The longest-serving member of Congress, 87-year-old Don Young, says he has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time,” Young wrote in a post shared on Twitter Thursday.
Young was first elected as Alaska’s at-large member of the House of Representatives in a 1973 special election and was just reelected to his 25th consecutive term.
Young is the oldest member of Congress in either chamber.
His age puts him at a very high risk category for the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines state: “The greatest risk for severe illness from Covid-19 is among those aged 85 or older.”
Chicago has issued a stay-at-home advisory, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise throughout the city.
According to a release announcing the advisory, residents are encouraged to stay at home, only leaving for school or work and for essential needs. That includes seeking medical care, grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, and picking up food.
The advisory goes into effect on Monday, November 16 and will remain in place for 30 days.
Residents are also “strongly advised” to not have guests in their homes outside of essential workers like home healthcare providers or childcare workers, cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and to avoid travel.
Chicago has 122,712 total cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the dashboard. The most recent 7-day positivity rate is now at 14.1%, up from 10.9% the previous week.
These numbers were released by the Chicago Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with Bioreports’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project
This Thanksgiving “separation should be the norm,” Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, said Thursday.
As much as people may want to gather together this Thanksgiving, Schaffner told Bioreports’s Jake Tapper, the safest thing to do is stay separate and connect with loved ones virtually.
Less is more this Thanksgiving,” Schaffner said. “It is the Covid Thanksgiving. We don’t want to give the virus while we’re giving thanks.”
For those planning to gather with people outside of their households, Schaffner advised a 14-day quarantine – beginning today.
“Fourteen days tight quarantine is pretty good assurance,” he said. “If you can get a test in there before Thanksgiving, even better,”
“It’s 14 days, because that’s the incubation period of the virus,” Schaffner added. “Should you be infected today, you’ll become sick sometime during that 14 days.”
Experts have advised that people avoid travel as much as possible this holiday season.
For those who must travel, “traveling by car is much less risky, because you have total control of the environment,” Schaffner said.
Los Angeles Health Director Barbara Ferrer said college students should not plan on returning home for Thanksgiving. If they do, they should stay home for the duration of the winter holidays.
“None of this is easy, but it’s all doable,” she said. “These sacrifices help us get our children back to school and keep our businesses open. Please choose to be part of the solution because it’s going to take all of us to avoid increased heartbreak.”
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said the state would not participate in a nationwide lockdown and that he believes not much will change with respect to the virus if Joe Biden “ultimately becomes the next president.”
“The fact is, that we’re going to try to work with whomever the president is, but we’re not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown,” the Republican Governor said. “This notion that one of his advisors has said that all we really need is about a six-week national lockdown and we can slow down the spread of this virus, is totally and completely beyond reasonableness.”
Reeves said while the federal government may make recommendations, under the Stafford Act when you have emergencies, they have to be state managed, locally executed, and federally supported.
“And so I don’t believe that there’s any constitutional or statutory authority for any president to shut down Mississippi’s economy. We will certainly fight that, if it becomes a necessary,” the governor added.
Reeves said it had been “a particularly difficult week for me and for my family” after his youngest daughter Maddie tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, amid “significantly higher numbers of cases in our state.”
Reeves said Maddie was recovering well and that his two oldest daughters have “basically been in self-isolation” since the middle of last week, because of a potential exposure.
The state’s Department of Health reported 1,271 new cases of Covid-19 Thursday, for a total of 130,665 cases, and 17 new Covid-19 related deaths, for a total of 3,514 deaths.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is in quarantine after his wife tested positive for Covid-19, according to his office.
“The office is confirming that Secretary Raffensperger is being tested for Covid and will work from quarantine following a positive test for his wife. Per personnel procedures, his staff that works in his Capitol office have all been advised to be tested and to work from home. The critical job of the county-conducted election audit of every ballot will continue on schedule,” said a written statement from Raffensperger’s spokesperson.
Raffensperger announced Wednesday that there will be a full hand recount of the presidential race in the state, where President-elect Biden is clinging to a small lead.
A cruise ship remains docked in Barbados on Thursday as passengers and crew undergo testing following the confirmation of coronavirus cases on board.
Five people aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, the ship’s captain said in an announcement, according to passenger Ben Hewitt.
The SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release that “guests” have tested positive for the virus, but did not specify the number. It said that all guests and non-essential crew are quarantining in their rooms. It is not clear how long they will be doing so.
SeaDream 1 is the first cruise ship to embark on a voyage in the Caribbean since the coronavirus shut down the cruise industry. The trip was meant to show how increased safety protocols could allow operations to restart. Many of the passengers are journalists and bloggers invited to cover the week-long trip.
On Wednesday the ship’s captain announced one of the 53 passengers had felt ill and tested positive for coronavirus, and that the ship was returning to Barbados where it is based, according to Gene Sloan, a passenger on SeaDream 1 and senior reporter for the Points Guy travel website.
“The captain in his announcement told us somebody had tested positive, asked us to immediately go back to our cabins where we would isolate and also that all non-essential crew would isolate,” Sloan said.
Sloan recorded an announcement from the captain on Thursday saying all 66 crew members had tested negative for the coronavirus.
Sloan said crew members told him that if all other passengers tested negative they might be able to leave their cabins soon and disembark from the ship in the coming days.
Covid-19 cases are “skyrocketing” in parts of the US as more states report records and battle to bring infection rates under control.
The United States has now reported at least 10,523,260 cases and 242,577 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University figures — and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects there will be up to 282,000 US coronavirus deaths by December 5.
New Mexico set a record with 1,753 new cases Thursday, its highest daily total during the pandemic and a 17% increase on yesterday’s record figure.
New Mexico also set a single-day record for coronavirus deaths, with the Department of Health reporting 18. The state has reported 1,176 Covid-related deaths and 60,776 cases.
The state broke three of its records Thursday — the most new Covid-19 cases, the most patients in hospital and the most in intensive care units.
It reported 1,693 new Covid-19 cases, 361 suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients hospitalized and 94 patients in ICU beds, according to its data dashboard.
Oregon has had 77,121 cases of Covid-19 and 733 deaths from the disease since the pandemic began.
Covid-19 hospitalizations in Maryland have increased 53% over the past two weeks, Governor Larry Hogan said in a Thursday news conference.
There are 863 people hospitalized for Covid-19, the highest since June 11, Hogan added. There are 199 people in the ICU with Covid-19, the highest number since June 25, he said.
Maryland has 1,477 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 159,900, and 12 deaths for a total of 4,112 deaths.
Maryland in now in the red zone, according to federal government designations, with an average of 22.8 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Cases of Covid-19 are “skyrocketing” in the state of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a Thursday news conference.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this,” Whitmer said, “We are in the worst part of this pandemic to date.”
Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased fivefold in as many weeks, and are expected to double within the next two weeks, she said. The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said the positivity rate was at 10.8%.
“The curve that we had flattened? Right now that curve is a straight line, and it is straight up,” Whitmer said. “Our hospitals are nearing capacity, and they are burning through PPE.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services said on Twitter Thursday that the state is in a “serious fight” with Covid-19.
The Texas DSHS urged residents to wear masks and gather virtually where possible, saying the state faced “a dangerous winter as more people head indoors and with an already high amount of COVID cases and hospitalizations.”
Texas reported 5,756 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 993,841 in the state. It also reported 143 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus related fatalities to 19,147 in the state. Johns Hopkins University figures yesterday showed the state had the first to tally more than 1 million infections.
There are currently 6,925 lab-confirmed Covid-19 patients in Texas hospitals.
Track the spread of the virus in the US here:
Temperature and symptom-based screening programs don’t help catch coronavirus cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report that took a closer look at the programs used at US airports until mid-September.
In January, the CDC started an enhanced screening program for air passengers arriving from certain countries with widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus.
The goal was to find travelers who were sick and separate them from other passengers; to share information with travelers about self-monitoring; and to get their contact information that could be shared with the passenger’s local public health department.
The CDC said this was a resource-intensive program that had a low case detection rate. Between January 17 and September 13, the CDC screened more than 766,000 travelers. Nearly 300 met the criteria for public health assessment, 35 were tested for the coronavirus, and 9 tested positive. That means the program identified about one case per 85,000 travelers screened, the CDC reported Thursday in the agency’s weekly report.
This style of screening doesn’t seem to work for a few reasons. Covid-19 has a wide range of nonspecific symptoms common to other infections; there are a high number of asymptomatic cases; travelers may deny symptoms or take steps to avoid detection; and passenger data was limited.
The CDC also only shared contact information with local health departments for 68% of the passengers it screened. There were data collection problems, the report said, and some states opted out of receiving the information.
The CDC ended the program September 14. Instead, the CDC has concentrated on communicating more with travelers to promote recommended preventive measures. The agency has also enhanced the public health response capacity at ports of entry.
The CDC said travelers and their local communities would be better protected if there was “more efficient” collection of contact information for international air passengers before they arrive and real-time data that could be sent to US health departments. Pre-departure testing within 72 hours before the trip, and post-arrival testing would help, as would rules that would encourage a traveler to self-isolate for a certain period.
An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 260,000 to 282,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by December 5.
What it means: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published November 5, projected up to 266,000 coronavirus deaths by November 28.
At least 242,557 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Bioreports is tracking the spread of US coronavirus cases here: