Daily News Roundup

October 20, 2020



The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the planet has surpassed 40 million, but experts say that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true impact of the pandemic that has upended life and work around the world.

The milestone was hit on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reports from around the world.

The actual worldwide tally of COVID-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been uneven or limited, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases. 

To date, more than 1.1 million confirmed virus deaths have been reported, although experts also believe that number is an undercount.

The US, India and Brazil are reporting by far the highest numbers of cases — 8.1 million, 7.5 million and 5.2 million respectively — although the global increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe, which has seen over 240,000 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic so far.

In the US, some states are trying more targeted measures as cases continue to rise across the country.

 New York’s new round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighbourhoods, closing schools and businesses in hot spots measuring just a couple of square miles.

As of last week, new cases per day were on the rise in 44 US states, with many of the biggest surges in the Midwest and Great Plains, where resistance to wearing masks and taking other precautions has been running high and the virus has often been seen as just a big-city problem. Deaths per day were climbing in 30 states.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious-disease expert, said Americans should think hard about whether to hold Thanksgiving gatherings next month.

The World Health Organisation said last week that Europe had a reported a record weekly high of nearly 700,000 cases and said the region was responsible for about a third of cases globally. Britain, France, Russia and Spain account for about half of all new cases in the region, and countries like Belgium and the Czech Republic are facing more intense outbreaks now than they did in the spring.

WHO said the new measures being taken across Europe are “absolutely essential” in stopping COVID-19 from overwhelming its hospitals. 

Those include new requirements on mask-wearing in Italy and Switzerland, closing schools in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic, closing restaurants and bars in Belgium, implementing a 9pm curfew in France and having targeted limited lockdowns in parts of the UK.

The agency said several European cities could soon see their intensive care units overwhelmed and warned that governments and citizens should take all necessary measures to slow the spread of the virus, including bolstering testing and contact tracing, wearing face masks and following social distancing measures.


AN at times foul-mouthed President Donald 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 and other health officials as “idiots,” Trump declared the country ready to move on from the health disaster, even as cases are again spiking and medical experts warn the worst may be yet to come.

Baselessly claiming that if Fauci was in charge more than half a million people would be dead in the United States, Trump portrayed the recommendations offered by his own administration to mitigate spread of the disease as a burdensome annoyance.

“People are tired of Covid.I have these huge rallies,” Trump said, phoning into a call with campaign staff from his namesake hotel in Las Vegas, where he spent two nights amid a western campaign swing.

“People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.

“Fauci is a nice guy,” Trump went on. “He’s been here for 500 years.”

Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

At almost the same time Trump was fuming on the phone, Fauci was being awarded the National Academy of Medicine’s first-ever Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership during a virtual ceremony. Fauci said that he was “speechless” while receiving the recognition.


The NRL are fuming after the Daily Telegraph newspaper in NSW accidentally revealed Canberra star Jack Wighton had won the 2020 Dally M Medal before the ceremony had even begun, with an investigation set to be launched.

The Penrith Panthers are also livid at the leaked result and that their top player and coach were required to attend the awards night by leaving their bubble during grand final week.

As early as 6:30pm (AEDT), the Telegraph splashed a story with the headline ‘Dally M drama: System needs an urgent overhaul’ with an image of Jack Wighton and Nathan Cleary, which was seen on the publication’s website.

The final scoring ladder, showing Wighton the clear winner 26 points ahead of the other medal frontrunners, could also be found. Incredibly the masthead jumped the gun in publishing not only the results, but their follow-up stories about the presentation night.

Wighton, apparently, was not aware of the leak due to his phone being confiscated before he saw the news.

An “angry” NRL will now investigate the gaffe which could have huge ramifications for the future of rugby league’s night of nights.

“The NRL want an investigation into this, they want to know how this happened,” Nine’s chief rugby league reporter Danny Weidler revealed on 100% Footy on Monday night.

“What they’re also particularly angry about is the story that was leaked, it was critical of the award that Jack Wighton got. So, it was a double-whammy for them.

It’s not the fault of the journalist who wrote the story – he was doing his job. It’s probably the fault of the people who produce the actual paper, and there will be questions asked about that.

“Obviously, it’s an accident this has happened, but this is an accident the NRL is really angry about because it’s taken away a lot of the gloss from the award.

“I had a brief chat to Andrew Abdo and it’s fair to say they’re very upset about two elements of it. I think the criticism of the award, it’s made the journalist look bad because he was critical of the award, and he’ll be feeling very embarrassed about it all. And now I think the game has to look at this whole situation because it really is a poor look for the game.

“This is supposed to be the prestigious moment off-field for the game when the awards night occurs, and it’s just a really poor look. It makes the game look really silly.”

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