Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.
We still don’t know who won the presidential election, but one thing we know for sure is that coronavirus cases are surging. The pandemic is becoming increasingly difficult to handle, and will be even if there’s a new president.
We’ll start with numbers:
A grim milestone: The US passed 100,000 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time
In a sign of the tough winter ahead, the United States on Wednesday recorded more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time during the pandemic.
The exact total was more than 103,000 cases on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
While President TrumpDonald John TrumpAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report Officials warn delayed vote count could lead to flood of disinformation New Trump campaign lawsuit targets late-arriving Georgia mail ballots MORE has downplayed the rising cases by saying they are simply due to more people being tested, the number of hospitalizations is also rising, a sign that the outbreak is also worsening.
There are about 52,000 people currently in the hospital with coronavirus, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That number continues to rise every day, given that it lags behind cases.
There were also more than 1,100 deaths on Wednesday. Deaths tend to increase behind cases and hospitalizations.
Tough outlook: The rising numbers are a sign of how severe the outbreak is in the United States, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon as the weather gets colder and people move indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.
Many people are also tired of following restrictions, worrying experts further about the months to come, including upcoming holiday gatherings.
Pelosi announces COVID-19 testing expansion for House
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse GOP celebrates unexpected gains On The Money: Wall Street adjusts to election uncertainty, lack of blue wave | McConnell says he wants COVID deal by end of year | Jobs growth slowed to 365,000 in October: ADP The Hill’s Campaign Report: Election mess drags on l Trump campaign suing to stop vote counts in Mich., Penn. l Republicans outperforming expectations in House, Senate MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House will soon proceed with an expansion of COVID-19 testing due to the Air Force providing up to 2,000 tests for the entire Congress.
Pelosi made the announcement during a Democratic leadership call on the same day that D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserLaw enforcement braces for unrest after Election Day Pelosi at ceremony marking number of US coronavirus deaths: ‘It’s almost incomprehensible’ Trump changes election night plans, cancels party at Trump International: report MORE unveiled new rules requiring travelers to the nation’s capital to test negative for COVID-19 before and after arrival.
The Air Force will provide the COVID-19 tests for Congress at no additional cost for the next six weeks, according to a senior Democratic aide. The aide added that a longer-term solution is being discussed.
Flashback: More than a dozen other House members have tested positive for COVID-19, including Reps. Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (R-Ill.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalGeorgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.), Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse GOP celebrates unexpected gains The Hill’s Morning Report – Too close to call GOP Rep. Rodney Davis fends off Democratic challenger in Illinois MORE, (R-Ill.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartGeorgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord House Democrats fall way short in disappointing night MORE (D-S.C.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnGeorgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithGeorgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Va.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Jahana HayesJahana HayesWhy it’s time for a majority female Cabinet Georgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test MORE (D-Conn.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyRepublican Mike Kelly wins sixth House term in Pennsylvania Georgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Working together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 MORE (R-Pa.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserMORE (R-Pa.) and Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceGeorgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19 Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-S.C.).
Two states to require masks in public at all times, regardless of distance from others
Maine Gov. Janet MillsJanet MillsCoronavirus death toll linked to wedding in Maine grows to 7 143 coronavirus cases, one death, jail outbreak now linked to Maine wedding Number of coronavirus cases linked to Maine wedding rises to 123 MORE (D) and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) issued a stricter mask mandates this week as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the nation.
Mills issued her order on Thursday, requiring Mainers to wear masks in public spaces at all times, regardless of distance from others.
Previously, under the governor’s executive order, people were not required to wear masks in public if they could stay at least six feet away from others.
Under the order, which took effect the same day it was issued, masks are required within indoor spaces “accessible to the public” including restaurants, grocery stores and houses of worship, and in outdoor spaces, like playgrounds, sidewalks and parking lots, regardless of distance from others.
“We have recorded yet another day of record-high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state,” Mills said in a statement.
Baker issued a similar order earlier this week, requiring people “wear face coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others” and “whether indoors or outdoors.”
What’s next: More states might follow as COVID-19 cases increase across the country.
DC to require negative coronavirus test, eliminates quarantine for visitors
Out-of-state visitors to the District of Columbia will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test, but will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival, according to updated travel restrictions announced Thursday.
Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said the city is changing its current requirement of a 14-day mandatory quarantine for travelers, which had been in place since July. Instead, they must test negative within 72 hours of traveling, and then obtain another test 3 to 5 days after arrival.
The city won’t be strictly enforcing the new rules– they’re meant to be a tool to help private institutions manage travelers.
Under the previous rules, anyone coming from a “high risk” state was required to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the city.
As coronavirus cases have spiked across the country, more states have been added, and the order now applies to people from 42 states.
New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDe Blasio says new rise in NYC coronavirus cases is concerning A new round of lockdowns would be a terrible mistake The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – 24 hours to go MORE (D) instituted a similar measure for the Empire State, requiring that visitors receive a negative test before they enter the state and test negative again four days after arrival.
The announcement comes as Bowser and city officials have been urging people to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving and hosting large groups of out-of-state visitors. The new policy would seemingly make travel easier, though Bowser said there is no contradiction with previous messaging.
On the intersection of coronavirus and the economy: Fed chair Powell says ‘concerning’ rise in COVID-19 cases could hinder economic recovery
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe pose a troubling obstacle to the economic recovery.
Powell told reporters during a Thursday press conference that “the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases both here in the United States and abroad is particularly concerning” to the central bank and dangerous to the fragile U.S. economy.
“As we have emphasized throughout the pandemic the outlook for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain, and will depend in large part on the success of efforts to keep the virus in check,” Powell said after the Fed announced it would keep interest rates near zero.
“All of us have a role to play in our nation’s response to the pandemic. Following the advice of public health professionals to keep appropriate social distances and to wear masks in public will help get the economy back to full strength,” he added.
Big picture: Powell, other top Fed officials, and economists across the public and private sectors have said since the beginning of the pandemic that the U.S. economy would be unable to fully recover until COVID-19 is adequately controlled.
What we’re reading
A new item on your medical bill: The ‘COVID’ fee (The New York Times)
Pharma experts weigh in on the next four years of drug pricing policy (STAT)
Coming abortion fight could threaten birth control, too (Kaiser Health News)
Mammograms fell sharply in early pandemic months, study finds (The 19th)
State by state
Illinois Reports Record-High Daily Case Count as State Reaches Grim Milestone (NBC 5)
Florida adds more than 6,000 coronavirus cases Thursday (Tampa Bay Times)
Utah coronavirus cases, hospitalizations shatter records, with 2,807 new infections Thursday (Salt Lake Tribune)
Op-eds in The Hill