Usually about 1.9 million deaths are reported from February to September. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million. The largest increase – 54% – was among Hispanic Americans.
COVID-19 was involved in about two-thirds of the excess deaths, the CDC reported. That appears in line with Johns Hopkins University data putting the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus at more than 220,000.
In Washington, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a $500 billion coronavirus proposal Wednesday that does not include a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks. That comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republicans in a closed-door meeting to avoid making a deal with Democrats before the Nov. 3 election.
Some significant developments:
- USA TODAY’s experts foresee that at least one COVID vaccine will be approved in coming months. Then comes the hard part: Distribution.
- Idaho is seeing its largest spike in cases since the pandemic began. In the past two weeks, infections are up 46.5%. The governor’s plan urges personal responsibility.
- First lady Melania Trump canceled her first campaign rally in months, citing a “lingering cough” from her coronavirus infection earlier this month.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.2 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Almost 41 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday he will quarantine after coming “in close proximity” with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. “I will now, unfortunately, have to take myself off the field,” Murphy said before leaving an event in Camden County.
Murphy, 63, last tested negative for the virus Monday and said he had no symptoms. But that does not clear him because the virus can take several days to incubate, a point he has been pressing in his regular briefings. The Democrat said he will get another test Wednesday.
— Dustin Racioppi, The Bergen Record
Americans will soon be facing the decision of whether to eschew the traditional holiday gatherings with family and friends or risk spreading the virus among loved ones. Some of the safety measures called for by federal health officials aren’t very practical – it’s hard to fit everybody at a table six feet apart or to eat a meal outdoors in the late November chill. Add restrictions fatigue and a sense of defiance to the mix and it’s clear many will ignore the suggestions.
Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, said too many families will mock the advice as “ridiculous.”
“That may give them a sense of independence,” Woolf said. “But then the virus gets to grandma and she ends up in the hospital on a ventilator, and then you live with the guilt.’’
– Jorge L. Ortiz
Montana and South Dakota had a record number of deaths in the seven-day period that ended Tuesday, while those states and 13 others set records for new cases in a week. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, has seen enough. He tweeted a quote Tuesday from ER nurse Charlotte Skinner: “I’m asking you to stop segregating yourselves into maskers and anti-maskers and to stand with us on the common ground of science and evidence, which is clearly telling us that masking works.”
Republican Kristi Noem, however, has converted criticism for refusing to issue lockdowns or mandate masks into political capital – literally….