The Latest: California judge rejects bid to block dining ban
LOS ANGELES — A California judge has rejected a request from a restaurant industry group to block the nation’s most populous county from reinstating a ban on outdoor dining, a plan the group said would devastate businesses and workers.
The California Restaurant Association asked a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Tuesday to block the order until county health officials provide medical or scientific evidence that it poses an unreasonable risk to public health.
The group challenged an order issued Sunday in light of soaring coronavirus cases that prohibits restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars from providing in-person, outdoor dining.
The new rule scheduled to take effect Wednesday would restrict restaurants, bars and other businesses in the county to takeout and delivery.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Tokyo governor: Japan can host Olympics despite virus spike.
— Millions in US stick to Thanksgiving travel plans despite CDC warnings.
— Keep the mask: A vaccine won’t end the US crisis right away.
— Just in time for December holidays, England to cut its mandatory 14-day quarantines for travelers from unsafe virus countries to as little as five days with testing regimen.
— Los Angeles on the brink of a stay-home order as coronavirus cases rise.
— Drones to the rescue: Berlin lab seeks quicker virus tests.
Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top health official said he is exhausted trying to convince people in the state to take the coronavirus seriously and follow public health guidelines.
“I’ll just to confess to you guys, I’m exhausted trying to convince folks to do stuff. It’s just going nowhere,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said Monday during a meeting with members of the Mississippi Senate.
Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 144,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,729 deaths from COVID-19. Hospitalizations are rising, with 946 people hospitalized in Mississippi with coronavirus Monday, compared with 560 on Nov. 4, according to the state Department of Health.
Speaking to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Monday, Dobbs said there is no “collective will” among the public to prevent the virus.
“We have chosen, very clearly, to prioritize social events over disease transmission,” he said. “Part of that’s because we are tired of it and there has been some effort to minimize the severity of the illness.”
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City’s casinos are slowly resuming live entertainment, bringing back a staple of the casino experience as they comply with government-mandated restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The A-list stars that filled arenas and ballrooms are still nowhere to be found. Instead, the casinos are offering smaller shows with lesser-known acts in rooms that can comply with occupancy and social distancing limits.
Hard Rock on Tuesday announced a series of Motown-themed Christmas shows from Dec. 11-30, saying its customers are getting antsy with months of coronavirus restrictions.
“Public demand is looking for activities, especially with outdoor temperatures keeping everyone inside,” said Hard Rock president Joe Lupo. “The large showrooms, with better air circulation and spacious seating, and less than 10% of normal (occupancy) can provide that safe and fun night out.”
Tickets will be sold as individual tables of two and four seats to ensure social distancing.
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s department of health has released figures showing that November has become the state’s deadliest month due to complications from COVID-19.
State officials confirmed Tuesday a record high of 37 deaths in the last day, bringing the overall death toll to 883 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 317 fatalities in November, surpassing the October tally of 295.
Figures released Monday by Johns Hopkins University researchers lists North Dakota’s death count as the 39th highest in the country and the eighth highest per capita at 112 deaths per 100,000 people.
State health officials said fatality updates on Tuesday are typically higher because of lag in reporting from the weekends.
MOSCOW — Russia has released new results claiming its experimental coronavirus vaccine is highly effective and will cost less than vaccines made by some Western competitors.
Russian Direct Investment Fund, which bankrolled the development of the shot, says Sputnik V will cost less than $10 per dose — or less than $20 for the two doses needed to vaccinate one person — on international markets. The vaccine will be free for Russians. Developers of the vaccine say it was 91.4% effective, according to new trial data.
Pfizer and Moderna shots cost about $20 and $15-25 per dose respectively, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.
Russia drew international criticism for giving Sputnik V regulatory approval before it underwent advanced testing among tens of thousands of people required to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
Russia has reported 2.1 million confirmed cases and more than 36,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio might get the potential coronavirus vaccine by Dec. 15, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday, citing his office’s conversations with federal officials.
Any vaccine candidate must be peer reviewed and get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The priority would be distribution to health care workers, followed by populations considered at high-risk for the coronavirus. The governor didn’t identify which company’s vaccine the state would receive.
Meanwhile, nearly 4,500 patients in Ohio are hospitalized with COVID-19-related symptoms. That includes more than 1,000 on intensive care units and more than 570 on ventilators, according to state Health Department data.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen from 4,724 cases on Nov. 9 to 8,277 on Monday, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
MADRID — Spain is reporting a new daily record of 537 coronavirus deaths since the resurgence of the pandemic.
The country’s 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 of population fell Tuesday to 362. That’s down from 529 on Nov. 9, at the peak of the resurgence.
Spain has since enlisted emergency measures limiting movement and social gatherings.
Spain’s total coronavirus cases stands at nearly 1.6 million, with more than 43,600 deaths.
TOKYO — Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike remains firm about safely hosting the Olympics in July.
Japan has experienced an uptick in infections this month, with a nationwide daily total exceeding 2,000 as the government tries to balance preventive measures and business activity.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spent four days in Tokyo last week trying to assure the public and sponsors the Olympics will take place on July 23.
Koike credits widespread use of masks for Japan’s lower infections compared to the United States and Europe. Tokyo topped 500 cases last week. It reported 186 new cases on Tuesday for a total of nearly 38,200.
The health ministry says Japan has 135,000 total cases and nearly 2,000 confirmed deaths. The U.S. has 12.4 million cases and more than 258,000 deaths. Britain leads Europe with 1.5 million cases and 56,000 confirmed deaths.
NEW YORK — Governors and mayors are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings that have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials are banking on voluntary compliance since such measures are largely unenforceable.
Health experts say if people disregard the new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway, that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death after the holidays.
The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly double since the end of October, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world with 12.4 million cases and nearly 258,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.
OMAHA, Neb. — The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus in Nebraska remains near record levels, but the total has remained relatively the past week.
The state says 971 people were hospitalized with the virus on Monday. Over the past week, that figure has gone up and down between a low of 961 last Wednesday and Friday’s record of 987.
But more social distancing restrictions could be triggered soon because more than 23% of the state’s hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said that more restrictions will be imposed when that figure reaches 25% of the state’s hospital beds.
Nebraska reported 1,860 new cases of the virus Monday to reach 115,921. The state reported 25 new deaths for a confirmed total of 934.
GUILFORD, Maine — A Maine medical supply manufacturer has been awarded more than $11 million from the federal government to produce millions of additional testing swabs.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins says Puritan Medical Products of Guilford received the money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Collins says the company will increase its production of swabs by three million per month.
The White House in June said the federal government was providing more than $75 million for Puritan to double its production to 40 million swabs per month.
The company’s total production is at least 90 million per month now, Collins says.
The state has reported nearly 10,800 cases and 189 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.
MADRID — Spain officials say health workers and residents in elder care homes will be the first group vaccinated when potential doses arrive.
Health Minister Salvador Illa says Spain has signed agreements with five vaccine producers and hopes to do so with two more. Once the vaccines are approved by the European Medicines Agency, Spain hopes to receive 140 million doses.
Given most vaccines will involve two doses, he says this should be enough to vaccinate some 80 million people and cover any possible problems with some vaccines.
Spain, with a population of 47 million, intends to give vaccines for free and provide the excess vaccines to countries outside the European Union that need them, Illa says.
The government hopes to vaccinate some 2.5 million people in the first stage between January and March and the rest of the population by mid-year. The vaccinations will be given in Spain’s 13,000 public health centers.
Spain has reported more than 1.5 million cases and more than 43,000 confirmed deaths.
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic’s prime minister says his government is working on a plan to use rapid coronavirus tests for the entire country.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the antigen testing will be free and won’t be mandatory. Babis says it would take place a week or 10 days before Christmas with the help from the military. The Health Ministry will present a detailed plan as soon as possible, Babis says.
Antigen tests are less reliable than the standard PCR coronavirus tests, but they cost less and produce results in minutes.
Slovakia tested nearly two thirds of its 5.5 million people in one weekend this month.
The Czech Republic, a nation of 10.7 million, has 496,638 confirmed cases and 7,360 deaths.
NEW DELHI, India — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged states with a surge in coronavirus cases to establish cold storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccines.
Modi’s Tuesday meeting with state leaders came as India’s total infections soared past 9.18 million. More than 134,000 Indians have died due to the coronavirus.
Modi says his government is keeping track of vaccine development in the country and is in touch with vaccine developers across the world. He says “our priority is to make the vaccine available for all.”
India is home to some of the world’s biggest vaccine makers and there are five vaccine candidates under different phases of trial here. But the state-run cold chain facilities used to keep some vaccines consistently refrigerated would be inadequate for the enormous challenge of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.
To address this issue, Modi’s government is augmenting the cold chain and transport mechanism for the vaccines. It is also readying a database of healthcare and frontline workers who will be inoculated first.
BERLIN — State and federal health authorities in Germany say they are shortening quarantine periods for people who have come into contact with a confirmed COVID case from 14 days to 10, if they provide a negative test.
Officials said Tuesday that people who have previously had COVID-19 themselves and recovered do not need to quarantine anymore if they come into contact with a newly diagnosed patient, unless they show symptoms of illness.
Health officials have asked federal authorities to provide a legal basis for specially trained teachers to perform rapid antigen tests for the virus. Such tests are increasingly seen as an effective tool for screening people in schools and are deemed sufficient for shortening the quarantine period.
BERLIN — Germany’s 16 states want people to self-quarantine for several days before visiting family at Christmas, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to elderly and vulnerable relatives.
The dpa news agency reported Tuesday that states have agreed among themselves on a proposal for tightening Germany’s partial lockdown measures in the coming weeks, so they can be relaxed over the festive period.
The plan, which also suggests bringing forward school breaks and that employers should let staff work from home, will be discussed Wednesday at a virtual meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany’s disease control agency recorded 14,361 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past day, and 249 further deaths. Germany has done relatively well in the pandemic, with an overall death toll of 14,400, one-fourth that of Britain’s.
LONDON — The British government says people arriving in England from a destination not on its coronavirus safe list will from next month be able to reduce the time they have to quarantine themselves if they test negative for the virus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the 14-day quarantine period can be reduced if people have a negative test from five days after their arrival.
The change, which takes effect on Dec. 15, has been long-awaited by the travel industry, one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic.
Under the new rules, passengers can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of potentially 100 pounds ($133). Results are normally issued in 24 to 48 hours.