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Whether you call it a third wave, a continuation of the first wave, or a by-product of pandemic fatigue, coronavirus is roaring back.
Let's take a look at the latest news surrounding the pandemic.
Starting with the bad news.
Stateside: Yesterday, the seven-day average of new cases hit 69k, topping the prior peak of 67k from over the summer. Hospitalizations are at their highest level in two months, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Europe: New cases have exploded past previous highs, and officials are pumping the breaks on reopening:
- Ireland became the first EU country to reenter full, "Level 5" lockdown last week. All non-essential retailers will be closed and 150,000 people are expected to lose their jobs "within days." Residents have been told to stay home, and police will continue to use road checkpoints to deter non-essential travel.
- Italy tallied a record number of new cases this weekend and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has tightened restrictions in hopes of avoiding a heavy lockdown. Gyms, pools, and movie theaters will be shuttered, and restaurants will be forced to close by 6 P.M.
For Note: Earlier this month, the World Health Organization warned that national lockdowns should be used only as a "very, very last resort."
Time for some good news.
Mortality Rates: The Surgeon General has said the U.S. mortality rate has dropped roughly 85% thanks to the effective use of steroids, the recently approved remdesivir (now branded as Veklury), and better management of patients.
Vaccine: Vaccine efforts also got back on track on Friday. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson got the go-ahead to resume their pivotal COVID-19 trials after regulators found no link between their shots and illnesses in a few trial participants.
The Takeaway: Experts caution a vaccine will not bring a "fairytale" ending to the pandemic, but it'll be a step in the right direction.