Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced changes to state health measures, including requiring hospitals to reserve at least 10% of staffed general and ICU beds for Covid-19 patients. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week ordered new restrictions on mass rallies and a closing time at 6 p.m. 22.00 for companies serving alcohol. And in Kentucky, government Andy Beshear said earlier this month that he was instructing authorities to intensify enforcement of the mask.
“This is a good time for people to stop and ask themselves, what can I do to make sure we limit the additional infections that otherwise appear to be threatening in front of us as cold weather kicks in and people is indoors, and those curves are going up, in the wrong direction, “Collins said Friday.
But it is not too late to turn things around. Experts say Americans can help get the virus under control by following the basic public health guidelines proclaimed by officials for months: avoid crowded environments, keep your distance, hold small gatherings outdoors and wear a mask.
‘We are in a new wave of increasing positivity in Covid-19 cases’
On Thursday, at least 26 U.S. states reported more than 1,000 new cases a day, data from Johns Hopkins shows. And 14 states saw their highest 7-day average for new daily cases: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
The American Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams spoke of an increase in new cases and admissions to Wisconsin, saying the state’s positivity rate “is going in the wrong direction.”
“It is crucial that we actually understand where this virus is circulating so that we can get cases under control and turn positivity around,” he said Friday.
In Illinois, Government JB Pritzker said he was concerned about the rise in infections.
“We are in a new wave of increasing positivity in Covid-19 cases across the country, not just in Illinois,” he said. “One of the challenges now is that three of the worst five states in the country border Illinois: Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, which borders all of northern Illinois and, of course, Indiana all the way down to Kentucky.”
Minnesota outbreak tied to Trump rally
In Minnesota, public health officials say they have so far traced at least 20 cases of the virus back to a demonstration meeting held by President Donald Trump last month or to related events.
Of the 20 cases, 16 are among people who participated in the demonstration. Four people said they participated in counter-protests the same day, the state health department told CNN.
The state has tracked a total of 28 cases for various campaign events in recent weeks. One was attached to a meeting of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and three were attached to a Minneapolis speech by Vice President Mike Pence in late September.
Ahead of an expected Trump rally over the weekend, Michigan government Gretchen Whitmer urged people planning to attend to wear masks and social distances.
“We are always concerned when there are large gatherings without masks and social distance. There is a risk of an outbreak when this happens, so we encourage people to wear their masks and practice social distance,” said Tiffany Brown, Whitmer’s press secretary. to CNN in a statement.
And in Tucson, Arizona, where Trump is scheduled to hold a political rally on Monday, the mayor wrote an open letter reminding campaign staff of the “various ordinances in force” in the city and county.
“It would be deeply unfortunate if a collection jeopardized all the progress we have made so far,” wrote Mayor Regina Romero.
Pfizer announces Covid-19 vaccine plans
In an open letter published Friday by Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, the company said it plans to apply for emergency use approval (EUA) for its Covid-19 vaccine as early as November.
“Subject to positive data, Pfizer will apply for emergency use in the United States shortly after the security milestone is reached in the third week of November,” the letter said.
But first, Bourla wrote, the vaccine should prove to be safe and effective in preventing the disease.
“And finally, we must demonstrate that the vaccine can be consistently manufactured to the highest quality standards,” Bourla wrote.
Once a vaccine is approved in the United States, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies have been designated to help distribute free vaccines to long-term care facilities, federal officials confirmed. It will be up to the two drug chains to find out how to deliver the vaccines, including requirements for cold storage and personal protective equipment.
“This is a completely voluntary program from any nursing home. This is an opt-in program,” Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for health and human services policy, told reporters.
CNN’s Dave Alsup, Andrea Diaz, Nakia McNabb, Samira Said, Nadia Kounang, Andy Rose and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.