We answer the often searched question: “What are the symptoms of coronavirus versus the flu?”
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,
President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher’s lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE are offering opposing visions of responding to the coronavirus crisis as a new wave of cases mounts just ahead of Election Day.
Biden warned of a “dark winter” at Thursday night’s debate as new cases in the United States near a record high and hospitalizations rise again.
Despite this worsening outlook, Trump struck an optimistic message, saying the virus is “going away” and the country is “rounding the turn.”
Biden is hammering Trump over his response to the virus, which has killed more than 220,000 Americans so far. The country is now averaging about 60,000 cases per day, a number that is rising as the weather gets colder. Hospitalizations, after falling in the late summer, are now rising again too.
The former vice president immediately followed up the debate with a speech on responding to the pandemic on Friday.
“He’s given up, he’s quit on you, he’s quit on your family,” Biden said of Trump. “We don’t have to be held prisoner by this administration’s failures.”
Biden and Trump diverge not just on their outlooks, but in how forcefully they would marshal the powers of the federal government.
Biden is calling for new investments in rapid tests that can be done at home and called for a seven-fold increase in testing on Friday. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the need for more testing and blamed testing for showing the country has more cases.
Biden says he will urge every governor to impose a mask mandate and encourages their use, while Trump has repeatedly mocked masks and rarely worn one himself. A study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday estimated that 130,000 lives could be saved through the end of February if everyone wore a mask.
On Friday, Trump was surrounded in the Oval Office by dozens of people, almost all maskless, for an event on Sudan launching into new relations with Israel.
Biden is calling for “evidence-based national guidance” on when schools and businesses should open or close, depending on the level of virus circulating in an area.
Trump, in contrast, says “we have to open our country” and has gone on the attack against Biden for being open to further lockdowns.
Pressed on that issue at the debate, Biden said, “I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country,” while leaving open the possibility of future closures of high-risk businesses like bars and gyms, places that experts have identified as significant sources of spread.
Sensing the Republican attacks, Biden emphasized again on Friday: “I’m not
Both Biden and Trump have questioned the other’s physical and mental fitness. Here’s what we know about their health.
President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden have both battled life-threatening illnesses at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a facility they entered 32 years apart with uncertainty over whether they would return alive.
For Trump, his diagnosis with the novel coronavirus earlier this month was his most serious known brush with a fatal disease, and his rapidly dropping oxygen levels sparked grave concern among his top aides and doctors. For Biden, emergency surgery for two brain aneurysms in 1988 posed the risk of impaired cognitive capabilities, or worse. While he ultimately fully recovered, the situation was so dire at the time that a priest was brought in to deliver last rites.
Both episodes have become political fodder for opposing sides less than two weeks ahead of a presidential election in which the two septuagenarian candidates are competing for a chance to be the oldest sitting president in American history. More broadly, the health of each man has become a central component of an increasingly negative race in which questioning an opponent’s fitness for office has taken a personal turn.
Trump and his allies have regularly sought to raise doubts about Biden’s mental acuity, with the president telling Fox News in recent days that his rival could not complete his sentences.
“They said if you let him talk, he’ll lose his chain of thought because he’s gonzo,” Trump said during a 50-minute interview with the network in the lead-up to Thursday’s presidential debate. “There were a lot of people that say let him talk because he loses his train . . . He loses his mind, frankly.”
Trump’s opponents have openly questioned his mental wellness, with Biden campaign officials mocking him for musing about the medical efficacy of injecting disinfectant and for celebrating his ability to recite five simple words in order during a cognitive test.
Trump’s battle with the coronavirus highlighted his preexisting physical challenges. The Biden campaign has run ads showing Trump struggling to walk down a ramp.
Both candidates have not been fully transparent about their health status, even as they claim to be in excellent shape. They have released information from doctors declaring them strong and energetic, while downplaying or concealing information that may undercut those descriptions. Neither has allowed access to their complete medical records.
Trump has been especially secretive, concealing information about his coronavirus infection and treatment, and providing contradictory answers about why he made a separate unplanned visit to Walter Reed last November.
For Trump, an overweight 74-year-old and recent survivor of covid-19, and Biden, a 77-year-old who today has a few minor medical conditions, proving to voters that they are fit for the job of president is a particularly critical task in the frantic final days of the race.
The challenge has been made more difficult as the two sides
Donald Trump has been absent from White House COVID-19 task force meetings for “several months,” says White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Fauci.
According to CNBC, Vice President Pence leads the task force meetings that used to occur every day during the first few months of the pandemic but have now been scaled down to one virtual meeting a week despite cases continuing to rise.
“We certainly interact with the vice president at the task force meetings, and the vice president makes our feelings and what we talk about there known to the president,” Fauci told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
Related: Fauci quotes ‘The Godfather’ in response to Trump criticisms
Trump apparently receives all of his information via Pence and coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas, according to the director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins, who did an interview with NPR on Monday. Dr. Collins also sits on the task force.
“The President is routinely briefed about the coronavirus each and every day,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews told CNBC in a statement. “The relevant information is brought to him on the big decisions, and then he moves forward in the way that’s best for our country.”
While the President misses task force meetings, the United States is averaging nearly 61,000 new cases of COVID-19 on a daily basis, CNBC cited. Texas currently has the most cases out of any other state of the last seven days, currently sitting at 35,292 according to CDC COVID data tracker.
Trump has also gone on record to ridicule Dr. Fauci, saying that he is tired of listening to him.
“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” he said, later repeating himself and raising the number even higher. “If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less.”
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courtesy Rosie Davis Mary Castro (left) and Rosie Davis
Rosie Davis remembers first growing worried about her mother in March, as cases of a mysterious new virus spread through the United States — slowly, at first, and then faster and faster and faster.
Davis’ mom, Mary Castro, was then living in a nursing home in Dallas. Long-term care facilities like Castro’s had become troubling sites of outbreaks in the emerging novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Castro — a former nurse who put herself through school while working graveyard shifts at a hospital and raising her kids as a single mom — was at increased risk.
Her health had begun to decline in recent years. Still, she remained alert and curious, always attentive during visits with her daughter, who made the 10-minute trip every day.
By the time coronavirus cases were confirmed around Dallas in March, Castro’s nursing home went into a complete lockdown. Davis, a 44-year-old aesthetician, continued visiting her mother but they were now separated by a glass window.
When Davis arrived on Mother’s Day, in May, she says she immediately noticed “something was really wrong” with Castro.
“She was not very alert. We had to tap on the window to get her attention. She couldn’t hold her own gift,” Davis says. “That was a big red flag for me.”
“At this time, there was still no mask mandate in Dallas County,” Davis says of her mom. “She had a mask on but it was just looped around her earlobes, not covering her mouth or nose.”
Davis says she asked the nursing home, where there had been prior coronavirus cases, to examine her mom. But her pleas were unsuccessful. Eventually, she took it upon herself to call 911.
An ambulance arrived, and Davis said goodbye. The memory still makes her emotional.
“The last image I have of my mom was her being lifted into the back of an ambulance,” she tells PEOPLE.
Castro did not die quickly, but she did die alone.
Davis called multiple times each day that Castro was hospitalized. By May 16, a nurse said her mom was alert enough to speak on the phone.
“It was a breath of fresh air to hear her voice … She said, ‘Have the restrictions been lifted yet? I’m really tired and I don’t want to be in here anymore,’ ” Davis says. “And I told her, ‘I’m so sorry that I can’t be with you.’ “
“I believe she knew she was going to die,” Davis says now. “She told me, ‘I just want you to know I love you. I’m very proud of you and you’ve been the best daughter to me.’ Her last words to me were, ‘When you get to heaven, we’re going to look for each other.’ “
RELATED: Trump Says He Won’t Wear a Face Mask in Public Despite Federal Health Officials’ Recommendation
courtesy Rosie Davis Mary Castro (center, behind glass) at her Dallas nursing home
The coronavirus killed her the next
Voters in November will decide who should lead them into what could be some of the darkest months of the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has disrupted virtually every aspect of normal life. It upended the economy, changed the way people work and travel, challenged health care workers and facilities and forced drastic changes on education and day care systems. In the U.S., it has infected over 8.3 million and killed more than 220,000, and those numbers are likely to be an undercount.
Considering the time lost by those who have died, one analysis estimated that the death toll means more than 2.5 million years of potential life has been claimed by the virus in the U.S.
The U.S. reports the most infections and deaths of any country, and one of those 8.3 million infected was President Donald Trump, who required supplemental oxygen twice and was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He declared his battle with the virus as a “blessing from God” after receiving experimental treatments for his illness.
Some experts have warned that the U.S. has entered the third peak of its coronavirus outbreak. As the country heads deeper into fall and winter, and cold weather pushes more people indoors, researchers believe the virus will spread more easily. The challenge could also be compounded by the flu season.
Cartoons on the 2020 Election
It has been suggested that life won’t return to a “new normal” until there is an effective vaccine. Possible candidates are being developed faster than ever before, with several showing promise in early trial results.
The coronavirus is even upending the electoral process – from massive lines for early voting to increases in mail-in ballot requests – though it isn’t clear what effect it will have on overall voter turnout.
“The real impact that it may have on the election is how it’s going to change voting patterns, and I don’t think anyone knows exactly how that’s going to play out,” says John Farmer, the director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
Where the 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on the Coronavirus:
President Donald Trump on the Coronavirus
Early in the outbreak, the Trump administration created the White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate and oversee its “efforts to monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate the spread” of the virus. Regular task force briefings that included scientists eventually faded out and were replaced by solo events for Trump to tailor his own message on the pandemic.
And his message has been one of minimization and diversion.
“I think at this point Trump is running on the idea that he did a great job dealing with coronavirus and that there are very few concerns now and that it’s really nothing for people to worry about,” says Monika McDermott, a professor of political science at Fordham University. “Of course, him having gotten it himself and having recovered so quickly helps him to make that message.”
Courtesy of USAFacts
Getting infected “allowed him
As the first coronavirus vaccines arrive in the coming year, government researchers will face a monumental challenge: monitoring the health of hundreds of millions of Americans to ensure the vaccines don’t cause harm.
Purely by chance, thousands of vaccinated people will have heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses shortly after the injections. Sorting out whether the vaccines had anything to do with their ailments will be a thorny problem, requiring a vast, coordinated effort by state and federal agencies, hospitals, drug makers and insurers to discern patterns in a flood of data. Findings will need to be clearly communicated to a distrustful public swamped with disinformation.
For now, Operation Warp Speed, created by the Trump administration to spearhead development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments, is focused on getting vaccines through clinical trials in record time and manufacturing them quickly.
The next job will be to monitor the safety of vaccines once they’re in widespread use. But the administration last year quietly disbanded the office with the expertise for exactly this job. Its elimination has left that long-term safety effort for coronavirus vaccines fragmented among federal agencies, with no central leadership, experts say.
“We’re behind the eight ball,” said Daniel Salmon, who served as the director of vaccine safety in that office from 2007 to 2012, overseeing coordination during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. ”We don’t even know who’s in charge.”
An H.H.S. spokeswoman declined to answer detailed questions about why the vaccine office, set up in 1987, was closed or how the health agencies were planning to track the safety of vaccines once they are injected into millions of people. In a brief statement, she said that Operation Warp Speed was working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to synchronize the IT systems” involved in monitoring vaccine safety data.
Scientists at the C.D.C. and the Food and Drug Administration have decades of experience tracking the long-term safety of vaccines. They’ve created powerful computer programs that can analyze large databases.
“It’s like satellites looking at the weather,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, who headed the National Vaccine Program Office from 2002 to 2017.
But monitoring hundreds of millions of Americans who may get different coronavirus vaccines from a variety of drug makers by summer is like tracking a major storm beyond anything researchers have dealt with before.
The closest parallel was in the spring of 2009, when a new strain of H1N1 influenza emerged, and researchers raced to make a vaccine. From October 2009 to January 2010, it was administered to over 82 million people in the United States.
As the vaccine was developed, Dr. Gellin and other federal officials and scientists organized a system to monitor the population for severe side effects and to promptly share results with the public. Eleven years later, it looks like the lessons of 2009 are being forgotten, experts say.
“We got all these different agencies together, we created governance around it, we created a
President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: ‘I would transition from the oil industry’ MORE has not been to a White House coronavirus task force meeting in several months, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump, Biden clash over coronavirus response, mounting death toll Stahl tells Pence he and Trump ‘insulted 60 Minutes’ by giving ‘campaign speeches’ How Trump lost to the coronavirus MORE said Friday.
During an interview on “Meet the Press Daily,” the nation’s top infectious disease doctor said he hasn’t directly interacted with or spoken to Trump in some time.
“I definitely don’t have his ear as much as Scott Atlas right now, that has been a changing situation,” Fauci said.
Scott Atlas is a neuroradiologist and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank. He was added to the task force over the summer after appearing frequently on Fox News.
Atlas has emerged as one of Trump’s most influential advisers, but he has come under fire from public health experts inside and outside the administration who accuse him of feeding the president — and the public — misinformation.
Fauci said he meets virtually with the heads of federal health agencies, such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, as well as task force coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxScott Atlas: Fauci ‘just one person on the task force’ Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE.
Fauci said that during the spring, the task force would meet almost every day, but once the focus of the White House shifted to the economics of reopening the country, the frequency of official task force meetings has dropped to once a week.
Fauci said most of his interactions with the White House now are with Vice President Pence.
“We certainly interact with the vice president at the task force meetings, and the vice president makes our feelings known to the president, but direct involvement with the president and discussions, I have not done that in a while,” Fauci said.
Fauci said the country is in a “precarious” position, and people really need to understand how difficult the winter will be if coronavirus infections continue to spike the way they are now.
The United States on Thursday reported at least 75,049 new coronavirus cases, the second-highest daily total so far.
“We don’t want to shut the country down. Every time I talk about things that we need to do, people get concerned. We’re not talking about shutting down, but we’re talking about doubling down on some of the fundamental public health measures that we need to adhere to,” Fauci said, like the universal wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding large crowds and indoor dining.
“They seem rather simple, but they really do work,” he said.
“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
President Trump on Friday warned of depression and addiction, which health professionals says is on the rise amid coronavirus lockdowns, during the final 2020 presidential debate.
Trump and 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden took opposing stances toward the country’s future in the middle of a pandemic, with Biden telling the audience that the U.S. is “about to go into a dark winter” and the president disagreeing with that statement.
“I don’t think we’re going to have a dark winter at all,” the president, who has been criticized for initially downplaying the severity of COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic, said.
He went on to say that furthering lockdowns, however, could steer Americans down a darker emotional path.
“We can’t keep this country closed,” Trump said. “This is a massive country with a massive economy. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level nobody’s ever seen before. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS REPORTING DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS TRIPLES DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, STUDY SHOWS
Biden responded by saying he was “going to shut down the virus, not the country,” adding that Trump’s “ineptitude” is what caused the country to shut down.
“Why businesses have gone under, why schools have closed, why people have lost their living, and they are concerned,” Biden said. “He should have been — instead of in a sand trap at his golf course — he should have been negotiating with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats and Republicans…”
ESTIMATES SUGGEST DRUG OVERDOSES ON THE RISE SINCE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The number of Americans reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression since the outset of the virus reached an all-time high in September, particularly among young people, according to an October report from mental health nonprofit Mental Health America.
The report found that 9.7% of U.S. youth are experiencing severe depression compared to 9.2% from the same time last year. Among U.S. adults, more than 8 in 10 people who took anxiety screenings in September had moderate to severe symptoms. The same rate was consistently true for those who took depression screenings between March and September.
CORONAVIRUS CREATES ‘PERFECT STORM’ FOR ADDICTION IN UNITED STATES
Alcohol and drug abuse has gone through the roof. At least 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related fatalities since COVID-19 lockdowns began, and several have reported increases in alcohol-related deaths, as well, according to an October issue brief from the American Medical Association (AMA), citing a number of national reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported a 10% increase in overdose deaths during the first few