First, there was very good news on the vaccine front Monday. Read more here.
But there's still a very long way to go until we're all getting one. That's why the US Surgeon General got on Fox News and begged Americans to wear face masks in public.
"I'm pleading with your viewers. I'm begging you," Jerome Adams said during the appearance before the conservative audience on "Fox & Friends."
"Please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say, 'Wear a face covering.'"
So why no face mask requirement? "If you are going to have a federal mandate you have to have a federal enforcement mechanism and right now as scientist and an educator, I would rather help people understand why they should cooperate with wearing a mask and how they benefit from it, versus just simply saying we are going to force you to do it, particularly by sending in federal troops or using federal mechanisms," Adams said.
The pivot. President Donald Trump later in the day tweeted a photograph of himself wearing a mask, calling it "patriotic."
Here's the entire history of mask recommendations.
Here's a list of all the states now requiring masks in public.
50% reduction: "People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50%, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk," Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN's Holly Yan.
Horrible, sick irony. Trump and other leaders did not lead the way in the US on encouraging face masks even after it was clear they helped stop the spread of Covid in part because they wanted to focus on reopening the country.
Now, as the Washington Post points out, countries that did focus on masks are in a stronger position to reopen, albeit still with masks, and the US is finding itself on more travel restriction lists and more parts of the country may have to return to more stringent restrictions on daily life.
Admitting there's a problem
There is clearly a new line from the White House and federal officials.
Trump used to deny there was a problem. Now he's admitting to a "big flare-up in Florida, Texas, and a couple of other places."
The assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Adm. Brett Giroir, said on CNN Monday, "There is no question we're having a surge right now."
That's been clear for weeks in the continued high number of positive tests.
It's clear in the growing number of hospitalizations in many states, like Mississippi, where the governor said Sunday on CNN that the number of Covid-19 patients needing hospital care has about doubled in two weeks.
The growth is actually across most of the country, according to CNN's report. As of Monday morning, 31 states have seen more new cases this past week compared to new cases from the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Read this set of bullet points in a story from CNN's Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan. What follows weeks of increased infections? Overwhelmed hospitals.
- Los Angeles reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in a day, with at least 2,216 people hospitalized. And more than half of the 2,848 new cases reported Sunday were among people under 41 years old, officials said.
- In Florida, at least 49 hospitals had no more ICU space available on Sunday, according to data from Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration.
- Arizona reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in one day -- 147 -- according to the Covid Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins. At least two states reported record single-day case increases Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
Trump says he'll get involved again
Perhaps it is an increasingly difficult situation in states with GOP governors increasingly implementing their own mask orders that has Trump looking more isolated and changing his tune.
But his solution, rather than more federal money for testing and contact tracing, is a return to his own press conferences.
"I'll get involved and we'll start doing briefings," he saId.
You might recall his previous briefings, which CNN's Kevin Liptak describes as "a hallmark of the pandemic's earlier days. They ceased after Trump repeatedly found himself sparring with reporters and going on tangents, including one about ingesting disinfectant."
Why the switch? Liptak writes: "Trump's aides worry he appears absent as the crisis continues to rage. Trump no longer attends daily coronavirus task force meetings and hasn't held an event specifically focused on the virus in two weeks."
He also noted that Trump views this in terms of ratings rather than infections.
"I think it's a great way to get information out to the public," Trump said, adding they would likely resume on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET -- the same time he typically briefed in the spring.
"We had a good slot. A lot of people were watching," Trump said, using television ratings lingo to describe the sessions. "We had record numbers watching," he said. "In the history of cable television there's never been anything like it."
One has to wonder how effective these new briefings will be if Trump spouts in the self-defeating way he did to Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sunday, in which he said he'll be right eventually on Covid. How many people will die and how long will that take?
No, martial law is not 'law and order'
Over the weekend we saw distressing images of protesters in Portland being plucked off the street by unidentifiable masked men.
Trump applauded those tactics at the White House Monday and said they're on the way to other cities run, he said, by "liberal Democrats."
That's the President targeting cities run by his political opponents with a militarized police force.
That's not normal. That shouldn't be normal.
It's clear his view of "law and order" is more like "martial law." Read more here.