Police bust New York City party on Halloween; England to enter 4-week lockdown; virus top campaign issue

Multiple countries in Europe are again entering lockdowns as cases surge in the United States, propelling COVID-19 as a central campaign issue yet again in the presidential race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says President Donald Trump has been unable to control the pandemic: “We’re gonna 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. Trump 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.”

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 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 45 million cases and 1.19 million deaths.

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

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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 announced Saturday.

Police shut down the gathering held inside a Brooklyn warehouse early in the morning on Halloween.

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.

— Joel Shannon

British PM announces new, four-week lockdown in England

British prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans Saturday 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.

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

Johnson said that individuals will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons like medical appointments, shopping for essentials, education and work that cannot be done from their residence.

“No one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures anywhere,” the prime minister said, but added that “no responsible prime minister can ignore” the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

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 virus 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 in order 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 more than 10,000 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 Friday 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. 

In a blog post Friday, a Disney official said the impacts from the pandemic have lasted longer than expected.

“As a result,” wrote Bettina Buckley, vice president of Walt Disney World Live Entertainment, “we’ve had to pause many live shows and entertainment experiences at our resort for longer than originally anticipated.” Instead, she said the resort has created new entertainment choices and experiences.

Study: Trump rallies increasing COVID-19 spread, deaths

President Donald Trump’s campaign events may have caused some 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 this month – 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 6 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.

Trump aides have dismissed concerns raised by public health officials and Democrats, noting that the president’s supporters choose to attend.

– 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 the age of 65 tested positive for both, the Solano County Department of Health and Social Services confirmed this week.

“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: NYC party on Halloween busted; lockdown in England

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