More than 8.6 million Americans have now been infected with COVID-19 and the number of deaths has surpassed 225,000.
The seven-day average for new cases hit its highest level on record, overwhelming some hospitals and health care workers.
In El Paso, Texas, the number of new COVID patients has tripled in two weeks, with medical workers now setting up outdoor tents to house patients.
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Here are more of today's headlines:
Bass wonder Karina Rykman keeps rocking, even during COVID pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the live concert business shut down to the tune of almost $30 billion in lost revenue -- but that doesn't mean musicians had to stop playing.
Karina Rykman was looking at a breakout year when COVID-19 hit. She was supposed to be in a recording studio the first week of the lockdown, and she was looking ahead to a full summer of festival gigs. Of course, that was not to be. However, Rykman wasn't going to let that slow her down.
Famed NY theater won't reopen from COVID shutdown
After 46 years in business, the Westchester Broadway Theatre -- New York's longest running Actor's Equity theater -- will not reopen from its coronavirus-related shutdown. Officials announced the decision on the theater's website Monday, saying they have determined there is no way they will be able to open when the ban on live theater is lifted.
"The work that WBT has done over the years has been truly historic and will go down in history, not only in Westchester, but in the theatre industry," they wrote. "Over the years, WBT has produced 217 musicals, hosted numerous concerts, benefits and fundraisers, employed 5,000 theatre professionals, many who have gone on to Broadway and beyond, and served over 6 million customers."
NJ unveils vaccination plan
Governor Phil Murphy unveiled New Jersey's coronavirus vaccination plan on Monday. He said that last month, on October 16th, the New Jersey Department of Health submitted a first draft of the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan to the CDC. The state's plan is the product of months of work with collaboration between the Department of Health, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, representatives from state and local health departments, and other state agencies.
NYC announces schools 'opt-in' period
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza announced the ONLY "opt-in" period for families wanting to switch their children from full remote to blended learning. It is being held November 2-November 15, 2020. You can find more information at Schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020.
Kids return to class in reopened NYC schools
Students at more than 100 schools in New York City returned to some form of in-person learning starting Monday. Youngsters in those schools were barred from in-person learning for more than two weeks as officials imposed restrictions to curb COVID-19 spikes in several cluster zones. But with COVID infection rates in some of those areas decreasing, the schools are allowed to welcome students back into classrooms.
Newark takes strong steps to contain spike in coronavirus cases
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced strong measures Monday to contain a huge spike in coronavirus cases one day after reporting that the city had more cases than all other municipalities in Essex County combined. The measures include the closing of non-essential businesses nightly at 8 p.m.; requiring restaurants and eateries to end dining-in at the same time; making beauty salons, nail salons, and barbershops appointment only; and closing gyms and health clubs for 30 minutes each hour for sanitizing. The measures will begin Tuesday, October 27, and the city will then re-assess the situation after Tuesday, November 10, to determine the next steps.
US should consider national mask mandate for the winter: former FDA commissioner
As the US reports its second-highest day of new COVID-19 cases amid the continuing fall surge, a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration says it may be time for a national mask mandate. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote the mandate could be "limited and temporary." "A mandate can be expressly limited to the next two months," Gottlieb wrote, adding that it's easier to wear a mask in the winter than the summer. "The inconvenience would allow the country to preserve health-care capacity and keep more schools and businesses open."
Longtime NYC barbershop closing due to the pandemic
A longtime barbershop in the East Village is closing because of the pandemic. Astor Place Hairstylists says it has been impossible to turn a profit, even since reopening in July. The shop has weathered tough times before during its 75-year history, but with added expenses and fewer customers, the plan now is to shut down before Thanksgiving.
"We tried to make a go of it," owner Paul Vezza said. "We need more than this to cover the expenses and the money. It flows out like water."
Russia vaccine falls behind
Russia is reporting falling behind on its coronavirus vaccine trials. According to the Sputnick V makers, only 6,000 participants have finished the necessary doses needed to achieve complete immunization. That's far behind some of U.S.'s western trials, where nearly 30,000 participants have completed the two doses. At the current rate of development, it could take up to a year for the majority of Russians to get shots.
Also, children are also volunteering in clinical trials in the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine. At Cincinnati Children's Hospital, a 12-year-old and his dad are both volunteering in a Pfizer vaccine trial. Despite the pressure to reopen schools, officials say most of the vaccines being developed will go to senior citizens first.
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