Coronavirus updates: Colorado extends mask mandate for 30 more days; Minnesota set to tighten restrictions; ‘Virus is winning’ in Illinois

USA World

The Midwestern states are facing an onslaught of coronavirus cases.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz plans to announce new COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday amid a surge in statewide infections, possibly including stricter rules for bars and restaurants. The governor will also convene a special legislative session Thursday to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency powers by another 30 days to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. 

In Illinois, stricter coronavirus restrictions will go into effect Wednesday for some suburban counties. “The virus is winning right now,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Twitter. The governor also hinted at a possible stay-at-home order as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

And, in North Dakota, hospitals are at full capacity and health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms are being allowed to continue to work. Gov. Doug Burgum announced the special dispensation Monday, saying hospital administrators had requested it to alleviate a staffing crunch.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 10 million cases and more than 238,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 50.8 million cases and 1.26 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

A sign hangs Monday alerting shoppers that a face covering is required to enter a storefront along Washington Street in Golden, Colorado.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extends statewide mask mandate by 30 days

To help flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced he has extended the state’s mask mandate for another 30 days. He urged Coloradans to buckle down in the coming few weeks by avoiding social interactions outside of their households, washing their hands and wearing a mask. 

“Let’s stop this bloodshed,” Polis added. “All that’s being asked of you is cancelling your social plans outside of your home for the next few weeks.”

Despite the fact that Colorado is experiencing its highest rates of infection and hospitalization due to the virus, Polis said the state is likely in the final sprint of its COVID-19 marathon after promising vaccine news was released Monday. 

– Erin Udell, Fort Collins Coloradoan

FDA gives emergency OK to drug that can keep COVID patients out of hospital

In more good news for the fight against COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Monday authorized use of a drug that appears to protect infected people at high risk from getting very sick. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization to drug-maker Lilly for bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody that mimics the immune system’s response to infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The data is very solid,” said Dr. Daniel Griffin, head of Infectious Disease at ProHEALTH, an independent, physician-led healthcare organization

The drug is similar to a pair of antibodies made by Regeneron that President Donald Trump has said “cured” him of COVID-19. Regeneron has also applied for FDA authorization for its drug, REGN-COV2.

FDA’s emergency authorization was based on data from a study of the drug in 465 people who had COVID-19 but weren’t hospitalized. Some patients got the drug, some got a placebo. Most patients in both groups had cleared the virus from their system within 11 days.

– Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub

Israel plans to begin coronavirus testing at primary international airport

Israel will soon offer coronavirus testing at its main international airport, something authorities hope will speed the revival of air travel.

Passengers at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv will be able to pay around $13 for a test and get results within 14 hours, with faster testing methods on offer in the coming weeks. Authorities say labs at the airport will be able to process 20,000 tests per day. Passengers can register starting Thursday and the testing booths open Sunday.

Israel is gradually emerging from its second nationwide lockdown since the pandemic began. The country has reported nearly 320,000 cases, including 2,674 deaths.

An earlier lockdown last spring largely succeeded in containing the outbreak, but cases surged over the summer after authorities reopened too quickly. At one point, Israel, with a population of just 9 million, had one of the world’s worst outbreaks on a per capita basis.

Dow surges 800 points on Pfizer vaccine trial results, Joe Biden win

U.S. stocks catapulted to levels just shy of records Monday after Pfizer reported the first successful late-stage clinical trial for an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, a potentially huge boost to world health after the pandemic battered the global economy in the spring and led to more than one million deaths.

Global financial markets also got a boost following Democrat Joe Biden’s defeat of incumbent Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election over the weekend. Wall Street followed, seeming relieved that the limbo created by the long, market-bruising battle for the White House was finally ending. 

The Dow Jones industrial average vaulted up as much as 1,610 points to a new intraday high of 29,933.83, topping its previous record on Feb. 12 before the pandemic rattled financial markets around the world. The blue-chip average, however, lost steam near the close and ended the day up 834.57 points, or 3%, to 29,157.97, its biggest percentage gain since June. 

The S&P 500 index, the heart of many 401(k) accounts, jumped 1.2% to 3550.50, finishing just below its Sept. 2 record.

– Jessica Menton

Another Las Vegas resort is closing midweek due to visitor slump

As visitation remains down in the aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown, another Las Vegas Strip resort is closing during the midweek. Starting Monday, Park MGM will close from noon Mondays through noon Thursdays. The NoMad hotel at Park MGM will remain open seven days a week. 

“This year has proven to be especially challenging due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the absence of the major meetings, conventions and events that typically fill Las Vegas’ calendars during the fall and winter months,” wrote Anton Nikodemus, president and chief operating officer of the company’s Las Vegas properties, in a letter to employees. “With occupancy remaining low during weekdays, we have decided to temporarily adjust hotel operations to account for the current state of business.” 

MGM Resorts does not expect to keep the closure past December, Nikodemus wrote, but will “continue evaluating business levels.” 

– Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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