COVID Live Updates: US braces for post-Thanksgiving hospitalization surge

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- After the busiest travel day since the onset of the pandemic, health officials are bracing for an expected post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Nearly 100,000 people in the United States are currently hospitalized with the virus, and in November alone, more than four million Americans were infected -- more than twice the total number in October.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "This Week" that the level of infection in the U.S. would not "all of a sudden turn around," and that the country may see "surge upon a surge" of the coronavirus in the weeks to come.

He does not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas.

What to know about coronavirus:

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Here are more of today's headlines:

Couple married for more than 47 years die from COVID-19 moments apart

A family in Michigan spent their Thanksgiving mourning the death of their parents who died of COVID-19 just moments apart.

Leslie and Patricia McWaters, who were married for more than 47 years, were inseparable, the family told WDIV. Leslie and Patricia became sick with the virus and died just days before Thanksgiving.

Southern District of New York suspends in-person court operations until mid-January

Beginning on Tuesday, December 1, in-person operations in the Southern District of New York will be suspended until January 15, 2021, due to the COVID-19 surge. There will be no trials or other in-person proceedings conducted at any of the courthouses in the district. All civil proceedings, including bench trials and hearings with witnesses, will be conducted remotely.

Trump's coronavirus adviser resigns

President Trump's coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas resigned on Monday, according to a White House official. Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases who had supplanted Anthony Fauci and other top federal public health officials as one of Trump's top medical advisers, was reaching the end of his 130-day term as a "special government employee," according to the official.

Coney Island cancels annual Polar Bear Plunge

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club announced Monday it is cancelling what would have been the 117th annual tradition of the New Year's Day plunge. In an effort to keep the inspiration behind the event possible, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club and the Alliance for Coney Island have opened a fundraising platform in hopes that its dedicated plungers will still consider donating to help the Coney Island community this holiday season.

"While we are deeply disappointed that our great New Year's tradition will not be taking place in 2021, we know this is the right decision to make for the health and safety of our members, thousands of attendees, and tens of thousands of spectators who show up for this event every January 1," Coney Island Polar Bear Club President Dennis Thomas said. "We will be back bigger and stronger in 2022. Until then, we urge all our former and future participants to help us continue to support non-profits in the Coney Island community by clicking on the link below." said Dennis Thomas, President of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club."

Nurses at Westchester County hospital set to go on strike as COVID-19 cases spike

A hospital in Westchester County is facing a nurses strike with COVID-19 cases expected to surge during the holiday season. The union representing nurses at Montefiore New Rochelle claim no progress has been made in contract talks. Marcos Crespo, the hospital's senior vice president of community affairs, took no questions at a press conference Monday. He simply read a statement detailing what the hospital will do if nurses walk off the job Tuesday morning, as expected, on a two-day strike.

New Jersey increases restrictions on outdoor gatherings, youth sports

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced reducing its outdoor gathering limit from 150 to 25, starting next Monday.

"As you start to make your holiday plans, please recognize that the gathering limits are back to what they were in May and June - when we all came together and crushed the curve as much as any state in the nation," Murphy said. "Keep gatherings as small as possible."

Youth and high school indoor sports will be put on hold from Friday through at least January 2.

Want to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree? There are changes in place this year

There are new changes in place if you want to check out the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree this holiday season. Additionally, don't expect a long visit. There's a five-minute viewing limit. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is traditionally one of the city's most popular holiday attractions that draws huge crowds. The 2020/21 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree viewing guidelines, approved by New York State and New York City, will follow social distancing and capacity control protocols. The guidelines were released on Monday morning.

Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots

Moderna Inc. said it would ask U.S. and European regulators Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection - ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens. Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 160,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide. Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.

NY Emergency Hospital Procedures

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new 5-part plan Monday to battle COVID-19 in New York. The plan adds an emergency stop provision to New York's COVID guidelines so that Coumo could, if hospitals get overwhelmed, add in a New York Pause. He unveiled a series of emergency hospital procedures:

1) Staff Shortage: Identify retired nurses and doctors NOW

2) Stop elective surgery - Erie County as of Friday

3) Indiv hospital network load balancing mandated (ie. Northwell, Montefiore, ECMC, URMC, Kaleida, H+H) NOW

4) Prepare emergency field hospitals

5) Hospitals plan to add 50% bed capacity

6) Prepare to implement statewide "surge and flex"

7) Prepare to staff emergency field hospitals

8) Confirm PPE stockpile in place

NYC schools to reopen in phases

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city's public schools will reopen in phases, beginning on Monday, December 7. The phased-in approach will start with 3-K, Pre-K, and grades K-5, who will return to in-person learning on December 7. D75 schools, all grade levels, will return to in-person learning on Thursday, December 10. In addition, schools must increase testing from monthly to weekly, and testing consent forms will be required for attendance.

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