U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 260,000: Johns Hopkins University

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People’s Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:06, November 26, 2020

NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpassed 260,000 on Wednesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

With the national caseload topping 12.6 million, the death toll across the United States rose to 260,322 as of 11:25 a.m. local time (1625 GMT), according to the CSSE data.

New York state reported 34,362 fatalities, at the top of the U.S. state-level death toll list. Texas recorded the second most deaths, standing at 21,245. The states of California, Florida and New Jersey all confirmed more than 16,000 deaths, the tally showed.

States with more than 9,000 fatalities also include Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan.

The United States remains the nation hit the worst by the pandemic, with the world’s highest caseload and death toll, accounting for more than 18 percent of global deaths.

The United States reported 2,146 daily deaths associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest since May, the CSSE chart showed.

An updated model forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected a total of 470,974 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by March 1, 2021, based on current projection scenario.


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Livestock conflicts linked to several grizzly deaths | News

Preliminary data suggests livestock conflicts were the primary cause of known grizzly bear deaths outside of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem monitoring areas in 2020, scientists said at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Frank van Manen, supervisory research biologist for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, presented highlights from this year’s grizzly bear research and monitoring report to the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee on Wednesday.

Charts that van Manen presented showed that out of 18 known grizzly bear deaths outside of the monitoring area this year, 12 occurred because of livestock conflicts, according to preliminary data. The grizzly bear demographic monitoring area (DMA) is a nearly 20,000 square mile zone that spans outward from Yellowstone National Park. Scientists estimate bear numbers within that area.

All the other 25 known grizzly bear mortalities that occurred inside of the DMA in 2020 were caused by human-related conflicts, according to the data. However, only four were caused by conflicts with livestock. Two were recorded as illegal.

Bear populations remained steady overall, estimated at a little more than 700, according to van Manen.

As Yellowstone grizzly bears roam further from recovery zones toward other isolated populations of bears, livestock conflicts have increased. Members of Montana’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council, a citizen-led group tasked with identifying statewide strategies for the management of the bears, spoke at Wednesday’s meeting.

Members described strategies they came up with in their final recommendation to prepare rural communities for increased contact with grizzlies.

Measures included increasing bear resistant infrastructure, more funding for more “bear aware” education and full funding for the livestock loss board. The board helps ranchers access tools for grizzly bear conflict prevention. It also compensates them for livestock losses to grizzlies.

“As these grizzlies move further out of the mountains, they’re finding themselves sharing habitat with cattle and sheep,” said Trina Jo Bradley, a council member and a Montana rancher. “But it is these cattle and sheep that are keeping the land viable for the wildlife as well. Without these huge expanses of pastures and ranch land, the wildlife would have nowhere to go.”

Erin Edge, a council member and representative from the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, emphasized the need for grizzly bear conflict prevention education outside of the monitoring areas. She also said diverse funding sources were needed to afford these measures.

“We need to come together to figure out how we can help each other,” she said.

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Amid Wisconsin coronavirus outbreak, researchers explore link between college cases, nursing home deaths

For most of 2020, La Crosse’s nursing homes had lost no one to covid-19. In recent weeks, the county has recorded 19 deaths, most of them in long-term care facilities. Everyone who died was over 60. Fifteen of the victims were 80 or older. The spike offers a vivid illustration of the perils of pushing a herd-immunity strategy, as infections among younger people can fuel broader community outbreaks that ultimately kill some of the most vulnerable residents.

“It was the very thing we worried about, and it has happened,” Kabat said.

Local efforts to contain the outbreak have been hamstrung by a statewide campaign to block public health measures, including mask requirements and limits on taverns, he added. “Your first responsibility as a local government is really to protect the health and safety and welfare of your residents,” he said. “When you feel like that’s not happening and you have few tools or resources available to change that, it’s more than frustrating.”

As the number of coronavirus infections continue to soar in the upper Midwest, few places embody the nation’s divisions over how to tackle the pandemic better than Wisconsin. Even as the state’s weekly caseload has quadrupled in the past six weeks, bar owners and Republicans have thwarted some restrictions on public indoor gatherings, leaving public health professionals scrambling to contain the virus.

Wisconsin ranks fourth among states in daily reported cases per capita, with 59 per 100,000 residents. According to The Washington Post’s analysis of state health data, in the past week new daily reported cases have gone up more than 20 percent, hospitalizations have increased more than 26 percent and daily reported deaths have risen 22 percent.

In recent briefings, Wisconsin health secretary designee Andrea Palm said the state is doing worse than it was in March and April and has pleaded with residents to avoid going to bars and to practice social distancing.

“Wisconsin is in crisis, and we need to take this seriously,” Palm said last week.

Last week a judge in Wisconsin’s Sawyer County temporarily blocked an order from Gov. Tony Evers (D) limiting crowds in bars, restaurants and other indoor spaces to 25 percent of capacity, though a judge in Barron County reinstated it Tuesday. The Tavern League of Wisconsin, which represents the state’s bars, argued it amounted to a “de facto closure.” In May, the state Supreme Court struck down Evers’s “Safer at Home” order after Republican lawmakers challenged it, and a conservative activist has just sued to block Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate.

Elizabeth Cogbill, who specializes in geriatrics and internal medicine in the Gundersen Health System, has been working 14-hour days since the pandemic began, staying late to talk to families who can no longer visit their elderly relatives.

Since June, Cogbill has been working with the county, other medical professionals and nursing home officials to curb coronavirus infections. They had managed to stifle several flare-ups without a death, until September.

In an interview, the 41-year-old doctor said that as the

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