Daily Cases Hit New High; 100,000 A Day Looms

KEY POINTS

  • Authorities reported 87,164 new coronavirus cases on Thursday
  • It is the third time in a week that the single-day high was broken
  • A CDC ensemble forecast suggests the US may see 6,000 weekly deaths before Thanksgiving

The U.S. is less than 50,000 cases away from logging 9 million coronavirus infections after officials reported more than 87,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday night. 

Authorities recorded a new single-day high of 87,164 coronavirus cases, breaking the previous record of 83,731 set six days ago. The large number came as the U.S. inches closer to recording 9 million coronavirus cases just nine months after the pandemic began. It is also the third time in a week that the single-day record was broken, NBC News reported. 

Health officials also reported 996 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 228,636, according to Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard. 

The coronavirus death toll could hit 256,000 over the next four weeks. An ensemble forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicated that the number of new weekly deaths might even exceed 6,000 by Nov. 15. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the Trump-appointed former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said the 100,000 new cases per day is looming, CNN reported. 

“We’ll cross 100,000 infections at some point in the next couple of weeks, probably. We might do it this week if all the states report on time,” he said. 

The alarming numbers come less than a week away from Election Day on Nov. 3. Across the nation, 41 states have reported a 10% increase in new COVID-19 cases this past week, including New York City. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio and public health officials said the city’s coronavirus seven-day average positivity rate reached 1.92%. It was the highest number reported in weeks. The one-day positivity rate also saw a spike, reaching 2.7%. 

Authorities have also reported an increase in new cases across the city. Previously, the spikes due to outbreaks in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Politico reported.

Ten percent of the new cases were connected to domestic and international travel. Workplaces and indoor gatherings were also linked to the surge of coronavirus cases in New York City. 

“The growth is what worries me. And we cannot allow that number to keep growing. We’re really going to have to double down,” de Blasio said. “This is a dangerous time, and we have to take it really, really seriously.”

As coronavirus cases spiral, some hospitals have been left no choice but to start transferring patients to less-crowded facilities As coronavirus cases spiral, some hospitals have been left no choice but to start transferring patients to less-crowded facilities Photo: AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES

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Arizona governor defends school rule as virus ‘storm’ looms

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday warned that a “storm is ahead” as coronavirus cases climb in the state, but defended new guidelines for in-person school instruction that will let students remain in class far beyond what earlier guidance would have recommended.

The Republican governor insisted that his administration consulted with public education and health officials before making the decision to ease guidance for when schools should consider ending in-person instruction and returning to online classes.

But Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat, said in a tweet that her department did not request or recommend any changes to the state health department’s guidance.


And two major school administrator groups objected to the decision, saying it goes against months of planning done following the previous guidance. The Arizona School Administrators and the Arizona School Boards Association released a statement s aying the change was made without communicating its reason or an understanding of its impact on schools.

Ritchie Taylor, Hoffman’s spokesman, said the Health Services Department presented the change as a done deal at a regular weekly meeting earlier this month of a group of county health officials and Education Department officials. The group has been meeting since the summer to collaborate on school virus issues.

“It was not put up for a collaborative debate or input,” Taylor said. “It was put up as a policy decision.”

The Health Services Department in August issued guidance outlining how and when schools can consider reopening and when they should close again if virus cases surge. Those rules suggested a return to remote learning if at least one of a county’s three benchmarks based on COVID-19 cases, testing positivity and prevalence of COVID-19-like illness moved from moderate to substantial spread.

The new recommendations were quietly posted on the health services department website last Thursday, and went unnoticed until KNXV-TV reported on them earlier this week. They call for districts to move to remote learning when all three benchmarks move to substantial spread for two weeks.

Ducey on Wednesday dodged questions about why there was no announcement of the change and did not specifically say who requested them. The guidance covers 1.1 million public school students in district and charter schools statewide. It doesn’t cover private or parochial schools.

“These guidelines were adjusted at the request of public education leaders in coordination with public health officials,” Ducey said. “And that’s how we’ll continue to do that and we will be completely transparent.”

The governor spoke at a media briefing where he discussed current virus conditions, which he said were rising. Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said she expects a further spike in cases after Thanksgiving, when college students return home and families gather for the holidays.

“I hope that I am wrong, but what I would anticipate is to see a spike about 10 to 14 days after Thanksgiving and then potentially continue to increase over the next four to six weeks,” Christ said.

That would strain hospitals, who

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European Cities Plead for More Flu Shots as Winter Looms, Pandemic Rages | Top News

By Alicja Ptak, Emilio Parodi and Francois Murphy

WARSAW/MILAN/VIENNA (Reuters) – A surge in demand for vaccines to ward off the winter flu has led to shortages in some European cities, raising the risk of a potentially lethal “twindemic” as COVID-19 cases spike.

Many governments boosted vaccine orders this year and launched campaigns to encourage citizens to get shots.

The aim was to inoculate earlier than usual and cover a bigger portion of the continent’s 450 million population to reduce the burden on health services.

Top manufacturers such as GlaxoSmithKline

, Sanofi

, Abbott

and Seqirus have boosted supplies to the region by an average of 30% in anticipation of higher demand. But they are operating at full capacity and cannot meet all the late extra demand, Vaccines Europe, which represents the producers, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Interviews with at least 10 city and government officials, as well as medical experts, also show systems in major cities such as Warsaw are struggling with the strong early demand, causing delays and temporary shortages.

“This year, patients come all the time and ask about vaccines, more than 10 people every day,” said Grazyna Lenkowska-Mielniczuk, manager at Apteka Non Stop pharmacy in Warsaw’s Wola district.

“The wholesalers tell us the same thing as we tell patients: that there are no vaccines and we have to wait.”

Europe’s flu season begins in October and infections typically pick up between mid-November and the start of December, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Seasonal flu viruses cause between 4 and 50 million infections each year and up to 70,000 Europeans die each year of causes linked to flu, particularly among older adults and at-risk groups.

Precautionary measures to curb COVID-19 transmission such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing may help curb infections this season.

There was “very limited” flu transmission in the southern hemisphere this year for that reason, Sylvie Briand, director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness at the World Health Organization said in a briefing last week.

Even so, surging coronavirus infections across the continent prompted EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to warn last month of the risk of a “twindemic of COVID-19 and the flu”.

Medical experts are urging more people get inoculated to prevent a deeper crisis.

“There is a need to prevent a double wave of influenza plus COVID-19,” said Clemens Wendtner, chief physician of infectiology and tropical medicine at the Munich Schwabing Clinic, who recommends people younger than 60 get the jab this year.

Poland’s Ministry of Health said it bought 3 million doses this year and will buy more if needed – as of Tuesday it had received 1.6 million shots.

But Mylan’s Influvac Tetra and Sanofi’s Vaxigrip Tetra vaccines are available in only 1% of pharmacies in Poland, according to gdziepolek.pl, a Polish website that helps patients find the nearest pharmacy with a drug they are seeking.

GSK’s Fluarix Tetra is not available and AstraZeneca’s

Fluenz Tetra is available

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