U.S. Coronavirus: Governors Issue Strict New Measures As U.S. Reports Staggering Covid-19 Record Of Over 184,000 Daily Cases

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In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced a “temporary statewide order shutting down in-person services for all non-essential activities to mitigate the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 diseases and to attempt to relieve the dramatically increasing strain on hospitals and health care. suppliers across the state. The ordinance is in effect from November 16 to 30, the governor said.

Residents are urged to stay at home except for essential travel, including emergency medical care or food.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Friday announced a statewide “two-week freeze”, with a list of new measures, including limiting gatherings to six people in up to two households, only allowing take-out and delivery to catering establishments; closing gyms and indoor recreational facilities; and forcing businesses to require homework as much as possible. The measures will go into effect Wednesday, the governor said, and will likely last “much longer” than two weeks for “hot” counties.

“This is a dangerous situation and our hospitals have sounded the alarm bells,” said Brown. “I know it’s tough, and we’re tired. But we are trying to prevent this fierce virus from quickly spreading everywhere. ”

The two leaders have announced some of the toughest statewide measures this season, but they are far from the only ones stepping up their efforts to tackle alarming trends in Covid-19.

The governor of Idaho on Friday mobilized the state’s National Guard to help with the pandemic response and brought the state back to a modified Stage 2 of its reopening plan. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced the creation of a Winter Covid-19 task force in preparation for what’s to come. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that there would be an emergency meeting this weekend with heads of state from six northeastern states to discuss further steps.

A “dark day” for the United States

The way people act over the next few weeks will have a “profound impact” on controlling the spread of the virus, former surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy said on Friday.

“It’s a dark day for the country as we are seeing cases skyrocket, we are seeing hospitals filling up and we are also seeing the death toll rising,” said Murthy, co-chair of President-elect Joe Biden. appointed the Covid-19 Transitional Advisory Board, said.

“We’re at a point now, even before Thanksgiving, where we’re surpassing any level we’ve seen in the past eight months,” he added.

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As the holiday season begins, it’s important for people to wear masks, keep their distance from each other and wash their hands regularly, Murthy said.

“If you are planning to go home for Thanksgiving, ask yourself if you can observe these kind of precautionary practices, because if you cannot then you risk putting yourself and others in danger,” a- he declared.

Health officials have urged Americans to use masks during outdoor Thanksgiving celebrations, but fear the holidays, and the gatherings of friends and family that are likely scheduled, will further fuel the Covid-19 surge . Experts have recommended for people who want to go into family quarantine before the holidays.

Another expert said the best way forward for the country right now includes a national mask mandate.

“A vaccine will take a few months to really have an impact,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University said Friday. “If you have a heart attack and you call 911 and I tell you the ambulance is coming in two months, it should be no comfort to you.

“What people need is a mask mandate, and they need it now. “

Less than 9% of North Dakota hospital beds are available

The creeping spread has put enormous pressure on the country’s health system, which now hosts the largest number of Covid-19 patients ever.

Data from the North Dakota Department of Health shows that only about 8.5% of staffed hospital beds remain available, with at least 421 people currently hospitalized who have tested positive for the virus. About 50 patients are in intensive care.

In Oklahoma, health officials reported a 7% ICU bed capacity on Friday, up from 5% a day earlier – with now 64 ICU beds available.

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In Massachusetts, where reported infections have increased “sevenfold” since Labor Day and hospital admissions have increased “twice,” the governor announced that a 240-bed field hospital will be reestablished at the DCU Center – an indoor arena and a convention center complex in downtown Worcester.

“Today we have about 661 people in the hospital, up from about 178 on Labor Day,” Gov. Charlie Baker said, adding that state hospitals are operating at about 73% of their capacity. and that the overall ICU capacity is approximately 50%.

The DCU field hospital is expected to be available for patients by the first week of December, he said.

Vaccines will be distributed by population, official says

When a Covid-19 vaccine is approved, it will be distributed to U.S. states and territories based on population, a senior Operation Warp Speed ​​official said on Friday. Drugmaker Pfizer, which this week announced the first data showing its vaccine to be more than 90% effective, is expected to seek emergency use clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by now. the end of the month.

“We expect to have tens of millions of doses immediately after EUA and we will distribute them as soon as the FDA enforces the EUA,” said General Gustave Perna, who helps oversee Operation Warp Speed. “We will do it within 24 hours of the EUA. ”

“Vaccines will be allocated on a pro rata basis on a population basis,” Perna added.

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Pfizer has announced that it will distribute its vaccine outside of the federal framework. State health officials said they had not heard many details from the federal government on how vaccine distribution would be organized and that they had not received the funding they needed to put in place the infrastructure.

“We are working closely, with the CDC, all 64 jurisdictions and states, to ensure that the vaccine can reach those who need it first, safely and quickly,” Perna said. “And then we have plans to make sure it spreads exponentially across our country and that no place is left without a vaccine.”

Meanwhile, drug retail chain Walgreens says it is “rapidly expanding” its ultra-cold storage capacities to accommodate a potential Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine – which will need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures. This follows an announcement by the US Department of Health and Human Services that it is partnering with large drugstore chains and networks representing independent pharmacies to help distribute a vaccine once it is authorized.

“(We) are confident that we can support the successful administration of these vaccines once available,” a Walgreens spokesperson told CNN.

CNN’s Kay Jones, Elizabeth Cohen, Tina Burnside, Samira Said, Maggie Fox and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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