Coronavirus updates: Fauci warns of ‘stunning number of deaths’; masks will be part of our lives for many months
It took almost six weeks for the pandemic to claim the lives of 3,000 Americans. In the last week that number of COVID deaths – about the number of fatalities in the 9/11 terror attacks – has been taking place in U.S. homes, hospitals and hospices every two days.
News of impending vaccines has instilled hope the pandemic will pass into history within months. But the road to that brighter future continues to darken – in the last seven days, the nation recorded a weekly record with 1.2 million new infections. On Monday, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients surpassed 85,000 for the first time.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Yahoo News the onset of colder weather and the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve could conspire to drive the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths even higher.
“Two to three thousand deaths a day times a couple of months, and you’re approaching a really stunning number of deaths,” the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects that almost 200,000 more Americans will die by March 1.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 12.4 million cases and over 258,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 59.4 million cases and 1.4 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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The content of the article:
- 1 Keep masks handy: Despite vaccine news, normalcy is months away
- 2 Sweden changes course from maverick pandemic response as cases surge
- 3 Rubber gloves may get hard to find
- 4 Family makes public service video after ignoring rules, paying price
- 5 Iditarod champ won’t defend title
- 6 White House to host holiday parties indoors despite CDC warnings
- 7 These experts have a lot to say about when you will get vaccinated
- 8 FDA commish lays it all out in chat with USA TODAY
- 9 Maryland State Police will ramp up COVID-19 enforcement
- 10 Tennessee mayor is waiting for guidance from the ‘Holy Spirit’
- 11 Los Angeles County on brink of another stay-at-home order
- 12 COVID-19 panic buying is on a roll again
- 13 COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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Monks and Catholic faithful take part in a rally to protest COVID-19 restrictions under which masses are banned in churches, on Nov. 22, 2020, outside the Saint-Etienne cathedral in Toulouse, southern France, during a second national lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. LIONEL BONAVENTURE, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Priests wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, attend the funeral of senior clergyman Ioannis of Lagadas after he died of COVID-19, in Greece’s Orthodox Church, in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. Giannis Papanikos, APFullscreen
People take part in an outdoor Sunday mass at the Old Town Square in Prague on Oct. 26, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the Czech Republic has doubled in the past two weeks, according to Czech Health Ministry data. MICHAL CIZEK, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Chairs for women to worship at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the holiest site where Jews can pray, sit empty, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, on the first day of a nationwide three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Maya Alleruzzo, APFullscreen
Ultra Orthodox Jewish men pray at the synagogue, separated by plastic cells, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, in the central Israeli city of Rehovot, on September 16, 2020. Gil Cohen-Magen, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Volunteers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, before the open-air Friday prayers in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Khalid Mohammed, APFullscreen
Shiites attend a prayer or the first time in months since the restrictions were imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at a mosque in Kufa, Iraq, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Anmar Khalil, APFullscreen
Pilgrims stand in a queue as they wait to enter the Holy Church of Panagia of Tinos, on the Aegean island of Tinos, Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. For nearly 200 years, Greek Orthodox faithful have flocked to Tinos for the August 15 feast day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the most revered religious holiday in the Orthodox calendar after Easter. Thanassis Stavrakis, APFullscreen
Devotees kneel in prayer before a makeshift altar honoring the patron saint of the Guatemalan capital, the Virgin of the Assumption, marking her feast day in the courtyard of the church bearing her name, in Guatemala City, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. Catholic pilgrims gathered outside the church despite the postponement of religious celebrations as a measure to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Moises Castillo, APFullscreen
A priest wears a face mask as he conducts a mass at the church of Our Lady of Carmen in Panama City, on August 17, 2020, as churches were allowed to reopen amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. – Panama’s government allowed Monday the reopening of hairdressing salons, churches and car sales stores, which had been inactive for the last five months due to the new coronavirus pandemic, in an attempt to “avoid the economic collapse” of the country with the largest number of infections in Central America. LUIS ACOSTA, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreenDisinfection workers wearing protective clothing spray anti-septic solution in an Yoido Full Gospel Church amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on August 21, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea’s health authorities warned Friday they will consider upping the level of social distancing to the highest level if nationwide outbreaks of the new coronavirus continue after the weekend. The country added 324 more COVID-19 cases, including 315 local infections, raising the total caseload to 16,670, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Chung Sung-Jun, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 29, 2020 During the first rites of hajj, Muslims circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise seven times while reciting supplications to God, then walk between two hills where Ibrahim’s wife, Hagar, is believed to have run as she searched for water for her dying son before God brought forth a well that runs to this day. STR, APFullscreen
A handout picture released by the Saudi ministry of media shows a small number of pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the center of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage on July 29, 2020. Saudi Ministry of Media/AFP viaFullscreen
Hindu devotees offer food and prayers as they perform ‘Tarpan’ rituals that are believed to ensure peace and happiness to the souls of one’s ancestors, at Marina beach in Chennai on July 20, 2020. ARUN SANKAR, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Muslim worshippers, distanced safely from each other and clad in face masks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, attend a sermon during the Friday prayers at a mosque in Kuwait City on July 17, 2020. Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray in divided sections which allow a maximum of twenty worshipers in line with government measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Oded Balilty, APFullscreen
Attendees are sat socially distanced as Bishop of Manchester David Walker (C) leads a memorial service for the victims of the novel coronavirus at Manchester Cathedral in Manchester, northwest England, on July 16, 2020. MARTIN RICKETT, POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
An attendee sanitizes his hands before a memorial service for the victims of the novel coronavirus at Manchester Cathedral in Manchester, northwest England, on July 16, 2020. MARTIN RICKETT, POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Faithful attend a drive-in mass at the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport parking in Luque, near the Paraguayan capital, on June 28, 2020, amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has killed at least 498,779 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 0930 GMT on Sunday based on official sources. NORBERTO DUARTE, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Faithful sit on their two-wheelers and pray as they attend a drive-in mass in an open area of Bethel AG Church as part of maintaining social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Bengaluru, India, Sunday, June 21, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. Aijaz Rahi, APFullscreen
Congregation members wear face masks as they receive communion from the Rev. Jan Schmidt during a morning Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains Catholic Church in downtown Cincinnati on May 25. The Memorial Day Mass was the first inside the church since the state-mandated stay-home order in March. Sam Greene, The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK Fullscreen
Pastor Billy Jones speaks to his congregation from a repurposed potato truck during a drive-in Sunday church service at Dunseverick Baptist Church on May 24, 2020 in Bushmills, Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland power sharing government has relaxed some of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions which now permits drive-in church and cinema services. Charles McQuillan, Getty ImagesFullscreenMargaret Cruz, Sophia Perez and Edwin Perez pray together after returning to Potential Church as it opened on May 24, 2020 in Cooper City, Fla. The church reopened it’s doors to a select group of people with safety measures in place after hearing President Donald Trump announcing on Friday that governors around the country should allow houses of worship to reopen. Joe Raedle, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Pastor Bobby Contreras, center, leads his church in music churchgoers, using social distancing practices, return to in-person services at Alamo Heights Baptist Church, Sunday, May 10, 2020, in San Antonio. Texas’ stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic have expired and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has eased restrictions on many businesses, state parks, churches and places of worship. Eric Gay, APFullscreen
Julia Pickard sits inside Spring Creek Assembly of God in Edmond, Okla., Sunday, May 3, 2020. Churches in Oklahoma welcomed back worshipers for the first time since closures due to COVID-19 concerns. BRYAN TERRY, The Oklahoman / USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Father Bryan Timby of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Memphis, Tenn. on Good Friday April 10, 2020 as the church holds confessionals with marked, spaced flooring for social distancing and plans for a virtual Sunday Easter service. “The foundation of any faith is hope, and a brighter tomorrow. We don’t know what it is going to look like, we just know it is going to be better than we have today,” said Timby. Joe Rondone/The Commercial AppealFullscreen
An altar boy stands in the central aisle of the Basilica of Neuchatel which pews display the portraits of 400 parishioners unable to attend the mass due to the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on May 3, 2020. Switzerland started to ease the restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic but masses are still forbidden. FABRICE COFFRINI, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Worship Arts pastor Lance Brooks leads the worship band during an outdoor church service at Cornerstone Church in Athens, Ga, on Sunday, April 26, 2020. Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Members of the congregation worship from the back of a pickup truck during an outdoor church service at Cornerstone Church in Athens, Ga, on Sunday, April 26, 2020. Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Members of the congregation sit in their cars for an outdoor church service at Cornerstone Church in Athens, Ga, on Sunday, April 26, 2020. Following Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to ease his COVID-19 emergency declaration in-person church services were allowed to resume, but Cornerstone decided to hold drive-In services for the health and safety of its congregation. Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
A member of the congregation and their four-legged friend look on during an outdoor church service at Cornerstone Church in Athens, Ga, on Sunday, April 26, 2020. Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
The Ariff family prays at their Phoenix home on the first day of Ramadan. Due to COVID-19, the family is praying at their home instead of going to their mosque. Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic via the USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Deacon Larry Smith leads a procession, including the Very Rev. Christopher A. House, Deacon Scott Keen, Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki and Fr. Dominic Rankin, into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Ill., that is closed to and empty of parishoners due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions during a livestreamed Easter service Sunday April 12, 2020. Ted Schurter, The State Journal-RegisterFullscreen
Congregants celebrate Easter during a “drive-up” church service at the Family Worship Center on April 12, 2020 in Beloit, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized churches to hold drive-up services, despite the shelter-in-place order issued to curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as long as congregants avoided person-to-person contact. Scott Olson, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Pastor Brian Hill in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church Corpus Christi leads a drive-in Easter service on Sunday, April 12, 2020. First Baptist Church Corpus Christi had not held an in-person serves since Nueces County issued a stay at home order do to the COVID-19 outbreak. Courtney Sacco, Corpus Christi Caller TimesFullscreen
A parishioner of the First Baptist Church Corpus Christi holds a bible as she prays during a drive-in Easter service lead by Pastor Brian Hill on Sunday, April 12, 2020. First Baptist Church Corpus Christi had not held an in-person serves since Nueces County issued a stay at home order do to the COVID-19 outbreak. Courtney Sacco, Corpus Christi Caller TimesFullscreen
Rev. Nathan D. Pipho gives an Easter message to an empty church at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 11, 2020. The service was videotaped and will be broadcast to parishioners on Easter Sunday. Ashley Green, Telegraph & GazetteFullscreen
Rev. Nathan D. Pipho gives an Easter message to an empty church at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 11, 2020. The service was videotaped and will be broadcast to parishioners on Easter Sunday. Ashley Green, Telegraph & GazetteFullscreen
The Rev. Colleen Ogle lights candles before recording her Easter Sunday sermon inside an empty sanctuary at King Avenue United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio on April 10, 2020. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the church has canceled in-person services and instead has pre-recorded its services for congregants to watch at home. Joshua A. Bickel, Columbus DispatchFullscreen
Empty pews as the Rev. Colleen Ogle records her Easter Sunday sermon at King Avenue United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio on April 10, 2020. Joshua A. Bickel, Columbus DispatchFullscreen
Bishop Richard Umbers is seen live-streaming during ‘The Celebration of the Passion of The Lord’ service at St Paul of the Cross Church on April 10, 2020 in Dulwich Hill, Australia. With religious services and congregations banned due to COVID-19 restrictions, churches are adapting their services to connect with parishioners online through email, website, live streamings and service pre-recordings. Lisa Maree Williams, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Holy water is out while hand sanitiszer is installed as part of an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus at The Holy Redeemer Church during the Good Friday service in Bangkok on April 10, 2020. ROMEO GACAD, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Rabbi Dean Shapiro, left, of Temple Emanuel in Tempe, angles his laptop so others online can see their Seder plate as Shapiro’s partner, Haim Ainsworth and their son, Jacob Shapiro-Ainsworth, 11, look on, as they participate in an online Seder during the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover at their home in Tempe Ariz. on April 8, 2020. The Seder which included members from Temple Emanuel was being held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. David Wallace, The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK Fullscreen
The Rev. David Clark prays Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at Boston Baptist Church in Memphis. Religious leaders prayed in unison from their houses of worship, and invited all people of faith to join them in prayer from wherever they were. Clark is a member of Boston Baptist Church, and serves as the pastor at True Light Baptist Church in Blytheville, Ark. The Rev. Ydell Ishmon, pastor of Boston Baptist Church, said religious leaders in the tri-state area will continue praying in unison on Wednesdays at noon until the threat of COVID-19 subsides and a more traditional normalcy resumes. Max Gersh, The Commericial Appeal via USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Altar server, Santina MacGregor, hands out palms and prayer cards to a parishioners on Sunday, April 5, 2020 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Loreto Church in Worcester, Mass. Christine Peterson, WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Senior Pastor David Ball of the Church of Our Savior on Beach Boulevard delivers his sermon on Palm Sunday at a drive-in church service Sunday, April 5, 2020 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. The congregation stayed in their cars and listened on their radios. Will Dickey, Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
A Catholic priest sits on an empty bench due to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak inside the Jesus de Medinaceli church on Palm Sunday in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, April 5, 2020. Bernat Armangue, APFullscreen
Head priest, Melaku Genet Komodo Aba Teklehaimanot with the Debre Genet Kidist Kidane Meheret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church used a censer filled with incense to bless Worcester, Mass. on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Christine Peterson, WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Father Richard Pagano sits in the cockpit before offering Benediction to his Church and St. Augustine, Fla. surrounding areas during a helicopter flyover for the Coronavirus Pandemic. James Gilbert, USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
At the end of worship service, members wave goodbye to each other rather than hug or shake hands while as they practice social distancing in the pews at the Union Springs Baptist Church on Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Rutledge, Ga. Pastor Robert L. Terrell spoke to the congregation on how to worship while keeping social distance and two nurses met worshipers as they entered the church taking temperatures to keep the congregation healthy. Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution via APFullscreen
Alamo Heights Baptist Church in San Antonio livestreams its church service during the coronavirus outbreak. Eric Gay, APFullscreen
The Rev. Lou Ann Jones, right, leads prayer as eight people spread out around the flagpole at St. John’s Blymire’s United Church Of Christ near Dallastown, Pa. on Wednesday March 16, 2020 and prayed for the community, nurses and doctors, government leaders and many others during the turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic. Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record/ USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Fran DiBiasio sits alone in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church as Rev. Peter Gower celebrates Mass from the front door as worshippers listen over the radio from their cars in the parking lot, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Johnston, R.I. David Goldman, APFullscreen
Reverend Peter Gower walks out to the parking lot to spread incense to worshippers sitting in their cars during a Mass he holds from the front door of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Johnston, R.I. David Goldman, APFullscreen
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, pastor Rex Simmons, of Living Grace Baptist Church in Piedmont, S. C. decided to have a drive-in style service so congregants could sit in their vehicles. Sunday, March 22, 2020. MATT BURKHARTT, The Greenville News /USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Brian Harris prays Sunday, March 22, 2020, while live streaming the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church service at his home in Collierville, Tenn. Harris, who has been a congregant of the church for more than 35 years, said the COVID-19 outbreak is the only time he can remember not being able to worship in his church. “I know we’re a community of faith. We’re a community of believers,” Harris said. “Here in the south, we’re huggers. We love on people. Although we physically can’t hug and we’re encouraged not to do that, still love and check on people.” Max Gersh, The Commercial Appeal/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
An elderly parishioner is blessed by Deacon Bill Shea on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at the front entrance to St. Joseph Church in Charlton, Mass. Christine Peterson, Telegram and Gazette/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Two women say hello to Deacon Bill Shea on Sunday, March 22, 2020, who peeked out the door, but kept to the social distancing rules at St. Joseph Church in Charlton, Mass. Christine Peterson, Telegram and Gazette/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Cars line the entrance to St. Joseph Church. Parishioners drove to the covered entrance of St. Joseph’s Church, walked to the windows with Deacon Bill Shea on the left and and Father Bob Grattaroti on the right, for blessings, on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Christine Peterson, Telegram and Gazette/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
The Humphries family and their dog, are blessed by Deacon Bill Shea. Parishioners drove to the covered entrance to St. Joseph Church for a blessing on Sunday, March 22, 2020. The parishioners parked their cars and walked up to the windows to receive their blessings. Christine Peterson, Telegram and Gazette/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Reverend Allan Boyer of First Bethel AME Church in Paterson, N.J. conducts a service in the church’s parking lot, keeping chairs six feet apart in accordance with social distancing practice recommendations from the CDC to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on March 22, 2020. Amy Newman, NorthJersey.com/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Yvette Bryant-Clanton of Paterson puts on a mask before joining an outdoor worship service at First Bethel AME Church in Paterson on March 22, 2020. Amy Newman, NorthJersey.com/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
First Bethel AME Church in Paterson conducts a worship service in the church’s parking lot, keeping chairs six feet apart in accordance with social distancing practice recommendations from the CDC on March 22, 2020. Amy Newman, NorthJersey.com/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Carla and Bob Heritage sing “Fall Ye My Savior” in the chapel of St. John’s United Methodist Church during an online worship in their chapel in Anderson, S.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. Ken Ruinard, Independent Mail/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Hunter Hilburn of Anderson watches from a balcony couch at Capstone Church, a live online broadcast of his pastor Rev. David Barfield’s sermon in Anderson, S.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. The church usually has 200 in attendance but with many practicing social distancing, the online broadcast helps deliver the service. Hilburn, who usually runs the lighting at the church, didn’t have to while his mother helped with the online production. Ken Ruinard, Independent Mail/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Andrew Cronic stands by the video camera for a live online broadcast of Capstone Church praise band with Lynneth Renberg (keyboard), Adam Renberg (guitar), and Jacob Barfield (bass) during worship in the nearly empty church sanctuary in Anderson, S.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. Ken Ruinard, Independent Mail/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Andrew Cronic stands by the video camera for a live online broadcast of Capstone Church praise band during worship in the nearly empty church sanctuary in Anderson, S.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. Ken Ruinard, Independent Mail/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Isabelle Rector, 14, daughter of lead pastor Kevin Rector, welcomes congregants before a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church of the Nazarene in Gallatin, Tenn., Sunday, March 22, 2020. The church hosted the drive-in service in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing congregants to safely watch from their parked cars, listening to the service via radio. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Lead pastor Kevin Rector, left, greets Amanda Stults, right, before a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church of the Nazarene in Gallatin, Tenn., Sunday, March 22, 2020. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Lead pastor Kevin Rector speaks during a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church of the Nazarene in Gallatin, Tenn., Sunday, March 22, 2020. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKKFullscreen
Congregants listen to the service from their parked cars during a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
John Bravo, of Gallatin, holds his hands up as music is performed during a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church of the Nazarene in Gallatin, Tenn. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Isabelle Rector, right, 14, daughter of lead pastor Kevin Rector, collects offerings with a butterfly net after a parking lot service at Gallatin First Church of the Nazarene in Gallatin, Tenn., Sunday, March 22, 2020. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
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Keep masks handy: Despite vaccine news, normalcy is months away
The encouraging recent news on vaccines, with three candidates showing a high level of efficacy, does not mean life will return to normal any time soon, experts warn.
The requirement to use face masks and maintain social distance will remain in place for several more months until vaccines have been distributed widely and a certain threshold of herd immunity has been reached. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the U.S. vaccine development effort known as Operation Warp Speed, told CNN about 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve that goal – a milestone he said is likely to happen by May.
Until then, medical professionals preach continuing to stick to the CDC guidelines that aim to curb spread of the coronavirus.
“If you’re fighting a battle and the cavalry is on the way, you don’t stop shooting; you keep going until the cavalry gets here, and then you might even want to continue fighting,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.
Sweden changes course from maverick pandemic response as cases surge
The Swedish approach to the coronavirus pandemic, which has stood in stark contrast to its fellow Nordic nations, appears to be failing.
Sweden initially eschewed lockdowns as a measure to limit spread of the virus and instead opted for voluntary steps, which some interpreted as an attempt to achieve herd immunity, although that was never the official policy goal.
The country of 10 million certainly hasn’t managed that, as its leading epidemiologist acknowledged. “We see no signs of immunity in the population that are slowing down the infection right now,” Anders Tegnell said Tuesday in the capital city of Stockholm.
Bloomberg reported that a recent study showed Sweden ranked among the top European countries for relative COVID mortality and infection rates. With daily cases surging past the 7,000 mark, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has banned public gatherings of more than eight people and alcohol sales past 10 p.m.
Rubber gloves may get hard to find
The world’s largest maker of rubber gloves said Tuesday that it expects a two-to-four-week delay in deliveries after more than 2,000 workers at its factories were infected by the coronavirus. Malaysia’s Top Glove Corp. temporarily stopped production at 16 factories outside Kuala Lumpur since Nov. 17 to screen workers. Its remaining 12 facilities in the area have been operating at reduced capacity. Top Glove says it produces about 90 billion rubber gloves a year, about 25% of the world’s supply. Profits have soared amid rising demand.
“We expect delays in some deliveries by about two to four weeks, as well as a longer lead time for orders,” Top Glove said in a statement.
Family makes public service video after ignoring rules, paying price
A Texas family overwhelmed by coronavirus infections after a family gathering has made a public service announcement warning others not to make the same mistakes they did. Twelve members of the Aragonez family gathered for a celebration Nov. 1. All 12, plus three other family members, have since tested positive, Alexa Aragonez told CNN. Her mother, Enriqueta, participated in the PSA while hospitalized. Alexa Aragonez, an employee in the City of Arlington’s communications and legislative affairs department, said she saw an opportunity to make the outbreak a teaching moment.
“We know that we messed up because we let our guard down,” she said of her family. “We’re not unlike a lot of families.”
Iditarod champ won’t defend title
Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner says he can’t defend his title at next year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race because he can’t figure out how to get his dogs to the start line.
“I cannot find a way to get the dogs to Alaska,” Waerner said.
Waerner wasn’t able to return to his wife and five children in Torpa, Norway, for months after winning the world’s most famous sled dog race last year because travel was restricted as the pandemic took hold. The Iditarod was one of the few professional sports that wasn’t canceled last March. For the 49th running set to begin March 7, organizers say they are developing a “multi-tier COVID-19 mitigation plan” with the goal of zero community transmission.
White House to host holiday parties indoors despite CDC warnings
The Trump administration is going ahead with plans to hold holiday parties and receptions inside the White House despite a surge in coronavirus cases and warnings from public health officials to avoid large, in-person gatherings. Invitations for the events, scheduled to start next week, already have been sent out. An invitation to a Dec. 1 reception – a copy of which was obtained by USA TODAY – makes no mention of mandatory face masks or social distancing requirements. Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman and chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, said that masks will be required and available and that social distancing will be recommended.
“The People’s House will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest environment possible,” Grisham said in a statement.
– Michael Collins and Maria Puente
These experts have a lot to say about when you will get vaccinated
A somewhat obscure group of medical and public health professionals known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is debating the crucial question on the minds of millions of Americans: When can I get a COVID vaccine? ACIP develops recommendations on the use of vaccines. This week the committee unveiled its ethical principles for an orderly distribution of the vaccines, beginning with an estimated 21 million health care workers. Other groups at or near the front of the line include other essential workers such as first responders, teachers, farm workers and energy industry workers; people with high-risk medical conditions; and people over 65. ACIP makes recommendations, but states ultimately decide.
“I know our nation looks to you all to give your thoughtful and wise recommendation,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said at the start of the group’s meeting Monday. “I want to take a moment to underscore how important your work is.”
FDA commish lays it all out in chat with USA TODAY
USA TODAY interviewed FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn about how the approval process works, how quickly it could go and how the agency will encourage Americans to take the vaccine. Drug companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Several others remain in development. Hahn said Pfizer’s could be approved within days of a meeting scheduled for Dec. 10. But nothing will be rushed, he said.
“I’ve been clear, I would not allow the agency to authorize or approve a vaccine that I wouldn’t want my own family to get,” Hahn said. “No one at FDA would want that to occur.” Read more here.
– Elizabeth Weise
Maryland State Police will ramp up COVID-19 enforcement
State police will launch a COVID-19 enforcement initiative with an added presence in several Maryland cities, including Salisbury, Gov. Larry Hogan announced. The increased enforcement will aim to halt large gatherings that violate the state’s health restrictions as Maryland faces its worst COVID-19 surge of the pandemic.
“In addition to our traditional statewide efforts ramping up drunk-driving patrols and enforcement ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, we are also launching a wide-scale, all-hands-on-deck compliance, education and enforcement operation,” Hogan said at a news conference in Annapolis.
Starting Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, compliance units will be detailed to popular locations across the state, including in Baltimore, Towson, Silver Spring, Bel Air and Salisbury, Hogan said. Last week, Hogan set new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, including ordering restaurants and bars to close by 10 p.m. and limiting capacity at retail businesses, religious institutions and other venues to 50%.
– Madeleine O’Neill, Delmarva Now
Tennessee mayor is waiting for guidance from the ‘Holy Spirit’
As COVID-19 cases surge, a Tennessee mayor said he won’t require people to wear face masks until the “Holy Spirit” provides him with guidance to do so. Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman told AL.com last week that he believes masks can prevent the spread of the virus, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary to mandate them. Instead, he said he’s waiting to receive guidance from above.
“The Holy Spirit dwells within us,” Newman said. “It’s a heart thing. It’s not a mind thing. But you’re using all your God-given (talents), your physical or mental or spiritual, all those things. When I pray for guidance, I may not know the answer immediately.”
Lincoln County is about 35 miles south of Nashville, on Alabama’s northern border, with approximately 34,000 residents. The county has reported 1,463 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to the state’s coronavirus tracking data.
Los Angeles County on brink of another stay-at-home order
The largest county in the United States is on the brink of a stay-home order after a coronavirus surge surpassed a level set by Los Angeles County public health officials to trigger such an action. A swell of new cases Monday put the county over an average of 4,500 cases per day.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said no action would be taken until county supervisors meet Tuesday. A stay-home order would be the first such action since mid-March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom followed several counties and issued a statewide order that closed schools and most shops.
Cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results Saturday with more than 15,000. It had more than 14,000 cases Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks.
In Los Angeles, the county of 10 million residents has had a disproportionately large share of the state’s cases and deaths. Although it accounts for a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, it has about a third of the cases and more than a third of the deaths.
COVID-19 panic buying is on a roll again
Paper products and other household staples are in high demand in stores and online again as the virus surges and lockdowns loom, but none more so than those essential rolls of soft cotton squares.
“The toilet paper aisle is CLEARED!” one person wrote on Twitter. “March 2.0 is here folkssss.”
In another unpleasant flashback to the pandemic’s early days of panic buying and hoarding, some stores have reinstated purchase limits on hard-to-get items. Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said toilet paper and cleaning supplies are seeing “the most strain.” Target told USA TODAY that it is coordinating with stores, distribution centers and suppliers to make sure essential items such as baby products, food and over-the-counter medicine are “fast-tracked through the supply chain and prioritized for re-stocking.”
– Jessica Guynn
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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