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COVID-19 surge sparks new lockdowns in Europe
COVID-19 surge sparks new lockdowns in Europe... 01:10

Fresh restrictions are rolling out in parts of Europe and the United States in a push to fight a new COVID-19 surge on two continents. 

The U.S. saw nearly 79,000 new virus cases on Wednesday – coming close to an all-time daily high reported last week – as more new cases were reported globally than ever before: more than 530,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Wisconsin's governor is urging people to stay home as the state endures a spike in hospitalizations. Chicago has banned indoor dining and drinking. Denver has reverted to boosted restrictions that impact restaurants and retail spaces. And Newark has imposed a curfew for nonessential businesses. 

In Europe, France is now bracing for a second national lockdown, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying the nation has been "overpowered by a second wave." German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a shutdown of theaters, restaurants and bars for four weeks "to avoid an acute national health emergency."

Virus Outbreak Germany
A man wearing a face mask walks over a bridge with the buildings of the banking district in background in Frankfurt, Germany, on October 29, 2020. Michael Probst/AP

Contributing: The Associated Press 

 

Boston mayor encourages residents to get tested

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday the city is launching a new program called "Get The Test Boston" that encourages every resident to take a coronavirus test with cases rising in the city.

Walsh said City of Boston employees will be offered one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours. They will not have to use sick time while undergoing a test.

Twenty businesses, including the Red Sox, Boston Main Streets, Rapid7, UNITE HERE Local 26, Wayfair and others have also signed the pledge to ensure their employees know how to get tested for COVID-19.

"I'm asking everyone to commit to getting tested for COVID-19," Walsh said. "Getting tested is how you keep yourself and your family safe, and it's also how we track the presence of the virus in our community. We need a more accurate picture."

Walsh is encouraging all residents to get tested for coronavirus, regardless of symptoms.

As of Saturday, Boston's positivity rate was at 7.8%, compared to 6.2% the prior week.

 

Europe now has more than 10 million cases, WHO says

The World Health Organization's Europe director said Thursday that the 54-country region has again reached a new weekly record for confirmed cases, with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week and more than 10 million since the start of the pandemic.

During a meeting with European health ministers, WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said, "hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring," and that deaths have risen by more than 30% in the last week.

"Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again," Kluge said. "At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern."

Testing systems have been unable to keep up with widespread levels of transmission, and "test positivity levels have reached new highs," with most European countries exceeding 5% and many cases spreading unchecked, he said.

Along with the usual European countries, WHO includes includes Russia and some central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in its Europe region.

By Associated Press
 

Governor: "Utah is in a very serious situation"

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said Thursday the state "is in a very serious situation."

"COVID-19 is the most devastating when hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to provide good care to everyone who needs it," he tweeted. "We have seen this in Italy. We have seen this in New York. We could see this in Utah if things do not change."

He said hospitals in his state "cannot keep up with Utah's infection rate," adding: "You deserve to understand the dire situation we face."

"This is why we require masks and limit gatherings to 10 or less in the vast majority of the state, and in all counties along the Wasatch Front," he added.

State epidemiologist Angela Dunn called for restrictions to be reinstated in June to avoid overwhelming hospitals, warning: "This might be our last chance for course correction." Herbert, however, did not heed the advice and refused to impose a statewide mask requirement.

Utah's hospitals are now treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before even as the state remains open for business, most high school students are attending class in person, and football and other sports have gone on.

"This response to this third wave has been very half-hearted," said Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious disease at University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City. "Everyone in health care from the ED tech to the ICU doc is just really going: 'C'mon, people, help us out here.' The frustration, the fatigue, the disappointment is really palpable."

A total of 317 people in the state were hospitalized for the virus as of Thursday and ICUs were 69.2% filled, according to state data. Utah has seen more than 110,000 cases and more than 590 deaths due to the virus. 

-CBS/AP

 

Mayor urges NYC residents to avoid holiday travel

Coronavirus cases are creeping up in New York City, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to urge New Yorkers to stay put this holiday season, CBS New York reports.

The daily number of people with suspected COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals is 81. The seven-day rolling average of new reported cases is 532.

Mayor de Blasio said the seven day, rolling average of people testing positive is now 1.92% – high enough that he's telling people to be vigilant and play it safe.

"People really should not travel for the holidays unless it's absolutely necessary because, unfortunately, pretty much everywhere else is doing worse at fighting the coronavirus and, if you go some place else, the chance of bringing it back with you is high," de Blasio said.

De Blasio is also urging people to avoid gathering this Halloween weekend.

 

North Dakota death toll nears 500

North Dakota's death toll from COVID-19 neared 500 on Thursday, with health officials reporting an additional 11 deaths. The North Dakota Department of Health also reported six hospitalizations in the last day due to the coronavirus, increasing the total number of patients in medical facilities to a record 184.

October has been the deadliest month to date from the coronavirus, accounting for 228 of the 499 deaths recorded since the pandemic began.

Health officials reported 1,222 new infections from the virus on Thursday, and a daily positivity rate of 15.6%.

The COVID Tracking Project reported that North Dakota has had more than 1,442 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, which leads the nation. The rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by more than 40% in the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

There were 240 available inpatient beds plus 23 intensive care unit beds in North Dakota, according to state data.

By Associated Press
 

Pelosi scolds White House over no response in virus talks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a scolding assessment of COVID-19 relief talks on Thursday, blaming Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for failing to produce answers to her demands for Democratic priorities as part of an almost $2 trillion aid package.

Pelosi lobbed her latest public relations volley with a letter to Mnuchin that blames Republicans for the failed talks, which ground on for three months only to crater in the final days before the election. Where the talks go after the election is wholly uncertain.

Pelosi says remaining obstacles to an agreement include more than half a dozen big-ticket items, including a testing plan, aid to state and local governments, funding for schools, jobless benefits and a GOP-sought shield against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Republicans, who say Pelosi has been unyielding in the talks, will control the White House and the Senate until January regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's election, and have pressed for a more targeted aid package that ignores key Pelosi demands.

They say items like refundable tax credits for the working poor and families with children aren't directly related to fighting COVID-19 and charge that Pelosi has slow-walked the negotiations to deny President Donald Trump a victory in the run-up to Election Day.

Pelosi's letter to Mnuchin comes as markets are reeling from a coronavirus surge across the country and Washington's failure to agree on another virus relief package.

"As the coronavirus surges and the stock market plummets, we are still awaiting the Trump Administration's promised responses on multiple items of critical importance," Pelosi wrote. "Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue." 

By Associated Press
 

New York Giants player tests positive

A New York Giants player has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Thursday. The player's close contacts were told to stay home and attend meetings remotely.

The Giants did not identify the player, who is now self-isolating, or the close contacts.

The team's practice facility is open while the rest of the players and staff follow their normal schedules.

"We are working closely with the NFL's Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps," the team said in a statement.

The Giants (1-6) are last in the NFC East and are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.

 

Fauci voices support for national mask mandate

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has recently voiced support for a national mask mandate. In interviews, Fauci has said that masks are effective, and that Americans should do basic things like wear masks if they don't want to shut down. 

When pushed by CNBC's Shepard Smith on Wednesday about whether or not we need a national mask mandate, Fauci said, "We do."

Virus Outbreak Congress
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, seen September 23, 2020, in Washington. Graeme Jennings / AP

"If we don't get one, then I would hope that the governors and the mayors do it locally, if it's not done nationally," Fauci said during the televised interview.

Smith again pressed Fauci, asking: "Are you still in the president's ear, or no? And if not, who is?" 

Fauci said he hasn't "spoken to the president in quite a while about the situation with regard to the outbreak." 

"But I can tell you right now, regardless of that, what we do need is adherence to – mandate or not – if mandate is needed, let's do a [mask] mandate," Fauci continued, before Smith interrupted him to say: "You're the one who decides what's needed, Dr. Fauci." 

"It's pretty urgent, doc," Smith said.

"No, it is very urgent. And that's the reason why I have been urgently saying every day that we have got to do things that have not been done uniformly and consistently throughout the country," Fauci said. 

Read more here.

By Caitlin O'Kane
 

Pope ends public audiences amid virus surge in Italy

The Vatican is ending Pope Francis' general audiences with the public amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Italy and a confirmed infection at last week's encounter.

The Vatican says Francis would resume livestreaming his weekly catechism lessons from his library in the Apostolic Palace, as he did during the Vatican's coronavirus lockdown during the spring and summer.

Francis resumed his Wednesday general audiences on September 2 in a Vatican courtyard with limited numbers of faithful.

Francis' decision to not wear a mask during his audiences has drawn criticism on social media, especially when he would greet prelates at the end of the audience. The Vatican said Thursday that someone who attended the October 21 audience tested positive, though it didn't say if that person was among those who greeted the pontiff.

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
By Associated Press
 

Tennessee hits record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

Tennessee has hit a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 1,394 virus patients reported Wednesday.

The figures from the Tennessee Department of Health show that's up significantly from just a month ago, when 795 hospitalizations were reported. 

 

Short of medics as virus surges, central Europe sounds alarm

Soldiers in Poland are giving coronavirus tests. American National Guard troops with medical training are headed to the Czech Republic to work alongside doctors there. A Czech university student is running blood samples to labs, and the mayor of the capital is taking shifts at a hospital.

With cases surging in many central European countries, firefighters, students and retired doctors are being asked to help shore up buckling health care systems.

"This is actually terrifying," Dr. Piotr Suwalski, the head of the cardiac surgery ward at a Polish hospital said on a day when daily COVID-19 cases rose 20% nationwide. "I think if we continue to gain 20% a day, no system can withstand it."

Red Cross Volunteer Training During Coronavirus Pandemic
People attend a training course for volunteers provided by the Red Cross to help in hospitals or pensioner houses during the pandemic on October 28, 2020, in Prague, Czech Republic.  Getty Images

Even before the pandemic, many countries in the region faced a tragic shortage of medical personnel due to years of underfunding in their public health sectors and an exodus of doctors and nurses to better paying jobs in Western Europe after the nations joined the European Union in 2004. Now, with the virus ripping through their hospitals, many health workers have been sickened, compounding the shortfall.

It's not just clinicians these countries need. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are building field hospitals as beds fill up on wards, and authorities say there are only 12 ventilators left in all hospitals taking COVID-19 patients in the region around Warsaw, the Polish capital.

By Associated Press
 

Documentary reveals toll of job losses on and off the Las Vegas Strip

When the pandemic arrived, the economic shutdown hit Las Vegas harder than any other major city in America — and the impact rippled far beyond the famous Strip. Economist Jeremy Aguero described the local job losses as staggering, with the highest unemployment rates ever reported by a state since 1976, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this data. 

"During the Great Recession, we lost about 180,000 jobs over three years. [During the pandemic], we lost over 225,000 jobs in three months," Aguero told CBS News. 

Las Vegas hotels and casinos reopened their doors in June, at reduced capacity to stay in line with social distancing safety guidelines. But tourism remains down, shows closed, conventions were canceled, and many jobs in the community have not come back. 

"People that never struggled before are now struggling. You don't expect to see Mercedes and BMWs in food distribution lines," said Stacey Lockhart, executive director of Hopelink, a nonprofit that provides emergency housing assistance to families and seniors in the Las Vegas area. "This is going to go clear into next year, and though a lot of people are back to work, there's a whole part of the community that doesn't have a job to go back to." 

The new CBSN Originals documentary, "Reverb | Losing Las Vegas," tells some of their stories. Watch it in the player below.

CBSN Originals "Losing Las Vegas" 26:36
 

France prepares for month-long partial lockdown

French doctors are expressing relief and business owners despair as France prepares to shut down for a month to try to put the brakes on a fast-moving fall coronavirus outbreak.

The new lockdown is gentler than the one the French government ordered in the spring, but restaurants and other non-essential businesses have been ordered to close their doors in one of the world's biggest economies. 

Virus Outbreak France
France's President Emmanuel Macron wears a mask during a speech of Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.  Thibault Camus/AP

French schools will stay open this time, to reduce learning gaps and allow parents to keep working. Farmer' markets, parks and factories can also continue operating, officials said.

French lawmakers are voting Thursday on the new restrictions announced by President Emmanuel Macron, which are set to come into effect at midnight. The lower house of parliament is dominated by Macron's centrist party, so approval is virtually guaranteed. The prime minister plans to lay out details of the virus-fighting plan Thursday evening.

Shoppers at a Paris farmers' market said Thursday they were ready to relinquish some freedom given the country's rising number of virus-related deaths and COVID-19 patients filling French hospitals.   

By Associated Press
 

"It's not like the flu": A patient's warning as hospitals are overwhelmed

Hospitals in the Midwest and the Great Plains are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients – a 50% spike in the last month in the U.S. Hot spots are Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota. Cases are on the rise and average daily deaths have doubled over the last two weeks, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

In North Dakota, over the last seven days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the U.S. The state has also reported one of the lowest mask-wearing rates in the country, between 45% and 49%, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Dr. Austin Simonson, a hospital physician at Sanford Health System in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said they're seeing consistent high numbers.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to it," said Simonson. "I have a 97-year-old who is doing wonderfully, and somebody much younger than that – we're not certain they're going to survive the day."

In nearby Wisconsin, many of the intensive care units are at or near capacity. One of those patients in Wisconsin is Carmen Lerma, who is recovering from a double-lung transplant after coronavirus destroyed her lungs.

"It's not like the flu," said Lerma. "It doesn't feel like a flu. I was pretty healthy. I was pretty healthy, and look at me."

Read more here.

Midwest hospitals see record COVID-19 patient... 02:27
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