The United States reported more than 4.4 million new coronavirus cases in November, far more than double any other month of the pandemic, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The numbers are startling. The total case count is nearly what the nation reported in August, September and October combined. An average rate of 99 cases were reported every minute through the month. In November alone, one of every 22 North Dakota residents tested positive. In South Dakota, it was one of 26; Wyoming, one of 29; Iowa, one of 31.
The U.S. also reported 36,918 deaths in November, a toll higher than all months but April and May. The fatalities totaled more people than the U.S. lost in the entirety of the Korean War. On average, 50 Americans died every hour.
In South Dakota, North Dakota and Illinois, more than 1 of every 1,000 residents has now died of COVID-19.
– Mike Stucka
Here’s what to know Tuesday:
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 13.5 million cases and over 268,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 63.4 million cases and 1.47 million deaths.
📰 What we’re reading: These four states have been hit hard by COVID-19 yet balked at restrictions and mask mandates. What is it like to live there?
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.
Los Angeles won’t be shutting down its COVID-19 testing site in Union Station to allow a film shoot after all, while Atlanta plans on allowing “Spider Man” to shoot in closed high schools.
In Los Angeles, the testing sight had been set to shut down to allow Miramax to film some scenes for the movie “He’s All That.” The romcom shooting schedule ignited a frenzy of dramatic dissent, and a few hours later Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that “my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday.”
In Atlanta, where classrooms are shut down in favor of virtual learning, a production team and cast of “Spider-Man” received special permission from Atlanta Public Schools to film at two high schools starting as soon as next month, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The approval came after the movie’s location manager “dangled a $50,000 incentive,” the Constitution wrote.
Christie Johnston, a teacher and mother, tweeted: “In person school is not only safe, it’s necessary for learning. Too bad kids don’t generate the millions a movie does, or they’d be back in front of their teacher in a classroom rather than a computer screen.”
Chicago officials shut down a 300-person basement party early Sunday where attendees were not wearing masks or social distancing. A city task force issued multiple violations and closed the location.
“Actions like this are a slap in the face to the thousands of businesses and millions of Chicagoans that are making sacrifices every day to keep our city safe, and we will continue cracking down on this inexcusable activity,” Rosa Escareno, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
Chicago is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge far greater than its spring spike, and indoor dining has been closed since the end of October. In the following month, the city investigated nearly 900 businesses for violations and closed a sports complex for hosting a party with over 600 people and a ballroom for hosting a party with over 200 people. Last weekend alone, officials investigated nearly 100 incidents.
The city has confirmed nearly 160,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 3,500 deaths since March. Upside: New daily case counts that peaked in mid-November have been steadily falling. The positivity rate Tuesday was down from the week before.
– Grace Hauck
An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets Tuesday to vote on who should get the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Front-line health workers will be first in line. First responders, long-term care patients, people with underlying conditions, people over 65 and essential workers are also being considered. Each state ultimately makes the decision based on the panel’s recommendations. The FDA will consider the first vaccine candidate Dec. 10; Vice President Mike Pence told governors the first vaccines could be shipped out in two weeks.
“We strongly believe the vaccine distribution process could begin the week of Dec.14,” Pence told governors, according to a summary of the call provided by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “The American people deserve to know the cavalry is on the way.”
It can’t get here fast enough. In November alone one of every 76 Americans tested positive for coronavirus. The country reported almost 37,000 coronavirus deaths for the month – a human cost of the 9/11 attacks every 2 1/2 days.
– Mike Stucka
A small town in southern Spain is carrying out COVID-19 testing on its entire population after a random screening suggested 70% of its inhabitants were infected with the virus. Public health officials made the decision after 130 out of 182 people tested on a single day in Cuevas del Becerro were positive for the virus, EuroWeekly News reports. Mayor Ana Maria Garcia, among those who tested positive in the town of about 1,600, said residents will be called by phone or SMS and if they fail to show up they could be charged with a crime against public health. Local authorities have set up a volunteer service to distribute food to residents.
Brick-and-mortar malls and stores have struggled in recent years amid the boom in online shopping, but they could usually count on big crowds during the Christmas season. But there may not be a holiday reprieve this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says holiday shopping in crowded stores is a “higher risk” activity and that people should limit any in-person shopping. Instead, the agency recommends shopping online, visiting outdoor markets or using curbside pickup, where workers bring orders to your car. Try to spend as little time inside stores as possible, says Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a public health expert at Cornell University.
“You just want to go in and out,” he says. “Get your shopping done and move on.”
Giving Tuesday, an annual day recognized for charitable giving, kickstarts December this year – a month big for donating.
Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer for Giving Tuesday, said giving is up 20% year over year in all categories to both nonprofits and small businesses – despite the decline in the first quarter. “The pandemic is motivating a lot of generosity,” he said. “People are finding generosity as an antidote to fear, uncertainty, division.”
If you are unable to give financially or otherwise this year, Rosenbaum suggested virtual volunteering, letter-writing campaigns and even sidewalk chalk messages as safe options amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Generosity, an ‘antidote’ to fear, division’:How to help those in need on Giving Tuesday
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government vowed Monday to spend billions more to help the country recover from the pandemic. The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian ($294 billion) this year, but the government said it could close in on $400 billion Canadian ($308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown.
The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian ($19 billion) in new spending.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada entered the pandemic in the strongest fiscal position of any G7 country. “We can afford the investment,” Freeland said.
– Rob Gillies, Associated Press
A modified stay-at-home order begins Tuesday in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. The order begins at 8 a.m. local time and is scheduled to go until Jan. 1, 2021. The new order requires restaurants and bars to shut down indoor dining. Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining are still allowed with some restrictions. Indoor gatherings are limited to six people and outdoor gatherings at 10 people. Gyms and fitness centers will go from 50% capacity to 25%.
Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced the new order last week as the city experienced a “record-breaking surge” of coronavirus cases. Former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued a similar order in August for a “four-week reset,” according to the Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage has over 16,500 infections and 68 deaths, according to state data. Statewide there are over 31,000 confirmed cases and 120 deaths.
Florida public schools will remain open in 2021 and families will continue to have the option to keep students at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday.
But the news came with one caveat: parents with students who are struggling academically in remote learning situations will be notified by their school districts and the students will be required to return to in-person instruction – unless the family again actively elects to keep the student at home. The caveat is part of a new emergency order issued by Richard Corcoran, Florida’s commissioner of education.
DeSantis at a press conference called closing public schools during the coronavirus pandemic the “biggest public health blunder” in modern U.S. history and called his detractors “flat-earthers.” He said the effects of closing schools will be felt for years.
The announcement comes as Florida has seen a surge in cases in past weeks and is poised to cross the million-case mark on Tuesday.
– CD Davidson-Hiers, Tallahassee Democrat
Michigan Rep. John Chirkun on Monday said he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Chirkun, a Democrat, is at least the 11th state lawmaker to have either a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
“Rep. Chirkun is doing well and in very good spirits. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him returning to session following his quarantine,” fellow Democrat and House Minority Leader Christine Greig said in a statement.
Greig said Chirkun will not attend meetings at the state Capitol this week, which the state Legislature is scheduled to return a two-week break. The diagnosis comes at the same time businesses around the state face strict operating regulations and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants lawmakers to pass a $100 million COVID-19 relief plan.
– Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press
Gov. Gavin Newsom warned a stay-at-home order could soon be implemented in counties with widespread COVID-19 transmission if they continue to see a surge of new cases that could potentially overwhelm local hospital systems.
In the past two weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state increased 89% while COVID-19 patient admissions into intensive care unit beds increased 67%. But that rise is just the tip of the iceberg, officials said.
“We anticipate another large increase in cases within the next one to two weeks from Thanksgiving activities and gatherings,” Newsom said.
Newson also said he anticipates California will receive an initial 327,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses by mid-December. The first dose will be given in mid-December and the second dose will be given three weeks later, Newsom said.
– Nicole Hayden, Palm Springs Desert Sun
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press