More U.S. States Hit Highs; NYC Fears Second Wave: Virus Update
A “Do Not Enter” sign across the entrance to a restaurant in the Soho district of London, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

More U.S. States Hit Highs; NYC Fears Second Wave: Virus Update

New York reported the most new cases since early May, while Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City is “really threatened with a second wave.” New Jersey is on track to reach 250,000 total infections this weekend as cases there surge again. Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska and North Dakota were among the states to report record numbers of new cases.

Around the U.S., hospitalizations may be headed for all-time highs, and deaths are mounting as the presidency hangs in the balance.

England, which began a lockdown this week, reported that the virus’s spread is slowing. Meanwhile, France reported a record for the third time in a week and Italy’s infections spiked as new lockdowns began. Global infections neared 50 million.

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More U.S. States Hit Highs; NYC Fears Second Wave: Virus Update

Illinois Governor Weighs New Curbs As Cases Keep Rising (4:41 p.m. NY)

Illinois on Friday reported a record 10,376 cases, up from 9,935 a day earlier, and its seven-day rolling positivity rate jumped to 9.6% from 9.1%, according to state department of health data. Given the resurgence, all of the state’s regions are already operating under some mitigation measures such as bans on indoor dining and Governor J.B. Pritzker is considering more limits to bend the curve again.

“It’s the last thing I want to do but I am ready to do it,” Pritzker said Friday during his daily press conference.

Covid-19 Hurting Wyoming Services, Paper Reports (4:36 p.m. NY)

Wyoming’s surging Covid-19 outbreak is hampering the state’s ability to provide basic services, Governor Mark Gordon said in a memo to state workers, according to the Casper Star Tribune. This week alone, 20 state employees have tested positive, the paper reported, and a total of 1,857 requests have been made for administrative leave. Several buildings have been closed for decontamination.

“This is a wake-up call,” wrote Gordon, a Republican. “Our response to these deteriorating conditions and our ability to make sure staff is healthy are paramount if we expect Wyoming’s government, our businesses, and thus our economy to function.”

After protests of closures last spring, Gordon has largely left it to local jurisdictions to issue public health regulations. A spokesman told the Star Tribune that statewide mandates were unlikely despite the governor’s concern.

Cigna Sued in Early Test of Benefits Law (4:05 p.m. NY)

Cigna Health & Life Insurance Co. wrongly refused to reimburse more than $4.6 million in Covid-19 testing costs on behalf of more than 4,400 patients, a Connecticut medical practice alleged Friday in a federal lawsuit.

Murphy Medical Associates LLC, which says it has tested more than 28,000 people for Covid-19 at a dozen drive-through and walk-up testing sites in Connecticut and New York, accuses Cigna of failing to pay more than $4.6 million in valid medical claims tied to the tests.

The lawsuit is an early instance of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act being used in coronavirus coverage litigation, but it also brings claims under the major Covid-19 relief law and state law.

Nebraska Health Officials Raise Alarm as Record Set Again (3:49 p.m. NY)

Nebraska Medicine, the state’s top health care system, urged residents to heed anti-virus measures as daily cases hit another record, 2,124, and hospitalizations reached a high during the outbreak.

Ohio Hits Record Again (3:20 p.m. NY)

Ohio set a record again Friday, passing for the first time 5,000 daily infections. The state hit a record three times this week, first on Election Day and again on Thursday. Gov. Mike DeWine, who was one of President Donald Trump’s Ohio re-election co-chairs, has acted aggressively against the virus, though he as at times faced boos for mandating masks and other measures. Hospitalizations were also at a record high, he said.

“It’s up to us all to help push this virus down,” he said Friday on Twitter.

South Dakota Reports Second Day of Record Deaths (2:52 p.m. NY)

South Dakota reported 28 deaths, the second consecutive record after more than two months of rising cases in a state that has mandated no anti-virus measures. Deaths and hospitalizations lag behind reported cases as a percentage of patients become acutely ill. Hospitalizations have surged from 81 on Sept. 6 to 475 on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

North Dakota, a day after hitting a record number of fatalities, reported its highest number of infections ever, 1,765. As medical officials have warned of strains to the system, hospitalizations have almost quadrupled over the last month.

U.S. Hospitalizations Head to Record (1:55 p.m. NY)

Current U.S. hospitalizations rose Thursday to the highest since Aug. 5, Covid Tracking Project data show. That’s about 11% below previous peaks in April and July, although the data didn’t capture all states until shortly before the July peak.

The hit to the health-care system is getting worse fast: The number of coronavirus patients is up 16% in the past week. Nationally, Covid-19 cases reached a record 126,403 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, which shows that at least 235,000 Americans have died of the virus.

N.Y. Cases Surge Above 3,000 as Upstate Drives Second Wave (1:40 p.m.)

Upstate New York is driving a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, as cases surged above 3,000 for the first time since May.

The number of cases statewide is increasing, with 1.9% of tests coming up positive on Thursday. Hot spots have cropped up in western and central New York, as well as along the Pennsylvania border, he said, where residents in those areas haven’t been following social distancing and mask guidelines.

State officials will consult local authorities over the weekend to create tailored responses, he said.

Hot spots downstate, particularly in Queens, Brooklyn, and in Orange and Rockland counties, are improving, he said. As a whole, New York is doing relatively well as cases hit records nationally, Cuomo said.

Denver Adds Curfew (1:39 p.m. NY)

Denver, Colorado, imposed a 30-day overnight “Home By 10” public health order to curb coronavirus cases effective Sunday, officials said.

Restaurants and most other businesses will be required to close by 10 p.m. The public health order is intended to “save lives,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said at a news briefing, and will be enforced by the city’s health department. Pueblo, Colorado, imposed a similar curfew last week.

On Nov. 3, Election Day, Colorado reported a one-day record 2,754 new virus cases, according the data compiled by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

France Posts Another Record (1:38 p.m. NY)

France reported a record number of new virus cases for the third time in a week, underscoring the urgency health authorities have expressed over the need to control the disease.

Confirmed infections increased by 60,486 on Friday to 1.66 million, French health authorities reported. Deaths increased by 828 to 39,865, boosted in part by the inclusion of several days of data from nursing homes.

France started a second lockdown a week ago in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, with limits on movement and closures of some stores. Even though it’s less strict than the prior one, the new lockdown is already hurting the economy. The French car lobby PFA said on Friday that orders were down about 70% over the week compared to a year earlier.

New Jersey Set to Reach 250,000 Infections (12:56 p.m. NY)

New Jersey is on track this weekend to report 250,000 total cases since March. That means about 3% of the state’s population of 9 million people has had a laboratory-confirmed infection. The virus, which hit early and hard in the state’s northeastern New York City suburbs, again is spiking there: Essex County reported almost 300 new cases in 24 hours, and Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties averaged 173.

For 10 straight days the state has reported 1,000-plus hospitalizations; on one day in September, just 389 Covid-19 patients were in the hospital. In the past 24 hours, intensive-care units had 274 patients, more than three times the number under such treatment two months earlier.

”We’re working on making sure that we’ve got a right balance between strategic, scalpel-like actions and some broader actions that we will almost certainly take sooner than later,” Governor Murphy, referring to a potential return to statewide restrictions to slow the spread, said at a Trenton news conference.

Two Major U.S. Universities Extend Remote Classes (12:25 p.m. NY)

Rutgers University in New Jersey will hold most of its classes next semester online, making it one of the first big U.S. schools to extend the shift to virtual learning.

The University of Michigan, meanwhile, announced Friday that its next semester plans will include more remote courses, fewer undergraduates living on campus and more Covid-19 testing.

NYC Mayor Worries About ‘Second Wave’ (12:16 p.m. NY)

Health officials are viewing New York City’s continuing increase in coronavirus infection levels with growing concern, and may require stricter enforcement of testing travelers entering or returning to the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The seven-day average of positive test results reached 1.96%, an increase over yesterday’s report of 1.81%, de Blasio said during a WNYC radio interview. New cases on a seven-day average rose to 702, well above the 550 public-health warning threshold established several months ago.

“That says we are now really threatened with a second wave here in New York City if we don’t quickly get a handle on this,” he said. He called on New Yorkers to observe mask-wearing, social-distancing and to avoid gatherings and travel for the holidays “because we just can’t allow a second wave here, it’s just so dangerous on so many levels.”

Russia Says Deaths More Than Double Earlier Figure (12:04 p.m. NY)

Russia’s Federal Statistics Service said Friday 55,671 people have died with Covid-19 from April through September, more than double the direct toll reported earlier.

September’s total was 9,798, up 25% from August. The data from Rosstat, as the agency is known, include lethal cases directly attributed to Covid-19 and those where the coronavirus was reported as an “important condition.”

U.K. Virus Cases, Deaths Above 7-Day Average (11:37 a.m. NY)

Both cases and deaths in the U.K. were above the seven-day average on Friday. Another 23,287 cases were reported, about 700 more than the weekly average, and 355 deaths, compared to 309 over the past week.

Italy’s Infections Spike 10% to Record (11:24 a.m. NY)

Italy’s new cases jumped 10% Friday to a record 37,809 as daily testing also hit a record 234,245. Daily fatalities were 446, in line with the previous day. Patients in intensive care units rose by 124 to 2,515, compared with an early April peak of more than 4,000.

Tougher restrictions kicked in around the Milan region and key industrial hubs in the north as of Friday. All shops were shut excluding pharmacies, supermarkets and essentials, while no movements were allowed except or work, health or justified reasons.

U.S. Air Force Medics Deployed to Texas Hot Spot (11:19 a.m. NY)

Three U.S. Air Force medical teams have been dispatched to El Paso, Texas, where hospitals have been overrun and virus deaths are rising, Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.

The teams consist of 20 medics each and add to more than 1,000 state and federal specialists deployed to the remote border city in recent weeks as the outbreak intensified. Friday was the fifth straight day that El Paso logged more than 1,000 new cases. Fatalities have topped 650 and the federal government is sending refrigerated trailers to assist overwhelmed morgue officials.

Mayor Dee Margo blamed the resurgent outbreak on entire families going shopping, and has asked big-box retailers to limit occupancy. Local officials lack the authority to impose occupancy limits on retailers who sell essential items.

Almost one-third of El Paso’s virus patients are in intensive care, according to the mayor’s office. Dozens have been airlifted to other parts of Texas where there are more ICU beds available.

Serbia Tightens Restrictions (11:04 a.m. NY)

With infections surging in the Balkans, Serbia cut to five from 30 maximum number of people allowed together in open or closed spaces, while ordering a five-day break for elementary and high schools. The biggest former Yugoslav republic is nearly running out of hospital capacity for Covid-19 patients.

Portugal Reports Record (10:26 a.m. NY)

Portugal on Friday reported the biggest daily increase in confirmed virus cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 5,550 new cases in a day, more than the previous record of 4,656 reported on Oct. 30, taking the total to 166,900. The number of patients in intensive-care units rose by 20 to 340.

The government earlier this week extended restrictions to more regions and will hold a cabinet meeting on Saturday to discuss other possible measures to help contain the pandemic.

Swiss Spread May Be Slowing (10:08 a.m. NY)

Newly diagnosed cases of Covid-19 in Switzerland hit a record this week, though data suggest the pace of the outbreak might be slowing.

While the absolute numbers are still concerning, “one does get the sense that this rise is tending to flatten or stabilize,” Stefan Kuster, who heads the infectious disease department at the Federal Office for Public Health.

More U.S. States Hit Highs; NYC Fears Second Wave: Virus Update

Oslo Shuts Cinemas, Training Centers, Bans Alcohol Service (7:51 a.m. NY)

Norway’s capital has ordered that cinemas, training centers and swimming halls be closed and has banned the service of alcohol to slow a rise in infections. The curbs come after Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Thursday introduced tighter rules nationwide and implored people to stay home.

More U.S. States Hit Highs; NYC Fears Second Wave: Virus Update

Covid-19 Infections in England Rise at Less Steep Rate (7:09 a.m. NY)

The rate of increase of Covid-19 infections in England is starting to slow, according to new figures published Friday by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics.

The total rate of infections rose to one in 90 in the week through Oct. 31 in England, according to new figures published Friday by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics. While this up from the previous published rate of 1 in 100, the increase is less steep compared with previous weeks, according to ONS.

Romania Daily Cases Surpass 10,000 Ahead of New Restrictions (6:46 a.m. NY)

Romania topped 10,000 new coronavirus cases over 24 hours on Friday for the first time since the pandemic started, ahead of nationwide night-time curfew, shopping hour curbs, school closures and mandatory masks coming into force next week.

“People will be unhappy with these measures, but they had to be taken before it’s too late,” the government’s virus task force official Raed Arafat said on Friday. “We still expect an increase in cases for now, so we insist to keep these measures in place for at least 30 days so they have an impact.”

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