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Coronavirus updates Trump suggests he will fire Fauci after election

President Trump’s supporters called on him to fire the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, during a rally in Opa-Locka, Fla., on Nov. 1. (Video: The Washington Post)

As coronavirus cases continued to explode, some European nations reimposed shutdowns, with leaders saying they fear the situation would worsen if no action is taken.

But in the United States, where new infections hit a record high Sunday and some hard-hit communities braced for a surge in deaths, President Trump was critical of such “draconian” moves. He also suggested Sunday he might fire the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.

Here are the latest developments:

  • After Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, offered a critical assessment of the White House’s response to the coronavirus crisis, chants of “Fire Fauci” broke out at Trump’s Sunday campaign rally in Florida. “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump said. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wrote in a Monday tweet, “We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci.”
  • The seven-day average of new daily coronavirus infections in the United States hit 81,740 on Sunday, a new high. Record-shattering numbers of hospitalizations were also recorded in nine states. More than 9,201,000 coronavirus cases and 230,000 fatalities have been reported nationwide since February, according to data tracked by The Post.
  • A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found pregnant women who catch the coronavirus are at greater risk of death and severe illness than women who are not pregnant, even as the risk overall remains small.
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said Sunday that he had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and would self-quarantine “over the coming days.”
  • Prince William had the virus in the spring, around the time his father was infected, according to British media outlets.
  • White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas has apologized for agreeing to an interview with Russian state television, which is registered as a foreign agent in the United States, saying in a Sunday tweet that he allowed himself “to be taken advantage of” by the RT network.
  • As historic numbers of Americans cast early ballots for the 2020 presidential election, they’re encountering disparate policies on masks.
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After Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, offered a critical assessment of the White House’s response to the coronavirus crisis, chants of “Fire Fauci” broke out at Trump’s Sunday campaign rally in Florida. “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump said. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wrote in a Monday tweet, “We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci.”
The seven-day average of new daily coronavirus infections in the United States hit 81,740 on Sunday, a new high. Record-shattering numbers of hospitalizations were also recorded in nine states. More than 9,201,000 coronavirus cases and 230,000 fatalities have been reported nationwide since February, according to data tracked by The Post.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found pregnant women who catch the coronavirus are at greater risk of death and severe illness than women who are not pregnant, even as the risk overall remains small.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said Sunday that he had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and would self-quarantine “over the coming days.”
Prince William had the virus in the spring, around the time his father was infected, according to British media outlets.
White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas has apologized for agreeing to an interview with Russian state television, which is registered as a foreign agent in the United States, saying in a Sunday tweet that he allowed himself “to be taken advantage of” by the RT network.
As historic numbers of Americans cast early ballots for the 2020 presidential election, they’re encountering disparate policies on masks.

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The United States came close to reporting 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day Friday, but that didn’t deter thousands of young people from attending large Halloween parties with few masks and little social distancing over the weekend, according to authorities.

The New York City sheriff’s office said that it shut down two illegal warehouse parties — one attended by nearly 400 people in Brooklyn that was brought to an abrupt end early Saturday, and another that drew more than 550 celebrants the next day in the Bronx.

In Utah, authorities said “several thousand” people attended a large, rave-like gathering with multiple DJs on Saturday night that was discovered when a woman was temporarily knocked unconscious while crowd-surfing, according to KSL. Police also shut down numerous parties in the college town of Boulder, Colo., over the weekend, Denver’s ABC affiliate reported.

Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Utah reported record-setting hospitalizations. Some areas are preparing for a rise in fatalities that is already beginning to follow. In Texas, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told KVIA on Sunday that the medical examiner’s office recently acquired its fourth “mobile morgue,” a refrigerated trailer used to temporarily store bodies. Officials are trying to find space in the office’s parking lot for the additional trailers, he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, adding, “If that doesn’t put our situation into perspective I don’t know what will.”

Thirty-three states spanning every region of the country saw their seven-day average of daily new infections rise by at least 10 percent in the week ending Sunday. Some responded by partially rolling back their reopenings.

In Maine, where daily counts virtually doubled, Gov. Janet Mills (D) reversed plans to allow bars to reopen Monday and reduced the maximum size of indoor gatherings from 100 people to 50. “If we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil genie back in the bottle,” she said Sunday.

Illinois, which averaged a record 6,367 new cases each day over the past week, expanded its restrictions to make a ban on indoor dining effective statewide. Massachusetts, where the seven-day average of new cases stood at nearly 1,300 on Sunday compared with 689 two weeks earlier, issued a new advisory directing residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for necessary activities.

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) stressed that he was not shutting down the economy or schools. “I think what we’re trying to say here is by 10 o’clock, people should use their heads and be with the people they live with instead of continuing to perpetuate this constant churning of folks,” he said.

Some public health experts worry that the number of new infections will continue to grow in the coming weeks if Americans insist on holding traditional large holiday gatherings. Thanksgiving “is really going to be an inflection point,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “I think December is probably going to be our toughest month.”

Several European nations anticipating a similarly bleak outcome are reimposing nationwide shutdowns — most recently Germany, where restaurants, bars and recreational facilities closed Monday in a modified and somewhat less strict version of the lockdown this spring.

At a Sunday rally in Michigan, Trump claimed such “draconian” restrictions were not effective the first time around, and he criticized European leaders for shutting down the economy for a second time.

“Now they have to do it all over again,” he told supporters. “What the hell are they doing? I think I’ll go over and explain it to them.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, asked Monday whether she thought it was important for the “voice of science” to be heard in the White House, said she would not comment on U.S. elections. But, she said, “based on my previous education as a physicist … of course I assign a lot of weight to scientific advice.”

In Britain, where all English nonessential businesses will close Thursday, Brexit party leader and Trump ally Nigel Farage was critical of the new restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the weekend. In an opinion piece published Sunday in the Telegraph, Farage said that he planned to relaunch his party as an anti-lockdown group called Reform UK that will back a strategy to pursue “herd immunity” by protecting only the most vulnerable.

England’s lockdown, which allows schools to remain open, will remain in place until at least Dec. 2. Speaking to BBC’s Radio 4 on Monday morning, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that the restrictions were necessary because “the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case of our scientific advisers.”

Modeling suggested that the number of deaths would be even higher in the fall than in the spring “unless we acted,” Sunak said, according to the Daily Express. Sunak, effectively Britain’s finance minister, added that the rapid rise in infections in otherwise-unaffected areas of the country indicated that the National Health Service could be “overwhelmed” in a matter of weeks.

British tabloids reported Monday that the lockdown could extend into 2021, with the Daily Mail’s front page branding the situation “a nightmare without end.”

Fears that the lockdown would be in place over the Christmas period sparked a surge in panic buying Sunday, with thousands pictured lining up outside supermarkets across the country to purchase items such as toilet paper, pasta and sanitizing equipment, scenes similar to those from March after the first lockdown was announced.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, Johnson directly addressed politicians who opposed another lockdown, saying, “let me spell out the medical and moral disaster we face.”

The prime minister said the country’s National Health Service would be overwhelmed in weeks if the exponential rate of infection continued. He said: “The sick would be turned away because there was no room in hospitals. That sacred principle of care for anyone who needs it, whoever they are, and wherever, whenever they need it, could be broken for the first time in our lives."

Leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, said both Johnson and Sunak had “failed to learn. They failed to listen. And they failed to lead,” blaming them for ignoring advice by scientific advisory group SAGE to implement a two-week “circuit style” lockdown in September.

Andrew Hayward, an infectious-disease professor at University College London, echoed Starmer’s comments, saying, “I think if we had chosen a two-week circuit-break at that time, we would definitely have saved thousands of lives.”

At least 46,800 people have lost their lives to the virus in Britain, which has the highest death toll in Europe.

Tensions triggered by the surge in new cases are also mounting in other parts of Europe. In Spain, the government’s decision to impose a six-month state of emergency resulted in violent clashes over the weekend. Dozens of people were arrested and multiple cities were affected, with Madrid reporting the most disturbances. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez condemned the “violent and irrational behavior” as “intolerable.”

“Clearly, people are frustrated, and they have every right to be frustrated, and they’re fatigued,” Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the World Health Organization, said during a Monday briefing. “We would prefer that to be seen as a dialogue between governments and communities, so that we can reach a consensus on what needs to be done. It’s really important that governments reach out to all levels of societies.”

Ryan acknowledged that governments at times have to react quickly to new challenges, but he stressed that communities have a “right to protest.”

“Protest is good, as long as that protest is safe, that protest is managed in a way that it doesn’t increase covid risk,” he said. “And obviously we would hope that such protest would be civil, nonviolent and respect the basic rule of law.”

Oil prices dipped Monday morning amid concerns that the new lockdowns in Europe could restrict travel and result in dropping demand for fuel.

Meanwhile, Slovakia achieved a new milestone by testing nearly half of its population of 5.5 million for the coronavirus in a single day, Reuters reported. An astounding 2.58 million Slovaks were tested for the virus Saturday as part of an ambitious effort that recruited more than 40,000 medics, police officers, soldiers, office workers and volunteers to staff roughly 5,000 testing sites. About 1 percent of the results came back positive, requiring 25,850 people to self-isolate, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said Sunday.

Luisa Beck, Allyson Chiu and Jacqueline Dupree contributed to this report.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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