South Australia will lift its six-day lockdown on Saturday – a few days before it originally planned to – after health authorities found that a person lied to contact tracing officials.
Marshall said the state, home to more than 1.7 million people, will lift the strict “circuit breaker” restrictions announced earlier this week sooner than advised.
As of midnight Saturday, the stay-at-home order will be repealed, and South Australians will be permitted to exercise outdoors and go back to previous restrictions.
What happened: The person who misled authorities claimed they bought a pizza from the Woodville Pizza Bar, which authorities identified as a potential hotspot earlier this week.
But the person was actually an employee and had been working there for some time, South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.
Stevens added that they would not have gone into lockdown had the person told the truth, and authorities are now working to identify and locate another group of the employee’s associates.
Officials defend lockdown decision: The premier and police commissioner defended the decision to go into lockdown and said it was the right move at the time based on the information they had. The person who lied will not be fined or penalized, Stevens added.
“This has had a massive impact on our community,” Stevens said. “People’s lives have been upended as a result of information that lead us to a course of action that now was not warranted in the circumstances. We’re now taking action to amend that.”
The coronavirus pandemic is getting so bad, so quickly, across the United States that an influential academic modeling group has hiked its forecast of deaths considerably.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine now predicts 471,000 people will die from Covid-19 by March 1.
That’s up from its forecast of 438,941 just a week ago.
The group said their forecast “assumes that 40 states would reimpose social distancing mandates as the daily death rate exceeds 8 per million.”
If states do not do this, the “death toll could reach 658,000 by March 1,” they added.
This increased death forecast is even taking into account that the US has improved the infection-fatality ratio with better treatments.
“Our analysis suggests that after controlling for age, sex, comorbidities, and disease severity at admission, the hospital-fatality rate has declined by about 30% since March/April,” it said. Obesity is a major factor in the fatality rate, it said.
Japan reported its highest number of daily Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day, with 2,397 infections on Thursday, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
There were 21 deaths also reported, the Health Ministry said.
Despite the continued spike, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said imposing a state of emergency is not necessary.
Kato added that the weekly infection average has doubled in the past two weeks and said the government needs to be at maximum alert.
“We would like to pursue the economic and social activities while taking thorough implementation of basic prevention measures,” the secretary said.
The total number of virus cases nationwide now stands at 125,979 and 1,956 deaths.
Rising cases: Tokyo, Osaka and six other prefectures also posted record high numbers from Thursday.
Tokyo reported 534 new cases Thursday – surpassing the 500 mark for the first time. Osaka reported 338 new cases.
The data Pfizer and BioNTech have released so far on their Covid-19 vaccine candidate “are really exciting and give us great hope,” US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said Thursday.
The companies said this week the data from the clinical trials show the potential coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective in preventing disease and that they plan to file for an emergency use authorization from the FDA on Friday.
Hahn said the agency needs to see the raw data on the vaccine.
“So what will be submitted to us is raw data around the clinical trial that would support a claim for safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, which of course is our primary responsibility here, with an emergency use authorization or an outright approval,” he said.
That’s not the only thing the agency reviews.
After the FDA receives the application, Hahn said the agency will set a date for a meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, or VRBPAC. A source told CNN this week the date had already been set, for December 8, 9 and 10. But Hahn said a date has not yet been set.
Once the application is submitted to the FDA, agency scientists review it and come to their own conclusions, Hahn said.
Hawaii has tightened a program that allowed out-of-state visitors to avoid quarantine, just over a month after it was first put into place.
“We’re taking this added safety precaution now in response to the dramatically increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the continental United States and around the world,” said Hawaii Gov. David Ige.
Currently, travelers from the US and Japan can avoid a full 14-day quarantine if they get a Covid test before traveling, and it comes back negative at any point during their stay.
But starting next Tuesday, visitors must have their negative result in-hand before they get on the plane in order to move around freely in Hawaii.
Anyone who arrives in the state without a negative coronavirus test already filed must adhere to the full 14-day quarantine, even if a negative result comes back before the quarantine period is over.
Even though the rules are being tightened, the quarantine exemption program itself is expanding. Starting in mid-December, the program will also be available to travelers from Canada. All eligible fliers must take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel from a provider designated by the state.
The United States has reported 182,601 Covid-19 cases so far on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began.
The previous daily high was on November 13, with 177,244 cases.
The US has also reported 1,964 Covid-19 deaths so far on Thursday. At least 11,710,084 Covid-19 cases, including 252,484 deaths, have now been reported nationwide
The numbers are not the final count for the day, however, and could rise further.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
CNN is tracking the US cases:
Mexico has reported a total of 100,104 deaths from Covid-19, the country’s Health Ministry said Thursday during its nightly health news conference.
Mexico is the fourth country to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths after the United States, Brazil and India.
According to John Hopkins University, Mexico has a 9.8% case-fatality rate of Covid-19, the second highest rate in the world.
The Health Ministry also reported 4,472 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections in Mexico to 1,019,543.
CNN is tracking worldwide cases:
The rural hospital system in the United States is struggling to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
The spike of cases in rural America in the past few weeks has been a “challenge on a number of levels,” said Tom Morris, associate administrator for rural health policy in the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration. Morris made the comments Thursday during the National Institutes of Health rural health seminar.
Rural hospitals are small: Of the 2,000 hospitals considered to be rural, about 1,700 have 50 beds or fewer and 1,300 of them have 25 beds or fewer, said Morris, whose agency is part of the Health and Human Services Department.
“We’re not talking about large facilities. We’re not talking about a lot of ICU capacity,” Morris said. “In a lot of these hospitals, they’re able to offer an ICU of one or two beds. So, they have very limited inpatient resources.”
Limited work force: The rural medical work force needed to care for Covid-19 patients is extremely limited, he said, as is the supply chain that would provide protective equipment. Many of these hospitals are also “financially vulnerable,” Morris said.
Hospitals are closing: Morris said the Trump administration has given $150 million to the 1,700 50-bed rural hospitals to help with the extra costs of the pandemic. Rural hospitals, health clinics and community health centers also got an extra $11 billion to offset the losses they were facing due to the pandemic. But still, 17 rural hospitals have shut this year, adding to the 130 rural hospitals that have closed since 2010.
“We have many more rural hospitals that are at a financial risk and have been for quite some time,” Morris said, “The pandemic has not made any of that easier.”
The World Health Organization has updated its ongoing guidance on Covid-19 medications to advise against using the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients, no matter how severe their illness may be.
According to the update, published in the medical journal the BMJ on Thursday, current evidence does not suggest remdesivir affects the risk of dying from Covid-19 or needing mechanical ventilation, among other important outcomes.
WHO’s new update comes about a month after the company Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus infection. The drug became the first coronavirus treatment to receive FDA approval.
Remdesivir may have received FDA approval but not WHO’s recommendation because of emerging research — which initially showed some benefit against Covid-19, but as more data accumulate, that appears to be changing, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was not involved in the WHO guidance.
“The fact that it was an antiviral that showed some benefit in certain trials — but not in all trials — was enough to push people to want to use it because we had no tools, but I do think it probably will be supplanted shortly,” Adalja said, adding that the indication for drugs can change over time.
Some context: WHO convened an international panel of 24 experts and four survivors of Covid-19 to review data and make recommendations. The recommendation against remdesivir was based on data from four randomized trials including 7,333 people hospitalized with Covid-19.
“The panel concluded that most patients would not prefer intravenous treatment with remdesivir given the low certainty evidence,” researchers from various institutions around the world wrote in the updated WHO guideline.
An early cold snap in the middle of the country at the end of September has helped drive the most recent surge of coronavirus infections, White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx said Thursday.
People began moving indoors, she said. That’s when transmission really begin to take off, especially with close to half of all infections asymptomatic, so people do not even realize they are infecting others.
“So we have been going across the country to really tell them, (the) mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast, to really increase testing, looking for these asymptomatic cases and I really want to thank the governors across this great land who have really heeded that call,” Birx told a White House briefing – the first public briefing by the task force since July.
Birx said when states increase the use of masking and encourage people to avoid gatherings, it helps control the rise in cases.
Health officials say smaller gatherings are helping drive the spread of the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier on Thursday advised against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and urged Americans to celebrate the holiday only with household members.
Operation Warp Speed has 100 million vaccine kits ready to go if and when distribution of a coronavirus vaccine starts, Gen. Gustave Perna, Warp Speed’s chief operating officer, said Thursday.
Vaccine maker Pfizer says it plans to ask the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its vaccine on Friday, and federal government officials have said they expect to have 40 million doses of vaccine ready to go in December.
Perna told a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force that the operation will be ready to move quickly after any FDA authorization.
“We take the Pfizer vaccine – they are capable of distributing on their own,” Perna said. “They will utilize FedEx and UPS in order to execute distribution. Simultaneously we will ship ancillary kits, needles and alcohol wipes and the dilution required to meet the vaccine at the end state facilities we are talking about,” he said.
Vaccine maker Moderna is also expected to apply for EUA soon. Both companies have been manufacturing vaccine doses in the expectation that their products will be proven safe and effective.
“For Moderna vaccines, what we’re going to do is that we are going to meet up the vaccine with the kits at a distribution warehouse. We’re going to put them together and distribute through FedEx and UPS down to our administration sites,” Perna said.
“We are taking it from fill-finish and bringing together all of the requirements to administer the vaccine and sending it down to the distribution sites. Any place a state wants to administer the vaccine, as long as they are enrolled into our process, we can distribute the vaccine,” Perna added.
“We can distribute the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. We can go to one place in the state or 10,000 places in the state.”
Coronavirus vaccines under development by Moderna and Pfizer have shown extraordinary efficacy, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday.
Both makers reported preliminary data that showed their vaccines prevented about 95% of coronavirus infections. Pfizer is expected to seek US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for its vaccine Friday.
The vaccines prevented both infection and severe disease, Fauci noted in a rare White House coronavirus task force briefing, the first held since July 8.
Fauci defended the quick vaccine development process. “The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety, nor did it compromise scientific integrity,” he said.
“We need to put to rest any concept that this was rushed in an inappropriate way,” said Fauci, who, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is helping oversee vaccine development.
“This was solid.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is enacting a curfew as part of a “limited stay-at-home order” that will affect about 94% of the state’s population.
The order requires those in California’s most restrictive of four tiers to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.
The month-long order takes effect Saturday night and is essentially the same as the stay-at-home order issued in March, but applies only during those specific hours to residents in “purple tier” counties, according to a news release sent by Newsom’s office.
The reason for the specific hours noted that activities conducted during this time that are often nonessential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition, the governor’s office said.
Cities and towns across Minnesota tonight will light landmarks in purple to honor victims of Covid-19 and frontline workers, Gov. Tim Walz’s office said in a news release.
“As Minnesota reaches the grim milestone of over 3,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, cities and towns across the state tonight will light dozens of Minnesota landmarks in purple to honor victims of COVID-19 and the frontline workers battling the pandemic. Cities, towns, sports team, museums, libraries, companies, and more will join in this solemn moment of unity across the state,” the release said.
The governor also directed flags be flown at half-staff on Nov. 19 and Dec. 19 “to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19,” the release said.
Vaccines are almost ready to help battle the coronavirus pandemic but people need to double down on other preventative measures, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
But that means people must now increase their use of masks, avoiding gatherings and keeping their distance from others, he said.
“If you are fighting a battle and the cavalry is on the way, you don’t stop shooting until the cavalry gets here,” Fauci said.
Despite coronavirus cases surging across the country, Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on the Trump administration’s policy of not supporting additional national lockdowns or the closure of schools.
“President Trump wanted me to make it clear that our task force, this administration and our President, does not support another national lockdown. And we do not support closing schools,” Pence said Thursday, at the first White House coronavirus task force briefing since July.
“And you’ll hear from Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC that, actually the CDC never recommended that we close schools at any point this year.”
Pence’s remarks come one day after the New York City public school system, the largest in the country, ended in-person learning until further notice due to the coronavirus positivity rate in the city.
Trump politicized the issue of lockdowns during his failed reelection campaign, repeatedly telling supporters that now President-elect Joe Biden wants to institute another national shutdown. Biden did not say that however, and he reiterated at his own news conference on Thursday that he does not plan on instituting a national shutdown.
“I’ll say again, no national shutdown. No national shutdown, because every region, every area, every community can be different,” Biden said, explaining that because the circumstances and infection rates are different throughout the country, custom rules and restrictions would be implemented.
Dr. Deborah Birx became the first White House coronavirus task force official to speak at a briefing from the podium while wearing a face mask on Thursday. Birx sought to communicate urgency about the current state of the pandemic.
“It’s really a moment that we want to call on every American to increase their vigilance,” Birx said from the podium, wearing a signature silk scarf and light pink mask as she spoke.
Pence, who wore a mask as he walked into the briefing room, removed his face covering to speak. Other task force officials are wearing masks.
Birx strongly pressed the importance of wearing masks as she modeled the behavior.
Birx later added, “We’re asking every American to remain vigilant, to do those things that we have been asking you all to do, to wear a mask, to physically distance, continue your hand hygiene.”
This was Birx’s first appearance in the White House briefing room since joining President Trump and Kayleigh McEnany for a briefing on July 23, where she did not speak.
A third speaker at Thursday’s briefing, Gen. David Sanford, removed his mask to speak. And Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appeared to be wearing two masks, also removed his masks to give remarks.
A statewide mask mandate will be in place in New Hampshire starting Friday, Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday.
All residents above the age of five will be required to wear a face covering when unable to keep at least six feet of distance in both indoor or outdoor public spaces, according to a release from the governor’s office.
The decision comes as the state has experienced a 100% increase in its hospitalization rate over the past two weeks, the governor said.
More than 70% of New Hampshire’s hospitals and long-term care facilities are experiencing some sort of “staffing crunch,” Sununu said.
Dr. Benjamin Chan, an epidemiologist for the state’s Department Health and Human Services, announced 529 new Covid-19 cases and two additional coronavirus-related deaths. That brings the statewide total to 15,749 cases and 504 deaths, according New Hampshire’s Covid-19 dashboard.
Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
The Texas city of El Paso reported 672 new Covid-19 cases Thursday. This marks the third consecutive day of declining cases, according to CNN reporting and data from the city’s Covid-19 dashboard.
The seven-day positivity rate also decreased slightly to 18.78%, according to the dashboard. It was at 19.16% Wednesday.
The data shows there are currently 1,074 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the city – 315 of those are in the intensive care units. These numbers are down slightly from Wednesday when 325 individuals were in the ICU.
However, Covid-19 patients are still using a full 50% of total hospital capacity in El Paso.
There were also 19 new deaths reported from the virus, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in the city to 823.
Note: These numbers were released by the El Paso City/County health department and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has delivered four million vials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the UK government, with millions more frozen doses ready to be sent, a company spokesperson told CNN.
Earlier Thursday, British researchers reported that the vaccine – which AstraZeneca developed with researchers at the UK’s Oxford University — appears to work safely in older people, generating as strong an immune response in those over the age of 70 as it does in younger people.
The Smithsonian Institute just announced it will be closing all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo starting Monday. The move is a direct response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the Washington, DC, area and the country.
This will be the second time the museums have closed to the public this year. Both the museums and the zoo closed in March and had a limited reopening in September.
The Smithsonian did not announce a planned date to reopen.
A press release issued by the Institute Thursday said, “Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly.”
The US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, also announced it would shut its doors on Monday.
There has been a major coronavirus outbreak aboard a US Navy guided missile destroyer.
The virus has spread to nearly a quarter of the USS Michael Murphy’s 300-person crew, according to a US Navy official.
The ship has been in port in Hawaii so there has been limited operational impact due to the outbreak.
The US Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NBC was first to report the outbreak aboard the ship.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the US military reported a record high number of coronavirus cases on Tuesday with 1,314 new cases, according to Defense Department statistics.
There are currently about 25,000 active Covid-19 cases in the ranks, and another 44,390 service members have recovered from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The number of military cases has grown over the last few weeks as case counts have increased in the general population.
Assisted living facilities have been a hotspot for Covid-19 deaths in this pandemic.
By Oct.15, the proportion of Covid-19 cases that were fatal in these facilities was at least 21%, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
It is likely higher, but only 39 states track these deaths. For perspective, for the general population, only 2.5% of Covid-19 cases end in death, the CDC noted.
The CDC has been tracking cases in skilled nursing facilities. Those institutions where residents need more care have a federal reporting requirement if they get a Covid-19 case. There is no such requirement for assisted living facilities, where the seniors live more independently, but get some assistance with bathing, housekeeping, and medication management.
From this new CDC data published Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers found 22% of all assisted living facilities had one or more Covid-19 cases among the residents or staff.
Residents are at a higher risk for Covid-19 because they live in close proximity with other community members. Their advanced age and underlying conditions put them at a higher risk for a more severe disease.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19 in these facilities, the CDC recommends that each facility identify a point of contact at the local health department so they have a relationship if there is an outbreak. Managers should educate residents, staff, and residents’ families about Covid-19.
They should have a plan for when the facility needs to restrict access for families and staff. The facilities should encourage the use of masks and social distancing, as well as step up infection control and find ways to rapidly identify and respond to cases.
The city of Key West, Florida, will now require face masks to be worn outside, regardless of social distancing.
The city announced the move in a tweet following a commission meeting on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, Key West has had 1,382 total Covid-19 cases, Mayor Terri Johnston said during a weekly update on Facebook.
The island city has a population of 24,565, according to the US Census Bureau.
“It’s [going to] take a collective effort of each and every one of us in order to get our numbers down,” Johnston said ahead of Thursday’s commission meeting.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving, and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.
“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period,” Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, told reporters in a conference call.
Walke warned that if people gather in multiple generations, someone in that gathering could have diabetes or kidney disease, or simply be older and more vulnerable.
“What is at stake is the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying around the holidays,” Walke said.
Plus, about 40% of infections are asymptomatic.
Walke said he is not visiting his own family. “I haven’t seen my parents since January. I’m staying home and I have older parents who would like to see me and who would like to see my children as well,” he said.
The CDC also advised that students who have been away at college don’t count as household members and need to keep their distance when they come home for holidays.
The same goes for people who have been away on military duty.
“People who have not been living in your household for the 14 days before you are celebrating should not be considered members of your household and so you should take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home,” Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC’s lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, told reporters.
Families can also ask college students or other people who would normally be loosely considered household members to quarantine as much as possible for 14 days before coming home.
Safer gatherings can be held outside as much as possible, the CDC recommends. People can wear masks when together, and place chairs and furniture farther apart.
The White House coronavirus task force will hold a press briefing at 4 p.m. ET today, according Vice President Mike Pence’s office.
It is unclear whether or not President Trump will attend.
The briefing comes a day after the US death toll from coronavirus surpassed 250,000 deaths. In less than 10 months, Covid-19 has killed more people than strokes, suicides and car crashes typically do in a full year — combined.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Thursday that the country’s new restrictions are already helping and the country is on “the right path.” However, he warned “there is nothing someone can say about the next month because no one knows what the virus will do.”
Germany is in a nationwide partial lockdown that requires restaurant and bars to remain closed. It also requires people to avoid travel, “keep their contacts to an absolute minimum” and limit public meetings to members of two different households.
Schools and shops have remained open. German federal and state leaders will meet next week to decide on introducing further restrictions.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, Scholz said that he is “quite confident” about the economic future.
CNN’s Eleanor Pickston contributed to this report.
Delirium was common among elderly patients with Covid-19 who came to the emergency department, according to a study published Thursday in JAMA Network Open, and many of them did not have other typical signs or symptoms of the disease.
“In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, 28% of 817 older patients with Covid-19 infection had delirium on arrival to the ED, and delirium was the sixth most common presenting symptom or sign overall,” read the study, from lead authors Dr. Maura Kennedy of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Benjamin Helfand of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
“Delirium at presentation was significantly associated with increased risk for poor hospital outcomes, including ICU stay, discharge to a rehabilitation facility, and death,” the study said.
Of the 226 patients with delirium, 37, or 16%, had delirium as their primary symptom. Importantly, the authors said, 84 of those 226, or 37%, had no fever or shortness of breath.
More on the study: The study was conducted at seven sites across the United States and included older adults who went to emergency departments on or after March 13.
Some of the factors associated with delirium included being older than 75, living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, prior use of psychoactive medication, vision or hearing impairment, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
“Our study demonstrates that it is critical to recognize that older adults with Covid-19 may present with delirium as the primary or sole symptom,” the study says. “In addition, delirium is an important risk marker to identify patients at high risk for poor outcomes, including death.”
Remember: The study does have some limitations, including the fact that they suspect that the delirium rate observed is an underestimate, they were unable to evaluate site-specific data and enrollment occurred primarily in the Northeast during a time when it was undergoing a surge in Covid-19 infections.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will close indoor dining and gyms in the next week or two.
The mayor said in a news conference this morning that after speaking with the governor at length yesterday and with cases showing a clear uptick, the city will move to the orange zone. In that zone, indoor dining and gyms will be closed.
The mayor also reiterated, “We will bring our schools back, but we have to reset the equation.”
Yesterday, de Blasio announced that the city’s public schools would close today as coronavirus cases rise in the city.
De Blasio said for those who might feel a little better if they knew indoor dining and gyms were going to be closed, “It’s just a matter of time.”
This comes after the governor said Wednesday New York City’s Covid-19 numbers could warrant putting the city into an orange zone soon.
Chairman of the NYC Council Health Committee, Mark Levine responds:
Karin Smith, a Florida resident and single mom of a 14-year-old boy, is one of millions of Americans who may lose expanded unemployment benefits on Dec. 26.
She said she is able to qualify for food stamps, but has given up on going to food banks because “if they open at 9, you have to be there at 5 a.m. to hope to get anything.”
Smith previously worked for the Department of Education in data compliance and has been searching for a new job.
“It’s not laziness … A job making $8 an hour is not going to pay my $1,650 rent, let alone all the other expenses I have because I had a good job,” she said.
Smith said her son is old enough to understand her stress and has tried to help with his own suggestions, like buying a motor home and moving them into it because he doesn’t want to lose their dog or cat.
The economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic is driving up food insecurity across America.
“What we’ve seen, has been, unfortunately, a steady level of greatly, significantly increased need, since the pandemic started,” said Katie Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer of Feeding America.
Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, says more than 54 million people in the country could soon face food insecurity. That is 17 million more than before the coronavirus outbreak. The non-profit has seen a 60 percent increase in food assistance needs since March.
Several federal programs are available to help people make ends meet during these difficult times.
If you, or someone you know, is one of those people facing food insecurity at the moment, CNN has a list of resources that can help. You can see the full list here.
An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 276,000 to 298,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Dec. 12.
Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future.
The previous ensemble forecast, published Nov. 12, projected up to 282,000 coronavirus deaths by Dec. 5.
At least 250,652 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The US just surpassed a tragic milestone of more than 250,000 coronavirus deaths and more than 11.5 million infections nationwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Just how bad things could get will be determined by Thanksgiving celebrations next week. Health officials have warned against traditional indoor gatherings that seem to be a big driver in the surge of cases.
Each family will need to weigh the risks of celebrating Thanksgiving in person or virtually depending on individual circumstances. As well as taking precautions like masks and hand sanitizer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has said the dose of the virus you receive might make the difference between being asymptomatic, getting mildly sick or becoming critically ill.
Another way to think of it is like conception: You don’t need millions of sperm to fertilize an egg – you only need one – but men make millions of sperm to improve the chances that one will reach the egg, overcome its defenses and fertilize it.
“Each person has a different amount of virus that they need,” explains Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Put it all together, and the chance of infection depends on the physiology of the potential host, as well as their personal behaviors and health habits such as smoking status, diet, physical activity and sleep. An elderly or unhealthy host in the face of large, recurrent exposures is clearly the worst case scenario. But a medically fragile person could be sickened by even a low dose of virus; conversely, a healthy person can be overwhelmed with a high enough dose.
If you are planning on gathering with family or friends this holiday season, CNN’s Dr. Leana Wen explain some of the safest ways to do so in this video.
US stocks opened lower on Thursday. Investors are worried that the resurgence in Covid-19 cases are clouding the economic outlook.
Weekly jobless claims data from the Labor Department didn’t help matters either: First-time claims for regular state benefits rose for the first time in about a month and were higher than expected.
Here’s where things stood at opening:
- The Dow opened down 0.4%, or 114 points.
- The S&P 500 also fell 0.4%.
- The Nasdaq Composite opened 0.1% lower.
A healthy 28-year-old emergency room doctor thought he would be fine if he contracted coronavirus. But he went from running nearly every day to being barely able to walk or catch his breath after getting the virus.
After five days with symptoms of Covid-19, Michigan physician Dr. David Burkard said he could not breathe on the sixth day and needed to be hospitalized in the same place where he treats patients.
Burkard also said that someone reported him to Facebook for spreading “hoax” information. He encouraged people to wear masks and stay home for Thanksgiving.
“Instead of just like saying mean things from behind the keyboard … imagine what it’s like to have that conversation with someone — that you are putting a breathing tube down their throat and they may not be able to say ‘I love you’ to their loved one again — and that’s what we’re doing every day, constantly,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR’s Rachel Martin on Morning Edition Tuesday that his Thanksgiving will be “significantly” different this year than previous holidays.
His three adult daughters, who live in separate parts of the country, got together and said that they did not want to put him, as an elderly person, at risk. Fauci is 79 years old.
He and his wife will have a meal and Zoom with his daughters to spend time with them.
“I don’t like it that way, but I think they’re making a prudent decision in trying to protect their father and I’m proud of them for that,” he said.
The pandemic is far from over as infections are on the rise and millions of Americans remain unemployed.
At least 742,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
That was a up from the week before and the first increase in unemployment claims since the week of Oct.10.
Meanwhile, 320,237 workers filed claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is designed to help those who aren’t usually eligible for jobless benefits, such as the self-employed. That number also rose from the prior week.
Added together, first-time claims stood at 1.1 million, not adjusted for seasonal changes.
Continued jobless claims, which count people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, came in at 6.4 million.
Economists worry that a growing number of people are exhausting their states’ regular jobless benefits, which commonly last for 26 weeks. After that, the unemployed get rolled onto other government programs, including the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
New York City is closing down its public school buildings starting today after the city’s 7-day average reached the 3% positive testing rate threshold. All students will transition to remote learning.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted yesterday that schools are being closed out of “an abundance of caution.”
New York City is the largest public school district in the country.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a briefing on Wednesday that the state is in a “dangerous” situation and a number of factors could fuel a surge in positive cases. Cuomo cited Covid-19 fatigue, cold weather keeping people indoors and the upcoming holidays as possible factors.
Cuomo said that reopening schools in NYC would require a different plan than the rest of the state because by sheer volume it wouldn’t be possible to test every student in the city.