The Latest: Britain 5th nation to reach 50,000 virus deaths
LONDON — Britain become the fifth country in the world to record more than 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
The British government reports Wednesday another 595 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, the highest daily rate since May. That took the total to 50,365.
The U.K.’s death toll is widely considered to be higher as the total only includes those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and doesn’t include those who died of COVID-related symptoms after 28 days.
The U.K joins the United States (239,000), Brazil (162,000), India (127,000) and Mexico (95,000) to record more than 50,000 deaths, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The British government says another 22,950 people tested positive for the virus. The U.K. has imposed a series of restrictions in the past few weeks that expire on Dec. 2.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Texas becomes first US state with more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases
— European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde: Recovery bumpy until vaccine widespread
— U.S. reaches 1 million coronavirus cases in first 10 days of November
— During the early days of the coronavirus, top World Health Organization scientists described some countries’ approaches as “an unfortunate laboratory to study the virus” and a “macabre” opportunity to see what worked, recordings obtained by The Associated Press show.
— Hong Kong and Singapore will start an air travel bubble this month, allowing travelers from each city to visit the other without entering quarantine.
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MILAN — Italy surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry says the country added nearly 33,000 new positives in the last 24 hours to bring the pandemic total to 1,028,424.
Italy’s death toll surged to 623 — the highest single-day total since April 6 — to reach 42,953, the second highest in Europe after Britain.
Hospitals are filling with COVID-19 patients. There’s a total of 29,444 coronavirus patients currently hospitalized and more than 3,000 are in critical care units with respirators.
NEW YORK — A caravan of 100 vintage jeeps, cars and other vehicles paraded down New York’s Fifth Avenue in a socially distant Veterans Day observance.
The morning car caravan was held instead of the parade that usually marks Veterans Day in New York. U.S. Navy officials laid wreaths at Madison Square Park’s eternal light flagstaff at 6 a.m. before reviewing the car parade.
A ceremony was planned later Wednesday at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Speakers at the invitation-only ceremony included Mayor Bill de Blasio and representatives from the museum and the Navy.
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina on Wednesday reported its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with 3,119 people testing positive.
The state has now eclipsed 300,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Nearly 8% of tests came back positive, marking the highest positivity rate in more than a month.
“This is not the milestone we want to be hitting, particularly as we head into holidays where people want to come together,” said a statement from Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
North Carolina reported 38 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the confirmed total to 4,698.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece has imposed a nationwide nightly curfew as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to surge despite a lockdown.
The circulation ban will start Friday and be in effect from 9:00 p.m. through 5 a.m. with exceptions applying only for health emergencies, work-related trips, and short walks with pets. A nationwide lockdown went into effect last week.
Public health officials reported 43 deaths Wednesday, a daily record, and 2,752 confirmed new cases.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s health regulator on Wednesday authorized the resumption of large-scale clinical trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by a Chinese company just a day after shutting the test down.
The initial decision by Anvisa led to complaints that the action was more political than scientific.
The agency had cited an “adverse, serious event” that occurred on Oct. 29 as the reason for halting the trials on Monday night, but said Wednesday it “has sufficient elements to allow vaccination to resume.”
The potential CoronaVac vaccine is being developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac. In Brazil, it would be mostly produced by Sao Paulo’s state-run Butantan Institute.
About 10,000 volunteers are taking part in Phase 3 testing of the Sinovac candidate, one of several potential vaccines under trial in one of the nation’s hardest hit by the coronavirus. Brazil is No. 3 in cases with 5.6 million and No. 2 in deaths with more than 162,000.
MADRID — Spain’s Health ministry says it will ask foreign travelers from countries considered high risk to provide a negative coronavirus test to visit.
The ministry says travelers will have to submit a negative test result 72 hours before arrival. They can do so via the internet or on paper before boarding a plane.
The ministry says the measure will apply to European Member countries designated as high risk by EU guidelines. Spain will determine the situation of non-EU counties based on case rates for 14 days.
The measures take effect on Nov. 23.
PARIS — Aid group Doctors Without Borders is recruiting emergency help for French nursing homes.
That’s where more people with the virus have died so far in November than in the previous five months combined.
The group, founded in Paris in 1971 and renowned for its work in impoverished or conflict-torn countries, issued an appeal this week for medics, psychologists and other volunteers to help in nursing homes in the Paris region.
Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, also deployed emergency help in Europe earlier this year when the pandemic first hit.
France has reported more infections than any European country, though the numbers of new infections have been falling for the past week. Virus-related hospitalizations in France appear to be stabilizing, though ICUs are already saturated and virus deaths are still rising.
SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Utah teachers has organized an event to encourage educators across the state to call in sick and use the day to get tested for the coronavirus.
Granite School District teacher Lindsay Plummer says there are currently no testing requirements for teachers or students, despite the surge in cases.
FOX13 reported that some teachers believe the “test out” planned for Thursday could prompt state government leaders to do more to increase classroom safety measures. The Utah Education Association says it is urging teachers to be patient. The governor’s office has said all teachers currently have universal access to testing.
FRANKFURT, Germany — European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde says the recovery could be bumpy until vaccination becomes widespread.
That warning came in a speech at an online ECB conference Wednesday. She says the recent upsurge in infections gave the pandemic “a new dynamic” and economists are worried the recovery could go into reverse in the last three months of the year.
While recent news of vaccine tests are promising, Lagarde says the economy could face recurring cycles of growth and restrictions until enough people can be vaccinated.
She says the ECB could add more stimulus at its next meeting Dec. 10. Analysts have been predicting more stimulus as a surge in coronavirus cases and partial lockdowns weigh on economic growth.
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic has been partly lifting the complete closure of schools, allowing the youngest school children to return.
Education Minister Robert Plaga says the schools reopen for the children from the 1st and 2nd grades of elementary schools, starting on Nov 18. Both teachers and students, must wear face masks. Also, the schools for children with disabilities will reopen.
All the other grades at elementary schools, high schools and universities will continue with remote teaching.
The day-to-day increase of new cases reached 9,016 on Tuesday, about 3,000 less than a week ago. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases decreased from 120 cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 27 to 89 on Tuesday.
STOCKHOLM — Stockholm reintroduced a ban on visiting elderly in care homes after a reported spike.
The ban “is a precautionary measure because the residents belong to a risk group,” the city of Stockholm said in a statement.
In September, Sweden lifted a national ban on visiting elderly in care homes. The ban came after the bulk of Sweden’s deaths this year was recorded among people above the age of 70, and many in nursing homes.
In recent days, Sweden has seen an uptick in cases.
Overall, Sweden has reported 162,240 confirmed cases and 6,082 deaths.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s foreign minister is self-quarantining after contact with someone who has the coronavirus.
Nikos Dendias “is in precautionary quarantine from today” after meeting the person who tested positive for the virus, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
It didn’t provide any further details of who the meeting was with or when it took place.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has become the first U.S. state with more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
The nation’s second-most populous state has recorded 1.01 million coronavirus cases and 19,337 deaths since the pandemic began in early March, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Texas registered 10,865 confirmed cases on Tuesday, setting a new daily record in a state led by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. There are 6,170 people hospitalized with the coronavirus and 94 new deaths on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas had recently surpassed California, the most populous state, with the most cases. The true number of infections is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
Coronavirus cases are surging in the Laredo and El Paso areas. Another 1,292 cases and nine deaths were reported in El Paso County on Tuesday, bringing the death total to 682.
Nationwide, there were 1 million coronavirus cases in the first 10 days of November.
BERLIN — German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says it could start shipping the first coronavirus vaccines ordered by the European Union by the end of the year if the data proves the vaccines are safe and effective.
Mainz-based BioNTech, which is developing the vaccine with U.S. company Pfizer, says “deliveries are anticipated to start by the end of 2020, subject to clinical success and regulatory authorization.”
The two companies said this week, based on early and incomplete test results, their COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective.
The European Union announced Tuesday that it has finalized an agreement with BioNTech to buy 200 million doses of vaccine, with an option of 100 million more. The vaccine uses mRNA technology to train the immune system to recognize and attack the virus.
BioNTech said the vaccine supply for the EU is being manufactured at its site in Germany and Pfizer’s plant in Belgium. Assuming positive data and availability of the necessary safety and manufacturing data, Pfizer and BioNTech officials say they expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sioux Falls’ mayor cast the tie-breaking vote that defeated a proposed mask mandate in the state’s largest city Tuesday night.
After more than two hours of public comment, Mayor Paul TenHaken rejected the mandate after the City Council tied 4-4 on the ordinance.
The mandate would have required face coverings in most indoor public places where 6-foot social distancing was not achievable. Violations carried a $50 fine.
“I believe the small uptick we’ll see in compliance is not worth the community division that this will create,” TenHaken said. Councilor Greg Neitzert said he didn’t want to live in a city where people are calling the police because someone isn’t wearing a mask.
“It’s not just about health,” Neitzert said. “We also have to look at principles.”
The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce opposed it, saying there wasn’t enough clarity around potential effects on businesses, the Argus Leader reported. Several faith leaders in the city supported the mask mandate.
BRUSSELS — Decreasing hospitalizations, fewer confirmed cases and other major public health indicators show that the resurgence of the coronavirus in Belgium is abating.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht of the Sciensano government health group said Wednesday: “The decrease of infections and hospital admissions is continuing. And for the first time, the number of patients in intensive care units is no longer increasing.”
The daily number of deaths caused by COVID-19 “continues to rise, but here, too, the pace seems to slow down,” he said.
It was welcome news for Belgium, which proportionally is among the worst-hit nations in Europe when it comes to confirmed coronavirus cases. Officials had feared that the nation’s maximum intensive care unit occupancy of 2,000 beds would be reached last Friday. ICU bed use is now plateauing and slightly tapering off at 1,470.
Over the past month, Belgium has taken increasingly stringent measures to contain the virus. Bar and restaurant closures were capped by a partial lockdown, which started last week and put further restrictions on gatherings and forced non-essential shops to shut.
Belgium still had 7,834 new confirmed cases a day in the past week, but it amounted to a 46% decline from the previous seven-day period. The daily death toll for the past week stood at 190 people, a 35% increase.