THE NUMBERS: Cases of the virus are running rampant across most parts of the U.S., but hospital resources are spread thin. More Americans — over 83,000 — are hospitalized for COVID-19 than at any other point of the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
DEATH TOLL: The number of people dying from the virus across the country is also rising at a grim pace. The average number of Americans dying from the virus each day over the past week is now 1,467, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's nearly a 50% rise from just two weeks ago. More than 256,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
QUOTABLE: "Large numbers of people getting together oblivious of controls — no masks, no social distancing, often indoors — a lot of those things are in fact occurring at night." — Dr. Mark Cullen, an infectious disease expert who recently retired from Stanford University, on a limited curfew imposed on many parts of California as the state sees record numbers of coronavirus cases.
ICYMI: Lines for free COVID-19 tests stretch for blocks and hours in cities where people feel the dual strain of the coronavirus surge and the approaching holidays. But an increasing number of pop-up clinics promise visitors instant results — at a cost. Some charge $150 or more for a spot at the front of the queue. That has raised fresh concerns over who can afford rapid testing and whether inequality is "baked into" access.
ON THE HORIZON: Before any vaccine is permitted in the U.S., it must be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, which requires study on thousands of people. Normally, the process to approve a new vaccine can take about a decade. But the federal government is using various methods to dramatically speed up the process. Instead of the usual requirement of "substantial evidence" of safety and effectiveness for approval, the FDA can allow products onto the market as long as their benefits are likely to outweigh their risks.
Find AP's full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
A confectioner offers chocolate Santa Claus wearing a face mask, displayed in the window of a shop in central Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Credit: Michael Probst
Credit: Michael Probst