coronavirus pandemic

Virus Updates: Researchers Warn of ‘Deadly' Winter; States At Risk for Labor Day Surge

A visitors temperature is taken with an Iris Thermal Scanning device at the entrance to Edge observation deck at Hudson Yards as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 4, 2020 in New York City.
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Nearly three million people will “most likely” die of COVID-19 worldwide by the end of the year if governments don’t tighten social distancing requirements and people aren’t more vigilant about wearing masks, a research outfit once relied on by the Trump administration warns.

The death toll in the U.S., which is currently around 188,000, could more than double to over 400,000 by Jan. 1, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine is forecasting.

And that’s not even the “worst-case” scenario the IHME laid out in its sobering report. In that model, four million people would die worldwide and over 620,000 perish in the U.S. from COVID-19, the researchers concluded.

In the “best-case” scenario, two million people will be dead across the globe by the end of the year and there will be anywhere from 257,286 to 327,775 COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S.

"The worst is yet to come," IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray warned on a call with reporters Friday.

“We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States,” Murray said in a statement released earlier. “But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus.”

The U.S. now has more than 6.1 million virus cases and over 188,000 COVID-related deaths, according to a tally by NBC News.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

Fauci Warns Illinois, 6 Other States ‘at Risk for Surging' of Coronavirus Over Labor Day Weekend

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has reportedly issued a warning to residents of Illinois and six other states to be particularly vigilant over Labor Day weekend in order to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases.

"There are several states that are at risk for surging, namely North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois,” Fauci said in an interview with Bloomberg this week.

"Those states are starting to see an increase in the percent positive of their testing; that is generally predictive that there’s going to be a problem," he added, according to Bloomberg.

Get the full story here from NBC Chicago.

Biden Confirms Test, Says He'll Be Tested Regularly

Joe Biden said Friday that he's been tested at least once for the COVID-19 virus and promised he will be tested regularly during his general election campaign against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a wide-ranging news conference in which he blasted Trump for downplaying the coronavirus and thus ensuring that it will continue to kill Americans and ravage the economy.

For much of the summer, Biden's advisers deflected questions about whether the former vice president was being tested himself as he anchored his campaign almost exclusively from his Delaware home, traveling sparingly as a precaution.

“They’re going to do it on a regular basis,” Biden said of the testing.

He noted that the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him and “everyone” else who comes into his home is tested already. Biden said he didn’t know specifically when his next test would be.

“I just, ‘yes, sir,’ show up and put my head back," Biden said. "I imagine it’ll be sometime this week, but it will be a regular basis.”

Pac-12 Confident Sports Will Return With New Rapid Virus Testing Contract

The Pac-12 has made moves to secure coronavirus testing that conference officials hope will make way for fall sports to startup sooner than expected.

The conference teamed up with Quidel Corp, the diagnostics company to receive FDA authorization for an antigen test earlier this year, to deliver daily rapid Covid-19 testing to member colleges for student-athletes in close-contact sports.

Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commissioner, hopes the program will help the conference shake off state and county restrictions in California and Oregon that have hindered team practices at multiple schools, allowing for games to begin as soon as the end of the fall semester.

“I think today’s development will help us persuade that we can do so safely for our student-athletes and it certainly gives me a high degree of confidence we’re going to be able to start competition in January, and now maybe even before with this big breakthrough,” Scott said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

The Pac-12, which includes 12 western U.S. schools such as Stanford University and the University of Oregon, followed fellow powerhouse Big Ten in postponing the fall sports season to potentially be played in the spring semester. The decisions came as campuses across the country considered whether to host classes either in-person, online or in a hybrid fashion as the country continued to grapple with a global health crisis.

Pac-12 schools are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington. To run sports without fans in the stadium would still leave member schools with lost revenue of about $50 million. A canceled season would put athletic budgets, which are generated in large part by revenues from college football, in even more peril.

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3 Deaths, 147 Coronavirus Cases Now Tied to Maine Wedding

The coronavirus outbreak linked to an indoor Maine wedding that violated attendance limits is now responsible for three deaths and nearly 150 infected people, according to the state's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 65 people attended the Aug. 7 reception at the Big Moose Inn Cabins and Campground in Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said. The Maine governor's executive orders limit gatherings to 50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors and fewer if the space cannot accommodate five people per 1,000 feet.

At the end of August, 53 cases were tied to the wedding. A week later, 134 cases were connected.

On Friday, 147 people who attended the wedding or got the virus second-hand as a result of someone who attended the wedding tested positive for coronavirus, Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long told NBC News.

Three of those people have died, Long said. None of them had attended the wedding.

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