5 troubling coronavirus developments you may have missed this week


FILE: A woman wearing a protective mask is seen in Union Square on March 9, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (NEXSTAR) – Since the height of the coronavirus pandemic this past spring, experts have been warning about a second spike likely to hit the U.S. before the end of 2020. While it’s debatable whether we ever fully pulled out of the first spike, one thing is for certain: cases are back on the rise and the predicted new spike seems increasingly inevitable.

On Thursday, new confirmed daily cases climbed over the 65,000 mark — a total the country hasn’t seen since the end of July. That’s an increase of more than 50% since this time last month, according to data from the New York Times.

48 states are now battling increasing case numbers.

With that surge comes the return of hospital crowding, mask mandates and other disruptions that we have been attempting to recover from since March. With the added concern now that coronavirus fatigue may cause people to overlook new dangers, it’s important to look back at what has changed this week.

Here’s a recap of some of the major developments that may have gotten buried on your news feed:

No vaccine is coming before the election

On Friday morning, Pfizer’s chief executive announced the company wouldn’t apply for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine prior to late November — effectively ending any theory a vaccine could be ready by the November 3 election.

While that timeline was always considered extremely aggressive, President Donald Trump had suggested in interviews that the public might be in for a surprise.

Pfizer is one of four companies in late-stage clinical trials testing a vaccine. Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson had looser timelines saying that later in the year is more likely, according to the New York Times.

Earlier this week both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca’s paused trials at different points due to safety concerns.

New cases aren’t just edging up in some states, they’re jumping

New Mexico, Connecticut, Alaska and Wyoming are just a few of the 16 states that have seen new cases jump at least 50 percent over a two-week window, according to New York Times data.

The United States surpassed 8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Friday, according to stats from Johns Hopkins University and the looming Thanksgiving holiday is already being eyed as a potential virus acceleration event.

In Colorado, officials are taking actions after the state set a new high for COVID-19 cases in one day Friday with 1,312, according to the governor. There are 352 hospitalizations which is the highest since late May.

Saying the numbers are “higher than they have ever been in Denver” that city’s mayor issued stricter mask mandates and reduced the number of people allowed to gather in groups. With the state’s positivity rate above 5%, Gov. Jared Polis said that one in every 260 Coloradans is contagious. He’s asking residents to reduce gatherings statewide.

As infection rates increase, more rolled back public safety measures may well be reinstated elsewhere.

Crowded hospitals turning away ambulances

Eight hospitals in the Kansas City area reported such high volumes of patients Wednesday night that they temporarily stopped accepting ambulances. The problem does not stop there. Similar headlines surfaced since this summer from Honolulu to Houston and beyond.

The outbreak is so pronounced near Kansas City that the White House Coronavirus Task Force is reportedly urging universities in the state test all students before Thanksgiving break in hopes of preventing a major post-holiday spike.

On Friday, Missouri reported 2,017 new cases and 17 additional deaths, bringing their total deaths to nearly 2,500 since the start of the pandemic.

Politico reports big city hospitals in Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana are also running short on nurses and beds.

The virus crossed the aisle

Just two weeks after the virus derailed the Trump campaign and sent President Trump to the hospital, positive tests within the Biden-Harris campaign forced the democratic VP nominee off the campaign trail.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said Thursday that vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris would suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for coronavirus.

The campaign said Biden had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8. The Democratic ticket has been much more visible and vocal in their support for universal mask wearing than their GOP opponents. Biden has been repeatedly tested in the days since he shared the stage with President Trump.

Positive tests created a new level of uncertainty in the NFL

Infections have already forced the Patriots and Broncos to cancel their game once, and a new positive test on forced the team to cancel practice Friday, according to the AP. That could put the game in limbo again, but it’s not the only concern the league office has its eye on.

The Indianapolis Colts closed facilities Friday after “several individuals” tested positive, the Browns, who played the Colts last week, faced a scare when stare receiver Odell Beckham Jr. fell ill this week. The team has since said he tested negative.

The Falcons placed a rookie lineman on the COVID-19 reserve list and later briefly closed facilities after a second positive test this week. They are now being closely watched by the league.

The Tennessee Titans returned to the field for rescheduled Tuesday game after shutting down for two weeks after their own COVID outbreak. That scheduling move forced the league to move the planned Thursday night game this week so that the Buffalo Bills weren’t forced into an impossible schedule.

If the impact on the league is starting to feel difficult to follow, that’s because it is.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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