is already producing tens of millions of vaccine doses, even before any vaccine candidate has been proven safe and effective.

The nearly $10 billion program's stated goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to Americans, with the initial doses available by January 2021. 

Retired Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski, director for supply, production and distribution of Operation Warp Speed, said they are "absolutely" on track to achieve that goal. 

"We are actually going to exceed that expectation," Ostrowski told CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula. "We will have vaccines, we anticipate, prior to the turn of the new year."

But there won't be 300 million doses prior to the new year, Ostrowski said.

"We will start off with lower amounts and, over time, gradually build to that," he said.

Asked when the general population should expect to be able to get a vaccine, Ostrowski said, "It will probably be a prioritization-based schedule."

"We would expect, that by the first quarter, end of first quarter, early second quarter of next year," he said.

The accelerated timeline of Operation Warp Speed has some Americans concerned about safety. But, Ostrowski said safety is not being compromised.

"We've gone through the same trial process as any other drug or vaccine ever has," he said. "And the amount of FDA oversight and the approval process with the FDA is just like any other drug or any other vaccine."

Read more here

Rare look at Operation Warp Speed's unprecedented effort to produce, distribute COVID-19 vaccine 04:22

Massachusetts added to Connecticut's travel advisory

Massachusetts has been added to Connecticut's coronavirus travel advisory. That means anyone going there from Massachusetts must either test negative or quarantine in the state for 14 days, CBS Boston reports.

There are now 40 states and two territories under Connecticut's travel advisory.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged residents Tuesday to avoid nonessential travel to Massachusetts as well.


U.K. under pressure amid warning hospital cases may triple

The British government is under pressure to develop a national strategy to combat a surge of COVID-19 cases and "rescue Christmas'' as scientists warn that the number of people hospitalized with the disease in the U.K. could almost triple by the end of next month unless something more is done now.

Mark Walport, a former chief scientific officer, said Britain only needs to look across the English Channel to see what's coming. Britain's current measures are similar to those in France and Spain, where authorities are struggling to control the virus.

"With our current measures ... there's little evidence that there is as much social distancing as there was when we clamped down on the first wave and so we know that the risk is significant that cases will continue to grow," Walport told the BBC.

It is "not unrealistic'' that 25,000 people in the U.K. could be hospitalized by the end of November – up from about 9,000 now, he said.

Walport's assessment came as two opposition parties called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to convene a summit of the U.K.'s four nations to develop a coordinated plan for combatting COVID-19. Under the U.K.'s system of devolved government, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all developed their own rules to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, Johnson has implement a three-tiered regional strategy to applies only in England. That has a led to a patchwork of regulations.

By Associated Press

Denver moves back to Level 3 restrictions

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Denver, more restrictions will impact restaurants and retail spaces, CBS Denver reports. Colorado's health department has moved the city and county of Denver back to Level 3 restrictions.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock put tighter restrictions in place last week to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Group gatherings were limited to five people, instead of 10, and face coverings were required outdoors. As of last week, Denver was at Safer At Home Level 2 "Concern."

That has now changed because of Denver's 7.3% positivity rate.

"I don't believe this is Denver's failing. It is rather failing by those who still refused to believe in science, and those who do not take it seriously," said Hancock.

The escalation to Level 3 "High Risk" means that all retail and restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity. Large group gatherings will be limited to 75 people. Gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios will operate with 25% capacity or up to 25 people in Level 3. That is a change from previous recommendations, which required gyms and fitness centers to operate virtually or outside with only 10 people.

"To get back to Level 2, we must reduce our positivity rates and hold those numbers for two weeks," said Hancock. 


France braces for potential new lockdown

France is bracing for a potential new lockdown as the president prepares a televised address aimed at stopping a fast-rising tide of virus patients filling French hospitals and a growing daily death toll.

French markets opened lower on expectations that President Emmanuel Macron will announce some kind of lockdown Wednesday, though the government has not released details amid ongoing discussions about what measures would be most effective.

Many French doctors are urging a new nationwide lockdown, noting that more than half of intensive care units are now occupied by COVID patients and medical staff are under increasing strain.

Business owners and some politicians are pushing for a compromise, such as local lockdowns in hard-hit areas, or a lockdown that would allow schools to stay open.

France reported 523 virus-related deaths in 24 hours Tuesday, the highest daily tally since April. It is reporting tens of thousands of new infections per day, and more than 380 new cases each week per 100,000 people. 

By Associated Press

Virus pushes El Paso and Juarez to the brink

A record surge in coronavirus cases is pushing hospitals to the brink in the border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, confronting health officials in Texas and Mexico with twin disasters in the tightly knit metropolitan area of 3 million people.

Health officials are blaming the spike on family gatherings, multiple generations living in the same household and younger people going out to shop or conduct business.

The crisis – part of a deadly comeback by the virus across nearly the entire U.S. – has created one of the most desperate hot spots in North America and underscored how intricately connected the two cities are economically, geographically and culturally, with lots of people routinely going back and forth across the border to shop or visit with family.

In El Paso, authorities have instructed residents to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10 p.m. curfew, and they are setting up dozens of hospital beds at a convention center.

Also, the University Medical Center of El Paso erected heated isolation tents to treat coronavirus patients. As of Tuesday, Ryan Mielke, director of public affairs, said the hospital had 195 COVID-19 patients, compared with fewer than three dozen less than a month ago, and "it continues to grow by the day, by the hour."

In Juarez, the Mexican government is sending mobile hospitals, ventilators and doctors, nurses and respiratory specialists. A hospital is being set up inside the gymnasium of the local university to help with the overflow.

Juarez has reported more than 12,000 infections and over 1,100 deaths, but the real numbers are believed to be far higher, because COVID-19 testing is extremely limited. El Paso County recorded about 1,400 new cases Tuesday, just short of the previous day's record of 1,443. The county had 853 patients hospitalized for the virus on Monday, up from 786 a day earlier. 

By Associated Press

Indoor dining banned in Chicago

Chicago restaurants will no longer provide indoor dining starting Friday, according to Governor JB Pritzker, who said the region's COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

"Region 11 is now averaging more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, with a positivity rate that has almost doubled since the beginning of October," said Pritzker, CBS Chicago reports. "So, starting on Friday the city, too, will begin operating under our resurgence metrics, with a closure of indoor restaurant and bar service and a restrained gathering cap limit of 25 people."

"We can't ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring. So please, no matter where you live, what your politics are, where you work or who you love: Illinois: mask up! And we'll get through this together."  

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged those who can afford it to consider eating at restaurants that offer outdoor dining in winter, or regularly get delivery or carryout from local restaurants. 

Even without a ban on indoor dining, Arwady warned that "this is going to be a difficult winter for everybody," with people spending more time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily. 

"I think the more that we can be serious about COVID, and think about also how we can support each other and support small businesses through the winter is going to be crucial," Arwady said.

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