In our news wrap Friday, the CDC rescinded guidance that discouraged coronavirus testing for people who have no symptoms. The New York Times reported officials at the Department of Health and Human Services had posted the language on the CDC website over scientists’ objections. Also, China stepped up military drills near Taiwan, in a major show of force against a U.S. envoy’s visit to Taipei.
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In the day's other news: Confirmed COVID-19 infections worldwide passed 30 million, up 10 million over just the past month. At the same time, the United States is approaching 200,000 deaths. And the CDC rescinded guidance that had discouraged testing for people who have had no symptoms.
The New York Times reported that officials at the Health and Human Services Department posted that guidance on the CDC Web site last month, over scientists' objections.
The Trump administration is banning the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores over national security concerns. A total ban on WeChat's messaging and electronic payment services takes effect Sunday. Full restrictions on the video-sharing TikTok begin November 12.
We will get details later in the program.
China stepped up military drills near Taiwan today in a major show of force against a U.S. envoy's visit to Taipei; 18 Chinese warplanes crossed into the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwanese fighters scrambled in response. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province, and Chinese military officials sternly warned against any meddling there.
Ren Guoqiang (through translator):
Recently, the United States and Taiwan's ruling party have stepped up their collusion and frequently stir up trouble. It is wishful thinking, and is destined to be a dead end.
The Chinese people's liberation army has firm will, full confidence, and sufficient ability to thwart all external interference and separatist acts.
Today's talks in Taipei marked the second high-level U.S. visit in the past two months.
Back in this country, officials in Alabama reported a second death from Hurricane Sally, and several hundred thousand people still have no electricity. Satellite images of coastal Alabama from before and after showed homes and other structures almost entirely underwater.
Governor Kay Ivey surveyed the area today.
Gov. Kay Ivey:
We knew that Hurricane Sally had the potential to be devastating storm. But, you all, it's really bad. I'm sure it could be worse. From what I have seen this morning in the flyover of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, it's really, really bad.
Meanwhile, a new tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico today, heading toward the U.S. Forecasters named it Beta, resorting to the Greek alphabet after using up this year's official list of names. That has happened just once before, in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina.
President Trump says he is sending nearly $13 billion to Puerto Rico to rebuild the power grid and schools damaged in Hurricane Maria three years ago. He had opposed that step until now, citing local corruption. But the issue has become important in Florida, a swing state in the election with a large Puerto Rican population.
Wildfires in the West have claimed the life of another firefighter. It happened as crews battled a major fire in the San Bernardino National Forest. Flames there have torched nearly 22,000 acres.
There is new reporting on allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other surgeries at an immigrant detention center in Georgia. An Associated Press account today told of a woman who says that a gynecologist pressured — or, rather, four women who say that a gynecologist pressured them into the procedures.
The A.P. said that it found no evidence that even more women were affected, as has been alleged by a nurse at the center.
In economic news, a series of new reports today found consumer confidence is rising and household incomes improving.
But on Wall Street, tech stocks pulled the market lower again. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 244 points to close at 27657. The Nasdaq fell 117 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 37.