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Coronavirus update: U.S. cases rise again after falling

New guidelines are being issued for a pandemic Thanksgiving

COVID-19 and U.S. concept
Photo (c) Darryl Fonseka - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 47,233,212 (47,084,497)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 764,608 (763,168)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 254,092,019 (253,543,995)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,111,573 (5,103,757)‌

U.S. cases are rising again

The U.S. has lower infection rates than a lot of other developed nations, but some areas of the country are seeing sharp increases. It’s enough to worry some health experts, including President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“The only thing that’s a little bit disconcerting is that we’re beginning to plateau,” Fauci said during an interview hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. “In other words, the deceleration of cases is now plateaued, and in some areas of the country, we’re starting to see a bit of an uptick.”  

Infections had been falling for weeks after hitting a Delta variant peak of 172,500 new cases per day in mid-September. Cases have recently spiked in the Mountain West and in states along the Canadian border.

Some states considering new holiday guidelines

The U.S. will celebrate its second pandemic Thanksgiving next week, but unlike last year, most of the people around the table will have been vaccinated. While many parts of the country have seen a decline in cases, states where the virus has spiked are considering new holiday guidelines.

With cases rising in many northern states, the Minnesota Department of Health is urging families to "think carefully" about their Thanksgiving plans. However, the agency is not asking people to cancel their plans.

However, it is asking unvaccinated people to take extra precautions that are in line with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It says unvaccinated people and those in areas of high transmission rates should wear masks while around other people.

Study: Antidepressants may help against COVID-19

Can taking Prozac protect you from the coronavirus? A large analysis of health records from 87 health care centers in the U.S. concluded that people taking a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), particularly fluoxetine, were significantly less likely to die of COVID-19 than a control group. Fluoxetine is sold under the brand name Prozac and is a widely used antidepressant.

Scientists say the results suggest that SSRIs may have beneficial effects against the worst symptoms of COVID-19. They say further studies are needed to prove it.

“We can't tell if the drugs are causing these effects, but the statistical analysis is showing significant association,” said Marina Sirota, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and a member of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute (BCHSI) at UC San Francisco. “There's power in the numbers.” 

Around the nation

  • Connecticut: A COVID-19 outbreak has claimed the lives of eight residents of a nursing home since September. In a statement, Geer Village Senior Community in North Canaan reported that 89 residents and staff, many of them fully vaccinated, have tested positive for the virus.

  • California: Attorney General Rob Bonta has secured a court order requiring Amazon to pay a $500,000 fine for "concealing COVID-19 case numbers" from workers. It’s the first judgment under the state’s new “right to know” law.

  • Tennessee: Gov. Bill Lee has signed comprehensive legislation that limits what businesses and governments can do to curb the spread of COVID-19. But the State Comptroller’s Office said it would grant an exemption to any business that claimed a loss of federal funding if it obeyed the law against vaccination mandates.

  • Alabama: Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a lawsuit to block a federal mandate that would require health care workers to be vaccinated. “One can only imagine the damage that will be done by this mandate to already short-staffed rural and community hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes that receive federal funds for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” Marshall said.

  • Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has produced a side-by-side comparison of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in October. It shows that unvaccinated residents of the state died at 15 times the rate of vaccinated people and were five times as likely to be infected.

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