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CNN 10

The Up-And-Down Case Numbers of COVID-19; Money Americans Plan to Spend on Halloween; Remarkable Student Athlete in Georgia. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 22, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. CNN 10 starts now. I`m Carl Azuz. Here we go. For more than a year and a half, the news has been

dominated by events related to COVID-19. Since early 2020, the United States has seen the most positive tests overall. It`s reported more than

45 million since the pandemic hit. Daily case numbers have fluctuated wildly. Last year they rose and then plateaued in the spring, rose and

then plateaued in the summer.

But during the winter months of late 2020 and early 2021, American health officials reported their highest numbers of new cases, a daily average of

more than 250,000 in early January according to the New York Times. The numbers dropped significantly in the weeks and months after that. And

despite a slight rise in mid-April, new positive tests reached a low point by mid-June.

But then a new variant, a new strain of the disease arrived in America. It`s called Delta and health officials say it was largely responsible for

the next spike in COVID cases, which peaked at an average of more than 175,000 per day in mid-September. That`s why the steady decrease the

America`s seen since then is both hopeful and concerning. Hopeful because of the number of new cases is headed in the right direction, down.

Concerning, because the nation`s been here before and a new COVID strain that causes another spike in cases is still possible. Again though, all

this is only for the U.S. On the other side of the Northern Hemisphere, Russia has seen a sharp climb in cases since last month.

It`s currently averaging more than 32,000 positive tests per day. In an effort to keep the virus from spreading, the Russian capital of Moscow

plans to lockdown from October 28th to November 7th. Moscow`s mayor says historic numbers of cases are expected there in the coming days. Overall,

the numbers have charted a bumpy graph worldwide with cases rising and falling, as different nations have reported different impacts at different


10 Second Trivia. What is this year`s most popular Halloween costume for kids in the U.S.? Spider-Man, Princess, Batman, or Ghost. According to

the National Retail Federation, Spider-Man tops this year`s costume list.

The NRF is the largest retail trade association in the world. It frequently reports on how much Americans are spending and what they`re

spending it on throughout the nation`s holidays. This Halloween, the NRF says 65 percent of Americans are planning to participate in some way.

That`s not a record but the amount of money they plan to spend is. Celebrants say they`ll drop almost $103 on average, most of it going to

Halloween costumes, decorations and candy. CNN 10 Contributor Chris James tells us what it adds up to nationally.


CHRIS JAMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Carl. It is so good to see you again. I know it`s hard to believe but Halloween is fast approaching, and I`m

excited to report that this year is already projected to be bigger and better than ever. The demand for trick-o-treating is promising to be

extremely high this year and that`s welcome news for stores all around the country who saw a massive dip in sales last year during the height of the

pandemic. This year, the National Retail Federation projects Halloween spending to hit a record $10.14 billion, according to a survey conducted

every year that predicts consumer behavior.

And obviously one of the best parts about Halloween is the abundance of candy and chocolate, and total sales are current sales are currently over

40 percent above 2020 levels according to the National Confectioners Association. And many of the country`s biggest retailers decided to start

the Halloween season early this year. Some with interesting strategies for stocking the shelves.

According to a Walmart spokesperson, they moved candy corn into its seasonal aisle first, explaining that it`s a stop seller early in the

season. Closer to the date of Halloween, bagged candy and chocolate become more popular, which reminds me I need to go hit the store and stock up

before they run out of options. We all have our favorites and mine is most definitely Reeses. Especially the ones that come in the shape of a

pumpkin. I think you know what I`m talking about. Back to you Carl.


AZUZ: According to the U.S. government, two of the basic requirements to attend college in America include having completed high school and being at

least 17 years old. But there`s not an age limit on being too old to attend, and while most college sophomores are around 19 or 20, there`s

student athlete at Georgia`s Reinhardt University who`s closer to retirement age.


MARTIN SADVICHE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a sophomore at Reinhardt University in Georgia, Debbie Blount is living the dream. You`re the first person in

your family to go to college.


SADVICHE: That`s a tremendous achievement. So is how Debbie got to college, as a student athlete. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?


SADVICHE: Back in 1976 after high school, there was no money for college. She became an X-ray technician, a ski instructor, a wife. One love

introduced her to another, the game of golf. So, you got good at it.

BLOUNT: I was a little driven.

SADVICHE: Life was great until the heartbreaking death of her husband followed by her father, leaving Debbie for the first time in her life, she

says, feeling lost. Then the idea, why not join a college golf team as a full-time student. When you first heard that, there must have been a bit

of a pause.

BLOUNT: Probably just a second.

SADVICHE: She tried out and got accepted on the Eagles, Reinhardt`s Women`s Golf Team, but would her much younger teammates accept her? Do you

think there may have been some doubts in their minds initially?

BLOUNT: Oh yes.

SADVICHE: 21-year-old Lauren Welte says she thought it was a joke.

LAUREN WELTE, GOLFER AT REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: I was like oh no. I was -- I was so against it and I feel -- I feel bad saying that but I really was.

SADVICHE: Then came a difficult day on the course, just Lauren and Debbie lugging their golf bags on foot around 18 holes in the pouring rain.

WELTE: (Inaudible) was just to talk to her and here her story and just how incredible she is as a person. Like, that really changed everything.

SADVICHE: It`s not just her story. How good is she?

WELTE: She`s awesome. She hits it the straightest out of all of us.

BILL POP, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AT REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: She`s committed to doing the best she can through and through until there`s no more holes to


SADVICHE: Debbie`s real contribution is something her teammates are too young to have. So she passes it along, wisdom.

EVAN NICHOLS, GOLF COACH FOR REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: Understanding how to mentally get back if something doesn`t go well.

SADVICHE: What is it that draws us to this story of hers?

MARK ROBERTS, PRESIDENT OF REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: Well, isn`t the American story about renewal and about reinventing yourself and seeing new ways of -

- of being who you are.

SADVICHE: Debbie Blount is living her dream, and teaching others they can too. You`ve made an impact on people`s lives. I mean, that`s why we`re

here. You -- you`re an inspiration.

BLOUNT: Well -- just doing what I want to do and I, you know, if -- if -- if that`s the case than awesome.

SADVICHE: As a student athlete on a golf scholarship, Debbie has a simple plan. Keep her scores down. Keep her grades up. On the course, she`s

pretty consistent. In the classroom, she`s got a 4.0 and she`s been nominated Homecoming Queen. Martin Sadviche, CNN, Waleska, Georgia.


AZUZ: For 10 out of 10 another winning entry in the category of things you don`t see every day. This is not a house boat, but it is a house afloat.

A woman in Canada who always loved this house, found out that the owners were planning to tear it down. She couldn`t have it moved over land, so

she had it transported the way they used to move homes around Canada`s Bay of Islands and once it dries out, it will be ready for the reno.

Don`t know what kind of loan she got, but thankfully it`s not "underwater". Of course, some might "float" a "tub" full of questions about "flood

insurance" or "indoor plumbing", but as long as the idea holds "water" and hopefully the home doesn`t. It`s a great "wave" to "sea" if it`s worthy of

being called "sea worthy" and if someone ever does this again, they`ll have a "strong current" idea about "resail". For today`s shout out, we`re going

to Hartford, Connecticut to say hello to the students of Grace Webb High School. We hope all ya`ll have a wonder weekend. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN.