The latest coronavirus surge is raging across the American heartland, most acutely in the Midwest and Mountain West.
This harrowing third surge, which led to a U.S. single-day record of more than 85,000 new cases Friday, is happening less than two weeks from Election Day, which will mark the end of a campaign dominated by the pandemic and President Trump’s much-criticized response to it.
As of Friday evening, 15 states have added more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic: Wisconsin, a battleground in the presidential election, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Alaska, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and North Dakota. And four states have added more deaths this week than in previous weeks: Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
North Dakota leads the nation in coronavirus cases per capita. Illinois is averaging more than 4,100 new cases per day, up 85 percent from the average two weeks ago. And Pennsylvania, another battleground state, on Friday reported a record of 2,258 cases.
The virus will be front of mind for voters in several key states: in Ohio, where more people are hospitalized than at any other time during the pandemic, and especially Wisconsin, home to seven of the country’s 10 metro areas with the highest numbers of recent cases. On Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order restricting the size of indoor gatherings to 25 percent capacity on Friday.
Experts worry that the growing numbers in need of hospital care will only get worse if cases continue to mount, especially in rural areas where medical facilities could be quickly overwhelmed.
Citing a rise in hospitalizations across the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a strengthening of coronavirus restrictions in certain counties, capping gatherings at 10 people from no more than two separate households. For the third straight day, Colorado announced a new single-day cases record on Friday.
Overnight, nearly 2,500 people were hospitalized in Illinois, the state’s top public health official, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, said in a news conference Friday afternoon. The mayor of Chicago, Lori E. Lightfoot, announced a curfew on nonessential businesses beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday.
In the latest presidential debate on Thursday night, President Trump asserted that the virus was “going away” as he defended his management of the pandemic. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, attacked Mr. Trump’s handling, calling for much more aggressive federal action for the “dark winter” ahead.
President Trump and many supporters blame restrictions on business activity, often
The United States on Friday recorded more than 85,000 new coronavirus cases, The New York Times reports. That set a new single-day record, breaking the previous mark from mid-July by nearly 10,000 cases. Hospitalizations have also been rising steadily since the start of October, and while deaths have mostly remained flat, they are often a lagging indicator.
The current surge is most heavily concentrated in the Midwest and West, but it’s spread out more widely than the previous waves from the spring and summer, which occurred primarily in the Northeast and Sun Belt, respectively. More than 170 counties across 36 states were designated rapidly rising hotspots, an internal federal report produced Thursday for Department of Health and Human Services officials that was obtained by The Washington Post revealed.
Earlier in the pandemic, health care workers would move around to help ease the burden facing overwhelmed hospitals, but “that’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” Eleanor Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University, told the Post; experts have warned of shortages of medical staff and supplies.
Additionally, Murray said, “we are starting this wave much higher than either of the previous waves. And it will simply keep going up until people and officials decide to do something about it.” Read more at The Washington Post and The New York Times.
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A long-predicted surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths has begun in the United States, but Americans aren’t changing their behaviors to slow the virus’ spread, according to an influential virus model.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released their latest model updates this week and they paint a bleak picture of the coming months: A surge in cases will create “enormous pressure on hospital capacity” and deaths will reach nearly 2,200 per day sometime in January.
But even as cases and deaths are currently rising, mask use remains consistent and Americans aren’t staying at home more. If mask use became nearly universal, 63,000 lives can still be saved, the model found.
Meanwhile on Friday, the U.S. surpassed its record for most daily infections when more than 83,700 new COVID-19 cases were recorded. The previous high was set in July when the U.S. saw more than 77,300 new cases.
Here’s what to know today:
- President Donald Trump is expected to hold a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday night. A USA TODAY investigation found that Trump’s rallies during the past two months didn’t just defy state orders and federal health guidelines – they left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks in their wake.
- The Food and Drug Administration authorized trials of a vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University to restart in the U.S. on Friday.
- In Europe, France surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and a patient from the Netherlands was airlifted to a German intensive care unit – the first such international airlift since the global pandemic began.
- Citing multiple COVID-19 clusters connected to indoor ice hockey, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health ordered a two-week “pause” for ice rinks and ice skating facilities.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported close to8.5 million cases and 224,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 42.2 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
Which activities have the highest and lowest risk? Scientists say 6 feet is not enough, so develop a system to help you make smart decisions about common activities.
When will there be a COVID-19 vaccine? Our panel of experts expects at least one COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the coming months. Then things could really get complicated.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.
Nobel-Prize winning CRISPR technology delivers 5-minute COVID-19 test
Researchers say a test developed by a Nobel Prize winner using cutting-edge CRISPR technology has the potential to be rapid, accurate and inexpensive.
CRISPR, or clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, is a gene-editing technology studied for a wide range of uses from cancer and sickle cell disease treatments to improved food production. The test recognizes a sequence of RNA in SARS-CoV-2,
Dorchester County School Superintendent W. David Bromwell said about 20 percent of the school system’s 4,700 students were on campus part time — a number slated to more than double next week under a hybrid-learning plan for pre-K to grade 12.
“We were doing well and moving slowly,” he said. But a sudden spike in the prevalence of the coronavirus brought the plan to a halt.
The test-positivity rate jumped from 2.9 percent to 6.1 percent in a eight-day period, said Dorchester County Health Officer Roger Harrell.
Coronavirus cases have not spread in schools, school and health officials said. They called the closure a cautionary measure taken to prevent a school outbreak.
“The scary part is how quickly it flipped, and it seemed to be growing exponentially,” Bromwell said. “It just appears that it’s hitting rural America.”
The sharp increase has not been traced to a particular event or outbreak in any part of the county and has affected people across age levels, Harrell said. The county includes the city of Cambridge, amid an expanse of farmland and waterways.
“We’ve not really figured out why,” he said. “I wish we had the magic answer, but we don’t have it yet.”
It will take at least two weeks of consistently lower positivity rates before schools can reopen, officials said.
At that point, Thanksgiving — and the possibility of spread during family get-togethers — may be around the corner and “certainly a concern,” Bromwell said.
“It kind of takes the wind out of your sails,” he said. “You start to get the impression that you’re returning to normalcy, and then . . . it takes the wind out of you.”
In recent months, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and State Superintendent Karen Salmon have visited schools around the state, lauding efforts to revive classroom instruction. Hogan said in late August that school systems were fully authorized to begin safely reopening for in-person classes, based on improving health metrics.
Nineteen of the state’s 24 school systems have opened school buildings to students to some extent this fall, state officials said Friday.
Hogan’s office issued a statement Friday saying Dorchester’s approach is consistent with data-driven health metrics provided by the state.
“The recent rise in the county’s positivity rate is connected to a small number of family clusters, which is in line with trends we are seeing statewide,” spokesman Mike Ricci said.
Salmon called the changes in Dorchester “an example of the metrics being utilized to inform health-based decisions at the local level,” according to a statement provided by the Maryland Department of Health.
Dorchester opened Sept. 8 and soon brought back seniors in career programs and later students with special needs. More recently, it embarked on a hybrid approach that combined online and in-person learning for students in pre-K, kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade.
Since schools opened, nine people related to schools in Dorchester have tested positive: four students, all teenagers, and five employees, only some of whom worked in school buildings.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours in Croatia hit a record high of 1,867, while seven people died.
So far, Croatia has recorded 31,717 cases with 413 deaths. There are currently 7,313 active cases.
Neighbouring Bosnia also reported a record high of 1,169 infections in the past 24 hours, and 14 deaths, bringing its total cases to 38,493.
Slovenia introduced a curfew this week due to a spike in cases. It reported 1,656 infections in the past 24 hours and two deaths.
Health authorities in Montenegro, which in recent weeks has recorded a high level of infections relative to its population, reported 3,913 active cases. So far 253 people in Montenegro have died from the disease, while 16,259 have fallen ill.
Health authorities in North Macedonia reported 6,552 active cases by late Thursday. So far 874 people have died and 25,473 have fallen ill with the infection.
Serbia, which still has fewer cases than its Balkan neighbours, last week ordered a ban on mass gatherings such as weddings and parties, made masks mandatory indoors and recommended that people wear them outdoors as well.
On Thursday, Serbia reported an increase of 416 cases, bringing total infections to 37,536. So far 783 people have died.
Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Giles Elgood
This year’s blood supplies aren’t quite keeping pace with the needs of local hospitals around the Seattle area, according to Bloodworks Northwest officials.
Bloodworks officials noted requests for blood donations are up 120% of normal as of early October, particularly for type O blood. As need increases, so too does pressure on the current supply for even common surgical procedures, making the need for more donors relatively urgent this month within Pacific Northwest hospitals.…
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Federal and state officials have warned residents in eastern Washington about the dangers of illicit synthetic opioids after multiple teenagers died in recent weeks.
U.S. Attorney William Hyslop said the community is facing a “growing and increasing influx of deadly fentanyl into eastern Washington,” The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday.
Businesses closed across Ireland on Thursday for a second national coronavirus lockdown, as record infection surges in Germany and Italy helped to spread gloom across the continent.
Most European governments have been reluctant to reimpose national stay-at-home orders, after previous restrictions led to deep recessions and widespread bitterness.
But Ireland’s five million people have been ordered to stay at home for six weeks, with non-essential businesses told to shut up shop, among other rules.
“It’s devastating to see us locked down again… during our busiest line-up for the Christmas period,” Dublin antique jeweller John Farrington told AFP this week.
Germany and Italy are both facing record surges, registering their highest one-day tallies since the pandemic began.
While German health experts said it was still possible to combat the outbreak by observing recently-toughened rules on distancing and gatherings, Italy ordered curfews in regions that cover the capital Rome and business hub Milan.
As Europe suffers, China — where the virus first emerged at the end of last year — continues to make strides back to normality, announcing it would allow 10,000 fans to watch the final of its Super League football competition.
“It’d be that kind of ceiling because it’s a big game for sure,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told AFP.
The virus has killed more than 1.1 million people and prompted a catastrophic economic downturn — the International Monetary Fund predicting a 4.4 percent drop in global output for 2020.
Germany, along with most European countries, has already banned large gatherings and made face masks compulsory in certain areas.
“The overall situation has become very serious,” said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre, adding that it was still possible to bring the virus under control through “systematic compliance with restrictive measures”.
In a symbol of Germany’s woes, Health Minister Jens Spahn — widely praised for his calm stewardship during the pandemic — tested positive and went into home isolation.
In Belgium, which has one of the worst records of virus infections per person, Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes is being
US Coronavirus: The US topped 1,000 daily Covid-19 deaths and experts worry the worst of the fall surge is yet to come
In other words, it’s going to be “a horrible winter,” according to Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Experts say the coming months will be especially challenging for several reasons. The country never got down to a low daily case baseline before entering the colder seasons, meaning new infections will be building on an already rampant spread of the virus. As gatherings move indoors, the virus is more likely to spread.
States announce bleak milestones
As the country’s cases move in an upward trajectory, more states reported grim new milestones this week.
Ohio reported more than 2,300 new infections Wednesday, the highest number since the pandemic began, state health officials told CNN.
“We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news release.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday the state added more than 1,000 daily infections and its hospitalizations are at the highest they have been in three months.
And there are alarming patterns coming out of the Dakotas as well.
North Dakota is seeing an average of more than 101 new cases per 100,000 people every day — the highest per capita new case rate of any state so far in the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project. To put that into perspective: that would be like California averaging nearly 40,000 new cases daily.
South Dakota holds the second highest rate of new cases per 100,000 in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
It doesn’t have to be this way
Those include masks and social distancing. Updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on close contact emphasize just how critical face coverings are.
The CDC’s new definition of a close contact with a Covid-19 patient includes exposures adding up to a total of 15 minutes spent six feet or closer to an infected