A pair of pedestrians wear masks in Portland on Friday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Wednesday and Veterans Day. Temperatures will be in the low 70s to high 60s from north to south, with a mix of sun and clouds throughout the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and Maine

Another 172 coronavirus cases have been reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There are 1,804 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, the highest yet, while the death toll stands at 156. It’s the highest daily death toll reported since June. Check out our COVID-19 Tracker for more information.

Tuesday’s report of the death toll rise comes amid a statewide surge in new coronavirus cases. Health officials have warned Mainers that “forceful and widespread” community transmission is being seen throughout the state.

One number shows COVID-19 spreading more in Maine than elsewhere, but it’s not the full picture

A cyclist wears a mask as well as a helmet in Portland on Friday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine appears to have risen to the top of the nation judging by one measure that tries to gauge how extensively the coronavirus is spreading. Yet even as infections surge, Maine is still outperforming most other states on the indicators that epidemiologists use to track the pandemic on a day-to-day basis and that they say present a fuller picture of the virus’ spread. The state is still seeing far lower rates of daily new cases, hospitalizations and positive test results than most of the nation.

Susan Collins and Joe Biden are friends. She could be key to his early agenda.

Joe Biden, as vice president, administers the Senate oath to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during a ceremonial reenactment swearing-in ceremony, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. Collins’ husband Tom Daffron is at center. After Biden won the presidency in last week’s election, his relationship with Collins may be key to the early part of his tenure. Credit: Susan Walsh / AP

With Biden in the White House, Collins will no longer face regular questions about Trump’s irregular remarks and conduct. Her status as one of the most moderate members of her party and her long-standing relationship with Biden mean she could be someone the Democratic president-elect turns to as he seeks compromise with a Senate likely controlled by Republicans.

She could pay $800 monthly for life-saving drugs under new plan for Maine university retirees

Retired University of Maine Law School professor Nancy Wanderer stands on her front stoop in Falmouth on Friday. The University of Maine System Board of Trustees reently told its roughly 2,900 retirees that their union-negotiated health care plan would be canceled at the end of the calendar year. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

This summer, the University of Maine System said it would be switching to a new plan in 2021 as part of a plan expected to save $2.5 million annually and affecting 2,875 retirees and dependents.

Nancy Wanderer found that the plans most beneficial to her are much more costly. Her premium would jump from $41 a month to $188, and her co-pay for Revlimid would jump to $3,500 in the first month and $800 a month after until she reaches a $6,550 deductible for catastrophic coverage for prescription drugs.

Sherman’s last World War II vet recalls his experience in the world’s greatest conflict

World War II veteran James King sits at a table at his home in Sherman, next to a wedding photo of him and his wife Helen. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

This year marks 75 years since the end of World War II, the most lethal conflict in human history and one that affected the lives of millions of Americans. For James King, the war was something he experienced with his own eyes and ears. King, 95, lives in the small town of Sherman with his wife Helen, whom he met after the war while working on a farm in New Jersey. The memories of the conflict clearly remained fresh in King’s mind as he recalled the details of the war matter-of-factly, though some of what happened may seem incredulous to younger generations.

How the tiny island of North Haven is grappling with growing COVID-19 numbers

A boater motors past lobster boats moored off North Haven, Maine, Monday, March 16, 2020. The small island community of about 400 has 15 confirmed and presumed positive cases of COVID-19. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

North Haven residents were relieved to have gotten through the summer and half the fall with no cases, even though the warmer months were busy, with some seasonal islanders arriving early and staying later than normal. But this month has provided an unwelcome wake-up call on North Haven, just as it has for the rest of Maine, which is coping with a surge of the virus.

Maine restaurant patrons must now wear masks at tables except when eating and drinking

A pair of pedestrians wear masks in Portland on Friday while walking by a sign urging them to do so. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Gov. Janet Mills stepped up the face-covering requirements last week to essentially encompass every situation when a person is not alone in public. Restaurants have had to make sure customers wear masks when not seated and have contact tracing procedures set up since they were allowed to reopen to dine-in service in June during the coronavirus pandemic.

In other Maine news …

Micmac veterans reflect on ‘sense of duty’ that drives traditions of honor

UMaine men to open Hockey East schedule Nov. 20 in Orono against Massachusetts

2 test positive for COVID-19 at juvenile detention center

Rockland man accused of stabbing brother while 200 miles off Massachusetts coast

2 tight Waldo County legislative races will go to Friday recounts

8 Bar Harbor restaurants and cafes temporarily close after COVID-19 exposure