Washington's inability to pass a much-needed stimulus bill ahead of November's election is expected to inflict further damage on the economy, potentially kneecapping its recovery as the expiration of key benefits looms.

Democrats have already dismissed the GOP approach as inadequate, and are not expected to support the proposals.

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in many states as the U.S. heads into the winter months. And forecasters predict staggering growth in infections and deaths if current trends continue.

Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations under a new directive aimed at preventing future outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said the COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to widespread adoption of remote health care.  “Telehealth has become the silver lining of the pandemic,” Matsui said at The Hill’s “COVID-19: The Way Forward” event. 

The number of new U.S. coronavirus cases edged up to more than 46,000, while countries including India and South Korea faced a rise in new infections.  Total U.S. coronavirus cases passed 5.5 million—just under a quarter of the global tally—as the nation’s death toll topped 173,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Florida on Wednesday surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to state figures, almost six months since the first case was identified in the state.  The state reported 174 new deaths Wednesday, bringing its total since the pandemic began to 10,067.  California, New York, Texas and New Jersey are the only other states whose COVID-19 fatalities have reached five digits.

A coronavirus mutation that has been found in the U.S. may be less deadly but more infectious than the original virus, an expert from Singapore said this week.  Paul Tambyah, the senior consultant at the National University of Singapore, said the D614G mutation has been associated with lower death rates, which implies it is less deadly, Reuters reported Monday.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that Democrats in Congress are willing to cut their coronavirus relief bill in half to get an agreement on new legislation, which a senior aide said did not signal a change to her position.

COVID-19 is currently the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., eight months after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country.   The coronavirus is behind only heart disease and cancer among causes of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).