Nearly 90,000 new coronavirus infections were reported in the United States on Thursday, a record, as cases surge in every swing state that will be crucial to next week’s presidential election.
The total number of infections reported nationwide since February is virtually guaranteed to reach 9 million on Friday, just 15 days after the tally hit 8 million. At least 228,000 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus.
Here are some significant developments:
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1:03 AM: Options dwindle for voters diagnosed with covid-19 as Election Day draws near
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will test positive for the novel coronavirus between now and Election Day, leaving many scrambling for alternatives to in-person voting and injecting another dimension of uncertainty into an election already shadowed by the pandemic.
Those voters will need to navigate an unfamiliar and varied landscape to cast their ballots. Some will be required to get doctor’s notes or enlist family members to help. Others, in isolation, will need to have a witness present while they vote. Planned accommodations — such as officials hand-delivering ballots — may prove inadequate or could be strained beyond limits.
Sudden illness is an impediment to voting every election year, typically for a small number of Americans. Many provisions to help those voters apply exclusively to people who are hospitalized.
But with around 70,000 new cases of the coronavirus being recorded each day, a swath of Americans larger than the population of Wyoming or Vermont will probably contract the disease in the 10 days leading up to Nov. 3.
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By: Neena Satija
12:23 AM: Coronavirus cases are on the rise in every swing state
Coronavirus cases are surging in every competitive state before Election Day, offering irrefutable evidence against President Trump’s closing argument that the pandemic is nearly over and restrictions are no longer necessary.
In the 13 states deemed competitive by the Cook Political Report, the weekly average of new cases reported daily has jumped 45 percent over the past two weeks, from fewer than 21,000 on Oct. 14 to more than 30,000 on Oct. 28.
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have all hit new weekly average highs in recent days, and in Florida and Georgia, case counts are growing again after having fallen from summer highs.
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By: Harry Stevens
12:22 AM: One camper infected majority of summer overnight camp in Wisconsin, the CDC says
A ninth-grade boy was likely the source of a coronavirus outbreak that sickened nearly three-quarters of the students and staff at a faith-based overnight summer school retreat in southeastern Wisconsin, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outbreak, which occurred during a 7-week stay beginning on July 2, infected 116 of the 152 boys, counselors, and staff members in attendance. No hospitalizations and deaths occurred in connection with the outbreak, and illnesses were moderate, the CDC said.
After evaluating the Wisconsin camp outbreak, the federal agency warned that transmissions at gatherings like this camp can only be preempted with a host of precautions: For instance, while participants were required to get screened for covid-19 in advance of the trip and wear masks while traveling, they did not need to quarantine for two weeks before and gathered in close contact. Because of those limited restrictions, a student who tested negative attended the camp, without knowing that a family member would later test positive, the CDC estimated.
“A robust covid-19 mitigation plan that included a full 14-day prearrival quarantine might have prevented introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in this setting,” according to the study, using the virus’s scientific designation. “As well, cohorting of attendees for 14 days after arrival might have permitted early containment of the outbreak.”
Public health officials continue to warn against gatherings in closed in spaces with little ventilation as the virus continues to surge in states like Wisconsin, with many of the deaths in nursing homes.
“Covid-19 spreads like wildfire when you bring a lot of people together in a relatively small space,” Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy health services secretary for Wisconsin Department of Health Services, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “If there was one person who was ill with covid-19, they easily spread that to everyone in their housing unit and then the nature of summer camp where you eat meals together, go swimming together, do activities together, sing around the campfire together — all of those activities are great spreading events.”
The study also found that 24 attendees who had reported having coronavirus antibodies before arrival, later did not test positive for the virus. But the CDC cautioned that there is not sufficient evidence “to determine whether the presence of detectable antibodies indicates protective immunity or how long such immunity might persist.”
By: Darren Sands
12:22 AM: Is it safe to travel for Thanksgiving? Here’s what health experts are doing for the holiday.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, many are planning and rethinking their normal traditions and travel plans.
Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said he canceled his normal holiday travels to California to see family.
“I don’t feel comfortable traveling for fun,” he said. “To me, it’s not worth the risk.”
William Petri, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said he is not traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday but is driving with his wife in early November to see a newborn granddaughter in Tampa. For Thanksgiving, Petri said he would be okay with his two children on the West Coast flying to visit him, as long as they wore masks and goggles on the flight.
The goggles, he said, keep travelers from touching their eyes — another way the virus can spread — and cut down on germs spreading if someone coughs or sneezes.
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By: Dana Hedgpeth