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Here's the latest:
Exactly one month after the state saw the seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate hover around 1%, new infection rates across New York stand at nearly 3%, with several contributing factors to blame, said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"We know the factors that contribute to spread, like COVID fatigue, winter, restaurants, gyms, and living room family spread," Cuomo said in a statement. "What's going to happen? Will we shut down and will we have more restrictions? What has worked for New York from day one is it's a pure consequence of science."
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 2.81%, according to the latest statistics released Saturday. High COVID-19 infections in the the state's designated orange, and yellow zones are contributing to the spike, specifically in neighboring Westchester County. There, the Village of Port Chester, which is now considered an orange zone, has a seven-day rolling average of 9.62% and has been designated an orange zone.
"What has worked for New York from day one is it's a pure consequence of science," Cuomo added. "There's no political decision making, no ideological decision making. Look at the numbers, and if the numbers are increasing and if they're not slowing, then you have to restrict activity. Our actions today determine our positivity rate tomorrow, so follow the public health law - wear a mask and adhere to gathering limits, and localities need to do the enforcement."
Twenty-four New Yorkers succumbed to the virus on Friday, including two from the Bronx, three from Brooklyn, two from Manhattan, one from Queens, and another from Staten Island.
Cuomo had seen a silver lining in the increase of rates, noting that other parts of the country are seeing higher rates even with the same restrictions as New York is experiencing, such as a curfew for restaurants.
U.S. Reports 184,514 Daily COVID-19 Cases, A New Record
11 a.m.: The United States saw 184,514 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, setting yet another new record for daily cases.
There have now been 10,746,996 cases in the country, per Johns Hopkins' data; the following countries with the highest totals are India (8,773,479), Brazil (5,810,652), and France (1,915,677). France is two weeks into a national lockdown to control its rising number of cases; its daily positivity rate is around 40%, and its daily caseload was 60,000 last week (the country is about a fifth of the U.S.'s population). France has closed bars and restaurants but kept schools and factories open—and has seen its new cases drop due to the lockdown.
Cases are expected to rise as the weather gets colder and people retreat indoors, especially for holidays. In the U.S., where the federal government has ceded managing the pandemic to states, COVID-19-related deaths are rising. According to the NY Times, "More than 1,000 Americans are dying of the coronavirus every day on average, a 50 percent increase in the last month. Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee and Wisconsin have recorded more deaths over the last seven days than in any other week of the pandemic. Twice this past week, there have been more than 1,400 deaths reported in a single day."
Epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told the Times, "It’s getting bad and it’s potentially going to get a lot worse. The months ahead are looking quite horrifying."
Texas has more than 1 million cases, and health officials in El Paso, Texas have asked FEMA for 10 morgue trucks.
However, in spite of the surging cases, an appeals court ruled against El Paso County's attempt to implement a stay-at-home order, saying that only Texas Governor Greg Abbott can enact such orders. (The chief justice was appointed by Abbott.)
In remarks on Friday, President Donald Trump repeated that there will be no lockdown order, and spent time hailing the Pfizer vaccine that has shown extremely promising preliminary results. He did not explicitly encourage mask-wearing either, only insisting, "We understand the disease. It’s a — it’s a complicated disease, but we understand it very well. We ask all Americans to remain vigilant, especially as the weather gets colder and it becomes more difficult to go outside and to have outside gatherings."
Trump, who famously eschews wearing masks and held large rallies and gatherings, tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized in October. Numerous members of Trump's administration and campaign have also contracted COVID-19, and a study says that 700 virus cases are linked to his rallies.
Over 244,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus.