USA coronavirus live: Trump, stimulus checks, cases, deaths, updates today

USA coronavirus live updates: 18 October

Trump, coronavirus latest: headlines

- Pfizer says it hopes to seek authorisation for its vaccine in mid-November

 Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming post highest daily new case counts

- Rise in cases down to "mitigation fatigue", says US health secretary

US covid-19 latest: 13:30 PT / 16:30 ET on Sunday 18 October (22:30 CEST)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 39,842,711
Deaths: 1,111,874
Recoveries: 27,364,315

US

Cases: 8,140,728
Deaths: 219,599
Recoveries: 3,220,573

Related coronavirus articles that may be of interest:

Wichita mayor threatened over mask mandate

MSNBC - A 59-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly threatening the mayor of Wichita, Kansas, over the city's mask mandate, authorities said.

Meredith Dowty, a retired firefighter, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of making a criminal threat involving Mayor Brandon Whipple, police said.

The mayor told the Wichita Eagle that another city official showed him text messages from the man, asking about his address and threatening to "kidnap me and slash my throat."

The suspect was allegedly angry over the mayor's pandemic mask mandate and cited "masks and tyranny," Whipple said.

"The investigation is ongoing, and it will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office," the Wichita Police Department said in a statement.

Biden criticises Trump over covid-19 comments

Joe Biden has criticised Donald Trump for saying that the US had ‘turned the corner’ in the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As my grandfather would say, ‘This guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner,’” Biden said. “Things are getting worse, and he continues to lie to us about circumstances.”

Biden’s pick for vice president, senator Kamala Harris, canceled in-person events over the weekend as a precaution after an aide tested positive for covid-19. She will return to the campaign trail on Monday with a visit to Florida.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across upper Midwest

According to the Washington Post, a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota may be linked to a covid-19 outbreak in the upper Midwest. 

Public health officials confirmed that so far, more than 330 coronavirus cases have been officially tied to the rally, resulting in at least one death. Experts also warned that the spread will likely worsen in the fall and winter months.

Holding a half-million-person rally in the midst of a pandemic is emblematic of a nation as a whole that maybe isn’t taking [the novel coronavirus] as seriously as we should,” said Josh Michaud of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Twitter removes White House adviser’s covid-19 tweet

Twitter has removed a tweet by Dr Scott Atlas, a member of President Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, in which he falsely claimed that masks do not help to prevent the spread of covid-19.

Dr Atlas, who was appointed to the task force in August, wrote on Saturday, per NBC: "Masks work? NO: LA, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Phlippnes, UK, Spain, Israel. WHO:"widesprd use not supported" + many harms; Heneghan/Oxf CEBM:"despite decades, considerble uncertainty re value"; CDC rvw May:"no sig red'n in inflnz transm'n"; learn why."

In September, it was reported that Dr Roberto Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had complained of Dr Atlas: “Everything he says is false.”

Who is leading the election polls in the swing states?

There are still 16 days of campaigning to go, but polls suggest that President Donald Trump is lagging behind Joe Biden in the most important swing states.

Full story:

Cuomo

Healthcare workers, high-risk people will get priority for vaccine in New York - Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that healthcare workers and high-risk populations, including some long-term care residents, would get priority in his state to receive a covid-19 vaccine when one is approved and available.

According to the five-phase preliminary plan for New York's vaccine administration program, some details of which Cuomo announced at a news briefing, healthcare workers in patient-care settings, long-term care facility workers and some long-term care residents would be among the first to receive a vaccine.

In the second phase of vaccine rollout, first responders, school staff, other public-facing frontline workers and people whose health conditions put them at extreme risk would get priority for the vaccine.

In phase three, it would be administered to people over 65. All remaining essential workers would receive the vaccine in a fourth phase, and healthy adults and children would receive it in a fifth phase.

Prioritization would also vary by geographic location based on the prevalence of the virus, Cuomo said. "This is a larger operational undertaking, I would argue, than anything we have done during covid to date," he told reporters.

The program will likely seek to deliver some 40 million doses of a vaccine to state residents, as New York's population is around 20 million and the vaccines in development may require two doses to be effective, Cuomo said.

(Text: Reuters; photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Rise in US cases down to "mitigation fatigue", says health secretary

Health Secretary Alex Aznar says a rise in coronavirus cases in the US is down to “mitigation fatigue”, adding that cold weather is also behind the uptick in infections.

The US reported more than 69,000 new cases on Friday, its highest single-day total since July. 

"Cases are increasing,” Azar told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “We’re seeing this happen because we’re getting colder weather and we’re losing that natural social distancing that happens from being out of doors.

“People are getting tired. We’re seeing mitigation fatigue right now.”

Madison

"The pandemic isn't over because you're over it"

Two women, one with and one without a protective mask, walk past graffiti on a boarded-up storefront in Madison, Wisconsin, reading: "The pandemic isn't over because you're over it".

(Photo: REUTERS/Bing Guan)

Pelosi, "optimistic" about coronavirus relief deal before U.S. election

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday differences remain with President Donald Trump's administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package but she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before Election Day. Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the 3 November presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.

"I'm optimistic because, again, we've been back and forth on all of this," Pelosi said in an interview with ABC's 'This Week.' However, with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal appears to be a long shot. The White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus last week to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Pelosi said the offer fell short in a range of areas including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protections and rent help. She has stuck to her demand for a $2.2 trillion aid and stimulus package. The Republicans who control the Senate, however, are loath to pass another giant relief bill. 

"They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing. And the tracing part is so important because communities of color had been disproportionately affected by this," Pelosi said on ABC. "We don't have agreement on the language yet. But I'm hopeful."

Over 65s account for nearly 80% of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.

Americans over the age of 65 account for almost 80% of the coronavirus-related deaths in the United States, according to stats compiled by the CDC. While the vast majority of those who contract the virus eventually recover, around 2.7% of the more than 8 million confirmed cases in the U.S. have died with the current death toll about to hit 220,000.

Covid-19 pandemic fuelling Chicago's ongoing rat problem

Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control service, has named Chicago as the 'rattiest city in America' for the sixth year in a row. Chicago has been losing its war on rats since a special task force was set up to manage pest control in 2016. The other U.S. cities with significant rat problems in Orkin's ranking were Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver and Minneapolis.

Pelosi says differences remain on testing language in coronavirus relief

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said differences remain with President Donald Trump's administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package, including language on testing provisions that affect minority populations. "They took out ... 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing. And the tracing part is so important because communities of color had been disproportionately affected by this," Pelosi said on ABC's This Week.

Saeb Erekat

Senior PLO official Erekat taken by Israeli ambulance for Covid-19 treatment

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by ambulance from his home in the occupied West Bank on Sunday to a hospital in Israel for treatment of a worsening coronavirus infection, the Palestine Liberation Organization said. Erekat, 65, has been receiving medical care at home since disclosing on 8 October that he had contracted the virus. In addition to his role as chief negotiator, Erekat is secretary-general of the PLO.

"Following his contraction of COVID-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr. Erekat's condition now requires medical attention in a hospital. He is currently being transferred to a hospital in Tel Aviv," the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department said in a statement. There is heightened concern over Erekat's vulnerability because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017. Witnesses said Erekat was on a stretcher when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho.

Senior PLO official Erekat taken by Israeli ambulance for Covid-19 treatment

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by an Israeli ambulance from his home in the occupied West Bank on Sunday for treatment of his coronavirus condition, witnesses said.

Liverpool musician Hambi dies of Covid-19: "For those who think it doesn't exist, think again"

Musician, producer and film maker Hambi Haralambous who was heavily involved in the Liverpool music scene during the 70s and 80s passed away at the weekend after losing his fight against Covid-19. Hambi, who fronted local groups Tontrix and Hambi and the Dance and set up the city's Pink recording studio, had been battling the virus for several weeks. On 27 September, he posted a photograph of himself hooked up to a respirator in his hospital bed along with the caption: "To all my Facebook friends who think Covid is a hoax. Think again."

Influencer dies from Covid-19 after calling it a hoax

A Ukrainian influencer who thought Covid-19 was an elaborate hoax has died from the virus, aged 33. Dmitriy Stuzhuk is believed to have caught Coronavirus during a trip to Turkey. He was admitted to hospital after experiencing symptoms on his return home. He spent eight days in hospital before being discharged but was readmitted after struggling to breathe. He is survived by his ex-wife and three children.

Which states are too close to call between Republicans and Democrats this 2020 election? And what is it historically that's made them battleground states?

US

Women, one with and one without a protective mask, walk past graffiti on a boarded-up storefront reading 'The pandemic isn't over because you're over it' in Madison, Wisconsin. REUTERS/Bing Guan

US voters are flocking to early polling stations and sending record number of mail-in ballots to let their voices be heard as voting has begun. 

A new study conducted by leading specialists shows that "in a *young, low-risk* population with ongoing covid-19 symptoms, almost 70% of individuals have impairment in 1 or more organs 4 months after initial symptoms of #SARSCoV2 infection

don

US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Trump and Biden try to woo early US voters on Sunday

US presidential rivals Donald Trump and Joe Biden will court early voters on Sunday as their campaigns step up events ahead of their final debate this week.

Trump on Sunday will head to Nevada, a battleground state where more than 100,000 voters have already cast ballots, according to state data. Trump will campaign every day leading up to Thursday's debate in Florida, including stops in Arizona and North Carolina, campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

Biden on Sunday heads to North Carolina, where 1.2 million voters have cast their ballots, according to state data. Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, will return to the campaign trail on Monday with a visit to Florida to mark that state's first day of early, in-person voting.

Thus far, 25.83 million people have already cast a ballot in the 3 November presidential election, according to the US Elections Project, shattering records. Much early voting is due to safety concerns about the pandemic that has killed more than 218,000 Americans and infected 8.1 million others.

Democrats hold a significant advantage in early voting, largely driven by mail balloting. Of the 10.6 million mail ballots cast, 5.8 million have been cast by Democrats, according to the US Election Project, run by the University of Florida.

Global coronavirus rise by one-day record of 400,000

Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 400,000 for the first time on Saturday, a record one-day increase as much of Europe enacts new restrictions to curb the outbreak.

Europe, which successfully tamped down the first surge of infections, has emerged as the new coronavirus epicentre in recent weeks and is reporting on average 140,000 cases a day over the past week.

As a region, Europe is reporting more daily cases than India, Brazil and the United States combined.

Of every 100 infections reported around the world, 34 were from European countries, according to a Reuters analysis. The region is currently reporting a million new infections about every nine days and has reported more than 6.3 million cases since the pandemic began.

Major European countries - United Kingdom, France, Russia, Netherlands and Spain -- accounted for about half of Europe's new cases in the week to Oct. 18, according to Reuters tally.

France is reporting the highest seven-day average of new cases in Europe with 19,425 infections per day followed by the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain and Netherlands in worst affected European countries.

Global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte will close four of its 50 British offices as it reviews its real estate portfolio in the coronavirus pandemic, but will retain the staff on work-from-home contracts, it said on Saturday.

Rapper Kanye West on Monday released his first official campaign video in his long-shot bid to be elected U.S. president on Nov. 3, focusing on religion and families.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 8,028,332 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 70,078 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,001 to 217,918.

Europe surpassed 150,000 daily coronavirus cases on Friday just a week after reporting 100,000 cases for the first time, according to Reuters tally, with countries such as France, Germany reporting record daily numbers of infections this week.

Movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen on Oct. 23 after a months-long hiatus spurred by the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.

Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 400,000 for the first time late on Friday, a record one-day increase as much of Europe enacts new restrictions to curb the outbreak.

Biden accuses Trump of trying to wish away Covid ahead of Wisconsin rally

With coronavirus cases hitting record levels in the battleground state of Wisconsin, Joe Biden has attacked Trump’s handling of the pandemic. The president is due to hold a rally in the state on Saturday.

Pfizer says it hopes to seek authorisation for its covid-19 vaccine in mid-November

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says it hopes to seek authorisation for its covid-19 vaccine in mid-November.

"So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," said CEO Albert Bourla in a statement.

 

NY State cinemas to open

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced on Saturday that cinemas in the state outside of New York City would be able to reopen from 23 October at 25% capacity with up to 50 people per screen.

“New York broke a new testing record yesterday,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter, “with over 159,000 tests reported. We do more testing than any other state in the country. For context, the entire country of France reported just under 200,000 tests yesterday.”

Trump slams Republican critic who warned of November 'bloodbath'

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday attacked a longtime congressional critic who warned this week that his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and authoritarian leaders could cause a 'Republican bloodbath in the Senate' in the Nov. 3 elections.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse is the least effective of the 53 Republican senators, Trump wrote on Twitter, calling him "a liability to the Republican Party, and an embarrassment to the Great State of Nebraska. Other than that, he’s just a wonderful guy."

Sasse criticized Trump in a town hall with constituents on Wednesday, and questioned whether the president would ultimately drive the country further to the left. Trump "kisses dictators' butts" and has "flirted with white supremacists," according to a transcript of the virtual town hall. Trump's leadership through the pandemic has not been "reasonable, or responsible, or right," Sasse said.

Former UK PM Blair accused of breaking quarantine rules after U.S. trip -Sunday Telegraph

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been accused of breaking UK covid restrictions after failing to self-isolate for two weeks following a two-day trip to the United States, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said it had obtained pictures showing Blair, who served as prime minister from 1997 to 2007, leaving a London restaurant 10 days after his return from Washington last month.

The Sunday Telegraph said it understood that Blair appealed to Whitehall officials for special dispensation from the covid-19 rules, but that he was not issued with the formal exemption letter he would have needed to avoid a 14-day isolation period.

Protest

Thousands protest Trump's Supreme Court pick at Washington Women's March

Thousands marched to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday to commemorate the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and protest President Donald Trump's rush to push through Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement.

​​​​​​The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an Oct. 22 vote on the nomination of Barrett, a conservative appellate judge, over objections from Democrats that the confirmation process comes too close to the Nov. 3 presidential election.

More than 26 million Americans have already cast their ballots for who they want to sit in the White House for the next four years, Trump or his Democratic rival Joe Biden. Demonstrators at the Women's March said they were angry that Republicans appear ready to confirm Barrett's nomination so close to Election Day after refusing to move forward Merrick Garland, the pick of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, more than six months ahead of the 2016 election.

NFL

NFL fans allowed to attend more than half of Week 6 games

For the first time this season more than half of this weekend's NFL games will welcome fans, the league said on Saturday as it carries out its 2020 campaign amid the covid-19 pandemic.

Nine of the 14 Week 6 National Football League (NFL) games will permit fans, while 18 of the 32 teams across the league have been approved to welcome ticket holders, a spokesman confirmed.

The NFL was forced to shuffle its schedule earlier this week due to positive covid-19 tests among players and personnel, and ramped up its safety protocols earlier this month, as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the pre-season and the annual Pro Bowl game.

US surpasses 8-million cases mark

The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States has surpassed 8 million, with the US accounting for more than a fifth of cases worldwide. 

There have been more than 219,000 covid-19-related fatalities in the US since the start of the pandemic.

The US remains the world's worst-affected nation, although India, which now has registered more than 7.4 million cases, is quickly catching up.

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