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The US is reporting more than 45,000 positive Covid-19 tests on average every day



a person standing next to a car: Health care workers greet people as they arrive at a temporary drive-through COVID-19 testing site at East Orange District Park on October 1, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


© Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Health care workers greet people as they arrive at a temporary drive-through COVID-19 testing site at East Orange District Park on October 1, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The US is averaging more than 45,000 new Covid-19 positive tests each day — up 8% from the previous week and more than double what the country was seeing in June, as lockdown restrictions were easing.

It’s a case count experts warn is far too high ahead of what’s forecast to be a challenging — and deadly — winter season. The latest US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ensemble forecast says US Covid-19 deaths could reach 233,000 by the end of this month.

And projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show more than 2,900 Americans could be dying daily by January.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “disturbed and concerned” by the country’s average case count.

“That’s no place to be when you’re trying to get your arms around an epidemic,” he said.

And as the weather gets colder, things will get tougher.

Gatherings will likely begin to move indoors, where the virus is more prone to spread. And as colleges battle outbreaks on campus, students soon returning to visit their families for the holidays could unknowingly bring the virus with them.

On top of that, it’ll be coupled with flu season to create what experts say could turn into a “twin-demic.” What could help, health officials have said, are flu shots and strong safety measures like masks and social distancing.

The high average case count comes alongside more worrying trends: only Alabama and Hawaii are reporting a decline of new cases over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And nationwide, hospitalizations have begun to rise, with more than 34,000 hospitalized patients, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Field hospital prepares to open in Wisconsin

Hospitalization trends are growing across the Midwest and in states of every other US region, with “especially worrisome signs” in Wisconsin, the project said. At least 41 states saw increased numbers of people requiring hospitalization this week, the project said Thursday.

Wisconsin announced it would open a field hospital next week to address the surge of patients.

“We obviously hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different and more dire place today, and our healthcare systems are being overwhelmed,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news conference.

The state has seen some of the country’s most alarming trends recently: reporting record-high cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the past days.

But it’s not alone. Utah leaders said the state isn’t trailing far behind. And Iowa’s hospitalizations set a record this week with more than 460 Covid-19 patients across the state. Missouri’s health department also broke a record Wednesday, with more than 1,300 Covid-19 hospitalizations.

Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming also saw record-high

Hospitals Failing To Meet New COVID-19 Data Reporting Mandate To Get Warning Letters : Shots

The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

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The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

Studio 642/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

The federal government is starting to crack down on the nation’s hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data into a federal data collection system.

The enforcement timeline starts Wednesday, said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a call with reporters Tuesday. CMS issued a rule in early September requiring hospitals to report full, daily COVID-19 data to the federal government, including such information as the number of patients and ventilators they have. On Wednesday, CMS is sending letters to hospitals across America alerting many that they have not been in compliance.

Later this month, the department of Health and Human Services will also start posting a list of hospitals noting whether they are out of compliance.

The consequences are potentially severe. After multiple notifications, hospitals are subject to “termination from both Medicare and Medicaid, meaning the hospital would not receive reimbursement from these programs,” Verma says. This would be a major loss of funding and could go into effect as early as mid-December.

The warning letters are the latest in a string of actions, over several months, designed to get hospitals to provide more daily COVID-19 data to the federal government. Getting more complete COVID-19 data has been a mission of Dr. Deborah Birx, a lead on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Daily hospital admission data is being used “to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Dr. Birx said on the call. “In order to make that data useful, it also has to be timely, complete and valid.”

Hospitals have struggled with the reporting requests, which increased in July and became mandatory in September, and have added to their administrative burdens in the midst of a pandemic. Hospitals have been asked, cajoled and are now being forced to provide that data on a daily basis. The industry is very concerned.

“Tying data reporting to participation in the Medicare program remains an overly heavy-handed approach that could jeopardize access to hospital care for all Americans,” said Rick Pollack, head of the American Hospital Association, in a statement.

The hospital data reporting system drew controversy in mid-July, when the Department of Health and Human Services instructed hospitals to stop reporting data to the CDC, which had been collecting the data — reported voluntarily by hospitals — through a system many had used for decades. Instead, hospitals were told to report to a newer system directly managed by HHS, which oversees the CDC, raising concerns among politicians and public health experts of political interference in public health surveillance.

Hospitals were initially incentivized to report into the newer system by a threat that

White House physician says Trump reporting ‘no symptoms’ of COVID-19

White House physician Sean Conley said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpState Department revokes visa of Giuliani-linked Ukrainian ally: report White House Gift Shop selling ‘Trump Defeats COVID’ commemorative coin Biden says he should not have called Trump a clown in first debate MORE is reporting “no symptoms” after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center during his treatment for the novel coronavirus.

“This morning the President’s team of physicians met with him in the Residence. He had a restful first night at home, and today he reports no symptoms,” Conley wrote in a memorandum issued Tuesday afternoon, less than five days after Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Vital signs and physical exam remain stable, with an ambulatory oxygen saturation level of 95-97%. Overall he continues to do extremely well, I will provide updates as we know more,” Conley wrote.

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday evening and was transported to Walter Reed on Friday after experiencing a high fever and a drop in his oxygen level that required supplemental oxygen.

Trump has been fever-free since Friday, according to Conley, and otherwise has experienced symptoms of a mild cough, nasal congestion and fatigue.

Conley, who briefed reporters three times over the past three days, consistently described Trump’s symptoms as improving. It is unclear whether Conley, who has evaded some questions about the president’s care and the timeline of his infection, will similarly brief reporters at some point Tuesday on the president’s condition. White House aides have also indicated that Trump could make a public appearance of some kind.

Trump has been treated with an experimental antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron, the antiviral medication remdesivir, and dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat inflammation. Trump was expected to receive his fifth and final dose of remdesivir on Tuesday and will continue to receive dexamethasone.

Conley said Monday that Trump had met or exceeded criteria to be discharged from Walter Reed, though he acknowledged that the president may not be “out of the woods” and said he would be looking for Trump’s condition to remain the same or improve over the coming week.

Trump has been eager to return to normal work at the White House and on Monday released a video urging Americans not to fear the coronavirus or allow it to “dominate” their lives, touting the therapies available in the United States to combat the disease.

He has also indicated he wants to take part in the presidential debate scheduled for next week.

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British officials investigating reporting glitch

LONDON — The British government has launched an investigation into how nearly 16,000 new coronavirus infections went unreported as a result of a technical glitch.

The failing could have given fresh impetus to the country’s coronavirus outbreak and ultimately to an uptick in deaths.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers Monday that 51% of those cases have now been contacted by contact tracers.

Hancock’s statement came after the weekend disclosure that a total of 15,841 virus cases weren’t tabulated from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s spokesman on health issues, slammed the government for its latest failing on testing “at one of the most crucial points in the pandemic.”


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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump says he’s leaving hospital for White House, feels good

— Some Orthodox Jews bristle at NYC’s response to virus surge

— Paris on maximum virus alert, closing bars, not restaurants

— New Jersey governor: Trump fundraiser ‘put lives at risk’

— Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

— Americans fault US govt over foreign powers for virus crisis

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Pastor Greg Laurie of the prominent California-based church Harvest Christian Fellowship confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Laurie said in an Instagram posting Monday that he tested positive on Friday and has been in quarantine since then with his wife, but so far all members of his family have tested negative.

“My symptoms have been mild so far, and I expect to make a full recovery,” he wrote. “I have always taken the Coronavirus seriously, and it has tragically taken many lives. At a time like this, we need to pray for those that have it and avoid politicizing it. If our President and First Lady can get COVID-19, clearly anyone can.”

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MONTPELIER, Vt. — A total of 26 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Vermont were in workers at Champlain Orchards, in Shoreham, the Vermont Health Department confirmed Monday as the state reported its largest one-day increase in cases since June 3.

The Health commissioner and Agriculture secretary planned a news conference in the afternoon to discuss the state’s investigation into the outbreak.

The cases linked to the orchard made up a majority of the 33 new confirmed cases the state reported Monday.

The total of number of deaths from COVID-19 in Vermont has remained at 58 for over two months.

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JOHANNESBURG — African governments have worked together to launch a digital platform to inform travelers about COVID-19 travel restrictions across the continent, as many countries ease restrictions on international travel.

Still reeling from nearly six months of a ban on international travel to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, major airports on the continent have now resumed international flights, but with specific restrictions.

The #Trusted Travel, My COVID Pass, will provide travelers in Africa with information about what requirements they will face going

Several New York zip codes are reporting infection rates five times higher than statewide rate

New York has reported several Covid-19 clusters that have created “hotspot” zip codes, the governor said, with a positivity rate about five times more than statewide.



a person taking a selfie in a car: Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters


© Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company’s Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The new clusters are a “stark reminder” that the state is still not out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“We’ve had clusters in the past stemming from factories, churches, bars and other locations,” Cuomo said . “We’re quite familiar with this, and when there’s a cluster, we are very aggressive on it and we’re oversampling in the clusters.”

Cuomo’s announcement comes as states across the US have begun reporting alarming Covid-19 trends in recent days — and after experts warned of a coming surge in cases.

Wisconsin reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations on record, with patients nearly doubling in the state since September 18, according to hospital officials. The governor of Illinois is tightening restrictions in one part of the state after an increase in positivity rates. And in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear urged the state needs to stop a recent “escalation” of cases after reporting more than 1,000 new infections for the second day in a row.

At least 27 states have reported more new cases since the previous week and only nine are reporting a decline, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than 7.2 million people have been infected and more than 206,000 Americans have died.

When a vaccine could be available to US population

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said if their Covid-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective, it could be available to the general population by late March or early April.

Moderna began their Phase 3 clinical trial for Covid-19 in the US in July. It’s one of four companies that have begun Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in the US — the others include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca trial was paused after an unexplained illness in a volunteer, and US health authorities are still considering crucial questions that remain around the injections of the experimental vaccine.

“I think a late Q1, early Q2 approval is a reasonable timeline, based on what we know from our vaccine,” Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.

But there are several steps that will have to come before that.

If the safety and efficacy data checks out, Bancel says he expects Moderna will be able to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the US Food and Drug Administration by late January or early February. That application asks the FDA to consider fully licensing a drug, while an emergency use authorization (EUA) expedites a drug candidate for use on an emergency basis.

Moderna could file for an EUA as early as November 25 for