clearn.png
Saturday December 5th, 2020 8:05PM

Daily COVID-19 deaths in US reach highest level since May

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The surging coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears close at hand, with the country now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City.

The overall U.S. death toll has reached about 254,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000.

With health experts deeply afraid Thanksgiving travel and holiday gatherings next week will fuel the spread of the virus, many states and cities are imposing near-lockdowns or other restrictions. California ordered a 10 p.m.-to 5-a.m. curfew starting Saturday, covering 94% of the state’s 40 million residents.

The Texas border county of El Paso, where more than 300 people have died from COVID-19 since October, is advertising jobs for morgue workers capable of lifting bodies weighing 175 pounds (79 kilograms) or more. Officials are offering more than $27 an hour for work described as not only physically arduous but “emotionally taxing as well.”

The county had already begun paying jail inmates $2 an hour to help move corpses and has ordered at least 10 refrigerated trucks as morgues run out of room.

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are at their highest level since late May, when the Northeast was emerging from the first wave of the crisis. They peaked at about 2,200 a day in late April, when New York City was the epicenter and bodies were being loaded onto refrigerated trucks by forklift.

Among the newly infected was President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who a spokesman said Friday has no symptoms and has been quarantining since learning of his diagnosis earlier this week.

Amid the bleak new statistics, Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, setting in motion a process that could make the first, limited shots available as early as next month, with health care workers and other high-risk groups likely to get priority.

But it could take months before the vaccine becomes widely available. Pfizer has said the vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing the disease.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ruled out another shutdown and singled out El Paso county leaders for not enforcing restrictions already in place. The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, likened the county's chief administrator to a “tyrant” after Paxton won an appeals court ruling blocking local leaders from shutting down gyms and other nonessential businesses.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, failed to persuade leaders of the GOP-controlled legislature to reject a bill that would limit his administration's power to deal with the crisis.

At issue is a Senate bill that would ban the state health department from issuing mandatory quarantine orders enforced against people who are not sick or exposed to disease — such as the order announced by the governor Tuesday setting a 10 p.m. curfew.

DeWine said he will veto the bill when it reaches his desk. Republicans in both the House and Senate have enough votes to override the veto if they choose.

“This bill is a disaster,” DeWine said Thursday. “This is not a bill that can become law.”

In California, the curfew affects 41 of the state's 58 counties. Its impact will depend heavily on voluntary compliance. Some county sheriffs said they won’t enforce it the rules for people not on essential errands to stay home after 10 p.m.

The curfew is less strict than the near-total ban on nonessential business and travel that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed in March, which he credited with flattening the rate of COVID-19 cases.

Rocco Temasamani, who was selling jewelry Friday at San Diego’s Ocean Beach, said the curfew will do little to curb the coronavirus and will instead anger people who consider it government overreach.

He thinks the order will rankle supporters of President Donald Trump who are already agitated by the president’s claims of election fraud and back his hands-off approach to regulating behavior during the pandemic.

“It’s really, really throwing gasoline on a fire,” said Temasamani, who was skeptical that police will enforce the curfew.

Michael Maring, an auto mechanic from El Centro, California, who was visiting San Diego, said he will obey the curfew, despite his fondness for 2 a.m. bike rides, because he doesn’t want trouble with police. Like Temasamani, he thinks authorities will be reluctant to enforce the new measure.

In Kansas, new cases have risen to an average of over 2,700 per day, nearly four times higher than a month ago.

“Our hospitals are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Health care workers are burned out,” Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday.

In rural western Kansas, the number of people seeking testing at a Kearny County clinic doubled over the past week to about 80 per day, said Dr. Lane Olson, a family practice doctor.

He said nurses had to make multiple calls this week before the University of Kansas Hospital, about 360 miles (580 kilometers) away in Kansas City, Kansas, agreed to take one of his coronavirus patients whose oxygen levels were falling. Then several more calls were needed to find an air transport company that could fly her there.

In the state capital, Topeka, the emergency department at Stormont Vail Hospital has taken over a back hallway and a waiting room, with some patients waiting hours to be moved to a regular room. The crunch has area officials considering opening a field hospital.

In Arizona, four Democratic mayors urged Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to impose a statewide requirement for people to wear masks in public. The move came as health officials reported more than 4,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive day.

Ducey's chief of staff, Daniel Scarpinato, pushed back on the request, saying the mayors are doing little to enforce their own mask ordinances or ensure that existing safety measures put in place by the governor are being enforced.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Georgia Secretary of State to certify election for Biden
Georgia’s top elections official is expected to certify election results showing Joe Biden won the presidential election in the state
2:33PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Advocates want light show moved from former mental facility
A battle is underway in a Boston suburb over whether it is appropriate to hold a joyous holiday celebration at the site of a now-closed institution where developmentally disabled children were once abused
2:32PM ( 35 minutes ago )
What does emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine mean?
The first COVID-19 vaccines to be given in the U.S. are expected to get a green light from regulators under a process known as emergency use authorization
2:25PM ( 42 minutes ago )
U.S. News
EXPLAINER: Trump's election challenges falling flat in court
While President Donald Trump vows to press ahead with efforts to overturn the election, judges across the country have consistently swatted down his legal challenges
2:57PM ( 10 minutes ago )
VP Mike Pence campaigns in Georgia ahead of Senate runoffs
Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning Friday in Georgia in support of the state’s two Republican senators
2:54PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Wall Street slips amid worries about worsening pandemic
U.S. stocks are pulling a bit lower in afternoon trading Friday as worries about the worsening pandemic weigh on rising optimism about a coming coronavirus vaccine
2:39PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump to meet Michigan leaders in bid to subvert election
Michigan state legislators are headed to the White House as President Donald Trump makes an extraordinary and sure-to-be futile attempt to block Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state and subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election
2:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden wants Congress to pass emergency COVID aid this year
President-elect Joe Biden is calling on Congress to enact billions of dollars in emergency COVID-19 assistance before the year’s end
2:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pair sentenced for Nebraska pharmacy fire bomb plot
A Nebraska pharmacist has been sentenced to nine years in prison and a Maryland drug dealer to 14 years for a convoluted plot to firebomb a competing pharmacy so they could divert more prescription narcotics to the black market
2:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Mnuchin denies he's trying to hinder incoming administration
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is denying that he is trying to limit the choices President-elect Joe Biden will have to promote an economic recovery by ending several emergency loan programs being run by the Federal Reserve
11:02AM ( 4 hours ago )
Biden adds Obama administration veterans to top staff
President-elect Joe Biden is adding four Obama-Biden administration veterans to his top ranks as he continues to build out his White House team
10:59AM ( 4 hours ago )
Mich. leaders head to DC as Trump bids to subvert election
Two Michigan state legislators are headed to the White House as President Donald Trump makes an extraordinary and sure-to-be futile attempt to block Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state and subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election
10:50AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Wisconsin recount: Masks, plexiglass and lots of ballots
Wisconsin's election recount gets underway on Friday with scores of workers, high-speed ballot processing machines and lots of plexiglass
9:08AM ( 5 hours ago )
Wisconsin recount: Masks, plexiglas and lots of ballots
Wisconsin's election recount gets underway on Friday with scores of workers, high-speed ballot processing machines and lots of plexiglas
8:15AM ( 6 hours ago )
US government executes man convicted of killing Texas teen
The U.S. government has executed a man who kidnapped and raped a 16-year-old Texas girl before dousing her with gasoline and burying her alive
1:25AM ( 13 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Death toll at 37 in Uganda unrest after Bobi Wine's arrest
The death toll from protests over the arrest of Ugandan opposition presidential hopeful and musician Bobi Wine has risen to 37, police said Friday
7:40AM ( 7 hours ago )
Sanders, Warren under scrutiny as Biden weighs Cabinet picks
Democratic Party left wing leaders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are at risk of being excluded from the senior ranks of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as Biden balances the demands of his party’s progressive base against the political realities of a narrowly divided Senate
5:48AM ( 9 hours ago )
Birthday time: Biden turns 78, will be oldest U.S. president
President-elect Joe Biden has a birthday Friday and is turning 78
5:44AM ( 9 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
VP Mike Pence comes to Georgia ahead of Senate runoffs
Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning Friday in Georgia in support of the state’s two Republican senators
12:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Michigan congressman cites election 'dead end'
A Republican Michigan congressman is calling his state legislators’ attempt to change the presidential election results a “dead end.”
12:06PM ( 3 hours ago )
Defense bill in danger over Confederate-named military bases
A defense bill that has passed every year since the Kennedy administration is in danger of failing
11:42AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
California imposes curfew to curb skyrocketing COVID cases
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is imposing an overnight curfew as the most populous state tries to head off a surge in coronavirus cases
9:42PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: South Korea leaders urges public to stay at home
South Korea’s prime minister has urged the public to avoid social gatherings and stay at home as much as possible as the country’s coronavirus tally hovered above 300 for a third consecutive day
9:29PM ( 17 hours ago )
Too soon? Georgia draws next class of White House hopefuls
Twin Senate runoffs in Georgia are first and foremost about who will control the Senate for the opening of President-elect Joe Biden’s Democratic administration
8:52PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
German-speaking Italian province conducts mass rapid test
Citizens in Italy’s small Germany-speaking province of South Tyrol have lined up at schools, gymnasiums and pharmacies for rapid coronavirus tests, the largest testing initiative in the country to date
12:44PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Biden task force member wants coronavirus detail
Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of President-Elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, says Biden’s team needs to know the status of national personal protective equipment and plans for vaccine distribution
12:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
Pair convicted in pharmacy fire bomb plot to be sentenced
A Nebraska pharmacist and a Maryland drug dealer could each face a decade or more in prison when they are sentenced for a convoluted plot to firebomb a competing pharmacy so they could divert more prescription narcotics to the black market
1:08AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Health
Georgia Secretary of State to certify election for Biden
Georgia’s top elections official is expected to certify election results showing Joe Biden won the presidential election in the state
2:53PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Advocates want light show moved from former mental facility
A battle is underway in a Boston suburb over whether it is appropriate to hold a joyous holiday celebration at the site of a now-closed institution where developmentally disabled children were once abused
2:32PM ( 38 minutes ago )
What does emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine mean?
The first COVID-19 vaccines to be given in the U.S. are expected to get a green light from regulators under a process known as emergency use authorization
2:25PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Study: Motorcycle rally sparked COVID-19 cases in next state
This summer’s huge motorcycle rally in South Dakota led to dozens of coronavirus cases in neighboring Minnesota
1:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
Midwest health system CEO says he had virus, won't wear mask
The head of one of the largest health systems in the Midwest has told his employees he's recovered from COVID-19 and is back in the office — without a mask
1:41PM ( 1 hour ago )