The U.S. neared its record on Thursday for coronavirus-related deaths when more than 2,800 people were confirmed dead from Covid-19, according to an NBC News tally. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced its guidelines for the first phase of the most ambitious national vaccination campaign in modern history.
This liveblog has now ended - see the latest updates here.
- 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.
South Korea study highlights risks of indoor dining
A study conducted by scientists in South Korea traced the origins of one local outbreak and showed how the coronavirus spread in a restaurant between the individuals without close contact and at a greater distance than the 6 feet that is recommended for social distancing.
Researchers examined the chain of transmission from a June 17 outbreak in a restaurant in the city of Jeonju, in western South Korea. Three Covid-19 infections resulted from the incident. In their study, the scientists demonstrated that the virus was likely spread through long-distance droplet transmission, which occurs when virus-filled particles are ejected from the mouth or nose as a person speaks, coughs or sneezes.
In the recent study, published online Nov. 23 in the Journal of Korean Medical Science, the scientists showed how airflow in the restaurant from “ceiling-type air conditioners” enabled droplet transmission at distances of more than 21 feet. In one case, the infected person overlapped with a diner for only five minutes who later tested positive, according to the study.
The results show the potential risk of dining inside restaurants and attending other indoor gatherings, and also demonstrate the limitations of social distancing guidelines from the CDC and WHO. “We share these investigation results as a reference to update guidelines involving prevention, tracing, and quarantine for control of this pandemic infectious disease,” the scientists wrote in the study.
Kansas Covid obituary excoriates mask deniers
A Kansas son's obituary paying tribute to his father who died of Covid-19 is going viral for excoriating mask refusers.
In the death notice, Courtney Farr, the son of the late Dr. Marvin J. Farr, who died December 1 at Park Lane Nursing Home in Scott City, Kansas, wrote that his father was "preceded in death by more than 260,000 Americans infected with Covid-19."
Describing his late father as a man born into the Great Depression and having survived World War II amidst great sacrifice, Courtney Farr said Marvin "died in a world where many of his fellow Americans refuse to wear a piece of cloth on their face to protect one another."
"He died in a room not his own, being cared for by people dressed in confusing and frightening ways. He died with Covid-19, and his final days were harder, scarier and lonelier than necessary. He was not surrounded by friends and family."
Brace for post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in 2-3 weeks, Fauci warns
Dr. Anthony Fauci: 'We're in a very precarious situation right now'Dec. 4, 202008:57
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the surge in coronavirus cases related to gatherings and travel over the Thanksgiving holiday may not be felt for weeks and could run right into the Christmas season.
"May be a little bit of blip (right now), but we don't expect to see the full brunt of it between two and three weeks following Thanksgiving, so I think we have not yet seen the post-Thanksgiving peak," Fauci told Savannah Guthrie on "TODAY" Friday. "That's the concerning thing because the numbers in and of themselves are alarming, and then you realize that it is likely we'll see more of a surge as we get two to three weeks past the Thanksgiving holiday."
U.S. economy gains just 245,000 jobs in final report of 2020 as recovery stalls with Covid surging
The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, as the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had predicted the economy would gain around 440,000 jobs.
Amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases and a new round of shutdowns, Friday's figure represents the fifth straight month of slowing job gains. The sharp decline represents the lowest monthly total since the economy started its halting recovery.
BLS unemployment data is collected on or around the 12th of the month, but more recent metrics underscore how vulnerable the economy is to a “super-surge” of coronavirus infections around the holidays that could send people back into their homes and shutter businesses.
Although the promise of a vaccine has raised the hopes of investors, public health officials warn that a large-scale rollout sufficient to protect much of the population could still be months away.
“It's hard to see exactly when the recovery can really start,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter.com. “The start of vaccination is not enough. We need people to feel totally safe gathering in large numbers."
Second day of 200,000-plus Covid cases in the U.S.
The U.S. counted more than 200,000 Covid-19 cases for the second day in a row with a record 219,394 cases Thursday. The current death count is 276,874, which includes Thursday's 2,802 deaths, the most since 2,892 were reported dead May 6, according to NBC News' tally.
The U.S. is averaging 179,171 cases and 1,826 deaths per day the past week. Four weeks ago, the U.S. averaged 133,824 cases and 1,073 deaths per day.
These states set single-day records Thursday:
- Alaska, 763 cases
- Arkansas, 2,789 cases
- Delaware, 758 cases
- Indiana, 8,460 cases
- Iowa, 73 dead
- Kentucky, 71 dead
- Massachusetts, 6,675 cases
- Nevada, 48 dead
- New Mexico, 44 dead
- North Carolina, 73 dead
- Tennessee, 93 dead
- Wyoming, 27 dead