I’m a Fall person. I love cool weather and fog. My production goes up when it gets dark earlier. I am my best self in a windbreaker. This is my season. But not this year. This year, the crisp air is ominous, blowing with impending doom. The Covid winter is coming and we’re not ready. Actually, we’re worse than not ready. We have a political party determined to fight democracy instead of fighting the virus. We have an administration refusing to work with its replacement, even on issues related to vaccine distribution; in a sad effort to cling to power and avoid making the boss so mad that he bursts out of his strait jacket. We have a president who has disengaged from the coronavirus fight at its most urgent moment. And, truth be told, we’re probably better off because he’s disengaged. Nothing beats nothing plus lies plus superspreader events. Think I’m exaggerating? WaPo: More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel. They have no choice but to take ridiculous risks. You do. Stay safe. Don’t be a fall guy.

+ Eight days after the U.S. hit 100,000 cases in a day for the first time, the number topped 160,000 on Thursday.

+ WaPo: Catastrophic lack of hospital beds in Upper Midwest as coronavirus cases surge.

+ “A group of emergency physicians in Montana is pleading with their community to follow Covid-19 restrictions, warning that a surge in cases and dwindling hospital capacity in Ravalli County has the community ‘on the brink of disaster.'”

+ In North Dakota, it’s so bad that the governor announced COVID-positive nurses can stay at work.

+ “There is already no avoiding the deaths that will follow this month’s rise in coronavirus infections. But the trends that led to that rise may very well continue and intensify. The rural states that have lost control of the virus may hold to their perilous trajectories; the first-wave epicenters fighting to keep it suppressed may grow overwhelmed as the weather cools. In this bleak scenario, millions more Americans—in states big and small, red and blue—will contract the virus, and hundreds of thousands will die. We will experience the deadliest months in modern American history.” Dhruv Khullar in The New Yorker: The Pandemic’s Winter Surge Is Here.

+ “In the imminent future, patients will start to die because there simply aren’t enough people to care for them. Doctors and nurses will burn out. The most precious resource the U.S. health-care system has in the struggle against COVID-19 isn’t some miracle drug. It’s the expertise of its health-care workers—and they are exhausted.” Ed Yong in The Atlantic: More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can’t go on like this. (Think you’re disgusted by the denialism and mismanagement in Washington? Imagine how these folks feel.)

+ And meanwhile, on the unity front: “President-elect Joe Biden says he’ll personally call red state governors and persuade them to impose mask mandates to slow down the coronavirus pandemic. Their early response: Don’t waste your time.”