Latest on US COVID-19 Cases: As of late Friday, the US has reported over 193,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the day. This data from John Hopkins University marks the highest one-day total for the second consecutive day. The final total number of infections on November 19 was 187,833. You do not need to be a statistician to see that the country is on a dangerous trajectory as cases continue to climb.
Friday’s numbers bring the total number of cases in the US since the beginning of the pandemic to well over 11,908,000. The total number of fatalities is over 254,400.
Biden Continues Meeting with Leaders Regarding COVID-19 Stimulus: President-elect Joe Biden participated in his first in-person business meeting since being elected when he met with two of the Democratic Party’s top leaders. Biden invited Vice President-elect Kamala Harris along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to discuss the ongoing health crisis.
At the meeting in a theater in Wilmington, Delaware, the foursome discussed Biden’s desire to push Congres to approve billions of dollars in funding for COVID-19 assistance. Biden wants this funding to happen before he takes office, stressing the acute urgency of the need.
The four leaders met at a large table with all of the participants wearing masks and appropriately spaced apart from each other.
Biden argued that the emergency aid stimulus package needs to be approved during the current lame-duck session. The incoming president said that package needs to include financial relief for small businesses and working families as well as expanded benefits for the unemployed. In addition, the bill needs to provide money for cash-strapped state and local governments. Lastly, the bill needs to deliver affordable health insurance for the uninsured.
Another Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19: The coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire through President Donald Trump’s inner circle. On Friday, it was announced that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, had tested positive for the virus. Although Trump tested positive at the beginning of the week, the information was just now released to the public.
According to his personal spokesperson, Trump has been quarantining at his cabin and will continue to do so. Thus far, he has been asymptomatic.
In addition to his son, there have been others in the president’s family that have tested positive. Last month, the president, his wife Melania Trump, and their son Barron also tested positive. These family cases are in addition to the numerous White House staff members and campaign workers that have come down with the illness in recent weeks.
Another Senator Down with COVID-19: Friday also brought the news of yet another Senator with a positive confirmation. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida announced that he had the virus after coming into contact with a positive individual. Scott is the tenth senator to have tested positive.
The other COVID-19 news in Washington was a statement from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Diagnosed with the virus on November 9, Carson said that he became “desperately ill.” Carson credited his recovery to the same monoclonal antibody therapy given to the president last October to treat his illness. It should be noted that this treatment is not approved by the FDA.
The 69-year-old wrote in a Facebook post that he believes that the treatment saved his life. Like Trump, Carson was also treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Pfizer and BioNTech Apply for Emergency FDA Approval of Vaccine: Early in the day Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech applied for an emergency use authorization (EUA) of their COVID-19 vaccine. Later in the day, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that it has scheduled a meeting to discuss the application. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is scheduled to meet to discuss the EUA on December 10.
The move by Pfizer and BioNTech marks the first application submitted for vaccine use.
Global COVID-19 News: With the US suffering so greatly at the hands of this deadly virus, it can be difficult to remember that the rest of the world is also seeing a surge in cases. Here are just a few of the headlines around the world regarding this large-scale pandemic.
- India – India has officially reached the 9-million mark in confirmed COVID-19 cases. The capital of Delhi is currently experiencing the largest surge in cases.
- Canada – Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced in a news release on Friday that the city of Toronto was going into lockdown for at least 28 days in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. Canada’s largest city has seen a spike in new infections over the last few weeks, necessitating the new mandate. The lockdown will begin on Monday, November 23. The suburban Peel Region is included as part of the lockdown.
- Scotland – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she had banned all nonessential travel to neighboring England because of the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. The new restriction is in effect immediately. Those violating the travel ban face a fine of approximately $80. In addition, residents of Scotland cannot travel to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, or Wales for nonessential reasons.
- Brazil – Just as India was passing the 9-million mark, Brazil reached 6 million confirmed infections. This makes Brazil the third country to reach the 6-million mark, after the US and India. This includes over 38,000 new cases on Friday alone. In addition, Brazil recorded 552 fatalities, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 168,613.