Seventeen U.S. states hit new highs in their seven-day averages of coronavirus cases on Monday, and eight of them reached new records again by Tuesday afternoon. Overall, 40 states have seen a week-to-week increase in infections. Health experts are worried the upward trends could mean an even greater surge in the months to come. The weather will soon be colder, the air will be drier and people will be spending extra time indoors where the virus is more likely to spread. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government's top infectious-disease expert, called the rising numbers “the worst possible thing that could happen as we get into the cooler months.”
Allowing the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to reach herd immunity is “simply unethical,” the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday, noting it would mean “unnecessary infections, suffering and death.” But the idea, which the NIH chief calls “dangerous” and “fringe,” has found an audience inside the White House and at least one state capitol, appalling top scientists.
Scientists have a powerful new tool to track the spread of the coronavirus: its own genetic code. Experts say “genomic epidemiology,” which can give researchers and health officials valuable glimpses into how the disease is coursing through society, is yet another tool the U.S. has failed to implement in its fight against the pandemic. Read about how it works (with helpful, interactive graphics) here.
The conspirators accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) had another target in mind, according to the FBI: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D). FBI Special Agent Richard Trask testified that the group discussed Northam as a potential target because of the coronavirus restrictions he implemented in his state. President Trump had been critical of both governors over the summer, tweeting all-caps demands that their states be “liberated" from health restrictions.
Last night in Florida, Trump held his first campaign rally since being hospitalized with covid-19, amid criticism he is still not taking the pandemic seriously and is putting lives at risk by holding big events. Some of the president's aides hoped his diagnosis would allow him to emerge with a newfound sense of seriousness and empathy, our politics desk reports, but that hasn't yet happened.
Trump instead defended his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 214,000 people in the United States, and claimed again that he is immune to the virus (health experts disagree). In a White House memo, Trump’s doctor said the president had tested negative for the virus “on consecutive days,” but still has not said when he last tested negative before his diagnosis.
The president emphasized his lack of concern about spreading the disease by telling the Florida rally crowd, “I'll walk in there and kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women and — everyone. I'll just give you a big fat kiss.”
Other important news
Analysis: Trump’s war with Fauci shows how he and his campaign point in different directions.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will take up a narrow economic relief bill next week. Trump immediately undermined the move, tweeting: “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!”
Johnson & Johnson paused its 60,000-person coronavirus vaccine trial after a participant became sick with an unexplained illness. It's the second major vaccine study to do so.
The first U.S. case of coronavirus reinfection — a 25-year-old man from Reno, who was sicker the second time around — was officially confirmed in a peer-reviewed study.
Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Correction: In yesterday's edition, we got the name of CNN's Jake Tapper wrong — it's Jake, not Jack. Apologies, Mr. Tapper.