Live Updates: U.S. reports more than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases

UniqueThis 18 Oct 21

More than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported across the United States on Tuesday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

The Northeast was hit hard by the virus earlier this year followed by a summer spike in cases in the South. Coronavirus hospitalizations are now rising in 37 states, and rural hospitals are feeling the brunt of the fall surge.  

In at least four Midwestern states – South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho and Wisconsin – an alarming 20% of recent tests are positive.

Cases are also rising globally, and Europe is battling a fresh spike in infections. Ireland has become the first E.U. country to return to a coronavirus lockdown. 

Over the past two days, more than 825,000 new cases were reported worldwide.

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Virus Outbreak New York Airports
TSA personnel and travelers observe COVID-19 transmission prevention protocols as acrylic dividers are employed to further protect staff at John F. Kennedy International Airport, October 20, 2020, in New York. John Minchillo/AP
 

The wife of a Transportation Security Administration worker who died from COVID-19 complications is speaking out for the first time.

Gerald "Teddy" Girard, 67, died last week. Terra Girard, his wife of 41 years, said it was the beginning of the month when she says she didn't feel well. Two days later, Teddy was in worse shape, CBS Minnesota reports

"It was a total of nine days from the bad symptoms started happening. It was nine days 'til he died," said Terra.

Born with one kidney, her husband had diabetes and high blood pressure. Terra says both were in check as he had lost weight. But he had insisted on still working the job he had for 13 years as a security and baggage screener at MSP Airport.

"The problem with TSA is you can't socially distance," she said.

Terra can't say for sure how their household was infected. He tested positive for COVID-19 as soon he arrived at the hospital and for days, Terra was kept away, only allowed in for a few hours for a final goodbye.

"I just wanted to go in and hold his hand. I couldn't even do that," Terra said.

She is tired of how political the pandemic has become, and the lack of masks she sees being worn. Terra hopes the story of a husband, father, and grandfather serves as a reminder of just what real could mean.

"We were supposed to get old together. We were supposed to have a 50th wedding anniversary, and we're supposed to be one of those cute, little old couples that still hold hands and walk around the street," Terra said. "People have to take this seriously."

Teddy Girard is the second TSA official to die from COVID-19 complications. Last month, the agency announced a 55-year-old air marshal also died. In all, 19 TSA workers at MSP have contracted the virus. Eighteen worked as screeners.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association say 84,319 new COVID-19 cases were reported in children from October 1 to October 15 – a 13% increase in child cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, over 741,000 children have tested positive for the virus, according to a report updated this week. The overall rate of infection is 986 cases per 100,000 children in the U.S. population.

Severe illness from COVID-19 appears to remain rare among kids. "However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on COVID-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age and race/ethnicity so that the effects of COVID-19 on children's health can be documented and monitored," the report said.

 

A day after donning a face mask for the first time during a liturgical service, Pope Francis was back to not wearing a mask Wednesday despite surging coronavirus infections across Europe and growing criticism of his behavior and the example he is setting.

Francis shunned a face mask again during his Wednesday general audience in the Vatican auditorium, and didn't wear one when he greeted a half-dozen mask-less bishops at the end. He shook hands and leaned in to chat privately with each one. 

Vatican Pope
Pope Francis waves to faithful at the end of the weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, October 21, 2020. Gregorio Borgia/AP

While the clerics wore masks while seated during the audience, all but one took his mask off to speak to the pope. Only one kept it on, and by the end of his tete-a-tete with Francis, had lowered it under his chin. 

Vatican regulations now require facemasks to be worn indoors and out where distancing can't be "always guaranteed." The Vatican hasn't responded to questions about why the pope wasn't following either Vatican regulations or basic public health measures to prevent COVID-19.

 

Nevada's rate of coronavirus infections is steadily rising again. But state officials are reluctant to blame relaxed guidelines and say there is no reason yet to consider stricter measures.

"We're not at that point now," Governor Steve Sisolak said.

"I don't want to get to that point ... I don't want to see that happen, so we are working to loosen things up more and get people back to what their new normal is," he said Tuesday at a news conference in Las Vegas.

Sisolak and state health officials pointed to national and worldwide trends rather than the easing of state guidelines as the cause of the spikes. He said adherence to prevention measures could curb the spread of the virus and prevent reimplementing restrictions.

Nevada's rate of infections has been increasing since Sisolak, a Democrat, relaxed restrictions on the size of public gatherings on October 1. The White House Coronavirus Task Force has since redesignated the state as a "red zone," after the number of new cases per week per 100,000 residents surpassed 100.

The governor acknowledged the rates of new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations were trending at an "alarming" rate in Nevada. But he echoed comments from health officials that pointed to broader trends rather than decisions to ease restrictions.

Nevada's 14-day rolling average for the positivity rate, which measures community transmission of the virus, began this week at 9.1% for the third consecutive day.

 

The South Yorkshire region of northern England is being placed under the country's tightest restrictions to curb the coronavirus – joining a densely populated swathe of the country where the measures have been imposed despite protests from local politicians.

Dan Jarvis, mayor of the region's biggest city of Sheffield, said Wednesday the Tier 3 restrictions for about 1.4 million people will come into force on Saturday. He said local authorities had struck a deal with the British government on financial support for the area to accompany the measures.

"We all recognize the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods," Jarvis said.

"The character and grit of people in South Yorkshire will be needed in abundance to help us get through what will be an incredibly challenging period."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is resisting a recommendation from its scientific advisers to have a short nationwide "circuit-breaker" lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Instead, it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high virus risk. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own measures.

In the highest-risk areas of England, pubs have to close, people are barred from mixing with members of other households and travel in and out of the area is discouraged.


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