Coronavirus live news: France nears 1m cases as six US states see record one-day deaths

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus live news: France nears 1m cases as six US states see record one-day deaths” was written by Helen Sullivan, for theguardian.com on Thursday 22nd October 2020 02.18 UTC

Number of US states seeing record one-day deaths rises to six

The number of US states that reported record day-over-day increases in Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday has now risen to six, according to a Reuters analysis, as infections rose across the Midwest and elsewhere, prompting new clampdowns on residents, schools and businesses.

Deaths attributed to Covid-19 hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, Hawaii and Wisconsin, Reuters found. Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado and Ohio reported record daily increases in new infections, the tally showed.

The number of patients in U.S. hospitals suffering from the virus hit 40,000 for the first time since August on Wednesday, according to the analysis.

“Folks, please stay home,” Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said in a statement on Wednesday. “Help us protect our communities from this highly-contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

Evers said a week-old field hospital in the Milwaukee suburbs had admitted its first patient.

Wisconsin is a pivotal battleground state in the 3 November election between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 221,000 people in the United States and thrown millions out of work. Opinion polls show Trump’s handling of the pandemic has hurt his re-election prospects.

Podcast: US election 2020 – can we trust the polls?

The Guardian US data editor, Mona Chalabi, casts a sceptical eye over the US polling industry that is once again predicting defeat for Donald Trump. Has it learned lessons from 2016?

Barack Obama has delivered a stinging rebuke of president Donald Trump in a speech delivered in Philadelphia while campaigning for Joe Biden. Obama criticised Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as well as divisive behaviour including retweeting conspiracy theories that you wouldn’t tolerate from anyone “except from a crazy uncle”.

The former president also praised the positivity shown during the pandemic and recent Black Lives Matter movement . “We see that what is best is us is still there, but we’ve got to give it voice.”

 

Magda Szubanski was targeted by a coordinated “avalanche of hate” from rightwing extremists online after appearing in a Victorian government ad encouraging mask use, Australia’s e-safety commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant, has said.

In late August, when Victoria was reporting Covid-19 cases of close to 200 a day, Szubanski was one of several celebrities to appear in ads encouraging social distancing and compliance with mask rules.

Szubanski brought back her Kath & Kim character Sharon Strzelecki for the promotion, and quickly found herself on the receiving end of an online trolling campaign:

Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday to deliver a scathing – and occasionally humorous – condemnation of his successor while envisioning an America led by his former vice-president, Joe Biden.

Sleeves rolled and wearing a black mask that read VOTE, Obama assailed Donald Trump over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 Americans and infected millions more, including the president.

“Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country” Obama said at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia less than two weeks before election day. “Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself.”

Declaring this “the most important election of our lifetime”, Obama stressed the importance of voting and urged Americans to make a plan for casting their ballots. “What we do now these next 13 days will matter for decades to come,” he said:

Residents in five suburbs in Australia’s second-largest city have been put on alert and people living in a public housing block urged to self-isolate after a new coronavirus case in a school sparked fears of a fresh outbreak, Reuters reports.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, is just emerging from a second wave after a hard lockdown since July helped bring down daily Covid-19 cases to single digits in recent days from a peak of 700 in early August.

Authorities have asked people in the affected suburbs and 120 residents living in a public housing block to get tested if they experienced any flu-like symptoms.

Coronavirus cases could spread rapidly in the densely populated public housing buildings and in early July, nine high-rise housing blocks in Melbourne were placed on a hard lockdown for several days.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Victoria health authorities were responding effectively to the new virus clusters in the state.

Former Masters champion Adam Scott has tested positive for Covid-19 and withdrawn from the Zozo Championship at Sherwood, becoming the second high-profile golfer in as many weeks to do so.

Dustin Johnson, the world No 1, tested positive last week at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Scott has not played since the US Open, and the Australian has played only four times – two majors and two FedEx Cup playoff events – in the four months since the PGA Tour returned from the Covid shutdown:

New Zealand reports two new coronavirus cases, both returned travellers in quarantine

Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:

A day after recording its highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day for more than six months – most of them diagnosed in border quarantine facilities – New Zealand reported just two new cases of the virus on Thursday.

Both new cases were diagnosed in travellers returning to the country, who must spend two weeks in government-run quarantine, where they are tested twice for the coronavirus.

Neither of the new cases were related to the 18 instances of the virus reported yesterday, after being diagnosed in fishing crews recently arrived from Russia. All of the 235 Russian and Ukraine workers are in isolation.

There were no new cases diagnosed in the community on Thursday; New Zealand currently has three active cases of domestic spread, and 55 cases in the border quarantine facilities.

In total, the country has recorded 1,558 cases of the virus and 25 deaths. A strict, early lockdown when the virus first emerged in New Zealand has resulted in one of the world’s lowest death tolls to date.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial Brazil volunteer dies, trial to continue

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but added that the trial would continue, Reuters reports.

Oxford confirmed the plan to keep testing, saying in a statement that after careful assessment “there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial.”
AstraZeneca declined to comment immediately.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the Covid-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the control group that was given a meningitis jab.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, said an independent review committee had also recommended the trial continue. The university earlier confirmed the volunteer was Brazilian but gave no further personal details.

“Everything is proceeding as expected, without any record of serious vaccine-related complications involving any of the participating volunteers,” the Brazilian university said in a statement.

So far, 8,000 of the planned 10,000 volunteers in the trial have been recruited and given the first dose in six cities in Brazil, and many have already received the second shot, said a university spokesman.

CNN Brasil reported that the volunteer was a 28-year-old man who lived in Rio de Janeiro and died from Covid-19 complications.

Hospitals across the United States are starting to buckle from a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, with several states setting records for the number of people hospitalised and leaders scrambling to find extra beds and staff. New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days.

The rise in cases and hospitalizations was alarming to medical experts, AP reports.

“By the time we see hospitalizations rise, it means we’re really struggling,” said Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at George Mason University.

Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday the United States is seeing a “distressing trend” with Covid-19 cases growing in nearly three-quarters of the country.

Surges in coronavirus cases have led hospitals in Rocky Mountain states to raise concerns as their intensive care bed space dwindles. Utah, Montana and Wyoming have all reported record highs this week for the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19.

Seven of 10 intensive care beds were filled in Utah hospitals and about six in 10 in Montana.

Alabama lieutenant governor tests positive for coronavirus

Alabama’s lieutenant governor, who has called the state’s mask order a government overstep, announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

AP reports:

Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said he had a positive test result but so far, he has no symptoms. He said he took the test after being notified Wednesday that a member of his Sunday school church group had acquired the coronavirus. Ainsworth has criticised mandatory mask orders, although he says he personally wears one.

Ainsworth said he “will quarantine for the appropriate period and seek follow-up tests to ensure the virus has run its course before resuming public activities.”

Ainsworth has been critical of the state’s Covid-19 response under Republican Gov. Kay Ivey. In March, he criticized what he said at the time was the state’s slow response to prepare for a possible “tsunami of hospital patients.” He has also been critical of the state’s mandatory mask order. He said last month that “masks should be voluntary, not mandatory.”

Numbers show the coronavirus pandemic appears to be worsening again in Alabama after weeks of improvement.

Nearly 175,000 people in Alabama have contracted the virus since the pandemic began and at least 2,805 have died.

The virus has been spreading at a quickened pace since early October, figures show, and around 840 people have been hospitalised a day over the past week, compared to around 750 a day in late September.

While the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, it can be deadly for the elderly and people with other health problems.

The UK government is to make the recording of ethnicity on birth certificates mandatory in an effort to tackle the unequal impact of Covid-19 on people from minority ethnic groups.

A series of measures to better understand why people from ethnic minorities are more likely to contract Covid-19 and die as a result are due to be put in place, after the prime minister accepted recommendations from the government’s Race Disparity Unit (RDU) advisory group:

Here is a clip from Barack Obama’s appearance in Pennsylvania.

“Look, I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic that he ignored. But you know what, the job doesn’t work that way”:

France nears 1m cases

As Spain becomes the first Western European country to cross 1m cases, France is nearing the toll, too. There are currently 999,744 confirmed infections in the country, and 34,072 deaths.

On Wednesday, France recorded more than 25,000 new infections for the sixth time in 12 days, with the government likely to announce a geographical extension of the curfews currently in place in Paris and eight other major cities.

Several more regions are to enter red-alert status, which means that they will have to impose curfews, the government said on Wednesday. It came as hospitals in several cities including Paris moved into emergency mode to cope with the influx of patients with the virus.

Four US states see record deaths

Four US states reported a record one-day increase in Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday including Wisconsin, a hotly contested state in the 3 November election, as infections keep rising across the Midwest and beyond.

Coronavirus deaths hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters analysis. Wisconsin also reported a record daily increase in new cases together with Illinois and Ohio, the analysis showed.

There were 66 deaths in Illinois, the state’s highest single-day increase since mid-June, as governor JB Pritzker imposed fresh restrictions in some counties this week.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin governor Tony Evers said 48 people had died from the virus as he announced that a week-old field hospital in the Milwaukee suburbs has admitted its first patient.

“Folks, please stay home,” Evers said in a statement. “Help us protect our communities from this highly contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours – and I’ll try my best to include a little good news (even when not strictly Covid-related).

Seen anything you think we should be covering – get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan. Anything joyful welcome, too.

As Spain becomes the first Western European country to cross 1m cases, France is nearing the toll, too. There are currently 999,744 confirmed infections in the country, and 34,072 deaths.

On Wednesday, France recorded more than 25,000 new infections for the sixth time in 12 days, with the government likely to announce a geographical extension of the curfews currently in place in Paris and eight other major cities.

Meanwhile, Four US states reported a record one-day increase in Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday including Wisconsin, a hotly contested state in the 3 November election, as infections keep rising across the Midwest and beyond.Coronavirus deaths hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters analysis.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:

  • Trump says he doesn’t see agreement with Democrats on stimulus. Donald Trump has said he does not see any way house speaker Nancy Pelosi and senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer “will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on stimulus.”
  • Italy’s Lazio region, including the capital Rome, is set to introduce a curfew on Friday from midnight to 5am to try to curb its surging Covid-19 infections, a regional government source told Reuters.
  • It comes as Italy registered a record of 15,199 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Greek authorities announced a regional lockdown of the northern region of Kastoria, after declaring the region an elevated risk, the highest of a four-tier risk assessment. Restrictions will be imposed from 23 October. It comes as the country reported 865 new cases of Covid-19, a new high since the outbreak began in late February.
  • Spain became the first western European country to surpass a million coronavirus cases. The unwelcome milestone comes as the government considers a curfew and as political bickering threaten to jeopardise efforts to control the second wave of the virus.
  • The UK reported a daily record of 26,688 coronavirus cases, bringing the tally of lab-confirmed infections to 789,229.
  • Russia is not planning to impose any blanket restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, the president Vladimir Putin said, even as the country reported a record new daily death toll from the respiratory disease. Russia needs keep on carrying out tests for Covid-19, observe safety measures and start vaccinations, Putin said.
  • The German health minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus, the health ministry said. He took part in a cabinet meeting earlier in the day but other ministers do not need to go into quarantine, a government spokesman said.
  • Poland will announce fresh restrictions on Thursday after coronavirus infections doubled in less than three weeks, possibly including moving some primary school students to distance learning. On Wednesday, it reported a daily record of 10,040 new cases, taking its tally past 200,000.
  • The Netherlands hit a new record for daily coronavirus cases, with more than 8,500 infections in the 24 hours, nearly a week after the government imposed “partial lockdown” measures including the closure of bars and restaurants.
  • Scotland will introduce a five-tier system of coronavirus restrictionson Friday that will partly mirror England’s three-tier traffic light system of controls, as infections and fatalities climbed sharply to levels not seen since May.
  • Turkey is considering reimposing some measures to stem rising coronavirus cases, such as stay-home orders for younger and older people or even weekend lockdowns, but will avoid hurting the economic recovery.
  • Iran reported its highest daily number of cases since February,recording 5,616 new coronavirus cases for the previous 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 545,286 in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country. Authorities have urged people to avoid unnecessary trips and stay home, warning that hospitals in Tehran and some other major cities are overflowing with patients with coronavirus.
  • The Czech Republic shut most shops and services and sought to limit all movement to essential trips such as for work and medical visits to curb Europe’s fastest growth in new coronavirus infections. The country recorded a record daily rise of 11,984 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, amid a surge in recent weeks, and the health minister said the health system would soon reach the limits of its capacity and that hospitals would run short of beds in November without immediate action.
  • People who host house parties in Ireland can be fined up to €1,000 or jailed for up to one month to ensure compliance with a new Covid-19 lockdown. The government is fast-tracking legislation to give police new powers to levy on the spot fines for breaches of the new restrictions, which come into effect on Thursday.
  • Slovenia and Croatia both reported record daily highs in new infections. This week Slovenia introduced a curfew from 9pm to 6am and a 30-day state of emergency to cope with the coronavirus, while Croatia isn’t yet considering such measures.

Updated

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