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COVID-19 deaths on the rise in the U.S., as hospitals fill up at alarming rate

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Coronavirus patients flooding hospitals
Coronavirus patients flooding hospitals as infections spread in 43 states 02:38

The U.S. has now seen more than 226,000 COVID-19 deaths, as daily fatalities due to the virus are rising again and the country continues to battle a surge in new cases.

The situation in Utah's hospitals is increasingly dire. Experts are warning that doctors may soon need to confront the unthinkable: rationing health care as beds fill up and staff are stretched thin. In Wisconsin, a doctor said it's never been worse. In Missouri, St. Louis hospitals are filling up at an alarming rate with COVID patients. 

They're just snapshots of the challenges being faced across the nation. 

More than 8.7 million cases of the virus have now been confirmed nationwide. In the last week alone, more than 83,000 new cases were reported for two consecutive days — all-time daily highs for the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.  

Latest updates

Wisconsin Remains One Of Top U.S. Hotspots For Coronavirus Infections
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard test residents for COVID-19 at a temporary test facility in the parking lot of the UMOS corporate headquarters on October 9, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Getty Images

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


California's COVID-19 positivity rate is trending "modestly" upward

California governor on challenge of reopening theme parks 03:45

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state is seeing a modest increase in the state's coronavirus positivity rate and slight upticks in new ICU admissions and hospitalizations. In his news briefing, Newsom also addressed the state's historic wildfire season.

The governor mentioned new guidelines for prioritizing and allocating COVID-19 vaccine supplies. He said California has joined with Washington state, Oregon and Nevada in a scientific safety review workgroup of experts that is addressing safety, equity and transparency.

He said the state's positivity rate is at 2.9%, what he said is trending "modestly" up. He also said California is seeing a 5.9% increase in new ICU admissions and a 4.7% increase in new hospitalizations. "We're monitoring this and watching it closely," Newsom said.

Read more here.

By Peter Martinez

NFL says 8 players tested positive for COVID-19

The National Football League and the Players Association announced Tuesday that eight players and 11 other personnel tested positive in the latest round of COVID screening. All are in isolation and have no access to club facilities, and medical staff are monitoring symptoms.

In all, 16,799 tests were administered last week to 2,491 players and 25,888 more tests were given to 5,326 personnel.

To date, more than 500,000 tests have been administered to players and personnel since the beginning of August. 

By The Associated Press

North Dakota tops 200 COVID-19 deaths this month

North Dakota has topped more than 200 deaths in October from COVID-19, with health officials reporting an additional 15 deaths on Tuesday. The deaths bring the overall statewide death toll from the virus to 476. 

The most recent deaths included nine women and six men, all in their 60s or older.

The North Dakota Department of Health reported 896 new cases on Tuesday, and a daily positivity rate of almost 15%.

The COVID Tracking Project reported that North Dakota has had more than 1,382 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, which leads the nation. The rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by more than 44% in the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 decreased by 12 to 161 on Tuesday, from a daily high of 173 on Monday.

There were 268 available inpatient beds plus 25 intensive care unit beds in North Dakota, according to state data.

By The Associated Press

Massachusetts governor warns of "significant increase" in cases among younger people

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker warned residents Tuesday that in recent weeks, there has been a "significant increase" in the number of people under 30 years old who are testing positive for COVID-19.

"The share of positive cases between the under 30 crowd and the over 60 crowd has basically flipped," Baker said, according to CBS Boston. "Today fewer older people are getting sick, while the under 30 group makeup a much bigger percentage of our positive tests than they did in April."

Baker said the good news in that development is that the state's most vulnerable residents has seen a decrease in their share of new cases. He added that while young people with coronavirus more often than not get less sick than older residents, they still have the potential to infect others.

The governor warned that with the weather getting colder, more people are gathering in groups indoors.

"Our young people need to be serious about dealing with COVID," said Baker.

Health officials also issued a warning that the holidays will have to look different this year. Families are asked to avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings, and if they choose to gather they should take precautions.


Russia orders national mask mandate

Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking his most drastic measures yet to curb the second wave of COVID-19. Russia on Tuesday implemented a nationwide mask mandate, as coronavirus cases spike worldwide. 

Under the new mandate, effective Wednesday, masks will be mandatory in crowded public spaces, such as public transportation, parking lots and elevators, according to the order published on the website for the federal health watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor, also known as the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing. 

The department has also banned all entertainment activities, including bars and restaurants, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It recommended strengthening safety protocols on public transport, taxis, shops, restaurants and theaters. 

People not wearing masks will be refused service in these establishments. 

Read more here.

By Sophie Lewis

Denver officials warn COVID spread could prompt another stay-at-home order

Denver officials say the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations could force the city and county into another stay-at-home order. "Denver's #COVID19 situation is looking bad. Really bad. No seriously, what we are doing isn't working," the city tweeted Monday.

Denver's two-week average positivity rate is 7.3%, placing it in Level 2 on the state's COVID-19 dial, CBS Denver reports. The county's two-week cumulative incidence rate is currently 384 out of every 100,000 people. According to the state's dial framework, a county with more than 350 cases per 100,000 people could qualify for stay-at-home restrictions. Under those restrictions, everyone is required to stay at home except for grocery shopping, exercise and necessary activities. Only critical businesses would stay open. 

Counties could also qualify for stay-at-home restrictions if they record a positivity rate above 15% and more than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day.


Pediatrician on keeping your kids safe so they "won't miss out" on Halloween

With Halloween just days away, pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes has one crucial piece of advice for parents trying to keep their kids safe during the coronavirus pandemic: "Do it outside."

"Just avoid indoor activities — no bobbing for apples, no biting the dangling donut," Hes said on CBSN Tuesday. Instead, she suggested, "Anything you can do outdoors — a scavenger hunt, something where the kids feel like they're engaged." 

While most of the country has not imposed any added restrictions for the holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of recommendations for parents to keep their kids safe while trick-or-treating, while warning the activity is higher-risk amid the pandemic.

The recommendations include:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
  • Give out treats outdoors if possible
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take
  • Wash hands before handling treats
  • Wear a mask

Read more here.

Pediatrician on COVID-19 vaccine, Halloween safety during pandemic 07:51

By Elizabeth Elkind

Some North Texas businesses revert to tightened restrictions

A rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across Texas is forcing some businesses to scale back.

The upper and lower Texas panhandle, as well as the El Paso area, have hit a threshold set by the governor to trigger occupancy limits rollback from 75% to 50%, CBS Dallas/Fort Worth reports. COVID patients in those three areas have filled 15% of available hospital beds for seven consecutive days.

In North Texas, designated as Trauma Service Area E, roughly 1,500 COVID patients Sunday filled 9.45% of hospital beds, but local health officials warn the number of hospitalizations continues to rise.

"The hospitals are concerned. We are gradually going up every day. And we're now just so you know approximately where we were the first part of August," said DFW Hospital Council CEO Steve Love.

According to Love, hospitals want to see a healthy economy so they're urging people to keep wearing masks, social distance, and wash their hands frequently.

"If we do that, most physicians tell me they think we can keep the economy open," he said. "But, if we let our guard down and we have community spread, that's when potentially you may have to go down to a lockdown."


Kansas City sees record deaths as St. Louis hospitals fill up

St. Louis hospitals are filling up with coronavirus patients at an alarming rate, and experts say many of those patients are coming from other areas of the state. Meanwhile, the Kansas City area over the past week recorded its highest number of deaths over a one-week period, with more than 80 people dying from the coronavirus.

Missouri's health department on Tuesday announced 1,695 additional confirmed cases and 28 more deaths. The state has reported 172,717 cases and 2,838 deaths since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations statewide remain high, with 1,407 people in Missouri hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 illnesses as of Saturday, the most recent date available.

St. Louis-area hospital officials are urging people to take precautions to slow the spread of the virus, warning that the region's hospitals are at about 90% capacity.

"Think about what this means to you and your family member, if you get sick," said Dr. Alex Garza, who heads the task force. "Will there be a hospital to be able to care for you? Will they have space for your family member? Will the doctors, and the nurses, and the techs be on top of their game, or will they be exhausted and fatigued?"

By The Associated Press

Nebraska COVID-19 deaths top 600

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 has topped 600 in Nebraska, and the number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state remains near record levels.

Nebraska health officials reported seven new deaths Monday to give the state 603 deaths linked to COVID-19. The number of virus cases grew by 702 to reach 64,499 since the pandemic began, and the rate of new cases ranked eighth-highest in the nation.

The state also said 427 people are hospitalized with the virus, which is just below the record of 436 that was set on Saturday. But 36% of the state's intensive care beds and 35% of all the hospital beds remained available across Nebraska, according to the state's online virus tracker.

The rate of new cases per 100,000 Nebraska residents over the past two weeks increased to 604.37 on Monday, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has increased over the past two weeks from 653.57 new cases per day on October 12 to 818.43 new cases per day on Monday. 

By The Associated Press

"It's never been worse for us here in Wisconsin"

Wisconsin on Monday topped 200,000 COVID-19 cases, adding 100,000 cases to the state's tally in a fraction of the time it took to reach the first 100,000 cases.

"It took us 7 and a half months to reach our first 100,000 cases, & only 36 days to reach our second," the state's health department tweeted. "In just two short months, the 7-day average of new confirmed cases has risen 405%!"

Dr. Jeff Pothof at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, said four of his hospital's COVID wings are full, so they're opening another converted wing this week, reports "CBS This Morning" lead national correspondent David Begnaud.

"It's never been worse for us here in Wisconsin. And every day it's not getting better, it's getting a little bit worse," he said.

"The ice is so thin right now as we try to do everything we can, get as creative as we can to take care of all the patients that need our services."


Some doctors may be forced to ration care

The situation in Utah's hospitals is increasingly dire. Experts are warning that doctors may soon need to confront the unthinkable: rationing health care as beds fill up and staff are stretched thin, reports David Begnaud, lead national correspondent for "CBS This Morning."

"At this point, there's really no end in sight for us," said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease physician there. "Our case counts are continuing to rise. Our hospitalizations are continuing to rise."

The possibility of care rationing is also becoming a concern in parts of Idaho, where COVID hospitalizations have more than doubled since the beginning of October. At Saint Luke's Magic Valley, Dr. Joshua Kern says roughly 30% of the hospital's 150 patients have coronavirus.

"It's totally unprecedented," said Kern. "Even during bad influenza seasons, it's not like we see a third of the patients in the hospital with influenza."

"It's teetering on the brink, right?" he said. "We're right there. We need to turn things around or we're gonna be in big trouble."

Care rationing likely just days away at some facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients 02:00

UN suspends in-person meetings at NYC headquarters

The United Nations announced on Monday it is suspending in-person meetings at its headquarters in New York City as of Tuesday, after a cluster of COVID-19 cases affected a Security Council member state, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports. Falk confirmed the nation in question is Niger.

The president of the General Assembly wrote on Monday night, "Following information from the Secretariat regarding five COVID infections at a Mission of a Member State, the advice of the Medical Unit is to cancel in-person meetings at UNHQ tomorrow, Tuesday 27 October, pending contact tracing. Accordingly, after consulting the Main Committee Chairs, and in light of the need to safeguard public health, all in-person meetings of the Main Committees of the General Assembly tomorrow are cancelled."

Russia, as president of the Security Council for October, revised a Tuesday Council meeting on Syria to be virtual. 


Coronavirus vaccine distribution will face a "big challenge"

The earliest a coronavirus vaccine is expected to be ready for FDA authorization is the end of November. The CDC has already given states $200 million to prepare for distribution.

But shipping companies like DHL have a daunting task: preparing to transport a coronavirus vaccine without knowing where the vaccine will be manufactured, what the packaging will be or how cold it will need to be kept.

"There's still a lot of things that are unknown. And we've been talking to the different manufacturers, who are in various phases of the clinical trials to get ready," DHL's CEO of Global Forwarding USA David Goldberg told CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula. 

At the DHL cold-chain facility near Chicago's O'Hare airport, vaccines are stored at various temperatures before they're sent to doctors' offices, pharmacies and hospitals.

"We've been moving the flu vaccine, the meningitis vaccine," Goldberg said. "I think the challenge related to this vaccine is it's, you know, a vaccine that the world needs as soon as possible, at once, which will make it very difficult in terms of logistics."

Read more here.

Is America ready to roll out a coronavirus vaccine? 06:35

"Just because we want it over, does not make it over"

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and the state's top health officials have urged residents to not be anything other than vigilant as the state's virus statistics continue to soar. 

"Just because we want it over, does not make it over," Walz said Monday. 

The governor called on Minnesotans to avoid large gatherings and to continue practicing social distancing. He added that the next couple of months will be crucial in the fight against the virus.

"We need to take action right now," he said.

Minnesota has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since the start of the month, with health officials reporting at least 20 days where newly-reported infections were over 1,000. Two days saw totals breach 2,000 new cases.

With a 70% spike in hospitalizations in the last month, health officials worry about what's to come. The state hit a new daily high for hospitalizations with 614 — the highest since May.

On Monday, President Trump's Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending 1,690,00 Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 antigen tests to Minnesota. The rapid point of care tests, which can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as 15 minutes, will be distributed at the discretion of Gov. Walz "to support testing K-12 students, teachers, nursing home patients and staff, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders, and other priorities as he deems fit."


Newark, New Jersey's "serious spike" prompts new restrictions

Newark, New Jersey, is imposing a curfew for nonessential business and closing recreational facilities, among other measures, as the city sees what the mayor called a "serious spike" in cases.

"These 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, requiring beauty salons, nail salons, and barbershops to be open by appointment only, and gyms and health clubs to close for half an hour each hour for sanitizing," the city said.

CBS New York reports that Newark's East Ward has the highest positivity rate: More than 25%. Baraka said the neighborhood is largely contributing to the citywide positivity rate of 11% over a three day rolling average — more than double the state's.

There are fears other hotspots in New Jersey could soon follow with new restrictions. The state's governor would not say on Monday how many cases it would take to send the whole state back into lockdown, but said other hotspot communities may follow Newark's lead with municipal shutdowns.


Iran hits record single-day virus death toll

Iran has again hit a record single-day COVID-19 death toll, reporting 346 new deaths. That brings the country's total virus deaths to 33,299, the highest virus toll in the Mideast.

Iran Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari also said Tuesday that daily new coronavirus cases have also hit a record, with 6,968 reported. That brings Iran's total number of infections to 581,824.

She also said 4,995 COVID-19 patients are in serious condition. 

By The Associated Press

French government holds emergency virus meetings

France's government is holding emergency virus meetings Tuesday and warning of possible new lockdowns, as hospitals fill up with new COVID patients and doctors plead for backup.

President Emmanuel Macron is convening top ministers and Prime Minister Jean Castex is meeting with lawmakers, unions and business lobbies as the government weighs its next steps in the fight against surging infections. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France-Inter radio that "we should expect difficult decisions."

Among possible new measures for the hardest-hit areas are lengthening existing curfews, full confinement on weekends or all week, and closing non-essential businesses.

Doctors describe growing pressure on emergency services and intensive care wards, where COVID patients now take up 54% of beds nationwide.

France is now reporting more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people each week, and nearly 18% of its widespread tests are now coming back positive. It has reported Europe's third-highest virus death toll, at more than 35,000 lives lost. 

By The Associated Press

Lakers and Dodgers fans "likely" fueling rise in cases

The success of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers are bringing fans together in the L.A. area and it is "highly likely" that is helping drive an uptick in coronavirus cases, the Los Angeles County Department of Health said Monday. 

The Lakers won the NBA championship two weeks ago and the Dodgers are one game away from winning the World Series. Their run through the playoffs has prompted watch parties and celebrations.

Los Angeles County is the nation's largest, with 10 million residents, and positive cases there increased this month from an average of 940 per day to nearly 1,200 last week, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

She praised fans' "incredible spirit," but "the downside of this is that during a pandemic some of the things we've done in the past just don't make sense."


Read more here.

Fans Celebrate In Los Angeles After Lakers Win NBA Finals
Lakers fans celebrate in front of the Staples Center on October 11, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.  Getty Images

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