Coronavirus updates: 50 Americans died every hour of November; Pence says vaccine could be shipped in 2 weeks

The United States reported more than 4.4 million new coronavirus cases in November, far more than double any other month of the pandemic, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

The numbers are startling. The total case count is nearly what the nation reported in August, September and October combined. An average rate of 99 cases were reported every minute through the month. In November alone, one of every 22 North Dakota residents tested positive. In South Dakota, it was one of 26; Wyoming, one of 29; Iowa, one of 31.

The U.S. also reported 36,918 deaths in November, a toll higher than all months but April and May. The fatalities totaled more people than the U.S. lost in the entirety of the Korean War. On average, 50 Americans died every hour.

In South Dakota, North Dakota and Illinois, more than 1 of every 1,000 residents has now died of COVID-19.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 13.5 million cases and over 268,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 63.4 million cases and 1.47 million deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: These four states have been hit hard by COVID-19 yet balked at restrictions and mask mandates. What is it like to live there?

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

Cue outrage: Movies being shot in L.A. train station, Atlanta schools

In Los Angeles, the testing sight had been set to shut down to allow Miramax to film some scenes for the movie “He’s All That.” The romcom shooting schedule ignited a frenzy of dramatic dissent, and a few hours later Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that “my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday.”

In Atlanta, where classrooms are shut down in favor of virtual learning, a production team and cast of “Spider-Man” received special permission from Atlanta Public Schools to film at two high schools starting as soon as next month, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The approval came after the movie’s location manager “dangled a $50,000 incentive,” the Constitution wrote.

Christie Johnston, a teacher and mother, tweeted: “In person school is not only safe, it’s necessary for learning. Too bad kids don’t generate the millions a movie does, or they’d be back in front of their teacher in a classroom rather than a computer screen.”

Chicago officials shut down 300-person party amid COVID spike

“Actions like this are a slap in the face to the thousands of businesses and millions of Chicagoans that are making sacrifices every day to keep our city safe, and we will continue cracking down on this inexcusable activity,” Rosa Escareno, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

Chicago is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge far greater than its spring spike, and indoor dining has been closed since the end of October. In the following month, the city investigated nearly 900 businesses for violations and closed a sports complex for hosting a party with over 600 people and a ballroom for hosting a party with over 200 people. Last weekend alone, officials investigated nearly 100 incidents.

The city has confirmed nearly 160,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 3,500 deaths since March. Upside: New daily case counts that peaked in mid-November have been steadily falling. The positivity rate Tuesday was down from the week before.

Grace Hauck

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Who’s up first? Advisory panel votes on recommendations Tuesday

“We strongly believe the vaccine distribution process could begin the week of Dec.14,” Pence told governors, according to a summary of the call provided by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “The American people deserve to know the cavalry is on the way.”

It can’t get here fast enough. In November alone one of every 76 Americans tested positive for coronavirus. The country reported almost 37,000 coronavirus deaths for the month — a human cost of the 9/11 attacks every 2 1/2 days.

A small town in southern Spain is carrying out COVID-19 testing on its entire population after a random screening suggested 70% of its inhabitants were infected with the virus. Public health officials made the decision after 130 out of 182 people tested on a single day in Cuevas del Becerro were positive for the virus, EuroWeekly News reports. Mayor Ana Maria Garcia, among those who tested positive in the town of about 1,600, said residents will be called by phone or SMS and if they fail to show up they could be charged with a crime against public health. Local authorities have set up a volunteer service to distribute food to residents.

Brick-and-mortar malls and stores have struggled in recent years amid the boom in online shopping, but they could usually count on big crowds during the Christmas season. But there may not be a holiday reprieve this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says holiday shopping in crowded stores is a “higher risk” activity and that people should limit any in-person shopping. Instead, the agency recommends shopping online, visiting outdoor markets or using curbside pickup, where workers bring orders to your car. Try to spend as little time inside stores as possible, says Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a public health expert at Cornell University.

Giving Tuesday, an annual day recognized for charitable giving, kickstarts December this year — a month big for donating.

Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer for Giving Tuesday, said giving is up 20% year over year in all categories to both nonprofits and small businesses — despite the decline in the first quarter. “The pandemic is motivating a lot of generosity,” he said. “People are finding generosity as an antidote to fear, uncertainty, division.”

If you are unable to give financially or otherwise this year, Rosenbaum suggested virtual volunteering, letter-writing campaigns and even sidewalk chalk messages as safe options amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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