Coronavirus updates: October cases 57% higher than September total; wear a mask at home if a family member is ill

John Bacon and Joel Shannon, USA TODAY
·9 min read

A new study indicates the coronavirus gets transmitted more quickly than previously believed within households, a gloomy finding as final data from October shows the virus spreading wildly across the nation.

The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that household transmission is rapid whether the first to become ill is a child or an adult. That doesn't bode well amid efforts to return more students to classrooms.

The study was led by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who suggest that Americans should wear masks at home if any family member coughs or seems sick – even before tests results are available.

"Persons should self-isolate immediately at the onset of COVID-like symptoms," the study found. "All household members ... should wear masks within shared spaces in the household."

Daily infections are at an all-time high in the U.S. heading into Tuesday's election, according to Johns Hopkins University.

📈 Today's numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 9.2 million cases and more than 230,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 46.4 million cases and 1.19 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

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WHO chief self-quarantines after possible exposure to COVID-19

The chief of the World Health Organization said Sunday he is self-quarantining after being in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a tweet, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "without symptoms."

“I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19. I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with @WHO protocols, and work from home,” Tedros said on Twitter.

Illinois, Massachusetts join 5 others states with 10K coronavirus deaths

Illinois and Massachusetts have become the sixth and seventh states, respectively, to report 10,000 deaths, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

New York, Texas, California, Florida and New Jersey have also surpassed the 10,000 mark. By comparison, Canada has had 10,230 deaths, and it has more than three times the population of Illinois and more than five times that of Massachusetts.

– Mike Stucka

Fauci, White House clash as Election Day grows near

Tensions between Dr. Anthony Fauci and the White House were building after the nation’s best-known infectious disease expert had kind words for Joe Biden and warned that the U.S. is “in for a whole lot of hurt” from COVID-19 this fall and winter. Fauci, in an interview with the Washington Post, also said he had "real problems" with White House pandemic adviser Scott Atlas, saying Atlas failed to take the virus seriously despite the sharp rise in daily cases nationwide. Atlas appeared on Russian state media Saturday, criticizing lockdown measures as "an epic failure" he said were "killing" Americans.

Atlas later apologized on Twitter for "allowing myself to be taken advantage of," saying he was unaware RT was a registered foreign agent.

White House spokesman Judd Deere called Fauci’s comments unacceptable. "Dr. Fauci knows the risks today are dramatically lower than they were only a few months ago with mortality rates falling over 80%," Deere said.

October COVID-19 stats are in, and they are dark

Coronavirus cases leaped dramatically across the nation in October, when about 1.87 million cases were reported amidst a burgeoning third surge. That's an increase of about 57.6% over September's 1.19 million cases. Only Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana and South Carolina reported fewer new cases in October than in September. The increases were led by Wisconsin, which added 103,095 cases in October, up from 46,671 in September; and in Illinois, which added 112,928 cases in October, up from 58,996 in September.

On Friday, the U.S. reported a record 99,321 new cases in a day, almost 40% above the worst day seen in the spring or summer surges. The worst seven single days on record are now all from late October. U.S. deaths have been nearly flat at about 23,000 each month.

– Mike Stucka

Biden says he will beat virus – and Trump

COVID-19 is once again a central campaign issue on the eve of the presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden says President Donald Trump has been unable to control the pandemic: “We’re going to beat this virus and get it under control, and the first step to doing that is beating Donald Trump," Biden said.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to minimize the virus' impact. He told Pennsylvania voters that his administration has done “an incredible job” dealing with the pandemic. He repeated a months-old promise that the mass distribution of a vaccine was “just weeks away.”

Police bust New York City party with nearly 400 people on Halloween

Police charged nine organizers in a bust of an "illegal bar/party" that had nearly 400 people in attendance in New York City, the NYC sheriff said. Police shut down the gathering held inside a Brooklyn warehouse early on Halloween morning. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday warned against Halloween gatherings that increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19, tweeting "Halloween should be spooky, not scary."

The guidelines tweeted by Cuomo say parties are particularly risky because they can bring together people from different areas for a long period of time.

Britain joins lockdown parade with France, Germany, Belgium, Greece

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a four-week national lockdown in England starting this week that will shut pubs, restaurants, entertainment facilities and nonessential businesses. Schools, universities and manufacturing facilities will remain open during the period from Thursday until Dec. 2. France, Germany, Belgium and Greece have become the latest countries to announce second lockdowns, while Spain and Italy are among European nations increasing restrictions in recent days.

“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day,” Johnson said.

Johnson said people will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons such as medical appointments, shopping for essentials, education and work that cannot be done from their residence. Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, told reporters at a news conference that England is experiencing 50,000 new cases daily and that the figure is rising.

Doctors groups rip Trump for touting baseless conspiracy over death count

Medical groups are slamming President Donald Trump for resurfacing a baseless conspiracy on campaign stops that doctors are inflating the number of COVID-19 deaths in the USA to drive up profits during the pandemic.

"You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right?" Trump told a rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, on Friday, resurfacing a claim he has made for weeks. "I mean, our doctors are very smart people ... so, what they do is they say, 'I'm sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.'"

Medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have denounced Trump's assertion that doctors are inflating the number of deaths. Dr. Susan Bailey, the president of that group, called Trump's claim "malicious, outrageous and completely misguided."

– John Fritze

Walt Disney World in Florida to lay off nearly 11,000 union workers

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will shed 10,903 unionized employees as part of the 28,000 layoffs that the company has previously announced, it was disclosed in a filing to the state.

Walt Disney Co. blamed the layoffs on the "continuing business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic" in the document, obtained by Fox 35 TV. Overall, Disney said its parks and resorts division will lose 11,350 employees in Florida in total, all due to be laid off on Dec. 31.

The layoffs underscore how deeply the pandemic has cut into tourism. Walt Disney World reopened in July with new protocols in place to try to protect guests and employees from the coronavirus.

Study: Trump rallies increasing COVID-19 spread, deaths

President Donald Trump’s campaign events may have caused about 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 and could lead to 700 deaths, according to a Stanford University study that relied on prediction models to measure the public health impact of more than a dozen rallies.

The study considered the trajectory of coronavirus cases in counties that hosted 18 of Trump’s rallies between June 20 and Sept. 22 and attempted to predict the difference in how the course of the virus changed after the event.

Trump has held more than two dozen rallies since recovering from his own bout with the virus in October – and he is expected to hold several more before Tuesday's election. The rallies are held outdoors, usually at airports, and supporters usually are packed in tight. While some rally attendees wear masks, many do not, including Trump.

A recent USA TODAY analysis showed COVID-19 cases grew at a faster rate after at least five of Trump's rallies since mid-August, including in counties in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Nearly six in 10 Americans disapprove of Trump's decision to continue to hold large rallies during the pandemic, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found this week, while nearly 64% approve of Democrat Joe Biden's decision to jettison those large events.

– John Fritze

California county reports case of COVID-19 and flu co-infection

A California county has reported a case of COVID-19 and flu co-infection – at least the third reported instance of a person having both viruses in the U.S. A Solano County resident under 65 tested positive for both, the Solano County Department of Health and Social Services confirmed.

“With the likelihood of both COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity this winter, contracting either disease may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease,” said Dr. Bela T. Matyas, Solano County's health officer. “Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, and flu vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your family, and the community from becoming seriously ill with the flu.”

There has been at least one other case of co-infection reported in California and one in Texas.

– Grace Hauck

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: October cases up 57% from September; lockdown in England