U.S. reports highest daily death toll in more than six months

The United States logged nearly 2,100 coronavirus-related fatalities on Tuesday, marking the deadliest day in more than six months. Record numbers of fatalities were also reported in nine states — Maine, Alaska, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio and Oregon — according to data tracked by The Washington Post.





© Briana Sanchez/AP
Medical workers transport bodies to mobile morgues in El Paso County, Texas, earlier this month.

Tuesday’s tally of 2,092 deaths is the highest the country has seen since May 6, when 2,611 deaths were reported.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The federal government plans to send 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to communities across the United States within 24 hours of receiving clearance.
  • The CDC intends to shorten the recommended self-quarantine period for people who have may been exposed to the coronavirus, two agency officials said Tuesday. The hope is compliance will improve if the guidelines seem less daunting.
  • YouTube has suspended One America News, a favorite of Trump allies, for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
  • France and Britain tentatively plan to ease lockdown restrictions ahead of Christmas.
  • Nearly 12.6 million coronavirus cases and 259,000 fatalities have been reported since February in the United States.

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1:57 AM: Room Rater was a beloved pandemic distraction. But the backlash has arrived, courtesy of Jeb Bush.

Doug Heye was in a good mood as he made dinner Saturday night.

The Republican strategist had just received a quarantine-specific distinction: A 9 out of 10 rating from the Room Rater Twitter account.

“Love the port wine posters. Sunflowers. Depth. Add pillow to left. 9/10,” it read, referencing the background of his recent TV appearance.

The account, which is run by Claude Taylor and his fiance, Jessie Bahrey, became an early pandemic diversion, like sourdough bread, Netflix watch parties and newly adopted puppies. Pundits were suddenly appearing on the cable news channels not from remote studios but on Zoom or Skype from bedrooms, living rooms and makeshift offices. Taylor and Bahrey rate their home setups, docking points for things like visible cords or a poorly angled screen and awarded them for well-organized bookcases or stylish art.

But a backlash against the account has been bubbling under the surface — and finally overflowed on social media the night of Heye’s rating, when former Republican Florida governor Jeb Bush retweeted it with some added commentary.

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By: Travis M. Andrews

1:29 AM: Major Midwestern health provider parts ways with CEO after he downplays crisis; contradicts recommendations on masks





© Joe Ahlquist/AP
Kelby Krabbenhoft, who stepped down as president and CEO of Sanford Health this week, poses for a photo at the nonprofit’s offices in 2015.

One of the Midwest’s largest health-care providers announced the resignation of its longtime CEO on Tuesday after he announced his intention to ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on mask-wearing and claimed that hospitals were not in crisis.

A news release from South Dakota-based Sanford Health said that the nonprofit had “mutually agreed to part ways” with Kelby Krabbenhoft, who said last month that he hoped to stay in his job for several more years.

While the announcement didn’t say what prompted the decision, Krabbenhoft was widely criticized last week for telling roughly 48,000 employees that he had “no interest in using masks as a symbolic gesture” and believed himself to be immune to the coronavirus because he had already gotten sick. Since there have been documented instances of reinfection and it’s not known how long immunity lasts, the CDC recommends that even people who have already recovered from the virus wear masks.

Krabbenhoft’s claim that there was not a crisis in the Dakotas also put him at odds with his own medical director, who told CBS News that she would categorize the skyrocketing numbers of covid-19 patients requiring treatment in hospitals that way. For weeks, South Dakota has reported more coronavirus-related hospitalizations per capita than any other state.

Under Krabbenhoft’s leadership, Sanford Health also drew scrutiny for agreeing to host a college basketball tournament attended by 850 fans at a time when South Dakota was one of the world’s worst coronavirus hotspots. The health provider reversed course this week, telling the Wall Street Journal that it would be banning fans from the event in light of safety concerns.

Krabbenhoft said in a Tuesday statement that Sanford was in a good place and it was “a good time to say ‘goodbye.’”

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

12:56 AM: U.S. women’s national soccer team reassembles near the end of ‘a crazy year’

The last time the best women’s soccer team in the world was together for a game, the coronavirus was just beginning to spread in the United States.

In what was supposed to be an Olympic year, the U.S. national team won the SheBelieves Cup, and all 23 players planned to rejoin National Women’s Soccer League squads before preparing for Tokyo.

More than eight months later, the core of the roster has finally regathered — south of Amsterdam, with a mix of European- and U.S.-based players, under strict protocols during a global pandemic — for Friday’s rematch of the 2019 World Cup final against the Netherlands in the city of Breda.

“It’s been, obviously, a crazy year,” midfielder Sam Mewis said Monday. “But just the spirit of this team, it’s so fun to be in with the girls and get to see everyone again and play in this group again.”

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By: Steven Goff

12:26 AM: Minnesota-Wisconsin cancellation ends longest uninterrupted streak for FBS rivalry game

Saturday’s game between Minnesota and No. 18 Wisconsin has been canceled after several players and staffers with the Gophers’ football program tested positive for the coronavirus. Minnesota is pausing all football-related activities for an indefinite period, although the school said it has a goal of being able to play No. 11 Northwestern on Dec. 5.

The cancellation probably leaves the Badgers, who suffered a damaging loss last week to Northwestern, with almost no shot at reaching the Big Ten championship game. The development also adds to a growing list of college football games scheduled for Thanksgiving week that have been postponed or canceled because of the pandemic.

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By: Des Bieler

12:24 AM: France and Britain to loosen coronavirus lockdowns ahead of Christmas

PARIS — Leaders in France and Britain on Tuesday announced tentative easings of lockdown restrictions heading into the Christmas holiday season while acknowledging that the coronavirus was far from under control.

The decision to reopen shops, resume indoor entertainment and allow limited holiday gatherings appeared to rub up against a consensus among scientists, who have underscored the risks of indoor socializing and have warned of the danger in lifting restrictions too rapidly. But many European leaders seem reluctant to keep their economies closed or to stand in the way of family members seeing each other after a year marked by long periods of strict confinement measures and social isolation.

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By: James McAuley, Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum

12:23 AM: Head home or hunker down? The Thanksgiving covid dilemma.

In any year, Thanksgiving can be trying, as families gather in close quarters with plenty of alcohol and intergenerational friction. Add an out-of-control virus, a recession that has left millions without work and a nation bitterly divided over the outcome of this month’s presidential election, and Thanksgiving 2020 is pushing holiday jitters to a new high.

With the daily tally of coronavirus cases skyrocketing nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against traveling and gathering in large groups. Americans are responding with their now-accustomed discord. About 6 in 10 plan to celebrate with fewer people this year because of the pandemic, according to a Marist Poll survey in which 74 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans said they were shrinking their holiday gatherings.

Thanksgiving travel is clearly down, but roads and airports are by no means empty. AAA estimates that holiday traffic will decline by only about 10 percent this year.

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By: Marc Fisher, Victoria St. Martin and Lori Rozsa

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