Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants are changing their business models to stay afloat… but it's a lot tougher than just putting tables on a sidewalk.
As part of a four-week pilot program, United Airlines will offer free rapid COVID-19 tests to all passengers on select flights from Newark to London, Reuters reported. The program, which will run from Nov. 16 through Dec. 11, consists of three flights a week from Newark Liberty International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport. The airline made the announcement on Thursday, adding that it would provide Abbott Laboratories’ rapid molecular ID Now Tests, which take about 15 to 20 minutes, to all passengers above the age of 2. United hopes that the new method will encourage air travel, as COVID-19 testing could lead to a replacement or reduction of 14-day quarantines. Due to the pandemic, air travel has seen a 66% decline in overall traffic in 2020, airline trade group International Air Transport Association reported. However, the new program could be a profitable solution for air travel. According to Josh Ernest, United’s chief communication officer, the airline has already seen an increase in traffic since it first introduced testing on its San Francisco to Hawaii flights around two weeks ago.
As Moderna continues to prepare for the release of its potential coronavirus vaccine, the company took in $1.1 billion in deposits from global governments, according to the third-quarter earnings reports the biotech firm released on Thursday. The company added that it has inkedsupply agreements in North America, the Middle East and other regions of the world.“We are actively preparing for the launch of mRNA-1273 and we have signed a number of supply agreements with governments around the world,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a press release, according to CNBC. “Moderna is committed to the highest data quality standards and rigorous scientific research as we continue to work with regulators to advance mRNA-1273.” Last week, Moderna announced that it had completed enrollment for its 30,000-participant late-stage trial, 37% of which come from diverse community, while 42% were at high risk of severe disease.
A new strain of the coronavirus that was first observed in Spain in June has now spread across Europe. The new variation of the virus, called 20A.EU1 by researchers, now accounts for most of the new cases across the continent. Since July, the strain has been recorded with increasing frequency, CNBC reported. Switzerland, Ireland and the U.K. have seen high numbers of the strain in September. While the new variation has spread rapidly across the continent, researchers are not convinced it spreads any faster than the original coronavirus. “It is currently unclear whether this variant is spreading because of a transmission advantage of the virus or whether high incidence in Spain followed by dissemination through tourists is sufficient to explain the rapid rise in multiple countries,” according to the study.
While the U.S. buckles up and braces for an influx of new coronavirus cases as the weather across the country begins to cool down, New Jersey is already reporting what officials believe to be the beginning of a second wave for the state. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Thursday that new cases and hospitalizations relating to COVID-19 have surged in the past few weeks. “(The figures) continue to show that the second wave of the coronavirus is no longer something off in the future,” Murphy said, NJ.com reported. “It is coming and it is coming in now.” On Thursday, Murphy announced 1,477 new cases in the state, which marked the 12th day in a row New Jersey has reported over 1,000 new cases. “After eight months, I understand, we understand, that we are all suffering from pandemic fatigue,” he said. “But this virus has been waiting for us to get lax in our personal responsibilities so it can come roaring back.”
The U.S. economy grew a record 33.1% annual rate in the quarter from July-September, but the economy is still a ways to go before fully rebounding from its decline in the first half of the year from the coronavirus. As government aid dries up and cases start to soar again, the recovery of the US economy is slowing, according to The Associated Press. The Commerce Department estimated the third-quarter growth showed the country has only regained about two-thirds of the output that was lost early in the year. The department also showed the economy was weakling again and facing renewed threats despite the 33% gain. Chief US economist at Oxford Economics, Gregory Daco, said the record-high third-quarter growth “tells us little, if anything, about momentum heading into” the current quarter. The unemployment rate, while down to 7.9% compared to the 14.7% seen earlier this year, is still at historically high levels. The economy is still more than 10 million jobs short of recovering all 22 million lost due to the pandemic.
The Boston Athletic Association announced that the 125th Boston Marathon that was scheduled to take place in April 2021 will not take place that month. The BAA will be postponing the marathon to fall of 2021 and will begin working with local, city, and state officials to determine if a fall 2021 dates will remain feasible. Tom Grilk, CEO of BAA, said in a statement, “With fewer than six months until Patriots’ Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April." No specific date for 2021 has been chosen but the BAA said it will continue to work with local, city, and state officials to determine when the next live, in-person Boston Marathon can occur. A new date is expected to be announced before the end of the year, according to the BAA. The 2020 Boston Marathon was held as a 10-day virtual experience after also being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Germany set a new record for daily coronavirus infections on Thursday, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn Germans about the “difficult winter” that lies ahead. While France prepares for a second lockdown and Spain is urged to tighten restrictions, Germany also faces a “dramatic situation at the beginning of the cold season,” as 16,774 new positive cases were reported on Thursday, pushing the country’s total close to the half million-mark. “The winter will be difficult, four long, difficult months. But it will end,” Merkel told Parliament, according to The Associated Press. “We have already seen over the past eight months how we can learn and help each other,” she added. Starting on Monday, Germany will impose stricter restrictions, including the shutdown of restaurants, bars, sports, beauty salons and cultural venues for four weeks. Social gatherings will also be limited to a maximum of 10 people and non-essential travel will be discouraged. However, like in France, schools, kindergartens and places of workshop will remain open.
The Marshall Islands recorded two positive cases of the coronavirus, according to government officials. The remote Pacific archipelago was one of the last places in the world to have been untouched by the virus. The two positive cases were reported on Wednesday after two workers at a U.S. base tested positive after arriving from Hawaii on Tuesday, BBC News reported. Authorities said that the two were “strictly border cases” and the 35-year-old woman and 46-year-old man are currently in quarantine while they recover. Although the local government told the nation’s 55,000 residents to “remain vigilant” officials added that there is no threat of community transmission and “businesses and government operations will continue as normal until further notice.”
On Wednesday, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said its coronavirus antibody cocktail has proven effective at reducing medical visits. The claim comes as Regeneron is currently performing a trial on nearly 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. According to the New York-based drug company, patients given the treatment, REGN-COV2, made around 57% fewer COVID-19-related medical visits than those who were given a placebo over the course of 29 days. For patients with one or more risk factors, including obesity and cardiovascular disease, the treatment reduced medical visits by 72%. Last month, the company released data that showed that the treatment is also effective at reducing the viral load and improving symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Reuters reported. President Donald Trump, who received the treatment, credited the Regeneron therapy for his speedy recovery from COVID-19 and has said the U.S. government would provide it for no cost to Americans. Watch below for more on the story.
On Thursday, India’s coronavirus case total since the beginning of the crisis shot past 8 million – only the second country behind the U.S. to reach that plateau. More than 120,000 fatalities have been recorded in India throughout the pandemic thus far. Brazil is third worldwide with more than 5 million confirmed cases. Here’s a look at some global coronavirus numbers as of Thursday morning, according to tallies kept by Johns Hopkins University, and for more on India's unwelcome milestone, watch the video below.
Confirmed cases: 44,583,829
The coronavirus pandemic has hit Uzbekistan’s economy hard. Many small businesses across the country have been affected, as strict lockdowns led to reduced profits and layoffs. However, this year's melon harvest has seen an increase in revenue, even as the pandemic continues. “Every year in Uzbekistan, on 35,000 hectares of land, an average of 750,000 tons of melon is grown,” Shokhrukh Tolibov, official from the Uzbek Ministry of Agriculture, told AFP. “Over the past 10 years, the volume of cultivation of melons and gourds has been increasing, which makes it possible to replenish not only the domestic market, but also to export products abroad.” Over the past three years, “melon exports have grown fivefold” and as winter approaches the fruit's value is expected to grow 15-fold on the domestic market and even more abroad, according to Tolibov.
Pope Francis maintained social distance on Wednesday, as he talked to an audience during an indoor service at the Vatican. “I will stay up here. I would very much like to come down and greet each of you, but we have to keep our distances,” he said to the crowd, which was made up of people who were nearly all wearing masks, according to Reuters. The pope, however, was not wearing a mask. Most aides and translators who were on the stage with the pope were also mask-less. Over the past, the pope has received criticism for not wearing masks, especially since 13 Swiss Guards and a resident of the guest house where he lives tested positive for the virus. Father Augusto Zampini, a member of a Vatican commission the pope set up to advise him on the social effects of the crisis, spoke on the pope's inconsistency, saying that “we are trying to convince him, we are almost there.”
On Monday, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said that Americans “can control the pandemic,” The Associated Press reported. The claim is a response to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who, just a day prior, said that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” Giroir added that “what American people have done – has been able to put out very significant outbreaks … all across the Deep South.” He emphasized the importance of the “3 W’s” as a method to control the spread of the virus. The "3 W's" consist of: Watching your distance from other people, wearing masks when you can’t keep away and frequently washing your hands. Giroir appeared on NBC's Today show to explain what's driving the rise in cases across the country and the increase in fatalities.Watch below.
The NFL is preparing for 20% seating capacity at Super Bowl LV, which is expected to take place in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 7, ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Twitter. Fans will be in pods six feet apart and will be required to wear masks at all times, he said in the statement. Schefter added that the date for the Super Bowl will remain unchanged, even if a Week 18 is added to the regular season. The NFL reportedly plans on creating a Week 18, due to virus outbreaks among teams.
As France continues to battle a second wave of the coronavirus, President Emmanuel Macron announced a new nationwide lockdown starting Friday. “We have been overwhelmed by the rapid acceleration of COVID-19,” Macron said on Wednesday, adding that “all French regions are now in high alert.” The lockdown will be enforced until Dec. 1, with all cafes, restaurants and shops being asked to shut down, while schools and some workplaces will remain open. “Like last spring, you will be able to leave your home only for work, for a doctor’s visit, to help a relative, do essential shopping or go out shortly for air,” Macron said, according to France 24. He added that measures would be eased once the number of new daily infections drops below 5,000, down from the current average of 40,000. France has reported a total of 1,244,242 cases and 35,582 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Watch some of Macron's remarks announcing the lockdown below.
Major League Baseball is investigating the actions of Justin Turner, the star Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman who was removed from the decisive Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night in the eighth inning because of a positive COVID-19 test result, according to Bleacher Report. Turner later returned to the field to celebrate the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988 with his teammates. On Wednesday, the league condemned his actions. In a statement posted on Twitter by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the league said, “It is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols,” and added that when MLB security confronted Turner, “he emphatically refused to comply.” MLB and Dodgers officials learned of the positive test result in the middle of the game, and Turner was promptly taken out of the lineup.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced stricter regulations, including a $50 fine for anyone who is not wearing a mask at its facilities, according to ABC7. Starting on Monday, face masks will be required to be worn at all times at airports, PATH trains, AirTrains, and bus terminals.
Although America’s top infectious disease expert predicts that the world will likely have a vaccine “in the next few months,” he said that people will not be able to go back to their normal lives for a while. “I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps into the next year before we start having some semblance of normality,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday in a discussion with Shitij Kapur of the University of Melbourne. “If normal means you can get people in a theatre without worrying about what we call congregate-setting super infectious, if we can get restaurants to open almost at full capacity.” Fauci cited vaccine hesitancy as a problem that might cause the pandemic to continue through 2021 in the U.S. “Right now, there is a reluctance to take vaccines,” he said, according to The Age. Watch the full discussion with Fauci below, which begins at approximately the three-minute mark.
Halloween is shaping up to be much different this year, with many communities altering trick-or-treating plans or foregoing the Halloween night staple altogether. For those that are still planning to celebrate the holiday, the American Red Cross has put together a list of helpful tips on how to stay safe while going out on the annual quest for candy.
In terms of the weather, Saturday is shaping up to be quite benign across the majority of the United States. The AccuWeather forecast is calling for some rain and snow across the Upper Midwest in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Some showers are also forecast to develop from southern Florida and into eastern Georgia. Keep an eye on AccuWeather.com and the AccuWeather mobile app for the latest forecasts and up-to-the-minute conditions in your area.
The Saturday matchup between football teams from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska has been canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has rocked the Wisconsin team, ESPN reported. At least 12 people associated with the Wisconsin football team have tested positive for COVID-19, including head coach Paul Chryst. In a statement released by the university, Chryst said, "This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday. I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning.” Just a day earlier, Chryst had reportedly said he was “confident” the game against Nebraska would be played as scheduled. Now, not only has the game been called off for Saturday, it won’t be rescheduled, according to ESPN. Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz is one of the other notable members of the team who tested positive this week. According to Johns Hopkins University, the state of Wisconsin reported 5,262 new cases on Tuesday – second-most in the country for that 24-hour period.
Canada on Tuesday crossed the 10,000 fatalities milestone, prompting solemn words from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with a stark warning about what lies ahead. “What we are living through is a horrific national tragedy,” Trudeau said, according to Reuters. “Families have lost loved ones, been devastated by these tragedies, and we need to know that there are more tragedies to come.” Due to the sharp increase in the number of cases, new restrictions have been implemented in parts of the country concerning public gatherings and activities that take place indoors. Trudeau said he had difficulty explaining to his 6-year-old son why he wouldn’t be allowed to go trick-or-treating this year. And he prepared Canadians for things to get worse before it gets better. “It’s going to be a tough winter,” he said, but “spring and summer will come and they will be better.” Watch some of Trudeau’s remarks below.
Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday announced that a ban on indoor dining and drinking in bars will go into effect in Chicago on Friday as cases across the city and the state of Illinois continue to rise. The move prompted almost immediate pushback from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said she was going to try to persuade Pritzker to not go through with the ban. "We're going to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it's not looking good, and if we can't convince him that some other metrics should apply, then the shutdown, unfortunately, is going to take effect starting Friday by state order," Lightfoot said, according to ABC 7 in Chicago. Business owners responded with frustration. "It hurts," Jeff Lawler, a local café owner, told ABC 7. "My first thought was, 'Here we go again.' Will this be a two-week shutdown? Will this be a two-month shutdown? What's it going to be? No one knows.” Plus, outdoor dining solutions many restaurants have implemented due to the pandemic, don't really help a businesses' bottom line that much, a new report shows.
Eight more NFL players and 11 team personnel members tested positive last week, according to numbers released by the league and the NFL Players Association. Those numbers are identical to the case increases from the week prior, according to Reuters. The 19 new infections come from a total of 42,687 tests given to nearly 8,000 players and team personnel throughout the week.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series late Tuesday night, bringing an end to what was a tumultuous season that was severely abbreviated by the coronavirus pandemic. And the pandemic loomed large in the conclusive game as Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was yanked from the lineup in the middle of the game after learning that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. Turner, one of the team’s top players, abruptly left the game in the eighth inning and no reason for his departure was immediately given. Later on it was revealed that the positive test resulted is what prompted the move. Initially, it looked like Turner wouldn’t be able to celebrate with teammates after the Dodgers clinched the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988. But he eventually showed up on the field – with a mask and without a mask at some points – and hugged teammates. It’s not clear how Turner became infected as all MLB players competing in the playoffs had been living in a bubble, ESPN reported. Turner addressed the surprise test result on Twitter, saying he had no symptoms.
Research findings from a non peer-reviewed study found substantial cognitive deficits in some people who suffered severe COVID-19 cases. “Our analyses ... align with the view that there are chronic cognitive consequences of having COVID-19,” the scientists concluded in a report of their study’s findings, which were published on the website MedRxiv Tuesday. “People who had recovered, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits.” Some patients were shown to have declining brain functioning on par with 10 years of aging, according to Reuters. The cognitive effects were found to be substantial, especially in those who had been hospitalized with the new coronavirus. More than 84,000 patients were given cognitive tests to measure the brain’s performance on tasks, including word recall and puzzles. Scientists not involved in the research said to take the results with a grain of salt, since cognitive function before the patients suffered from COVID-19 was unknown. “Overall (this is) an intriguing but inconclusive piece of research into the effect of COVID on the brain,” Derek Hill, a professor at University College London, said of the study's findings, noting that they may not be reliable.
Consumers are concerned about the precautions being taken by retailers as they start their holiday shopping, a survey released by Oracle Retail on Monday shows. The survey reflects the sentiments of more than 5,100 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. According to the results, about 79% of respondents want to see masks being worn, while 82% expect visible cleaning efforts and 76% want to see reduced occupancy in stores. In addition, consumers also expect contactless checkout and social distancing requirements to be imposed. “Consumers are eager to shop,” Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail, told Reuters. “What consumers are looking for is basic levels of protection and safety and they’re looking for that confidence that their needs are being looked after.” For more takeaways from the Oracle survey, watch the video below.
The pandemic has been hitting France particularly hard in recent days, to the point where it has become the epicenter of the crisis in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to France 24, more than half of the nation’s ICU capacity was full as of Tuesday – more than 2,500 patients, mostly people suffering from COVID-19. Some of the patients are on the younger side and don’t have pre-existing conditions, but are still suffering mightily from severe cases of COVID-19. In a hospital in the southwestern city of Toulouse, as soon as a bed is vacated, it’s promptly filled with a new incoming patient. Dr. Elise Noel-Savina, the head of Toulouse University Hospital’s ICU, said, “I am worried, especially because I know we are on the curve and we are not at all at the peak of the curve.” She added, “The next few weeks will be difficult for everyone.” And it’s not just the quickly-accelerating number of cases that has officials and those in the medical community worried. Watch the video below for more on the situation in France.
Officials from the European Union said only part of the EU population can be vaccinated for COVID-19 before 2022, as the vaccines the 27-nation bloc is securing may not prove effective or may not be manufactured in sufficient doses, Reuters reported. The EU has a population of 450 million and has ordered more than 1 billion doses of potential vaccines from three drugmakers. According to Reuters, it is negotiating the advance purchase of another billion vials with other companies. “There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021,” a European Commission official told diplomats from EU states in a closed-door meeting on Monday, a person who attended it told Reuters. There is still no effective coronavirus vaccine, but the first shots could be available at the beginning of next year, the commission said earlier in October.
“I hate to say it,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday, according to CNBC, “but I have to urge all New Yorkers: Do not travel out of state for the holidays.” He added, “Realize that by doing that, unfortunately, you could be putting yourself and your family in danger and also the risk of bringing the disease back here.” The mayor advised anyone who should travel over the holidays to follow the guidelines of the New York’s travel advisory, which includes more than 40 states, and quarantine for 14 days upon returning. Later on Tuesday, de Blasio reiterated his call for New Yorkers to avoid traveling over the holidays, saying on Twitter, “We've all made sacrifices this year, and I'm asking you to make one more to get out of this crisis. Stay home for the holidays.” New York City has reported more than 250,000 cumulative cases and more than 19,000 deaths, with most of those occurring in the early stages of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the U.S., daily deaths from the coronavirus are increasing again, according to The Associated Press. Just as experts had feared, the death toll is increasing, with the average number of deaths per day up by 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday. The number of new infections is also on the rise in 47 states, while the number of new, confirmed deaths is up in 34 states. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, said that the increase in cases is due to “pandemic fatigue” as well as “pandemic anger” and cold weather. “When you put those three together, we shouldn’t be surprised what we’re seeing,” Osterholm said. Although deaths are still well below the U.S. peak of more than 2,200 per day in April, experts warn that as winter approaches, numbers are likely to increase. A model from the University of Washington projected about 386,000 deaths by Feb.1, up from the current 225,000 deaths.
The University of Wisconsin football team is dealing with several reported COVID-19 cases, but head coach Paul Chryst doesn't believe the team's game against the University of Nebraska this coming Saturday is in jeopardy. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the team's starting quarterback, Graham Mertz, reportedly tested positive, as did his backup, redshirt sophomore Chase Wolf. If both Mertz and Wolf are unable to play, fourth-string quarterback Danny Vanden Boom would be the next quarterback in line, the Journal Sentinel reported. The team's initial starter at quarterback, Jack Coan, suffered an injury in training camp earlier this month. Big Ten rules require that that the earliest any athlete can return to play is 21 days following the initial diagnosis. Chryst wouldn't comment on the team's testing but emphasized that he felt confident about the game being played. “I feel confident in everything that is happening right now,” he said, according to the Journal Sentinel. “We’re going with that. I feel confident going forward this week.”
If the game happens, the weather will cooperate. Lincoln, Nebraska, experienced an unseasonable cold snap over the weekend and early in the week, but by game day, conditions at Memorial Stadium will be just right for some fall football, though it could be a little breezy for the kickers, according to the AccuWeather forecast.
Weather forecast for Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. (AccuWeather)
The head of the World Health Organization warned on Monday that officials should not give up the fight against COVID-19, AFP reported. “The fatigue is real, but we cannot give up, we must not give up,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said. He added that “leaders must balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods with the need to protect workers and health systems as intensive care fills up.” The encouragement to continue the fight against COVID-19 comes as many countries across Europe are experiencing a second surge in virus cases and infections in the U.S. are on the rise.
The drive-thru testing sites in New Orleans run by the Louisiana National Guard will close on Tuesday and Wednesday, NOLA Ready announced on Twitter. The closure of the sites comes as New Orleans is prepping for Tropical Storm Zeta, which is expected to move inland as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday night.
An aerial view showing a drive-through COVID-19 testing center in New Orleans. Testing sites run by the Louisiana National Guard are being shut down for two days with Tropical Storm Zeta set to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, likely as a hurricane. (Twitter / NOLA Ready)
The U.S. government ended a study testing an Eli Lilly antibody drug for COVID-19 hospitalized patients after it did not seem to be helping them. The study, which had been paused two weeks ago because of a possible safety issue, was canceled on Monday as researchers found that there was a low chance that the drug would prove helpful for hospitalized patients. In a statement, Lilly said that the government is still continuing with a separate study, testing the drug in mild to moderately ill patients to see if it prevents severe illness. The company will also continue a separate study to test the drug, which is being developed by AbCellera, The Associated Press reported.
Starting on Wednesday, Russians will be required to wear masks in all public spaces, according to consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. The reintroduction of the mandate comes as Russia set a daily record of 17,347 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the total number of infections past the 1.5 million mark. In addition, Rospotrebnadzor also recommended that all restaurants and bars close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to The Moscow Times.
It may feel like the U.S. is experiencing a second or even third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, but that’s not quite what’s going on, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Monday. "I look at it more as an elongated and exacerbation of the original first wave," Fauci told Yahoo senior reporter Anjalee Khemlani. Why is this still the first wave? According to Fauci, because the U.S. never saw its baseline dip below 10,000 cases per day. And in recent days, new cases have been routinely topping 60,000 and 70,000 per day and went over 80,000 on two days. “Now as we're getting into the cold weather, we came back up again to the worst that we've ever had, which was over 80,000 per day.” Watch the video below as Fauci walks through the data on how cases have risen and fallen across the U.S.
On Monday, thousands of protesters crowded the streets of several Italian towns and cities to express disagreement with the government's latest pandemic restrictions. The restrictions, which include earlier closing times for cafes, gyms, movie theaters, and other leisure venues, are the government’s response to the increasing spread of the virus in the nation, Euronews reported. However, some of the protesters turned to violence. In the city of Turin, in northern Italy, some demonstrators were seen smashing windows, setting smoke bombs and throwing bottles at the police, according to Euronews. In Milan, police used tear gas in attempts to scatter protesters. Smaller cities, including Catania in Sicily, also saw protests, as restaurant owners complained about the economic impact that the new restrictions would place on their business. With the new restriction, restaurants are asked to close at 6 p.m. for the next month, which creates a problem for owners as most Italians don’t dine out before 7:30 p.m. at the earliest, according to Euronews. For more on the tensions in Italy, watch the video below.
As a spike in coronavirus cases has overwhelmed hospitals in El Paso, Texas, residents have been urged to stay home for two weeks and are now under a curfew. The influx of cases has prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center for the ill with 50 hospital beds, The Associated Press reported. On Sunday night, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego issued a stay home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order, but the curfew does not apply to people who are going to or from work or out for essential services, including grocery stores and healthcare. On Monday, the county reported a new record high in daily coronavirus cases, with 1,443 cases. The county had 853 patients hospitalized for the virus on Monday, up from 786 a day earlier.
In Houston, car lines can stretch for up to half a mile as workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic wait to receive food from the Houston Food Bank. The various sites across the city distribute up to 1 million pounds of food as unemployed workers continue to struggle. “As a man, as a father, as a provider I felt at a low point. I felt low,” Herman Henton, an unemployed construction worker, told The Associated Press. “In this type of situation, there’s nothing you can really do.” Before the pandemic, the Houston Food Bank distributed an average of 450,000 pounds of food daily. Currently, distributions by the Houston Food Bank average about 800,000 pounds daily. “Forty prevent of households have less than $400 in order to weather a storm,” Houston Food Bank President Brian Greene said. “So, when this crisis hit the number of families who needed assistance was immediate and very large.” Since March, the non-profit organization has helped about 126,500 families around Houston.
Following a growing list of popular retailers closing stores due to losing foot traffic in stores amid lockdowns, Gap and Banana Republic are closing 350 stores, according to ABC News. Gap announced it will close 225 of its stores by 2024, which is a third of its locations. After the closures, 80% of Gap's remaining stores will be free-standing outside of malls. "We've been overly reliant on low-productivity, high-rent stores," said Mark Breitbard, CEO of the Gap brand in a statement. “We’ve used the past six months to address the real estate issues and accelerate our shift to a true Omni-model." The company is also planning to close 130 of its Banana Republic stores in North America to focus on growing e-commerce business and outlet stores." As result of this work, our mall-based exposure will decline meaningfully," Gap Inc.'s chief financial officer Katrina O'Connell said in an investor presentation on Thursday, according to Business Insider. "Gap said that in 2023 roughly 80% of its revenues will come from online sales and locations outside of malls." Other companies, such as H&M, Victoria's Secret and JCPenney have announced store closures as well.
Schoolgirl of Freiherr-vom-Stein secondary school in the North Rhine-Westphalian city wears a winter outfit against the cold as school resumes with open windows and protective masks against the spread of COVID-19 following the autumn holidays in Bonn, Germany, October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
On Monday, students at a secondary school in Bonn, Germany, bundled up as classes resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic. A photo capture by a Reuters photographer shows a schoolgirl at the Freiherr-vom-Stein secondary school wearing a heavy winter jacket because windows in the classroom are now required to stay open at all times as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, students are also asked to wear face masks. On Monday, Bonn had a low temperature of 46 F, with a high of 56 and an AccuWeather RealFeel of 44. Later this week, the weather will remain on the chilly side with temperatures in the upper- to mid-50s.
A new study released on Friday suggests that universal mask-wearing through the spring could prevent 129,574 deaths in the U.S. The study, which was led by Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, emphasizes on the importance of mask-wearing in public settings as the COVID-19 number cases continues to increase across the country. The U.S. has been seeing a fall surge in the number of new cases and Murray said that these numbers are likely to continue into winter if people fail to wear masks in public areas. “We strongly believe we are heading into a pretty grim winter season,” Dr. Murray said, according to The New York Times. “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates and all the economic effects of that, and save lives,” Murray added.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, added that the pandemic’s toll in the U.S. could reach 500,000 by March 2021, even with the current social distancing mandates. However, scientists have argued that the study failed to take into account the treatments available now for people who are hospitalized, which could help slow down the death toll. According to one study, deaths among hospitalized patients have dropped to 7.6 percent from 25.6 in the spring.
In preparation for Halloween, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a video on Twitter detailing the health guidelines for trick-or-treating to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to the video, anyone involved in trick-or-treating is required to wear a non-costume mask or face covering and stay on the move during their outing. “Less congregating means more houses and more candy,” according to the video. Reaching hands into candy bowls is discouraged, and the video suggests children wait until they are home and have already washed their hands before they begin eating any candy. Trick-or-treating groups should also be limited to six people or less. Homes giving out candy must make it clear they are part of the festivities and provide hand sanitizer. Anyone handing out candy must also maintain social distancing guidelines. Finally, house parties of any size and haunted houses are not allowed this year. “Chicago, have a spooky and safe time,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter. Watch the full video below.
Encouraging news emerged on the COVID-19 vaccine front Monday when AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company, said its developmental vaccine prompts an immune response in both young and old adults, according to Reuters. Test results also showed that the vaccine produces lower adverse responses in elderly patients, the company said, according to Reuters. “It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters. The vaccine is being developed by Oxford University and is one of the leading candidates to be developed first for public use.
The U.S. added another 60,789 new cases across the country on Sunday. The states that recorded the highest numbers of new cases, according to the researchers at Johns Hopkins University, were Illinois with 4,057 cases, Texas, with 3,644, and Wisconsin, with 3,626 new cases confirmed. Watch the brief video below for more data on how cases were reported across the U.S. and across the globe, including which countries reported the most new cases on Sunday – apart from the U.S.
The NFL has fined the Tennessee Titans $350,000 for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols, The Associated Press reported. The Titans have only recently gotten their season back on track following schedule adjustments due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, the first outbreak in the NFL so far in the 2020 season. At least 24 people, including 13 players tested positive, according to the AP. The NFL conducted an investigation and found that the Titans did not adhere to mask-wearing guidelines and were "insufficiently clear" to players about not holding team workouts outside of the franchise's practice facility, which was closed due to the outbreak, the AP said.
Spain announced a new state of emergency plan on Sunday that not only addresses the recent soaring infection numbers in the country but also aims to keep them from coming back. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked the nation’s parliament to approve the state of emergency extension up to May 9, a six-plus month extension of the plan that institutes local night curfews and bans travel between some regions, according to Reuters. According to the mandate, all regions except the Canary Islands will impose a nighttime curfew and limit gatherings of people to six. Individually, many regions in the country, such as the Madrid area, were already enacting similar moves and had been calling on the national government to implement a nationwide measure.
The Canary Islands were excluded from many of the emergency mandates as an effort to save the tourist season. According to Forbes, the islands, located near the coast of Africa, were recently added to the list of “travel corridors” that British travelers may travel to without self-quarantining on their return home.
Nurse Paula Gonzalez dresses in full protective gear before entering the red zone of a hotel for COVID-19 patients under quarantine in Leganes, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. The red zone marks the hotel area where coronavirus patients stay. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
According to statistics kept by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, no seven-day period has been as destructive for a country than what the United States saw over the past week. With an average of 68,767 new cases each day, the U.S. recorded 481,372 new infection in the week, a global record. According to CNN, Sunday's recorded number of 60,789 new cases represents the highest reported number for a Sunday since July. New case totals are lower on Sundays and Mondays due to slower reporting on weekends.
Confirmed cases: 43,117,883
As coronavirus case counts continue to shatter records in the Utah, hospitals in the state are preparing to begin rationing care within the next two weeks. At least two hospitals in Utah have already had to open up overflow ICUs this month, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. State officials have confirmed that they are anticipating for ICUs to overload this week. “The chief medical officers were very clear: They were asking us to be prepared for that,” said Joe Dougherty, spokesman for Utah’s Division of Emergency Management. A spokesperson for Herbert said Friday, “We are not there yet, but we are too close, uncomfortably close.”
The number of staffers for Vice President Mike Pence who tested positive for COVID-19 has now risen to five. So far, the list includes chief of staff Marc Short, close aide Zach Bauer and outside adviser Marty Obst, CNN reported. According to a White House official, both Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday and the vice president remains "in good health," Pence's press secretary Devin O'Malley said on Saturday.
Italy imposed the toughest restrictions since ending its lockdown, as Europe’s second wave of the outbreak accelerated. On Sunday, Italy announced the closure of all bars and restaurants at 6 p.m., the suspension of many sports and leisure activities, and a return to online lessons for high-school students, The Wall Street Journal reports. “The objective is not to bring the contagion curve down to zero, but to bring it under control,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference. Conte acknowledged public frustration but asked Italians to obey the new rules in the coming weeks so that daily life can return closer to normal as the holiday season approaches.
Camel racing has returned for the first time since the coronavirus shut the sport down in February. Professional camel racing started out in the small emirate in the early 1970s. It is known as a Gulf heritage that is inherited from fathers and grandfathers, according to AFP. The local competition in Qatar is home to eight preliminary races and three major festivals home to big prizes. Young children used to ride the camels but since 2004, remote-controlled robot jockeys have replaced young children. The sport slowly resumed its activities in September with their robot jockeys for a local competition in Qatar.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed cases: 42,718,653
The year 2020 has been a confusing time to be sure. The pandemic upended life as we know it across the globe, requiring people everywhere to recalibrate how they go about the day. But adjusting to life in COVID times has perhaps been most confusing in the small town of Knighton in the U.K., which straddles the border of England and Wales. As a result, residents there are subject to two sets of COVID-19 rules, and as Chris Branford, the manager of a teashop in Knighton, put it to AFP: "It’s been a funny time, really. People don’t know where they’re supposed to go, where they can go, where they can’t go." Watch the video below to see what other folks from the border-straddling town have to say about the conundrum.
The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Saturday. "The president is fine. We are in constant contact with the relevant medical services,” according to spokesperson Blazej Spychalski. According to NPR, Spychalski said Duda is now in isolation. In a video, Duda apologized to everyone who he came in contact with and said he has no symptoms. "If I had had any symptoms, please believe me, all meetings would have been canceled," Duda said, The Associated Press translated. Poland’s case count is now surging faster than any point in the pandemic since it began.
It can be hard to differentiate the two based on symptoms alone, Andrew Pekosz, PhD, says, but large numbers of susceptible people and increased rates of severe disease and death set COVID-19 apart from seasonal influenza. Pekosz, a leading virologist who works on both diseases, broke down key differences between COVID-19 and influenza. He found that since December 2019, COVID-19 has killed more people in the U.S. than influenza has in the last five years, Johns Hopkins reports. More people are susceptible to the coronavirus because there is little preexisting immunity to the virus that causes it, while a portion of the population already has some immunity to influenza, which helps limit the number of cases each year. Pekosz also notes that coronavirus has a higher severe disease and mortality rate than influenza in all age groups, except children under the age of 12.
After staying a total of 208 days in the hospital, fifty-year-old Chris Hirte was welcomed home on Thursday morning. Hirte, from Maple Grove, Minnesota, spent five months in the hospital, where he stayed on a ventilator for two months before he moved to a traditional care unit for two months. At one point in his hospital stay, his fever topped 108 degrees, which his sister Dawn Ramaley said was a moment in which they worried they would lose him. Prior to his hospitalization they day before his 50th birthday, Hirte was considered a healthy man. After being released, Hirte suffered from muscle atrophy from being hospitalized. He has now lost mobility in his legs and right hand. Ramaley said he is expected to fully recover. Signs that said “Welcome home Chris” lined the streets leading up to his home when he was released, and neighbors and family members cheered him on. “Well I think I’m fortunate to have love and family like I do,” Hirte said, according to CBS News. “They supported me.”
Healthcare professionals with the Association of Minnesota Chinese Physicians unload 2,000 face masks the association donated. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
The fall surge of coronavirus cases across the nation resulted in a new record on Friday, according to statistics compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Another 83,757 new cases were recorded on Friday -- the highest number of new infections since 77,362 were reported back on July 16. The total pushed the number of cumulative cases in the U.S. above 8.5 million.
A graph showing daily coronavirus cases for the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. (Johns Hopkins University)
Some survivors of COVID-19 are experiencing an unusual side effect that is causing hair to fall out in clumps months after being tested positive. Stacey Maralova or Leetsdale, Pennsylvania tested positive for the coronavirus two months ago, but is still experiencing hair loss, according to NBC News. She says each time she showers, fistfuls of hair come out, causing her to limit washed because of being terrified. Many coronavirus survivors have been dealing with dramatic hair loss that experts say is not entirely unexpected despite being jarring. Dr. Sara Hogan, a dermatologist and health sciences clinical instructor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, said "It is upsetting, especially for those who have gone through a significant clinical course of Covid, to then experience this as well." Actress Alyssa Miano brought attention to hair loss following COVID-19 back in August after posting a startling video on Twitter showing the strands of hair she was losing by brushing. Researchers do not believe COVID-19 attacks hair follicles and that hair loss is the body's reaction to physiological and emotional stress caused by the virus.
People with Down syndrome reportedly have 10 times the risk of dying from COVID-19 than those without the disability, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The study involved over 8 million adults in the U.S. and was sponsored by the U.K., CNN reported. The researchers also discovered there was a fourfold increase in risk of coronavirus-related hospitalizations for those with Down syndrome. ”This was after adjustment for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and care home residence, which our results suggest explained some but not all of the increased risk,” according to the researchers. Down syndrome is not listed by the CDC as a condition that would put an individual at greater risk for COVID-19, but it is linked to immune system, heart and pulmonary complications, the researchers claim.
"People with Down syndrome are more likely to have one or more of these medical conditions that put them at higher risk than those without Down syndrome. However, to be clear, some people with Down syndrome will not have any of these medical conditions that cause higher risk of COVID-19," The National Down Syndrome Society said in July. "These medical conditions in children and adults with Down syndrome can make them 'vulnerable' and at 'high risk' for severe illness. Therefore, people with Down syndrome require closer monitoring, observation, and attention, especially when they are ill."
On Friday, Portugal's parliament decided to make masks mandatory in all crowded outdoor areas across the country. The decision comes as coronavirus cases in the country continue to surge. The measure will remain for at least 70 days, and applies to all residents over the age of 10. Violators risk receiving a fine anywhere between 100 and 500 euros, equal to up to $592 USD. “It should have happened a long time ago, more than six months ago,” taxi driver Antonio Jose, 68, told Reuters while waiting for the next customer for his taxi. “It’s not too late.”
Delta airlines announced on Friday that 460 customers have been added to a no-fly list after refusing to wear a face covering during a flight, according to NBC news. "Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said. It is unclear how long the individuals will not be allowed to fly Delta. American Airlines and United Airlines have also announced that they will ban people from flying if they refuse to wear a face mask, WSB-TV 2 said.
In preparation for ski season, The Colorado Department of Public Health Environment has released an updated guidance on navigating the winter sport amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ski resorts will be encouraged to sell tickets online or over the phone, ask guests if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, limit school groups to 10 students and load guests onto lifts and gondolas in a way that allows for social distancing. Ski resorts are also encouraged to use reservations to keep the number of visitors low. The new guidance also states that ski resorts should have an area prepared for visitors to isolate in if they test positive for the virus, The Associated Press reported. “Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the state health department, said. “We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary.”
One of the staples of Paris, France, has recorded a staggering drop in visitation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ticket sales at the Eiffel Tower have plummeted by 80% compared to last year, AFP reported. The 1,063-foot monument can accommodate up to 25,000 people a day, but is averaging closer to 2,500 per day, according to SETE president Jean-Francois Martins. In addition to the decline in visitation, the hours of operation have had to be resumed following the new curfew in place in Paris, which states that people are not allowed to be out after 9 p.m. Earlier this week, France surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, which has lead to nearly 35,000 deaths across the country.
France has extended its curfew to nearly two-thirds of the country's population as the second wave of the coronavirus has surged across Europe. Last week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a new curfew for Paris while eight other cities are being included, meaning 46 million will be confined to their homes from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. French health authorities reported a new daily record of 41,622 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the nation's total to more than 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. Authorities in many countries are worried the situation is rapidly reaching a tipping point.
The first teen to participate in the effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19 was inoculated last week at Cincinnati Children’s hospital in Ohio. (Twitter / Cincinnati Childrens)
In the race to create an effective vaccine for COVID-19, one company has expanded its clinical trials to include people under the age of 18. Pfizer has become the first drug company in the U.S. to include minors in its vaccine trial, USA Today said. The company said that it hopes to include 3,000 teenagers in its trial, a decision that some doctors say should wait until after an effective vaccine is proven safe for adults. "The pattern of disease is very different in children, and lumping them in with adults would cause me some discomfort,” Dr. Cody Meissner told USA Today. "If I were part of the FDA I would certainly want to be very convinced about the safety of a vaccine before I approved its use in children.” Meanwhile, others are saying that a vaccine trial for children is necessary, including some of the minors that have already started the trial. "The more people they have and the more data they have, the sooner they can help people," a 16-year-old participant said. Last week at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital in Ohio, the first batch of children began the trial, with some participants as young as 12 years old.
The European Union (E.U.) removed Canada, Tunisia and Georgia from its list of countries whose residents should be allowed to visit E.U. countries after a rise in new cases. In addition, the EU added Singapore back to its list after the country's coronavirus numbers saw an improvement, an anonymous EU official said. These are the first changes to come to the EU’s “white list” on travel recommendations in more than two months, Bloomberg News reported. The list went from 11 countries to just nine, including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, and Uruguay.
The demand in vaccines for the winter flu has surged, causing a shortage in many European cities and stoking fears that winter flu cases could spike alongside coronavirus cases. Governments around the continent have boosted vaccine orders this year and have actively encouraged citizens to get flu shots, according to Reuters. The goal to inoculate earlier and cover a larger population than typical, is to help reduce the burden on health services as much as possible to save room for coronavirus patients. Top manufacturers have boosted supplies by an average of 30% but despite operating at full capacity, have been unable to meet the extra demand. The strong, early demand, in cities have led to delays and temporary shortages of the flu shot. The seasonal flu infects between 4 and 50 million per year and kill up to 70,000 Europeans.
Santa Claus will not be greeting kids at Macy's in New York this year for the first time in nearly 160 years, due to coronavirus concerns. The company announced that it is too difficult to create a safe environment during the pandemic, according to The Associated Press. Normally, crowds would walk through tight spaces in the retail giant's flagship Manhattans store on the way to visit Santa. More than a quarter of a million people visit the 34th Street store to see Santa each year. This comes amid many big name stores changing typical holiday strategies amid the coronavirus. Macy's announced plans to offer a free online experience on its website at the end of November, which will allow families to see a virtual tour of Santa's workshop and take a selfie with Santa.
FILE - Santa Claus waves during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 28, 2019, in New York. Macy's said Santa Claus won't be greeting kids at its flagship New York store this year due to the coronavirus, interrupting a holiday tradition started nearly 160 years ago. However, Macy's said the jolly old man will still appear at the end of the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz got an inside look at how COVID-19 is being handled at Wisconsin's largest hospital, where a dire situation continues to unfold. Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Plawk, Wisconsin, is home to five COVID units. At the hospital, coronavirus patients are flipped or "proned" because it is one of the only things that shows an increase in survival chances for those suffering from the virus. Many strategies are used at the hospital to reduce the number of deaths, but even with all of them, the state still continues to see increasing coronavirus daily fatalities. Diaz said one of the biggest things that struck her was that the most critical patients weren't the elderly, but people in their 30s and that the virus does not discriminate and can hit anyone hard. Watch the full report below.
The United States is likely to have enough COVID-19 vaccines available for all vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The claim comes as the U.S. government said that it is “cautiously optimistic” that one or two vaccine candidates, including Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, will be ready for distribution by the end of the year. According to Reuters, Azar added that he expects all seniors, health care workers and first responders to receive a vaccine as soon as January, while the rest of Americans will likely receive it by April.
Southwest Airlines has reported a quarterly loss of over $1 billion, which is the largest quarterly loss ever since the coronavirus pandemic started. The airline has continued to put strict measures in place to try and combat the spread of the coronavirus, such as blocking all middle seats through November to ensure social distancing. Middle seats are expected to be sold again starting Dec. 1 amid recent medical research that breathing COVID-19 particles on a plane is "virtually non-existent," according to Reuters. Southwest will allow passengers to rebook to a less full flight if they prefer to continue avoiding middle seats. The airline industry failed to secure $25 billion in payroll support for airlines which has caused severe losses.
Germany recorded a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday, with 11,287 new infections reported in just 24 hours. This smashes the previous record for the country, which was 7,595. A sharp increase in COVID-19 cases has been occurring in European countries over the last several weeks, according to AFP. Local restrictions and bans on large gatherings have been put in place across the continent. More than 380,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus in Germany so far, with 9,875 deaths.
After nearly a dozen of his guards tested positive for COVID-19, Pope Francis was spotted wearing a mask at an interfaith service in Rome on Tuesday. In a video shared by Bloomberg QuickTake on Twitter, the Pope can be seen wearing a white face mask as he makes his way through a large crowd at the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Over the past months, the Pope has received criticism for not wearing coverings at public functions, even as COVID-19 infections continue to spread across the Vatican and the surrounding areas. Watch below for more.
Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 787,000 which is another hopeful sign that job losses may have eased amid the pandemic. The prior week had 842,000 new claims. The declines bring hope to economists that the job market is recovering, according to The Associated Press. However, many have remained cautious that the improvement could be short-lived as cases continue to surge around the country again. Several states have reported a record number of hospitalizations from the virus which has led to more lockdowns and restrictions which have lead to employers cutting jobs. Unemployment applications declined in 39 states and rose in 11, with Florida seeing a drop of nearly 12,000.
Results from a new research study conducted by Penn State’s College of Medicine indicate that certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses. According to the results, some of these products might help reduce the viral load in the mouth after infection, which can lead to a reduction of the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Craig Meyers, a microbiology and immunology professor at Penn State, led a group of physicians who tested several oral and nasopharyngeal rinses to determine their ability to deactivate the virus. Researchers found that many of the nasal and oral rinses had a strong ability to neutralize the coronavirus. “While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed. The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines,” Meyers said.
During the first six weeks of the season, the NFL has already rescheduled more than a dozen games. But, one thing the NFL hasn't had to do yet is reschedule its biggest game, the Super Bowl, according to CBS Sports. However, not only could that end up happening, but the game could be pushed back all the way to March if regular-season games keep getting postponed. "We could move the Super Bowl back as far as four weeks," Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said in a recent interview with Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV. "Obviously, we'd prefer not to do that, but you do have that flexibility if we run into a number of outbreaks with different teams or if we have to kind of move the schedule back." According to Murphy, the league could push the game back anywhere from one to four weeks, which means that Super Bowl 55, which is currently scheduled for Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida, could conceivably be held on Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, or March 7.
In a new report released on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who can be considered a "close contact" of an individual infected with COVID-19. In the update, the CDC now defines a "close contact" as someone who has been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes over the course of 24 hours. Previously, the guidance described a "close contact" as someone who spends more than 15 consecutive minutes within 6 feet of an infected person. According to Axios, the change is due to a COVID-19 case that developed following multiple brief exposures to the virus in a Vermont correctional facility over the summer. The update is likely to pose changes for schools, workplaces and businesses as the U.S. prepares for a possible third wave of the virus.
On Thursday morning, France became the second country in Western Europe to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, Axios reported. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, France has reported 1,000,369 cases and 34,075 deaths since the start of the outbreak in the nation. Spain was the first Western European nation to surpass the grim milestone on Wednesday. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron declared a state of health emergency and imposed curfews in the country's major cities and hotspots in an effort to control the spread of the virus. There are now seven countries that have topped the 1 million cumulative cases mark, and Colombia is on pace to become the next nation to reach that plateau.
(Image/Johns Hopkins University)
A cautionary tale is currently unfolding in Alaska about how colder weather can allow the virus to thrive, The New York Times reports. As the arrival of colder weather has forced residents back indoors in recent weeks in The Last Frontier, cases have spiked and the state's contact tracing system has become strained, the Times reports. “We’ve been markedly concerned about what the fall and winter will look like, and I think it’s playing out that it’s highly concerning,” Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer told the Times. Last Friday, the average number of weekly cases in Alaska reached its highest point so far in 2020, and the percentage of people testing positive has doubled in the last month, the Times reported. Some tribal villages have even been forced into lockdown, the Times said. Alaska is facing some unique challenges, including many remote villages that aren't connected to the state's road system and how harsh winter storms can disrupt medical officials from reaching these isolated communities, according to the Times' report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) answered the question many have been asking: Is COVID-19 deadlier than the flu? It turns out it is, they said, and about five times more so. According to data from the CDC, patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are five times more likely die compared to those with the flu, while also being at risk for 17 additional, serious health complications such as pneumonia and blood clots. The data shows that 21% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients died while in care, compared to 4% of flu patients, according to Live Science. Among minority groups, including Black and Hispanic patients, complications such as respiratory and neurologic issues were more likely than with white patients, which the CDC said may be due to “social, environmental, economic and structural inequalities.”
A Sri Lankan woman reacts as a medical officer attempts to collect a swab sample to test for Covid-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy walked away from a news conference after learning a member of his senior staff recently tested positive for COVID-19. Murphy tested negative on Monday and again on Wednesday, according to a statement from the governor's communications director, ABC News reports. "Per guidance from public health officials, the individual is currently quarantining at home," the statement said. "We have begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who may have come into contact with our colleague during the potential infection window." The staffer who tested positive was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intergovernmental Affairs, Mike Delamater. Another staffer also tested positive on Wednesday as well. "This afternoon, Daniel Bryan, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Strategic Communications, tested positive for COVID-19," the governor's office said in a statement. "He took the test out of an abundance of caution and remains asymptomatic. The contact tracing process is underway, and anyone, including members of press, believed to have exposure as defined by CDC guidelines will be notified." Murphy apologized for leaving the briefing on Wednesday earlier than expected. "I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field," Murphy said. "I cannot ask President Trump not to come to Bedminster and have me sit here. I have no symptoms. Again, I tested negative on Monday, but I got to go take myself at least off the field and get tested again today. As you all know, if I was with someone Saturday night and got tested Sunday morning, that doesn't really tell you a lot," Murphy said. "You've got to wait and see if there wasn't any incubating."
Since trick-or-treating is mostly an outdoor activity it is on the safer side of the spectrum. However, there are still ways to limit the spread of COVID-19. Parents can create a clear plan for children to follow so they can keep themselves and others safe when trick-or-treating. Explain what your child can expect and what is expected of them before going out to trick-or-treat. If you are handing out candy, you can also take part in making others feel comfortable.
Stick to outdoor trick-or-treating
Line up for candy instead of gathering at the door
Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask
Set up a station for individually wrapped treats
Use hand sanitizer
Now 99-year-old Florentina Martin is back to watching her favorite TV shows and playing games on a tablet with her five-year-old great-grandson Pedro after beating COVID-19 in September. Her granddaughter’s greatest fear was not that the disease would kill her, but that she would end up alone on an emergency ward. “I always thought loneliness would finish her off before the virus because she’s afraid of being left alone, especially in the hospital,” Noelia Valle said. She thinks her grandmother probably got infected at her 99th birthday party on Sept. 16, when the family went outside to enjoy the fine weather with drinks on a terrace without masks. Martin only developed mild symptoms and was able to recuperate at home in Madrid. “I’m well. I’m really OK,” Martin said, Reuters reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the country is not planning to impose any restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, even as a new countrywide record daily death toll was reported. Expectations that Moscow might impose a widespread lockdown were raised when 15,700 new cases were reported on Wednesday. “Regarding the possibility of harsh, total measures - we are not planning to do it. The government does not have such plans,” Putin said at a meeting held by video link with Russia’s top business figures, Reuters reported. Putin said Russia needs to focus on administering tests for coronavirus, observing safety measures and start vaccinations.
Johns Hopkins University has been tracking the global outbreak of coronavirus from the onset. The university's COVID-19 dashboard has been tracking all of the rapidly changing information from total global cases, to the latest reported deaths and global recoveries through a variety of maps and graphs. For those looking to glean insight into the current spread of the virus in the U.S., the school put out a one-minute YouTube video highlighting the data in motion. More than 60,000 new cases were reported nationwide on Tuesday and the country recorded another 933 fatalities. Watch the video below.
AstraZeneca experienced another potential setback Wednesday after a report from Brazil said a volunteer participating in the company's coronavirus vaccine trial had died, CNBC reported. A spokesperson from the University of Oxford, which is helping develop the vaccine with AstraZeneca, said that “there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial," CNBC reported. “The independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue,” Oxford spokesperson Alexander Buxton said. The university provided no additional details on the volunteer's death. But news of the fatality hit the drugmaker's stock price. Shares of AstraZeneca fell about 1% during the early afternoon hours, CNBC reported.
With more than 7.6 million documented cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, India trails only the U.S. in terms of most cases by country. The country has struggled to get the virus under control despite instituting the world's biggest lockdown earlier this year. Now, scientists think they may have a method to help officials gain ground on the scourge. A new "fast and cheap" paper coronavirus test will soon be available in the country, according to the medical research website Medical Xpress. Researchers believe that the low cost and ease of use for the test can help mitigate the spread of the virus. "This test doesn't require any sophisticated equipment or highly-trained manpower," co-creator Souvik Maiti, a scientist at New Delhi's CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), said, according to Medical Xpress. Watch the video below for more.
Three new studies published on Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found mixed results from tests examining the effectiveness of an arthritis drug that doctors were using on COVID-19 patients. The drug, known as Tocilizumab, has been used throughout the pandemic by doctors looking to mitigate an unusual immune response known as a "cytokine storm" which can cause severe organ damage in some Covid-19 patients, AFP reported. Tocilizumab is said to work differently than steroids in that it can block a particular type of protein from causing inflammation, AFP said. The largest of the three studies was produced by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, which is affiliated with Harvard. Researchers tested 4,000 patients and determined that the risk of death at 30 was days "was 28 and 38 percent among tocilizumab-treated and non-tocilizumab-treated patients, respectively," according to AFP's report. However, the Brigham and Women's study was only observational and it does not compare to the drug with a standard treatment, according to the report. The U.S. National Institutes of Health does not recommend tocilizumab to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials, AFP said. The other two studies were conducted in France and Italy.
In the early days of the pandemic, a patient hospitalized with COVID-19 faced a daunting 25.6% chance of dying. Over the time since then, that chance of death has dropped to 7.6% -- a swing of 18% percentage points. According to NPR, this data comes from a pair of new studies, both of which have been peer reviewed, that have examined how patients infected with the coronavirus are faring. Leora Horwitz of New York University's Grossman School of Medicine who is an author of one of the studies told NPR, “We find that the death rate has gone down substantially.” The good news comes for those with underlying conditions as well as older patients. But Horwitz cautioned that a 7.6% chance of mortality “is still higher than many infectious diseases, including the flu.” She added, "It still has the potential to be very harmful in terms of long-term consequences for many people."
But what the studies do suggest is that the medical system is improving at treating coronavirus patients, a point former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb made on Twitter. Gottlieb said the studies reveal that health “providers are getting better at treating the illness.” But doctors also looked at whether the fact that more younger people – who are less at risk for severe cases of COVID-19 – are skewing the death rate numbers at all. And Horwitz also pointed to some factors over which doctors have no control that also could be contributing to the declining death rate.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. during the pandemic were likely undercounted, and an estimated nearly 300,000 people in the U.S. died from Jan 26. to Oct. 3, Reuters reported. That specific number of deaths, 299,022, is not all directly from COVID-19, but the disease still likely played a role in the number of fatalities, the CDC said. “There are many factors that could contribute to an increase in deaths indirectly due to the pandemic, with disruptions to health care being one factor,” study author Lauren Rossen, from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told Reuters. A count compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows 221,083 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19.
Separately, the Associated Press reports that U.S. drug overdose deaths are on track to hit an all-time high in 2020 and the pandemic is said to be playing a big role. Experts say the health crisis has has "left people stressed and isolated, disrupted treatment and recovery programs, and contributed to an increasingly dangerous illicit drug supply," according to the AP's report. For Kentucky, this past May was the deadliest month for overdoses in at least five years. Across the country, nearly 74,000 overdose deaths were listed from April 2019 to March 2020, up from 68,000 over the same period one year earlier, the AP said.
Disneyland won't be reopening any time soon following the latest requirements enacted by the California Department of Health. According to Reuters, California's Health Secretary, Mark Ghaly, said theme parks that hold more than 15,000 visitors have to wait to resume operations until a specific county's COVID-19 risk level reaches the lowest level of what's referred to as "minimum" spread. Reuters reports that the lowest tier must mean a number less than one per 100,000. “These State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future," Ken Potrock, the president of the Disneyland resort said in a statement. Ghaly said officials were worried about the potential for "random mixing" at larger parks like Disneyland that welcome guests from all over the country, according to Reuters.
After seeing steadily increasing daily case totals since the beginning of the pandemic, India has finally seen daily case increases level off in recent weeks. On Monday and Tuesday, the country recorded consecutive days with less than 60,000 new cases for the first time in over two months. At its peak, saw multiple days with over 95,000 new cases as the country's case total has skyrocketed to over 7.6 million, second most in the world behind the United States.
In an address to the nation, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged citizens to keeping fighting vigilantly as the Hindu festival season approaches, according to the New York Times. "We must not let it deteriorate,” he said of the country's progress.
Confirmed cases: 40,862,940
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