Biden Urges Unity: ‘We’re at War With the Virus, Not With One Another’ (New York Times)

New York Times: Biden Urges Unity: ‘We’re at War With the Virus, Not With One Another’. “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday delivered a raw but optimistic address to Americans in his first nonpolitical speech since winning the election, pleading with the nation to ‘hang on’ and have hope even with the number of coronavirus cases spiking across the country and a hard winter on the horizon.”

New York Times: After Admitting Mistake, AstraZeneca Faces Difficult Questions About Its Vaccine

New York Times: After Admitting Mistake, AstraZeneca Faces Difficult Questions About Its Vaccine. “The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. ‘Get yourself a vaccaccino,’ a British tabloid celebrated, noting that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, costs less than a cup of coffee. But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine’s apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing.”

New York Times: Evidence Builds That an Early Mutation Made the Pandemic Harder to Stop

New York Times: Evidence Builds That an Early Mutation Made the Pandemic Harder to Stop. “As the coronavirus swept across the world, it picked up random alterations to its genetic sequence. Like meaningless typos in a script, most of those mutations made no difference in how the virus behaved. But one mutation near the beginning of the pandemic did make a difference, multiple new findings suggest, helping the virus spread more easily from person to person and making the pandemic harder to stop.”

ABC7: Nevada seeing COVID-19 cases of one 1 per minute, 1 death per 2 hours

ABC7: Nevada seeing COVID-19 cases of one 1 per minute, 1 death per 2 hours. “The coronavirus is spreading so fast in Nevada that one person is diagnosed with it every minute and someone is dying from it every two hours, state health officials said Wednesday. Nearly half of the state’s 142,239 total cases since the start of the pandemic in March have occurred since September – fully one-fourth of those in the month of November and 10% in just the last seven days, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.”

Washington Post: Pay Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine

Washington Post: Pay Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine. “The vaccines are likely to arrive at the same moment Washington is, belatedly, taking up much-needed stimulus legislation. The timing couldn’t be better: Money would go into Americans’ pockets just when the U.S. economy can begin fully reopening with a vaccinated population that can go about their daily lives without fear of catching the disease or infecting others.”

WBTV: N.C. closes prisons, moves inmates as COVID cases spike

WBTV: N.C. closes prisons, moves inmates as COVID cases spike. “Three state prisons have been closed, with hundreds of inmates being transferred to other facilities across the state, as COVID-19 continues to spike within the prison system. Inmates at Randolph Correctional Center in Randolph County, the minimum custody unit at Southern Correctional Institution in Montgomery County and the minimum custody unit at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Rowan County have been moved.”

CNN: Pandemic inauguration could cut the choir, standing-room-only parties and maybe the historic lunch

CNN: Pandemic inauguration could cut the choir, standing-room-only parties and maybe the historic lunch. “Construction of the parade platform for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration festivities is well underway. The viewing stand and bleachers are almost complete and each day they get closer to being done — all within Trump’s view — as it becomes clearer his days in the White House are coming to a close. Despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus and Trump’s waning attempts to overturn the election, the structure is a growing reminder of the transition now in motion. Whatever else must change to accommodate the pandemic, people are getting ready for Biden’s inauguration come January, which will likely reflect the President-elect’s cautious, science-driven approach to the pandemic.”

A U.S. Record: Two Million New Virus Cases in Two Weeks (New York Times)

New York Times: A U.S. Record: Two Million New Virus Cases in Two Weeks. “Some epidemiologists project that the number of deaths in the coming weeks could exceed the spring peak, in spite of improved treatment. In the past week, the United States added an average of 173,000 new daily cases. If this growth pattern holds, the total number of cases reported for the full month of November is likely to hit 4.5 million. That would be more than double the number of any previous month.”

CNN: White House coronavirus task force calls for ‘significant behavior change of all Americans’

CNN: White House coronavirus task force calls for ‘significant behavior change of all Americans’. “The White House coronavirus task force continues to sound the alarm on the spread of the pandemic across the country in weekly reports to states, focusing this week on mitigation efforts and calling for ‘significant behavior change of all Americans.'”

Washington Post: Workers call on Walmart, Amazon and other retailers to bring back hazard pay ahead of holiday rush

Washington Post: Workers call on Walmart, Amazon and other retailers to bring back hazard pay ahead of holiday rush. “Workers at Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and other major retailers are calling on their employers to reinstate hazard pay and strengthen safety protocols ahead of the busy holiday shopping season as coronavirus infection rates skyrocket.”

Washington Post: California seemingly corralled the coronavirus. Now, cases are surging, hospitals are full and shutdowns are back.

Washington Post: California seemingly corralled the coronavirus. Now, cases are surging, hospitals are full and shutdowns are back.. “The fenced-in area outside The Dailey Method was filled with exercise bikes where, just hours earlier, it had served as outdoor seating for patrons of Miminashi. The restaurant had been near closing late last month when health restrictions were lifted and its inside tables filled again. In just two weeks, all that has changed here in the golden heart of California wine country and across the West, again overwhelmed by a swelling pandemic. This surge, though, has been like no other in how quickly the number of cases has climbed, hospitals have filled, and the improvised relationships that have kept businesses afloat have been re-created in crisis.”

‘We’re drowning’: COVID cases flood hospitals in America’s heartland (Reuters)

Reuters: ‘We’re drowning’: COVID cases flood hospitals in America’s heartland. “The vital signs of the 30-year-old COVID-19 victim were crashing, and Kearny County Hospital in rural Lakin, Kansas, just wasn’t equipped to handle the case. Miller, Kearny’s chief medical officer – who doubles as the county health officer – called around to larger hospitals in search of an ICU bed. With coronavirus cases soaring throughout Kansas, he said, he couldn’t find a single one.”

STAT News: ‘Essential workers’ likely to get earlier access to Covid-19 vaccine

STAT News: ‘Essential workers’ likely to get earlier access to Covid-19 vaccine. “Essential workers are likely to move ahead of adults 65 and older and people with high-risk medical conditions when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on Covid-19 vaccine priority lists, coming after health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities, a meeting of an expert advisory panel made clear Monday.”

New York Times: $15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests

New York Times: $15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests. “Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate a wedding inside a cavernous hall in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood earlier this month, dancing and singing with hardly a mask in sight. The wedding was meticulously planned, and so were efforts to conceal it from the authorities, who said that the organizers would be fined $15,000 for violating public health restrictions.”

Route Fifty: Why Employers Find It So Hard to Test for Covid

Route Fifty: Why Employers Find It So Hard to Test for Covid. “The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance to employers to include Covid testing, and it advised that people working in close quarters be tested periodically. However, the federal government does not require employers to offer those tests. But the board overseeing the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, on Thursday approved emergency safety rules that are soon likely to require the state’s employers to provide Covid testing to all workers exposed to an outbreak on the job at no cost to the employees. Testing must be repeated a week later, followed by periodic testing.”