The Latest: US sets another record for confirmed COVID cases
NEW YORK — The United States set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as several states posted all-time highs, underscoring the vexing issue confronting the winner of the presidential race.
The surging cases and hospitalizations happening around the country reflect the challenge either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will face in the coming months.
Public health experts fear potentially dire consequences, at least in the short term.
Daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged 45% over the past two weeks, to a record seven-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also on the rise, up 15% to an average of 846 deaths every day.
The total U.S. death toll is already more than 232,000, and total confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed 9 million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— U.S. sets a new record for confirmed COVID-19 cases
— Poland reaches daily high of nearly 25,000 coronavirus cases
— Russia reports records in new daily virus cases, deaths
— South Korea approves single test for COVID-19 and flu
— Pints poured, retail therapy: England readies for lockdown to start Thursday to try to curb surge in coronavirus cases.
— Pope Francis urges people to follow recommendations from governments and health authorities amid a surge of infections across Europe.
— Sports venues throughout the U.S. were in play on Election Day. Professional sports teams offered their stadiums, arenas and practice facilities to provide more polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/virus-outbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
TOPEKA, Kan. — Several dozen Kansas hospitals say they expect to deal with staffing shortages over the next week as the state continues to report an average of well over 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day.
The Wichita area’s two major health systems said Wednesday that almost 150 coronavirus patients were hospitalized, their highest numbers since the pandemic began.
The Ascension Via Christi system is trying to bring in about 60 nurses from outside Kansas to help with staffing, and it has converted space into two new units for COVID-19 patients.
The state’s average of 1,453 new cases a day for the seven days ending Wednesday is not a record, but is still more than double the level of a month ago.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota hospitals are under pressure and ICU beds are nearing full capacity as coronavirus cases reach a new high and hospitalizations continue to surge.
The state Department of Health said that as of Wednesday afternoon, 887 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 219 in intensive care.
Officials said ICU bed use is at 98% capacity in the Twin Cities area and 92% statewide. The vast majority of ICU beds are occupied by patients with ailments unrelated to COVID-19, but the rise in hospitalizations is straining capacity.
Minnesota reported a record-high 3,844 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday and 31 deaths. The state has seen 160,923 cases and 2,530 deaths since the pandemic began.
DENVER — Colorado health officials say that in the next two or three days they expect hospitalizations from the coronavirus to surpass the high levels seen in April.
The dean of the Colorado School of Public Health said Wednesday that if transmission continues at the current rate, the state’s hospitals will exceed capacity in their intensive care units by late December. Dr. Jon Samet added that ICU units could become overwhelmed sooner if people gather during the holidays.
Health officials said 8.92% of tests have come back positive over the past week. The World Health Organization recommends that the positivity rate stay below 5%.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus is bringing back an island-wide, overnight curfew in a bid to curb a surge of new COVID-19 infections that authorities worry could overburden the country’s health care system.
The curfew, which is to take effect Friday, orders bars, restaurants, shopping malls and cafes to shut by 10:30 p.m.
The only exceptions to the curfew will be for anyone who’s on the job and for emergency medical reasons. A 10-person maximum for gatherings at home or any public space — except in bars and restaurants — is part of the effort.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou also announced a ban on all kids’ sports and social activities, and the closure of indoor and outdoor playgrounds as well as gyms.
President Nicos Anastasiades warned in a televised address that the spread of the coronavirus is on the verge of getting out of hand.
ROME — Four regions in Italy are being put under severe lockdown, forbidding people to leave their homes except for essential reasons, in an effort to slow surging COVID-19 infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Premier Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday night announced what he described as “very stringent” restrictions on the so-called “red zone” regions of high risk: Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta in the north and Calabria, the region forming the “toe” in the south of the Italian peninsula.
Except for few circumstances, no one will be allowed to enter or leave “red zone” regions or even travel between their towns, although people can exercise by themselves and while wearing masks near home. Non-essential stores will be closed, although barber shops and hair salons can stay open, and only nursery, elementary and the first year of middle school will have in-class instruction.
Conte said the lockdown will begin Friday to allow time to organize. Designations will be reviewed every two weeks.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma, either with the coronavirus or under investigation for infection, surpassed 1,000 on Wednesday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
There were 1,026 people hospitalized, compared to the previous record of 974 on Tuesday. There were an additional 1,246 reported cases and 17 more deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the health department. That raisies the totals since the pandemic began to 127,772 cases and 1,392 deaths.
The department reported 15,927 active virus cases and that 110,453 people have recovered. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases in the state has increased slightly, according to a Johns Hopkins University report. The report also said the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Oklahoma has risen from 10.3 per day to nearly 14.6 per day.
BERLIN — Germany’s foreign minister is in quarantine for the second time in a month after a meeting with a foreign official who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, deputy Michael Roth and other employees at the meeting on Monday are in quarantine.
An initial test on Maas was negative. He also entered quarantine in late September after a bodyguard tested positive.
The only German Cabinet member known to test positive is Health Minister Jens Spahn, who recovered and returned this week to his office.
PHOENIX — Arizona’s total coronavirus cases surpassed 250,000 and state health officials reported more than 1,000 hospitalized patients for the first time since late August.
The Department of Health Services reported 814 cases and 39 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 250,633 confirmed cases and 6,059 deaths.
Hospitalizations statewide reached 1,065 on Tuesday, the highest since late August after the state was a national hot spot in June and July.
O’FALLON, Mo. — Missouri’s statewide hospitalizations reached a record seven-day average of 1,672 on Wednesday.
Hospitals in the St. Louis region are among those with record numbers of patients.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 2,599 daily coronavirus cases, bringing the confirmed state total to 193,023.
Missouri added 24 deaths, increasing the total to 3,088.
OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska had a record 673 hospitalizations and reported more than 1,400 new cases of the coronavirus.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases increased from 854 per day on Oct. 20 to 1,160 on Tuesday.
Nebraska officials say 29% of the intensive care beds across the state remained available Tuesday. Hospital officials have said the recent surge in cases is straining capacity.
EL PASO, Texas — An El Paso health official says hospitals are near the “breaking point,” with 3,100 new cases of the coronavirus reported Wednesday.
There were 1,041 hospitalizations Wednesday, health officials said.
Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the health authority for the city and county, say “Our hospitals are near breaking point, we need everyone to do their part to stop this virus.”
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is sending additional medical personnel and equipment to the city. Local officials ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential activities
Texas, which recently surpassed California with the most coronavirus cases in the nation, has 950,345 total cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland hit a daily high of nearly 24,700 coronavirus cases as the government introduced new restrictions on shops, schools and culture institutions through November.
The new restrictions limit the number of customers in shops and require remote teaching for primary schools. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says a full national lockdown may be necessary if these measures don’t contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He repeated his appeal to citizens to stay home and refrain from ongoing street protests. Morawiecki says they contribute to the increase in new cases and suggested the protests should be moved to the internet.
Hundreds of thousands in the nation of 38 million have been holding anti-government street protests since Oct. 22. That’s when a court tightened the abortion law, which now bans abortion for fetal defects.
Health officials say more than 370 people died in the past 24 hours from the coronavirus. Poland has nearly 440,000 cases and 6,500 deaths.
GENEVA — The Swiss government is deploying the army for a second time this year to help Switzerland’s beleaguered health system respond to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Authorities announced a record 10,043 coronavirus cases in Switzerland in the last 24 hours.
Defense Minister Viola Amherd says the deployment of up to 2,500 soldiers will help Swiss regions cope with the growing number of coronavirus patients hospitalized or in intensive care.
The soldiers were expected to provide support for civilian hospitals such as basic care, detection of suspected cases and testing. They’ll supply equipment to intensive care units.
Switzerland has counted 192,376 confirmed cases and 2,275 deaths.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka police say more than 200 policemen have been infected with the coronavirus.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana says another 2,213 officers have been quarantined.
Health authorities have linked the infections to a new cluster centered on the country’s main fish market near the capital of Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s new outbreak began last month when two clusters emerged – one at a garment factory and other at the fish market. The clusters have grown into 8,265 cases.
The government has imposed a curfew in the densely populated Western province, which includes the capital. Authorities have closed schools, key public offices and banned public gatherings.
Sri Lanka has recorded 11,744 confirmed cases and 23 deaths since March.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania will close schools, restaurants and other venues for at least three weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Cabinet decided the stricter measures will start on Saturday. They include mandatory masks outdoors, banning mass gatherings and closing sports clubs, theaters, cinemas. Similar measures were imposed in March during the first lockdown.
Lithuania registered less than 2,000 cases in September, then had a surge of 11,000 cases in October.
The nation of 2.8 million has 18,092 confirmed cases and 182 deaths.
LONDON — The chair of Britain’s coronavirus vaccine task force says data evaluating the efficacy and safety of the two most advanced candidates should be available in early December.
Kate Bingham told a Parliamentary committee on Wednesday that data on the two vaccine candidates — developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech — should be available by then.
After that, the vaccine candidates will need regulatory approval, Bingham says.
“If we get that, we have the possibility of deploying by year end,” she says.
Bingham acknowledged despite the government’s earlier estimate there would be 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine available by September, there only will be about 4 million doses available by the end of the year, due to some manufacturing “hiccups” that have since been resolved. She says there will be about 10 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.
TALLINN, Estonia — The Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia say they have both registered a record daily number of coronavirus infections since the start of the outbreak.
Health officials in Estonia say the country of 1.3 million confirmed 208 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, putting the cumulative total to 5,333 cases with 73 deaths.
Latvia, Estonia’s southern neighbor, says it had a record number of new coronavirus cases: 313 in the past 24 hours. Latvian health officials say the nation of nearly 2 million has recorded 6,752 confirmed cases and 85 deaths.
Baltic News Service, the region’s main news agency, reported Tuesday that Latvia’s government has in principle agreed on declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic — a decision expected to be formally taken up by the Cabinet.