Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

The U.S. reported a record of more than 500,000 new coronavirus cases over the past week.

Wall Street had its worst day since June as cases surge across the globe.

Eli Lilly reached a $375 million deal with the U.S. government to provide Americans with its experimental antibody treatment for Covid-19.

Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and trackers for U.S. metro areas and vaccines in development.

France and Germany re-enter lockdown

Europe has tried for weeks to slow the spread of the virus with targeted restrictions instead of the unpopular nationwide lockdowns that were imposed in the spring. But as a furious second wave pushes hospitalizations, deaths and cases to levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic, countries have begun to change course.

France today announced a nationwide lockdown until Dec. 1, with just schools and essential businesses allowed to stay open. Germany moved very close to one, closing restaurants, gyms and museums for one month, but exempting schools and shops — “lockdown lite,” as the Germans called it.

Elsewhere on the continent, people were already seeing their lives heavily restricted. Spain went into a state of emergency last week, while the Italian government moved on Sunday to shut restaurants by 6 p.m. Belgium, which currently has the highest infection rate in the region, recently shuttered restaurants, museums and gyms.

The moves are roiling business leaders, who say the lockdowns will undo any hope for an economic recovery. European stocks sank to their lowest levels in months.

But as hospitals fill at an alarming rate, doctors and medical experts say the closures are necessary. In Germany, the number of patients in hospitals has doubled in the past 10 days, and in France, the health care system was two weeks away from reaching the same number of hospitalizations as the peak of the first wave.

Frédéric Valletoux, president of the French Hospital Federation, said that hospitals were in a much more precarious situation than in the spring: staff members were exhausted from the first wave, there was less leeway to defer treatments or surgeries to make room for Covid-19 patients, and other epidemics like the flu would soon be arriving with the start of winter.

S.T.D. rates are falling. That’s probably bad news.

For the first time in years, rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, which had been on track in 2020 to hit record highs in the U.S., have abruptly dropped. Studies have shown that the pandemic has kept people from socializing in bars, nightclubs and large parties, which has reduced opportunities for unsafe sex.

Sounds like an unintended boon from the pandemic, right?

Unfortunately, experts in sexual health believe the drop may be a harbinger of bad news. They say that rather than a dip in sexually transmitted diseases, it’s more likely that S.T.D.s are going undetected. People in need of treatment may be avoiding clinics out of fear of the coronavirus, while some sexual health clinics have reduced hours or closed. Contact tracers for gonorrhea and syphilis have been diverted to Covid-19 cases.

In some regions, essential supplies to test for S.T.D.s are running low because manufacturers of swabs, tubes and reagents are redirecting their products for use in coronavirus tests. As a result, there is a growing shortage of tests for the diseases.


Portugal required residents to wear masks outdoors wherever social distancing cannot be guaranteed after the country registered its second-highest daily rise in cases since the start of the pandemic.

Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, imposed new restrictions, closing restaurants and other nonessential businesses to indoor customers at 8 p.m. daily along with other restrictions.

Sporting events in the United States continue to see disruptions because of the virus. A player was pulled from Tuesday’s World Series game after testing positive. Wisconsin’s football game at Nebraska was canceled after an outbreak, and the Boston Marathon delayed its 2021 plans.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

What else we’re following

Some college towns that were virus hot spots are beginning to show progress, with new infections at several large universities slowing markedly.

The virus is complicating the election, as poll workers test positive and voting sites are closed.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, emerged from a 111-day lockdown with a mix of euphoria and caution.

A new study from Vanderbilt University found that hospitals in Tennessee that served patients from areas without mask requirements had the highest rate of growth in hospitalizations.

NBC reports that some elderly people are dying from social isolation brought on by confinement measures meant to protect them from the virus.

In a video, the Times Opinion section explains how American diligence in responding to infectious diseases actually helped stop the spread of Covid-19 — in Asia.

What you’re doing

For a 67 year old widower, the pandemic might seem the most unlikely time possible to fall in love. Yet by stepping outside the box where most seniors feel comfortable, online dating created unexpected opportunity. Discovering another widower on the same page regarding Covid led us to being tested. We shared negative results, building the kind of trust absent from typical fledging relationships. The spark revealed in our first face-to-face meeting kindled quickly into something much stronger. In weeks, relative social isolation led to bonds typically requiring months in a busier pre-Covid world. We look at each other and shake our heads, smiling. A new hashtag sums it up: #mypandemicmiracle.

— Mark Alberhasky, Atlanta

Let us know how you’re dealing with the pandemic. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

Sign up here to get the briefing by email.

Email your thoughts to [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article