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France and Germany are returning to lockdown restrictions as intensive care beds fill and new coronavirus infections test the countries’ health-care systems.

In Germany, bars, restaurants and theaters will close for four weeks, while schools will stay open. Classes will also remain open in France, where President Emmanuel Macron is expected to release more information about a national shutdown Thursday.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The White House testing czar contradicted President Trump’s claim that a surge of new infections is merely an artifact of increased testing. “Cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up,” Adm. Brett Giroir told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday.
  • Boeing announced plans Wednesday to cut an additional 7,000 jobs by the end of the year as it grapples with vanishing air travel demand and ongoing fallout from the 737 Max jet crisis.
  • After testing positive for the coronavirus, Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner was seen mingling with teammates and pulling down his mask for photos to celebrate the team’s victory in Game 6 of the World Series.
  • Saturday’s Big Ten football game between Wisconsin and Nebraska was canceled after the Badgers reported 12 people in the football program tested positive, including six players and Head Coach Paul Chryst.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, praised Australians for their widespread mask-wearing and said it was “painful” for him that the issue has become politicized in the United States.
  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as reckless, saying it has refused “to recognize the reality we’re living through.”
  • Watch: In a three-part documentary, The Washington Post explores a failed response to the coronavirus pandemic that has left 226,000 Americans dead, despite decades of preparation in Washington.
3:30 a.m.
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‘We all wanted to play’: Aging softball buddies defy pandemic for joy of the game

By Michael Rosenwald

On a crisp a fall morning in suburban Maryland, Thorny Thornton steps up to the plate with the bases loaded.

These are the moments that color boyhood dreams, though Thornton has been separated from those days by several decades. He is 73. He has a bum leg, among other bum body parts. But by comparison to his teammates on the Jaguars, many of whom are pushing 90, Thornton is essentially a rookie.

Thorny takes two deep breaths. He takes the first pitch for a ball. And then, with a grunt heard ‘round the park, the Marine veteran whacks the ball to deep left field.

After the coronavirus pandemic hit this past spring, Thornton, whose off-field first name is John, wondered when — or if — he would play again. Like other leagues, from T-ball to the majors, the Montgomery County Senior Sports Association softball program was put on hold. Risking a broken hip rounding first is one thing; tempting the fate of a deadly virus that is particularly virulent in seniors is a whole different ballgame.

2:45 a.m.
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NFL considering limiting seating for Super Bowl to 20 percent capacity

By Mark Maske

The NFL is “exploring” the possibility of a seating capacity of around 20 percent for the Super Bowl in Tampa in February but has not made a determination yet and believes that figure could grow, a league spokesman said Wednesday.

The Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium, which has a listed capacity of 65,000 that’s expandable to 75,000. The NFL has said it hopes to keep the game on time as it attempts to complete a full season while operating during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The safety of the public, attendees, players and personnel continues to be our foremost priority,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “We are working on a host of Super Bowl plans, include gameday, in conjunction with the host committee and the appropriate local and county public health and government officials. There is no set capacity figure at this time as we continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic with more than three months to go before the Super Bowl on February 7.”

2:00 a.m.
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Gloom settles over Europe as days darken and coronavirus surges

By William Booth, Chico Harlan, Loveday Morris and Michael Birnbaum

LONDON — The clocks were dialed back an hour across Europe this week, and the long nights come early now. The hospitals are filling up, as the cafes are shut down. The governments are threatening to cancel Christmas gatherings, unless the virus is under control.

As new coronavirus infections surge again in Europe, breaking daily records, the mood is growing dark on the continent — and it’s not even November.

The reprieve of summer feels a long time ago, and Europe is entering a serious funk.

1:27 a.m.
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A month of resurgence: October has brought record levels of infections, soaring hospitalizations

By Reis Thebault and Jacqueline Dupree

For almost the entire month of October, the United States has seen a steady, punishing increase in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

The country’s seven-day average of reported cases has increased for 26 straight days and has hit record highs this week, according to an analysis of data gathered by The Washington Post. On Wednesday, the figure exceeded 74,000 for the first time — meaning, over the last week, an average of that many infections has been reported each day.

And just as ominous: people around the country are in the hospital fighting the virus at a rate not seen since mid-August. As of Wednesday, more than 45,000 people were hospitalized, an increase of about 15,000 since the first of the month, according to the analysis.

More than half of U.S. states — 27 — reported 1,000 or more new cases on Wednesday, as the pandemic’s latest surge continued to touch every part of the country.

In Ohio, where the governor’s public health response once won him national plaudits, the seven-day average of new cases has hit record highs for 18 days in a row. The state’s current level of virus hospitalizations is also higher than it’s ever been.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, was asked about how he planned to deal with counties where outbreaks are so severe they may soon be reclassified in Ohio’s color-coded public health advisory system — from red to purple, a level not yet reached that signals “severe exposure and spread.”

DeWine said he would not close down schools or issue further restrictions, according to the Columbus TV station WBNS.

“We’re not going to issue additional orders,” DeWine said. “It’s just one more piece of information. Going into purple is a signal that potentially we have a hospital problem."

1:15 a.m.
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White House called off investigation into Rose Garden outbreak

By Desmond Butler, Tom Hamburger, Lena H. Sun and Sarah Kaplan

When he called the White House about a coronavirus outbreak, the Indiana doctor expected to get some help, not a “head in the sand approach.”

It was Oct. 1, and Mark Fox, a county public health officer in South Bend, had just learned that the University of Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending a Rose Garden ceremony days earlier in honor of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. It seemed likely that either Jenkins had taken the virus to the White House, potentially infecting others there, or he had become infected in Washington and brought the virus home to South Bend.

There are long-standing protocols for investigating the spread of a virus: contact tracing, or interviewing infected people about their recent interactions and advising those exposed that they should get tested. There’s also a more cutting-edge technology that can map the spread of a virus by tracking tiny changes in its genetic code. The Trump administration did not effectively deploy either technique in response to what Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, has called a “superspreader event” at the White House, leaving not just the president and his family and staff at risk, but also the hundreds of people who were potentially exposed.

12:30 a.m.
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Maryland man arrested for trying to vote without a mask has sued, saying his rights were violated

By Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox

A retired Maryland correctional officer has sued his county Board of Elections and sheriff’s office after being arrested at his polling place on Monday for not wearing a mask.

Daniel Swain, 52, accuses Harford County election officials of “illegally interfering with and suppressing” his right to vote. He filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Harford County Circuit Court and is seeking a temporary restraining order that would prohibit the election board from requiring voters to wear a face mask to vote as a way of limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Swain is also seeking monetary damages and an order that would require the defendants to pay for and receive “Constitutional voting rights training.”

“I feel disenfranchised,” he said in an interview.

Swain is represented by Daniel L. Cox, a Republican state delegate who represents Frederick and Carroll counties and has filed a lawsuit of his own against Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration over his stay-at-home orders, which also were designed to curtail the covid-19 pandemic.

11:45 p.m.
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Trump’s attacks on political adversaries are often followed by threats to their safety

By Greg Miller and Isaac Stanley-Becker

Over the past year, public servants across the country have faced threats to their safety after being attacked by President Trump. The dynamic appears to be without precedent: government agencies taking extraordinary measures to protect their people from strains of seething hostility stoked by a sitting president.

In recent weeks, Anthony S. Fauci, the U.S. immunologist leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic, revealed in an interview on “60 Minutes” that he requires near-constant security because of threats against him and his family. It’s “sad,” Fauci said, that “a public health message to save lives triggers such venom and animosity that it results in real and credible threats to my life and my safety.”

In the most striking recent case, Trump lashed out at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and her pandemic policies at an Oct. 17 campaign rally just days after an alleged plot to kidnap her was exposed. As the president’s supporters broke out in “Lock her up!” chants, he responded approvingly. Within hours, new ripples of hostility on social media reached Whitmer and her subordinates.

10:47 p.m.
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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services releases plan to ensure vaccine is free

By Amy Goldstein

Federal health officials released a plan Wednesday intended to guarantee that everyone in the United States is able to receive a coronavirus vaccine without paying for it, once one becomes available.

The heart of the multipart plan, shared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is a proposed federal rule for covering vaccine charges on behalf of older Americans on Medicare. It also says that, in order to receive vaccine doses, which the government will pay for, private health plans will be forbidden from charging customers anything for administering them.

A separate part of the plan tells states that, while the country remains under a federal public health emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic, they may not charge any fees to residents on Medicaid or in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And for people without any health coverage, the cost of giving a vaccine will be absorbed through a relief fund Congress created this year for hospitals, doctors and other providers of care for uninsured patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The plan, announced by CMS Administrator Seema Verma, is designed to provide the bureaucratic scaffolding underneath President Trump’s promise that a coronavirus vaccine will be available free. The plan tries to set up ahead of time payment rules and hospital reimbursement rates — a change from the typical method in which companies that develop new vaccines or medical treatments must apply to the agency for permission to be covered by Medicare only after they win approval by the Food and Drug Administration. New covid-19 therapies that emerge also would be folded quickly into Medicare’s payment to hospitals under the plan.

In another change from normal practice, a coronavirus vaccine will be covered by Medicare if the drug regulators merely give permission for its emergency use, rather than completing the more thorough new-drug approval process.

Verma estimated that if all 68 million people on Medicare got vaccinated, the program would end up paying about $2.6 billion in costs associated with administering the inoculation, while other government money would pay for the vaccine itself.

10:16 p.m.
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Jail and prison populations plunged by 170,000 inmates amid pandemic

By Lateshia Beachum

America’s inmate population declined by 11 percent as the coronavirus surged across the country and made its way into correctional institutions, spurring an unprecedented number of releases, according to a Reuters investigation.

The population in jails and prisons dipped by 170,000 in spring as facilities fought to prevent further spread of the virus in many of the cramped, overpopulated facilities.

About 53,700 incarcerated people in state prisons tested positive for the virus, and at least 551 died because of it, according to records collected by the news agency.

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor Brendan Saloner told Reuters that jails are breeding grounds for disease that often leave inmates waiting for infection.

Even the release of inmates from jails to combat the spread in crowded living conditions, in some instances, may have put the outside community at risk for infection.

The unparalleled move has left systems across the country with new concerns about quelling crime, resuming court proceedings and keeping current inmates safe when there’s still a disease circulating with no cure.

Some communities who participated in large releases are filling their jails again, reverting to familiar habits, or rethinking alternatives to jails and prisons, especially for those with minor offenses.

The virus has given hope to prison reform advocates who see the uncommon mass release of inmates as a step toward the country rethinking the business and conditions of mass incarceration, according to Reuters.

9:14 p.m.
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MLB launches investigation after Justin Turner ‘refused to comply’ following Dodgers’ victory

By Dave Sheinin and Jesse Dougherty

ARLINGTON, Tex. — A tenuous, chaotic baseball season played amid a global pandemic was able to glide toward its finish line this week thanks in large part to the sacrifices and adaptations of its participants. On Friday, the morning of Game 3 of the World Series, MLB announced no new positive tests for the coronavirus among its latest batch. No players had tested positive in 54 days. By Monday, the day before Game 6, the streak was up to 57.

But the streak ended in shocking fashion at Globe Life Field on Tuesday night — sullying the otherwise electrifying and compelling story of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays for the franchise’s first championship since 1988 and leaving behind pointed questions about Justin Turner’s actions and their repercussions.

By returning to the field in the aftermath of the clinching win — after having left in the eighth inning following news of a positive test and being placed under isolation — Turner ran afoul of MLB protocols.

"When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply,” the league said in a statement.

On Wednesday, MLB said it was investigating the matter with the players’ union “within the parameters of their joint 2020 operations manual.”

8:32 p.m.
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Dow slides more than 900 points as rising coronavirus counts threaten fragile recovery

By Hamza Shaban

U.S. and global markets shuddered Wednesday as an alarming rise in coronavirus infections rattled investors and threatened a fledgling economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 943 points, or 3.4 percent, to close at 26,519.95, extending a turbulent week of selling that sent the blue-chip index deeper into negative territory for the month. The S&P 500 tumbled more than 119 points, or 3.5 percent, to end at 3,271.03, and the Nasdaq composite index gave up 426 points, or 3.7 percent, to settle at 11,004.87.

European markets staggered, too, as France and Germany signaled plans to implement new social restrictions to contain a surge of coronavirus cases. The German DAX fell 4.1 percent, France’s CAC slid 3.4 percent, and the Pan-European Stoxx gave up nearly 3 percent, all three plunging to levels not seen since late May.

Investors have signaled increasing concerns as the pandemic enters this newest phase, which coincides with flu season. The rolling seven-day average of new daily case counts in the United States hit a record 70,000 on Tuesday, and coronavirus-related hospitalizations shot up nearly 10 percent in the last week. Another 73,627 cases were reported in the United States on Tuesday.

“Although statistically the start of one of the strongest periods for markets, covid-19 once again flips the narrative,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group. “The country is under significant stress, and the markets continue to reflect that reality. Thankfully, November has the potential to settle some big, outstanding issues.”

7:31 p.m.
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Macron announces new national lockdown to curb infections

By James McAuley

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron announced a second full national lockdown Wednesday evening, amid a skyrocketing second wave of coronavirus infections in France.

The lockdown will begin Friday as a last resort in the face of troubling figures, Macron said. “I have decided that we must return to confinement,” Macron said. “The whole territory is concerned.”

Unlike in the first lockdown, Macron said that schools will remain open, work will continue and nursing homes can be visited. But restaurants and bars will be forced to close through at least December 1, and full details would be announced at a news conference Thursday.

The French government imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in the spring but has struggled to curb a rising second wave that reached a record level of more than 50,000 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period over the weekend.

On Tuesday, France recorded 33,417 new cases, according to figures released by Santé Publique France.

Along with the higher case numbers, there has been a steep rise in hospitalizations. On Monday, for instance, French hospitals tracked more than 1,300 new patients, the highest one-day total since early April, in the peak of the first wave.

“We are all in Europe surprised by the propagation of the virus,” Macron said.

7:13 p.m.
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Frontier Airlines pushes ahead with some success, despite pandemic

By Lori Aratani

In 2019, Frontier Airlines was on a roll. The ultralow-cost carrier had signed a deal to buy the new Airbus A321XLR jet. Frontier was snapping up airport slots abandoned by its competitors and launching nonstop service for unbelievably low prices.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, upending an industry that had been on the verge of another record-breaking year.

Even so, Frontier chief executive Barry Biffle remains bullish on the airline’s prospects, arguing that at a time when business travel is down, his airline’s dependence on leisure travelers means it is better positioned to weather the downturn. At the same time, he acknowledges that talk of expansion has been tempered by a harsh new reality as the entire industry faces a possible future with fewer travelers not just for months, but years.

6:35 p.m.
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A police officer and his mother died of the coronavirus after he came into contact with the virus on the job

By Lateshia Beachum

A Texas police officer and his mother are dead after he responded to a home later found to house someone infected with the coronavirus, authorities say.

Alex Arango, 60, died of covid-19 complications last week, Everman Emergency Services announced. The department later said Arango’s mother, 81-year-old Carmen Arango, also died of the coronavirus after receiving treatment in the same ICU as her son.

“This family has lost two members of their family, just days apart,” Everman Emergency Services said in a statement. “We know that Officer Arango is welcoming and comforting his mother.”

Alex Arango self-quarantined after a Sept. 28 call to a home where a resident was later found to have the virus, Chief Craig Spencer told local television station CBS DFW. Arango started experiencing symptoms days later and was hospitalized.

By Oct. 19, the officer, nicknamed “Law Dog,” was placed on a ventilator, and community members gathered in masks to pray for his recovery. Arango died three days later.

The virus spread among Arango’s family this year, with his son-in-law also hospitalized, CBS DFW reported. His wife and his daughter, Annette Arango, are recovering from the virus.

Annette Arango told CBS DFW that her father had no concerns about becoming ill while working.

“He said, ‘Law Dog don’t fear nothing,’ ” she said. “He had a job to do. And he went out doing it.”