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Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the United States has recorded more than 7.6 million cases of COVID-19 and 213,000 deaths.

USA TODAY

A third of U.S. states are reporting higher coronavirus case counts than they’ve ever had before.

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows 16 states set records for new cases in a week. But nearly all states are surging: 41 states had worse weeks than they did a week earlier. And an analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows that in 36 states, a higher rate of people were testing positive than in the week before.

While the data continue to show the virus’ reach is not letting up, the head of the World Health Organization said achieving herd immunity by allowing the virus to spread is “scientifically and ethically problematic.”

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said Monday, adding that the strategy relies on vaccination.

The quest for a vaccine, however, ran into trouble on Monday when Johnson & Johnson paused its Phase 3 clinical trial because of a participant’s unexplained illness. It’s the second of four large-scale, final-stage vaccine trials to go on hold as Trump pushes for a vaccine by Election Day on Nov. 3.

Some significant developments:

  • Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID-19, the Portuguese soccer federation announced Tuesday.
  • An 89-year-old Dutch woman is believed to be the first person to have died from a reinfection of COVID-19. Researchers note that her case is similar to that of a healthy 25-year-old Nevada man, who is the first American to have confirmed to have caught COVID-19 twice. Both the man and woman had a worse sickness the second time.
  • Slightly more than half of Americans in a recent poll say they already have or plan to stockpile food and other essentials over fears of another COVID-19 surge and potential unrest after the Nov. 3 election.
  • Based on their weight, more than 70% of Americans are at an increased risk of experiencing severe illness if they contract the coronavirus, according to new guidance posted by the CDC.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 7.8 million cases and 215,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 37.8 million confirmed cases around the world and 1 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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Europe added 700,000 new cases last week

Last week saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases reported across Europe as 700,000 people tested positive.

The World Health Organization said the total accounts for a 34% jump in cases in European nations. Deaths in Europe also spiked by 16%, the WHO said.

Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new cases. In Poland, cases and deaths increased by 93% and 104% respectively. The country’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said Monday he’ll quarantine after he met last week with a person who tested positive.

Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID-19, the Portuguese soccer federation announced Tuesday.

Ronaldo is doing well and has no symptoms, the federation said. The federation did not say when he tested positive. The rest of the Portuguese team has since tested negative, the federation said.

The Portuguese forward will not play in a match against Sweden on Wednesday. He had played in a 0-0 draw at France in the Nations League on Sunday, and also in the 0-0 draw against Spain in a friendly last week.

Dutch woman is first known death from COVID-19 reinfection

A Dutch woman is believed to be the first person to have died from a reinfection of COVID-19, researchers wrote in a report published Monday.

The woman, 89, was immunocompromised as she was receiving treatment for a rare white blood cell cancer, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, the researchers say in the case study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

In her first bout with COVID-19, the woman was admitted to the hospital with fever and a severe cough. After five days, she was discharged and her symptoms subsided, the paper says. Nearly two months later, she began chemotherapy treatment. Within days, though, she developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

Tests showed she was positive for COVID-19 but did not have antibodies for the new virus. After eight days, her condition worsened, and she died two weeks later.

The researchers note that the case is similar to that of an otherwise healthy 25-year-old Nevada man, who is the first American to have confirmed to have caught COVID-19 twice, and, like the Dutch woman, had a worse sickness the second time.

COVID-19 outbreak infecting 11 people in 4 states tied to family vacation

A 13-year-old girl is believed to have transmitted COVID-19 to family members during a three-week vacation over the summer, causing a chain of infections of 11 people in four states, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Fourteen relatives from five households shared the house from July to August, with no physical distancing or mask wearing. Six other relatives visited the home during the time, but stayed outside and kept 6 feet apart. None of those relatives tested positive, the CDC says.

The girl, who is believed to have spread the virus to the family, was tested before attending the family vacation because she was exposed during a large outbreak while away from home. However, her rapid antigen test four days after exposure was negative and she didn’t experience her only symptom, nasal congestion, until two days later.

“This outbreak highlights … children and adolescents can serve as the source for COVID-19 outbreaks within families, even when their symptoms are mild,” the CDC says.

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R-0 may be the most important scientific term you’ve never heard of when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic.

USA TODAY

Amazon Prime Day kicks off holiday shopping season (online) amid COVID-19  

For years, Amazon Prime Day’s nickname was “Black Friday in July.” Now, Amazon is helping to kick off the holiday shopping season in earnest after delaying its annual sale from July until October amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With consumers encountering a very different experience during the coming holiday shopping season with restrictions on how many can be in a store at a time and concerns about online orders not arriving on time, experts say it’s critical for retailers to start the season early.

This year amid the pandemic, shoppers will get a collective nudge from retailers to stay home this Thanksgiving as more stores remain closed on the holiday and push more sales online.

According to a holiday survey from Affirm taken by 2,000 Americans, 7 in 10 respondents said they’re more likely to buy something on sale now, rather than waiting for the traditional Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.

– Kelly Tyko

Here’s where cases are surging in the US

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows 16 states set records for new cases in a week and 41 states had worse weeks than they did a week earlier.

On a per-person basis, cases are being led by North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin. North Dakota doubled its case count since Sept. 6, and more people died there from coronavirus in the last month than in the rest of the pandemic.

The 16 states setting records for new cases in the latest week were Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota.

– Mike Stucka

Johnson & Johnson temporarily halts vaccine trial after unexplained illness

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a volunteer, meaning two of the four vaccine trials in the United States are now on hold.

The Phase 3 clinical trial was temporarily halted Monday, according to the company. It is not known if the unidentified illness is related to the vaccine, but clinical protocols require a pause while it is investigated.

Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has paused further dosing in its trial while the participant’s illness is reviewed and evaluated by an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians. 

Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ-78436735 vaccine is one of four large-scale, final-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in the U.S. Another trial, run by AstraZeneca, was halted Sept. 8 after a second participant was diagnosed with a neurological condition.

– Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub

Trump tested negative on ‘consecutive days,’ WH doc claims

White House physician Sean Conley said Monday that President Donald Trump had tested negative for the virus on “consecutive days” but did not disclose which days.

The news comes as Trump is headed to Pennsylvania for a rally on Tuesday as he returns to the campaign trail following his hospitalization for COVID-19 earlier this month.

There was no social distancing at Trump’s rally in Florida on Monday night, with only a few people wearing face masks. Trump joked with his supporters that he was healthy enough to give voters “a big fat kiss.” The president also focused on his administration’s handling of the coronavirus.

“Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like no one can even believe,” Trump insisted. “If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we have recovered.”

Colleges upend their spring plans for in-person learning, graduation

After a rocky start to the fall, uncertainty over the next few months of the pandemic has pushed universities from coast-to-coast to overhaul in-person learning, spring break and graduation.

Colleges and universities in California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, Indiana, Vermont, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Washington state have already announced changes and more are almost certain to follow.

“This decision (to learn virtually) is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a Sept. 10 news release announcing that the 23 college system would continue virtual instruction into the spring. At the time, Cal State was one of the only universities to require spring virtual instruction.

A growing number of colleges have delayed their start times, either by a week, a month, or in the case of Middlebury College in Vermont, two months. The college plans to start its spring semester Mar. 1.

– Elinor Aspegren

COVID-19 prolongs waiting times at fast-food drive-thrus, study shows

The coronavirus pandemic has led to longer waits at fast-food drive-thrus this summer. According to the 2020 SeeLevel HX Annual Drive-Thru Study, the average drive-thru wait at 10 top fast-food restaurants this summer was 5.95 minutes, about 30 seconds longer than a year ago.

At Wendy’s, Baconator and Frosty fans waited 5.98 minutes on average, a minute longer than last summer, according to SeeLevel HX, an Atlanta-based consumer research firm that has been doing the review for 20 years. 

The fastest chain was KFC, where diners got their orders in 4.72 minutes. On the other end, by a wide margin, was Chick-fil-A, where drivers waited an average of 8.15 minutes, according to SeeLevel HX. 

One simple reason: Chick-fil-A restaurants serve more customers, with testers counting nearly three times as many vehicles in the chain’s lines than the industry average. Both Chick-fil-A and the other chains had more vehicles in line than a year ago, according to SeeLevel HX.

– Jim Weiker, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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