Sasha Jacquez tests The University of Texas at El Paso student Ariona Gill for coronavirus Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, at the UTEP Fox Fine Arts Center in El Paso, Texas. Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every single state. In El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew because of a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)

Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, including in Texas, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.”

With Election Day near, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks. In September, the number of hospitalizations in Texas dropped to a three-month low of 3,091. Nationwide, confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

Health experts had warned that it was only a matter of time before deaths turned upward, given the record-breaking surge in confirmed cases engulfing the country. Deaths are a lagging indicator — that is, it generally takes a few weeks for people to sicken and die from the coronavirus.

Deaths are still well below the U.S. peak of over 2,200 per day in late April. But experts are warning of a grim fall and winter, as “pandemic fatigue” — or weariness with wearing masks and staying away from others — takes hold and cold weather forces people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

The true number of infections is thought to be far higher because many Americans have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. 

In the Texas border city of El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10 p.m.-to-5a.m. curfew because of a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals. The state has designated part of the city’s civic center as a hospital.

Violators of the curfew are subject to $500 fines, though the order does not apply to people who are going to or from work or are out for essential reasons, such as food shopping and health care.

Just last week, the president downplayed the virus’s effect in Texas, saying: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”

The state has provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will staff the convention center site.

The U.S. has seen a steady increase in daily new cases over the past three weeks, accruing over 1.25 million over that period. Nearly a third of that came from Texas (8%), California (6%), Illinois (6%), Wisconsin (5%) and Florida (5%).

—-

WI officer fired after killing unarmed Black teen 

Defender News Service

A Waukegan, Illinois, officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black teenager and wounded his girlfriend during a traffic stop has been fired. 

Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles said the officer involved, who is Hispanic and has served with the department for five years, committed “multiple policy and procedure violations,” though he didn’t detail which policies the officer involved had violated.

Marcellis Stinnette 19, was a passenger in his girlfriend Tafara Williams’ vehicle, when an initial officer, who is white, attempted to investigate a car that was sitting outside of a residence in the Chicago suburb because it was “suspicious.” Officials have not offered details about why the vehicle was considered suspicious. Williams’ family has said the couple was outside of her mother’s home.

Police said the vehicle sped off and was spotted by a second officer nearby. “That officer exited his vehicle, and the vehicle that he was investigating began to reverse towards the officer. The officer then pulled out his duty weapon and fired into the vehicle,” Waukegan Police Commander Edgar Navarro said. 

No weapons were found in the vehicle, and both officers were initially placed on leave. 

Both Stinnette and Williams, 20, were transported to the hospital after the shooting. Stinnette died from his injuries, leaving a child he shares with Williams behind. 

Williams is expected to survive and is being represented by attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio M. Romanucci. 

“Ms. Williams’ legal team will begin our own investigation into what happened during that incident, because we do not trust the police narrative in this case. We have seen over and over that the ‘official’ report when police kill Black people is far too often missing or misrepresenting details,” Crump said in a press release. “We will share our findings with the public when we have uncovered the truth.”

Williams’ family questioned how the young mother was struck by gunfire in the stomach if she was shot from behind. “When I got there, she said, ‘Mama, they just shot us for nothing,’” said Williams’ mother Cliftina Johnson about the visit she made to see her daughter at the hospital. 

Protesters are calling for body and squad car footage of the shooting to be released to the public. 

“This is just something that I see on the news or on TV and think it’ll never happen to me. Now I’m a victim of the same thing. My mother has lost her son. Another African-American family is broken,” said Marcellis Stinnette’s sister Zhanellis Banks.