New coronavirus cases are increasing in the United States at an alarming rate. Nearly half a million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus within the last seven days, with the nation's daily new infection average reaching above 71,000 for the first time since the pandemic began. Outlooks across the country are also worsening, as hospitalization rates in 36 states are reaching concerning levels and hot spots in the Midwest continue to show high viral activity levels.
Similar to social restrictions being reinstated in parts of Europe, cities in the U.S. are starting to take steps back from their reopening progress.
In Chicago, restaurants and bars will no longer be allowed to serve customers inside starting on Friday as the city works to control the virus's spread in the region, Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker stated on Tuesday. Chicago has seen a "sustained increase" in its positivity rate since restaurants and bars were able to serve customers indoors at a reduced capacity back in June, the governor stated. The city has also seen a sustained increase in COVID related hospitalizations for more than seven of the past ten days.
In New York City, Major Bill de Blasio has asked residents to avoid out of state travel as the holiday season begins as the city is responding to a second wave of COVID infections.
"It's not about the airline industry, it's about your health, your family's health, the city's health and safety," de Blasio stated during a press conference on Tuesday. "The country, that's what we should be thinking about.
Beyond worsening new infection rates, a new study conducted by the Imperial College London found that coronavirus antibody levels fell as participants recovered from their infections. Researchers of the REACT-2 study screened over 365,000 individuals infected with COVID over three rounds of testing between June 20 and Sept. 28, with home finger-prick blood tests showing the number of people with antibodies declining by roughly 26%.
"This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time," Dr. Helen Ward, one of the study's authors, stated. "We don't yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others."
The drugmaker stated that data from a separate Phase III trial it being conducted in the United Kingdom, with results expected by the first quarter of 2021.