Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
The US just set a staggering new Covid-19 daily case record with more than 120,000 infections
The US reported over 120,000 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, more than any other country during the course of the pandemic. On the same day, global cases rose by a record 700,000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Task force warns new coronavirus cases are increasing 'exponentially' in weekly state reports
Despite Trump's claims that the pandemic would vanish by Election Day, rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths nationwide are causing the White House coronavirus task force to sound dire warnings in weekly reports released to states.

The task force recommended the following key messages: "Do not gather without a mask with individuals living outside of your household," "Always wear a mask in public places," and, "Stop gatherings beyond immediate household until cases and test positivity decrease significantly."

The Department of Defense sends 3 medical teams to help El Paso cope with virus patients.
Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that he welcomed the deployment of the teams — each made up of approximately 20 Air Force personnel — and said they would be “crucial to our efforts in reducing Covid-19 hospitalizations in El Paso.”

While most other areas of Texas have seen a slower rise in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, the state on Friday became the first to record more than 1 million coronavirus cases over the course of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

El Paso has been experiencing a rapid spread of the virus, reporting an average of more than 1,900 new cases a day. As of Friday, more than 1,000 people were hospitalized in the city and surrounding county of 700,000, and 18 new deaths were reported. More than 650 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases at U.S. colleges have hit a quarter million.
A quarter of a million coronavirus infections have been reported at colleges and universities across the United States, according to a New York Times survey, as schools across the nation struggle to keep outbreaks in check.

The bulk of the cases have occurred since students returned for the fall semester, with more than 38,000 new cases reported in the past two weeks alone.

And the numbers are almost certainly an undercount.

... Some of them have appeared to keep the virus in check, primarily through extensive testing programs, even as they try to provide some semblance of a normal college experience for their students.

But others have done less well, failing to enforce social distancing and other preventive measures in an environment that normally revolves around communal living, group activities, large social gatherings and in-person learning.

A Motorcycle Rally in a Pandemic? ‘We Kind of Knew What Was Going to Happen’
Infectious-disease experts warned about the risk of cramming revelers into the Black Hills of South Dakota. But it was the annual Sturgis rally, and bikers were coming no matter what.

Infectious-disease experts had warned about the risk of holding the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Still, South Dakota’s Republican governor, a vocal opponent of lockdowns, gave her blessing, and local leaders set aside their misgivings as thousands of people from every state in the nation rolled down Sturgis’s Main Street.

When the rally ended, the crowds streamed home like some huge exhalation, spreading cases to more than 20 states. Infections connected to the rally popped up as far away as New Hampshire, and case numbers climbed in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Nebraska, where thousands of residents had returned from Sturgis.

The rally has become “a rumbling symbol of America’s bitter divisions over the coronavirus,” wrote our colleagues Mark Walker and Jack Healy. Family members who stayed away are angry at relatives who attended and brought the virus home. Sturgis council members who approved the rally have been bombarded with death threats. And health experts and politicians are still fighting over how many cases Sturgis may have caused across the country.

Even now, health officials said a lack of contact tracing and the sheer scale of the event have made it impossible to know how many people were infected directly or indirectly because of Sturgis.

China blocks more foreign residents from returning to the country.
Italy is locking down six regions in the country’s deeply infected north and highly vulnerable, and poorer, south. The measures, which start Friday, are the most drastic since a nationwide lockdown in March.

The Australian state of Victoria on Friday reported its seventh consecutive day of no locally transmitted virus cases, suggesting a three-month lockdown in the state’s capital of Melbourne had successfully contained a second wave outbreak. Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, said the state remained on track to ease travel restrictions between Melbourne and other parts of the state on Sunday, but he urged people to remain vigilant.

Eastern Europe confronts a growing surge in virus cases.
Eastern Europe is confronting a surge in cases. Romania announced that it would close schools and implement an overnight curfew. Poland admitted the first patient to its new field hospital at a stadium in Warsaw. Hungary declared a “state of danger” this week, and Ukraine announced a national mask mandate in public buildings and on public transportation.

Paris bans takeaway food and delivery at night as Covid-19 crisis worsens
Paris banned delivery and takeaway food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. as officials try to curb what they say is a large number of people on the streets at night, despite a lockdown, France 24 reports.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly tested positive for COVID-19
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for COVID-19, multiple outlets reported Friday.
  • Two officials confirmed Meadows' diagnosis to CNN, as well as people familiar with the matter to Bloomberg News.
  • Bloomberg News' Jennifer Jacobs also reported that at least four other White House aides tested positive for COVID-19 as well, according to sources.
  • Meadows' diagnosis comes after a slew of people, including President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus last month.
  • He was also at Trump's bedside when the president was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early October.
  • More than three dozen people connected to the Trump administration have also tested positive for COVID-19, including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.
  • Several of those who tested positive attended a White House event two months ago for the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has considered a super-spreader event.
  • Meadows attended an election night party at the White House earlier this week, and he has been photographed on multiple occasions without a mask.
  • Representatives from the White House declined to comment.