Northern states report more COVID-19 activity

Northern states, including Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Minnesota have the fastest rising COVID-19 case counts in the country, according to the New York Times' COVID-19 database.

Cold weather is likely driving more people inside in those states, leading to heightened virus transmission. The paper said a similar national trend was reported last year: Southern and western states saw summer spikes of the virus, while northern states recorded late fall surges.

The state with the highest current case count remains Alaska, at 125 cases per 100,000 people per day. Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho follow, but are all trending downwards.

The United States reported 16,913 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 164 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

The 7-day average of new daily cases is 82,761, with 1,532 deaths, according to the Washington Post tracker. New daily cases fell by 13.7% in the past week, deaths fell by 13.8%, and hospitalizations declined by 8.3%.

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, 84, died from complications of COVID-19, his family announced this morning. 

The decorated serviceman who was the nation's first Black secretary of state was fully vaccinated, but was battling multiple myeloma and Parkinson's disease. Treatments for both diseases suppressed Powell's immune system.

Powell's family told CNN the General had received a second dose of mRNA vaccine in February, and was slated to get his booster dose last week, before falling too ill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 57% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 65.9% have received one dose of vaccine, and 5.5% of fully vaccinated people have received a booster dose.

Vaccines are the CDC's main recommendation to Americans looking to celebrate the holidays together this year. With just 5 weeks until Thanksgiving, the CDC published guidelines to help families celebrate safely, emphasizing that all who are able should be fully vaccinated before gathering, and masks should be worn in public indoors, even among vaccinated people, when community transmission rates are high.

Other US developments 

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has pushed back a deadline for state employees of veterans' homes, prisons, and other congregate facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Associated Press reports. The deadline, originally set for October 4, has been pushed to November 30.

  • The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet later this week to discuss boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients.

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