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What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, October 20


China, meanwhile, is going from strength to strength, posting positive economic growth for the second quarter in a row, CNN’s James Griffith’s reports. Beijing’s success in controlling the pandemic is not so much down to lockdowns — though these have been utilized effectively against regional flare-ups — but how it handles things after people are allowed to move around again.

The country’s ability to track and trace cases whenever there is a potential new virus cluster has enabled the government to respond quickly and bring local epidemics under control. This includes a sophisticated color-sorted “health code” system to track people’s movements. A clear (green) bill of health and corresponding QR code is required to enter many businesses, ensuring that almost everyone has adopted the measure.

Compliance in China is rarely optional. Containment has also been assisted by widespread mask wearing and sticking to public hygiene regulations, which have often been strictly policed by authorities, and promoted by mass propaganda campaigns.

Yet track and trace remains shambolic in many European countries and the US still lacks a national tracing strategy. Even the White House declined offers of contact tracing help from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during its own superspreader event — which saw President Donald Trump and more than a dozen people in his circle test positive for the virus.
But many countries, such as England, appear to be back at step one of the outbreak, where a short and sharp “circuit-breaker” lockdown has been mooted to deal with rising infections. The World Health Organization’s Europe Director, Hans Kluge, said last week that lockdowns at this stage of the pandemic should be the last resort. But if it happens, governments should use it to “buy time” to get an effective track and trace system in place, he said.


Q. How long will we have to keep wearing masks?

A: Possibly into next year — but for good reason. “These face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in mid-September. “If we did it for six, eight, 10, 12 weeks, we’d bring this pandemic under control.”

When a vaccine comes, possibly in mid-2021, experts say people will still need to use masks for some time. “Remember that vaccines don’t render mucosal immunity — that is, you still could harbor the virus. It protects from the illness. So we could actually get more carriers in the vaccination phase. And a lot of people don’t recognize this,” said Dr. Eric Topel, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.​

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Trump trashes Fauci and makes baseless claims

A frustrated and at times foul-mouthed President Trump claimed on a campaign call that people are tired of hearing about the deadly pandemic which has killed more than 215,000 Americans and trashed Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “disaster” who has been around for “500 years.”

Referring to Fauci — the nation’s top infectious disease expert — and other health officials as “idiots,” Trump declared the country ready to move on, even as Covid-19 cases are spiking and medical experts warn the worst may be yet to come, Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak report.

Australia blunder prompts calls for hundreds to take HIV test

More than 200 former residents of Australian coronavirus quarantine facilities are being urged to test for blood-transmitted diseases, including HIV, after authorities admitted they used the same testing devices for multiple guests.

It’s the latest in a series of Covid-19 setbacks to hit the country and the state of Victoria in particular. Earlier breaches at Victoria quarantine hotels led to a virus outbreak in Melbourne, prompting Australia’s second-biggest city to spend months under strict lockdown.

UK will hold human challenge studies

The UK government has signed a contract for the first human challenge studies for the novel coronavirus, in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with the virus in a controlled setting, and some receive an experimental vaccine. Up to 19 volunteers at a time will take part in the tests in London.

Proponents of challenge trials say that they are more efficient, requiring far fewer volunteers because researchers know for certain that everyone will be exposed to the virus, and that they can deliver scientific data more quickly. Critics worry about exposing people to a virus for which there is no fail-safe treatment, and say that the young, healthy volunteers are not representative of the wider population.



“It’s the pandemic, it’s the social unrest, it’s climate change and the wildfires. It’s the election, it’s upcoming holidays,” said Vaile Wright, American Psychological Association’s senior director of health care innovation. “I can’t remember any time in my lifetime, or most people’s adult lifetimes, where you’ve had this many adversities.”

If your coping skills are worn down, here are some actions you can take to boost your well-being and strengthen your endurance during this stressful time.


“Europe’s leaders are trying to cut off a potentially devastating second wave of deaths without further damaging their countries’ economies. It’s going to be a while before we can understand the human cost of this sort of strategy.” — Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent

Curfews and closures are spreading across Europe in response to a second virus wave. In today’s episode, Gupta looks at the hotspots and how different countries are handling them. Listen Now.

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