What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, October 16

The President was non-committal at the NBC town hall on a question about whether he took a Covid-19 test on the day of his debate with Biden at the end of September — even though he was required to do so. He was airlifted to hospital with Covid-19 days later. Nor did he express any regret for holding a Rose Garden ceremony for his Supreme Court nominee several days before that debate, a gathering now widely viewed as a “super-spreader” event. Trump also made the false claim that “85% of the people that wear masks catch it.”

At the ABC town hall, Biden excoriated Trump’s pandemic response in a number of long-winded answers, underscoring his efforts to focus on policy issues. It’s the implicit contrast Biden has long sought to offer voters: Sobriety in the face of Trump’s bombast, Eric Bradner and Kevin Liptak write.
“He [Trump] missed enormous opportunities and kept saying things that weren’t true,” Biden said, noting that the President said the virus would go away by Easter or when “summer comes.” He accused Trump of being more concerned with the stock market than the pandemic and promised, if elected, that he would push governors, mayors and local officials to mandate mask wearing — one of the best ways to reduce transmission.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q. Do airplanes ventilation systems circulate Covid-19?

A: While much is unknown about Covid-19 transmission aboard airplanes, a US Department of Defense study, released Thursday, suggests that people don’t need to worry about circulating air spreading the virus on planes — supporting earlier research showing the ventilation systems on planes filter the air efficiently and remove particles that could transmit viruses.

The study, which was released without peer review, did not take into account other ways that people could catch the virus on a plan: by people coughing or breathing directly on them, from surfaces or from confined spaces such as restrooms.​

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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Big global study finds remdesivir doesn’t help Covid-19 patients

The antiviral drug remdesivir has “little or no effect on mortality” for hospitalized Covid-19 patients, nor does it help patients recover any faster, the World Health Organization found in a pre-print study that it described as both conclusive and disappointing.

Until now, remdesivir has been the only drug that appeared to have specific positive effects on the coronavirus. It was the only drug with an Emergency Use Authorization for Covid-19 from the FDA.

The WHO study reviewed remdesivir and three other repurposed drugs — hydroxychloroquine, the HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, and interferon — in 11,000 Covid-19 patients in 30 countries. None of them helped patients live any longer or get out of the hospital any sooner, WHO said.

Europe’s Covid deaths could be up to 5 times higher in January than April, WHO says

The WHO’s regional director for Europe issued a stark warning for the region yesterday, saying that without restrictions, models show that by the start of next year daily Covid-19 deaths could be four to five times higher than April’s peak.

The comments come as new Covid-19 cases accelerate through much of Europe, leading to a raft of new restrictions in some of its biggest capitals. But in London, locals have expressed confusion and doubt over lockdown rules, set to go into place at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, that will affect millions living in the city.

These families cherished multi-generational living. But Covid-19 has wrecked it

Britain’s health minister issued a stark warning to the country’s young people in early September: “Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on.”

This advice made sense for those with elderly relatives living in separate households. But more than 6% of British households — a total of around 1.8 million people — are multi-generational. In the UK, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are more likely than their White peers to be living in such groups, Zamira Rahim reports.

For all of these families, regardless of race, isolation is a luxury that is hard to come by.

ON OUR RADAR

The Queen and Prince William visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in southern England.
  • Queen Elizabeth had her first royal engagement in months — but didn’t wear a mask.
  • Trump ally and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent seven days in ICU with Covid. Now he says “I was wrong” to think the White House was a “safe zone.”
  • More Americans have fallen into poverty after federal stimulus programs ended.
  • A global rise in chronic diseases, combined with Covid-19, bodes ill for world health, a study has found.
  • In New Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted cities, winter this year comes with the added fear of Covid-19.
  • The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is finally here — but it’s only one-way for now.
  • CNN Travel’s Lilit Marcus thought “flights to nowhere”§ were silly. Then she went on one.

TODAY’S TOP TIP

Reduce transmission this fall by socializing outside

Colder weather means people tend to socialize indoors, where there’s less opportunity for viral particles to disperse. And that increases the risk of coronavirus spread. So if you do have gatherings, keep them outside if you can — perhaps with a fire pit, a warm coat or a heat lamp.

But just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you can abandon all safety precautions. “Outdoors is not perfect. If you’re still sitting a foot away from other people, without a mask, you can still spread it — especially if you’re in that very infectious period,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine physician, told CNN.

TODAY’S PODCAST

“We always have our (masks) on to make sure that we’re not spreading anything — or even have the chance to get anything — from the jump. So we have very strict guidelines and we make sure we follow them.” — Rhyne Howard, Kentucky Wildcats

Howard, a top-ranked women’s college basketball player, is facing a season like no other. CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Howard about staying positive while training during a pandemic, and advocating for social justice. Listen Now.

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