US nears 9M cases, tops 228K deaths; IHOP; mask mandate
The virus is spreading at such a fast clip now that for the first time, new cases were being diagnosed at faster than one every second on Thursday, Johns Hopkins data shows. The U.S. reported 88,521 new coronavirus cases, a record for one day. That equaled a new coronavirus case every 0.976 seconds.
With Thursday’s data, the United States also set a record for new cases in a week, at 536,131. The second-highest record was set in the week ending Wednesday. The third, Tuesday. The fourth, Monday. The fifth highest record, Sunday. The sixth-highest record was set in the week ending July 22.
The surge is nationwide: 47 states had more cases in the latest week than in the week before, an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. An analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows 41 states had a higher rate of people testing positive than the week before, too.
Across the world, Japan topped 100,000 infections, with nearly one-third coming from Tokyo, and India reported declining numbers a day after surpassing 8 million cases, second only to the U.S. Cases are surging in Europe as well, leading to new restrictions.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.9 million cases and more than 228,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 45 million cases and 1.18 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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Walt Disney World in Florida to lay off more than 10,000 union workers
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will shed 10,903 unionized employees as part of the 28,000 layoffs that the company has previously announced, it was disclosed Friday in a filing to the state.
Walt Disney Co. blamed the layoffs on the “continuing business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” in the document, obtained by Fox 35 TV. Overall, Disney said its parks and resorts division will lose 11,350 employees in Florida in total, all due to be laid off on Dec. 31.
The layoffs underscore how deeply the pandemic has cut into tourism even though Walt Disney World reopened in July with new protocols in place to try to protects guests and employees from the coronavirus.
In a blog post Friday, a Disney official said the impacts from the pandemic have lasted longer than expected.
“As a result,” wrote Bettina Buckley, vice president of Walt Disney World Live Entertainment, “we’ve had to pause many live shows and entertainment experiences at our resort for longer than originally anticipated.” Instead, she said the resort has created new entertainment choices and experiences.
San Francisco slows its reopening as cases rise
San Francisco will temporarily halt the reopening of additional activities and businesses planned for next week because of an increase in coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations, the city’s mayor and health director said Friday.
That includes expanding capacity for indoor dining at restaurants, and at places of worship and museums among other businesses, as cases increase not just in San Francisco but also in California and nationally, said Mayor London Breed and the director of public health, Dr. Grant Colfax.
Breed said San Francisco, which has taken a far more conservative approach to reopening than many parts of California and the United States, has been “a model for the world” but now will continue its cautious approach.
San Francisco’s case rate has risen 25% in the last two weeks.
The United States has hit the 9 million mark when it comes to coronavirus cases, Johns Hopkins University reports.
With a count of 9,007,298 cases as of 4 p.m. EST, the U.S. bests the next highest country, India by more than 918,000 cases. India comes in at 8,088,851 and Brazil with 5,494,376 cases. After that comes Russia, France and Spain.
The U.S. is also closing in on another milestone, 230,000 deaths. Johns Hopkins shows 229,293.
The increase comes amid a surge of new cases in the U.S. as the weather becomes colder. On Oct. 23, the nation hit a new one-day record, 83,757 new daily cases, according to by Johns Hopkins.
Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, will have special meaning this year as Latino mourn the loss of loved ones due to the coronavirus.
The annual Mexican tradition, often celebrated with remembrances and altars to those who have passed, takes place Sunday and Monday.
COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the Latino community. Latinos made up the highest percentage of confirmed deaths in children ages 5 to 17 and adults ages 40 to 49, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Some communities with large Latino communities have been hard hit. In Los Angeles County in California, 51% of the 6,657 deaths for which the health department has data were Latinos.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife have gone into quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, his spokesman announced Friday.
Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said Kemp, a Republican, and first lady Marty Kemp both got coronavirus tests, but he did not say if they had received the results yet.
Georgia has had more than 350,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 7,900 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow cruise ships to sail in U.S. waters starting Sunday. But even if they do, passengers won’t be waving goodbye from the deck. In fact, the agency hasn’t said when they’ll be allowed back on board.
That’s according to the public health agency’s new “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.” Published Friday, it “introduces a phased approach for the safe and responsible resumption for passenger cruises,” the CDC said in a release provided by spokesperson Cate Shockey.
The first cruises to leave port will be simulation sailings designed to show that ships and crews are in compliance with CDC standards and able to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 onboard.
Subsequent phases will include mock voyages with volunteers such as employees or their family members, Shockey told USA TODAY. Those test voyages will be akin to the shakedown cruises that lines do with any new vessel prior to its official maiden voyage.
– Morgan Hines
A Democrat-led congressional panel investigating the federal government’s response to the coronavirus slammed the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic “as among the worst failures of leadership in American history.”
The scathing 71-page report concluded that the global crisis was exacerbated by political interference, favoritism and neglect that invited government fraud, disenfranchised poor communities and denied federal aid to millions.
“This report exhaustively documents what has long been clear: the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been a tragic failure,” said the panel’s chair, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
The panel, known officially as the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, spent the past six months holding more than a dozen hearings, reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, and interviewing senior administration officials, experts in public health and economics, and Americans personally impacted by the pandemic.
– Ledyard King
In a Fox News interview Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. wrongly stated that the rate of COVID-19 deaths have declined to “almost nothing.”
Trump Jr. said during an episode of “The Ingraham Angle” that he “went through the CDC data” and incorrectly claimed the number of COVID-19 deaths has significantly declined.
Notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that its recent data is “provisional” and are often behind data gathered by counties and other sources.
While COVID-19 deaths have been lower than during their peak in April, cases continue to march to an all-time high. Wednesday set a record of new cases, with 88,521 nationwide, per Johns Hopkins’ dashboard.
In the past week, a USA TODAY analysis found that at least four states set a record number of deaths. Per Johns Hopkins, more than 20,000 people have died so far in October.
– Joshua Bote
A study published Thursday found that grocery store workers had a heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, with one in five workers surveyed testing positive and most having asymptotic cases.
Workers who were in roles that involved interacting with customers were five times as likely to test positive, the study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, found. Three in four who did test positive had no symptoms.
“This is definitely very alarming as it means that retail grocery store employees are exposed to customers and sort of serve as a middleman for the virus – like a super spreader almost,” researcher Dr. Justin Yang told CNN.
European nations have accounted for more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and broke a weekly record with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week, the World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday.
“Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.”
The Spanish parliament voted to keep a state of emergency intact until May 2021. France says its citizens will be confined to half a mile from their homes for the next month, unless they’re buying food or going to school or a few other exceptions. Pope Francis is halting his public general audiences and will limit participation at Christmas.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this week the United States needs a national mask mandate and also expressed worry that the country is “not in a good place” with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Fauci made the comment about masks on Wednesday when speaking with CNBC host Shepard Smith, who asked if it was “time” and if a national mandate was needed.
“We do,” Fauci said. “I would hope the mayors and the governors do it locally if it’s not done nationally.”
Fauci also said this week that the U.S. isn’t well positioned as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and more cases are expected during the winter and holiday season.
“We’re not in a good place,” he said in an interview Wednesday with JAMA Editor in Chief Dr. Howard Bauchner. “The thing that had disturbed me so much is that we never got down to a low baseline after we had a big initial surge.”
One boy who arrived at a southeastern Wisconsin summer camp unknowingly infected with COVID-19 likely spread the virus to 116 people, a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
Between July 2 and Aug. 11, one infected camper who had tested negative before arriving led to COVID-19 diagnoses for nearly 80% of the camp’s attendees, according to the report that was released Thursday.
On July 28, state health officials tested nearly all attendees at a faith-based camp for boys after a small group of children who were in close contact with the boy became sick or tested positive. At least one confirmed case was found in every dormitory room and yurt over the course of the outbreak, the report said.
All illnesses were mild to moderate, and no hospitalizations or deaths occurred, the CDC said.
– Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Los Angeles County is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with health officials reporting 19 new deaths and 1,745 new cases on Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since late August.
“The high numbers of daily cases are very concerning because, as we have seen in the past, increases in cases lead to increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “These increases impede our ability to move forward with re-opening additional sectors and getting more children back to school.”
The news comes three days after the county reached two grim milestones: 7,000 confirmed deaths and 300,000 infections. The health agency on Monday said it is “highly likely” that celebrations for the Lakers’ NBA Finals win contributed to a spike in cases.
IHOP may close up to 100 locations in the U.S. as the pandemic continues to affect indoor dining operations across the country. The pancake house’s parent company, Dine Brands Global, made the announcement in its third-quarter earnings report on Thursday.
“Given the impact of the pandemic on individual restaurant-level economics, the Company is evaluating the viability of greatly underperforming domestic IHOP restaurants,” reads the report. The closures will take place over the next six months.
Applebee’s, also owned by Dine Brands Global, will close approximately 15 restaurants before the end of the year.
– Coral Murphy
Trevor Lawrence, junior quarterback for the No. 1-ranked Clemson Tigers and front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, will not play in Saturday’s game against Boston College after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a news release. “He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College.
The Tigers are scheduled to play at Notre Dame a week from Saturday.
– Steve Gardner
A judge in El Paso County, Texas, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential services starting at midnight Friday amid growing hospitalizations in the COVID-19 crisis.
Voting continues and polls will remain open for the upcoming election since voting is an essential service, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced Thursday. Hospitals are at capacity, medical workers are overwhelmed and the shutdown is needed as the virus spreads, the judge stated.
“There seems to be a shadow placed upon us because of the numbers the way they are,” Samaniego said, adding that new infections kept going up in recent days.
El Paso continued to hit unprecedented levels in the outbreak with record numbers of active cases, patients in the hospital, intensive care and a soaring positivity rate. Public health officials reported Thursday morning a record 14,359 known active cases, 934 people hospitalized, 245 in ICU, and a 17.24% rolling seven-day average positivity rate.
– Daniel Borunda and Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press