BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. coronavirus caseload has reached record heights with more than 83,000 infections reported in a single day, the latest ominous sign of the disease’s grip on the nation, as states from Connecticut to the Rocky Mountain West reel under the surge.
The U.S. death toll, meanwhile, has grown to 223,995, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported on the site Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.…
They feed, bathe and comfort residents of long-term care facilities, but the thousands of certified nursing aides who work in New Jersey’s nursing homes for little pay have said for years that their workload is often too much to handle.
On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that will require operators beginning in early 2021 to increase the number of aides in each facility and for the first time set a ratio for the number of residents an aide is asked to handle.
The legislation had been vigorously blocked by industry lobbyists and some lawmakers for five years, but there was a renewed urgency to get the bill passed after the coronavirus pandemic claimed the lives of an estimated 7,400 long-term care residents in New Jersey — more than any other state based on population size.
Compliance will cost the industry $30 million or $5 a day per resident, according to the Health Care Association of New Jersey, a lobbying group for long-term care facilities.
CNA’s, who get paid an average of about $36,000 a year, have long complained they have more responsibilities than they can handle, especially on nights and weekends. The coronavirus outbreak sickened thousands of these workers and killed 121, according to state data, making the CNA shortage worse.
“Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients,” Murphy said in a statement after signing the bill Friday morning. “These long-sought reforms will help bring accountability to the industry and protect residents, staff, and family members with a loved one living in a long-term care facility. I am proud to have worked with our partners in organized labor, health care advocates, and legislative sponsors to finally implement safe staffing ratios in our nursing homes, as well as other long overdue reforms.”
The legislation, (S2712) will take effect in Feb. 1, and require long-term care facilities to abide by these staffing ratios:
* One CNA per 8 patients during the day shift;
* One direct care staff member — defined as a certified nurse assistant, a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse — for every 10 residents during the evening shift, “provided that no fewer than half of all staff members are to be certified nurse aides, and each staff member will sign in to work as a certified nurse aide and will perform certified nurse aide duties,” according to bill;
* One direct care staffer for every 14 residents during the overnight shift, with the same rules that applied during the evening shift.
The law also creates a “Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment.” Long-term care facility operators have said they could not meet any worker-resident ratios without help retaining staff.
The law has been hailed as a victory for nursing home employees led, by 1199SEIU United Healthcare East, but it is a compromise since the union was seeking an even lower ratio of aides to
LONDON (Reuters) – More than a half million people in the United States could die from COVID-19 by the end of February, but around 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody were to wear masks, according to estimates from a modelling study on Friday.
The estimates by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that with few effective COVID-19 treatment options and no vaccines yet available, the United States faces “a continued COVID-19 public health challenge through the winter.”
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME Director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
He said the projections, as well as currently rising infection rates and deaths, showed there is no basis to “the idea that the pandemic is going away,” adding: “We do not believe that is true.”
President Donald Trump said in Thursday’s election debate of the pandemic: “It’s going away.”
The Friday update was the first time the IHME has projected deaths beyond Feb. 1. Its current forecast on its website is for 386,000 deaths as of Feb 1.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 Americans so far, has become the top issue for him and Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Polls have shown that Americans trust Biden more than Trump to handle the crisis.
The IHME study forecast that large, populous states such as California, Texas and Florida will likely face particularly high levels of illness, deaths and demands on hospital resources.
“We expect the surge to steadily grow across different states and at the national level, and to continue to increase as we head towards high levels of daily deaths in late December and in January,” Murray said.
The modelling study, which mapped out various scenarios and their projected impact on the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, found that universal mask-wearing could have a major impact on death rates, potentially saving 130,000 lives.
Current mask use in the United States varies widely. While some states, like New York, set strict rules on when to wear masks, others have no requirements. The issue has become political, in which some supporters have taken their cues from Trump, who is often seen without a mask and has repeatedly questioned their usefulness.
“Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States … and can save many lives,” Murray said.
He added that, just as parts of Europe and some local U.S. areas of high transmission are doing now, many U.S. states would need to re-introduce social distancing measures to curb the winter surge.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland, additional reporting by Caroline Humer, editing by Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could surpass 500,000 by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said on Friday, as 14 states set new records for one-day increases in infections.
The latest estimate by the widely cited University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects fears that cold winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
Nationwide, 76,195 new cases were reported on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis, just shy of the single-day record high of 77,299 reported on July 16. Only India has reported more cases in a single day: 97,894, on Sept. 17.
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
The number of possible deaths could drop by 130,000 if 95% of Americans would cover their faces, the IHME said, echoing a recommendation by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases nationwide to the behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a “major vector of disease spread.”
Asked about an assertion by President Donald Trump during Thursday night’s presidential debate that the United States is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, Azar told CNN that Trump was trying to provide hope to Americans waiting for a vaccine.
Pennsylvania, a swing state which is expected to play a crucial role in the Nov. 3 presidential election, reported its largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began.
“Daily increases are now comparable with what we saw in April 2020,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a statement issued on Friday.
Also reporting record one-day increases were the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
On Thursday, there were 916 reported fatalities in the United States, a day after the country recorded over 1,200 new deaths for the first time since August.
Also on Thursday, the number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals climbed to a two-month high. There are now more than 41,000 hospitalized patients with coronavirus across the country, up 34% from Oct. 1, according to a Reuters analysis.
North Dakota, with 887 new cases on both Thursday and Friday, remains the hardest-hit state, based on new cases per capita, followed by South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.
Eight states reported record numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Friday: Alaska, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.
In Tennessee, hospitals in Nashville said they have experienced a 40% increase in
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas set new records Friday for its largest seven-day increases in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths with what its top public health official called “a generalized spread” of the COVID-19 virus.
The state has averaged more than 700 new cases a day this month, and the figure was a record 768 for the seven days ending Friday, beating the previous high mark of 757 for the seven days ending Wednesday. The state Department of Health and Environment reported 1,774 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Wednesday, an increase of 2.4% that brought the total for the pandemic to 76,230.…
As the U.S. enters what some experts are calling the third peak of its coronavirus outbreak, a new study predicts a massive death toll by the end of February – more than half a million lives.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday, was performed by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which produces a well-known coronavirus model.
It found that the current death toll of 224,000 could swell to more than 511,000 by Feb. 28, a little more than four months away. However, universal mask use would reduce that number by almost 130,000. Fewer than half of U.S. residents in September reported “always” wearing a mask in public, according to the study.
“Under all scenarios evaluated here, the United States is likely to face a continued public health challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic through 28 February 2021 and beyond, with populous states in particular potentially facing high levels of illness, deaths and ICU demands as a result of the disease,” the study said.
Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted
The study comes after President Donald Trump at Thursday’s presidential debate repeated his claim that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” on its outbreak. Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said the U.S. is in for a “dark winter.”
IHME said in an update this week that the current surge in the U.S. will likely intensify in November and December and reach its peak in January.
“Many states will face enormous pressure on hospital capacity and will likely have to re-impose some social distancing mandates,” it said. “The best strategy to delay re-imposition of mandates and the associated economic hardship is to expand mask use.”
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mortality forecast, which is an ensemble of models from dozens of groups, predicts the total death toll in the U.S. will reach 235,000 to 247,000 in the next roughly three weeks.
“In total,” it concluded, “in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in [Great Britain] and 2.2 million in the U.S.,” even excluding the number of deaths that would result from hospitals being filled with coronavirus patients.
The key word there is “unmitigated.” That’s what the death toll could have been by midsummer if the country were to do literally nothing: keeping everything open, yes, but also not even isolating sick people. Even had the federal government done nothing, states would nonetheless have acted, as some did in advance of the White House’s eventual embrace of shutdown measures. In other words, it was not the case that 2.2 million deaths was the baseline of what should have been expected.
It’s obvious why it’s useful for Trump to cite that number, of course: the bigger the worst-case outcome, the better the actual outcome looks. By the White House’s own measure, though, the actual outcome has been bleak.
When Trump’s coronavirus task force first called for closing parts of the economy to contain the virus in March, it produced a graph using that figure as the upper limit of what could have happened. A mitigated pandemic, on the other hand, would mean that only 100,000 to 240,000 deaths would occur.
As of writing, at least 222,000 people have died of the virus. The key phrase here is “at least,” but we’ll come back to that.
Shortly after Trump’s 2.2-million claim, former vice president Joe Biden used the confirmed death toll to criticize how the administration had handled the pandemic.
“Two hundred and twenty thousand Americans dead,” Biden said. “If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this: anyone who’s responsible for not taking control, in fact, [saying] I take no responsibility initially — anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.”
This, too, is misleading. Trump can’t be considered accountable for 220,000 American deaths from the coronavirus. At least: not yet.
Assessing the number of people who might have died had the federal government acted differently is tricky for three reasons. First, the actual number of deaths so far is a bit murky. Second, the number of deaths the country might have seen involves a fair amount of speculation. And, third, people are still dying at the rate of 1,000 a day, meaning that we’re nowhere near knowing what the final toll from the virus will be.
As noted above, there are at least 222,000 confirmed deaths to date. Many of those came at the outset of the pandemic, when undetected infections spread from person-to-person before containment measures were implemented.
Because of how the virus works — infections are identified a week or two before patients succumb — surges in new cases have preceded surges in deaths. You can see that in the recent data: cases began to increase at the end of last month; deaths began to increase over the past week.
What isn’t captured is any