As the wait for election results drags on and new daily coronavirus cases continue to set records, states are beginning to dip back into an area that proved successful — but difficult to enforce — in the spring: curfews.
Massachusetts started Friday night, asking all residents to remain home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they were traveling for work or school. Violators in that state can be arrested. Denver will follow suit, with a “Home at 10” order that begins Sunday and is in effect until Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said he’s dubious curfews will do much to curb infections. “Curtailing the evening for dining by an hour or so isn’t likely to make a very large impact,” said Hanage. “I can’t think of a single place where further action was not necessary.”
Here’s the latest headlines Saturday:
- Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has the coronavirus, according to reports on Friday. It wasn’t clear when Meadows tested positive, but sources told Bloomberg News that Meadows informed a group of advisers of his diagnosis after Election Day.
- Ten days after claiming their first World Series since 1988, five members of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization have tested positive.
- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker was in isolation after his office was notified Friday of a recent exposure to someone with COVID-19, the office said in a news release.
- And Rachel Maddow did not appear on MSNBC on Friday night after a close contact tested positive for COVID-19. The liberal pundit announced on Twitter that, though she has tested negative for the disease, she will still be quarantining at home to make sure she does not put anyone else at risk.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 9.7 million cases and more than 236,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 49.4 million cases and 1.2 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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More than a quarter million Danes went into lockdown Friday in a northern region of the country where a mutated variation of the coronavirus has infected minks being farmed for their fur, leading to an order to kill millions of the animals. Meanwhile, Britain on Friday said people coming from Denmark must self-isolate for 14 days, adding the country to a list of countries it deems risky.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the move was meant to contain the virus, and it came two days after the government ordered the cull of all 15 million minks bred at Denmark’s 1,139 mink farms. The coronavirus evolves constantly and, to date, there is no evidence that any of the mutations pose an increased danger to people. But Danish authorities were not taking any chances.
Last month, Denmark started culling millions of minks in the north of the country after COVID-19 infections were reported among the stock there. Nationwide, at least 216 out of the 1,139 fur farms in Denmark have now been infected.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has voiced support for a robust relief measure that includes another federal bonus to weekly unemployment benefits, more aid for struggling small businesses and financially distressed states, and another round of stimulus checks to most households.
The big question: Which party has the majority in the Senate? Last month, the Democratic House passed a $2.2 trillion package while the Republican Senate has favored a $500 billion plan.
If Republicans keep control, lawmakers likely would approve a $1.5 trillion stimulus, possibly late this year, according to Moody’s Analytics and Oxford Economics. If the Democrats wrest control, Zandi expects a $2 trillion package that could match the $600 jobless aid provided to unemployed Americans earlier this year instead of a reduced amount.
But economist Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics believes even a Democratic Senate would opt for a $1.5 trillion measure to preserve space for other spending initiatives. Read more here.
– Paul Davidson
The popularity of mail-in voting this election could put pressure on state lawmakers to make many COVID-19 changes permanent.
“Election officials, lawmakers and voters have really changed the way they think about voting in a lot of places around the country,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a voting rights group at New York University Law School.
“There were a lot of voters that never had the option (before this year) to mail in ballots and I think they were encouraged. It will change people’s perspectives and demand on lawmakers.”
Voters of both parties, Morales-Doyle said, benefited from having more options to cast their ballots. Imagine the polling place lines, he said, if most voters this year instead had to vote on Election Day while also abiding by social distancing rules. The lines “would have been amazingly long.”
But some local election officials have expressed frustration with what they say is a lack of clarity in voting laws that make the counting process longer. The U.S. Supreme Court last week declined to overturn a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to extend the mail-in ballot deadline. However, the U.S. Supreme Court still could act related to the case. Read more here.
– Matt Vasilogambros and Lindsey Van Ness, Stateline
For the third day in a row, America set records for cases reported in a day, and all three days recorded more than 100,000 new infections. Through Friday, Johns Hopkins data shows, America reported 126,480 cases per day. That works out to about 88 Americans testing positive, on average, every minute.
Every day since Oct. 25, America has set a record for cases reported in a week. Now we’re at 689,538.
Most American states again set case records: A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Friday shows 26 states set records for new cases in a week while five states had a record number of deaths in a week.
New case records were set in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Record numbers of deaths were reported in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.
– Mike Stucka
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has the coronavirus, according to reports on Friday. It wasn’t clear when he tested positive, but sources told Bloomberg News, that Meadows informed a group of advisers of his diagnosis after Election Day.
His positive test comes a month after Trump’s own bout with the virus, which saw him hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in early October. In the wake of Trump’s diagnosis, several White House aides also tested positive for the virus, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former counselor Kellyanne Conway. Melania and Barron Trump also were positive.
ABC News and CNN have also confirmed Meadows has the virus.
– Jeanine Santucci
Five members of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and a family member have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The disclosure comes 10 days after Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was notified during Game 6 of the World Series that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
It is unclear if Turner or any other players are among the five people. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, most of the people who tested positive were outside the so-called bubble at the World Series in Arlington, Texas. The person requested anonymity because of privacy issues.
“The Dodgers organization continues to work with us during this ongoing outbreak investigation,’’ the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Friday in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
The news broke just hours after Major League Baseball accepted part of the blame for Turner’s actions during the World Series celebration when he returned to the field after his positive COVID-19 test, saying there was miscommunication, and determined that he will not be disciplined.
He was shown on the field hugging teammates, kissing his wife, holding the World Series trophy, and posing for team pictures with his mask off, sitting next to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor.
— Bob Nightengale and Josh Peter
State prison officials have ordered a lockdown at a medium-security facility in northern Nevada after 93 inmates and seven staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Nevada Department of Corrections said Friday that additional sanitation measures have been deployed and all meals are being delivered to individual units during the lockdown at the Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City.
Department Director Charles Daniels said the remainder of the facility’s 525 offenders and all staff would be tested again Friday and Saturday.
He didn’t disclose when the positive results were confirmed. Employees routinely are tested every two weeks and offenders every three weeks.
Starting Friday night, Massachusetts residents will be breaking the law if they’re out between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless on the way to or from work or school. The curfew is the latest effort to stem the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the state, which was hard-hit in the spring but enjoyed a low infection rate in the summer and early fall.
In the last week, the state, which had around 200 cases a day for most of the summer, has routinely seen daily caseloads above 1,200. And it’s likely to get worse.
The move is aimed at closing restaurants and bars earlier in the night, before people lose their inhibitions and get careless about COVID-19 safeguards. But it remains to be seen whether criminalizing such everyday activities as a late-night stroll is a good idea – or will have any effect on the virus case count.
William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said he’s dubious curfews will do much to curb infections. “Curtailing the evening for dining by an hour or so isn’t likely to make a very large impact,” said Hanage. “I can’t think of a single place where further action was not necessary.”
— Karen Weintraub
In a similar effort, Denver announced Friday it will begin a nightly “Home By 10” order, requiring residents to remain in their homes from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
The order goes into effect Sunday and runs until Dec. 7. It will be temporarily suspended on Thanksgiving Day.
Unless traveling to and from work or for an essential business allowed to be open during those hours, residents must remain home and cannot congregate with anyone outside of their dwelling.
Infection rates and hospitalizations are rising, with Denver’s seven-day moving average of new cases at 419 on Thursday, up from 290 on Oct. 29.
Some grocery store chains are bringing back limits on purchasing certain items including toilet paper as COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Kroger said they have “proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer” on items including toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. The limits went into effect around Monday, the grocer chain said.
Other chains that have reimposed limits in recent days include H-E-B and the Giant Company. Wegmans said it has had limits on purchasing toilet paper and paper towels since May and will continue to maintain them.
When the coronavirus pandemic first upended the lives of Americans in March, consumers rushed to stores to stockpile products such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting wipes.
– Brett Molina
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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Contributing: The Associated Press