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The coronavirus death toll in the United States surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, marking another milestone of loss at a time when many have become numb to the rising fatality count. The tally represents the upper boundary of a fatality range that President Trump in March said would signal that his administration had “done a very good job” of protecting Americans from the coronavirus.

As he left the White House for Pennsylvania on Tuesday evening, Trump responded to a reporter’s question about the 200,000 deaths, saying, “It’s a shame.”

Here are some significant developments:
  • A forecast released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington this month predicted that U.S. fatalities could reach 410,000 by the end of the year.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is expected as soon as this week to spell out a new standard for an emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine that will make it exceedingly difficult for any vaccine to be cleared before Election Day.
  • The novel coronavirus is spreading at dangerous rates in many states as autumn arrives and colder weather — traditionally congenial to viruses — begins to settle across the nation, public health data shows.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the nation’s “divisive state” is hindering consistent messaging during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s supplies of medical equipment has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used for making things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Britain has reached a “perilous turning point” in the pandemic as he introduced new curfews on pubs and restaurants and encouraged remote working — measures that could remain in place for six months.
  • Trump lashed out at China in prerecorded remarks played at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, claiming officials allowed the virus to “leave China and infect the world.” He called on the United Nations to hold the country “accountable for its actions.”
September 22, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
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Perspective: U.S. entered pandemic with 2.3 million more uninsured than in 2016

By Jared Bernstein and Hannah Klatch

Here are two facts and a question.

First the facts. After its implementation in 2014, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which is still the law of the land, led to the sharpest decline in the number and share of Americans without health insurance coverage since the passage of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965. Also: Most working-age people get health coverage through their jobs, and job gains have been strong and unemployment low in recent years.

Now, the question: Do you think health coverage went up or down in the years leading up to the current pandemic?

Based on those facts, you would probably say “up.” You would be wrong.

Because of the Trump administration’s attacks on health coverage, the United States entered the pandemic with 2.3 million more uninsured people than in 2016, including 700,000 more uninsured children.

September 22, 2020 at 11:15 PM EDT
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Campus life under the shadow of a pandemic

By Nick Anderson

On Aug. 24, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began its fall semester under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic. It is an unprecedented challenge for a 153-year-old public university with more than 52,000 students. To operate safely, Urbana-Champaign is relying on an innovative test its researchers developed to detect the novel coronavirus in samples of saliva. Through Sept. 19, the university had administered nearly 350,000 tests to students, faculty and staff — one of the most aggressive public health surveillance efforts in the country.

September 22, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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Rival Premier League fans have long shared this soccer bar. Now it is in trouble.

By Steven Goff

For years, on most every weekend morning from August through May, groups of local soccer fans supporting Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal have assembled at Lucky Bar for English breakfast, pub grub and pints.

Most of all, they’ve come to watch their club play in the Premier League.

It’s uncommon for fans of fierce rivals to select the same gathering point, but Lucky Bar has been a soccer hotspot since 1998. For many, the Connecticut Avenue venue, two blocks south of Dupont Circle, is a second home.

“There’s no threat of a brawl,” laughed Scott Brokaw, vice chairman of Capital City Blues, the official D.C. supporters’ club for Manchester City. “It’s all good fun.”

The bar has been there for them, and now, amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, adversaries have joined forces in raising money for their beloved tavern. They are selling gray T-shirts, stamped with the bar’s distinct green awning and a message: “DC’s Original Soccer Destination.”

Profits go to owner Paul Lusty to help offset losses and support his regular staff, which has dwindled from about 20 to three. On a good day, he said, business is 10 percent of what it once was.

September 22, 2020 at 9:46 PM EDT
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'Everyone could be an Adeline, and that’s the scary part,’ says sister of 28-year-old doctor who died

By Meryl Kornfield

A 28-year-old Houston OB/GYN resident who worked on the front lines of the pandemic died early Saturday after spending months hospitalized with covid-19, her family confirmed via a GoFundMe page established on her behalf.

On July 8, Adeline Fagan, originally from Syracuse, N.Y., was mainly delivering babies at an HCA Houston Healthcare hospital, but she also worked in the emergency room treating coronavirus patients. After work, “she began to feel under the weather,” her family said.

“What started as intense flu-like symptoms escalated within the week to a hospital stay,” according to her family.

HCA Houston Healthcare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since July, Fagan battled the disease, as her doctors treated her with several respiratory therapies, various medicines and an experimental drug trial. She was intubated on Aug. 3 and put on a life-sustaining pump the next day, her family said. She had a history of asthma, upper respiratory infections and pneumonia.

Her sister Maureen told CNN’s Kate Bolduan that Fagan had a massive brain bleed on Friday, according to her doctors, made worse by blood thinners. Surgery was too risky, her sister said, crying, so Adeline died in her parents’ arms at 4 a.m. on Saturday.

Fagan was one of four daughters. She sang and was a leader of her medical school’s student a cappella group. To be an “Adeline” was to “be passionate about helping others less fortunate, have a smile on your face, a laugh in your heart, and a Disney tune on your lips,” her father, Brant Fagan, wrote in an online journal describing the harrowing time his daughter was ill.

“Everyone could be an Adeline,” Maureen Fagan told CNN on Tuesday, “and that’s the scary part of this. And if you can do something as simple as wearing the mask, social distancing, and just using hand sanitizer to do your part.”

“My heart breaks every time I look at something and I think of Adeline,” she continued. “I wake up in the morning, and I realize that she’s not here. And I am going to have to do that for years and years. And I pray that it will get easier but know it will always be with me. And if you can do something so someone you know isn’t in this situation, I think you have a right to do that.”

September 22, 2020 at 9:26 PM EDT
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NFL coach says he did have coronavirus, is ‘ticked’ at reports he pulled hoax on Raiders

By Des Bieler

An odd report emerged in August that unsurprisingly received a fair amount of coverage, including from The Washington Post: Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden tricked his players into thinking he had contracted the novel coronavirus.

According to NFL Network at the time, Gruden pulled the stunt because he wanted to jolt his players into being more mindful of the potential dangers of the virus and the possibility that anyone could catch it at any point.

The story took another twist Monday night after the Raiders defeated the New Orleans Saints, when Gruden revealed that he really did contract the virus. Asked about that Tuesday, the 57-year-old said reports that he pulled a hoax “really ticked me off.”

September 22, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT
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Democratic senators highlight continuing toll of covid-19 in nursing homes

By Will Englund

A new report by two Democratic senators documents the troubles that continue to plague U.S. nursing homes as they try to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and it faults the Trump administration for not providing adequate assistance, even after the devastating effects of the disease became clear last spring.

The death toll among nursing home residents rose throughout the summer, and the report, released Tuesday, found that shortages of personal protective equipment grew more acute between July 1 and the end of August.

The period under study saw a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in the Sun Belt states, and neither nursing homes nor public health agencies were equipped to fend off covid-19 despite the lessons that became evident as the coronavirus swept through Northeastern facilities in April and May.

About 20 percent of nursing homes are dealing with staff shortages, in part because of the ravages of the pandemic on employees, including 331 who died in July and August, said the report, commissioned by Democratic Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) and relying largely on the administration’s own data.

September 22, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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Diners angry about masks and other coronavirus rules prompt training for restaurant workers

By Emily Heil

Six-plus months into the pandemic that has upended the way many businesses operate, videos of irate customers refusing to wear masks or maintain social distance are by now no novelty.

Restaurant workers have frequently borne the brunt of people objecting to policies put in place by their establishments or by local and state orders, with conflicts big and small — caught on viral video or mostly unnoticed — playing out in dining rooms around the country.

That reality, where shouting matches might be on the menu along with the evening’s steak special, prompted the National Restaurant Association on Monday to introduce training to help restaurant and hospitality workers defuse conflicts with patrons who balk — or worse. Since the start of the pandemic, the organization has been offering advice on issues from hand-washing techniques to packaging takeout. Increasingly, restaurant workers found themselves not just battling the virus, but their customers, too.

September 22, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT
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Powell and Mnuchin credit stimulus with boosting recovery, but calls for more aid go unanswered

By Rachel Siegel

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin credit the Cares Act with helping to build the economic recovery — yet their message that more may be needed is colliding with Congressional negotiations that have fizzled, and the markets are noticing.

“Economic re-openings, combined with the Cares Act, have enabled a remarkable economic rebound, but some industries particularly hard hit by the pandemic require additional relief,” Mnuchin wrote in prepared remarks before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday morning.

As Powell and Mnuchin make their latest appearance on Capitol Hill, Wall Street is becoming increasingly convinced that no more stimulus is coming. Markets have been down the past three weeks, in part on pessimism about a deal on more stimulus. Meanwhile, a little more than half of the 22 million payroll jobs lost in March and April have not returned, and state and local governments are staring down massive budget shortfalls. Health officials and economists fear the coming flu season could slow the pace of the recovery.

September 22, 2020 at 7:03 PM EDT
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CDC warns against traditional trick-or-treating for Halloween this year

By Meryl Kornfield

This year has been scary enough, and Halloween is looming.

Customary trick-or-treating in which candy is passed out to children who go door-to-door would put people at risk of becoming infected by the coronavirus and should be avoided, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in holiday guidance updated Monday.

The virus will probably haunt other celebrations after the fall holiday, including the Day of the Dead, Navratri, Diwali and Thanksgiving, the CDC said. But Halloween can prove especially tricky: Indoor gatherings that are traditional for the holiday — from packed haunted houses to boozy costume parties — could become superspreader events.

In its new advice, the agency rates activities depending on the level of risk. The safest ways to celebrate would be remotely with an online costume contest, a household-only pumpkin-carving session or a distanced outdoor scavenger hunt.

Moderate-risk pastimes, the CDC said, include socially distanced trick-or-treating, masked costume parties and outdoor haunted forests. However, the CDC advises against screaming near anyone: Airborne droplets may spread the virus to other people.

Some of the suggestions are routine by now: Wash your hands before handling goody bags. Sanitize before touching pumpkins or picking apples at patches or orchards.

Also, a costume mask, the CDC said, is not a substitute for a cloth mask.

“I was really glad to see this guidance, first of all because it’s issued now, so there’s time for people to plan,” said Leana S. Wen, an emergency physician and a public health professor at George Washington University. “I’m also glad that the guidance emphasizes that the traditional way of doing Halloween is very high-risk.”

Parents may want to consider talking to their children about how Halloween during a pandemic will be different from what they are accustomed to, Wen said in an interview.

“Especially for kids who have experienced Halloween in the past and have a certain conception of what it’s going to look like,” Wen said, “talking to your kids in advance and discussing which activities they’ll go to, and depending on the age of the child, also explain why certain activities are off limits this year — I think that’ll be important, too.”

September 22, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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Boris Johnson says Britain is at a ‘perilous turning point’ as he introduces new restrictions

By Karla Adam

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that Britain has reached a "perilous turning point" in the coronavirus pandemic as he introduced new curfews on pubs and restaurants in England and encouraged remote working — restrictions that could remain in place for six months.

Johnson outlined a raft of new constraints aimed at reversing a spike in coronavirus cases. Starting Thursday, pubs and restaurants will offer table service only and have to close by 10 p.m. Johnson also said that if people can work from home, they should — an about-face from a previous push by the government for people to return to their workplaces and help revive city centers.

In addition, face masks will be mandatory for retail workers, taxi drivers, and bar and restaurant staff, as well as customers when they are not seated at a table, the prime minister said.

September 22, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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Notre Dame and Wake Forest postpone game due to positive coronavirus tests

By Chuck Culpepper

The FBS college football season on Tuesday logged an 18th game postponement or cancellation since its outset on the last weekend in August, as Notre Dame and Wake Forest had to postpone their meeting set for Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C, because of positive coronavirus tests at Notre Dame. The schools immediately began discussing when to reschedule and mentioned Oct. 3 as a possibility, as that date remained open for both programs.

In the kind of relevant statistics familiar by now but unforeseeable as lately as last December, Notre Dame said in a statement it had administered 94 tests on Monday, with seven turning out positive.

“Those seven student-athletes are in isolation and their close contacted have been/are being identified,” the statement read. “In consultation with the St. Joseph County Department of Health, the Notre Dame football program has decided to pause all football-related activities until further testing is completed. Combined with last week’s testing results, a total of 13 players are currently in isolation, with 10 in quarantine.”

September 22, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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Canada is ‘betting on multiple horses’ in vaccine race, minister says

By Amanda Coletta

TORONTO — Canada is “betting on multiple horses in the vaccine race,” but the strategy doesn’t constitute “vaccine nationalism,” the country’s minister of public services and procurement told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Canada has spent $750,000 to strike deals with five pharmaceutical companies developing potential vaccines. The fifth deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline was announced Tuesday. Negotiations with AstraZeneca are underway, said Anita Anand, the procurement minister.

“We must diversify our supply chain because we do not know which vaccine or vaccines will ultimately be successful,” Anand said in an interview. “We must bet on multiple vaccines at the same time.”

She did not have a more precise breakdown of the costs, citing confidentiality clauses in the agreements. She said any vaccine will need Health Canada’s approval. The anticipated delivery date in the contracts is early 2021.

Canada’s vaccine procurement strategy has been criticized for being opaque and slow. More than 100 Canadian health and policy experts criticized Canada in a statement this month for striking deals to snap up vaccine candidates, saying it constitutes “vaccine nationalism.”

Anand dismissed the criticism. She said Canada has submitted an expression of interest to join the WHO-linked Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, which aims to pool resources of rich and poor countries to buy and distribute vaccines equitably around the world.

“We are supporting multilateral efforts because we believe that no one is free until everyone is safe,” Anand said.

Canada’s efforts have hit roadblocks. China’s CanSino Biologics was supposed to send its vaccine candidate — developed with Canadian technology — to Canada for testing. The vaccine, reportedly held up by Chinese customs, never arrived.

The partnership fell apart.

Anand said it was “not actually clear” why Canada did not receive the vaccine. Analysts have hypothesized that it was retribution for Canada’s arrest of an executive from the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei.

September 22, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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White House disparages Olivia Troye, ex-Pence aide who criticized Trump’s ‘flat-out disregard for human life’ during pandemic

By Felicia Sonmez and Josh Dawsey

Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, an adviser to Vice President Pence, on Tuesday sharply criticized Olivia Troye, a former senior adviser on the White House coronavirus task force who recently said Trump’s response to the pandemic showed a “flat-out disregard for human life."

Troye, who worked as homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser to Pence for two years, left the White House in August. She told The Washington Post last week that she plans to vote for Biden this fall because of her experience in the Trump White House.

Kellogg had previously called Troye a former employee who is “disgruntled that her detail was cut short because she was no longer capable of keeping up with her day-to-day duties.” On Tuesday, he went further, condemning her “disparagement” of the coronavirus task force and saying he approached Pence with concerns about her performance.

“Olivia Troye worked for me,” Kellogg said. “I fired her. The reason I fired her was her performance had started to drop after six months working on the task force as a backbencher. She was responsible for coordinating meetings, bringing people together. And when the performance level dropped off, I went to the vice president of the United States and recommended she leave. I’m the one that escorted her off the compound.”

He added: “I am very proud of the task force and the work it’s done. I am not proud of Olivia Troye.”

White House aides said Trump wanted Kellogg to address the media, and two officials said it was a mistake to resuscitate the story line. Those officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations.

Troye disputed Kellogg’s version of events Tuesday afternoon, saying in a tweet that it is “sad that Gen. Kellogg is telling a bald faced lie to protect the President.”

“I resigned on my own accord & was asked to stay,” she said. “He never escorted me out. He knows this. I wrote a note thanking all the colleagues who had worked so hard with me in spite of POTUS & I stand by that.”

Troye also included a photo of a commemorative coin that she said Kellogg gave her in August. “I received this as a gift from Gen Kellogg & as you can see I appreciated it! This gift is not the action of someone who did what Kellogg claims he did,” she said.

Troye has previously said that she wished she had spoken out internally more often and that she experienced many “sleepless nights” about her actions and time in the administration. She also said there regularly were suggestions from Pence’s top political advisers about his coronavirus remarks “that I could just not support, and it became harder and harder to push back."

September 22, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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Nearly half of patients in one N.C. county didn’t report contacts for tracing as cases rise in state, CDC study says

By Paulina Firozi

An assessment of local contact tracing efforts in two counties in North Carolina found that many coronavirus patients did not report contacts and that many contacts were not reachable during a period with a high number of new reported cases in the state, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The incidence of coronavirus cases in the state climbed 183 percent, from seven to 19 per 100,000 people per day, from June 1 to July 12, the agency said in its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR.

Out of 5,514 people with the coronavirus interviewed in Mecklenburg County, the report found that no contacts were reported for 48 percent of cases and that among contacts provided, 25 percent could not be reached by phone or were determined to be nonresponsive, according to the report.

Of 584 people with the coronavirus interviewed in Randolph County, the study found that no contacts were reported for 35 percent of cases. Of the contacts provided, 48 percent could not be reached by phone or were classified as nonresponsive.

“Despite aggressive efforts by health department staff members to perform case investigations and contact tracing, many persons with COVID-19 did not report contacts, and many contacts were not reached,” the researchers wrote. “These findings indicate that improved timeliness of contact tracing, community engagement, and increased use of community-wide mitigation are needed to interrupt SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”

Researchers analyzed case investigation and contact tracing data from June 1 to June 30 for Mecklenburg County and from June 15 to July 12 for Randolph County.

The CDC study cited a few potential reasons for this proportion of unreported or unreachable contacts, including that coronavirus patients may not have wanted to subject their contacts to the quarantine measures that may have resulted from contact tracing efforts.

Other reasons, according to the study, may be that contact tracing is limited to phone conversations; the contacts’ reluctance to answer calls from unknown numbers; and the high volume of work for health department staff, which may have affected their ability to trace contacts.