Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Coronavirus updates: Almost 10% of Vatican Swiss Guard positive for COVID-19; Alabama


Holidays are usually for gatherings but many get-togethers are complicated or canceled because of COVID-19.


The U.S. recorded more than 69,000 new cases Friday for the first time since July, andupdated virus projections are bringing the long-feared “winter surge” of COVID-19 cases into focus as health experts warn an increasing number of infections in the U.S. will soon mean more deaths.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s latest model updates released this week contain spots of good news: 74,000 American lives can still be saved if mask use becomes nearly universal, and increased testing may explain why more young people are testing positive.

But the influential model still projects daily U.S. deaths will surpass 2,000 in January, even with states reimposing stricter orders.

The guidance also called out North Dakota specifically for its alarming death rate, following a well-documented lax approach to health mandates in the state: “North Dakota presently has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the world,” a briefing on the model says. The state joins South Dakota as having some of the lowest mask use rates in the nation.

Some significant developments:

  • Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will resume in-person campaigning Monday with stops in Florida. Harris suspended attending events this week after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for COVID-19.
  • More than 6 million households failed to make their rent or mortgage payments in September, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.
  • Alabama football coach Nick Saban has been cleared to resume normal activities after testing positive earlier this week for COVID-19, and he will be on the sideline when the No. 2 Crimson Tide play No. 3 Georgia, the university said Saturday.
  • Hope that a vaccine might be available before Election Day faded this week as two frontrunner candidates have now said late November is the earliest they could apply for authorization for their vaccines. Two other candidates are on hold while possible side effects are investigated.
  • New Mexico is among the states seeing alarming spikes in cases. The state set a single-day record with 819 confirmed cases, health officials confirmed Friday.
  • The Trump administration announced a partnership Friday with CVS and Walgreens to provide a coronavirus vaccine, when there is one, to nursing home residents at no cost.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8 million cases and 218,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 39 million confirmed cases around the world and nearly 1.1 million deaths. 

📰 What we’re reading: Italy, once an epicenter for COVID-19, is worlds apart from the United States in its handling of the pandemic. “Italians have always looked up to the United States but what is happening now makes us watch in disbelief,” says one Italian professor.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state

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