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COVID-19: Pandemic is getting worse as new cases surge across the U.S.
Months into the COVID-19 pandemic states are setting records for the most new cases and deaths in a week since the pandemic began.
Coronavirus continues to wrack the United States, with 44 states reporting rising caseloads in the latest week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Only Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia reported lower numbers.
The death rate has also edged back up to about 800 Americans per day, a level not seen in more than a month.
In Los Angeles, health officials said the Lakers’ NBA Finals victory on Oct. 11 may have contributed to a spike as residents gathered for watch parties and celebrations. The county reached 300,000 COVID-19 infections and 7,000 deaths on Monday.
And in Texas, coronavirus cases are nearing 900,000, according to a USA TODAY analysis. The mayor of Juárez is asking the Mexican government to consider temporarily banning U.S. citizens from nonessential travel over the border as COVID-19 continues to overwhelm hospitals in El Paso, Texas.
Meanwhile, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice Monday night in a ceremony near the Rose Garden, where a month earlier a crowded event announcing her nomination may have contributed to COVID-19 spread in the White House and Senate.
In contrast to last month’s suspected “superspreader” event, attendees were separated a few feet from each other on the White House South Lawn during last night’s ceremony and almost everyone wore a mask.
Here’s what to know today:
- The U.S. reported 489,769 COVID-19 cases in a week ending Monday, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. It’s another record high since July, when the nation saw a peak in cases.
- A new report found that about 20% of U.S. nursing homes in late August had critical shortages of masks, gowns, gloves and other equipment needed to protect residents from COVID-19.
- New Jersey set an 8 p.m. curfew due to the coronavirus in Newark, the largest city in the state. Health officials reported 948 hospitalizations Monday – the highest since July.
Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.7 million cases and 225,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 43.5 million cases and 1.2 million deaths.
Read this: USA TODAY recently checked back in with some of the dozens of Americans who spoke to us earlier this year after losing jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and found that many have edged closer to financial calamity.
A United Nations panel predicts a rebound in international tourism won’t happen before the third quarter of 2021, citing travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
And some experts from the UN World Travel Organization don’t think the rebound will occur until 2022. The panel, in a statement Tuesday, said travel restrictions and border closures were the main obstacle, along with slow containment of the coronavirus and low traveler confidence.
Weak economic conditions and the lack of a coordinated response among countries to the pandemic are additional factors weighing on international travel, the panel said.
The UN panel forecasts a cumulative decline in international travel this year of 70%. During July and August, usually the two busiest months of the year for international travel, arrivals declined 81% and 79%, respectively.
That cost the sector $730 billion in losses, eight times more than it endured from the Great Recession more than a decade ago, the panel said.
– Curtis Tate
The number of new coronavirus infections is growing so quickly that Philadelphia is losing the ability to adequately trace the contacts of everybody who is testing positive and may have to impose restrictions on activity, officials said Tuesday.
As a result, city officials may resort to managing some cases through guidance or asking people who tested positive to reach out to some of the people with whom they may have had contact while contagious, Farley said.
Between 41,000 and 57,000 Chicagoans have “active, infectious COVID,” and cases are rising in all parts of the city and in all age groups, Allison Arwady, chief medical officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health, said at a press conference Tuesday.
Although officially, one in 250 Chicagoans have been infected and diagnosed with COVID-19 just in the last three weeks, Arwady said, research suggests that every confirmed case in Chicago translates to five or seven true cases of COVID-19, meaning one in 50 Chicagoans has been infected within the last three weeks.
“This is spreading, and this is why we recommended last week and continue to recommend that you not invite anyone into your home that does not live there, unless it is for an essential purpose,” Arwady said.
A 187-page study by Harvard scientists released Tuesday concluded that air travel “is as safe as or substantially safer than the routine activities people undertake during these times,” such as eating out or grocery shopping.
The study points to the ventilation systems on planes that refresh the air every two to three minutes, and new measures including heavy-duty disinfecting, strict face mask enforcement and social distancing during boarding and deplaning.
The relatively rosy report from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s new Aviation Public Health Initiative, paid for by airlines, airplane manufacturers and airports, came to similar conclusions as recent studies promoted or sponsored by the industry.
However, it comes at the heels of a troubling report published late last week that linked a COVID-19 outbreak to a seven-hour flight to Ireland, which resulted in 13 passengers testing positive and another 46 people in contact with them becoming infected.
As 44 states report rising caseloads in the latest week, the U.S. recorded 489,769 COVID-19 cases in a week, setting another bleak record for the country, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The death rate has also edged back up to about 800 Americans per day, a level not seen in more than a month. In the latest week, 5,587 people died. In comparison, 5,449 American service members have been killed in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria since 2001.
Additionally, scientists found younger people who had recovered from the disease had a slower loss of antibodies compared to people over the age of 75.
While these findings are consistent with previous reports, the study samples were taken from different people over time, which may have affected results. The study also only measured lgG instead of other antibodies or T cells, which also contribute to overall immunity.
The ceremony took place near the Rose Garden, where a month earlier Barrett’s nomination was announced in a crowded event where many public officials failed to wear masks. Experts suspect the “superspreader” event may have contributed to COVID-19 transmission in the White House and Senate.
In contrast, about 200 chairs were separated a few feet apart during last night’s ceremony on the White House South Lawn and most attendees wore masks. The event marked one of the first times the White House took social distancing protocols into any kind of consideration.
An analysis by Public Interest Research Group and Frontier Group found that about 20% of nursing homes in late August had shortages of masks, gowns, gloves and other equipment needed to shield residents, workers and visitors from novel coronavirus.
More recent data shows the nursing homes’ equipment supplies improved as the summer outbreak in Sunbelt states waned. Only 12.3% of nursing homes did not have a one-week supply of N95 masks as of mid-October, and only 8.7% lacked a one-week supply of gowns.
Still, representatives of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living said demand for protective equipment is again on the upswing, making it difficult for some homes to secure needed supplies.
The White House coronavirus response coordinator said Monday that North Dakota’s capital city had the worst COVID-19 protocols she’s seen in her travels around the country after she spent a day looking around.
Dr. Deborah Birx, whose tour has taken her to nearly 40 states, said she found the absence of face coverings and the lack of social distancing in Bismarck “deeply unfortunate” and a danger to public health.
North Dakota continues to rank first in the country for new virus cases per capita in the last two weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project, and the Bismarck area has in recent months been a hot spot.
The Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Finals coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, and it’s “highly likely” watch parties held by Lakers fans and the victory celebration outside of Staples Center contributed to the spike, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said.
That has fueled concerns of another potential spike in COVID-19 transmission rates because the Los Angeles Dodgers are one victory away from winning their first World Series title in 32 years.
The Dodgers lead the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be played Tuesday and if the Dodgers lose, the teams will play Game 7 on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas.
– Josh Peter
The mayor of Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, is ordering all nonessential businesses to close by 8 p.m. starting Tuesday. The city is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Nail salons, beauty salons and barbershops will be open by appointment only with no customers allowed to wait inside. All sports games and practices have been canceled in the city’s East Ward, which has the highest positivity rate of more than 25%, CBS New York reports.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is surging in the state. Health officials on Monday reported 948 hospitalizations – the highest since July. Gov. Philip D. Murphy on Saturday extended the state’s Public Health Emergency after health officials reported 1,994 new positive cases, the highest daily total since May 5.
With Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, the University of Arizona is putting measures in place to prohibit the spread of COVID-19.
The university is asking all students to fill out a survey on their planned Thanksgiving travel and to schedule a COVID-19 test as close to their travel date as possible to prohibit the transmission of COVID-19. After Thanksgiving, all classes will be held online only and students who travel out of the Tucson area are encouraged to finish the semester remotely.
University officials are also requiring students to select one of the three following travel options: Students planning to travel for Thanksgiving break can choose to complete the rest of the semester outside of the Tucson area or completely online from their student residence. Students who do not travel for Thanksgiving break are able to complete the semester as is from their student residence.
– Brooke Newman, Arizona Republic
The mayor of Juárez made an urgent plea for help from the Mexican government, asking for medical supplies and to consider banning U.S. citizens from crossing the border. Like in El Paso, Texas, new cases of COVID-19 are surging in Chihuahua state with the epicenter in Juárez, which hit 1,100 deaths over the weekend, state public health officials said.
Travel by U.S. citizens in “indiscriminate crossings at the border in Ciudad Juárez are contributing in an active manner to the expansion of the virus,” Cabada said Friday in a letter to Roberto Velasco Alvarez, director for North America in Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Relations.
The U.S. has restricted nonessential Mexican tourist travel over the land border since March 21, but U.S. residents still are able to go to Mexico.
– Daniel Borunda and Lauren Villagran, El Paso Times
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 650.19 points, or 2.3%, to 27,685.38. It was the blue-chip average’s biggest one-day drop since Sept. 3. The S&P 500 slid 1.9% to 3,400.97, its worst day since Sept. 23. The Nasdaq composite slumped 1.6% to 11,358.94.
The National Institutes of Health has stopped a trial of a monoclonal antibody being tested in hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19, deciding that it was unlikely to be of help. A similar trial in patients at an earlier stage of disease will continue, Eli Lilly and Co., which makes the antibody, said late Monday.
The trial was stopped earlier this month because of safety concerns. Lilly said that an analysis showed that the drug, bamlanivimab, was not dangerous, but also unlikely to help advanced patients.
President Donald Trump, who received a different pair of monoclonal antibodies when he was sick with COVID-19, has proclaimed them a “cure” and promised to provide them free to any American who needs them.
The company that makes the drug he took, Regeneron, has requested an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin providing it. Lilly has requested similar authorization for bamlanivimab in recently diagnosed high-risk patients.
– Karen Weintraub
Contributing: The Associated Press