Read the latest updates below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)
India Surpasses 8 Million COVID-19 Cases — 10/29/20, 2 a.m. ET
India has officially reported 8 million cases of COVID-19 and remains one of the world’s worst-hit countries, according to figures released by the Indian health ministry.
At least 120,527 people have died from the virus in the country since the pandemic began.
Nearly 50,000 new infections were reported in the last 24-hour reporting period. Officials have also issued warnings ahead of the upcoming festival season that participating in celebrations could lead to renewed rates of infection.
The Associated Press reported that the capital of New Delhi experienced its worst day of infections with 4,853 cases on Wednesday, although rates across the country were just under half of what they were during the height of the pandemic in mid-September.
— Nick Visser
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative on Wednesday for COVID-19, according to the vice president’s office.
The test results come after at least five aides to Mike Pence, including chief of staff Marc Short, tested positive in the last week. Despite the outbreak, Mike Pence has continued to campaign across the country, making the most of the week leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3. The vice president visited Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.
The Pences also said they tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, though the vice president declined to preside that day over the Senate’s vote confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Democratic leaders asked him to not attend the vote due to the potential health risks of his presence following the outbreak in his office.
— Sanjana Karanth
Peter Berkowitz, director of policy planning at the State Department, tested positive for the coronavirus after a trip to Britain, Hungary and France, the Washington Post reported.
U.S. embassy staff in Europe were concerned about him traveling during the pandemic and his mask-wearing and social-distancing practices were lax during the trip, according to one official.
The diagnosis has prompted Britain to become more selective on which American delegations they receive. Hungary sent a series of cables to Washington about the issue but had no complaints about his conduct during the trip, according to the official.
Europe is battling another wave of the coronavirus and lockdowns and restrictions are being reinstated across the continent. The UK alone reported more than 22,000 new cases on Tuesday and 367 deaths ― the first time daily deaths have exceeded 350 since May.
— Liza Hearon
People who survive COVID-19 may suffer alarming side effects in the brain, a new, not-yet-peer-reviewed study suggests. Doctors at Imperial College London found that some patients experienced cognitive decline equivalent to the brain having aged 10 years.
More than 84,000 coronavirus patients were tracked for the study. However, scientists not involved in it caution that each patient’s cognitive function before the virus was not known, meaning that the results may not be reliable. It is also unknown whether the effects on the brain improve over the patient’s long-term recovery.
“Overall (this is) an intriguing but inconclusive piece of research into the effect of COVID on the brain,” Derek Hill, a professor at University College London who was not part of the study, told Reuters.
“As researchers seek to better understand the long-term impact of COVID, it will be important to further investigate the extent to which cognition is impacted in the weeks and months after the infection, and whether permanent damage to brain function results in some people.”
— Sara Boboltz
Pfizer revealed Tuesday that the company had not yet conducted an efficacy analysis on its coronavirus vaccine, making it all but certain that a vaccine will not come before Election Day as President Donald Trump has suggested.
The company had previously said that it could have the efficacy data as early as the end of October. It may still become the first drugmaker to roll out a coronavirus vaccine. CEO Albert Bourla said earlier this month that Pfizer aims to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization to distribute the vaccine sometime in late November.
Pfizer already has agreements with several nations, including the United States and the European Union, to deliver hundreds of millions of doses — if the vaccine is deemed effective.
— Sara Boboltz
Russia has reinstated a national mask mandate as coronavirus infections surge across the country, the Moscow Times reported Tuesday.
From Wednesday, Russians will be required to wear masks in crowded places, including public transport and parking lots, the country’s consumer safety watchdog said. It wasn’t clear how the mandate would be enforced.
After a lockdown in April and May, Russian President Vladimir Putin had resisted taking nationwide measures over the last couple of months, leaving the decisions instead to the regions, the New York Times reports.
But the numbers of cases and deaths have reached new heights over the past few weeks. Russia has recorded more than 16,000 new cases a day for five days in a row, and there were 320 deaths on Tuesday — a single-day record.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Russia has reported more than 1.5 million cases and more than 26,400 deaths.
— Liza Hearon
Antibody response to the coronavirus could fall over time, a large study in England suggests.
Researchers with Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI tested more than 365,000 people in England between June and September to see if they had COVID-19 antibodies, which are the type of protein produced by the body to fight an infection. It still remains unclear whether antibodies provide immunity to COVID-19, HuffPost UK reports.
Six percent of people tested positive for antibodies between June 20 and July 13 but this dropped to 4.4% by the end of September.
But the reduction in the prevalence of antibodies wasn’t equal among age groups. Those aged 18 to 24 had the highest prevalence of antibodies that dropped at the slowest rate, while people aged 75 and older had the lowest prevalence and the highest rate of decline.
— Jasmin Gray
Democratic leadership had urged Pence not to attend the vote because five of his aides ― including his chief of staff, Marc Short ― have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative Saturday, Sunday and Monday, according to the vice president’s office.
Despite an outbreak in his office, Pence will continue to campaign across the country, his office said. He is scheduled to visit Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.
― Hayley Miller
Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, the vice president’s office said.
At least five aides to Pence ― including his chief of staff, Marc Short ― have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. Despite the outbreak, Pence will continue to campaign across the country, according to his office. He is scheduled to visit Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.
The White House said Monday that Pence would preside over the Senate’s vote on whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett later in the day.
Democratic leaders have asked Pence not to attend Monday’s final vote in the Senate on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation due to the potential health risks of his presence.
“With five of your closest aides recently testing positive for COVID-19, it is not a risk worth taking,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Pence. “We ask you to reconsider. … Nothing about your presence in the Senate tomorrow can be considered essential. You will not need to cast the deciding vote to break a tie.”
“We believe that if you and President Trump finally began to take this crisis seriously, instead of taking actions that further increase the spread, we would all be safer and better off,” the letter continued.
― Hayley Miller
Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson criticized President Donald Trump on Sunday for sending “confusing messages” about whether Americans should wear masks and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Margaret Brennan, host of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” asked Hutchinson whether Trump’s reluctance to endorse mask-wearing enthusiastically hurt the governor’s ability to persuade his constituents to practice virus mitigation measures.
“Well, it makes it confusing,” Hutchinson said. Trump has “made it very clear that wearing a mask is important. I saw him wear a mask going into the polls yesterday. But obviously, with the rallies, there is confusing messages there.”