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Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, entered a new shutdown Monday, hoping to slow its worst-ever surge of the coronavirus. The stay-at-home order bans nearly all public gatherings and prohibits people in different households from getting together, even in private. While it’s less severe than the statewide shutdown in March, Los Angeles’s order is the strictest in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned that intensive care units in the state are already two-thirds full and could fill up by mid-December. If the trends continue, Newsom said, California would need to take “dramatic — arguably, drastic — action,” including wider stay-at-home orders for the hardest-hit regions.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Scott Atlas, President Trump’s pandemic adviser who embraced a controversial strategy of urging Americans to return to work and school with little restriction and spent months feuding with the White House coronavirus task force’s other doctors, resigned on Monday.
  • An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Tuesday to weigh in on which groups of people should be eligible to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccines that may win federal regulatory approval next month.
  • Biotechnology company Moderna, one of the leaders in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, announced that it would file Monday for regulatory clearance for a vaccine that the company said was 94 percent effective at preventing illness in a 30,000-person clinical trial.
  • U.S. stocks delivered a record-breaking November, driven by promising vaccine news, the formal start of the White House transition and the selection of Janet L. Yellen to head up the Treasury Department.
  • New York officials are directing hospitals to initiate emergency measures, including identifying retired health-care workers who could return to duty, as officials try to beat back a rise in hospitalizations statewide.
  • The cascading effects of the pandemic on jobs, wages and profits have pushed 700,000 more people into poverty in the United Kingdom, a London-based think tank found.
  • The United States has reported more than 13.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 267,000 fatalities since February.
4:27 a.m.
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Flouting mask rules left the Broncos without any QBs Sunday, and now it could lead to fines

By Des Bieler

Denver Broncos Coach Vic Fangio said Monday that his quarterbacks could face additional punishment, either from the NFL or his organization, after their breach of the league’s coronavirus protocols left the team without a viable option at the position Sunday.

The Broncos (3-8) were forced to play a practice-squad wide receiver with no regular season experience, Kendall Hinton, at quarterback in a 31-3 loss to the visiting New Orleans Saints. Hinton, who had played quarterback at Wake Forest, completed just one pass and threw two interceptions as Denver mustered very little offense without starter Drew Lock or any of his backups.

After Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, Lock, third-stringer Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, a veteran on the team’s practice squad, were deemed high-risk close contacts and were required to undergo a five-day quarantine period. They reportedly had not worn masks during interactions with Driskel at the Broncos’ facility.

4:12 a.m.
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After telling more than 800 athletes and coaches to quarantine, one Maryland county halts youth sports

By Ovetta Wiggins

Mike Mulhern, a commissioner with the South County Youth Association Bulldogs in Maryland, got the dreaded phone call last month, a week before football season ended. One of his young players had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“My first reaction? It was fear,” he said. “Obviously I’m thinking about whether it was widespread. Do we all have it?”

The team and its coaches were told to quarantine. When the quarantine was over, Mulhern breathed a sigh of relief. No one else on the team had contracted the virus.

The young player, who was asymptomatic, was one of 39 people connected to youth sports in Anne Arundel County who tested positive for the virus this fall, infections that triggered quarantine orders for 804 athletes and coaches.

With the number of cases spiking across the region, county officials decided earlier this month to suspend youth sports, a step that is being taken more frequently as a second wave of the coronavirus sweeps across the country.

3:53 a.m.
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Covid-19 cases in Cook County Jail fall, but problems remain

By Darren Sands

A month-long surge of coronavirus cases at the Cook County Jail in Illinois appears to have tapered off.

According to a recent report by Chicago’s WBEZ, coronavirus cases at the jail reached a peak of 267 this past Friday. By Sunday evening, the figure was 227.

But other concerns, including the recent infection of the head of the jail, remain unsolved.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart remains under quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus sometime last week. (Media reports offer conflicting versions of the timeline.) Dart, who has continually asked for the public’s cooperation to help minimize spread at the jail he runs, last worked on Nov. 19 and began feeling symptoms the next day.

“Now we’re asking the public to please, please, please help us,” Dart said on Nov. 12, about a week before his likely infection, according to the Chicago Tribune. “If the community is not under control, if the community is not being serious about masks and social distancing, it will impact us negatively.”

Earlier this month, The Washington Post detailed how the situation at prisons and jails developed into a public health crisis of its own during the pandemic. The inability to control the spread of covid-19 is largely considered a moral failure among human rights advocates, with the Cook County Jail serving as a prime example of the compounded indignities that incarcerated people have to face during the pandemic. Advocacy groups have stressed the need for states to let more people out and urged public support for programs designed to bail out the poor and elderly.

3:29 a.m.
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It’s time to start preparing pets for post-pandemic life

By Elizabeth Chang

It might seem too soon to think about preparing pets for the time humans will return to offices and schools. After all, a coronavirus vaccine isn’t expected to be widely available until spring at the earliest, which means that most Americans who were sent home to work or study remotely will remain there for at least several more months.

But according to animal expert Zazie Todd, author of “Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy,” the eventual separation will be easier for pets “if you make changes gradually, starting potentially a long time beforehand.” So, in the spirit of doing what’s best for four-legged family members, we asked several experts how to prepare our pets and, let’s face it, ourselves to spend weekdays without one another’s company.

In addition to Todd, we spoke with Clive Wynne, psychology professor and director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University and the author of “Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You,” and Monique Udell, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University who has done research on cats and dogs. We also emailed with Alexandra Horowitz, who runs the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College and whose most recent book is “Our Dogs, Ourselves.” Here are their answers to some common questions.

2:31 a.m.
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Scott Atlas resigns as Trump’s coronavirus adviser after months of feuding with administration health officials

By Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb

Scott Atlas, President Trump’s pandemic adviser who embraced a controversial strategy of urging Americans to return to work and school with little restriction and spent months feuding with the White House coronavirus task force’s other doctors, resigned Monday, according to a letter he posted to his Twitter account.

Atlas had become widely disliked in the White House — even among aides who shared his view that the country should reopen without restrictions and that officials should not worry about young, healthy people contracting the virus, according to two senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

Atlas’s resignation was first reported by Fox News on Monday evening. The White House declined to comment.

Although Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no infectious-disease or public health background, fell out of favor with senior White House advisers in recent weeks, he was for several months the only medical adviser the president met with regularly, according to several senior administration officials. Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner brought in Atlas, who informally advised the president for several weeks before he was officially made a special government employee this summer with a 130-day detail, which expires this week. Aides noted the president could have extended Atlas’s tenure if he had desired to do so.

2:08 a.m.
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Inside a hospital as the coronavirus surges: Where will all the patients go?

By Lenny Bernstein

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — As the coronavirus pandemic swelled around the 160-bed Mayo Clinic hospital, the day was dawning auspiciously. Two precious beds for new patients had opened overnight. At the morning “bed meeting,” prospects for a third looked promising.

Everyone knew better than to trust this good fortune. They were right.

By 12:05 p.m., Mayo had put itself on “bypass,” sending all ambulances to the two other hospitals in town, a last-resort move rarely employed. By late afternoon, the emergency room was stashing patients in four beds erected in the ambulance garage — the first time it had adopted that tactic — and holding others for hours as they waited for places in the overflowing hospital.

With more than 91,000 covid-19 patients in their beds, U.S. hospitals are in danger of buckling beneath the weight of the pandemic and the ongoing needs of other sick people. In small- and medium-size facilities like this hit hardest by the outbreak’s third wave, that means finding spots in ones and twos, rather than adding hundreds at a time as New York hospitals did when the coronavirus swept the Northeast in the spring.

1:25 a.m.
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Los Angeles County begins shutdown as rest of California weighs ‘drastic’ action

By Reis Thebault

Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States, entered a new shutdown Monday, hoping to slow its worst-ever surge of the coronavirus.

The stay-at-home order bans nearly all public gatherings and prohibits people in different households from getting together, even in private. While it’s less severe than the statewide shutdown in March, Los Angeles’s order is the strictest in California. It’s the latest in a series of increasingly restrictive measures officials have implemented as the county has battled a record number of new infections.

And the measures there probably won’t be the state’s last.

Also on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned that intensive care units in the state are two-thirds full and could fill up by mid-December. If the trends continue, Newsom said, California would need to take “dramatic — arguably drastic — action,” including wider stay-at-home orders for the hardest-hit regions.

“The red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” Newsom said at a news conference.

California is averaging more than 14,000 new cases every day — more than any other state in the country, according to data tracked and analyzed by The Washington Post. More than 8,500 people are hospitalized with covid-19, and California’s virus death rate — while still lower than other large states — has seen a slight uptick in the past month.

Newsom said new stay-at-home orders could affect counties where the risk level is highest, or “purple” in the lexicon of the state health department. Currently, 51 of California’s 58 counties are at risk level purple.

12:44 a.m.
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Canada warns of ‘dark months ahead,’ pledges up to $77 billion in stimulus

By Amanda Coletta

TORONTO — Warning of “dark months ahead,” the Canadian government on Monday said that it plans to roll out a roughly $77 billion stimulus program over three years once the pandemic is “beat” to boost the economy’s recovery from the public health crisis.

The country is also forecasting a budget deficit for this fiscal year, ending March 31, 2021, of at least $293.5 billion. That figure — roughly 17.5 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product — is about 11 percent higher than an earlier projection of $264 billion.

Officials said the deficit could grow even more depending on the progression of the second wave of the coronavirus, which is hitting the country hard and prompting the reinstatement of restrictions, including business closures, in much of the country.

The figures were contained in a long-awaited fall economic statement, the most detailed accounting of how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to steer the country and its economy through the pandemic and its price tag.

His government has not released a budget since March 2019, several months before it was reduced to a minority in federal elections and long before the coronavirus arrived, upending daily life and the government’s priorities.

Trudeau and his relatively new finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, have defended the deficit, saying the government is borrowing at a time of historically low interest rates. But some business leaders have in recent months called on them to outline a plan for managing the debt.

The statement said that the stimulus will be withdrawn once the economy has recovered. Canada would then “resume a prudent and responsible fiscal path, based on a long-term fiscal anchor we will outline once the economy is more stable.”

It also said the government will bolster a wage subsidy program to cover up to 75 percent of business payroll costs and extend a commercial rent subsidy program until March 2021.

Canada also plans to impose a tax on international digital giants, such as Netflix, beginning in 2022; to take steps toward a national child-care system; and to aid the hard-hit tourism sector.

12:11 a.m.
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Britain races to become the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine

By William Booth and Karla Adam

LONDON — Britain could become the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, with the highest hopes resting on Pfizer’s candidate and the homegrown offering from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

Those hopes persist, accompanied by much flag-waving, despite questions about the Oxford vaccine’s trials and effectiveness.

Britain, like countries around the world, urgently wants to save lives and stop outbreaks. But it also wouldn’t mind credit for being first to launch a huge immunization campaign after a rigorous review.

Russia and China are already widely distributing their own vaccines, though they have been less transparent about their processes.

Britain’s drug regulators are known to be tough but nimble. They have declined to confirm the ambitious timelines floated by some officials that a vaccine could be distributed for use in the first weeks of December. In all of their communiques, they promise, “the safety of the public will always come first.”

12:07 a.m.
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Two promising vaccines head to FDA review, setting scientific speed records

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

The federal government could begin distributing two coronavirus vaccines in the next few weeks — a record-shattering accomplishment that now hinges on the decisions of U.S. regulators.

Biotechnology company Moderna filed Monday for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, capping a scientific sprint that began in January. Moderna’s two-dose regimen is about a week behind a similar vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.

No vaccine can arrive soon enough to blunt an anticipated blitz of coronavirus cases seeded by Thanksgiving travels and gatherings — a surge expected to materialize in the coming days and weeks. But less than a year after a novel virus began hopscotching around the world, U.S. government officials project an unprecedented scientific feat: Approximately 40 million doses of two remarkably effective vaccines could be available by year’s end, enough for 20 million people to receive full protection. Manufacturing will continue to ramp up through early next year, and other vaccines are expected to follow to steadily increase the supply available each month.

11:01 p.m.
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Chicago authorities shut down 300-person party that violated health orders

By Mark Guarino

Authorities in Chicago shut down a party late Sunday attended by at least 300 people in the Wicker Park neighborhood because it violated state-imposed measures to mitigate the spread of covid-19.

Attendees at the party, hosted by a private promoter in the basement of a cocktail bar, were unmasked and not following social distancing. The promoters received nine citations for violating covid-19 regulations, not having proper business licenses and allowing smoking and sparklers indoors.

Starting Oct. 30, when Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced tighter restrictions for the state, including a ban on indoor dining, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) has issued 20 citations and 54 notices to bars, restaurants and other businesses.

Activity spiked Thanksgiving weekend. Since Friday, BACP and other city agencies have conducted 93 investigations into violations. As a result, five Chicago businesses received one-day closure orders. Four were closed indefinitely.

The majority of the businesses were located on the city’s South and West sides, where covid-19 infections are highest, according to city data. More than 600 people attended one party during Halloween weekend at the Chicago Sports Complex, a large indoor soccer facility in Pilsen, a largely Hispanic neighborhood. The venue will remain closed until the city allows a reopening.

“Actions like this are a slap in the face to the thousands of businesses and millions of Chicagoans that are making sacrifices every day to keep our city safe, and we will continue cracking down on this inexcusable activity,” BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno said in a statement.

The announcement came after authorities in New York last weekend broke up a similarly clandestine, unregulated gathering that flouted local health orders. City police said roughly 400 people attended the illegal club and partied until the wee hours of Saturday.

10:11 p.m.
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Pandemic raises difficult issues about limits of tests for covid-19, other diseases

By Ishani Ganguli

Jacqueline Chu considered the patient with a negative coronavirus test on the other end of the phone. Her heart dropping, she knew that the test result was not enough to clear him for work.

The man was a grocery store clerk — an essential worker — and the sole earner for his family. A 14-day isolation period would put him at risk of getting fired or not having enough money to make rent that month. But he had just developed classic covid-19 symptoms, and many others around him in Chelsea, Mass., had confirmed cases. Even with the negative test, his chances of having the disease were too high to dismiss.

For many Americans, including physicians like Chu, who specializes in primary care and infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital, the pandemic has forced difficult conversations about the limits of medical tests. It has also revealed the catastrophic harms of failing to recognize those limits.

9:29 p.m.
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Wall Street wraps up record-breaking November

By Hamza Shaban and Taylor Telford

U.S. stocks slid on Monday but still delivered a record-breaking November marked by major developments on the political, economic and coronavirus fronts.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave up nearly 270 points, or .89 percent, by market close, but nonetheless bagged its best monthly performance since 1987. The S&P 500 slipped 16 points, nearly 0.5 percent, to close up more than 11 percent for the month, its best November since 1928. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up just a few points, slipping .06 percent.

Markets rallied after news outlets projected Democrat Joe Biden to be the winner of the Nov. 3 election, with investors largely looking past President Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud and refusal to concede. Then came several promising announcements showing the effectiveness of multiple experimental vaccines, despite the resurgence of U.S. cases and fatalities. Last week’s formal launch of the White House transition lifted Wall Street’s optimism further, notching double-digit growth and cementing November’s broad-based rally as one of the best performances in more than 90 years.

The Dow, which last week surpassed 30,000 for the first time, gained 12 percent this month. Analysts are encouraged by the makeup of the rally, which has broadened beyond the giant technology companies that fueled much of Wall Street’s comeback in the summer.

“Industrials and value names have started to climb this year as the market strength continued to broaden in the month of November,” said Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller & Washington.

Other sectors are also driving the gains, as are smaller companies — another upbeat indicator for the country’s economic prospects. The Russell 2000 index, comprising small-cap stocks, has surged more than 20 percent this month, which would mark the biggest monthly gain since the index began tracking its companies in 1984.

8:54 p.m.
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New York directs hospitals to start emergency measures as Cuomo raises possibility of new shutdown

By Marisa Iati

New York officials are directing hospitals to initiate emergency measures, including identifying retired health-care workers who could return to duty, as officials try to beat back a rise in coronavirus-related hospitalizations statewide.

The state health department has also directed hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 50 percent, plan to erect field hospitals, prepare to move patients between facilities if needed and confirm that they have a 90-day stockpile of personal protective equipment, among other guidelines.

Hospitalizations are increasing in nearly every region of the state, making it impractical to shift resources from one area to another, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Monday. He added that officials will also consider shutting down much of New York again if hospitals become overwhelmed.

New York’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations more than tripled in November, data tracked by The Washington Post shows. More than 3,500 people were hospitalized on Monday, with 667 in intensive care units.

“We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system,” Cuomo said at a news conference. “We lived this nightmare. We learned from this nightmare. And we’re going to correct for the lessons we learned.”