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California, slamming ‘emergency brake’ on reopening, is latest state to ramp up restrictions

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 11/16/2020 Meryl Kornfield, Kim Bellware, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Antonia Farzan, Adam Taylor, Hannah Denham, Brittany Shammas, Ruby Mellen, Darren Sands

California is slamming the “emergency brake” on reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Monday, making it the latest state to ramp up restrictions again as it experiences the sharpest increase in coronavirus infections yet.

The news came as the biotechnology company Moderna said its experimental coronavirus vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective, according to initial results. Last week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, lifted the stock market and people’s hopes with the news that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective.

Here are some significant developments:

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11:30 PM: ‘Lazy as raccoons’: German government ad celebrates those who fight the covid winter by slobbing out at home

A new advertisement shows an elderly man in the future reminiscing about how his generation fought against the “Corona Winter of 2020″ as stirring music plays.

And what did he do in the fight? “Nothing,” the man, identified as Anton Lehmann, explains in German as the advertisement suddenly cuts to a younger man lying prone on the sofa.

“Absolutely nothing,” Lehmann says as his younger self sprawls out, illuminated by the light of a television. “We were lazy as raccoons.”

The video, released by the German government last week, is part of a series designed to show people that the best way they can fight the virus is to stay at home.

The video uses German humor to skewer the wartime rhetoric around the fight against the coronavirus this winter.

As Lehmann says in the video, “Our couch was the front and our patience was our weapon.”

After it was translated into English on Saturday, the advertisement spread rapidly on social media with many praising it as a powerful — and rather funny — message.

Another advertisement in the series shows the female partner of the unnamed man explaining how she is often asked by younger people “how we could laze around at home with such bravery.”

The footage shows a younger version of the couple lying in bed eating a bucket of fried chicken. “Special times require special heroes,” says the woman, named as Luise Lehmann.

A third video shows a man identified as Tobi Schneider showing off the medal he earned in the winter of 2020.

“I was honored for my extraordinary efforts in the fight against coronavirus,” the man says before explaining that he was known as “lazy Toni” before the pandemic, as he stayed at home playing computer games and eating cold ravioli.

Annette Dittert, a German reporter for ARD TV based in Britain, said that the advertisement was warmly received internationally, though it drew a mixed reaction in Germany.

“The one thing Germans love, is complaining about Germany,” Dittert tweeted.

By: Adam Taylor

10:45 PM: Sweden bans public gatherings of more than eight people

a person standing in front of a store: Shoppers in Stockholm on Monday. © Amir Nabizadeh/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Shoppers in Stockholm on Monday.

Sweden on Monday announced new restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s latest move to implement harsher measures after an initially lax response that relied on the public’s decision-making to stem the spread. Like much of Europe, Sweden has seen increasing hospitalizations and deaths, pushing the government to impose new rules. On Monday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people.

“It is a clear and sharp signal to every person in our country as to what applies in the future,” Lofven said during a news conference. “Don’t go to the gym, don’t go the library, don’t have dinner out, don’t have parties — cancel!”

Last week, Sweden said it would ban restaurants and bars from selling alcohol after 10 p.m., starting Nov. 20, while also imposing new restrictions on nursing homes in and around Stockholm. Residents of elder-care facilities made up almost half of the people who had died of the virus by May.

The moves are mild compared with those in other European countries that have gone into lockdown or restricted regional travel, but they mark a departure from Sweden’s initial approach to containing the virus, which was seen as laissez faire compared with the responses of its neighbors. Lofven said that while advice from the spring proved effective, people are now less inclined to follow guidelines. “Now more of a ban is needed to bring down the curve of the number infected,” he said.

By: Ruby Mellen

10:00 PM: Pandemic leads tens of thousands of international students to delay plans to enter U.S. colleges, survey shows

Tens of thousands of international students have paused their plans to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities this fall amid the novel coronaviruspandemic, threatening a key source of revenue for higher education, a new survey shows.

The Institute of International Education reported Monday that international enrollment fell 16 percent this fall at more than 700 schools it surveyed. The flow of new international students into U.S. institutions plummeted 43 percent from the previous year.

Nearly 40,000 international students have deferred enrollment, the institute reported, as the pandemic continues to wreak worldwide havoc on plans for travel and education.

Read the full story

By: Nick Anderson

9:15 PM: Nature takes a beating from a different kind of tourist in Tahoe

Most summers, visitors to Lake Tahoe respect its beauty and its bears. This summer, however was different, resulting in an increase in trash and bear activity, and protests from some of the locals.

Many tourism officials and business owners had feared Tahoe would take a major hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention the poor air quality from the California wildfires. Instead, the famously blue lake that straddles the state line between California and Nevada saw a boost in visitors.

But the vacationers who arrived in droves were not Tahoe’s typical tourists, observers say. Some seemed unfamiliar with wilderness protocols, which include packing out trash, protecting pristine natural elements such as trees and boulders, and not feeding the bears.

Read the full story

By: Erika Mailman

9:12 PM: California slams ‘emergency brake’ on reopening during unprecedented rise in cases

Gavin Newsom wearing a suit and tie: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in October. © Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in October.

California has to slam the “emergency brake” on reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday, making it the latest state to reestablish restrictions as it experiences its sharpest increase in coronavirus infections yet.

The state’s daily case count doubled in the past week, a rise that is “without precedent,” Newsom (D) said during a news briefing Monday, as California tallied 9,890 new cases.

To slow the surge of infections, Newsom said 41 of the state’s 58 counties — including Orange, Santa Clara and Santa Barbara counties — will be on the most restrictive “purple” level, which requires many nonessential indoor businesses to close. Purple counties are ones reporting more than seven cases per day per 100,000 people and where the positivity rate for testing is above 8 percent. Last week, 13 counties were in that category.

Restaurants, gyms and places of worship in these hot spots must be outdoors-only, and bars must close, according to state guidelines. Nonessential offices are required to work remotely.

Because outbreaks have spiraled in recent weeks, Newsom announced that the state will move counties multiple tiers as needed and reassess more often, instead of only on Tuesdays.

“The bottom line is we’re moving from a marathon to a sprint,” he said.

Newsom added that he was considering a statewide curfew but said he was still reviewing research to see how effective it would be.

The closures come as states across the country have ramped up restrictions to try to tackle mounting infections and hospitalizations ahead of the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Governors in New Mexico, Oregon and Washington announced Friday the shutdown of indoor dining and other services. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) made a similar pronouncement Sunday, saying that a second stay-home order may follow if the state is unable to curb infections.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) on Monday also announced additional coronavirus measures, which require tables in dining areas to be six feet apart, restaurants and bars to close by 11 p.m. and that its approximately 33,000 state employees wear masks.

By: Meryl Kornfield and Darren Sands

8:30 PM: Analysis: The most important part of Biden’s economic speech is what he did not say

As President-elect Joe Biden took the stage Monday for his first big address on U.S. economy, coronavirus cases were hitting all-time highs, numerous states and cities were issuing fresh stay-at-home orders, and Americans were noticeably pulling back on spending again.

Biden made it clear his first priority is getting the virus under control. He walked out on stage wearing a mask, and proclaimed, “There’s nothing macho about not wearing a mask.” He urged unity -- and common sense, saying his own family would limit Thanksgiving celebrations to no more than 10 people.

But in this moment of rising unease, it was noticeable what Biden did not say in his speech. He did not extend any sort of olive branch to Senate Republicans to re-start bipartisan negotiations on a stimulus bill, and he danced around the question of whether the nation needs another wide-scale closure of businesses and schools.

Read the full story here.

By: Heather Long

8:14 PM: Iowa governor, who belittled mask mandates, announces statewide mask mandate

Iowa has become the latest state to implement a mask mandate after Gov. Kim Reynolds resisted calls to order one amid a surging coronavirus outbreak.

Iowans age 2 or older must wear a mask starting Tuesday in indoor public spaces and if they are within six feet of people who are not members of their households, Reynolds (R) announced Monday night in a recorded video message. The order also limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 15 and 30 attendees, respectively, requires restaurants and bars to close at 10 p.m. and encourages those who are high-risk to stay home.

“This isn’t about mandates, this isn’t about government,” Reynolds said. “There isn’t enough law enforcement in the country to make sure Iowans wear a mask when they should. … If Iowans don’t buy into this, we lose.”

Reynolds has previously belittled mask mandates, calling them “feel-good” actions, and argued that her approach that supported individual freedoms earned President Trump the state in the election. She later ordered a limited requirement last week for face coverings for indoor gatherings with more than 25 people and outdoor gatherings with more than 100 people.

“I think the goal is to do what we can to reduce the spread of the virus,” Reynolds said in September, according to the Associated Press. “I believe that is the end goal and that we can get there without a mask mandate. I believe that and that’s what I’m going to consistently do.”

But on Monday, she said the state’s health-care system has been “pushed to the brink.” Iowa’s total number of reported infections doubled in the past month, and on Monday, the number of patients in the state currently hospitalized with covid-19 reached a high of 1,392.

Reynolds said she was postponing her Thanksgiving celebration and not hosting her children and grandchildren because of the pandemic.

“Now is the time to come together for the greater good,” she said.

By: Meryl Kornfield

7:45 PM: Some hospitals are desperately searching for staffers and paying dearly for it

In Bismarck, N.D., where Leslie McKamey is a nurse in the emergency department at CHI St. Alexius Health, caregivers have been so overwhelmed by covid-19 patients in the past few weeks that ambulances are sometimes diverted to the other major hospital in town.

Until that hospital, Sanford Medical Center, fills up as well. Then, there is no choice but to treat the flood of sick people who have made the state the worst coronavirus hot spot in this unprecedented surge of the pandemic.

“Our nurses are working longer shifts, a majority are picking up extra shifts, and we’re still short-staffed,” McKamey said, attributing the crisis in part to a hospital policy of reducing personnel in recent years. “We are taking on more patients than what we can really handle and what our patients deserve.”

As the virus stampedes across the country, setting previously unimaginable infection records nearly every day of its third major surge, some hospitals are desperately searching for staffers and paying dearly for it.

Read the full story here.

By: Lenny Bernstein

7:24 PM: More than 1 million children in the U.S. have tested positive, pediatrician groups say

More than 1 million children in the United States have fallen ill with the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association announced Monday.

In total, nearly 1.04 million kids under 18 have tested positive, which likely does not account for all cases as children are less likely to show symptoms or get tested, according to the associations for pediatricians. Almost 112,000 cases among children were reported during the week of Nov. 12, the largest increase since the start of the pandemic.

While children tend to experience mild infections, few face more severe cases: Kids accounted for more than 1 to 3 percent of the total reported hospitalizations and less than one-quarter of 1 percent of deaths.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children,” the groups said in a joint release of data. “However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”

The organizations pointed to the known psychological effects of natural disasters on children, adding that the disruption inflicted by the pandemic is likely to continue long term, wreaking “toxic stress” on young Americans.

AAP President Sally Goza called the data “staggering and tragic” in a statement, urging elected leaders to consider a national strategy that includes “proven public health measures like mask wearing and physical distancing” to address the rampant virus threatening families and straining health-care systems.

The count comes as some of the largest public school systems, such as New York City’s, consider going online amid a rising positivity rate and outbreaks.

During the late summer and early fall, President Trump pushed for schools to open in person, asserting that “virtually” no children catch the virus.

By: Meryl Kornfield

6:48 PM: Think it will soon be too cold to eat outside? Heed this advice from Alaska, Scandinavia — even the South Pole

Winter is coming and I am determined to eat outside for as long as I can bear it, and as long as health experts are encouraging outdoor over indoor dining. I’m not counting solely on my Minnesota roots to buoy me. In anticipation of a significant drop in temperature, my significant other bought a fire pit and two tall heaters, assurance that friends in our bubble will continue to accept invitations to our backyard for my reviews of takeout fare if not home-cooked dinners.

I’m hardly alone in my desire to sip and sup outside for the foreseeable future. One of the great takeaways from Election Day, when I spent the evening with a few socially distanced pals on a terrace outfitted with a big-screen TV, was a welcome from the host that included individual electric blankets. As winter approaches, the restaurant greeting for outdoor dining enthusiasts has flipped from “Let me tell you about tonight’s specials” to “Can I adjust your heater?”

Read the full story

By: Tom Sietsema

6:15 PM: South Dakota nurse says many patients deny the coronavirus exists — right up until death

Jodi Doering, an emergency room nurse in South Dakota, was overwhelmed Saturday night. Her patients were dying of covid-19, yet were still in denial about the pandemic’s existence.

It’s like “horror movie that never ends,” Doering wrote on Twitter.

Her anxiety and despair is shared by many health-care workers who are facing a dramatic surge in covid-19 patients. But some front-line workers, like Doering, also face the emotional toll of treating patients who, despite being severely ill, are reluctant to acknowledge that they have been infected with a virus that President Trump has said will simply disappear.

Doering said she has covid-19 patients who need 100 percent-oxygen breathing assistance who will also swear that they don’t have the illness that has ended the lives of nearly a quarter-million people in the United States since February.

Read the full story here.

By: Paulina Villegas

5:30 PM: Alaska congressman who downplayed severity of covid-19 says he is recovering from disease

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who is the longest-serving member of the House and who initially downplayed the severity of covid-19, said in an interview that he is recovering from a brutal case of the disease.

“I’ve been shot, I’ve been rolled over, I’ve been hit in the head a hundred times, but I’ve never felt as bad as I did” with the virus, Young said. “This is not good.”

Young, 87, is also the oldest House member. He was hospitalized at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage for three days before being discharged Sunday night.

“I’m making progress. I can’t complain,” he said. “I’ll be ready to go in a few days, back and hit the old pavement.”

Young, who was first elected in 1973, said “many” members of his campaign staff also have been infected with the coronavirus, though he did not provide an exact number and his office would not comment, citing privacy concerns. He added that his wife has tested positive but is not symptomatic.

Young said he does not know how or when he contracted the virus. But he continued to hold in-person fundraising events during the campaign season and did not require attendees to wear masks or to socially distance.

He said that he personally supports wearing masks and following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but that he does not support mask mandates or believe in “hunkering down.”

Young had dismissed the coronavirus in March, calling it the “beer virus,” a reference to Corona beer, as he told a gathering of senior citizens in Alaska that the dangers were overhyped. He later apologized and acknowledged that he had not grasped the severity of covid-19.

Now that he has experienced the coronavirus firsthand, he has a new nickname for it. “I call it the whiskey virus,” he said. “You drink too much and it’ll kill you.”

By: Libby Casey

4:48 PM: Supreme Court won’t force Texas prison officials to comply with lower court order

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to force Texas prison officials to add safety precautions in a geriatric prison unit hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit stopped a lower-court ruling in favor of prisoners at Wallace Pack Unit, a geriatric prison in Southeast Texas. Since the coronavirus was detected in the prison in April, more than 500 inmates — more than 40 percent of the inmate population — have tested positive, and 20 have died. But Texas prison officials say they are addressing the problem, and the appeals court said they did not have to comply with the district court’s order while the case proceeded.

Inmates Laddy Valentine, 69, and Richard King, 73, brought the case to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis.

As is common in such emergency appeals, the majority did not give a reason for leaving the appeals court injunction in place. The court has been reluctant in coronavirus-related disputes to enforce court decisions in the face of opposition from local officials.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said the court should have adopted a different policy in this case.

“The people incarcerated in the Pack Unit are some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Sotomayor wrote. “They face severe risks of serious illness and death from COVID-19, but are unable to take even the most basic precautions against the virus on their own.”

She added that “if the prison fails to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing, perform regular testing, and take other essential steps, the inmates can do nothing but wait for the virus to take its toll. Twenty lives have been lost already. I fear the [court’s action] will lead to further, needless suffering.”

By: Robert Barnes

4:43 PM: Dow soars to new heights on promising vaccine news

U.S. stocks closed at new records Monday, after promising trial news from Moderna left investors hopeful that the country may have two coronavirus vaccines available on a limited basis by the end of 2020.

After a preliminary analysis, biotechnology firm Moderna reported that its experimental coronavirus vaccine, which it is co-developing with the National Institutes of Health, was almost 95 percent effective at preventing illness, including severe cases. The news comes just days after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech reported that its experimental vaccine was 90 percent effective, spurring optimism on Wall Street that powered the S&P 500 to a record Friday.

By market close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 471 points, or 1.6 percent, at 29,950, a new record close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 1.16 percent to 3,626. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 0.8 percent to 11,924.

Read the full story here.

By: Taylor Telford and Hannah Denham

4:19 PM: Biden says ‘more people may die’ if Trump doesn’t allow coordination on pandemic planning

In remarks in Wilmington, Del., on Monday afternoon, Biden urged Trump to allow officials to work with the incoming administration on developing a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the president’s refusal to do so puts more American lives at risk.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate. … How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking,” Biden told reporters.

He added: “If we have to wait until January 20th to start that planning, it puts us behind, over a month and a half. And so, it’s important that it be done — that there be coordination now. Now, or as rapidly as we can get that done.”

At least 246,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States. In recent weeks, many states have reported record-high caseloads and hospitalizations, and the average U.S. deaths per day again shot past 1,000 this month, despite improvements in treatment that make survival more likely.

As the pandemic worsens, the White House has instructed senior government leaders to block cooperation with Biden’s transition team. The head of the General Services Administration, the low-profile agency that officially starts the transition, is refusing to sign paperwork that releases Biden’s share of transition resources and gives his team access to agency officials and information.

By: Felicia Sonmez

4:10 PM: Philadelphia limits indoor gatherings, restricts businesses in response to coronavirus surge

The city of Philadelphia announced Monday that a new “Safer at Home” order restricting businesses, schools and social gatherings will take effect Friday and extend at least until Jan. 1.

The restrictions are meant to “help flatten the epidemic curve, prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths,” the city said in a news release.

Philadelphia County reported some of the lowest rates of the year for new infections until the trend began to show signs of reversal around October, and rates have climbed steadily since. The seven-day average of new cases in Philadelphia County doubled to 802 cases Monday from a weekly average of 390 two weeks ago, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

High schools and colleges must move to online instruction only; theaters, bowling alleys and arcades, museums, libraries, casinos and senior day services will be closed. Indoor gatherings in public and private spaces are limited to a single household, including weddings and funerals. Houses of worship must return to limited capacity of five people per 1,000 square feet, or 5 percent of maximum occupancy.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people per 1,000 square feet, or 10 percent of maximum capacity — and all attendees must wear masks at all times, without food or beverages served, to enforce mask use. Indoor dining at restaurants is now banned, but outdoor dining is allowed with reduced seating of up to four people, from the same household, per table. Retail stores and indoor malls can operate within a maximum occupancy of five people per 1,000 square feet. Offices can still have in-person working in necessary circumstances. Staffers and customers at barbershops and beauty salons must wear masks at all times.

By: Hannah Denham and Kim Bellware

4:00 PM: Reps. Cheri Bustos, Tim Walberg test positive for coronavirus; Reps. Mark Pocan, Debbie Lesko quarantining

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said she has tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest lawmaker to announce Monday that they’ve been infected.

Bustos said she is experiencing “mild symptoms,” will be self-isolating and has already notified her contacts.

“Across the country and the Congressional District I serve, COVID case numbers are skyrocketing," she tweeted. “We must all continue to be vigilant in following public health best practices.”

The outgoing chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said she will work from her home in Illinois “until cleared by my physician.” Members of the House are largely returning to Washington this week following the election.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) announced earlier that he tested positive and has begun tracing his contacts.

In a statement, Walberg said his symptoms are mild and that he is “in good spirits.” He said it has been more than a week since he last attended a public event.

“As we enter the winter months, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and adhere to public health guidelines to combat this virus,” Walberg said, adding: “I will continue serving constituents of the 7th District and carrying out my responsibilities from home until I fully recover.”

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) released a statement saying he has been in quarantine since Nov. 10 after learning that his 91-year-old mother had tested positive. He learned of her diagnosis shortly after moving her to a new nursing home. He said he received a negative result after a Nov. 13 test and will get tested again at the end of the week.

“Fortunately, the nursing home staff contacted me immediately after learning of my mother’s positive result and I was able to quarantine without delay,” Pocan said in the statement. “Unfortunately, too many people in Wisconsin don’t get that information in a timely way due to the low number of contract tracers we have hired in Wisconsin.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) also separately announced that she will quarantine for 14 days after coming “into contact with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19.”

Lesko said she is not experiencing symptoms and plans to get tested on the fifth day from exposure.

By: Paulina Firozi

3:16 PM: Poll workers in five states test positive for the coronavirus

Almost two weeks after Election Day, poll workers in five states, including more than two dozen in Missouri, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press.

The cases in Missouri, New York, Iowa, Indiana and Virginia cannot be definitively linked to in-person voting, the news agency reported, noting that the virus is being transmitted widely across the United States. Many polling places took steps to try to curtail the spread of the virus, including installing protective barriers, offering hand sanitizer and implementing physical distancing.

Yet the cases recorded among poll workers are still concerning because of the number of people with whom they had contact at the polling sites where they worked.

Jackson County, Mo., home of Kansas City, appears to be the site of the highest number of poll-worker infections, the AP reported. Approximately 28 workers have been confirmed as infected over the past couple of weeks.

The director of the county’s election board, Tammy Brown, told the news agency that staffers directed voters who felt unwell not to come inside. But she said she suspects some of the nearly 200,000 people who voted in Jackson County may not have listened.

“We, as election officials, all knew we were at risk,” she said. “I don’t think this was shocking to any of us.”

Officials in New York advised more than 1,600 people who cast their ballots at a site in the Hudson Valley on Election Day to seek testing after a poll worker tested positive for the virus. The risk to voters was probably low, because the staffer wore a face covering and maintained distance, according to the AP.

In Carroll County, Va., authorities said two workers at two polling places had contracted the virus. A health official told the AP that testing was being offered to workers and voters.

By: Brittany Shammas

2:59 PM: Canadian territory of Nunavut announces two-week lockdown

TORONTO — The Canadian territory of Nunavut, which until this month had been the only state-level jurisdiction in North America without a single coronavirus case, announced a shutdown of nonessential businesses and schools on Monday, after 26 cases in three communities were recorded in 10 days.

The territory-wide restrictions will be in place for at least two weeks. They include the closure of sporting activities, hair salons and recreational facilities. Restaurants will be limited to takeout only, and outdoor gatherings of more than five people will be banned.

Nunavut, a sparsely populated territory of some 39,000 in the Arctic, recorded its first covid-19 infection on Nov. 6. Since then, cases have been recorded in three of the territory’s 25 hamlets, which are connected to one another and the rest of Canada only by air.

The territory’s remoteness might have stalled the virus’s arrival, but it also makes it vulnerable. Its one hospital has 35 beds, there are no intensive care beds and only a dozen ventilators. Before the pandemic, most Nunavummiut had to leave the territory for routine medical appointments.

Inuit, who make up the vast majority of Nunavut’s population, are at high risk of tuberculosis. Housing shortages mean most residents live in crowded spaces, where the virus can spread rapidly.

In March, Nunavut closed its borders to most outsiders, including other Canadians. Returning residents must first undergo a 14-day quarantine at a government-selected hotel outside the territory. A few “critical” workers at mines in the territory tested positive for the virus in the summer, but their cases were not counted toward the territory’s total because they were not residents of the territory and the mines were so remote that they could not be accessed by residents.

Several Canadian provinces are experiencing surges of the coronavirus, but Nunavut’s restrictions are among the most stringent. Most have implemented targeted measures in hard-hit areas rather than blanket restrictions across the province and none have imposed a widespread closure of schools.

By: Amanda Coletta

2:38 PM: Trump coronavirus adviser tells Michigan to ‘rise up’ against new shutdown orders

On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week “pause to save lives,” closing colleges, high schools, workplaces and in-person dining as new coronavirus cases have spiked.

After she appealed to the Trump administration to intervene in the pandemic, White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas responded with a call to action. But instead of supporting Whitmer’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Michigan, he urged residents to reject the state’s public health guidelines.

“The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas said in a tweet Sunday night, which quoted a reporter who had shared information about Whitmer’s new restrictions. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

Critics immediately panned Atlas’s “rise up” rhetoric, which mirrored President Trump’s previous calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and statements that correlated “tyranny” with the pandemic restrictions put in place by Whitmer, who was the target of a kidnapping plot that was thwarted last month. The would-be kidnappers said they planned the attack because the Michigan governor was a “tyrant b----.

Read the full story

By: Katie Shepherd

2:04 PM: Some retailers return to early-pandemic precautions

Surging numbers of coronavirus infections are coinciding with Thanksgiving and Black Friday, prompting some retailers to reintroduce safety precautions that were taken early in the coronavirus pandemic: customer lines to get into stores and purchase limits on certain items.

Kroger has temporarily reverted to restricting purchases on items such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes. Chief executive Rodney McMullen said in a Nov. 12 ABC News interview that Kroger learned how to prepare for the next surge in infections and potential stay-at-home orders from earlier in the pandemic.

“What we found was that we didn’t have limits on early enough,” McMullen said. “There’s plenty of product in the supply chain, and we just thought it would be much better to be proactive because as long as people only buy what they need, there’s plenty of supply in the supply chain.”

Walmart seems to be anticipating larger crowds and higher demand, at least for its Black Friday deals. The company has sought to give online customers more options with expanded holiday sale events, but for its in-store events, the company has placed more safety measures.

During Walmart’s previous two in-store Black Friday events this month, stores opened at 5 a.m., with customers organized in a single file and allowed inside in metered numbers. Stores sanitized shopping carts, and health ambassadors stationed at store entrances reminded customers to wear a mask and walk down the right-hand side of aisles while shopping.

“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event,” Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said in a news release. “By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates.”

By: Hannah Denham

12:07 PM: Vaccines, test events make IOC ‘very confident’ Japan’s Olympics will go ahead with fans

TOKYO — The International Olympic Committee is “very confident” the Olympics can take place in Tokyo in summer with a reasonable number of spectators, thanks to the development of vaccines and rapid virus testing, its president, Thomas Bach, said Monday.

The IOC also wants to “convince” foreign athletes and spectators to be vaccinated before coming to Japan, he said, but it can’t make vaccines obligatory.

“In order to protect the Japanese people and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake great effort so that as many as possible — Olympic participants and visitors — will arrive here vaccinated, if by then a vaccine is available,” Bach said.

Read the full story

By: Simon Denyer

11:27 AM: Global markets roar on promising vaccine news

U.S. stock futures jumped Monday after promising trial news from Moderna left investors hopeful that the country might have two coronavirus vaccines available on a limited basis by the end of 2020.

After a preliminary analysis, biotechnology firm Moderna reported that its experimental coronavirus vaccine, which it is co-developing with the National Institutes of Health, was found to be almost 95 percent effective at preventing illness, including severe cases. The news comes just days after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech reported that its experimental vaccine was 90 percent effective, spurring optimism on Wall Street that powered the S&P 500 to a record Friday.

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By: Taylor Telford

10:43 AM: As communities suffer, local officials struggle to disburse federal aid. Now, a deadline looms.

a group of people walking down the street: Carlos Ortiz, with his 5-year-old son, Jeffrey, picks up supplies from a weekly food distribution site at the Montgomery County apartment complex where he lives. Ortiz is among thousands of tenants in the county waiting to hear back on his application for rental assistance. © Katherine Frey/The Washington Post Carlos Ortiz, with his 5-year-old son, Jeffrey, picks up supplies from a weekly food distribution site at the Montgomery County apartment complex where he lives. Ortiz is among thousands of tenants in the county waiting to hear back on his application for rental assistance.

Eight months after Congress approved $150 billion in relief funding for state and local governments, Adama Harouna wonders why so little has come to her community.

As head of the tenants association at a Maryland apartment complex, Harouna, 44, helps organize a Sunday food drive where she sees some of the hardest-hit. There’s the laid-off pharmacist from Cameroon who no longer has money to send home; the single mother whose three children contracted the coronavirus; the middle-aged man wondering whether he should vacate his apartment before the sheriff comes knocking.

Across the country, local governments are struggling to push Cares Act money into the hands of the people who need it most. Officials say the funds were slow to trickle down to them, in part because of political squabbling. Stringent and evolving rules from the Treasury Department complicated the process.

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By: Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason

9:53 AM: U.S. leaders, health experts celebrate Moderna news

U.S. leaders and health experts cheered Monday’s news that a second experimental coronavirus vaccine, this one developed by the biotechnology firm Moderna, was found to be nearly 95 effective in a preliminary analysis.

But they also called for Americans to double down on measures to prevent the spread in the months ahead.

Moderna’s announcement came a week after pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German technology firm BioNTech said an analysis found their vaccine was more than 90 percent effective.

“So now we have two vaccines that are really quite effective,” Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Monday on the “Today” show. “So I think this is a really strong step forward to where we want to be about getting control of this outbreak.”

At the same time, he urged Americans to overcome “covid fatigue” and continue handwashing, physical distancing and mask-wearing.

In a Monday morning Twitter post, President-elect Joe Biden struck a similar note.

“Today’s news of a second vaccine is further reason to feel hopeful,” he wrote. “What was true with the first vaccine remains true with the second: we are still months away. Until then, Americans need to continue to practice social-distancing and mask-wearing to get the virus under control.”

Among those praising the Moderna news: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who said in a Twitter post that he was “thrilled to hear the good news.”

“Our companies share a common goal — defeating this dreaded disease — and today we congratulate everyone at Moderna and share in the joy of their encouraging results,” he wrote.

By: Brittany Shammas

8:48 AM: Canadian coronavirus cases grow and spread as once-effective unity frays

a truck that has a sign on the side of a building: A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks by a closed food truck in Toronto on Friday. © Cole Burston/Bloomberg A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks by a closed food truck in Toronto on Friday.

TORONTO — It was the news conference equivalent of a subtweet. And a reversal of sorts for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who a week earlier had said he was not in the business of judging whether some provinces had mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would hope that no leader in our country is easing public health vigilance because they feel pressure not to shut down businesses or slow down our economy,” he told reporters last week. “I urge premiers and mayors to do the right thing: Act now to protect public health.”

Which ones were doing the wrong thing? He wouldn’t name names.

Canada’s spring wave battered Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces. Now, a spiraling resurgence is buffeting provinces once heralded as success stories, as cracks emerge in the “Team Canada” approach.

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By: Amanda Coletta

8:13 AM: With cases up, Washington region steps up coronavirus restrictions and enforcement

a group of people riding on the back of a flag: Thousands of supporters of President Trump, the majority maskless, gathered in Washington on Nov. 14 for the Million MAGA March and rally. © Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post Thousands of supporters of President Trump, the majority maskless, gathered in Washington on Nov. 14 for the Million MAGA March and rally.

As coronavirus cases in the Washington, D.C., region rose during the weekend, authorities continued trying to balance public appeals and enforcement to address violations of mask mandates and other health regulations meant to keep residents safe.

On Sunday, confirmed cases in the region were up more than 3,100, including 1,840 in Maryland, 1,161 in Virginia and 163 in the District of Columbia, with the city again setting a record for its seven-day average for new infections, at 139.

To help reverse the trend, tighter coronavirus restrictions in Virginia, set to take effect at 12 a.m. Monday, come with broader tools for enforcement, including potential penalties of up to $2,500 covering a wide range of businesses deemed essential, from grocery stores to dry cleaners, according to Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

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By: Michael Laris

7:42 AM: India’s capital is battling a surge in coronavirus cases just as pollution levels spike

NEW DELHI — The Indian capital is battling both toxic air and a record surge in coronavirus cases. Doctors and scientists say the combination will have deadly consequences, as exposure to pollution increases the risk of severe respiratory illnesses. Air pollution also makes people more prone to infections, they say.

India has recorded more than 8.7 million coronavirus cases, second only to the United States. While fresh cases nationwide have fallen sharply since September, New Delhi is an exception to the trend.

The city is adding more than 7,000 cases a day, and that figure is expected to rise. More than 100 covid deaths were reported in New Delhi on Thursday, a record. Meanwhile, the number of open hospital beds equipped with ventilators is dwindling.

The fresh wave of cases comes as Delhiites have thronged markets and malls during India’s festival season. This weekend marked the advent of Diwali, a major Hindu holiday, and public heath experts fear that celebratory gatherings could spread the virus.

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By: Joanna Slater, Niha Masih and Taniya Dutta

7:14 AM: Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine found to be nearly 95 percent effective in a preliminary analysis

Biotechnology firm Moderna announced Monday that a preliminary analysis shows its experimental coronavirus vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing illness, including severe cases — a striking initial result that leaves the United States with the prospect that two coronavirus vaccines could be available on a limited basis by the end of the year.

The news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech lifted the stock market and people’s hopes with the news that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective.

“It’s extremely good news. If you look at the data, the numbers speak for themselves,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was one of three people briefed on the data by an independent committee Sunday morning. “I describe myself as a realist, but I’m fundamentally a cautious optimist. I felt we’d likely get something less than this. … I said certainly a 90-plus-percent effective vaccine is possible, but I wasn’t counting on it.”

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By: Carolyn Y. Johnson

6:41 AM: New Zealand ‘confident’ no covid-19 on meat exports, despite Chinese claims

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pushed back on reports that China found traces of the novel coronavirus on meat imported from her country, pointing out that New Zealand has been free of the virus for months.

“We are confident, of course, that our products do not and are not exported with signs of covid on them, given our status as being essentially covid-free,” Ardern said at a news conference Monday. The prime minister said New Zealand would investigate further. “I want to get to the bottom of this,” she added.

Reuters reported Sunday that a number of Chinese cities claimed to have found traces of the coronavirus on meat imports. Authorities in the city of Jinan said they detected the virus on beef and tripe and on their packaging from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand, the news agency reported, while other cities announced they had found the virus on meat from Argentina.

Ardern said Chinese authorities have not formally raised the issue with New Zealand but that it has been advised that meat imported from New Zealand did not contain traces of the virus.

“We had been advised that there had been positive tests on the packaging of beef products from Argentina. We were advised that some New Zealand products were in the same coolstore as where those positive tests were returned,” Ardern said.

“We were not advised that New Zealand products themselves had tested positive for covid-19,” Ardern said.

The World Health Organization and a number of outside experts have said that the risk of catching the coronavirus from frozen food is low. But Chinese officials have pointed to imported frozen food as the source of some outbreaks, including one recently in the port city of Qingdao.

Last year, China overtook the United States to become the top destination for New Zealand beef exports, with China accounting for almost half of all exports of the meat at a value of $605 million, according to official statistics.

By: Adam Taylor

6:33 AM: NFL postseason bubbles could be an option, but the league prefers to avoid them

The NFL remains intent on finishing the season without using a bubble but will consider various scenarios for the playoffs if league leaders and medical advisers are convinced a bubble format is necessary for the postseason to be played without interruption.

The bubble formats that could be considered include home-market bubbles, in which teams participating in the playoffs would have players, coaches and staffers stay in local hotels rather than going home each day, and neutral-site bubbles for the two conference championship games and possibly the Super Bowl. The latter is considered a last-resort option and is far down the NFL’s list of contingency plans.

The NFL prefers to conduct its postseason — culminating with the Super Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 7 in Tampa — without resorting to a bubble but will take whatever steps it deems necessary, based on medical recommendations, to see the playoffs to completion.

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By: Mark Maske

6:03 AM: A DMV visit was never fun. The pandemic has made it worse.

Eight months into the coronavirus crisis, departments of motor vehicles across the country are swamped by a pandemic-created backlog. In Oklahoma, where walk-ins are allowed, people are braving the cold and long lines to get into a DMV location. In Oregon, officials estimate it will take a year to clear the backlog. And in New Jersey, “line holders” are being paid as much as $150 to camp outside DMV offices for hours — often overnight — to snag a spot for desperate motorists.

In the Washington region, customers are waiting up to six months to complete routine transactions such as driver’s tests, license renewals and out-of-state transfers. Some services such as driver skills tests are booked through next year.

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By: Luz Lazo

5:33 AM: France appears to have ‘passed the peak’ of second surge, health minister says

olivier veran wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: French Health Minister Olivier Véran speaks at Thursday news conference. © Ludovic Marin/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock French Health Minister Olivier Véran speaks at Thursday news conference.

France’s second surge of coronavirus cases appears to have passed its peak, Minister of Health Olivier Véran said Sunday.

After a steady rise in infections that began in August, France’s caseload rose sharply in October as the country began reporting more than 40,000 new cases each day and dwarfing all previous records from the first wave this spring. The country reentered lockdown on Oct. 30 and has seen the number of new infections logged each day trending downward over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“Thanks to the lockdown, just like back in March, the virus has started to circulate less,” Véran said in an interview with the EBRA group of regional newspapers, according to France 24. “For 10 consecutive days now, the number of new covid-19 cases, positive test rates and incident rates are decreasing. Everything leads us to believe that we have passed the peak of the epidemic.”

Just one week ago, another top health official was predicting that France had not yet reached its peak. “We are at a crucial moment,” Director General of Health Jerome Salomon told reporters last Monday, according to Reuters. Cities that were put under a curfew before the lockdown were starting to see an improvement, he said at the time, but there were not yet signs of a similar trend on a national level.

While Véran acknowledged on Sunday that the reversal was “good news,” he also emphasized that it was “too early to claim victory and relax our efforts.” France plans to lift some restrictions on retail stores at the start of December if all indicators are pointing in the right direction, but whether holiday travel and Christmas gatherings will be permitted is not yet clear.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

5:03 AM: Raging virus triggers new shutdown orders and economy braces for fresh wave of pain

The uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak is prompting government officials across the nation to impose new restrictions on consumers and businesses, sapping the economy’s momentum and delaying the recovery of millions of jobs lost during the recession.

Washington’s failure to provide additional financial support is compounding the economic distress. Though Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell this week repeated his call for a fresh round of pump-priming, the economy for now is left to navigate a winter of disease and loss unaided.

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) tightened limits on restaurants and indoor gatherings, effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, while the governors of California, Oregon and Washington state issued a joint statement discouraging travel and advising visitors to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days. The mayor of New York, meanwhile, warned parents that public schools could close as soon as Monday.

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By: David J. Lynch

4:33 AM: Thousands pack music festival in Taiwan, where no local cases have been reported in over 200 days

Over the weekend, while Americans were contemplating the very real possibility that they wouldn’t get to see their families at Thanksgiving or Christmas, thousands of electronic music fans in Taiwan were dancing frenetically to thumping music as fireworks lit up the sky.

The island of more than 23 million people has gone more than 200 days without reporting a single locally transmitted coronavirus infection, making it possible for the massive crowd at Ultra Taiwan to pack the makeshift arena like it was 2019. A spinoff of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, which was canceled this year, the event was one of the first large-scale electronic music concerts held amid the pandemic. (An unrelated but equally crowded festival took place in Wuhan, China’s former coronavirus hot spot, in August.)

“It felt as I expected: INCREDIBLE!” Alesso, the festival’s headliner, wrote on Instagram. Taiwan’s success at suppressing the virus without a vaccine is “inspiring and gives me hope for the rest of the world that are dealing with this unfortunate virus,” he added. He noted that he and his team had been required to quarantine for two weeks “but we made it thru.”

The island’s track record has been attributed to a variety of factors, including preparedness from past epidemics, a national health system and centralized response, an existing culture of mask-wearing, and broad trust in government. “Must be nice when your country and people actually care about stopping COVID-19,” one California-based writer captioned a photo of Ultra Taiwan that went viral on Twitter over the weekend.

Border restrictions have also been strictly enforced, as evidenced over the weekend when four of the festival’s DJs were fined for breaking quarantine. The state-owned Central News Agency reported that the DJs met up in a common area at their quarantine facility to rehearse for the show and were charged the equivalent of $350 for the lapse.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

4:14 AM: This bar’s staff was quarantined, so a barber came to sling beers

The news came at a bad time for Aaron Kahn. The New Jersey bar owner learned that one of his employees had tested positive for the coronavirus just as plans were underway for a busy outdoor dining weekend in record-high temps. Kahn put a notice on Instagram on Nov. 6, notifying his customers that he was closing his popular Wurstbar in Jersey City until tests for all 20 of his employees came back negative.

“It was 75 degrees and we were looking at one of the last beautiful weekends of the season,” said Kahn, 38, who was resigned to taking a loss in revenue. “But I didn’t see that I had any choice.”

He called his barber, Andre Fersa, to cancel his regular Friday haircut, and fill him in on the news. But Fersa had an offer: “I can wait on your tables tomorrow,” he said. And that is how Fersa, who usually spends his days with a pair of clippers in hand, ended up hustling from the bar to the patio with trays full of beer and cider for Kahn’s customers on Saturday.

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By: Cathy Free

3:33 AM: Trump and his White House minimize pandemic surge as he focuses on denying election loss

Since Election Day and for weeks prior, President Trump has all but ceased to actively manage the deadly pandemic, which so far has killed at least 245,000 Americans, infected more than 11 million and choked the country’s economy. The president has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in “at least five months,” said one senior administration official with knowledge of the meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details.

Now, as he fights for his political life, falsely claiming the election was somehow rigged against him, Trump has abdicated one of the central duties of the job he claims to want: leading the country through a devastating pandemic as it heads into a grim winter.

“I don’t know that I think that’s where his focus is,” said one senior administration official. “But I know that’s where our focus needs to get back to.”

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By: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Philip Rucker

3:03 AM: New Zealand, which has virtually eliminated the coronavirus, institutes partial mask mandate as a precaution

a man standing in front of a mirror: An Auckland barber wearing a face mask cleans his hands in between clients in May. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images An Auckland barber wearing a face mask cleans his hands in between clients in May.

New Zealand, which has virtually eliminated community transmission of the coronavirus, is making masks mandatory on public transportation in Auckland this week and may soon extend that requirement nationwide.

Late last week, health officials partially closed down Auckland’s central business district and urged people to work from home after discovering that a young woman who worked in a clothing store had tested positive for the coronavirus. Although the case initially seemed to be the first in the country with no known link to quarantine facilities since August, authorities announced Friday that genomic sequencing had revealed that it was connected to a known cluster of infections that were linked to a quarantine hotel.

That discovery significantly dampened fears that the virus was spreading unchecked through the community, but the realization that the infected woman had gone to work and traveled around the city before learning about her test results also had a sobering effect on New Zealanders who believed themselves to be largely safe from the pandemic. On Sunday, authorities announced plans to make face coverings mandatory on all forms of public transportation that pass through Auckland, as well as all domestic flights nationwide.

Masks will also be mandatory for taxi and ride-share drivers, and they are strongly encouraged for passengers. Children who are traveling to school, or are under age 12, are exempt.

Masks are “a good visual reminder that while New Zealand remains relatively free of restrictions, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Chris Hipkins, a minister handling the coronavirus response, told reporters on Sunday. He described the mandate as a “sensible precaution” that presents a “minor inconvenience” at most and costs the government little.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday that she and her cabinet were considering instituting similar rules across the country.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

2:47 AM: Boris Johnson to self-quarantine after potential coronavirus exposure

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. © Matt Dunham/AP British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Sunday that he was entering self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Johnson contracted the coronavirus this spring and was hospitalized with severe symptoms before returning to work in late April. Because it is not yet known how long coronavirus antibodies last, it is not clear whether he is still immune to the virus.

In a tweet on Sunday, Johnson said he had no symptoms but was “following the rules” and had been told to quarantine by the National Health Service’s contact tracers. He said he planned to continue working from his official residence at 10 Downing Street and managing the government’s response to the pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that Johnson was not only well but “absolutely full of beans,” Reuters reported. He added that the prime minister would be “driving things forward this week by Zoom.”

The BBC reported that Johnson’s possible exposure occurred Thursday, when he spent about 35 minutes meeting with a conservative member of Parliament, Lee Anderson. A photo posted to Anderson’s Facebook page shows the two standing a few feet apart but not wearing masks.

In an early morning video posted to Twitter on Monday, Johnson said that his experience was proof that the NHS’s contact tracers were working more efficiently than ever, “but the bad news is that they’ve pinged me.” He described himself as “absolutely bursting with antibodies,” but emphasized that even people who have already been sick and have reason to believe they are immune need to self-quarantine for 14 days after potential exposure.

Johnson has been credited with taking the pandemic more seriously since his own battle with the virus. In late October, he announced a month-long lockdown in England in response to a rapid surge in infections.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

2:33 AM: As college football season marches on, coronavirus is disrupting more and more games

The college football season managed to maneuver through its early weeks without too much trouble, despite the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Some schools, including Baylor and Virginia Tech, had multiple postponements before they kicked off in their openers, but the virus didn’t derail the season as conferences eased into their schedules at various paces.

Dozens of games will fill this weekend’s slate, but as of late, the coronavirus is increasingly disrupting matchups in the Power Five conferences. The major conferences made it to November — even though the Pac-12 had yet to start and the Big Ten schedule had only just begun — with only 13 games postponed or canceled because of the virus, and four of those have already been played on a rescheduled date. But in the past two weeks, 12 games have dropped from the schedules of the Power Five leagues.

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By: Emily Giambalvo

2:03 AM: Fauci cautions against abandoning masks and social distancing once vaccine is approved

a man wearing a suit and tie: Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attends a hearing in September on Capitol Hill. © Graeme Jennings/AP Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attends a hearing in September on Capitol Hill.

Even after Americans get a coronavirus vaccine, they should still plan on wearing masks and staying six feet away from others, Anthony S. Fauci cautioned on Sunday.

The nation’s top infectious-disease expert told CNN’s Jake Tapper that being immunized doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to resume normal life without any precautions. Although recently released data showed that Pfizer’s experimental vaccine was effective 90 percent of the time, that still means there could be millions of people who do not receive protection from it.

“I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated,” Fauci said. “Because even though, for the general population, it might be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don’t necessarily know, for you, how effective it is.”

Fauci also said that once he has the opportunity to get vaccinated, he doesn’t plan to completely “abandon” social distancing and other safety measures. Rather, having the vaccine will allow him to feel a little more relaxed, he said.

Asked whether holiday gatherings would be feasible next year, Fauci emphasized that the pandemic was “not like a light switch” that can be turned on and off. Once a vaccine is approved, Americans will instead see a “gradual accrual of more normality” from month to month, he said.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

1:33 AM: Meet the cruise fans vying for a spot on the first test voyages

Large passenger cruises have been banned in U.S. waters since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic began, devastating the cruise industry and a loyal community. But both are now thankful that the no-sail order has been lifted, giving cruise lines a path to sailing again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has new rules before real voyages can begin: ramp up coronavirus protocols and testing; limit capacity onboard; and stage “mock voyages with volunteers who will play the role of passengers.”

Royal Caribbean said Thursday that it received thousands of inquiries from loyal cruisers about that endeavor, so it created an official sign-up page and Facebook group for interested cruisers. Early Thursday, thousands of volunteers began rolling in.

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By: Shannon McMahon

12:25 AM: Worsening coronavirus crisis pushes leaders to take new measures

Late Friday night, North Dakota’s Republican governor — long resistant to statewide orders on masking and social distancing — acknowledged that his state and country were in dire straits.

Bars, restaurants and event venues would have to cut capacity, Gov. Doug Burgum said in a solemn video posted to social media. Most after-school activities would be put on hold. Starting Saturday, masks must be worn inside businesses, indoors in public spaces and outdoors in public when social distancing can’t be maintained, backed by potential fines of up to $1,000 for the first offense.

A dark reality is sinking in for officials across the country, with Burgum just the latest leader to announce new restrictions in the face of surging cases and hospitalizations that health experts have been warning about for months. But the push for stronger measures has triggered backlash and legal fights.

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By: Hannah Knowles

12:24 AM: With pandemic raging, Republicans say election results validate their approach

Kim Reynolds wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa called her party’s down-ballot victories “a validation of our balanced response to covid-19, one that is mindful of both public health and economic health.” © Olivia Sun/AP Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa called her party’s down-ballot victories “a validation of our balanced response to covid-19, one that is mindful of both public health and economic health.”

On coronavirus maps, her northeastern Wisconsin county was glowing bright red. Kristin Lyerly decided this was the moment to turn it politically blue.

The 50-year-old doctor had jumped into the race for state Assembly — her first-ever campaign — because she was appalled by the GOP-dominated legislature’s opposition to efforts to beat back the coronavirus.

But when the votes were counted, the citizens of Brown County had not only reelected the Republican, but they had also flipped their state Senate seat to the GOP. The coronavirus red zone had unleashed a red wave.

It wasn’t just northeastern Wisconsin either. Democrat Joe Biden may have won the presidency pledging a national mask mandate and a science-based approach to controlling the pandemic. But in the states where the virus is spiking highest — particularly in the Upper Midwest — Republicans made substantial gains down-ballot. Often they did so by railing against the very tool that scientists say could best help arrest the virus’s spread.

The victories in state and local races have allowed GOP leaders to claim a mandate for their let-it-be approach to pandemic management, with pleas for “personal responsibility” substituting government intervention.

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By: Griff Witte

12:23 AM: Michigan, Washington order new restrictions as U.S. passes 11 million coronavirus cases


Coronavirus cases reported in the United States passed 11 million on Sunday, as the nation shatters records for hospitalizations and daily new infections and as leaders turn to new, painful restrictions to stem the pandemic’s long-predicted surge.

The milestone came one week after the country hit 10 million cases, a testament to just how rapidly the virus is spreading — the first 1 million cases took more than three months. This new wave has increased covid-19 hospitalizations past the peaks seen in April and July, straining health-care systems and pushing some reluctant Republican governors to enact statewide mask mandates for the first time.

Other states are reenacting stay-at-home orders and store closures. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday announced sweeping new limits on gatherings for three weeks — including a ban on indoor dining at restaurants and bars, and a halt to in-person classes at high schools and colleges. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) also laid out a slew of new rules, which prohibit indoor social gatherings with people outside one’s household and indoor service at restaurants, bars and more.

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By: Paulina Firozi and Hannah Knowles


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