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Governors ratchet up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving; Biden urges Trump to aid transition
AP

Governors ratchet up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving; Biden urges Trump to aid transition

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From California to Pennsylvania, governors and mayors across the U.S. are ratcheting up COVID-19 restrictions amid the record-shattering resurgence of the virus that is all but certain to get worse because of holiday travel and family gatherings over Thanksgiving.

Leaders are closing businesses or curtailing hours and other operations, and they are ordering or imploring people to stay home and keep their distance from others to help stem a rising tide of infections that threatens to overwhelm the health care system.

The tightening came as Moderna Inc. announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine appears to be over 94% effective, based on early results. A week ago Pfizer disclosed similar findings with its own formula.

The news raised hopes that at least two vaccines against the scourge could win emergency authorization and become available in the U.S. before the end of 2020.

A record-breaking nearly 70,000 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Sunday, 13,000 more than a week earlier, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths in the U.S. are running at more than 1,100 per day on average, an increase of over 50% from early October.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden on Monday warned of dire consequences if President Donald Trump and his administration continue to refuse to coordinate with his transition team on the coronavirus pandemic and block briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans.

The remarks marked Biden's toughest comments to date on Trump's failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden and his aides have emphasized the importance of being briefed on White House efforts to control the pandemic and distribute prospective vaccines. The Trump administration is working on its own distribution plan, while Biden’s chief of staff indicated his transition team will proceed with their own planning separately because of the obstruction.

In other developments:

  • A second experimental COVID-19 vaccine — this one from Moderna Inc. — yielded extraordinarily strong early results Monday, another badly needed dose of hope as the pandemic enters a terrible new phase.
  • President Trump and lawmakers are telling struggling Americans to just keep waiting for help as the nation grapples with a burgeoning coronavirus public health crisis. In Congress, where talks over economic relief bills stalled out months ago, lame-duck approval of aid appears is hardly front-of-mind.
  • After months without internal testing protocols, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staffs will now have regular access to coronavirus testing at the Capitol.
  • The NCAA says it plans to hold the entire 2021 men's college basketball tournament in one location, potentially Indianapolis, to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus.
  • The World Health Organization has recorded 65 cases of the coronavirus among staff based at its headquarters, including five people who worked on the premises and were in contact with one another, an internal email obtained by The Associated Press shows.
  • The trade association for the U.S. gambling industry says America’s casinos are recovering from months of closures necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, having regained 81% of the gambling revenue they saw in the third quarter of last year.

For more summaries and full reports, select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest virus numbers.


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