Coronavirus Briefing: What Occurred At present
In the US, cases are accelerating
Today may be a crucial day in the United States and we are not talking about the elections.
For the first time since the pandemic began, the country has surpassed nearly 100,000 cases in a single day. Yesterday the US recorded more than 93,500 cases, the second highest total of all time.
Perhaps the most terrifying thing about the country’s recent surge is how fast the cases are increasing. Last Monday, the US had fewer than 75,000 cases, and in early October the country’s average was 43,000 a day.
Infections are widespread and increasing in 41 states. Twenty-two states keep weekly case records, including Washington State, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. However, the hardest hit states continue to be North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, which have 14 of the 17 metro areas with the highest number of cases per capita.
The United States currently has an average of more than 500,000 cases per week. In some ways, only 15 countries outside of the US have recorded more than 500,000 total cases since the pandemic began.
A major unknown is whether today’s personal vote will in some cases lead to an increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in the guidelines issued over the weekend that “voters have the right to vote whether they are sick or in quarantine”.
The US has already seen a record high in early voting, which could reduce the number of people who are eligible to vote today, and security precautions will be taken in the election. Experts say any risk of contracting the virus is related to how widespread the virus is in the community and whether voters are wearing masks, standing outside or inside, and physically distancing themselves from each other.
But if the story is a guide, there could be an election day hangover.
Our colleague Sarah Mervosh, a national reporter, told us that during the 1918 mid-term election – the last time Americans voted in a pandemic – cases rose sharply in October and also peaked on election day. After that, infections continued at a rapid pace for the next two months, although restrictions on public gatherings were lifted and celebrations at the end of World War I may have contributed to new infections as well.
Good news for childhood transmission
We have seen some encouraging reports of child transmission. Aside from an earlier outbreak in Israel, schools do not appear to encourage community transmission. And a recent study suggested limited transmission from young children to adults.
A UK pre-release study published on Monday further supports the growing consensus. The researchers found that living with children under the age of 11 was not associated with an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This finding applied to approximately 9.2 million UK adults under 65 and approximately 2.6 million adults over 65.
In adults under 65 years of age, living with children aged 12 to 18 years was associated with a slightly increased risk of infection, but not hospitalization or worse.
The researchers wrote that they “did not see any consistent changes in risk after school”.
One major caveat: the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, analyzed data from adults with and without children in their homes between early February and early August. During this time schools in England were mostly closed.
Another angle: More than 61,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19 last week – more than any other week during the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association reported Monday.
Here is a summary of the restrictions in all 50 states.
What else are we pursuing
The District of Columbia Public Schools announced that they would cancel their plan to get some elementary students back to school next week after teachers staged an illness in protest of the plan.
Good news for concert-goers: A German analysis of an indoor concert staged by scientists suggests that the effects of such events on the spread of the coronavirus are “low to very low” as long as organizers ensure adequate ventilation, strict hygiene protocols and limited capacity.
Information on hospitals nearing capacity is being collected by the U.S. government but not shared with the public, NPR reports.
Restaurants have been a key element of urban change in America and have helped attract young and well-educated people downtown. What happens to cities when restaurants go?
On today’s episode of The Field, Reid J. Epstein, who covers elections for The Times, is investigating disputes in Wisconsin over fighting the coronavirus.
Peru’s government has reopened Machu Picchu after seven months of closure due to the pandemic.
The Times ‘Family, Interrupted’ series examines how the pandemic has changed the lives of American families. This week we hear from Acadianna Begay and her father Ray who live with their extended family in the Navajo Nation.
What you are doing
I lead a scout troop of 11 girls. I’ve found that the second best meeting (after the face-to-face meeting) is a meeting where I provide an envelope with materials that I pick up at my doorstep a day or two before the meeting. Waiting to open them until the meeting is a lesson in patience for the girls and they love the variety included by the items to perform practical activities virtually. They had glowing antlers and thank you cards for a Christmas event in July; Play-Doh to compare the sizes of the sun and moon for space science; and voting cards for a real troop election for our Votes for Women Centennial. Next, the older girls teach the younger ones how to make cat toys for the local animal shelter.
– Stacy Banks, North Logan, Utah
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