WASHINGTON — President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus as the nation sets daily records for confirmed cases for the pandemic.

Mark Meadows

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, seen Oct. 30 at the White House, is the latest Trump administration official to test positive for the coronavirus. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Two senior administration officials confirmed Friday that Meadows had tested positive for the virus, which has killed more than 236,000 Americans so far this year. They offered no details on when the chief of staff came down with the virus or his current condition. His diagnosis was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Meadows traveled with Trump in the run-up to Election Day and last appeared in public early Wednesday morning, without a mask, as Trump falsely declared victory in the vote count. He had been one of the close aides around Trump when the president came down with the virus more than a month ago, but was tested daily and maintained his regular work schedule.

It marked the latest case of the virus in the West Wing, coming not even two weeks after Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, and other aides tests positive for the virus. Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and at least two dozen others tested positive for the virus in early October, after Trump held large gatherings of people not wearing face masks, including the ceremony announcing the nomination of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Trump has repeatedly said that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, which was top of mind for voters in Tuesday’s election.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have increased more than 50 percent in the past two weeks. According to an AP analysis of data from John Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose from 61,166 on Oct. 22 to 94,625 on Nov. 5.

U.S. again breaks single-day record for new COVID cases

The nation registered more than 128,000 new coronavirus infections Friday, a third consecutive single-day record, as the runaway pandemic continued its spread across the United States and reached deep into Florida, Texas and other parts of the country.

Illinois set a staggering record for the state of 11,790 confirmed and probable cases for the day, a much greater total than recorded Friday by more populous states such as California and New York. Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota also were among the states grappling with unprecedented cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“It is community-spread everywhere,” said Jaline Gerardin, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. In part, the greater numbers are the result of the increased availability of testing, she said. But the main problem was allowing the virus to simmer at fairly high levels throughout the summer, particularly among young people who congregated in bars and restaurants against expert advice.

Virus_Outbreak_Illinois_42835

People walk in downtown Evanston, Ill., on Friday. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he will again impose tougher statewide restrictions if the latest resurgence of coronavirus cases continues to escalate. Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

“I think it ended up busting out of their own age group,” she said. “It spread out from there, and what we’re seeing now is it’s in every age group. … It’s just everywhere.”

The current case totals are an echo of late March, when according to epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, the first surge probably peaked at more than 283,000 cases per day. But there was no way to know at the time, because the U.S. testing regime was so inadequate, said Mokdad, chief strategy officer of population health for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

With those limitations, the United States did not record its 120,000th infection overall until March 28, more than two months after the first case was identified in Snohomish County, Wash., records show. On Friday, the nation registered more cases than that in a single day.

Read the full story here.

Iowa governor announces media campaign as virus cases surge, hospitals brace

DES MOINES, Iowa  — Coronavirus infections continued a rapid spread across the state Friday, pushing hospitalizations and patients in intensive care to new highs as Iowa medical centers prepared for an onslaught of patients.

Iowa public health officials reported 3,533 new confirmed cases Friday and 14 more deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 27% on Oct. 22 to nearly 42% on Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, keeping Iowa’s rate second in the nation behind South Dakota.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, shown in September, has refused to implement any new measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a new high of 912 and those in intensive care units remained at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic at 188.

Officials at the state’s largest hospital systems are warning Iowans that if the current infection rate continues, they will be overwhelmed with patients. Their preparations for the surge are forcing them to curtail other medical procedures, shift personnel from surgical duties to intensive care and expand ICU beds.

The state reported 75 of Iowa’s 99 counties have a positivity rate exceeding 15%, a high rate of spread that should prompt government mitigation efforts, according to World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds refused to implement any new measures. On Thursday, she announced a media campaign encouraging Iowans to take responsibility and stop the spread.

‘I cry every day’: Virus hits French nursing homes anew

PARIS  — Virus pressure is mounting at French nursing homes, where more than 400 people with COVID-19 have died in the past week and some residents are again being confined to their rooms and cut off from their families.

“I cry every day,” said Patricia Deliry, 81, whose daughter usually provides daily assistance at her Paris care home but has been kept away for the past two weeks as part of the home’s virus protection efforts. Deliry hasn’t been able to see fellow residents either. “We’re confined, closed in from morning to night.”

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Friday that the government is sending 1.6 million rapid virus tests to care homes across the country to allow them to test personnel. It’s part of efforts to avoid mass new confinement of nursing home residents after the anguish caused during a nationwide lockdown in the spring. Germany launched a similar antigen test effort at nursing homes this week.

Virus_Outbreak_France_46367

Medical personnel at a nursing home in Clamart, south of Paris await a visit from France’s health on Friday. Martin Bureau, Pool/Associated Press

“The goal is to learn lessons from the first wave,” said the government minister for elderly care issues, Brigitte Bourgignon, while visiting a nursing home south of Paris on Friday. “What we want is to stay on this balancing line — which is difficult — between the protection that we owe our elders but also the fact that we should respect their rights and therefore not isolate them totally.”

More people have died with the virus in French nursing homes in the last two weeks than in the previous five months combined, according to public health agency figures. The health minister said Friday that 15% of homes currently have active virus cases, and “mortality is growing every day, like we saw in the first wave.”

France has reported 12,079 virus-related deaths in nursing homes overall; many other nursing home residents died after being transferred to hospitals. They make up a large proportion of the 39,037 total reported deaths in France, among the world’s highest tolls.

Ireland’s lockdown paying off as case numbers decline

Virus_Outbreak_Ireland_56274

A cyclist passes a closed bar in the Temple bar area of Dublin on Oct. 21 as the government imposed a tough new lockdown. Associated Press/Peter Morrison

Strict stay-at-home orders appeared to be paying off in Ireland, which last month became the first European country to enter a second national lockdown. Health officials said Thursday that case numbers appear to be declining rapidly, and the country is on track to lift some of the harshest restrictions on Dec. 1, Reuters reported.

Russia resists lockdown as it sets new record for virus cases

MOSCOW — Russia’s daily number of new coronavirus infections topped 20,000 Friday, setting a new record since the beginning of the pandemic.

Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases — currently the fourth largest in the world – has exceeded 1.7 million following a quick spread of contagion since September. The government’s coronavirus task force has reported 29,887 deaths since March.

Of 20,582 new cases reported Friday, Moscow accounted for 6,253 infections, the capital’s highest number since May.

Virus_Outbreak_Russia_Daily_Life_89294

A woman wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks from the underpass under the street with the Historical Museum and the Kremlin are in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday. Russia reported more than 18,000 daily coronavirus cases for a record five straight days. However, authorities have resisted a second lockdown or shutting down businesses despite reports about overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

Despite new daily records, authorities insist there is no need to impose a second lockdown or shut down businesses nationwide. They argue that the health care system is capable of handling a surge in infections.

Russian media, however, have reported on overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers in some regions, indicating that the health care system is under significant strain.

Iowa sees 3,533 new virus cases; hospitals set for onslaught

Iowa governor announces media campaign as virus cases surge, hospitals brace

DES MOINES, Iowa  — Coronavirus infections continued a rapid spread across the state Friday, pushing hospitalizations and patients in intensive care to new highs as Iowa medical centers prepared for an onslaught of patients.

Iowa public health officials reported 3,533 new confirmed cases Friday and 14 more deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 27% on Oct. 22 to nearly 42% on Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, keeping Iowa’s rate second in the nation behind South Dakota.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, shown in September, has refused to implement any new measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a new high of 912 and those in intensive care units remained at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic at 188.

Officials at the state’s largest hospital systems are warning Iowans that if the current infection rate continues, they will be overwhelmed with patients. Their preparations for the surge are forcing them to curtail other medical procedures, shift personnel from surgical duties to intensive care and expand ICU beds.

The state reported 75 of Iowa’s 99 counties have a positivity rate exceeding 15%, a high rate of spread that should prompt government mitigation efforts, according to World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds refused to implement any new measures. On Thursday, she announced a media campaign encouraging Iowans to take responsibility and stop the spread.

Victoria, Australia’s former hotspot has no new cases

Another glimmer of good news came from the Australian state of Victoria, once the country’s coronavirus hot spot, which has now gone a full week without reporting any new infections or fatalities. The milestone came roughly three months after Victoria hit its peak of 725 infections in a single day. Experts have credited the turnaround to leaders’ willingness to put their faith in science and residents’ compliance with one of the world’s longest lockdowns.

Germany’s health minister says the country must ‘break’ rising cases

BERLIN — Germany’s health minister has warned of hard times ahead unless the country can “break” the rising trajectory of coronavirus cases.

Jens Spahn told lawmakers in Parliament on Friday that “the situation is serious,” noting that the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in the country’s intensive care units has doubled in the last 10 days.

“As of today the health system can cope with this,” he said. “But a doubling every 10 days is something the best health system in the world can’t cope with in the long term.”

Germany’s disease control agency reported a new record of over 21,500 confirmed infections in the country in the past day, and 166 further deaths.

Laboratories in Germany are also warning that they are reaching capacity, and urging stricter criteria for which people can be tested.

New Delhi sees a surge in infections as they fall of in the rest of India

NEW DELHI — India has recorded 47,638 new cases of the coronavirus, taking its total to 8.4 million.

Deaths rose by 670 in the last 24 hours, driving total fatalities to 124,985 on Friday, the health ministry data showed.

India has the world’s second-highest caseload behind the United States. Even though the country has seen a steady dip in cases since mid-September, its capital is witnessing a surge in infections.

New Delhi recorded nearly 6,700 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the second-highest single-day spike since the pandemic began.

Australia’s highest court upholds border closure

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s highest court has upheld a state’s border closure and dismissed a case arguing the pandemic measure was unconstitutional.

All Australian states and territories have used border restrictions to curb infections, and a ruling against Western Australia’s closure could have impacted the others.

The High Court judges ruled the state’s border closure to non-essential travel during “a hazard in the nature of a plague or epidemic” complied with the constitution.

The state shut its border to the rest of Australia on April 5 and hasn’t recorded any COVID-19 community transmission since April 11. It will ease the restriction next week for people from states and territories deemed low risk..

Separately, an inquiry into quarantine troubles in Melbourne has recommended that police guard hotels where returning overseas travelers stay. The Victoria state government’s decision to use private security firms instead of police and the military to enforce the quarantines has been widely blamed for lax controls that led to a virus surge in Australia’s second-largest city.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: