This Week in Coronavirus: November 26 to December 3

Here’s our recap of the past week in the coronavirus pandemic from our tracking, policy analysis, polling, and journalism.

With a month left in 2020, the U.S. saw an increase of over 1.25 million cases and about 12,900 deaths this week.

As vaccine candidates near FDA approval, KFF experts discussed the key challenges federal, state and local officials will face in rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine at a public web briefing, “What Happens Once There is a COVID-19 Vaccine? Key Challenges to Vaccinating America.

As part of that distribution effort, KHN reports that optometrists and dentists are pushing for authority to immunize patients.

Preventing racial disparities in uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine will be important for helping to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of the virus on people of color. A new brief discusses how current national recommendations and state vaccine allocation plans address racial equity.

Drew Altman wrote about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on national health spending. “We have never seen a year in which health spending actually goes down. Now the seemingly impossible is happening, but the reason – COVID-19 – makes it both anomalous and more tragic than a cause for celebration,” he said. The column draws from a Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker chart collection summarizing what is known so far about how health costs and utilization have changed during the pandemic.

Here are the latest coronavirus stats from KFF’s tracking resources:

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide reached 65.2 million this week – with an increase of over 4.2 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were over 73,800 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths past 1.5 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. passed 12.9 million this week. There was an increase of over 1.2 million confirmed cases between November 26 and December 3. Approximately 12,900 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 276,300.

State Social Distancing Actions (includes Washington D.C.) that went into effect this week:

Extensions: CO, DE, GA, KY, IN, ME, MD, MS, PA, RI

New Restrictions: RI, SC

Rollbacks: NJ, NM, OR

Enhanced Face Covering Requirement: MS

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • COVID-19 Is Causing Health Spending To Go Down (Perspective, Axios Column)
  • How Have Health Care Utilization and Spending Changed So Far During the Coronavirus Pandemic? (Chart Collection)
  • COVID-19 Has Claimed the Lives of 100,000 Long-Term Care Residents and Staff (Policy Watch Post)
  • How OBGYNs Adapted Provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Issue Brief)
  • The Dangers of Vaccine Disillusionment (Foreign Affairs)
  • Growth in Medicaid MCO Enrollment during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Issue Brief)
  • Dec. 3 Web Briefing: What Happens Once There Is A Covid-19 Vaccine? Key Challenges To Vaccinating America (Archived Recording)
  • Addressing Racial Equity in Vaccine Distribution (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of December 4 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • Ensuring Equitable Distribution Of Coronavirus Vaccines Worth Billions To Developed Nations, Report Shows; Public Trust Vital For Successful Programs, WHO Says (KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Where COVID Is on the Menu: Failed Contact Tracing Leaves Diners in the Dark (KHN, USA Today)
  • Thousands of Doctors’ Offices Buckle Under Financial Stress of COVID (KHN, NBC News)
  • How Pharma Money Colors Operation Warp Speed’s Quest to Defeat COVID (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • How COVID-19 Highlights the Uncertainty of Medical Testing (KHN, Washington Post)
  • Why Employers Find It So Hard to Test for COVID (KHN, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • As Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard to Find (KHN, NPR)
  • Come for Your Eye Exam, Leave With a Band-Aid on Your Arm (CHL, NBC News)
  • Amid COVID and Racial Unrest, Black Churches Put Faith in Mental Health Care (KHN, CNN)
  • OSHA Let Employers Decide Whether to Report Health Care Worker Deaths. Many Didn’t. (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Lost on the Frontline: Explore the Database (KHN, The Guardian)
  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Avoid a Big Bill for Your COVID Test (KHN)
  • Rural Areas Send Their Sickest Patients to Cities, Straining Hospitals (KHN, NPR)
  • Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week (KHN, NBC News)
  • California Businesses Go From Simmer to Boil Over Newsom’s Fine Dining (KHN, US News)
  • For Nurses Feeling the Strain of the Pandemic, Virus Resurgence Is ‘Paralyzing’ (KHN, People)
  • Parents Complain That Pediatricians, Wary of COVID, Shift Sick Kids to Urgent Care (KHN)
  • Were You Notified About Missing Tax Forms for Your ACA Subsidy? Blame COVID. (KHN)
  • Feds Look to Pharmacists to Boost Childhood Immunization Rates (KHN)
  • During ACA Open Enrollment, Picking a Plan Invites New COVID Complications (KHN, NPR)
  • Last Call for COVID: To Avoid Bar Shutdowns, States Serve Up Curfews (KHN, CNN)
  • After a Deadly COVID Outbreak, Maryland County Takes Steps to Protect Health Workers (KHN, AP)
  • What Happened When the Only ER Doctor in a Rural Town Got COVID (KHN, NPR)
  • NYC Hospital Workers, Knowing How Bad It Can Get, Brace for COVID 2nd Wave (KHN, NPR)
  • As LA County Sets New Infection Record, State Leaders’ Behavior Sends Mixed Messages (KHN)
  • Fear and Loathing as Colleges Face Another Season of Red Ink (CHL)

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