States impose new rules, plead with public to stop spread; millions stick to Thanksgiving travel plans

State and local officials nationwide are imposing new coronavirus restrictions and pleading with the public in an increasingly desperate attempt to stop the explosive spread of the disease as many Americans resist calls to limit gatherings and travel heading into the holidays.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tightened restrictions on casinos, restaurants and private gatherings beginning Tuesday. Most California counties are under a curfew, and Los Angeles County officials will prohibit in-person dining for at least three weeks. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts warned Monday that he could impose tighter social-distancing restrictions before Thanksgiving if hospitalizations continue to rise.

Sisolak, who has avoided tightening mandates throughout the fall because of the potential damage to Nevada’s tourism-based economy, said the trends led to an “inescapable conclusion.”

“We are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our front-line health workers and your access to care. So it’s time to act,” said Sisolak, who recently contracted COVID-19.

Around 83,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Infections have led to a shortage of hospital beds and health care workers, and they threaten non-COVID-19-related surgeries and other care.

In other developments:

  • About 1 million Americans a day packed airports and planes over the weekend even as coronavirus deaths surged across the U.S. and public health experts begged people to stay home and avoid big Thanksgiving gatherings. And the crowds are only expected to grow. Next Sunday is likely to be the busiest day of the holiday period.
  • All those warnings from public health officials begging Americans to limit gatherings this holiday season amid a surge in coronavirus cases aren’t stopping the White House from planning a host of festivities and holiday parties in the midst of a pandemic.
  • Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world.
  • The federal prison system will be among the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine, though initial allotments of the vaccine will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though sickened inmates vastly outnumber sickened staff.
  • Haircuts, shopping trips and visits to the pub will be back on the agenda for millions of people when a four-week lockdown in England comes to an end next week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.

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