HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
n Daily COVID-19 deaths in US reach highest level since May
n Pfizer, BioNTech seek emergency use of COVID-19 shots in US
n Mexico tops 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, 4th country to do so
n Republican governors in some hard-hit states are refusing to ask families to limit Thanksgiving celebrations despite warnings from federal health officials that gatherings could worsen a coronavirus surge that’s already spinning out of control.
n Maryland lawmakers are renewing criticism of Gov. Larry Hogan’s procurement of a half million COVID-19 tests from South Korea after The Washington Post reported the first batch was flawed and never used.
n Los Angeles County businesses trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic face new restrictions and the prospect of a shutdown on the horizon
THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING EL PASO, Texas — Members of the Texas National Guard were mobilized to El Paso County, Texas, to help with the morgue crisis as the state battles a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
A team of 36 National Guard troops has been deployed to “provide mortuary affairs support,” according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
The team was mobilized Saturday morning “after completing an assessment of the situation on the ground in El Paso County this week,” spokesman Seth Christensen told CNN.
“As we’ve seen a rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations, we are unfortunately also seeing a spike in deaths. We have been working closely with funeral homes and mortuaries to assist with increased capacity and coordination of resources,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said in a statement on Twitter.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced $135 million in grants and loans to help businesses and workers hurt by new restrictions he imposed through mid-December.
Inslee said that businesses would be able to apply for the assistance to help blunt the impact of restrictions that took effect this week, including the closure of fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers and movie theaters, and the requirement that restaurants and bars to be limited to to-go service and outdoor dining.
The economic package also includes $20 million in rental assistance and $15 million in utility payment assistance for those with low income. All of the funding is part of federal coronavirus outbreak assistance funds distributed to states.
CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has announced new limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings. But he has not implemented a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state.
The Republican governor and state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said Thursday that public gatherings will be limited to 25 people or fewer without restrictions. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50%.
The new order goes into effect Nov. 24.
No statewide mask mandate was approved, though nearly all of the county health officers have called for one as virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have substantially increased in recent weeks.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has surpassed 8,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time since a deadly summer surge, and doctors are amplifying pleas to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small.
Texas reported more than 11,700 new cases Friday, once again approaching record highs. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ruled out shutdowns and says cities and counties need to enforce restrictions already on the books, including occupancy limits and face coverings.
NEW YORK — Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
The New York Post reported Friday that the New York Republican was being treated at a Long Island hospital.
“I’m weak but I feel good,” the 83-year-old told the newspaper in a phone interview. He said he had a light fever and congestion.
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Kentucky reported 3,825 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 20 more virus-related deaths Friday, as new restrictions went into effect aiming to slow the virus’s spread.
“Remember, your decisions are going to be what determines how many people live or die. Do your part,” Gov. Andy Beshear said, urging Kentuckians to follow the new requirements.
Starting Friday, private indoor gatherings are limited to two households, with a maximum of eight people.
For roughly three weeks, bars and restaurants must close indoor dining, though they are permitted to continue curbside pickup, delivery and outdoor dining services.
DETROIT — A judge on Friday declined to halt a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan that is one of the most recent coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.
The state health department, meanwhile, reported a new daily high of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 9,779, and 53 additional deaths as the virus continued to spike.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas is including movie theaters among the businesses to receive aid as the state gets close to wrapping up its distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds.
Legislative leaders signed off Friday on a proposal from Gov. Laura Kelly’s pandemic recovery office to allocate $38.5 million in federal relief funds. The state received $1.25 billion and must spend the dollars by the end of the year.
The proposal called for distributing $20 million for aid to businesses that have struggled because of restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic and $18.5 million on public health.
TORONTO — Canada’s largest city is going back on near complete lockdown. Toronto announced that it will enter a 28-day lockdown on Sunday.