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Old 11-18-2020, 04:14 PM
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Exclamation Covid-19 Live Updates: The Virus Has Now Killed 250,000 People in the U.S.

Covid-19 Live Updates: The Virus Has Now Killed 250,000 People in the U.S.
By: The New York Times News - 11-28-20

New York City public schools are shutting their doors again. And the C.D.C. has deleted a disputed document it posted this summer to support President Trump’s push to reopen classrooms.

RIGHT NOWThe Mayo Clinic is strained by hundreds of virus infections among its medical staff.6ea3384a6#a-quarter-of-a-million-people-have-died-in-the-us-from-covid-19.

Here’s what you need to know:

* A quarter of a million people have died in the U.S. from Covid-19.

* N.Y.C. will shutter public schools on Thursday as virus cases increase.

* The C.D.C. has withdrawn its most contentious school reopening document.

* The F.D.A. authorizes the first at-home coronavirus test.

* With no national strategy in the U.S., a patchwork of local responses gathers speed.

* Boston’s mayor tells college students: If you go home for Thanksgiving, stay home until the spring.

* A new study questions whether masks protect wearers. You need to wear them anyway.

A quarter of a million people have died in the U.S. from Covid-19.

The United States passed a grim milestone on Wednesday, hitting 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with the number expected to keep climbing steeply as infections surge nationwide.

Experts predict that the country that will soon be reporting 2,000 deaths a day or more, matching or exceeding the spring peak, and that 100,000 to 200,000 more Americans could die in the coming months.

Just how bad it gets will depend on a variety of factors, including how well preventive measures are followed and when a vaccine is introduced.

“It all depends on what we do and how we address this outbreak,” said Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University epidemiologist who has modeled the spread of the disease. “That is going to determine how much it runs through us.”

Back in March, when the virus was still relatively new and limited mainly to a few significant pockets like New York, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, predicted that it might kill up to 240,000 Americans.

It has now passed that mark, with no end in sight.

Since the very beginning, preventive measures like wearing masks have been caught up in a political divide, and that remains the case today, as the Trump administration resists beginning a transition of power to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and cooperating on a pandemic strategy.

New vaccines may begin to have an impact next year, experts said, and for now, developments in treating the disease as well as a younger population getting infected mean that far fewer people who are admitted to hospitals are dying.

The deadliest day of the pandemic in the United States was April 15, when the reported daily toll hit 2,752.

There is always a lag in deaths, compared with the rate of infection and hospitalizations, and with the latter measure now hitting records every day — 76,830 Americans were hospitalized on Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project — the death toll is certain to go on rising.

Covid-19 deaths have continued their bleak march with little respite throughout the year.

By March 24, a little over a month into the pandemic, 50,000 people had died. That number doubled to 100,000 by May 27 and added another 50,000 within two months, by July 29. Two months later, on Sept. 22, the total reached 200,000.

Toward the end of the summer, the number of cases being reported daily in the United States eased, after a brief spike in July. But they have been soaring again since the beginning of November.

On Sept. 22, there had been somewhat more than 6.9 million total cases in the United States, according to a New York Times database. As of today, there have been more than 11.5 million.

The combination of the onset of winter, fatigue with preventive measures, holiday travel and gatherings as well as the patchwork of responses across all 50 states is expected to drive that number still higher.

Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States
On Nov. 17 14-day
change Trend
New cases 159,508 +79%
New deaths 1,583 +38%

On Nov. 17 14-day
change Trend
528,803 +14%
9,666 +30%

N.Y.C. will shutter public schools on Thursday as virus cases increase.

New York City’s public school system will shutter on Thursday, the schools chancellor, Richard A. Carranza, wrote in an email to principals, in a worrisome signal that a second wave of the coronavirus has arrived. Schools have been open for in-person instruction for just under eight weeks.

“As of this morning, November 18, the City has now reached this threshold of test positivity citywide and, as a result, the DOE will temporarily close down all public school buildings for in-person learning, Thursday, November 19,” Mr. Carranza wrote shortly after 2 p.m. on Wednesday, about four hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio was scheduled to give a news conference. Mr. de Blasio confirmed the news in a tweet.

The shutdown — which was prompted by the city reaching a 3 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average — is perhaps the most significant setback for New York’s recovery since the spring, when the city was a global epicenter of the outbreak.

It was also a major disappointment for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was the first big-city mayor in the country to reopen school buildings. Moving to all-remote instruction will disrupt the education of many of the roughly 300,000 children who have been attending in-person classes and create major child care problems for parents who count on their children being at school for at least part of the week.

Virus transmission in city schools had remained very low since classrooms reopened at the end of September, and the spike in cases does not appear to be caused by the reopening of school buildings.

Still, as the city chose to end in-person learning, indoor dining and gyms will remain open at a reduced capacity. Nonessential workers can continue to use public transportation to commute to offices.

That dynamic has infuriated parents run ragged by fluctuating school schedules and frustrated public health experts who have been pushing for more in-person instruction. It has also led to calls for the mayor and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to make keeping classrooms open their highest priority.

New York is home to the nation’s largest school system, with 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students. The city’s public school families, the vast majority of whom are low-income and Black or Latino, have endured roughly eight months of confusion about whether and when schools would be open or closed.

Mr. de Blasio had put school reopening at the center of his push to revive the city, and he has repeatedly said that remote learning is inferior to classroom instruction. But many teachers and parents have said that the city has not done nearly enough to improve online learning.

Case numbers are rising so quickly in New York that more restrictions appear likely. Mr. de Blasio has said that indoor dining should be reassessed; only Mr. Cuomo has the authority to close indoor dining rooms.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo said that he would shut down indoor dining in the city and impose other restrictions once the state’s data showed that the city had reached a 3 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

On Wednesday, the state’s health data showed that the city had a seven-day rolling average of 2.5 percent. Over the course of the pandemic, the city’s health department’s numbers have often differed from the state’s.

Meeting the 3 percent threshold would qualify the city to be an “orange” zone, the second level of restrictions under the state’s color-coded tier system, which applies different limits in regions of the state where the virus is surging more severely than others.

Parts of the city where cases have risen in recent weeks have been subject to more restrictions, but officials have declined to impose restrictions across all five boroughs.

On Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo also said that parts of the Bronx would be placed into a “yellow zone” and that the state would expand the existing yellow zone in Queens. In those zones, open schools must conduct weekly testing of students and staff, gatherings are limited to 25 people and houses of worship are limited to half their capacity.

Statewide, New York reported a seven-day average positivity test rate of 2.88 percent, and 2,202 people were hospitalized, Mr. Cuomo said.

In the state’s orange zones, all schools, private and public, are required to close and shift to remote learning. Under the state’s plan, schools must remain closed for at least four days and are allowed to reopen if they meet certain testing criteria.

In orange zones, some nonessential businesses deemed high risk, such as gyms and personal-care services, are also required to close. Indoor dining must end, and restaurants with outdoor dining can serve no more than four people at a table. Houses of worship are limited to 25 people or 33 percent capacity, and all mass gatherings are limited to 10 people. Gatherings at private residences are also limited to 10 people statewide.

The state added new restrictions to parts of Western New York, where Mr. Cuomo said the positivity rate was 5.1 percent. Parts of Erie County, which encompasses Buffalo, will be moved into an orange zone; other parts of the county and parts of neighboring Niagara County will become a yellow zone.

About the writer(s): Eliza Shaprio & Micahel Gold.


The C.D.C. has withdrawn its most contentious school reopening document.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deleted a disputed document it posted this summer to support President Trump’s hard push to reopen school buildings this fall.

The agency withdrew two school reopening documents last month with no notice or calls for public comment, after acknowledging that some statements it made in July were outdated, according to a congressional subcommittee that launched an investigation into the agency’s summer guidance.

One document in particular, titled “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall,” proved particularly contentious because it struck many as reading more like a political speech than a scientific report.

The document contained statements that echoed Mr. Trump’s emphasis on the benefits of returning to in-person learning while downplaying the potential risks the virus carried for children and teachers. It was issued two weeks after Mr. Trump railed against the agency’s school guidance as “very tough and expensive” and threatened to withhold funding from schools that did not offer in-person classes.

“Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children — while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families,” the document concluded.

A House panel, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis called on the C.D.C. to rescind the documents and other statements after a New York Times investigation published in September found that they has been heavily influenced by White House officials and issued over the protests of C.D.C. scientists.

“I am pleased that, in response to this request, C.D.C. has now removed two guidance documents unsupported by science,” the committee chairman, Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said in a statement. “With infections rising dramatically across the country, it is critical that schools, teachers and families have accurate, trustworthy public health information on the coronavirus.”

The withdrawal of the July statements was first reported by The Hill. The C.D.C. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, the C.D.C.’s deputy incident manager for the Covid-19 response acknowledged in a briefing with committee members that the agency did not “have enough data to be sure” that children are “unlikely to be major drivers of the spread of the virus,” as the July guidance asserted, the committee said.

In an Oct. 23 letter, published by the subcommittee Tuesday, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, told the committee said that “some of the information on our education guidance pages is out of date.”

The most recent C.D.C. guidance, dated Oct. 29, still contains the language “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall,” but it now links to “C.D.C. Considerations” for reopenings that are much more measured.

“To be sure, the best available evidence from countries that have reopened schools indicates that Covid-19 poses low risks to school-aged children — at least in areas with low community transmission,” the new guidance says. “That said, the body of evidence is growing that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports might play a role in transmission.”

By: Erica L. Green

The Mayo Clinic is strained by hundreds of virus infections among its medical staff.

Hundreds of health care workers at the Mayo Clinic have become infected with the coronavirus, even as the prestigious hospital system is treating rapidly growing numbers of patients with Covid-19.

“All of our hospitals are really stretched,” Dr. Amy Williams, who leads the hospital system’s response to Covid-19, said in a news conference on Tuesday. “Many are absolutely full at this time.”

At its flagship hospital in Rochester, Minn., Covid patients occupied all 32 beds in the medical intensive care unit, she said, and the hospital was adding another dozen beds to cope with the inflow of seriously ill patients expected in the next few weeks.

Staffing has emerged as a critical issue, Dr. Williams said. “We are most concerned about not being able to care for patients because of the decrease in our staff due to Covid-19 reasons, whether it is they are exposed and they’re out on quarantine, they’re taking care of a family member who has Covid-19 or they have been infected themselves,” she said.

In the last two weeks alone, about 900 employees have received a Covid diagnosis in Rochester, in the system’s 20 community hospitals in Wisconsin and Minnesota, or in the outpatient clinics it operates there. Both states are experiencing sustained surges in cases that are far worse than at any previous time in the pandemic, with Minnesota reporting nearly 6,000 new cases on Tuesday.

Most of the infections among the Mayo Clinic staff have occurred from community spread, Dr. Williams said, while a few have been traced to exposure from other employees when eating together unmasked. “We’re really not seeing exposures from patient to staff,” she said.

With about 1,500 of its 55,000 employees in the Midwest now sidelined because of the virus, the organization is asking recently retired nurses to come back to work; relocating nurses from its facilities in Arizona; and shifting nurses from other aspects of its operations, like research, to help care for patients. The Mayo hospital system have also cut back on the number of nonessential procedures it is performing.

— Reed Abelson
With no national strategy in the U.S., a patchwork of local responses gathers speed.

One day after the governor of California announced that the state was “pulling the emergency brake” on its reopening and reinstating broad restrictions, Los Angeles County went a step further on Tuesday and announced a curfew for businesses.

Starting Friday, restaurants, breweries, bars, wineries and nonessential retail establishments must close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. A similar move is being considered statewide.

“This is a different kind of moment, a new level of danger,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Monday before the new measures were announced. “If we don’t make these decisions now, there really is only one outcome: We will almost certainly have to shut things down again. And more people will get sick and die.”

The moves in California came as state and local leaders across the United States try to slow the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 250,000 Americans and is now setting daily records for the number of people hospitalized with the disease. On Wednesday morning, that number stood at 76,823, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday that the nation needed “a uniform approach,” instead of a “disjointed” state-by-state, city-by-city response.

But that is not what is happening. Like in the spring, when the country failed to develop a coordinated national response, a patchwork of measures is being put in place to combat the virus. Public health experts say the lack of a national strategy has been a primary reason for the country’s world-leading caseload and death toll.

Unlike in the spring, the virus is now spreading much more widely, exacting a deadly toll in communities from coast to coast. On Tuesday, more than 1,580 new deaths were reported nationwide, the highest single-day total since mid-May. Five states set single-day records for new deaths.

In the past two days, Ohio announced a nightly curfew, and Mississippi extended a mask mandate to seven more counties. Iowa will issue its first statewide mask order, Maryland will order all bars, restaurants and night clubs to close by 10 p.m., and Pennsylvania will require anyone who enters the state to be tested before arrival.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that, starting Friday, the entire state would move to Tier 3 under its mitigation plan, which limits the number of customers at many businesses and restricts private indoor gatherings to people in the same household, among other measures. Casinos and indoor venues like theaters and museums must close, and outdoor group activities will be limited to 10 people.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that, beginning Friday, all bars, restaurants and night clubs would have to close by 10 p.m. and businesses, religious institutions and organizations would be limited to 50 percent of capacity.

In Mississippi, where Gov. Tate Reeves lifted a statewide mask mandate in September, new extensions in parts of the state meant that masks were only required in 22 counties out of 82.

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a rare Republican leader of a red state who has consistently bucked President Trump’s opposition to tough restrictions, announced that his state would be under a curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. for three weeks starting on Thursday.

Ohio has reported a daily average of more than 7,000 new cases over the past week, seven times as many as in early October and more than at any time since the pandemic began. “These are astronomical numbers,” the governor said at a news conference on Tuesday, urging residents to wear masks and maintain strict social distancing until a vaccine is widely available.

Mr. DeWine said all retail businesses would have to close during the curfew and that residents should stay home unless they are commuting to work or traveling for emergency purposes. He called the rules “common sense.”


Note: This report goes on and on and on. This virus is a real killer.

In the past week, the United States has reported a daily average of nearly 160,000 new coronavirus cases. The virus is overwhelming health systems and killing more than 1,100 Americans a day. But there is a slender silver lining: It is hastening the testing of vaccines that could eventually end the pandemic.

The surging virus has already allowed the drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna to accelerate the testing of their vaccines, which appear to be very effective at preventing Covid-19.

In late-stage vaccine trials, the faster that participants get sick, the faster that drug developers gain enough data to know whether their vaccines are effective.

Pfizer said on Wednesday that its coronavirus vaccine was 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects — the first set of complete results from a late-stage vaccine trial as Covid-19 cases skyrocket around the globe.

Moderna announced on Monday that an early analysis had found its vaccine to be 94.5 percent effective. The company had planned on needing only 53 cases of Covid-19 to turn up in its trial before experts would take a first look at the data. But the nationwide surge in infections helped Moderna blow past that number: The results were based on 95 sick participants.

The fast-growing pandemic could also speed up trials of treatments for Covid-19.

The drug company Regeneron, for example, is testing the antibody treatment that President Trump received after he caught Covid-19. A company spokeswoman said enrollment in its trial has accelerated slightly this month.

Even if the grim situation in the United States ultimately helps vaccines and treatments become available sooner, the country would have been much better off if it had kept the pandemic under control, public health experts said.

“This is not how anyone would want it to play out,” said Natalie Dean, a biostatistician and an expert in vaccine trial design at the University of Florida. “I’d rather be South Korea,” which has kept the virus at bay since early in the year, she said.

— Rebecca Robbins

France surpasses two million cases, and other news from around the world.

Biden calls on the G.S.A. head to authorize the transition so he can focus on the pandemic response.

A looming hospital crisis forced Iowa’s Republican governor to change course on masks.

A lawsuit accuses New York City of blocking the release of coronavirus records.

A protest in Berlin against virus restrictions turns violent.

Some New York officials won’t enforce the state’s 10-person gathering limit.

Boston’s mayor tells college students: If you go home for Thanksgiving, stay home until the spring.

Jordan, once a model of virus control, is now, is now a hot spot.

Kentucky closes its schools and bans indoor dining again as virus cases surge.


The winds normally blow from East to West or West to East - so there is no way to hide from being exposed. We have a real threat in our World today and its seems its going to be with us for sometime.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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