Could rising virus cases derail Trump’s re-election? And more fallout as COVID-19 spreads unabated

Coronavirus is getting worse in states that President Donald Trump needs the most, at the least opportune time.

New infections are raging in the upper Midwest. In Iowa, polls suggest Trump is in a toss-up race with Biden after carrying the state by 9.4 percentage points four years ago.

COVID-19 cases also have risen over the past two weeks in Midwestern battlegrounds Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, though not as sharply as in Wisconsin and Iowa, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

In addition, the pandemic is resonating with voters because it touches all Americans personally and most of them economically, said Terry Madonna, director the Franklin and Marshall College Poll and veteran scholar of Pennsylvania politics.

“It’s ubiquitous,” Madonna said. “Maybe it’s not in your own family. But you know someone who had it. You can’t get away from it in the news and in your own life.”

But even should Joe Biden win next week’s presidential election, he would still face significant political challenges in combating the worst public health crisis in a century. Like Trump, he will encounter the limits of federal powers and is sure to face resistance from Republicans who may buck additional spending.

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More developments today:

  • A senior Trump administration official says Medicare will cover the yet-to-be approved coronavirus vaccine free for older people under a policy change expected to be announced soon.
  • Pope Francis’ decision to forgo wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath.
  • Italy is bracing for another day of nationwide protests against virus-fighting measures that have closed restaurants and bars early and shut down gyms and swimming pools.
  • Elections officials in Iowa are worried about the state’s rising number of coronavirus cases, saying that any illnesses or absences among key workers and volunteers could hinder their services through Election Day.
  • The U.S. casino industry is seeking tax and regulatory relief from the government as it tries to recover from a coronavirus outbreak that cost states more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue while casinos were shut down for four months this year.
  • World Series games are being limited to about 11,000 mask-wearing fans each night at a neutral site in Texas because of the coronavirus. They are the smallest crowds for the Fall Classic in more than 100 years.

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