Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Halloween in America looks extra terrifying this year.

By Jonathan Wolfe

This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

The U.S. topped 65,000 new cases on Thursday, the highest tally since July.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden offered starkly different views of the pandemic during dueling town hall events.

Pfizer confirmed that it would not seek authorization for its vaccine before the second half of November.

Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and trackers for U.S. metro areas and vaccines in development.

What to do about Halloween

Halloween in America looks extra terrifying this year.

Coronavirus cases are surging across the country for the third time, and the number of recorded cases in the U.S. just hit eight million. Seventeen states have added more cases in the past week than in any other week of the pandemic.

So is it safe to trick-or-treat? Is it safe to celebrate Halloween at all?

Public health experts have warned that going door-to-door for candy could lead to a spike in cases. Several states, including California and Massachusetts, have discouraged trick-or-treating but have not issued an outright ban.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Halloween safety guidelines that classify traditional trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity, along with indoor haunted houses and crowded costume parties. For safer alternatives, the agency suggests holding costume contests via Zoom, candy scavenger hunts in the home or yard and hosting scary movie nights.

Still, experts say that there are ways to salvage trick-or-treating, or at least to reduce the considerable risks.

If you’re planning to head out, avoid large groups and indoor gatherings, and use a face covering (your costume’s mask doesn’t count). Bring hand sanitizer, and while experts say you probably don’t need to sanitize each and every candy wrapper, you should make sure hands are clean before they touch any sweets.

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