Virus

medicine

Scientists at Yale School of Medicine design a virus to treat ovarian cancer

Marisa Peryer, Senior Photographer

A new Yale study showed that certain genetically modified viruses can cure ovarian cancer in mice. It may be of use in the treatment of ovarian cancer in humans.

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have tested a chimeric virus — containing genes from two different viruses — that can selectively infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in mice. Their findings represent a potential breakthrough in the long-term treatment of ovarian cancer in humans. The study was published in the journal Virology on Nov. 12, two weeks after the death of the paper’s lead author Anthony Van den Pol, former professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry at Yale.

“Every year, around 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is a smaller number compared to cancer types such as breast cancer,” said Gil Mor, the scientific director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at Wayne State University and a co-author of the paper. “However, unfortunately only around 4,000 of those women can survive the disease.”

The main reason behind the lethality of ovarian cancer is the lack of treatments preventing the recurrence of the disease. In 80 percent of cases, patients who respond positively to chemotherapy still experience a return of the disease, according to Mor. He explained that once the cancer comes back and begins to spread, there is little that doctors can do.

The inspiration for the study was born out of a collaboration between Van den Pol and Mor many years ago, when they worked in adjacent labs at the Yale School of Medicine. Van den Pol, a research scientist in the Neurosurgery Department, had concentrated his research on the long-term treatment of brain tumors. Mor, on the other hand, had been working on treatments for ovarian cancer. The two scientists decided to collaborate to find an alternative treatment for ovarian cancer through oncolytic viruses, which selectively infect and kill cancer cells.

In the experiment’s in vitro phase, in which the research takes place in laboratory tubes or petri dishes without a living component, researchers made a virus called Lassa-VSV in the laboratory. Lassa-VSV consists of three parts: the Lassa virus, the vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, and a fluorescent label to facilitate tracing, according to Nazli Albayrak, a scientist who was involved in the in vitro phase. During this phase, the team infected different ovarian cancer cell lines, eventually choosing the ones that were infected most frequently to proceed with the research. 

Then, after deciding on the cell line, the team injected tumor cells into the bodies of the mice, the paper explains. As the tumor cells began to replicate, the team then injected the Lassa-VSV virus into the tumor clusters. They observed that the virus infected the tumor cells very effectively yet did not harm the healthy cells

Read More
dentist

Dentist’s Virus Suit Returned To State Court Despite Protest


By Archive



Email Daphne Zhang


href=”https://www.law360.com/#”>Daphne Zhang

Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our daily newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the daily Coronavirus briefing.

Law360 (November 9, 2020, 4:50 PM EST) —
A Texas federal judge on Monday sent a dentist’s COVID-19 coverage suit back to state court in a final ruling and closed the case despite protests by Allstate Insurance Co., saying a magistrate judge’s earlier recommendation held up after a period of court review.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery adopted U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard B. Farrer’s October recommendation to return the case to state court, terminating the suit in federal court and holding that no parties could show the report was “erroneous or contrary to law.”

“We believe the court followed the law, and we are happy with the remand order,” said Shannon Loyd, an attorney representing the dentist. “In Texas, adjusters have liability under the Insurance Code if they fail to conduct a reasonable investigation — which is for a jury to decide.”

In October, Judge Farrer said the case should be remanded back to state court, holding that Allstate failed to show a claims adjuster was wrongly joined and that the suit did not meet the diversity of jurisdiction required in federal court.

Judge Farrer said Orsatti DDS PC, a dental office in Bexar County, Texas, has sufficiently alleged the adjuster failed to conduct a proper investigation of its claim.

Allstate fired back at the magistrate’s judge’s recommendation in late October, saying there was nothing for the claim adjuster to investigate since the dental office did not experience any property damage covered in the policy.

The carrier contended that though the dental office accused adjuster Blessing Sefofo Wonyaku of inadequate claim investigation, there was “no physical evidence” for Wonyaku to consider because Orsatti did not allege COVID-19 was present on its property for the adjuster to inspect.

Allstate claimed the dental practice was trying to increase the complexity of the case by wrongly including Wonyaku, a Texas citizen, to destroy complete diversity of citizenship for the case to stay in federal court.

Last week, in response to the insurer’s October objection against sending the case back to state court, the dental office said the claim adjuster was not wrongly joined and that it “clearly has stated numerous plausible claims for relief against” him.

Orsatti suspended business because of the government pandemic closure orders in March. The office said it lost income and filed a coverage claim with Allstate. The Illinois-based carrier then assigned commercial property adjuster Wonyaku to investigate the claim. Orsatti said the adjuster never asked for any documents or information related to its claim.

Allstate subsequently denied coverage, asserting a virus exclusion and a lack of physical damage to Orsatti’s property. In

Read More
dentist

Dentist Says Virus Caused Property Damage In Insurance Suit


By Archive



Email Daphne Zhang


href=”https://www.law360.com/#”>Daphne Zhang

Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our daily newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the daily Coronavirus briefing.

Law360 (November 9, 2020, 4:19 PM EST) —
A Minnesota dental office said more courts across the country have rejected insurers’ bids to dismiss COVID-19 business interruption suits for policies without a virus exclusion, telling a Texas federal judge that it has sufficiently pled physical damage.

Christie Jo Berkseth-Rojas, who runs Rojas Family Dental in Minneapolis, said Friday that a greater number of courts have axed insurers’ dismissal motions in suits involving policies that don’t contain a virus exclusion like the one her office held with Aspen American Insurance Co.

The dentist cited data from the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s virus-related litigation tracker, which listed that courts have denied the insurers’ dismissal bids in 10 cases while granting them in eight cases concerning policies that do not have a virus exclusion. There have been over 1,200 business interruption suits filed so far, according to the school.

In Friday’s response, the dentist said that the “courthouse could no longer serve the administration of justice as it had before,” because grand jury proceedings, public trials and in-person depositions are limited for cases like hers, claiming that her office incurred physical loss of use because of COVID-19 just as courts across the country have.

The Minneapolis dental office hit Aspen with a proposed class action after the carrier denied coverage for her business losses stemming from government closure orders in March. In September, Aspen urged the federal court to follow the “daily growing” number of rulings that have said insureds don’t need to show their property was tangibly altered to claim physical damage.

On Friday, the dental office said it successfully pled physical damage from its lost use of its property. The office said Aspen can’t argue that physical damage always requires structural change, because it never changed coverage requirements from “direct physical loss of or damage” to “physical alteration” or “structural alteration” in the policy.

“The insurance industry has left this language substantively unchanged for decades,” the dental practice said.

Even if direct physical damage means structural alteration, the office has sufficiently claimed it because the virus will “infest property and stick to its surfaces, alter the structure of those surfaces and the air within the property, and lead to claims of business interruption losses,” the practice added.

Additionally, courts have ruled on multiple occasions that property infiltration “by microscopic entities” like COVID-19 constitutes direct physical loss or damage, according to the suit. The practice also cited case law, saying that the Minnesota court of appeals ruled “direct physical loss can exist without actual destruction of property or structural damage to property.”

Aspen’s contention that

Read More
health

Covid hospitalizations surge as virus enters alarming new phase in U.S.

Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.

While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread. The debate over how far to take economically costly measures has divided a country already sharply polarized over President Donald Trump’s turbulent four years in office.

Meanwhile, Iowa hospital officials warned their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. The state’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases reached 36.4 percent over the weekend, the third-highest in the nation behind South Dakota and Wyoming, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations reached a record 730 on Monday.

Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Iowa is entering its third peak, one that is higher than previous ones in May and July. He said his biggest concern is that this peak comes at the beginning of the cold weather season, when the flu and other respiratory conditions typically increase hospitalizations.

“The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality,” Gunasekaran said.

Health officials in Nebraska said hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, reaching a record 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa said during a video call with reporters.

In Missouri, leaders of several rural hospitals raised alarms about bed capacity during a conference call Monday with Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who drew renewed fire from his Democratic election challenger for his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate. The state health department reported 1,659 hospitalizations statewide, surpassing by 10 the previous record set a day earlier. Among the five additional deaths reported Monday was a 13-year-old boy, the first child under 14 to die from the virus in Missouri.

In Colorado, officials said more residents have been hospitalized with the coronavirus than at any time since a peak in April. Flags were flying at half-staff in New Mexico, where death from COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 last week and hospitalizations reached a record 380

Read More
health

Virus hospitalizations surge as pandemic shadows US election

Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.

While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.

The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread. The debate over how far to take economically costly measures has divided a country already sharply polarized over President Donald Trump’s turbulent four years in office.

The pandemic colored who voters chose at the ballot box and how they did it. While many Americans took advantage of expanded access to mail-in voting, lines were long in many polling places, with record turnout expected.

“It’s very serious that we have 400 people gathered in one space at the height of the pandemic here in Wisconsin. So, we’ve tried to take every measure to limit the movement throughout the room as possible,” said Claire Woodall-Vogg, the election commission director of the city of Milwaukee, where poll workers were spread out into 12 different pods to limit contact.

Iowa hospital officials warned their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. The state’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases reached 36.4% over the weekend, the third-highest in the nation behind South Dakota and Wyoming, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations reached a record 730 on Monday.


Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Iowa is entering its third peak, one that is higher than previous ones in May and July. He said his biggest concern is that this peak comes at the beginning of the cold weather season, when the flu and other respiratory conditions typically increase hospitalizations.

“The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality,” Gunasekaran said.

Health officials in Nebraska said hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, reaching a record 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa said during a video call with reporters.

In Missouri, leaders of several rural hospitals raised alarms about bed capacity during a conference call Monday with Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who drew renewed fire from his Democratic election challenger for his refusal

Read More
health

John Elway, the football Hall of Famer and Denver Broncos general manager, has tested positive for the virus.

John Elway, the former Denver Broncos quarterback who is now the team’s general manager and president of football operations, has tested positive for the virus, along with the team’s president and chief executive, Joe Ellis, the team said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Elway had been at UCHealth Training Center, the Broncos practice facility, on Monday morning, but left “after experiencing minor symptoms that he quickly brought to the attention of our medical staff,” the statement said. Mr. Elway retired in 1999 after winning two straight Super Bowl victories with the Broncos. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Mr. Ellis did not feel well on Sunday morning and watched Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers from home, the team said, and then worked from home on Monday.

The team said that both men were experiencing only mild symptoms and would continue to work from home in isolation.

“Based on a review of contact-tracing data with the league, we are confident these cases originated independently outside team facilities,” the team said, adding that the two men had “minimal close contacts,” none of whom were players or coaches.

“It’s certainly a concerning situation for us,” Dr. Allen Sills, the N.F.L.’s chief medical officer, said on Tuesday. “We know that there are areas of the country where it is spiking and increases vulnerability.” He added that the league had not seen positive cases on teams rise as quickly as in the general populace.

Colorado, which once looked like it had gotten a grip on the coronavirus, has slipped. Daily reports of new cases are soaring to record heights, and the number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 has tripled since early September.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now warning that hospitalizations in the state are likely to blast through the peaks of last April and could overwhelm the state’s intensive care units by January. The department estimated that one in every 219 people in Colorado is infectious.

“It’s really a very scary rise,” Dr. Jonathan Samet, the dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, said in an interview. “Clearly, Coloradans have lapsed.”

Source Article

Read More
health

Germany eyes antigen tests to keep elderly safe from virus

BERLIN (AP) — As Europe tries to break a surge in coronavirus infections, Germany is counting on a new type of test to avoid closing nursing homes to visitors, a move that caused considerable anguish among residents and relatives in the spring.

So-called antigen tests, which look for a specific protein on the virus, were first launched months ago. They are cheap and fast, but experts said at the time they are also less accurate than the standard PCR test, which detects even the tiniest genetic trace of the virus.

Still, Germany — which has managed to contain the spread of the outbreak better than many of its neighbors — announced recently that it is bulk-buying millions of antigen tests each month.


“We have a new strategy,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Monday. “We can now basically perform rapid tests on visitors to nursing and care homes.”

Nursing homes will receive up to 20 free monthly tests per resident. These can be used to test patients, staff and — crucially — visiting relatives, who might be unwitting carriers of COVID-19, posing a potentially devastating threat.

“Health insurers will cover the costs for a certain number of visitors each month,” Merkel said. “That’s huge progress in terms of protection.”

Germany has one of the world’s oldest populations. More than 24 million people are 60 or older and about 900,000 people live in nursing homes. A further 2.5 million younger people have serious disabilities.

That means almost 30% of Germany’s population of 83 million are particularly vulnerable to the virus, Merkel said.

“Almost everyone knows somebody they don’t want to infect,” she said.

Germany has reported about 550,000 coronavirus cases — less than half the number recorded in Britain, Spain and France. Germany’s confirmed virus death toll of 10,669 is also one-fourth of Britain’s.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman told The Associated Press that manufacturers have agreed to supply Germany with 9 million antigen tests in November and 11.5 million tests in December.

Experts caution that while antigen tests have become more accurate, they should not be seen as a replacement for the standard PCR method.

Scientists in Switzerland recently scrutinized two widely available antigen tests, sold by Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories and Swiss pharma giant Roche. The researchers concluded that out of 100 people infected with the virus, only between 85 and 89 tested positive using the antigen method.

“It does fulfill the criteria that are published by the (World Health Organization), which should be more than 80% sensitivity,” said Isabella Eckerle, who heads the Center for Emerging Viral Diseases at the University of Geneva, where the tests were validated.

While the tests are less accurate, they provide quick results, she noted.

“One big advantage of these tests would be that you, for example, can build up a decentralized testing center,” Eckerle told The AP. “So you build up a tent, let’s say, in front of a school or in a park, and then people can come. And then after 15 minutes, they

Read More
health

The Latest: Sri Lanka Postpones School Reopening for Virus | Health News

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have extended the school holidays for two more weeks, postponing the opening of classes amid a surge of COVID-19 patients from two clusters in Colombo and the capital’s suburbs.

Schools had been scheduled to reopen Nov. 9, but the government announced Tuesday that classes would not resume until Nov. 23.

Schools were suddenly closed last month as a precautionary measure after a new cluster of coronavirus infections centered on a garment factory erupted in the densely populated Western province, where the capital is. Another cluster centered on the country’s main fish market arose later.

The two clusters have now grown to 7,856 confirmed cases, with 275 in the previous 24 hours. The total caseload for the pandemic stands at 11,335 with 21 deaths from COVID-19.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Huge voter turnout expected in U.S. despite virus, political rancor

— ‘Raw exposed nerves’: Anxious nation awaits Election Day

— U.S. hospitals are scrambling to hire more nurses as the coronavirus pandemic surges, leading to stiff competition and increased costs

— Widely shared photo of Biden without mask was taken in 2019

— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW DELHI, India — India has registered 38,310 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, maintaining an overall downturn even as fresh infections continue to appear in its capital, New Delhi.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 490 more fatalities from COVID-19, raising the overall death toll to 1,23,097.

With a total of 8.2 million coronavirus cases during the pandemic, India is the second worst-hit country behind the United States. But it has been witnessing a steady fall in daily cases.

Still, health officials say New Delhi remains in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. In the past week, there were more than 5,200 cases on average every day. The Health Ministry attributes the city’s surge to the festival season, with people crowding markets for shopping.

TOPEKA, Kan. — A surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas is hitting some of the state’s most rural counties hard and has officials in even urban areas worrying that people aren’t following public health advice closely enough.

Of the 20 Kansas counties with the largest number of new cases per 1,000 residents in the past two weeks, all but two have fewer than 10,000 residents, and a dozen of them have fewer than 3,000.

But health officials elsewhere say the virus is also spreading because people are still going to family gathering such as weddings, baby showers and barbecues. The health officer in the state’s most populous county of Johnson County in the Kansas City area says 20% of its cases since Sept. 1 are people infecting others in their own households.

OMAHA, Neb. — The surge in COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has led to record-high hospitalizations that are straining the state’s health care system,

Read More
health

Sri Lanka postpones school reopening for virus

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have extended the school holidays for two more weeks, postponing the opening of classes amid a surge of COVID-19 patients from two clusters in Colombo and the capital’s suburbs.

Schools had been scheduled to reopen Nov. 9, but the government announced Tuesday that classes would not resume until Nov. 23.

Schools were suddenly closed last month as a precautionary measure after a new cluster of coronavirus infections centered on a garment factory erupted in the densely populated Western province, where the capital is. Another cluster centered on the country’s main fish market arose later.

The two clusters have now grown to 7,856 confirmed cases, with 275 in the previous 24 hours. The total caseload for the pandemic stands at 11,335 with 21 deaths from COVID-19.

___


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Huge voter turnout expected in U.S. despite virus, political rancor

— ‘Raw exposed nerves’: Anxious nation awaits Election Day

— U.S. hospitals are scrambling to hire more nurses as the coronavirus pandemic surges, leading to stiff competition and increased costs

— Widely shared photo of Biden without mask was taken in 2019

___

— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW DELHI, India — India has registered 38,310 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, maintaining an overall downturn even as fresh infections continue to appear in its capital, New Delhi.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 490 more fatalities from COVID-19, raising the overall death toll to 1,23,097.

With a total of 8.2 million coronavirus cases during the pandemic, India is the second worst-hit country behind the United States. But it has been witnessing a steady fall in daily cases.

Still, health officials say New Delhi remains in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. In the past week, there were more than 5,200 cases on average every day. The Health Ministry attributes the city’s surge to the festival season, with people crowding markets for shopping.

___

TOPEKA, Kan. — A surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas is hitting some of the state’s most rural counties hard and has officials in even urban areas worrying that people aren’t following public health advice closely enough.

Of the 20 Kansas counties with the largest number of new cases per 1,000 residents in the past two weeks, all but two have fewer than 10,000 residents, and a dozen of them have fewer than 3,000.

But health officials elsewhere say the virus is also spreading because people are still going to family gathering such as weddings, baby showers and barbecues. The health officer in the state’s most populous county of Johnson County in the Kansas City area says 20% of its cases since Sept. 1 are people infecting others in their own households.

___

OMAHA, Neb. — The surge in COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has led to record-high hospitalizations that are straining

Read More
health

All gatherings pose virus spread risk

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gatherings large and small are likely to blame for a slight uptick in daily coronavirus cases in California’s largest county, according to a top health official who warned Monday that upcoming holiday parties pose a risk for renewed spread and a spike in hospitalizations.

There’s been a steady increase in the number of residents of Los Angeles County who have been getting together with people from outside their households, according to weekly survey data from the University of Southern California Center for Social and Economic Research.

That may be partly because of championship runs by the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers in recent weeks that brought fans together through watch parties and celebrations.


“With our case numbers already on the rise, we are concerned about the upcoming holiday gatherings and cooler weather, where people are more likely to gather indoors are perfect conditions for spreading COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director. “And while it’s easy to believe that the virus won’t spread among your family and friends, and that none of you are infected, there are so many examples that prove otherwise.”

For the week ending Oct. 20, more than 10% of respondents reported that they’d been at a gathering of 10 or more people in the past seven days, Ferrer said. She warned that if just 10% of Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents attended a gathering outside their households, that translates to about a million people.

“And if we assume that 2% of people can be infected, we could possibly have 20,000 people capable of infecting others who are milling about at these gatherings, each week,” she said.

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, reported more than 1,400 new cases Monday for a total of 310,595. There have been more than 7,000 deaths in the county.

The state is moving more slowly than the reopening last spring that brought with it a dramatic spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. California, the most populous state, is second in the nation with more than 930,600 confirmed cases. There have been a total of 17,672 deaths in the state.

Statewide hospitalizations have increased by about 11% in the last week to 2,537 while the seven-day daily average is 4,231 confirmed cases, down about 1% from previous week.

Many businesses remain closed as Los Angeles County remains in California’s most restrictive tier, purple. It will likely remain there through November, Ferrer said.

Last Friday, San Francisco said it would temporarily halt the reopening of additional activities and businesses planned for this week because of an increase in case rates and hospitalizations.

California last month eased restrictions to allow up to three households to socialize outdoors, an expansion of rules aimed at people tempted to have even larger gatherings around Halloween, Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays. State health officials previously discouraged gatherings outside of a single household.

The goal of those rules was not to encourage larger gatherings, Ferrer said, but to recognize the increasing pressure

Read More