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Ahead of election, US sees record surge in COVID-19 cases

The surge in COVID-19 cases pushed the country's tally past the nine million mark, just days before the US Presidential Election on November 3.

October 31, 2020 / 08:29 AM IST
(Image: Reuters)

(Image: Reuters)

The US reported more than 94,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus on October 30, recording its highest single-day spike for the second consecutive day.

The surge in COVID-19 cases pushed the country's tally past the nine million (90 lakh) mark, just days before the US Presidential Election on November 3.

On October 29, the US had recorded 91,000 COVID-19 cases. The country has so far reported more than 2,30,000 deaths during the pandemic.

According to an AFP report, the pattern of the pandemic so far shows that hospitalisations usually begin to rise several weeks after infections, and deaths a few weeks after that.

For months public health officials have been warning of a surge in cases as cooler fall weather settles over the US, driving more people indoors.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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As the weather changes, New York and other parts of the northeast, which were the epicenter of the US outbreak in the spring but largely controlled the virus over the summer, were reporting a worrying rise.

Some epidemiologists believe that COVID-19 spreads more easily in drier, cool air, AFP reported.

Also read: The Lancet blasts Donald Trump's coronavirus 'disaster', urges vote for change

Less than a week before the election, US President Donald Trump was battling to hold on to the White House against challenger Joe Biden, who has slammed the president's virus response.

"It is as severe an indictment of a president's record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying," Biden said on October 30.

Trump downplays the virus even as the toll has been accelerating once more, holding a slew of rallies with little social distancing or mask use.

He has repeatedly told supporters that the country is "rounding the curve" on COVID infections.

But Americans, wary of crowded polling booths on Election Day as the virus spreads, are voting early in record numbers.

(With inputs from AFP)

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first published: Oct 31, 2020 08:29 am