More states note record COVID-19; more restrictions in Europe

Reports on Election Day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Reports on Election Day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Reports in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, ask questions about the elections., Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr cc

Six states reported record daily COVID-19 case totals on Election Day, as political observers sorted out how the pandemic impacted voters' concerns, while on the international front, an ongoing surge in Europe prompted a flurry of new restrictions in several countries.

More states swept up in fall surge

The six states that reported single-day highs yesterday were Idaho, New Mexico, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maine, the Wall Street Journal reported, noting that the nation's 7-day average of new cases rose to 86,363. Yesterday the nation reported 84,089 new cases and 557 new deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

US totals reached 9,441,472 cases and 233,265 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

The most recent report from the White House coronavirus task force, typically shared only with governors but obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, said 38 states are now in the "red zone." Newly added states include Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. States are classified as red zone if their new cases are more than 100 per 100,000 residents.

Hospitalizations across the country are also rising, and facilities are converting wards into intensive care units and seeking more staff, USA Today reported. Hospitals, however, face struggles as they tap the same pool of traveling nurses, doctors, and therapists.

Despite the surge in cases, the pandemic trailed the economy as the leading issue for voters in yesterday's presidential election, exit polls reported in the Washington Post suggested. About 2 in 10 said the pandemic was the most important issue, while one-third said the economy was their main motivator. Also, voters closely split on whether US measures to contain the virus were going well.

Europe reports steep rises, more restrictions

Europe, which is the world's biggest hot spot region, saw surges continue, with new single-day high COVID-19 cases reported in several countries, including Poland, Austria, and Russia.

And in Belgium, cases are starting to drop, but hospitalizations and deaths—which usually lag cases—continue to rise, the Brussels Times reported.

Lithuania ordered a 3-week lockdown, which takes effect on Nov 7, to curb its rise in cases. Other European countries announced more strong measures that stopped short of lockdown, including Hungary, where officials closed entertainment venues and imposed a night curfew, and Italy, which issued a night curfew and tiered measures based on risk level.

Mutated virus from minks in Denmark

Danish government officials announced today that its 17 million mink population will be culled, following the identification of a mutated version of SARS-CoV-2 that passed from animals to people, Reuters reported.

The form of the virus was found in both humans and minks and showed decreased antibody sensitivity, which authorities said could reduce the efficacy of future vaccines and spread to other countries.

At a media briefing, officials said they have shared the findings from the State Serum Institute with the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Researchers in the Netherlands had earlier reported that SARS-CoV-2 had likely jumped back and forth between minks and people working on mink farms. The virus has turned up on mink farms in a handful of countries, including the United States.

In other global developments:

  • Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was hospitalized in Germany in October for COVID-19, and the 74-year-old is still there and is gradually recovering, according to the Associated Press.

  • In India, cases in New Delhi reached a daily record high yesterday, though the country's overall cases are declining, CNN reported.

  • China reported 118 more cases from an outbreak in Xinjiang province, with 2 of patients having symptoms, according to CNN. The two earlier had asymptomatic infections, and the other 116 people were in quarantine. The outbreak is occurring in the province's Kashgar region, which had done rounds of mass testing to identify infections and prevent the spread of the virus.

  • The global total today is at 47,886,677 cases, and 1,221,346 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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