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Stay home on Thanksgiving, CDC urges; and more updates as U.S. tries to control virus
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Stay home on Thanksgiving, CDC urges; and more updates as U.S. tries to control virus

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Above: Watch now as CDC also says college students should stay put.

With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

It was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country.

Families hoping to get tested before seeing family for Thanksgiving faced long lines, a reminder that nation’s strained testing system is still unable to keep pace with the virus.

Vice President Mike Pence concluded the White House’s first coronavirus task force briefing in months without taking questions or urging Americans not to travel at Thanksgiving as the virus rages.

Pence walked out Thursday and ignored shouted questions as to whether the election transition was endangering American lives by not delivering vital vaccine information to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.

Though the officials urged Americans to follow social distancing guidelines, they predominantly painted an optimistic portrait of the nation’s response to the pandemic, particularly touting the progress made on a vaccine. That stood in stark contrast to a more somber assessment offered by Biden at his own briefing minutes earlier.

President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the election, was not in attendance, nor was task force member Dr. Scott Atlas, who has expressed skepticism about masks. Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci returned to the White House podium for the first time in months.

In other developments:

  • As more than 97,000 of America’s long-term care residents have died in the coronavirus pandemic, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.
  • The NFL is placing all teams in intensive protocol starting Saturday to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as the number of cases rises around the country.
  • A key researcher at the University of Oxford says scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas.
  • The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.
  • Japan has reported a record number of daily coronavirus infections, amid a worrying spike in a country that has been spared the worst of the pandemic and hopes to host the Olympics next year.
  • Africa has surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the continent's top public health official warns that the continent is edging toward a second wave of infections. The World Health Organization is also warning of a second wave in the Middle East as countries in the area are lowering their guard after tough lockdowns imposed earlier this year.

Above: Watch now as Biden says he won't shut down economy

Meanwhile, other nations are eagerly planning to begin vaccinations. Siggnificant number of Italians who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should have received their shots by next September, Italy’s special commissioner for the virus emergency said Thursday.

Italy is set to receive 3.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the second half of January through the European Union's purchase program

Tyson Foods top officials apparently turned the outbreak into a game at its largest pork plant. The company on Thursday and launched an investigation into allegations that they bet on how many workers would get infected during a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

A manager allegedly organized the pool last spring as the virus spread through the Waterloo plant, ultimately infecting more than 1,000 of its 2,800 workers, killing at least six and sending many others to the hospital. 

While waiting for a vaccine, how about a nicer game? Such as chess? The one-time board game has enjoyed a huge surge in online interest since the first coronavirus lockdown.

At the beginning of 2020, FIDE says up to 11 million games of chess were played online every day. After lockdown, this number had increased by up to 17 million, while FIDE says these platforms recorded an increase in 40% of new accounts registered.

Streaming platforms Twitch and YouTube, more commonly used by online gamers to broadcast more conventional video gaming, also saw a boost. FIDE says Twitch users spent around two million hours viewing chess in February and four million in April. By May, this was up to eight million hours.

9 charts that track the spread in our counties, states and nation

With coronavirus cases sweeping across the U.S., and families hoping to get tested before seeing family for Thanksgiving long lines to get tested have started to reappear, a reminder that nation’s strained testing system is still unable to keep pace with the virus.

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