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U.S. adds 133K COVID-19 cases; more than 1 million in past week alone

By
Don Jacobson & Daniel Uria
People wait on line to be tested for coronavirus in New York City on Monday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
People wait on line to be tested for coronavirus in New York City on Monday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- For the 13th straight day, the United States has added more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases -- including more than 1 million over the past week alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Updated data from the university shows a little more than 133,000 new cases and more than 600 coronavirus deaths nationwide Sunday.

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There haven't been fewer than 100,000 cases on any day since Nov. 2. The two-week average is 126,500, nearly 70% higher the previous two weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 11.04 million cases and about 246,300 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.

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Hospitalizations rose by 2,000 on Sunday, putting the national total just below 70,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Biotech firm Moderna provided some optimism Monday by reporting its vaccine has so far proven to be almost 95% effective, based on interim data of its late-stage trial. Moderna's report came a week after Pfizer said its vaccine has shown to be about 90% effective.

Also on Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that 41 of the state's 58 counties will be placed under its most restrictive tier of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, closing churches, indoor dining and gyms.

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"We're sounding the alarm," Newsom said, as the state reported a daily average of 8,198 new cases.

"California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet -- faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.

Philadelphia officials also announced new restrictions prohibiting youth and community sports, as well as closing gyms, museums, libraries and indoor dining.

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Outdoor dining will remain limited to four members of a household, and retail stores, barbershops, salons, hotels and religious facilities will remain open with restrictions.

"We do not take any of this lightly and believe me, more than anything in the world, I wish none of this was necessary, but there's no doubt these changes are necessary," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Neighboring New Jersey tightened restrictions on gatherings, as Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the limit on indoor gatherings will be reduced from 25 to 10 at 6 a.m. Tuesday, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 150 people -- down from 500 -- beginning Nov. 23.

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The changes will not affect 25% capacity limits on indoor dining or limits on weddings, funerals, movie theaters, performances, religious services and political activities requiring no more than 25% of the venue's capacity or 150 people.

Murphy's decision comes after the state reported back-to-back record cases with 4,395 on Saturday and 4,540 on Sunday.

"It's gotten worse and it's gonna get worse," Murphy said. "So we've got to be honest with folks. Particularly with cold weather ... with the holidays, this is going to get worse."

In Iowa, serious cases reached another record high, officials said.

Smaller hospitals have run out of space for COVID-19 patients and are transporting them to facilities in Iowa City, state Sen. Zach Wahls told reporters.

"When we get to a point where [University Hospital] is full, then we're going to be in a really dark place and so we should be taking this seriously right now." he said.

In California, the number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County surpassed 1,000 over the weekend for the first time since late August. More than a quarter are intensive care.

The surge in new cases has prompted county officials to consider new restrictions.

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"Amid the increase, the county Department of Public Health is expected to propose a set of recommendations for the Board of Supervisors this week," County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas told the Los Angeles Times.

"Potential options could be instituting a curfew so businesses do not have to completely close down again, but are more limited to essential activities."

In Minnesota, state Senate Republican leader Paul Gazelka said he has tested positive, days after it became known that an outbreak among GOP lawmakers was not disclosed to Democratic colleagues or to workers at the statehouse.

"I have been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms last Monday and will remain in quarantine as long as my doctor advises me to," Gazelka tweeted.

State Senate Democratic leader Susan Kent demanded that Gazelka resign his leadership post, citing a memo that showed that the positive tests were not shared with Democrats or staffers before a special session Thursday.

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