1/ The U.S. set another pandemic record with 90,456 new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day – hours after the U.S. logged its 9 millionth coronavirus case. The country has reported more than 540,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week – the most for any seven-day period since July. Cases are on the rise in every swing state before Election Day and 14 states recorded all-time highs in new cases this week – the most of the pandemic. Trump, meanwhile, has continued to baselessly claim that “we are rounding the turn” on the pandemic. Pence, who chairs the White House’s coronavirus task force, hasn’t attended his own COVID-19 planning calls with all 50 governors in over a month. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~45,374,000; deaths: ~1,186,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~9,916,000; deaths: ~230,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC

  • The CDC will allow cruise ships to sail in U.S. waters starting Sunday. (USA Today)

  • Mitch McConnell expects to take up a new coronavirus stimulus package in 2021 – “right at the beginning of the year,” with legislation “targeted particularly at small businesses that are struggling and hospitals that are now dealing with a second wave of the coronavirus.” (CNBC)

  • The Dow closed out its worst week and month since March. (Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump Jr. falsely claimed that COVID-19 deaths have dwindled to “almost nothing” the same day that at least 1,000 Americans died from the coronavirus. Trump Jr. also called the medical experts, who have been warning about a surge in cases, “truly morons.” Trump, meanwhile, tweeted misinformation that deaths are “WAY DOWN” in the U.S., claiming that mass testing has exaggerated the numbers of infections, and that hospitals are doing fine. (NBC News / The Guardian)

3/ The Department of Health and Human Services has withheld COVID-19 data from the public about which hospitals in which communities are reaching capacity. The documents show that hospitals report detailed information to HHS every day, which is reviewed and analyzed daily, but not widely circulated. A few dozen HHS staffers and its agencies, including the CDC and National Institutes of Health, receive the documents as part of a distribution list. Only one member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Adm. Brett Giroir, appears to receive the documents directly. (NPR)

4/ Government scientists and physicians are attempting to push back against Trump’s political agenda on the coronavirus. The FDA issued stricter safety standards for a vaccine in September, the CDC reversed guidelines that had called for less testing for individuals exposed to the coronavirus who showed no symptoms, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, has taken her message directly to state and local officials, urging them to adopt mask mandates and restrict large gatherings. And, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir has given interviews warning that the country’s coronavirus situation is “tenuous,” but that it can control the virus by practicing what he calls the “3W’s” — watching your distance from others, wearing a mask, and washing your (damn!) hands. (Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN)

  • The White House’s coronavirus testing czar disputed Trump’s assertion that cases are surging because of increased testing, saying “It’s not just a function of testing […] we know that too because hospitalizations are going up.” (CNN)

5/ Trump canceled his campaign’s election night party at the Trump International Hotel, because gatherings of more than 50 people in Washington are prohibited by the city. Trump will instead spend the evening at the White House. The Trump campaign had sent out multiple fundraising solicitations to supporters for a party at Trump’s hotel. Meanwhile at a rally in Phoenix, Trump claimed the polls that show him trailing Biden are “fake,” saying “The biggest problem we have is if they cheat with the ballots. That’s my biggest problem. That’s my only thing — that’s the only thing I worry about.” (New York Times / Politico / NBC News)

  • More than 9 million people have voted early in Texas, surpassing the state’s total 2016 turnout. (New York Times)

  • The on-time rate for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 89.1% — 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average. (Washington Post)

✏️ Notables.

  1. Stephen Miller plans to revise Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda if he wins re-election next week. Miller outlined his four major priorities: limiting asylum, punishing “sanctuary cities,” expanding the so-called travel ban, and limiting work visas. The objective, Miller said, is “raising and enhancing the standard for entry” to the United States and that the executive orders are ready to be signed in “shock and awe” style if Trump is re-elected. (NBC News / The Guardian)

  2. Border Patrol official have been expelling migrant children from other countries to Mexico. More than 200 children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have been sent without an adult into Mexico, where they have no family. (New York Times)

  3. Wilbur Ross remained on the board of a Chinese joint venture until January 2019 – nearly two years into his term as commerce secretary. The U.S.-China trade war started in the summer of 2018. (Foreign Policy)

  4. Trump ordered the Pentagon to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan to about 2,500 in early 2021. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told the Aspen Institute he could “guarantee” that the planned drawdown is “the order of the commander in chief” and that Defense Secretary Mark Esper is aware and on board with the plan. (NBC News)

  5. The Trump administration stripped gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower 48 states. State wildlife agencies will assume control of managing an estimated 6,000 wolves – up from 1,000 when gray wolves were listed as endangered starting in 1967 – but their population is still so depleted that thousands of acres of historical wolf habitat remain uninhabited by any wolves. (Washington Post)