Published On: Thu, Oct 29th, 2020

COVID-19 news from across the United States


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


N.J. governor to give COVID-19 update

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is giving a COVID-19 update Thursday after at least two cities in the state issued new virus-related restrictions. 

Newark has imposed a curfew for nonessential business, and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh has issued an executive order for bars, restaurants and grocery stores to close nightly at midnight.

The state overall is seeing a rise in cases, with daily case numbers reaching highs this week not seen since May, according to state data.  

You can watch the governor’s 1 p.m. update on CBSN New York in the player below:

CBSN New York



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.


Boston mayor to give COVID-19 update

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is scheduled to give a COVID-19 update Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, after the number of confirmed cases in his state surged past 150,000 on Wednesday and the state Department of Public Health reported more than 1,000 new confirmed cases for a fifth consecutive day. 

The 1,137 new cases were out of 18,600 tests, a daily positivity rate of about 6.1%. The state also confirmed 36 new virus-related fatalities for a total of 9,700. 

The Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the 2021 Boston Marathon has been postponed until at least the fall of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CBS Boston reports no official date for the 2021 race has been set yet.

You can watch the mayor’s 2 p.m. update on CBSN Boston in the player below:

CBSN Boston




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”



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, Wednesday, Oct. 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.   


“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…


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