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The nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday could make the current surge in Covid-19 cases even worse in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, global deaths crept toward 1.5 million as the total hit 1.45 million on Monday.
- Map of U.S. hot spots and worldwide Covid-19 cases.
- Tracking surges in states across the country this winter.
- Map of travel restrictions and which states have a mask mandate.
- Click here for more of NBC News' Covid-19 coverage.
When schools closed, Black, Hispanic, poor kids took biggest hit
When the pandemic forced the closure of most U.S. schools last spring, students were thrown into new and unfamiliar ways of learning. Special education students and children learning English lost support that their schools struggled to provide online. Many students had no access to computers or internet and were completely cut off from their teachers.
The true toll these disruptions have taken on student learning won’t be known for months or years, but new reports from national education-testing organizations have begun to offer an early look at that impact.
The latest is a report from NWEA, formerly the Northwest Evaluation Association, which analyzed the results of tests given to nearly 4.4 million U.S. students in grades three through eight this fall and found that most fell short in math, scoring an average of 5 to 10 percentile points behind students who took the same test last year.
When vaccines are ready, dentists, optometrists may give shots
With multiple Covid-19 vaccines rapidly heading toward approval, optometrists and dentists are pushing for the authority to immunize patients during routine eye exams and dental cleanings.
These medical professionals say their help will be needed to distribute the vaccines to millions of Americans — and they already have the know-how.
"When you look at what dentists do and how many injections they give day in and day out, I think they're more than qualified," said dentist Jim Wood, a California state Assembly member. "It's kind of a no-brainer."
Moderna president: Distribution could be 'within hours' of approval
Third Georgia congressman contracts virus
ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19. That makes him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus.
Scott’s chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result on Monday.
Scott represents Georgia’s 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The chief of staff’s statement did not say if Scott was experiencing any symptoms but added he was heeding his doctor’s advice.
All three Georgia congressman who’ve tested positive for the virus have been Republicans. Rep. Rick Allen announced a positive test result last week. Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October.
Trudeau planning to spend tens of billions more on recovery
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago.
The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown.
The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending.
Pandemic changes visits with Santa and kids' Christmas wish lists
Vaccine news fuels return to lavish weddings
NBC News spoke with a half dozen wedding industry insiders who said that among the themes to emerge in 2020 are the rise of micro-weddings, the death of destination weddings, the growing popularity of Covid-19 riders in wedding contracts and the emergence of 2021 as a popular year to wed.
The promise of a vaccine, wedding experts said, has given couples a renewed sense of optimism. Still, they say, 2020 remains a year of industry setbacks.
“2020 is really just one big loss for the wedding industry,” said Steve Sendor, publisher of Sophisticated Weddings Magazine.
Scott Atlas, Trump medical adviser who clashed with public health experts, resigns
Dr. Scott Atlas, the controversial White House coronavirus adviser, is resigning from his position tomorrow, a White House official said Monday.
Fox News, which first reported the resignation, obtained Atlas’s resignation letter, which is dated Dec. 1 and says that he was on a 130-day detail set to expire this week.
Atlas, who has no infectious disease background, has been on the outs with most of the rest of the coronavirus task force for months. He has spread misinformation about the virus and downplayed its seriousness.
Spain village could be over 70 percent Covid positive, residents mass-tested
Ravens-Steelers game postponed a third time, now scheduled for Wednesday
The game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers that was originally scheduled as the marquee football match for Thanksgiving night has been pushed back once more.
Following a coronavirus outbreak in the Ravens organization that put more than 20 people on the Covid-19/reserve list, the game was moved from last Thursday to Sunday. Then it was moved again from Sunday to Tuesday. And now, on Monday, the NFL announced the game will be played on Wednesday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. ET.
Miami-Dade County Mayor tests positive for Covid-19
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has tested positive for COVID-19.
Levine Cava tweeted Monday that her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed by one of his patients and also tested positive Monday. They both have mild symptoms and are in quarantine.
"Our family is no different from the thousands of other families at heightened risk of exposure due to the sacrifice of healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines – the heroes and heroines who work to keep us safe," Levine Cava said in a series of tweets. "I’m more grateful than ever for their bravery."
Levine Cava said she was exposed over the Thanksgiving holiday and has not had any in-person contact with other county employees.
Denmark wants to dig up 'zombie mink' with mutated coronavirus from mass graves
Denmark's government wants to dig up mink that were culled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after some resurfaced from mass graves.
Denmark ordered all farmed mink to be culled early this month after finding that 12 people had been infected by a mutated strain of the virus that causes Covid-19, which passed from humans to mink and back to humans.
The decision led to 17 million animals being destroyed and to the resignation last week of Food and Agriculture Minister Morgens Jensen, after it was determined that the order was illegal.
Dead mink were tipped into trenches at a military area in western Denmark and covered with two meters (about six feet) of soil. But hundreds have begun resurfacing, pushed out of the ground by what authorities say is gas from their decomposition. Newspapers have referred to them as the "zombie mink."
To counter Covid's hit to economy, Hawaii encouraging people to work remotely from the state
The state of Hawaii launched a program on Monday hoping to entice people to work remotely from the islands.
The Movers & Shakas program was launched through a partnership with the state’s government, business leaders, alumni associations and various organizations to bring workers to the Hawaiian islands after the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the state’s tourism industry.
Fifty applicants who meet the qualifications of the program will become part of the first cohort and will receive a free roundtrip ticket to Oahu, according to a press release.
Once accepted, program participants must sign a pledge, “The Pledge to Our Keiki,” promising to be a good neighbor and making a commitment to respecting the culture and natural resources of Hawaii. They must also volunteer several hours per week with a nonprofit organization that matches their professional skill set in their new Hawaiian community. In return for their volunteer work, participants will be given access to discounts on accommodations, flights, restaurants and other attractions.
Hawaii has the lowest rate per capita of Covid-19 cases in the U.S., just 5.9 per 100,000 in the last 7 days, according to the CDC.
Hundreds of Chicago-area nursing home workers strike as Covid-19 cases spike
Polar Bear plunge in New York City canceled due to Covid-19
Hoping to kick off 2021 by doing the New Year’s Day Polar Bear plunge at Coney Island? F-f-f-fuhgettaboutit.
The rising number of Covid-19 cases has forced the Coney Island Polar Bear Club USA to put New York City’s chilliest holiday tradition on ice — at least for this year.
“With the ongoing concerns regarding mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to cancel what would have been the 117th annual New Year's Day plunge,” the organizers of the festive and often frigid event said on the club’s official website.
Designer dress with latex-looking gloves sparks comments on pandemic fashion
Shoppers had no shortage of comments in response to a dress by designer Meryll Rogge that was fitted with latex-looking gloves. The gloves, which retail at Nordstrom for $740.00, stirred up a wide range of comments online.
One shopper said, “This was an absolute stunner for my Halloween Mrs. Krabs outfit. 10/10 would recommend for any of your lobster dress-up needs.”
Another added, "I was so excited to attend my family’s formal holiday celebration, but alas, I got scheduled to work the COVID floor at the hospital, thus I would be late to the party. But thank god! This formal hospital scrub gown, complete with gloves, will have me looking like a queen, one hour tending COVID patients, and the next hour, attending my family’s party. Functional and Fun!”
“Our Gloved Silk Double Satin Bolero, or ‘Glove-Boa' was designed in October of 2019. Little did we know that a year later, we would be in the middle of an international pandemic and that our accessory would be the starting point for such a fun and unexpected discussion,” Meryll Rogge told NBC News.
As hospitalizations soar in California, governor says 'drastic' action may follow
The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in California soared by 89 percent over the last two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, and most of the state’s intensive care units could be over capacity by mid-December.
Newsom called the explosive spread of the coronavirus “sobering” and said they that if the current trends continue, “We’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”
That could include the kind of restrictive stay-at-home orders that were in place earlier this year and went back into effect in Los Angeles County on Monday, he said.
The average number of new daily cases per week in the state had risen to more than 14,000 by Monday, he said, surpassing the previous 7-day high of nearly 10,000 over the summer.
Congress under pressure to pass Covid relief bill as government shutdown looms
Oregon nurse put on leave after posting TikTok bragging about not wearing mask
An Oregon nurse who bragged on TikTok about not wearing a mask outside of her job, prompting backlash on the platform, has been placed on administrative leave, according to her employer.
Salem Health said the nurse, who has not been identified other than by her username "LoveIsKind05," "displayed cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic," the hospital said Saturday on Facebook.
"This video has prompted an outcry from concerned community members. We want to thank those of you who brought this to our attention and assure you that we are taking this very seriously. This individual does not speak for Salem Health and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation," Salem Health said.
Covid-19 vaccines face a varied and powerful misinformation movement online
Vaccination proponents and misinformation researchers had been waiting for years for Facebook to take action against the biggest and most influential anti-vaccination pages.
So it was with some trepidation that they welcomed the news that the social network last week had banned some of the most popular and prolific anti-vaccination accounts — pages that had also pushed Covid-19 vaccination misinformation to millions of people.
Their impact, however, lives on. While researchers of extremism and public health advocates see the removal of the largest anti-vaccination accounts as mostly positive, new research shows the bigger threat to public trust in a Covid-19 vaccine comes from smaller, better-connected Facebook groups that gravitated to anti-vaccination messaging in recent months.
“What we’re seeing play out with Covid is what was already in the system," Neil Johnson, a physicist at George Washington University who studies online extremism, said. "It was primed for that at the end of 2019.”
Ohio governor urges people to stay home as 'hospitals fill up with COVID patients'
Gov. Mike DeWine urged residents of Ohio to work from home if they can "as we see our hospitals fill up with COVID patients."
DeWine also announced a postponement of state employees returning to work, originally scheduled for January. "We must do everything we can right now to slow down the transmission of the virus and the potential contact people may have," DeWine said in a series of tweets on Monday.
The announcement came the same day as Ohio posted 6,631 new cases and 30 deaths due to coronavirus.
'We're at more than capacity': Texas doctor warns coronavirus surge is straining hospitals
High school junior is first Wisconsin teenager to die from Covid-19, officials say
A Wisconsin teenager died from complications of Covid-19, officials said Monday, in another tragic first for the pandemic-ravaged state.
Isai Morocho was an 11th-grader at East High School and his death marks a "tremendous loss" for the Madison Metropolitan School District, a schools spokesman said.
"All of MMSD is heartbroken to learn of the passing of an East High School student due to Covid-19 related causes," the district said in a statement on Monday.
He'll be "the first teenager in Dane County to die from Covid, as well as the first teenager in Wisconsin" to pass from the virus, according to Christy Vogt, a health education coordinator for Public Health Madison & Dane County.
South Dakota nurse pleads with governor: Wear a mask
A South Dakota nurse pleaded with Gov. Kristi Noem to “lead by example” and wear a mask even as she refuses to mandate them statewide.
“My job and task is to build relationships between the government and between nurses,” Ashley Kingdon-Reese, who is the Executive Director of Independent Health Solutions, said on MSBNC. “And so, this opportunity is really a chance to plead with our governor to lead by example, to put that message out that's protective and not political.”
“Even if, personally, you don't believe that masks have a big impact, any impact is better than none,” she said.
Kingdon-Reese said the resistance to masks has been stoked by “disinformation and misinformation” and she fears it could lead to people saying no to the Covid-19 vaccine as well.
“If we don't get the information out and stop looking at this as a political issue, and that somehow wearing a mask or having a vaccine impedes on your freedom, we're gonna be in trouble,” she said.
South Dakota currently has a Covid-19 infection rate of 41.36 percent, which is the second-highest rate in the country, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
Noem, a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump, has refused to impose restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 and has simply dismissed reports that South Dakota has become a superspreader state as a result.
Global Covid-19 cases decline after European lockdowns
The number of new global coronavirus cases fell last week for the first time since September, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, director-general of the WHO, said the decline owed to decreasing case numbers in Europe, where countries such as France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands imposed new restrictions to fight growing outbreaks.
“This is welcome news, but it must be interpreted with extreme caution,” Ghebreyesu told reporters Monday in a news briefing. “Gains can easily be lost, and there was still an increase in cases in most other regions of the world, and an increase in deaths.”
Ghebreyesu urged people to stay vigilant throughout the holiday season, adding that the pandemic will likely force people around the world to celebrate differently this year.
“We all want to be together with the people we love during festive periods,” he said. “But being with family and friends is not worth putting them or yourself at risk. We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with in the decisions we make.”
Ice-T says 'no masker' father-in-law contracted Covid, is now a 'believer'
The rapper and actor Ice-T said Sunday that his father-in-law had contracted the coronavirus, spent 40 days in intensive care and was on oxygen "indefinitely."
Ice-T's real name is Tracy Marrow. He is married to Coco (born Nicole Austin).
Ice-T said her father, Steve Austin, had pneumonia in both lungs and had been "close to death."
Austin is "a believer now," Ice-T tweeted with an image of Austin wearing an oxygen mask. Austin did not immediately return a request for comment.
Michigan couple married for 47 years die from Covid-19 on the same day
Just two days before Thanksgiving, a Michigan couple married for 47 years died from Covid-19.
Leslie and Patricia McWaters both died from Covid-19 on Nov. 24 after being hospitalized with the virus, according to an obituary. Their deaths were recorded at the exact same time.
“It’s beautiful, but it’s so tragic. Kind of like Romeo and Juliet,” their daughter, Joanna Sisk, told NBC affiliate WDIV. “One wouldn’t have wanted to be without the other.”
Patricia McWaters, 78, who was known to friends and family as Pat, was a registered nurse and spent 35 years of her career working in the operating room at the Foote Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, Michigan, her hometown.
Leslie McWaters, 75, also originally from Jackson and known as “LD” to friends and family, was a truck driver and a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve.
Nurse put on leave after posting TikTok video mocking coronavirus precautions
An Oregon nurse has been put on administrative leave and is being investigated after she posted a TikTok video in which she mockingly suggested she does not follow coronavirus prevention guidelines like wearing a mask or social distancing.
A nurse at a hospital in Salem posted a since-deleted video of herself wearing scrubs and a stethoscope and lip-syncing along with audio from the 2000 movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." In the clip, a little girl shrieks in horror after encountering the Grinch.
"When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out and let my kids have playdates,” the caption read, as the woman jokingly screamed along.
NY hospitalizations rise to levels not seen since spring
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he triggered emergency hospital procedures due to the rising number of Covid-19 patients.
"Literally every region is dealing with a hospital issue now," he said. The state has instructed hospitals to look for retired health care workers to return to hospitals, prepare field hospitals to handle overflow and increase the number of beds by 50 percent.
Minnesota counted a record 9,005 Covid-19 cases Sunday
Minnesota broke the 9,000 cases in a day mark Sunday, logging 9,005 Covid-19 cases in a single day according to NBC News' tally. Fifty-seven people were reported dead.
Across the U.S., 138,616 new cases were counted alongside 804 reported deaths. Daily U.S. case counts have exceeded 100,000 since Nov. 4.
Grassley back at Capitol after Covid-19 quarantine
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, returned to the Capitol on Monday following his quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, his office said.
The senator, who is 87 and said on Nov. 17 that he had tested positive for the disease, was asymptomatic throughout the quarantine period, his office said, adding that his doctors cleared him to return to work.
“This disease affects people differently," said Grassley, who at 87 is in a vulnerable age group. "I did not experience symptoms, but more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized. That means we all have to do our part to help protect our friends, family and fellow Americans. I will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing."
Grassley called on Congress to pass another round of coronavirus relief legislation.
“Promising vaccine news means there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "That makes staying vigilant in the coming months all the more important. Congress must do its part and pass long overdue relief legislation to help families, businesses and communities get through this crisis. I hope my colleagues reach the same conclusion and a bipartisan bill can pass very soon.”
Biden adviser says Americans must be better educated on vaccines
The nation's leaders "have a lot of work to do" to help Americans better understand vaccine importance and safety and "dispel many of the rumors" surrounding such treatment, an adviser for President-elect Joe Biden on Covid-19 said Monday.
America needs a "very comprehensive education program right now to help people understand why these vaccines are safe and effective," Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on MSNBC. "And that's missing right now. Operation Warp Speed has done a great deal to bring us vaccines — quickly and effective vaccines at that — but they've not done at all any real work to help the public become comfortable with these vaccines."
He added that education among communities of color are of great concern after some people have indicated they "will not take this vaccine because they fear it's an experiment." Moderna, the Massachusetts biotech firm that said Monday it will submit its coronavirus vaccine for federal regulatory approval, reportedly had issues enrolling enough Black, Latino and Native American volunteers to determine how well the vaccine works in these populations.
England's Covid-19 infections down 30 percent during national lockdown, study shows
LONDON — Covid-19 infections have fallen by 30 percent during England’s month-long national lockdown and the virus is now in retreat, a large-scale study of more than 100,000 volunteers showed on Monday.
England began its second national lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb rapidly rising infections and protect its health system. The country is due to return to a regional approach to restrictions from Dec. 2.
Levels of infection fell 30 percent, with 96 people per 10,000 infected between Nov. 13 and Nov. 24, according to interim results of the study by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI. The last iteration of the research, carried out between Oct. 16 and Nov. 2, showed 130 infections per 10,000 people.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced criticism over the decision to lock down from within his own party, where some said it was an unnecessary infringement on civil liberties, but opposition Labour Party said he had been too slow to react.
Congress returns to face funding deadline, pressure on coronavirus aid
WASHINGTON — After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill’s main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.
Covid-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defense policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office.
The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed Covid-19 relief package that’s a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.
TSA screens highest number of travelers since March
The Transportation Security Administration said Monday it had screened 1,176,091 passengers on Sunday, as passengers returned home from Thanksgiving travels. It's the highest recorded level since broad lockdowns hit in mid-March, but still less than half what it was a year ago.
The Centers for Disease Control had urged people to stay home for Thanksgiving, fearing holiday travel could add new strength to a recent surge of national Covid-19 infection numbers to new highs.
"What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"I don't want to frighten people except to say it's not too late at all for us to do something about this," he added, urging people to be careful when they travel back home and upon arriving and to take proven steps like social distancing and wearing masks.
Vietnam reports first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in 89 days
HANOI — Vietnam confirmed on Monday its first locally transmitted case of the coronavirus in nearly three months, after the infection of a man related to a flight attendant who had tested positive after returning from Japan two weeks ago.
The country's health minister ordered provinces and state agencies to tighten screening and controls and contact tracing efforts were launched after the 32-year-old man was confirmed as the first reported domestic infection in 89 days.
With its strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam has managed to quickly contain its coronavirus outbreaks, allowing it to resume its economic activities earlier than much of Asia.
Vietnam crushed its first wave of coronavirus infections in April and went nearly 100 days without local transmission until the virus remerged and was quickly contained in the central city of Danang in July.
Moderna to submit vaccine for approval today
A front-runner coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by Massachusetts biotech firm Moderna will be submitted for regulatory approval Monday, the company said — the second leading drug to pass the milestone this month.
Moderna said it will ask the United States Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization after completing its Phase 3 trial, finding the vaccine was 94.1 percent effective against Covid-19.
Moreover, Moderna said the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.
These results were the same across all age, race and gender categories, the company said in a statement. There have been no serious safety concerns so far, it added, with the most common side effects being fatigue, muscle and joint pain and headaches.
Recent vaccine developments have been met with widespread optimism among scientists and stock markets. But experts are also urging caution until more data is released beyond the various companies' triumphant non peer-reviewed press releases. These vaccine trials are primarily geared toward preventing symptomatic disease, but questions remain about how effective they are at stopping transmission, too.
St. Louis doctor says hospitals out of capacity or are at capacity
Don't fall victim to vaccine scams, officials warn
WASHINGTON — The coronavirus vaccine inching toward approval in the U.S. is desperately anticipated by weary Americans longing for a path back to normal life. But criminals are waiting, too, ready to use that desperation to their advantage, federal investigators say.
Homeland Security investigators are working with Pfizer, Moderna and dozens of other drug companies racing to complete and distribute the vaccine and treatments for the virus. The goal: to prepare for the scams that are coming, especially after the mess of criminal activity this year with phony personal protective equipment, false cures and extortion schemes.
“We're all very excited about the potential vaccine and treatments,” said Steve Francis, assistant director for global trade investigations with Homeland Security Investigations. “But I also caution against these criminal organizations and individuals that will try to exploit the American public."
No vaccine has yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has approved the first treatment for COVID-19, the antiviral drug remdesivir. With vaccines and treatments both, it has warned about the potential for fraud.
35,000 Australians remain stranded abroad
Desalyn Bowyer hasn't seen her children since February. Then her father died in July, and she couldn't attend the funeral.
Bowyer, 40, moved from Sydney to Hong Kong last December for work. She planned to return to Australia every two weeks to spend time with her kids.
Little did she know that she would endure more than nine months of flight cancellations and dashed hopes. Now, as still more months tick by during which she is unable to return to Australia, her children, ages 7 and 14, have reached their own conclusion.
"They think I've abandoned them," Bowyer said by phone.
She's far from alone: More than 35,000 Australians are stranded abroad, according to Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, all of them trying to get home in spite of tough immigration rules designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.