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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 29th Oct 2020

News Highlights

France, Germany go back into lockdown as cases surge

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both announced month-long lockdowns in their countries on Wednesday, as the number of new coronavirus cases skyrocketed and hospitals filled rapidly. Daily infections in France have more than doubled from 17,000 to 36,000 over the last two weeks, while in Germany, Chancellor Merkel is urging citizens to minimise social contact and avoid all non-essential travel.

South Africa may have achieved 'herd immunity,' scientists say

A steep drop in the number of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, after a major outbreak in June and July, have led some scientists to believe that the country may have achieved a form of herd immunity to the disease. Professor Shabir Mahdi, the country's top vaccinologist, said the high infection rate in different provinces led him to believe that the 12 to 15 million people now had some form of immunity against the virus.

Covid-19 may cause some patients' brains to age 10 years, study says

Researchers have suggested that a severe case of the coronavirus may lead to significant brain function impacts, such as mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years. Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, who led the 84,000 person study, said the people no longer reporting symptoms of Covid-19 continued to exhibit significant cognitive defects months after they had apparently recovered from the illness.

UK Covid-19 cases could pass Spring peak in November, says SAGE adviser

Sir Mark Walport, member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned that without further lockdown measures there could be 25,000 Covid-19 cases in hospital by the end of next month, more than the April peak. A second wave of the pandemic has gripped Europe, with France and Germany already under lockdown again, and the UK has introduced a three-tiered localised lockdown system while avoiding a full scale national lockdown.

Lockdown Exit
Wikipedia and W.H.O. Join to Combat Covid-19 Misinformation
As part of efforts to stop the spread of false information about the coronavirus pandemic, Wikipedia and the World Health Organization announced a collaboration on Thursday: The health agency will grant the online encyclopedia free use of its published information, graphics and videos. The collaboration is the first between Wikipedia and a health agency. “We all consult just a few apps in our daily life, and this puts W.H.O. content right there in your language, in your town, in a way that relates to your geography,” said Andrew Pattison, a digital content manager for the health agency who helped negotiate the contract. “Getting good content out quickly disarms the misinformation.” Since its start in 2001, Wikipedia has become one of the world’s 10 most consulted sites; it is frequently viewed for health information.
The Lockdown That Felt Like It Might Last Forever Has Finally Ended
As if from hibernation, Australia’s second-largest city emerged from one of the world’s longest and most severe lockdowns on Wednesday, feeling both traumatized and euphoric after weeks of shared sacrifice that brought a deadly second wave of the coronavirus to heel. It took 111 days, but Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria recorded no new infections on Monday, and on Wednesday thousands of stores, cafes, restaurants and beauty salons opened their doors for the first time in months. “That is an achievement that every single Victorian should be proud of,” said the state’s top official, Daniel Andrews. The collective exit for a city of five million came suddenly and none too soon — Mr. Andrews had insisted on a very low threshold of cases before lifting the lockdown. It ended a dizzying and lonely experience that many in Melbourne described as an emotional roller coaster with effects on the economy, education and mental health that will linger.
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, ends its 111-day coronavirus lockdown
Coffee business owner Darren Silverman pulled his van over and wept when he heard on the radio that Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown would be largely lifted Wednesday after 111 days. Silverman was making a home delivery Monday when the announcement was made that restrictions in Australia’s second-largest city would be relaxed. He was overwhelmed with emotion and a sense of relief. “The difficulty over the journey, when you’ve put 30 years of your life into something that’s suddenly taken away with the prospect of not returning through no fault of your own — I felt like I could be forgiven for pulling over and having a bit of a sob to myself,” he said.
Australia's second-largest city ends 111-day virus lockdown
Coffee business owner Darren Silverman pulled his van over and wept when he heard on the radio that Melbourne’s pandemic lockdown would be largely lifted on Wednesday after 111 days. Silverman was making a home delivery Monday when the announcement was made that restrictions in Australia’s second-largest city would be relaxed. He was overwhelmed with emotions and a sense of relief. "The difficulty over the journey, when you’ve put 30 years of your life into something that’s suddenly taken away with the prospect of not returning through no fault of your own — I felt like I could be forgiven for pulling over and having a bit of a sob to myself,” he said.
Melbourne cheers end of Australia's strictest lockdown
Melbourne was at the heart of Australia's second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and went into a second lockdown for nearly four months - the strictest the country had seen. On Wednesday, the city eased restrictions and people were able to go to bars, restaurants and shops again for the first time in months.
Midnight revelry in Melbourne as lockdown ends, eager diners say it 'feels like New Year's Eve'
Melburnians have flocked to bars and restaurants and even Kmart in a celebration of the four-month coronavirus lockdown lifting at midnight. With restrictions still on how many people are allowed in certain venues, bookings were made hours in advance by those eager to finally "get on the beers". And over 10,000 people ahd been through the doors at Kmart since 6am this morning, the group's managing director Ian Bailey told 3AW. "I now officially declare Melbourne restaurants open for business," Angus and Bon steakhouse owner Liam Ganley said as he cut a ribbon to cheers, confetti and applause.
Australian, NZ dlrs outperform as economies escape lockdown
The Australian and New Zealand dollars gained on the euro on Wednesday as the risk of lockdowns in Europe contrasted with open economies at home, while soft Australian inflation figures supported expectations of near-term policy easing. The euro dipped to a one-week low of A$1.6531, a long way from its recent top at A$1.6827. The Aussie held steady on its U.S. counterpart at $0.7129, just short of chart resistance at $0.7158. The kiwi dollar was firm at $0.6700, having touched a five-week high of $0.6724 overnight.
Exit Strategies
Dr Fauci says it could be '2022' before things go back to normal
Dr. Fauci has warned that the country or even the world won't return to 'normality' until 2022 because that's how long it will take for enough people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Fauci, the Director of the CDC, was giving a talk over Zoom to The University of Melbourne in Australia. He said: 'If we get a vaccination campaign, and by the second or third quarter of 2021 we have vaccinated a substantial proportion of the people, I think it will be easily by the end of 2021, and perhaps even into the next year, before we start having some semblances of normality.' He said that he was 'very certain' there would be a vaccine in the next few months but it would take longer to roll out.
Three Covid-19 Success Stories
Yet there are also reasons for cautious optimism. I’d like to highlight three recent success stories. 1) Disney World in Florida has operated for 3 months safely. An October 9, 2020 story in the New York Times reported that, “As tumultuous as the three months since the reopening have been, however, public health officials and Disney World’s unions say there have been no coronavirus outbreaks among workers or guests. So far, Disney’s wide-ranging safety measures appear to be working.”
Lockdown in paradise: how the Seychelles is reopening to visitors
Darting through the opal-blue water of Anse Source d’Argent is a riot of silver fish; their puckered lips pecking at the mounds of blushing coral beneath me. A pale moray eel slithers past, flashing a toothy grin. As the warm waves lap over my back, I revel in this quiet, watery world. Praslin Island in the Seychelles couldn’t feel further from the grey UK or, indeed, the events of this year. With only 153 cases of coronavirus recorded since the start of the pandemic and zero deaths, the Seychelles has recently been added by the Foreign Office to the travel corridor list, meaning visitors from Britain don’t have to quarantine on their return. Direct flights there have resumed. It’s good news for those desperate for respite
South Korea’s Moon Says Virus Is Contained; Aims to Revive Economy
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Moon also vowed to make South Korea carbon-neutral by 2050, putting a date on the goal in line with one proposed by his progressive ruling party. It also aligns the country with commitments made by other major economies including the European Union, China and Japan. Moon called for strengthening the government’s fiscal role next year by increasing the budget by 8.5%. South Korea’s vigorous response in fighting the pandemic has helped boost Moon’s political standing at home and led to a stronger-than-expected rebound from its pandemic-triggered recession. “By reinforcing the active role of fiscal policy, we can quickly overcome the crisis,” Moon said.
Covid-19 exit strategies could see Britain follow New Zealand route or head for herd immunity — or neither
Calls for an “exit strategy” from Covid-19 are mounting amid concerns the current path will wreck the economy without eliminating coronavirus. Ministers are currently focused on preventing infections from spiralling out of control, but have not said how or if they plan to move on from the three-tier regime in future.
Coronavirus England: 5.5% slump in bus passenger journeys to 4.07bn
The number of bus passenger journeys in England fell by 238million in the year ending March 31, figures show. The total of 4.07billion journeys was a 5.5 per cent reduction on the previous 12 months. The Department for Transport (DfT) said the fall can 'largely be attributed' to the coronavirus pandemic.
US consumers brace for COVID-19 surge by hoarding food – again
American consumers who’ve worked their way through the trove of shelf-stable meals they frantically bought back in March are at it again. This time, food makers are prepared. General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios and Annie’s boxed mac and cheese, added 45 external production lines through contractors since the first round of pantry loading this spring. Campbell Soup Co. spent $40 million to expand production of Goldfish crackers and is building capacity for chip brands like Cape Cod. Conagra Brands Inc. boosted third-party manufacturing and warehousing, while Stonyfield Farm, a producer of organic dairy products, is buying more milk from its direct supply network of farms.
Partisan Exits
White House lists ending Covid-19 pandemic as an accomplishment despite cases spiking to record levels
The White House included ending the coronavirus pandemic on a list of the Trump administration's science and technology accomplishments, despite nearly half a million Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in just the last week. A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release made the claim in announcing a document highlighting the administration's science and technology achievements over the past four years. "Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC," the news release sent to reporters read. "From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease."
Covid: Protests take place across Italy over anti-virus measures
Protests took place across Italy on Monday over new restrictions to curb the country's second wave of Covid. Clashes were reported in the northern cities such as Turin, where petrol bombs were thrown at officers. In Milan tear gas was used to disperse protesters, and thousands of people gathered in the centre of Naples. The demonstrations began soon after the national government's order to close restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas came into effect at 18:00 local time. Many regions have also imposed night-time curfews - including Lombardy, where Milan is, and Piedmont, where Turin is. The violence was blamed on extremist agitators and police said 28 people had been arrested in Milan alone.
Milan fights against new local coronavirus lockdown
As Italian businesses grapple with the sweeping new Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the central government, the country’s financial capital is fighting to avoid a local lockdown that some people fear will cripple its economy. Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region with a population of 1.3m and a host of high-profile companies, is one of Europe’s coronavirus hotspots. Since the pandemic, commuter and tourist numbers have plummeted — dropping more than 70 per cent this year — leaving retailers, restaurants, bars and hotels with losses nudging €10bn.
Instead of learning from South Korea’s coronavirus example, Trump is lying about it
Trump has been jealously maligning South Korea for months. He has claimed South Korean President Moon Jae-in called to praise his handling of the pandemic, gloated when its infection numbers went up and lied about how much more testing the United States has conducted. He seems bitter that people often point out that while both countries discovered their first covid-19 cases on the same day, today South Korea (population 52 million) has 25,836 total confirmed cases and 457 total deaths, compared with at least 8.7 million cases and at least 225,000 deaths in the United States. That translates to a proportional mortality rate that is 78 times smaller in South Korea than here. It’s obvious South Korea has done a lot right while we’ve done a lot wrong. But according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, there’s nothing to learn from Seoul — at least according to his totally inaccurate and stereotype-laden misrepresentation of South Korea’s response.
Hoping for a lucky break in the pandemic could cost the US economy dearly
The latest coronavirus surge is upon us and it's looking more like a tsunami. With public health at risk and the economy hobbling along, we're going to be facing some painful decisions — again. Should governments shut down bars and restaurants? Should schools send kids home to learn remotely? Will some parts of the country have to, as Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested, hold off on Thanksgiving? Our track record with these decisions is not great so far. The states hardest hit by the first wave made these decisions too slowly. The ones hit hardest by the second wave repeated the mistake, acting only after they had run out of other options, as local hospitals became overwhelmed and daily deaths set records.
In the UK, young, non-white people likelier to lose jobs: Survey
Twice as many young and non-white British workers have lost their jobs after going on furlough compared with the average, largely because they are more likely to work in sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, a study showed. The Resolution Foundation think-tank said 19 percent of workers aged 18-24 and 22 percent of ethnic minority staff had lost their jobs after being furloughed, compared with 9 percent of employees overall.
Trump’s COVID-19 response angers former supporters
For months, Tony Green believed the conspiracy theories. The coronavirus was a hoax masterminded by the “mainstream media” and the Democratic Party to bring down United States President Donald Trump ahead of the presidential election, he thought. But then the 43-year-old from Dallas, Texas, got sick, as did 14 members of his extended family after he hosted a get-together in June. Two of his relatives, aged 52 and 69, later died from COVID-19.
Coronavirus: Flares, grenades and tear gas thrown as Rome's anti-lockdown protests continue
Violence broke out in Rome as anti-lockdown protesters threw flares and flash grenades at police, who fought back with tear gas and water cannons. Supporters of the far-right party Forza Nuova (New Force) were largely among the crowd of a few hundred in Piazza del Popolo, one of Rome's famous landmarks. They were protesting against new COVID-19 restrictions, including a 6pm curfew for bars and restaurants and the closure of public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.
Continued Lockdown
Stupid excuses given for $20m in fines during Melbourne’s second lockdown
Millions of Melburnians have finally tasted freedom after being confined to their homes for 112 days, but not everyone played by the rules during the city’s strict second lockdown. At least 13,900 fines worth a whopping $20.15 million were dished out to Victorians for breaching the chief health officer’s directions and not wearing masks since the lockdown was reimposed on July 8. Among the thousands of fines were at least 2856 Melburnians caught out during curfew hours, 1935 people who failed to wear a face covering and 1768 motorists detected trying to get through a “ring of steel” checkpoint. There was also no shortage of excuses tried on police by rule breakers trying to weasel their way out of a $1652 fine.
Scientific Viewpoint
Daewoong Pharmaceutical's COVID-19 Treatment Candidate Also Highly Effective against Influenza Virus
Daewoong Pharmaceutical, a South Korean pharmaceutical giant announced that its Covid-19 treatment candidate of sustained-release niclosamide (DWRX2003) also showed promising study results for a fight against the upcoming 'Twindemic' involving COVID-19 and seasonal flu. According to Daewoong, niclosamide successfully reduced the IVA-driven mortality rate in an animal efficacy test alongside its previous success in a COVID-19 ferret model. While 40% of the placebo-treated subjects died, both the preventive and therapeutic treatment groups injected with DWRX2003 12 hours before or 7 days after the infection resulted in full survivability. In particular, clinical scores were improved by 75% compared to the control group for the therapeutic treatment group on the second day of administration, indicating that the treatment was effective despite the hosting and worsening of infection over seven days.
Needle-free injection tech to deliver UK's COVID-19 vaccine
The University of Cambridge has received multi-million-pound funding from the government for a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine. Trial preparations are underway for the vaccine, which will be delivered via an innovative needle-free injection technology developed by US firm PharmaJet. It is hoped that a successful trial will result in the widespread availability of a low-cost vaccine. The vaccine has been developed by DIOSynVax, a spinoff company supported by the University of Cambridge, and uses computer modelling of the virus’ structure to identify the distinct genetic code. The combined artificial intelligence and synthetic biology approach allows for development of a vaccine that is specific to developing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Around 1.4% of Covid-19 patients will suffer a stroke, scientists warn
Patients who have a stroke tend to be older, but younger than expected. Strokes caused by Covid-19 appeared to be more deadly than typical strokes. High blood pressure and diabetes were risk factors for Covid-19 stroke. The findings come from analysing 100,000 hospitalised patients
Dashboard designed to chart England's Covid-19 response finds major gaps in data
There are crucial gaps in the data available to map England’s response to Covid-19, according to researchers who have developed an interactive, visual tool condensing disparate streams of publicly available information to help the public make sense of the numbers. The one-stop dashboard – developed by an interdisciplinary research team from University College London (UCL) – found substantial shortcomings in the quality, consistency and availability of reliable figures required to manage the pandemic.
Covid hospital cases in UK ‘could pass spring peak in November’
The number of coronavirus patients in UK hospitals could pass the spring peak by the end of November without further lockdown measures, a leading government scientific adviser has warned. Sir Mark Walport, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was “not unrealistic” that there would be 25,000 people in hospital with Covid by the end of next month – higher than the April peak. Walport compared the UK’s situation with France, where he said 16,000 Covid patients were in hospital including 2,500 people in intensive care – roughly half of its capacity – compared with 852 in intensive care in the UK. The picture was similar in Spain, he said, in spite of these countries implementing similar restrictions to the UK.
Coronavirus: Professor infects himself twice, refutes herd immunity
Dr Alexander Chepurnov, 69, reinfected himself with Covid-19 as part of a test His second infection was far more serious and required him to be hospitalised He says hopes for herd immunity are futile due to antibodies falling rapidly The Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine professor studies antibodies
Coronavirus: South Africa's COVID lockdown may have created 'herd immunity'
Leading scientists in South Africa believe the country has established a form of collective or herd immunity to COVID-19 after the number of infections unexpectedly plummeted following a major outbreak in June and July. Commenting on a series of studies revealing the existence of high infection rates in the provinces of Western Cape and Gauteng, the country's leading vaccinologist, Professor Shabir Mahdi, told Sky News that he believed the coronavirus had stimulated a level of immunity in approximately 12 to 15 million people.
Dr Anthony Fauci: ‘I’d be in serious trouble’ recommending Australian coronavirus response in US
America‘s top COVID-19 expert Dr Anthony Fauci has praised Victoria’s recovery from its second wave of coronavirus after a gruelling, months-long lockdown. But Dr Fauci also revealed that he wouldn’t dare publicly suggesting similar measures in the US, which has now had more than 9 million coronavirus cases: “If I were to use the words shutdown and lockdown, I’d be in serious trouble … they’d probably throw tomatoes at me,” he said. Speaking in a University of Melbourne panel discussion with Doherty Institute director Sharon Lewin and helmed by the University’s Professor Shitij Kapur, Dr Fauci said Australia had done “quite well” handling the pandemic.
Sage warns Covid second wave will be worse than first, amid mounting calls for new national lockdown
Sage modelling has shown that the second wave looks to last for much longer than the first, with a sustained death toll throughout the winter, in a stark prediction for the next few months. Internal analysis, first reported on by The Telegraph, projects that deaths will peak at a lower level than during the first wave last spring, but could remain at that level beyond Christmas, and potentially into March. Sir Patrick Vallance and other advisers have reportedly urged the Government to act quickly.
English COVID data patchy, researchers say, as new dashboard launched
There are significant problems with the availability and quality of COVID-19 data in England, British researchers said on Wednesday as they launched a dashboard to help make sense of the patchwork of stats. The COVID Response Evaluation Dashboard (COVID RED) presents available statistics from Public Health England (PHE), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Health Service (NHS) and also highlights where more data are needed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a three-tier system of local lockdowns for England in a bid to tackle local flare-ups in infections while avoiding a new national lockdown.
France must accept new national lockdown, says hospital professor
Professor Philippe Juvin, a leading member of Paris’ Georges-Pompidou hospital, told RTL radio on Wednesday that France had to accept a new, national lockdown to tackle a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. “We must take it up,” said Juvin. French President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised address on Wednesday evening. His government has been exploring a new, national lockdown from midnight on Thursday, BFM TV reported, albeit a slightly more flexible one than the two-month shutdown that began in mid-March.
The concept of “fatigue” in tackling covid-19
The concept of “fatigue” has been used to describe a presumed tendency for people to naturally become “tired” of the rules and guidance they should follow to prevent the spread of covid-19. This fatigue, so the theory goes, eventually makes people less motivated to adhere to these rules over time.1 The idea appears to be gaining currency and has alternatively been referred to as “behavioural fatigue,” “pandemic fatigue,” “emergency fatigue,” “public fatigue,” and “adherence fatigue.” A Google search on the phrase “pandemic fatigue” resulted in around 200 million hits, with articles on the first page with titles such as “10 reasons why pandemic fatigue could threaten global health,” and “Europe experiencing pandemic fatigue.” The question is whether the concept of fatigue accurately captures what is happening. This question is important because it affects policies aimed at maximising adherence. Outside of covid-19, the term fatigue has three main uses. One is a subjective feeling of mental or physical tiredness, which can be caused by mental or physical exertion, sustained activity, lack of sleep, or a health condition. It is a common symptom of covid-19 and of diseases such as cancer.2,3 It is also found in healthy individuals as part of daily living. The exhaustion may or may not be accompanied by reduced motivation to engage in particular tasks.
A room, a bar and a class: how the coronavirus is spread through the air
After studying this outbreak carefully, scientists were able to calculate the extent to which the risk could have been mitigated if they had taken measures against airborne transmission. For example, if masks had been worn, the risk would have been halved and only around 44% of those present would have been affected as opposed to 87%. If the rehearsal had been held over a shorter period of time in a space with more ventilation, only two singers would have become infected. These super-spreading scenarios increasingly appear to be critical to the development and spread of the pandemic, meaning that having tools to prevent mass transmission at such events is key to controlling it.
Sweden at 'critical juncture' as Anders Tegnell warns herd immunity is futile
The pandemic is approaching a “critical juncture” in Sweden after the number of daily cases rose by 70 per cent in a week, according to the country’s chief epidemiologist. Anders Tegnell, the public face of the Swedish authorities’ coronavirus response, said it would be futile and immoral for a state to deliberately pursue herd immunity, where a large enough number of the population has been infected so that the disease struggles to spread.
Can You Get Covid Twice? What Reinfection Cases Really Mean
The questions of whether people have immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after getting it, and if so for how long, have become more acute now that scientists have found a growing number of individuals who’ve caught the coronavirus twice. One woman even died after the second infection. Researchers are still working out the full implications of the reinfections and the ramifications on efforts to end the deadliest pandemic in a century. 1. How many people have been reinfected? A tracker maintained by the Dutch news agency BNO News had recorded 24 cases globally as of Oct. 16. The first confirmed case, a 33-year-old man from Hong Kong, was reported in August. He’d tested positive in March with mild symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and had two negative tests a few weeks later. Four and a half months after the first event, he tested positive again, although he had no symptoms. The only known person to have died from a case of reinfection was an 89-year-old Dutch woman, who was also undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a rare white blood cell cancer....
Covid-19: Russia applies to WHO for emergency use tag for its vaccine
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is one of the developers of the Sputnik V, has submitted applications to the World Health Organization (WHO) for an Emergency Use Listing and prequalification of the coronavirus vaccine. The acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine by the UN health agency could help allay concerns over its safety and quality.
COVID's cognitive costs? Some patients' brains may age 10 years
People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years, researchers warned on Tuesday. A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, led by Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, found that in some severe cases, coronavirus infection is linked to substantial cognitive deficits for months. “Our analyses ... align with the view that there are chronic cognitive consequences of having COVID-19,” the researchers wrote in a report of their findings. “People who had recovered, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits.”
Some Covid Survivors Have Antibodies That Attack the Body, not Virus
New research found ‘autoantibodies’ similar to those in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients. But patients may also benefit from treatments for those autoimmune diseases.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Northeast Drives Record U.S. Testing to Monitor Covid-19 Surge
The Northeast is running America’s biggest Covid-19 surveillance operation as a coronavirus resurgence sweeps the country, sending U.S. testing overall to a record. The seven-day average of U.S. tests rose to 1.2 million Tuesday, part of an upswing that started about a month ago and has continued unabated, according to Covid Tracking Project data. The Northeast states account for 26% of average daily tests, even though they are reporting just 10% of the country’s positives and have 17% of the country’s population. That makes it the top testing region per capita.
Second lockdown now likely as minister George Eustice says current approach right 'for now'
A new Covid-19 lockdown covering much of Britain looked increasingly likely today after a Cabinet minister called the current approach right “for now”. As senior scientists warned of hospitals being overwhelmed with 25,000 coronavirus patients by the end of November, expectations were growing that Boris Johnson will reluctantly have to order a temporary major shutdown before the end of the year. Environment Secretary George Eustice kept the door open to such a move when asked about reports that the Government was being driven towards a “circuit breaker”.
Boris Johnson Braces for England Lockdown as Coronavirus Cases Surge
Boris Johnson faces being forced into imposing a national lockdown as internal government projections put the U.K. on course for a prolonged winter peak in the pandemic -- with more deaths than last spring. The British prime minister has so far resisted a second country-wide lockdown, despite calls from the opposition Labour Party -- and his own scientific advisers last month -- to order a temporary “circuit breaker” to get the virus under control. But new modeling by the government’s emergency scientific committee SAGE suggests the second wave of the pandemic will lead to more deaths than the first because the daily death toll will stay high for longer, even though it will peak at a lower level.
Covid-19 deaths aren't rising as fast in Europe and US, despite soaring new infections. That doesn't mean the virus is less deadly
Europe is drowning in the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic. Infection rates are skyrocketing across the continent. Governments are imposing strict lockdowns. Economies are shutting down again. But there is a glimmer of hope: The virus, while still deadly, appears to be killing fewer people on average. Recent case and fatality figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) show that while recorded Covid-19 cases are spiking in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and other European countries, deaths are not rising at the same rate.
'We're in Hell': Russia's second wave of Covid-19 is catching the regions off guard
In a video widely shared across Russian social media last week, dozens of bodies wrapped in black plastic bags line the walls of a decrepit basement in a hospital in Barnaul, the capital city of the Altai region in Siberia. “The deceased Covid-19 patients were being stored in the basement of the hospital due to a shortage of pathologists and an increase of coronavirus infections and deaths,” the region’s Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, confirming the authenticity of the disturbing footage. Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor on Saturday sounded a further alarm, saying the region is approaching an “Italian Scenario,” a reference to Northern Italy, one of the world’s worst-hit areas by the coronavirus.
France on verge of second lockdown as deaths rocket to highest level since April
The French President is thought to be on the verge of announcing another nationwide lockdown today. Emmanuel Macron is set to address the nation at 8pm this evening to set out measures on how France will tackle the second wave of coronavirus. The country is seeing a huge spike in infections, and it is feared the UK will soon see a similar pattern after its statistics mimicked France’s by a delay of two weeks during the first peak of the pandemic. France is now reporting more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people each week, and nearly 18% of its tests are now coming back positive.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: France and Germany have announced second national lockdowns
President Emmanuel Macron confirmed his country's widely-expected measures, which will start this Friday and last until 1 December. The month-long measures will include: A 'stay at home' order except to exercise for one hour a day, seek medical care or buy essential goods - Shutting restaurants and bars - Non-essential shops to close - A travel ban between regions - Closing some external borders - Universities moving to online teaching
German federal, state governments agree new lockdown steps from November 2
Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed to introduce new lockdown measures starting from Nov. 2 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. “These are tough measures,” Merkel told reporters, adding that authorities would adapt the curbs within two weeks if need be.
German govt, states agree partial lockdown from Nov. 2 - sources
German federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday on a partial lockdown that will see bars and restaurants closing from Nov. 2 to Nov. 30, sources with knowledge of the talks said. Under the partial lockdown, shops would be allowed to remain open on condition that they respect social distancing by allowing in just one person per 10 square metres, the sources added.
Germany to compensate firms hit by new lockdown measures - sources
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz plans a coronavirus aid package worth up to 10 billion euros ($11.82 billion) to compensate firms hit by a new round of lockdown measures, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. “The situation is very, very serious. We need far-reaching measures now and we have to cushion their impact financially,” Scholz said during a virtual meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers according to participants, according to one of the people. Scholz wants to pay small and medium-sized firms that will be forced to close 75% of their lost sales in November, the three people said. Large companies should get 70% of lost revenues for next month.
Germany Moves to Shutter Bars and Restaurants for One Month
Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a partial lockdown in Germany that would include closing bars, restaurants and leisure facilities through the end of November, as coronavirus infections continue to surge across Europe. Merkel is also urging citizens to keep social contacts to an absolute minimum and avoid all non-essential private travel, according to a draft federal government briefing paper obtained by Bloomberg. Germany will help companies affected by the toughest restrictions since the end of the spring lockdown by making up to 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in aid available in November, when the measures will be in place, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Europe coronavirus: Germany announces new four-week lockdown
Angela Merkel announced four-week lockdown that will see all bars and restaurants shut from Monday. But shops and schools will remain open, while businesses will still be allowed to offer takeaway services. Emmanuel Macron was also set to announce harsher measures for France on Wednesday evening. Markets in Europe and the US tanked at the news, with the FTSE 100 hitting its lowest level since April. Meanwhile Italy and Spain were hit with fresh anti-lockdown protests at the recent curfews introduced there
Europe heads back into lockdown after warning hospitals are filling with COVID patients
A number of European countries are locking down again as COVID-19 surges across the continent. Tuesday’s World Health Organization (WHO) figures showed the region reported 1.3 million new cases in the past seven days, nearly half the 2.9 million reported worldwide, and over 11,700 deaths, a 37% jump over the previous week. The WHO’s Dr Margaret Harris warned that deaths are spiking and hospitals filling up across Europe. Germany and France are among the European countries preparing to announce restrictions that approach the severity of the blanket lockdowns seen in spring.
Basque Country Becomes Fifth Spanish Region To Lock Down As The Second Wave Hits Hard
A ban on movement between municipalities is in force throughout the basque region as well as perimeter confinement. The Basque Country has become the fifth of Spain's 17 regions to re-impose closure of the boundaries with other parts of the country in an effort to slow the spread of the second wave of Covid-19, following declaration at the weekend of a new national state of emergency in response to the pandemic.
COVID-19: New cases spark second-wave fear in Pakistan, partial lockdown reimposed
In cities with more than two per cent positivity – Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur Peshawar, Quetta, among others – certain restrictions will be in place with effect from Thursday till further notice.
France and Germany prepare for lockdown as cases surge in the two countries
Germany recorded 14,964 new cases across the country in the past days, taking the total since the start of the outbreak to 4,49,275. Meanwhile, France reported 523 virus-related deaths in 24 hours Tuesday, the highest daily tally since April, bringing its overall death toll to 35,541.
India's only state to not report any Covid-19 death so far, registers first fatality
Amid the declining number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths across the country, there comes a rather unexpected news from the only Indian state to have not reported a single virus-related fatality yet. Mizoram, which is the only state in the country to have not reported a single Covid death since the pandemic hit the country several months back, registered its first fatality today. A 62-year-old man with existing co-morbidities was under treatment for the virus in a city hospital for last 10 days. “The first Covid-19 mortality in Mizoram comes as a huge shock to the entire state.
COVID-19 curb: Germany to impose emergency month-long lockdown
As COVID-19 infections spiral, officials in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, agree to go into an emergency lockdown from November 2, shutting down restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities.
France will go into a new lockdown from Friday, says Emmanuel Macron
France will go back into lockdown from Friday to combat a surge in cases of COVID-19, President Emmanuel Macron has said in a televised address to the nation. Schools and creches will remain open, he added. The evolution of the virus in France has surpassed "even the most pessimistic projections", the president said. While remote working should be carried out where possible, Macron said citizens will be able to leave their homes for essential work purposes, medical appointments, to help vulnerable individuals and to do grocery shopping.
Partial covid-19 lockdown in Germany prioritizes in-person schools over dining out
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron each announced month-long national lockdowns Wednesday, saying health authorities have lost control of skyrocketing new infections while hospitals fill rapidly. The announcements came as governments across Europe struggle to contain a second wave of the virus in colder weather, even after the relative success of strict lockdown restrictions in the spring. “We in Europe are all surprised by the propagation of the virus,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation.
France to enter second lockdown amid record coronavirus surge
France will introduce a new coronavirus lockdown from Friday, President Emmanuel Macron has announced. In his second major televised address in two weeks, Mr Macron said France was “overwhelmed by the pace at which the virus is spreading", which was “worse than even the most pessimistic projections”. Average daily infections more than doubled from 17,000 to 36,000 in the two weeks since his last address. The latest figures represent a record level of new cases in the country, more than seven times the peak from the first wave earlier this year.