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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation

November 25, 2020 GMT
Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)
Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

— Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

— More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

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— Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break the rules. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says he will fine businesses $10,000 for violating virus restrictions.

THE NUMBERS: COVID-19 deaths have been shooting up all week. The average number per day is now over 1,600. The country is averaging 174,000 new cases of the virus per day.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t want to be South Dakota.” — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors who resist mask mandates. He cited the grim statistics in South Dakota and the governor’s refusal to require masks.

ICYMI: The virus has scuttled a long-standing holiday tradition in the tiny Kansas town of Norcatur. In a decades-old tradition that evokes Norman Rockwell nostalgia, the whole town gathers for a potluck dinner at Christmastime and conducts a prize drawing for a plethora of donated meats, crafts and goodies. This year, it’s off.

ON THE HORIZON: President-elect Joe Biden is ramping up his response to the pandemic. He i s delivering a national Thanksgiving address in an attempt to unify the country in the face of the resurgent virus, and congressional leaders are waiting for his strategy for fighting the pandemic.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic