As Europe experiences a resurgence of coronavirus cases that appears to be driven primarily by young people, health authorities worry that crowded house parties could become super-spreader events for thousands of returning college students. On Thursday, Purdue University suspended 36 people who attended an off-campus party, officials at Syracuse University warned that a massive gathering “may have done damage enough to shut down campus,” and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill switched to online learning amid an eruption of infections.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Vice President Pence said he “couldn’t be more proud” of President Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, and said during a “Good Morning America” appearance that if Democratic nominee Joe Biden had been in charge, the losses — 171,000 dead and counting under the current administration — would have been worse.
  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told lawmakers Friday that ensuring the safe and timely delivery of election mail was his “sacred duty,” disputing accusations his controversial cost-cutting agenda was politically motivated even as he reiterated his intention to execute it after the November election.
  • Californians are facing duel crises now, as wildfires, still raging largely out of control across a large swath of the state, force tens of thousands of people from their homes during a similarly uncontrolled pandemic.
  • The holiday shopping season is poised to begin earlier than ever — as soon as October — as retailers look to offset the disruptions the coronavirus pandemic has wrought on delivery times, in-person shopping and consumer spending power.
  • The Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished a trailblazing week by setting another record high, placing an exclamation point on a stunning turnaround in the face of an ongoing public health crisis.
  • At least 41 schools in Berlin have reported coronavirus cases among students or staff, less than two weeks after classes there fully resumed Aug. 10, officials confirmed to the Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Thursday.