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States across the West and Midwest are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases, a worrying sign of rapid transmission that could signal the arrival of a long-feared cold-weather wave of infections.

Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of reported case counts, and more than half of those states set records again Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are driving the surge, while states farther west — such as Colorado, Idaho and the Dakotas — have seen their cases rise steadily for weeks.

For the first time since August, the country’s seven-day average of new cases topped 50,000. Experts are concerned that the rising numbers portend an even greater increase this winter, when drier conditions and more time spent indoors will help the virus spread.

“Things will get better, but in all likelihood, things will get worse before they get better,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) wrote on Twitter. “This virus is sneaky and cunning and won’t give up. It has a mind of its own.”

Here are some significant developments:
  • Scientists calling for the hastening of herd immunity have found an audience inside the White House and at least one state capitol but have appalled the country’s top infectious-disease experts.
  • On Tuesday, Eli Lilly and Co. paused a trial of its closely watched monoclonal antibody drug — the same class of medicine President Trump received and credited for his recovery — over safety concerns. The stoppage came one day after Johnson & Johnson halted late-stage trials of its vaccine as investigators probe whether a participant’s undisclosed illness may be linked to the drug.
  • Accused conspirators charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also discussed “taking” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday. The agent said coronavirus shutdown orders had come up in the group’s discussions.
  • JPMorgan Chase posted $29.1 billion in revenue in its third quarter, staying afloat despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy. On Tuesday, the CEO partially credited the fact that debit and credit card spending grew for the first time since widespread shutdowns began.
  • A second wave of coronavirus cases in Europe is prompting new restrictions in Britain and several other countries that hope to avoid a return to national shutdown measures.
  • A new report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal confirmed that a 25-year-old man from Reno, Nev., had the first known U.S. case of coronavirus reinfection. Meanwhile, an 89-year-old woman in the Netherlands died after being infected with the coronavirus for a second time, Dutch news outlets reported Monday. Her case marked the first confirmed death from a reinfection.
October 13, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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Stephen Curry launches interview series with Fauci, Abrams and more, as politics push continues

By Ben Strauss

Stephen Curry is launching a series of long-form interviews focused on the global pandemic and voting ahead of November’s election, the most recent push by an NBA star into civic engagement.

The first video, released Tuesday on Curry’s YouTube channel, is a 20-minute conversation with Bill Gates in which the two talk about the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Future conversations include a discussion with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about how society will emerge safely from the pandemic. Another is with Stacey Abrams, a voting rights activist and former Democratic Senate candidate in Georgia, about voter suppression and registration. Several others are in the works, Curry said.

Curry and other NBA stars, as well as the league itself, have become increasingly engaged in politics this year. Curry appeared at the Democratic National Convention this summer, while LeBron James launched a new group aimed at protecting the voting rights of African Americans. Players also pushed for NBA arenas to be turned into voting sites.

October 13, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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American tourists from these 3 states can now visit Curaçao without having to quarantine

By Shannon McMahon

Missing the turquoise waves of the Caribbean and its trademark blue-hued liqueur? The island of Curaçao is reopening to Americans but only a small fraction of them. The Dutch territory says that starting the first week of November it will allow residents of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York state to enter without self-quarantining if they have a negative coronavirus test result in hand.

The new rule goes into effect Nov. 1, although “flights won’t resume until Nov. 7 from Newark on United and on Dec. 9 from JFK on JetBlue,” a spokesperson for the Curaçao tourism board said. State-issued ID will be required as proof of residence for entry. Negative covid-19 PCR test results must be acquired within 72 hours of travel to Curaçao and uploaded to a digital health portal.

October 13, 2020 at 10:00 PM EDT
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As U.S. unemployment soared, Germany’s barely budged. Is America’s safety net enough?

By Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent last month, a substantial improvement from the nearly 15 percent mark it hit in April, but significantly worse than other advanced economies around the world. Germany’s comparable unemployment rate, for example, peaked at 4.4 percent.

For years, economists have debated whether the United States does enough to help its unemployed. The pandemic recession — the worst downturn the world has seen in nearly a century — has given a new sense of urgency to the discourse.

Nations like Germany suffered fewer layoffs in part because they better controlled the novel coronavirus through widespread testing and tracing. The United States had six times the coronavirus infection rate of Germany. After adjusting for population, the United States had 2,307 infections per 100,000 residents vs. 382 in Germany, The Post’s data shows. But a major reason European nations never saw massive layoffs, like the United States did, is their very different approach to aiding workers in times of economic crisis.

October 13, 2020 at 9:15 PM EDT
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FBI: Whitmer plotters also discussed kidnapping Virginia governor over lockdown orders

By Devlin Barrett

Accused conspirators charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also discussed “taking” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday.

During the hearing in Grand Rapids, Mich., to discuss the charges filed last week against members of a self-proclaimed militia accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, FBI Special Agent Richard Trask revealed that months ago some of the suspects met in Dublin, Ohio, where Northam, also a Democrat, was discussed as a potential target.

“At this meeting they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governors of Michigan and Virginia, based upon the lockdown orders,” Trask told the court, referring to state-mandated restrictions implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus.

October 13, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT
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Virtual appointments and drive-through sessions: How college counselors are helping students complete the FAFSA

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

Around this time last year, Aliaha Austin was gearing up for FAFSA night at East Bladen High School in Elizabethtown, N.C. But this year, instead of going over the federal financial aid application with parents in a classroom, she was preparing to do the same in a parking lot, complete with WiFi and masks.

“We are adapting,” said Austin, a counselor with College Advising Corps., which deploys recent college graduates into high schools to guide students. “Students without reliable Internet at home may have trouble completing the form, which is a big motivation for doing a drive-in."

Getting students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, will be no small feat this year. The pandemic has emptied school hallways where counselors can remind seniors to apply and has rendered unsafe face-to-face fairs advisers host to guide parents through the process.

October 13, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT
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McConnell plans vote on narrow economic relief measure while Trump urges lawmakers to ‘Go big or go home!!!’

By Jeff Stein and Erica Werner

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Tuesday that the Senate will take up a narrow economic relief bill when it comes back in session next week. President Trump immediately undermined the move, writing on Twitter: “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!”

The clashing messages were a stark display of GOP disunity just three weeks before the November election, as Senate Republicans balk at a $1.8 trillion relief package Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has offered to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Trump, though, has suggested Republicans should agree to an even bigger deal than what Democrats have offered.

Pelosi has already rejected Mnuchin’s offer as completely inadequate, criticism she repeated Tuesday in a letter to House Democrats where she wrote, “Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.”

October 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT
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The seasonal job is getting a makeover and, in many cases, a pay raise

By Abha Bhattarai

Retailers have begun hiring thousands of seasonal workers to help with the holiday crush, but find they’re having a tougher time filling jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to reshape their industry in unexpected ways.

National chains have long relied on temporary staff during the winter holidaysbut this year is radically different: As shoppers do more of their spending online and opt for home delivery and curbside pickup, temporary jobs are moving from big-box stores and shopping malls to warehouses and call centers. That shift is leading to changing responsibilities — and in some cases, higher wages and more perks — for workers.

October 13, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT
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The Netherlands closes bars and restaurants after record daily case count

By Ruby Mellen

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said bars and restaurants in the country would be shut for a four-week period starting Wednesday amid a consistent and worrying rise in coronavirus cases.

“We have to be tougher on ourselves,” Rutte said in an address to the nation, according to the Associated Press. He added that the new restrictions would not affect schools.

Additional new rules included a ban on alcohol sales after 8 p.m., and a limit on the number of people who can attend household gatherings.

The Netherlands joins other European nations that have imposed partial or localized restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, while attempting to avoid another economically catastrophic total lockdown. Countries including Britain, France, Germany and Spain have seen concerning, and — in some cases — record numbers, prompting governments to impose restrictions on gatherings, businesses and alcohol sales.

Rutte did not rule out severe measures. “If things don’t go well over the next weeks, we will move toward a full lockdown,” he said, noting that hospitals are at risk of becoming overburdened.

On Tuesday, the government announced almost 7,400 new cases of the virus in 24 hours, a record for the country of more than 17 million. The Netherlands has in total confirmed more than 194,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 6,600 deaths.

October 13, 2020 at 5:35 PM EDT
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Citigroup posts billions in revenue but blames slide on pandemic’s impact on consumer banking

By Hannah Denham

Citigroup brought in $17.3 billion in revenue in its third quarter, another big bank to survive the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on corporate bottom lines throughout 2020 — although its progress tracked lower than JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In the three months ending Sept. 30, the New York-based investment banking company said revenue is down almost 8 percent from nearly $18.6 billion a year ago, according to its earnings report filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Citigroup also reported a net income of $3.2 billion this quarter, a 34 percent slide from $4.9 billion a year ago, with $1.40 in earnings per diluted share.

Chief executive Michael Corbat said in the filing that the bank’s performance this quarter was driven by its institutional clients group, although global consumer banking suffered and dragged down revenue as a result of the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

“We continue to navigate the effects of the covid-19 pandemic extremely well,” Corbat said. “Although Global Consumer Banking revenues remained lower as a result of the pandemic, we did see higher activity in our mortgage and wealth management products.”

October 13, 2020 at 4:49 PM EDT
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Coronavirus cases are rising in U.S., sparking worries that the next big wave has begun

By William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree

U.S. coronavirus cases are rising again, driven by rapid transmission in Midwestern states and sparking fears that a forewarned wave of infections this fall and winter has begun.

For almost a month, new U.S. cases have been trending upward. On Monday, 17 states hit a new high in their seven-day average of case counts, and eight of those states hit records again by Tuesday afternoon.

The rising numbers are especially concerning because they set the stage for an even greater surge this winter, when the virus will be helped by drier conditions and people spending more time indoors. The upward trend comes before the increased mingling expected to arrive with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The virus has become especially rampant in Midwestern states after dominating U.S. coastal and urban areas in the spring, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

October 13, 2020 at 4:03 PM EDT
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Eli Lilly pauses antibody treatment trial for safety concerns

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

Eli Lilly paused a trial of its monoclonal antibody treatment for covid-19 in hospitalized patients Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a statement. The treatment is the same class of medicine that President Trump received and that he has credited with his swift recovery, despite the fact it is impossible to tell how much any drug contributed.

Eli Lilly has applied for emergency authorization for the drug, based on preliminary data that showed it helped people recently diagnosed with mild or moderate cases of covid-19 avoid hospitalization and emergency room visits and knocked down the level of virus in their bodies.

An independent safety board recommended the pause.

“Safety is of the utmost importance to Lilly,” the company said in a statement. “Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent data safety monitoring board to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study.”

The pause was announced a day after a major trial of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused due to an unexplained illness in a participant. Tests of another vaccine, from AstraZeneca, are also on hold as the Food and Drug Administration investigates whether a neurological symptom is related to the vaccination.

October 13, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT
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Seven states set new highs in seven-day average case count

By Brittany Shammas

Seven states set new seven-day average coronavirus case highs Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ohio each hit record numbers. Each had set a previous high a day earlier, and Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota have set a new average high for each of the past eight days.

After previous surges in coastal parts of the United States, and in states such as New York, California and Florida, the spread of the virus has intensified in the Midwest in recent weeks.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) wrote Tuesday on Twitter that the state could have “a rough winter ahead of us,” noting that cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations were all up.

“Things will get better, but in all likelihood, things will get worse before they get better,” he wrote. “This virus is sneaky and cunning and won’t give up. It has a mind of its own.”

The greatest increase in seven-day averages was in Illinois, where Tuesday’s average of 2,862 cases was 6 percent higher than the record of 2,685 set a day earlier. Indiana and West Virginia followed with 5 percent increases.

October 13, 2020 at 3:07 PM EDT
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Russia confirms record cases and deaths

By Siobhán O'Grady

Russia confirmed 13,868 coronavirus cases and 244 deaths on Tuesday, marking record daily highs for the country in both categories. Even with a rise in cases, Russia — like many other countries where cases are rising — does not plan to institute a shutdown, local news agencies reported this week.

“Despite a growing number of cases, today in Russia we are not talking about blocking the economy, suspending some business activities, some sectors of the economy, because we see no reason to do this,” said Anna Popova, who leads Russia’s consumer health regulator, Reuters reported.

Russia has confirmed more than 1.3 million cases since the pandemic began. Moscow — where two temporary hospitals have opened to help treat patients — has been hit hard by the pandemic. Authorities recently announced that around one-third of workers in the capital should work remotely to limit the number of people inside at one time.

Meanwhile, scientists are racing to finalize and distribute Sputnik V, a vaccine Russia unveiled this summer.

October 13, 2020 at 2:00 PM EDT
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JPMorgan Chase posts $29 billion in revenue from third quarter despite pandemic

By Hannah Denham

JPMorgan Chase & Co. posted $29.1 billion in revenue in its third quarter, a slight dip compared with a year ago, as the bank leads Wall Street’s earnings season by staying afloat despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy.

In the three months ending Sept. 30, JPMorgan Chase said net revenue is down 0.6 percent from $29.3 billion a year ago, according to its earnings report filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The bank also reported a net income of $9.4 billion this quarter, a nearly 4 percent jump from a year ago, with $2.92 in earnings per diluted share, beating analysts’ expectations of $2.23 a share, according to FactSet.

JPMorgan chief executive and chairman Jamie Dimon said the bank’s performance this quarter was driven by its corporate and investment sector, and debit and credit card spending grew for the first time since widespread shutdowns due to the pandemic.

“I want to thank our employees around the world for their tireless work in helping our clients and communities impacted by the covid-19 pandemic over the past several months,” Dimon said in the filing. “Despite significant uncertainty in the environment, the Firm is unwavering in its commitment to drive an inclusive economic recovery, advance sustainable solutions to address climate change and improve the lives of our customers, especially those in underserved communities.”