Many signs suggest a fall surge may be in full swing as the United States reports more than 90,000 new COVID-19 cases in a week for the second time since the onset of the pandemic. 

While 21 states set records for new cases in a week, CNN exit polls suggest COVID-19 isn’t a top issue for Americans this election year, with only 1 in 6 voters citing the pandemic as most important to their vote. In comparison, one-third of voters named the economy as their most critical issue and 1 in 5 cited racial equality. 

Ballots continue to be counted in one of the election’s most contested states, Wisconsin, where health officials reported a record 5,771 new cases and 52 more deaths. In addition to being a battleground state, Wisconsin has also been one of the nation’s COVID-19 hotspots the last few weeks, and officials are concerned about a 44% average rise in daily cases. See live election results here. 

Here’s what to know today:

Across the Atlantic, new restrictions are in place in Austria, Greece and Sweden. Germany imposed a partial shutdown Monday, with Italy, France, Kosovo and Croatia also implementing tighter measures. England is scheduled to go back into lockdown on Thursday, though schools and universities are expected to stay open. 

A Republican candidate for state legislature in North Dakota, who died Oct. 5 after he had been sick with COVID-19, won a seat as state representative for District 8 on Tuesday.

The group that represents cruise lines with 95% of global ocean-going capacity said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of U.S. sailing operations for the rest of 2020.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 9.3 million cases and 232,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 47.5 million cases and 1.21 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

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USA TODAY analysis shows 21 states set weekly COVID-19 case records

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Tuesday shows 21 states set records for new cases in a week while three states had a record number of deaths in a week.

New case records were set in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon,Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

Record numbers of deaths were reported in Montana, North Carolina and South Dakota.

Meanwhile, 40 states had more cases in the latest week than in the week before, an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Forty-one states had a higher rate of people testing positive on testing than the week before, an analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows.

– Michael Stucka

North Dakota legislature candidate who died of COVID-19 wins election

North Dakota election officials say Republican candidate David Andahl, who died on Oct. 5 after he had been sick with COVID-19 for several days, won a seat as state representative for District 8 on Tuesday.

Andahl, 55, remained on the ballot, in part because early voting had begun weeks before his death. His mother, Pat Andahl, told the Bismarck Tribune that she was unsure how he contracted the virus because he had been “very careful.”

Republicans are set to choose Andahl’s replacement by using a committee to make an appointment, according to previous statements by North Dakota’s attorney general. But voters could call for a special election.

The pandemic hit has hit North Dakota hard in recent months. Last month, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation called out the state for its alarming death rate following a well-documented lax approach to health mandates in the state.

– Joel Shannon

UK to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing in Liverpool

A half-million people in the English city of Liverpool will be regularly tested for COVID-19 in Britain’s first citywide trial of widespread, rapid testing that the government hopes will be a new weapon in combating the pandemic.

Testing will begin later this week at sites throughout the city using a variety of technologies, including new methods that can provide results in an hour or less, the government said in a statement Tuesday. Everyone who lives or works in the city in northwestern England will be offered the test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes mass testing will provide a way out of the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 46,000 people across the U.K. in Europe’s deadliest outbreak. England is scheduled to go into a second national lockdown on Thursday as the government struggles to control a second wave of infections that risks swamping hospitals and emergency rooms.

Liverpool has one of the highest infection rates in England, with more than 410 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 225 per 100,000 for the nation as a whole.

– Associated Press

Kentucky surpasses ‘grim milestone’ of 1,500 deaths

Kentucky’s coronavirus-related deaths surpassed 1,500 on Tuesday as the COVID-19 surge continued with the sixth-highest number of daily virus cases reported in the state, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Beshear called passing 1,500 deaths “a grim milestone” in announcing the latest numbers. “It appears we are going to lose a significant number of Kentuckians unless we pick it up, unless we do better,” he said.

Beshear and public health officials have repeatedly urged Kentuckians to work harder at steps to prevent spread of the highly contagious virus, including wearing masks in public, limiting contact with other people and washing hands frequently.

Beshear reported 1,795 new virus cases statewide Tuesday, increasing the total number of cases to more than 111,000 since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, virus-related hospitalizations in Kentucky continued to rise, with 1,037, the governor said. The state’s positivity rate was 6.24%.

– Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal, and Associated Press

Record new number of cases in Wisconsin 

Wisconsin health officials reported a record 5,771 new coronavirus cases and 52 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with a testing positivity rate tracking ever higher.

Hospitalizations rose by 247 in the state, which for weeks has ranked as one of the nation’s worst hot spots for the virus. The state’s daily average of new cases has risen by 44% over the past two weeks, making it fourth-worst in the country for new cases per capita, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Wisconsin had risen over the past two weeks to 14.72% as of Monday.

Wisconsin has recorded 2,102 deaths from the virus.

Europe tightens restrictions as virus hospitalizations rise

Coronavirus cases hit new daily highs this week in Russia, and Germany and the U.K. announced plans Tuesday to expand virus testing as European countries battled rapidly increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Nations reintroduced restrictions to try to get ahead of a virus that has caused more than 1.2 million deaths around the globe, over 270,000 of them in Europe, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is straining health care systems.

New measures took effect Tuesday in Austria, Greece and Sweden, following a partial shutdown imposed in Germany on Monday and tighter rules in Italy, France, Kosovo and Croatia. England faces a near-total lockdown starting Thursday, although schools and universities will stay open. 

Infections spiked in Russia, where authorities reported 18,648 new cases Tuesday. It was the fifth straight day of more than 18,000 confirmed new cases, compared to the country’s daily record of over 11,000 in the spring. Russia has the world’s fourth-highest reported coronavirus caseload with over 1.6 million people confirmed infected, including more than 28,000 who have died in the pandemic. 

Indiana AG candidate wins election after testing positive for COVID-19

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, the Republican candidate for Indiana attorney general, has tested positive for COVID-19 after developing “some symptoms,” his campaign announced.

Hours later, Rokita defeated Democratic challenger Jonathan Weinzapfel in Tuesday’s statewide election. Rokita had been quarantining with his family after he was informed “by a person unconnected to any campaign activities that he was exposed to COVID-19,” Rokita’s campaign said in a statement.

The campaign said Rokita “just recently tested positive after developing some symptoms” and is doing well and working from home.

Cruise industry throws in the towel on 2020, looks to 2021

Days after Carnival and Norwegian extended a halt on cruises through the end of the year, the group that represents cruise lines said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of U.S. sailing operations for the rest of 2020. 

The announcement comes just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections.

Cruise Lines International Association – which includes cruise giants Princess, Carnival  and Royal Caribbean – said that its members have voluntarily opted to maintain the current suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through the end of the year. 

Members “will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety” with the guidance of public health experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the association said. 

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID update: Coronavirus not top issue for voters; Europe cases surge

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