US GOVERNORS RAMP UP COVID RESTRICTIONS AHEAD OF THANKSGIVING
From California to Pennsylvania, governors and mayors across the US 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, David Eggert and Rachel La Corte reported for the Associated Press (AP).
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.
“I must again pull back the reins,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday as he restricted indoor gatherings to 10 people, down from 25. “It gives me no joy.” California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he is pulling the “emergency brake” on efforts to reopen the economy, saying the state is experiencing the fastest growth in cases yet, and if left unchecked, it will lead to “catastrophic outcomes.” The move closes many nonessential indoor businesses and requires the wearing of masks outside homes, with limited exceptions. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home order went into effect Monday. Only essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, will be open. Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee ordered gyms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums and zoos to shut down indoor operations. Stores must limit capacity to 25%.
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 US 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. The virus is blamed for more than 246,000 deaths and over 11 million confirmed infections in the US.