What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones discusses the Ravens-Steelers game being moved to Tuesday …. as long as their are no additional COVID-19 cases among the Ravens.
The U.S. could see a “surge superimposed upon that surge we are already in” if Americans fail to wear masks in public and cut down on gatherings, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
“We’re entering into what’s really a precarious situation,” Fauci said on “Meet the Press.”
England is poised to begin vaccinating health care workers as soon as Dec. 7. In the U.S. the first vaccine could receive emergency use authorization as soon as Dec. 10, and vaccinations could start just days later.
But it will take months for the majority of Americans to get inoculated. The head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, warned young people who gathered in recent weeks not go home for the holidays without wearing a mask, even indoors.
In November alone, the nation has recorded in excess of 4 million new cases, more than twice the October total. On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 200,000 daily cases for the first time. Current hospitalizations have climbed to a record 91,635. Ohio physician Syed Ahmad said on Twitter that he was notified the University of Cincinnati Medical Center was full because of COVID cases, forcing cancellation of elective surgeries.
“Driving home, passed a restaurant that was full,” Ahmad said on Twitter. “Shaking my head. Frustrated is an understatement.”
Here’s what to know Sunday:
- The NFL has ordered team facilities to be closed to in-person activities early next week in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 among players and staffers.
- Kings County, New York, where Brooklyn is located, is the second American county to reach 7,500 reported deaths, after Los Angeles County in California. Globally, only 30 countries have reported 7,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.
- Many government leaders are again making moves to slow the spread. In Los Angeles County, a three-week stay-at-home order takes effect Monday. The nation’s most populous county on Friday hit an average of 4,500 cases a day over a five-day period, triggering the order.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 13.3 million cases and over 266,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Worldwide, there have been over 62.5 million cases and 1.45 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
📰 What we’re reading: A mother in Detroit battled to get the best care for her virus-stricken, autistic son. Then her mom got sick, too.
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The first load of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines were flown from Belgium to the U.S. starting Friday, a significant milestone in the fight against the coronavirus.
There are no authorized coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. yet, but preparations for distribution are ramping up. Under Food and Drug Administration rules, a vaccine cannot be shipped to actual administration sites until it was been either licensed or authorized by the FDA. Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to get the OK for distribution by mid-December.
While it can’t be delivered to doctors, vaccine can be prepositioned at distribution sites to allow for quicker delivery once it is authorized, which is what began on Friday.
– Elizabeth Weise
Hospitals in England have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine as early as the week of Dec. 7 if it receives approval, the Guardian and other U.K. media outlets are reporting.
The U.S. vaccination program hopes to begin inoculating some Americans about one week later, subject to Food and Drug Administration approval. The British government says front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated in the nation of 67 million people. Next in line will be the elderly, starting with those over 80. The plan is to work down the age and risk groups until everyone 18 and over has been inoculated.
Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner has become the second member of the Austrian Cabinet to contract the coronavirus. Tanner’s office said she’s doing well and had already been in quarantine after coming in contact with another person who was infected.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg tested positive for the virus in mid-October and returned to his ministry later that month after showing no symptoms. Austria on Nov. 17 deepened lockdown measures in an attempt to limit spread of the virus. They are due to run through next Sunday.
France’s 30-person attendance limit at religious services has to be modified, the country’s top administrative court ruled Sunday. The Council of State ordered Prime Minister Jean Castex to alter the restriction within three days.
Critics had charged the measure, put in place this weekend to curb transmission of the coronavirus, was arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had said they would not enforce the restriction, and some churches were expected to defy it. A few houses of worship began reopening over the weekend as France slowly emerges from its latest virus-induced lockdown.
Young people who partied with friends or otherwise gathered in recent weeks should not go home to family without wearing a mask, even indoors, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx said Sunday. Birx also said cities with rising infection totals should close spaces where it’s impractical to wear masks, such as bars and restaurants.
“If you are young and you gathered, you need to be tested about 5 to 10 days later,” Birx said on “Face the Nation.” “You need to assume you are infected and not go near your grandparents or aunts or others without a mask.”
New York City’s public schools will start offering in-person classes on Dec. 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday. Most preschool, 3-K programs and elementary schools are expected to start that date, followed by schools that provide special education on Dec. 10. No date was revealed for middle and high school classes.
Hybrid learning was shut down Nov. 19 after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests exceeded a 3% benchmark agreed to by the mayor and the teachers’ union.
The mayor said the benchmark will be scrapped in favor of a focus on testing at schools. The city will also move toward providing in-person classes five days per week and phase out the hybrid model for the 1.1 million-student district, the mayor said.
“We are convinced we can keep schools safe and do it in a sustainable manner,” de Blasio said. “This will be the model for the duration. This will take us through until we have a vaccine.”
Fliers returning to Rhode Island were greeted with a new step in the travel process after landing at Warwick’s T.F. Green Airport on Saturday. In a roped-off area in baggage claim, a team from the Rhode Island National Guard was offering coronavirus rapid tests to people coming back from their Thanksgiving travels. The tests are free and voluntary and are being made available at the airport through Monday. T.F. Green is the only airport in the nation offering free testing to all, said Lt. Col. Dennis Pineault, a spokesman for the National Guard.
“As a state, we’re really doing some good things,” he said.
– Alex Kuffner, The Providence Journal
A federal appeals court has upheld Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s order halting in-person classes at religious-based schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling Sunday overturns a U.S. District judge’s temporary injunction that would have allowed religious schools to continue having students meet in classrooms.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said Beshear’s executive order halting in-person classes at K-12 schools – public and private – until early January can stand because it also applies to public schools and is a legal response to the COVID-19 emergency.
– Billy Kobin and Lucas Aulbach, Louisville Courier Journal
Dr. Anthony Fauci issued another warning to the nation Sunday to wear masks, social distance and dismiss the urge to gather for the holidays – or face a winter of staggering infections, hospitalizations and even deaths. He blamed holiday travel and families gathering in advance of Thanksgiving for the latest round of dismal statistics.
“What we expect unfortunately as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge we are already in,” Fauci said on “Meet the Press.” “I don’t want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late at all for us to do something about this.”
An Oregon mink farm has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 among animals and workers. Oregon Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Andrea Cantu-Schomus declined to say which county the farm is in or how many workers have tested positive, citing federal health privacy rules. The farm has about 12,000 animals, she said.
Outbreaks in farmed mink have been reported in several U.S. states and other countries. Earlier this month, Denmark announced it would kill all 17 million of the mink raised there after confirmation that 12 people had been infected with a mutated strain of COVID-19 that had spread from mink to humans. That strain has not been found elsewhere.
Oregon has the nation’s fourth-largest farmed mink industry, after Wisconsin, Utah and Michigan. All three of those other states have had outbreaks on mink farms. State and national environmental groups have been raising alarm about possible infections in Oregon’s mink industry, the Statesman Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, previously reported.
– Tracy Loew, Salem Statesman Journal
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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