/Coronavirus updates: US nears 9M cases; Fauci supports mask mandate; IHOP may close about 100 restaurants; 228K US deaths – USA TODAY

Coronavirus updates: US nears 9M cases; Fauci supports mask mandate; IHOP may close about 100 restaurants; 228K US deaths – USA TODAY

For the first time, the United States added cases faster than one every second on Thursday, Johns Hopkins data shows. The United States reported 88,521 new coronavirus cases, a record for one day. That equaled a new coronavirus case every 0.976 seconds.

With Thursday’s data, the United States also set a record for new cases in a week, at 536,131. The second-highest record was set in the week ending Wednesday. The third, Tuesday. The fourth, Monday. The fifth highest record, Sunday. The sixth-highest record was set in the week ending July 22.

The surge is nationwide: 47 states had more cases in the latest week than in the week before, an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. An analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows 41 states had a higher rate of people testing positive than the week before, too.

Across the world, Japan topped 100,000 infections, with nearly one-third coming from Tokyo, and India reported declining numbers a day after surpassing 8 million cases, second only to the U.S. Cases are surging in Europe as well, leading to new restrictions.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.9 million cases and more than 228,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 45 million cases and 1.18 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

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Study: 20% of grocery store workers had COVID-19

A study published Thursday found that grocery store workers had a heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, with one in five workers surveyed testing positive and most having asymptotic cases.

Workers who were in roles that involved interacting with customers were five times as likely to test positive, the study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, found. Three in four who did test positive had no symptoms.

“This is definitely very alarming as it means that retail grocery store employees are exposed to customers and sort of serve as a middleman for the virus – like a super spreader almost,” researcher Dr. Justin Yang told CNN.

Europe’s outbreak: 10 million cases; Spain state of emergency until May

European nations have accounted for more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and broke a weekly record with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week, the World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday.

“Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.”

The Spanish parliament voted to keep a state of emergency intact until May 2021. France says its citizens will be confined to half a mile from their homes for the next month, unless they’re buying food or going to school or a few other exceptions. Pope Francis is halting his public general audiences and will limit participation at Christmas.

Fauci supports national mask mandate

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this week the United States needs a national mask mandate and also expressed worry that the country is “not in a good place” with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Fauci made the comment about masks on Wednesday when speaking with CNBC host Shephard Smith, who asked if it was “time” and if a national mandate was needed.

“We do,” Fauci said. “I would hope the mayors and the governors do it locally if it’s not done nationally.”

Fauci also said this week that the U.S. isn’t well positioned as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and more cases are expected during the winter and holiday season. 

“We’re not in a good place,” he said in an interview Wednesday with JAMA Editor in Chief Dr. Howard Bauchner. “The thing that had disturbed me so much is that we never got down to a low baseline after we had a big initial surge.” 

CDC: Boy with COVID-19 likely led to 116 cases at Wisconsin summer camp

One boy who arrived at a southeastern Wisconsin summer camp unknowingly infected with COVID-19 likely spread the virus to 116 people, a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Between July 2 and Aug. 11, one infected camper who had tested negative before arriving led to COVID-19 diagnoses for nearly 80% of the camp’s attendees, according to the report that was released Thursday. 

On July 28, state health officials tested nearly all attendees at a faith-based camp for boys after a small group of children who were in close contact with the boy became sick or tested positive. At least one confirmed case was found in every dormitory room and yurt over the course of the outbreak, the report said.

All illnesses were mild to moderate, and no hospitalizations or deaths occurred, the CDC said.

– Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Los Angeles County reports highest daily case count since late August

Los Angeles County is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with health officials reporting 19 new deaths and 1,745 new cases on Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since late August.

“The high numbers of daily cases are very concerning because, as we have seen in the past, increases in cases lead to increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “These increases impede our ability to move forward with re-opening additional sectors and getting more children back to school.” 

The news comes three days after the county reached two grim milestones: 7,000 confirmed deaths and 300,000 infections. The health agency on Monday said it is “highly likely” that celebrations for the Lakers’ NBA Finals win contributed to a spike in cases.

IHOP may close nearly 100 restaurants nationwide amid ongoing pandemic

IHOP may close up to 100 locations in the U.S. as the pandemic continues to affect indoor dining operations across the country. The pancake house’s parent company, Dine Brands Global, made the announcement in its third-quarter earnings report on Thursday. 

“Given the impact of the pandemic on individual restaurant-level economics, the Company is evaluating the viability of greatly underperforming domestic IHOP restaurants,” reads the report. The closures will take place over the next six months. 

Applebee’s, also owned by Dine Brands Global, will close approximately 15 restaurants before the end of the year. 

– Coral Murphy

Clemson Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence tests positive for COVID-19

Trevor Lawrence, junior quarterback for the No. 1-ranked Clemson Tigers and front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, will not play in Saturday’s game against Boston College after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a news release. “He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College.

The Tigers are scheduled to play at Notre Dame a week from Saturday.

– Steve Gardner

El Paso, Texas, orders 2-week shutdown amid COVID-19 surge

A judge in El Paso County, Texas, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential services starting at midnight Friday amid growing hospitalizations in the COVID-19 crisis.

Voting continues and polls will remain open for the upcoming election since voting is an essential service, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced Thursday. Hospitals are at capacity, medical workers are overwhelmed and the shutdown is needed as the virus spreads, the judge stated.

“There seems to be a shadow placed upon us because of the numbers the way they are,” Samaniego said, adding that new infections kept going up in recent days.

El Paso continued to hit unprecedented levels in the outbreak with record numbers of active cases, patients in the hospital, intensive care and a soaring positivity rate. Public health officials reported Thursday morning a record 14,359 known active cases, 934 people hospitalized, 245 in ICU, and a 17.24% rolling seven-day average positivity rate.

– Daniel Borunda and Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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