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Despite his possible exposure to the coronavirus, Vice President Pence crisscrossed the country in recent days, keeping up a campaign schedule that experts say put those around him at risk.

By Monday, the number of his aides known to have tested positive for the virus had grown to five, and the vice president scrapped plans to preside over the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But he had already headlined rallies in Florida, North Carolina and Minnesota.

Asked whether Pence was endangering others by campaigning, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that “the short answer is yes.” Pence should receive frequent tests, maintain physical distance from others and wear a medical-grade N95 mask at all times, Gottlieb said in an interview Sunday with CBS News.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The coronavirus pandemic is reaching deep into the nation’s most sparsely populated states and counties, where distance from others has long been part of the appeal and this year had appeared to be a buffer against the virus.
  • An 18-year-old University of Dayton student died last week of complications from covid-19 after a lengthy hospitalization, school officials announced. Faculty, staff and graduate students had been raising concerns for months about the school’s reopening plan.
  • In five red states, coronavirus cases are surging, yet their leaders have refused to loosen rules on who can vote by mail. Most of the approximately 30 million registered voters who live in Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have no choice but to cast ballots in person.
  • El Paso imposed a new curfew on residents after intensive care units reached full capacity, while Utah’s hospital association warned that it would soon have to begin rationing care if current trends do not improve.
  • The president of Fox News and key members of the network’s election team have been told to quarantine after they were exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus after last week’s presidential debate.
  • Coronavirus case counts in Canada continue to climb, and officials are pointing to Thanksgiving gatherings as one possible cause. Canadian Thanksgiving, celebrated two weeks ago, might provide a cautionary tale for Americans.
  • As a record-setting second wave of coronavirus infections sweeps Europe, Italy is imposing its harshest pandemic restrictions since the spring.
October 27, 2020 at 12:47 PM EDT
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Delta, United and Alaska Airlines have banned more than 900 passengers for not wearing masks

By Shannon McMahon

With airlines imposing mandatory mask requirements on flights amid the coronavirus pandemic, many unhappy passengers have made headlines for being removed from flights for refusing to wear a mask. And with some carriers keeping no-fly lists of passengers who violated the policy, it is now clear that more than 900 passengers have been banned from airlines because of their refusal to put on a mask.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that 460 people are banned from the airline for refusing to wear a mask.

And Delta isn’t the only one: United and Alaska Airlines said via email Monday that the carriers have banned “just over 300” and 146 passengers, respectively, for not wearing a mask.

Alaska Airlines said the banned passengers “won’t be able to fly with us as long as our mask policy remains in effect.”

October 26, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
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A 7-hour flight has been linked to 59 coronavirus cases in Ireland, researchers say

By Shannon McMahon

A seven-hour international flight to Ireland this summer has been linked to 59 cases of coronavirus in the country, Irish researchers said in a report.

Thirteen of the 49 passengers onboard tested positive for the novel coronavirus, despite the flight only being 17 percent full, according to the report released last week by the Irish Department of Public Health. Those 13 passengers went on to infect 46 more people throughout Ireland, the report says, which “demonstrates the potential for spread of SARS-COV-2 linked to air travel.”

Researchers did not clarify where the flight originated but said the cases and their subsequent spread show that “restriction of movement on arrival and robust contact tracing” can limit travel-linked transmissions of the coronavirus.

October 26, 2020 at 11:15 PM EDT
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The U.S. and Europe are losing the coronavirus battle

By Ishaan Tharoor

President Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, made a telling admission. “We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” suggesting that the spread of the coronavirus was a fait accompli and that containment was not a central plank of the White House’s strategy. On Friday, the United States recorded a record single-day high of more than 83,000 new cases. The next day, it was just 39 cases short of the previous mark.

It is evidence of an autumnal surge in the virus that’s buffeting both sides of the Atlantic.

Hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise. In Europe, countries posted new milestones in caseloads over the weekend amid new rounds of curfews and lockdowns. A number of countries on the continent now lead the world in rates of infection.

October 26, 2020 at 10:30 PM EDT
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D.C. says 190,000 have activated new coronavirus contact-tracing tool

By Julie Zauzmer

About 190,000 D.C. residents have activated the contact-tracing option on their smartphones since the city joined a new program last week.

The pace of residents joining the program, operated by Apple and Google, places D.C. among a group of cities that have most quickly embraced the technology, said city Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt. It comes as several states nationwide are recording a surge in coronavirus infections, while numbers in the greater Washington region have mostly held steady in recent days.

Nesbitt said during a Monday news conference that the city will begin to include a daily count in its metrics to show how many people are using the smartphone option, called DC Covid Alert Notice (DC CAN).

Several of those metrics remain stubbornly bleak, including a daily case rate that has crept higher in October and a percentage of closely related cases that has never come close to a benchmark set for reaching the next phase of reopening.

October 26, 2020 at 9:45 PM EDT
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Italy, not wanting a covid lockdown again, shows peril of piecemeal restrictions

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

ROME — The team of city police officers had been assigned to look for coronavirus rule-breakers, so one evening last week, they parked their cars in the middle of one of Rome's liveliest neighborhoods and walked from one restaurant to the next.

In 90 minutes on patrol, they didn’t find a single violator.

What they found, instead, was nightlife that conformed to the rules but nonetheless posed risks for spreading the virus. Italy had imposed a mandate for mask-wearing outdoors — but it didn’t apply to the people eating at packed alfresco tables. The country had banned dining in groups of seven or more, but there were plenty of tables of four, five and six under mood lighting on the cobblestone streets.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Italy was a lockdown pioneer — the first among democracies to control the virus by ordering life to a standstill. But as a second wave of the virus explodes, Italy and other countries across Europe have been reluctant to return to such a harsh, economy-sapping approach, and so they are now demonstrating the perils of an alternate strategy.

October 26, 2020 at 9:16 PM EDT
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Officials say Canadian Thanksgiving possibly tied to growing case counts

By Amanda Coletta

TORONTO — Coronavirus case counts in much of Canada continue to climb, even in parts of the country that imposed restrictions this fall, and officials are pointing to Thanksgiving gatherings as one possible cause.

Canadian Thanksgiving, celebrated two weeks ago on the second Monday of October, might provide a cautionary tale for Americans. Officials advised Canadians to curtail their plans, including by celebrating only with others living under the same roof or moving the party online, but it is not clear whether everyone heeded that advice.

“Many of the cases that we’re seeing now are the result of spread over Thanksgiving when families gathered together,” Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, told reporters last week.

“People did not mean to spread covid,” she said, “but it is a reminder that social gatherings where distancing and masking are not used consistently are a significant risk for spread.”

Officials in Ontario, which logged a record-high number of daily cases over the weekend, echoed Hinshaw on Monday. The province announced restrictions this month in hard-hit areas, including a ban on indoor dining for 28 days.

“I think it’s reasonable to think that part of the surge we’re seeing in Toronto is tied to Thanksgiving,” said Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health.

Public health officials in one Toronto suburb issued a notice about a “cluster” of at least 13 coronavirus cases linked to a gathering around Thanksgiving, during which an extended family of 12 people shared one residence.

Some family members were symptomatic at the gathering, York Region Public Health said in a news release. One worked while sick, infecting colleagues. Ten family members, including three infants, and people from another household have since tested positive.

Infectious-disease specialists have noted that several elements associated with Thanksgiving — interstate travel, students returning home from college and indoor family gatherings — could fuel the virus’s spread.

October 26, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT
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Meadows under fire as Trump chief of staff for handling of pandemic and other crises

By Josh Dawsey

When touting his chief of staff Mark Meadows onstage in North Carolina this month, President Trump gave an unusual compliment for a risky move.

“He follows me,” Trump said of his helicopter ride to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus. “I said, ‘You know what? I just tested positive.’ He didn’t care. He was in that helicopter.”

Meadows, after seven months on the job, has developed a close and durable relationship with Trump, who regularly calls his top aide eight or 10 times a day, according to current and former administration officials. He has largely avoided the will-he-won’t-he-be-fired chatter that dominated the tenures of his three predecessors.

But with Trump trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden and the coronavirus pandemic surging again, Meadows’s uneven handling of the pandemic response and other West Wing crises has dismayed many staffers and campaign officials, who say he has largely proved to be an ineffective chief of staff, instead serving more as a political adviser and confidant.

October 26, 2020 at 8:36 PM EDT
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Testing of Eli Lilly’s covid-19 antibody drug in hospitalized patients will end

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

A government-run clinical trial of Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody treatment against covid-19 will stop recruiting new patients due to “a low likelihood that the intervention would be of clinical value in this hospitalized patient population,” according to a statement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The trial was paused Oct. 13, and the data and safety monitoring board met Monday and decided the trial should not continue because the drug, bamlanivimab, was unlikely to help patients. Although there were initial indications that there may be a possible safety issue, the updated data analyzed Monday did not find one.

The drug is one of a class of medicines, laboratory-brewed antibodies, that are considered one of the most promising candidates for a treatment against covid-19. Although the Lilly drug appeared ineffective in hospitalized patients, the company has shown data suggesting that it helps people early in the illness from requiring hospitalization.

President Trump received an experimental antibody drug made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as a treatment. The company released a statement saying it remained confident that the drug might be effective given earlier in illness.

Eli Lilly and Regeneron have both sought emergency use authorization from regulators for the use of their monoclonal antibody drugs and presented data showing they may be effective in people with mild or moderate covid-19.

October 26, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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Analysis: White House efforts to conceal Pence team’s coronavirus outbreak show Trump’s penchant for secrecy

By James Hohmann and Mariana Alfaro

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed Sunday that he sought to keep the public from finding out that at least five members of Vice President Pence’s staff have tested positive for the coronavirus just over a week before the election.

“Well, obviously, yes,” Meadows said on CNN. “Sharing personal information is not something that we should do, not something that we do actually do — unless it’s the vice president or the president or someone that’s very close to them where there’s people in harm’s way.”

That admission was overshadowed by an even more startling comment during the same interview:

"We are not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows said on CNN.

The reflexive, almost default, impulse to hold back important information dovetails with a pattern of intense secrecy that has been a hallmark of President Trump’s tenure in office. Because the White House is so prone to leaks, the fact that Trump has concealed – or tried to hide – so much unflattering information often gets overlooked.

October 26, 2020 at 8:04 PM EDT
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NYC mayor says fewer than one-third of schoolchildren have returned to physical classrooms

By Kim Bellware

Barely a month into the delayed start of the school year for New York public school children, fewer than a third of the district’s 1.1 million students have returned for in-person learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

The low figure was a disappointment for de Blasio (D), who had pushed hard for schools to reopen physical classrooms over steep objections from parents, teachers and principals who doubted the mayor’s reopening plan.

De Blasio told reporters Monday that 280,000 students had returned for in-person learning since schools across all grade levels welcomed students back on Oct. 5. Nearly half of the district’s students have opted for fully online classes over an in-person or blended learning approach.

Citing data from the district’s random testing program, the mayor touted the district’s low positivity rate of 0.15 percent as he encouraged more students to return to physical classrooms. By contrast, the overall city’s seven-day average positivity rate was 1.73 percent as of Monday, de Blasio said.

“That 280,000, of course, that’s a huge number unto itself [ …] but a lot more kids could be attending in person,” de Blasio said. “And we want to make sure that their families know, and they know the school is safe. ”

De Blasio said attendance for in-person learning has averaged 85 percent but announced New York families would have one more chance to switch from online to in-person learning during a two-week-long opt-in period beginning Nov. 2.

New York is the largest school district in the United States to endeavor in-person learning amid the pandemic. Other major school systems, including Los Angeles and Chicago, started their school year entirely online with now clear dates on when they will return to in-person classes.

October 26, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT
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Bonuses before bankruptcy: Companies doled out millions to executives before filing for Chapter 11

By Abha Bhattarai and Daniela Santamarina

The coronavirus recession tipped dozens of troubled companies into bankruptcy, setting off a rush of store closures, furloughs and layoffs. But several major brands, including Hertz Global, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, doled out millions in executive bonuses just before filing for Chapter 11 protection, according to a Washington Post analysis of regulatory filings and court documents.

Since the pandemic took hold in March, at least 18 large companies have rewarded executives with six- and seven-figure payouts before asking bankruptcy courts to shield them from landlords, suppliers and other creditors while they restructured, The Post review found. They collectively meted out more than $135 million, documents show, while listing $79 billion in debts.

Labor experts and bankruptcy attorneys say the payouts are particularly egregious — and unjustifiable — during an economic crisis, and were timed to bypass a 2005 law passed specifically to prevent executives from prospering while their companies flailed.

October 26, 2020 at 7:21 PM EDT
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Ohio college freshman dies of coronavirus complications

By Susan Svrluga

An 18-year-old University of Dayton student died last week of complications from covid-19 after a lengthy hospitalization, school officials announced.

Michael Lang, a freshman from Illinois, had left campus mid-September to study remotely, according to the email sent to campus Friday from the university’s president, Eric F. Spina.

A university spokesman declined to answer additional questions Monday, including whether Lang had been sick on campus and how the administration is responding to those on campus who say the university should have done more to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Faculty, staff and graduate students had been raising concerns for months about the school’s reopening plan.

Joel Pruce — an associate professor at the University of Dayton, who wrote on Twitter that he was “speechless” after the student’s death — criticized school officials for downplaying the potential severity of the virus.

“I would hope this death would compel the university leadership to reconsider their own decisions,” Pruce said by phone.

October 26, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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Europe’s famed Christmas markets fall prey to the coronavirus

By Ruby Mellen

As the holiday season nears and Europe experiences a concerning second wave of the novel coronavirus, the continent’s age-old Christmas markets, which typically draw crowds of revelers looking to purchase handmade trinkets or drink steaming beverages, are taking a hiatus.

Prague, the French city of Strasbourg and German cities including Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Berlin have all announced the cancellation of Christmas markets because of the pandemic.

The Czech Republic, which has the highest infection rate in Europe, has closed its borders to tourists amid a spike in cases and hospitalizations. On Monday, Prague announced that it would cancel its major Christmas markets, a necessary step to “curb the further uncontrolled spread of the pandemic,” the city said, according to the Associated Press.

Correction: Strasbourg in France not Germany, as an earlier version of this article stated.

October 26, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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Boston’s wastewater suggests a surge in coronavirus infections

By Kim Bellware

The number of new coronavirus cases has been on the rise in the Boston area since mid-October, and the data is showing up not only in health dashboards, but also in the local wastewater.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has been analyzing wastewater samples to track the level of coronavirus genetic material as a way of measuring community spread. As of Thursday, the MWRA showed levels of viral RNA not seen since the previous peak in mid-April; the most recent upturn started in early October.

The wastewater samples are taken from the MWRA’s Deer Island Treatment Plant, which serves both the northern and southern greater Boston area as part of a pilot program in partnership with the Cambridge lab Biobot Analytics, which is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Biobot notes on the MWRA’s website that the wastewater tests are “an evolving science” but useful to public health officials for tracking trends.

According to the MWRA’s data, the growing presence of coronavirus material in Boston’s wastewater has been several days ahead of the curve of Suffolk County’s number of confirmed cases; in mid-October, the seven-day average of new single-day confirmed cases was in the low hundreds and was at 150 as of Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

During the pandemic, wastewater analysis has become a valuable tool for tracking where a possible outbreak is growing. Canada, Finland and Hong Kong are among the countries that have been monitoring sewage to detect traces of the virus, which can show up in fecal matter days before a person infected with the coronavirus may show symptoms.

In the United States, college campuses in Arizona, Colorado and elsewhere have been testing wastewater from dorms to monitor on-campus outbreaks. In August, the University of Arizona credited the wastewater testing strategy with helping school officials quickly identify on-campus infections and move to quarantine students, potentially preventing a larger outbreak.