Montana Public Radio

coronavirus

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

The U.S. budget deficit soared to a record $3.1 trillion, following a massive surge in government spending aimed at containing the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 was more than triple that of fiscal 2019 and easily eclipsed the previous record of $1.4 trillion recorded in 2009.

Israel, which imposed the world's strictest second nationwide lockdown, will be loosening some restrictions this weekend.

After a four-week lockdown, including a ban on movement beyond one-third of a mile from home, the country has dramatically brought down its number of infections.

On Sept. 30, Israel's health ministry reported there were 9,013 new cases, among the world's highest per capita daily infection rates. On Thursday, there were 1,608 new cases.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Won't Be Ready By Election Day

Oct 16, 2020

Pfizer, the apparent front-runner in developing a COVID-19 vaccine for the United States, says its results won't be ready until mid-November at the earliest. That dims any lingering expectation that there could be a vaccine by Election Day, as President Trump has asserted.

Updated at 9:57 a.m. ET

Shoppers bought more clothes and cars, and even returned to beleaguered department stores in September.

The Chinese port city of Qingdao is under soft lockdown after a cluster of 13 COVID-19 cases was discovered last weekend.

In the past five days, health authorities say they conducted more than 10 million coronavirus tests of all Qingdao residents, all of which came back negative. Still, residents have been asked to remain at home, flights to Beijing have been canceled and travelers from Qingdao to other parts of China must quarantine.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a huge financial toll on the travel industry, airlines are trying to shift their focus from stopping the bleeding to planning for a recovery.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby is expressing confidence, saying a recovery is "now visible on the horizon," even though that recovery still appears to be a long way off.

"The light at the end of the tunnel is a long way away, but this is the turning point," Kirby told reporters and analysts on a conference call on Thursday.

Health officials in Illinois on Thursday announced the largest number of COVID-19 deaths for a single day since June.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 53 new deaths, the largest daily increase since 64 people were reported as having died from the virus on June 24.

Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 employees, saying they personally defrauded a coronavirus relief program from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In a memo sent Wednesday and obtained by NPR, the company said it had identified employees that it believes made false representations in applying for relief funds through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The employees' actions were outside of their work responsibilities, the company said.

London, Birmingham and other U.K. cities are now at a high alert for COVID-19, as officials tighten restrictions on people and businesses in a huge swath of England. The alert level rose Thursday as part of a new system meant to tamp down regional outbreaks.

"Things will get worse before they get better," U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said as he announced the changes in Parliament. Europe is seeing a huge spike in new cases, Hancock said, "And here, we certainly saw the highest figure for daily deaths since early June."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the approval of a second new coronavirus vaccine in as many months – but neither has completed the kind of extensive and rigorous three-phase trials required in the U.S.

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