COVID-19 surge accelerates with record 126,000 new cases Friday

By | November 7, 2020

Nearly 126,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed Friday, the highest daily total recorded. The average number of new cases reported every day this week is nearly 100,000.

Nearly 55,000 people were in hospitals with COVID-19, according to the COVID Tracking Project, not far off the peak hospitalizations seen in the spring and summer surges of the pandemic. The daily reported death count rose to 1,186.

The Department of Defense sent three military teams to El Paso, Texas, Friday to assist hospitals straining to keep up with a spike in new coronavirus cases. Each team is made up of about 20 doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists.

“Our ongoing partnership with the federal government is crucial to our efforts in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations in El Paso,” Gov. Gregg Abbott said. “I thank the Department of Defense for providing these resources to the El Paso community and for working alongside the Lone Star State to mitigate this virus.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs is recruiting 8,000 volunteers for the phase three clinical trials of at least four COVID-19 vaccine candidates at 20 federal medical facilities across the United States, Kaiser Health News reported Friday. J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of global health policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Defense Department and VA are a “natural fit” for the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

“DOD has lots of expertise. They know how to vaccinate; they know how to reach communities. They have a whole science infrastructure and research-and-development infrastructure. And when you are thinking what the mission of VA is, [VA] sees this as part of their mission,” Morrison said.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo will enforce new testing requirements for entering New York by increasing the amount of National Guardsmen at airports amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“You should not land if you do not have proof of a negative test upon landing,” Cuomo said. “I want people to know we’re serious.”

Cuomo announced a sweeping new entry test policy last week, requiring travelers to provide a negative coronavirus test upon arrival in New York, followed by another negative test four days later.

Additionally, Philadelphia is considering new restrictions as cases rise in the city.

“Everything is on the table now,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in an interview with the local CBS affiliate. He did not provide specifics on which restrictions were being considered.

The economy added 638,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dipped to 6.9% in October, the Labor Department said in a jobs report Friday that beat forecasters’ expectations and provided reason for optimism about the economy.

The strength of Friday’s report may allay economists’ fears that the pace of recovery is not enough to avoid a prolonged recession. Still, after record-smashing job growth in the summer as employers rehired workers who had been laid off in the first wave of the pandemic, payroll gains have fallen off the pace needed for a rapid recovery to normal.