Virus News: Another case record, positive news on vaccine


A passenger waits to board a train at the station in Providence, R.I., Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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Here is what’s happening Friday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


The development of a vaccinetook another step forward Friday when Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a required step and critical milestone for the vaccine to be approved and distributed to people.

The Biden transition team is expressing concernthat President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election will create obstacles in fighting the pandemic. Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, said issues surrounding protective equipment supplies, staff shortages and vaccine inventories need to be resolved as soon as possible.

College campuses will soon begin clearing out for the Thanksgiving holiday, including many that are ending the fall semester next week. To keep students from spreading the virus in their hometowns as they leave campus, some schools are requiring or offering virus tests. Schools like Notre Dame require tests and those who don’t do so can’t register for future classes.

THE NUMBERS: The meteoric rise in new COVID-19 infections has shown no signs of slowing down. There were more than 187,000 new cases Thursday — a record high — and the country is averaging more than 165,000 a day over the past week.

DEATH TOLL: The number of people dyingfrom the virus has hit a six-month high, venturing into territory not seen since May when the nation was emerging from the crisis in the Northeast. The average number of Americans dying from the virus each day over the past week is now 1,335, and the overall death toll stands at more than 252,000 based on data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

QUOTABLE: “The employee must regularly lift and/or move over 100 pounds, lift dead bodies weighing 175 pounds or more using acceptable removal techniques. … Must be able to tolerate the sight of and/or odor of mangled and/or decomposed deceased” — An El Paso County job posting for morgue workers in a city where more than 300 people have died since October.

ICYMI: Nurses, doctors and other medical workers are calling out sick in large numbers nationwide, putting a further strain on resources in hospitals. The Mayo Clinic Health System, a Midwest network of hospitals and clinics run by the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, reported that 905 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

ON THE HORIZON: The Thanksgiving holiday next week will present another major challenge for the country in its response to the virus. The federal government is pleading with Americans to not traveland keep gatherings confined to their immediate family but people will inevitably not heed the warnings and head to airports and family gatherings.


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