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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 12th Nov 2020

News Highlights

154 positive out of 23,000 in Liverpool 'mass testing' trial for Covid-19

Liverpool's mass Covid-19 trial, that has been offered to all residents and workers in the city, has now seen more than 23,000 people who have been tested for the virus with 154 people testing positive. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the city's 500,000 residents to all take part in the trial even as testers said that all the people testing positive had no symptoms.

Research center in Africa creates $1 Covid-19 testing kit

The Pasteur Institute, a biomedical center based in Dakar, Senegal, has announced that it is close to developing a new, handheld Covid-19 diagnostic test kit that will cost about $1 and would give results in a few minutes. Director Amadou Sall said that the Institute has been working in partnership with five research organisations since March and that the rapid test kit would not require electricity or laboratory analysis, making it easy to use at the community level.

Pfizer's new Covid-19 vaccine poses logistical challenges

Pfizer recently announced that the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the company is showing a 90% success rate in clinical trials, but distribution of the vaccine may be the most challenging part with its specific cold-storage requirements. Health officials in the U.S. are concerned about the very specific requirements of the vaccine which state that doses must be stored at minus 94 degrees F and be used within five days.

More than a million students to travel across UK when lockdown ends in early December

Students in universities across the UK have been asked to leave for their homes in a staggered window between December 2 and December 9, in an effort to minimise the risk of them spreading the coronavirus. The government has also asked universities to switch to online classes by early December, as more than a million students across the UK will travel home for Christmas between these departure dates, with many of them also being offered rapid result Covid-19 tests.

Lockdown Exit
Will Gen Z ever recover from the COVID-19 recession?
The global economy has been brought to its knees by COVID-19 and one generation may never fully bounce back from the beating: Generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, some Gen Zers – teens and college students – are entering the labour market for the first time during an unprecedented economic crisis caused by a once-in-a-century pandemic. United States unemployment for workers aged 16 to 24 tripled from 2019 to 2020, hitting 24.4 percent this spring, according to an October report by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive-leaning think-tank based in Washington, DC. Like every aspect of the coronavirus recession, it is affecting communities of colour more. Unemployment rates were higher for young workers of colour – including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (29.7 percent), African Americans (29.6 percent) and Latinos (27.5 percent), EPI found. And that blow to their livelihoods may not be temporary. Gen Z workers could feel the effects of the pandemic-related recession for decades to come as the current situation affects everything from their ability to advance in careers, buy a house or afford to raise children.
Road to recovery for rural India post-pandemic; how skilled migrant workers can boost hinterland’s growth
As a measure to contain the virus, India declared a lockdown on 24 March 2020 for 1.3 billion people with the prime minister calling for joint action by people, not-for-profits, corporates, and governments. The complete lockdown in the country significantly impacted the quality of life and livelihoods of people. Considering that there has been a historical divide between rural and urban India with regard to the essential infrastructure for Health, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), supply chains, and other important services, the impact of COVID-19 was far more alarming for the rural community.
Melbourne counts economic cost of coronavirus lockdown, offering harsh lesson to other cities
The lockdown cost US$71 million a day and resulted in a daily average of 1,200 jobs being lost across the state in August and September. Business leaders say it may take years for Melbourne – which was last year ranked as the world’s second-most liveable city – to recover.
West Indies cricket squad stripped of training rights due to New Zealand COVID-19 protocol breach
The West Indies cricket squad has been stripped of the right to train while in managed isolation after players were found to have breached rules around their 14-day quarantine. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said CCTV footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed players mingling in hallways and sharing food in violation of managed isolation regulations. The ministry said all incidents occurred within the hotel and there was no danger to the public. The West Indies squad, which has completed 12 of its scheduled 14 days of isolation under COVID-19 regulations, will not be able to train again until its full managed isolation period has been completed. The isolation period might be extended if any further concerns arise, the ministry said. West Indies Cricket chief executive Johnny Grave told New Zealand media it is “hugely disappointing that players that knew the protocol completely broke that.”
Digital misogyny: Online abuse of women surges during COVID
Women bear the brunt of increasing digital abuse – threatened with rape and exploited for porn – as the coronavirus pandemic drives ever more people online, media experts said on Wednesday. Through salacious claims and viral memes, Brazilian journalist Patricia Campos Mello said she has repeatedly faced attack online for reporting on the Brazil government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. “Thousands of memes have circulated on the internet which my face appears in pornographic montages,” Mello told the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual event, Trust Conference, held online this year due to the pandemic. “[People] calling me a prostitute and saying that I offer sex in exchange for stories. I get messages from people saying I deserve to be raped.” Women’s rights campaigners worldwide have warned of an increase in online abuse, such as revenge porn, as COVID-19 has confined many people inside, in front of a screen. Girls as young as eight have also been subject to abuse, with one in five young women quitting or reducing their use of social media, according to a recent survey by girls’ rights group Plan International.
Vanuatu records first COVID-19 case in man who returned from US
Vanuatu has officially recorded its first case of COVID-19, health officials announced on Wednesday, ending the Pacific nation’s status as one of the few countries in the world to remain virus-free. Len Tarivonda, the director of Vanuatu Public Health, said the 23-year-old man had recently returned from the United States and was confirmed to have the virus on Tuesday after being tested on the fifth day of his quarantine. “A case detected in quarantine is considered a border case and not an outbreak,” the department said in a statement, adding that health protocols were in place to contain the virus. It added that the asymptomatic man, had been isolated from other passengers during his flight to Vanuatu because he had been in a high-risk location. He had transited in Auckland, New Zealand.
Exit Strategies
UK 'sleep-walking' into personal debt crisis, warns charity
Britain is ‘sleep-walking’ into a personal debt crisis with the number of people in severe problem debt topping a million due to the coronavirus pandemic, charity StepChange has warned. A further 3 million people are at risk of joining the 1.2 million people already in severe financial difficulty, according to StepChange research published on Thursday, with 5.6 million people already in arrears or borrowing to make ends meet. The charity defines severe problem debt as meeting at least three of its indicators including falling behind on essential bills or using credit to make debt repayments. “This report paints a picture of a nation sleep-walking into a debt crisis,” Phil Andrew, CEO of debt charity StepChange, said, warning that protective measures by the government and banks had not kept up with the situation.
Covid-19: Universities to oversee student exodus for Christmas
An evacuation-style plan will aim to get students home safely for Christmas. Students in England are to be allocated departure dates during a "student travel window" between 3 and 9 December, to minimise the risk of them spreading Covid-19. In Wales, they are being asked to travel by 9 December at the latest. Many will be offered rapid result tests, while teaching will move online from 3 December in Wales and 9 December in England. The Scottish government wants as many as possible of the 80,000 or so students going home for Christmas to be offered voluntary tests before they travel. Northern Ireland is expected to publish plans for students' return in the coming days. One union said the plan for a week-long travel window in England "leaves little room for error"
Will lockdown be over by Christmas? Date Covid rules are set to end, and all we know about what comes next
It is little over a month until Christmas, and people are still unsure of their plans, with England in lockdown and coronavirus restrictions in place in the rest of the UK. The four-week England lockdown, which came into effect on Thursday 5 November, is due to end on Wednesday 2 December. However, there are fears that this could be extended if the R rate does not fall below one, and infections are continuing to grow.
One MILLION students will travel across UK in same week when lockdown ends on December 2
Universities in England told to switch to online classes by early December Then will have staggered departure dates between December 3 and 9 Government said Covid-19 tests will be offered to as many students as possible
Spain hopes to receive first Pfizer vaccines in early 2021 - minister
Spain stands to receive its first vaccines against COVID-19 developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech in early 2021, the health minister said on Tuesday, under a deal being negotiated by the European Union. The EU hopes to sign a contract soon for millions of doses of the vaccine, the European Commission announced on Monday, hours after the two companies said it had proved more than 90% effective, in what could be a major victory in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Spain would initially get 20 million vaccine doses, enough to immunize 10 million people, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on state broadcaster TVE, adding that the vaccination would be free.
Remote work is 'here to stay' — even with a vaccine, says former IBM CEO
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said she believes pandemic-driven tech trends will continue after scientists find a Covid-19 vaccine. Her comments came on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement that its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing infections. Investors are trying to gauge whether trends such as working from home will continue after a vaccine arrives.
Partisan Exits
Covid: Tory MPs form group to oppose future lockdowns
Conservative MPs have set up a group to fight any future lockdown in England, arguing it would be "devastating" for the economy and "cost lives". The Covid Recovery Group, which has around 50 MP members, wants the country to "live with" coronavirus after nationwide restrictions end next month. The "cure" prescribed by the government ran "the risk of being worse than the disease", MP Mark Harper said. But the PM has stressed the NHS faces a "medical disaster" without action. A further 20,412 coronavirus cases were reported in the UK on Tuesday, with another 532 deaths within 28 days of a positive test recorded.
Spain’s coronavirus deniers: ‘We are normal people, not freaks’
Clutching the tome, he claims that all the knowledge he has gathered over the years has helped him come to the following conclusion on the coronavirus pandemic: “It is a fake pandemic invented by the multinational chemical-pharmaceutical companies. This is because they are not only pharmaceutical companies, but large chemical corporations that also manufacture poisons. [...] These multinationals are dedicated to inventing diseases, to making them chronic and turning public health into a lucrative business.”
Anti-lockdown MPs add to pressure on Boris Johnson
The Treasury’s top civil servant has agreed to consider releasing part of the advice by officials on the economics of England’s second lockdown, as the government’s preferred measure of deaths across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic rose above 50,000. While Tom Scholar, the Treasury’s permanent secretary, and Clare Lombardelli, its chief economist, denied there was “a separate forecast” of the impact of the second lockdown, as suggested in the minutes of the government’s scientific advice, they agreed on Wednesday to consult on whether the Treasury could release a selection of “ongoing” policy advice to ministers. The commitment came amid testy exchanges at the Treasury committee in the House of Commons in which MPs sought with difficulty to get Treasury officials to outline the thinking on the costs and benefits of the second lockdown.
Senior Tories Join Rebel Group To Oppose Further National Lockdown
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face sustained pressure from within his own party not to extend the national lockdown next month after senior Tory backbenchers formed a group to resist any such move. Some 32 Conservatives rebelled against the government when the Commons approved the second lockdown for England which lasts until December 2. The prime minister said he expects the nation to return to a tiered local system by then and promised MPs a vote for the replacement to the four-week lockdown. Former chief whip Mark Harper and ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker will lead the "Covid recovery group" to resist any extension of the measure in the Commons vote.
Putting pressure on Johnson, UK Conservatives set up COVID group
Conservative lawmakers have set up a new group to fight what they call a cycle of lockdowns to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, yet another sign of discontent in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing party. While most Conservatives backed the government last week in supporting a second lockdown in England to try to bring down rising cases of COVID-19, more than 30 of the party’s lawmakers broke ranks, seeing the measures as draconian. The new internal group, called the Covid Recovery Group, is the latest to be formed by Conservative lawmakers, part of wider efforts to apply pressure on a government which many feel is not listening to the party’s concerns.
Continued Lockdown
Spain lockdown: How domestic workers became prisoners
Some live-in maids in Spain have been forbidden from leaving their employers' houses during the coronavirus pandemic. The union that represents them has heard from around 100 women who say they have been kept locked inside for months. It says that live-in maids were already often being treated like “modern-day slaves” in the country and that lockdown has made things worse. Domestic workers are more at risk of being exploited and abused, as they don’t have the same legal rights as other workers. At least 22,000 have been fired since the start of the pandemic, according to the Spanish government.
Lost school time might lower lifetime earnings for lockdown-hit children
Past calamities show shutting schools for long can reduce children’s earnings throughout their life. India’s pre-existing disparities in resources and learning outcomes mean that some will bear the brunt much more than others. The tragic suicides of college students because of their inability to take part in online classes have grabbed headlines across the country. An equally profound but silent tragedy has befallen India’s school-children. Eight months have passed since most Indian children last went to school, and their loss isn’t just restricted to learning outcomes. Research suggests that for most children, learning less will also mean earning less for an entire lifetime.
Covid: Lockdown 'exploited by extremists to recruit'
The second lockdown in England is making more young people vulnerable to being groomed by extremists, a senior counter-terror officer has warned. Supt Matthew Davison, from Counter Terrorism Policing, said extremists were using the pandemic to spread hate and disinformation online. He said young people were being targeted "in their bedrooms". At the same time referrals to the anti-extremism Prevent programme are falling. The government said it would "continue to challenge and disrupt extremists who sow division".
Social workers' efforts to protect children in lockdown have gone unnoticed
The news that the numbers of babies in England that have suffered serious injury or neglect during the pandemic has increased by a fifth compared with the same period last year and eight have died from their injuries has been met with understandable shock and public concern. It is perhaps all the more shocking because so little public attention has been given to child protection during the coronavirus lockdown and particularly to what is happening to babies and children who aren’t old enough to be at school. The same public invisibility applies to social work, the only profession consistently going into homes since the pandemic began to try to safeguard children and help families.
Scientific Viewpoint
Italy surpasses the one million COVID mark, joins top 10 worst-hit countries -Reuters tally
Italy, one of the European countries hit hardest by COVID-19, surpassed the one-million infections mark on Wednesday, leap-frogging Mexico to become one of the top 10 worst-affected countries globally, according to a Reuters tally. The Italian health ministry said the country had registered 32,961 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking its total tally since the contagion first struck in February to 1.028 million. The Reuters tally showed that top 10 countries accounted for over two-thirds of all the global coronavirus cases. The United States leads the list, which includes four other European countries besides Italy - Russia, France, Spain and Britain. Italy has reported some 42,953 deaths so far, the health ministry said - the second-highest number in Europe after Britain. The country also has the highest fatality rate on the continent, at over 4.18%, the Reuters tally showed. By comparison, the United States has a 2.33% fatality rate.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine needs to be thawed from -94F and has to be used within five days: State officials scramble to carry out 'very complex' plans and overcome logistical ...
State health officials in the US are concerned the 'very complex' race to prepare for effective vaccine distribution could be thwarted by logistical challenges. While distribution is being handled on a federal level, state and local healthcare providers are responsible for storing and administering vaccines once delivered. Officials say they've had just weeks to prepare large-scale efforts after recently learning of specific storage requirements for vaccines. Pfizer's vaccine poses the biggest logistical issues so far given doses must be stored at -94F. Other vaccines currently being developed do not need to be stored as such a low temperature The US government plans to start vaccinating Americans next month if Pfizer has its COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA
Study of nearly 2,000 Marine recruits reveals asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 transmission
A study of nearly 2,000 Marine recruits who went through supervised quarantine before starting basic training revealed several instances of asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, despite the quarantine measures. The findings have important implications for the effectiveness of public health measures to suppress transmission of COVID-19 among young adults, whether in military training, schools, or other aspects of the pandemic. The researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Naval Medical Research Center studied new Marine recruits while they were in a two-week supervised quarantine. The study results, publishing November 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that few infected recruits had symptoms before diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, that transmission occurred despite implementing many best-practice public health measures, and that diagnoses were made only by scheduled tests, not by tests performed in response to symptoms.
Deep-Freeze Hurdle Makes Pfizer’s Vaccine One for the Rich
When Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine rolls off production lines, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. will be waiting to distribute it through a complex and costly system of deep-freeze airport warehouses, refrigerated vehicles and inoculation points across China. After they reach vaccination centers, the shots must be thawed from -70 degrees celsius and injected within five days, if not they go bad. Then the herculean journey from warehouse freezer to rolled-up sleeve must be undertaken all over again -- to deliver the second booster shot a month later. The roadmap sketched out by the company, which has licensed the vaccine for Greater China, offers a glimpse into the enormous and daunting logistical challenges faced by those looking to deliver Pfizer’s experimental vaccine after it showed “extraordinary” early results from final stage trials, raising hopes of a potential end to the nearly year-long pandemic.
Russia says its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is 92% effective
Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country's sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow rushes to keep pace with Western drugmakers in the race for a shot.
What you need to know about BioNTech — the European company behind Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine — developed in partnership with BioNTech — was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection. The news was hailed as a significant milestone in the race to deliver a vaccine that can help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. There are still huge challenges ahead for the development of a vaccine, but as hopes rise worldwide, CNBC takes a look at BioNTech’s history.
Covid-19 face masks with valves don’t work
Wearing a face mask helps stop the spread of coronavirus and keep others safe, unless it has a valve on it. New research has revealed how ineffective these types of masks are. High speed cameras have been used to capture the air flow from an uncovered mouth alongside two different kinds of face mask. As the video above shows, the type of mask with a valve on it still allows a jet of virus-containing air to escape.
People with one of eight genes found on seven chromosomes are at a much higher risk of dying from Covid-19, study shows
Scientists have identified eight genes that have a major influence on a person's likelihood of survival if they become infected with the coronavirus. Faulty versions of these genes, known as super-variants, were discovered scattered across seven chromosomes by researchers at Harvard University. Having just one of these faulty genes can slash the chance of survival by at least 20 per cent. Data from the UK Biobank, released in August, allowed researchers to scrutinise the genetics of 1,778 people who contracted Covid-19. Of these, 445 people died, equating to just over a quarter of the study cohort. A computer scanned through the genomes of the infected people and looked for genetic locations which crop up that may be linked to mortality. But having three or more can see survival likelihood plummet to as low as 60 per cent.
Will Australia really have a Covid-19 vaccine by March?
Hopes were raised around the world this week as news broke about a breakthrough in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Interim results show the Pfizer vaccine is 90% effective. But how much do we actually know about this trial and who will get it first?
Britons with one of eight genes are at a much higher risk of dying from Covid-19
Individual presence of super-variants slashes likelihood of survival Having three of them sees survival likelihood plummet to as low as 60 per cent Data comes from more than 1,700 cases of Covid-19 from the UK Biobank
This $1 made-in-Africa Covid-19 test kit could revolutionize testing on the continent
For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Africa may be poised to reshape rapid testing for the virus on the continent. The Pasteur Institute, a biomedical research center based in Senegal's capital city of Dakar, says it is close to producing an affordable, handheld Covid-19 diagnostic test kit that can give results in a matter of minutes. The institute is running a new venture called DiaTropix, which has been working in partnership with five research organizations since March, including Mologic in the UK, to create the test kit. Amadou Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute and DiaTropix, told CNN that the biomedical center hopes the kit will cost as little as $1 to purchase. "This is a very simple technology, like a pregnancy test that you can use everywhere at the community level, which is important for Africa," he said. According to Mologic, this rapid test kit does not require electricity or need laboratory analysis
NI pharma firm Almac's role in Covid-19 vaccine
Almac, the Northern Ireland pharmaceutical firm, is playing a role in the clinical trials of the first effective Covid-19 vaccine. On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech said preliminary results showed it can prevent more than 90% of people from getting the virus. Almac's clinical services division provides clinical trials support to BioNTech. It involves things like distribution, labelling and temperature management. The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries. It has to be kept in ultra-cold storage at below minus 80C - Almac's hardware and software is used to maintain this temperature requirement.
Uzbekistan to carry out late-stage trial of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Uzbekistan will carry out a phase III trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by China’s Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co., the Central Asian nation’s ministry of innovative development told Reuters on Wednesday. The deal makes the Zhifei Longcom vaccine the fifth COVID-19 candidate in China to enter late-stage, large scale human tests overseas. “The third phase of the pilot process will be conducted in Uzbekistan for 5,000 volunteers and the process will continue for a year,” the ministry said, adding that volunteers were aged between 18 and 59 and would undergo eight medical examinations within a year.
Moderna Vaccine Trial Reaches Key Goal to Gauge Shot’s Merit
Now it’s Moderna Inc.’s time to be in the spotlight. The same U.S. explosion of Covid-19 cases that helped Pfizer Inc. get results for its vaccine trial earlier this week is helping speed along Moderna’s trial. Moderna said Wednesday its study has accumulated more than 53 infections, allowing a preliminary analysis of the shot’s effectiveness to begin. The shares jumped. Moderna didn’t predict how long it could take an independent monitoring committee to analyze the data, but said the company could get the data to the committee within days. The company said it is still blinded to the data.
Moderna closes in on release of COVID-19 vaccine data
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday it has enough data for a first interim analysis of the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, which should help determine the vaccine's efficacy.
Europe to pay less than U.S. for Pfizer vaccine under initial deal - source
The European Union has struck a deal to initially pay less for Pfizer's PFE.N COVID-19 vaccine candidate than the United States, an EU official told Reuters as the bloc announced on Wednesday it had secured an agreement for up to 300 million doses. The experimental drug, developed in conjunction with Germany's BioNTech 22UAy.DE, is the frontrunner in a global race to produce a vaccine, with interim data released on Monday showing it was more than 90% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 in a large-scale clinical trial.. Under the EU deal, 27 European countries could buy 200 million doses, and have an option to purchase another 100 million. The bloc will pay less than $19.50 per shot, a senior EU official involved in talks with vaccine makers told Reuters, adding that partly reflected the financial support given by the EU and Germany for the drug’s development.
Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Funding Came From Germany Not Operation Warp Speed
It’s said that success has many authors, and the encouraging data from Pfizer Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine had plenty of people in Washington lining up to take credit. Vice President Mike Pence was among Trump administration officials saying support from the government’s Operation Warp Speed program helped accelerate the development of the vaccine, which was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infections in an interim analysis.
Coronavirus Resurgence
COVID-19 cases still surging in the Americas, the WHO warns
COVID-19 cases are still surging in the Americas, averaging 150,000 a day in last week, the World Health Organization’s regional office said on Wednesday. The United States continues to report record-breaking numbers, while parts of Canada and some states in Mexico, including the capital, are experiencing spikes, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said. The United States became the first country to surpass 10 million COVID-19 infections, according to a Reuters tally, as the third wave of the virus surges across the nation. Other countries in the Americas are doing better. Argentina, Costa Rica and Jamaica have curbed the outbreak with effective contact tracing, and most Caribbean nations have avoided spikes by acting fast, PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said.
UK confirmed COVID-19 deaths surge past 50,000
The United Kingdom passed 50,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Wednesday, with a recent rise in infections leading to a new grim milestone for the European country hit hardest by the pandemic.
Record Covid-19 Hospitalizations Strain System Again
Hospitals across the nation face an even bigger capacity problem from the resurgent spread of Covid-19 than they did during the virus’s earlier surges this year, pandemic preparedness experts said, as the number of U.S. hospitalizations hit a new high Wednesday. The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients reached 65,368, according to the Covid Tracking Project, passing the record set Tuesday for the highest number of hospitalizations since April. A spring surge in the Northeast pushed hospitalizations near 60,000. Hospitalizations hit a nearly identical peak again in late July, as the pandemic’s grip spread across the South and West. Epidemiologists said the record is likely to be swiftly replaced by another as Covid-19 cases soar nationally. “We already know this is going to go far north,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Covid-19: Liverpool mass-trial sees 23,000 tested with 154 positive
More than 23,000 people have been tested for Covid-19 in Liverpool's mass trial with 154 testing positive. City mayor Joe Anderson said 23,170 people have been tested since midday on Friday with 0.7% testing positive. Those testing positive had no symptoms, testers said. All residents and workers in Liverpool have been offered tests. There are 18 test centres - including Liverpool's Anfield stadium - and Mr Anderson said there had been a "great response" from people. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged all the city's 500,000 residents to take part, saying "do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community" in a bid to drive the disease down".
Boris Johnson urges York to take up mass testing for Covid-19
The Prime Minister has urged City of York Council to take up the Government's offer of mass coronavirus testing in the city. Boris Johnson was speaking in the Commons after being quizzed by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy about testing and also about whether York can go straight back into Tier 1 once the lockdown ends next month. The exchange during Prime Minister's Questions came after York's director of public health, Sharon Stoltz, said on Tuesday that York would not - as yet - be joining more than 60 other local authorities in taking up a Government offer of mass testing. She said that at this point, further information and consideration was needed. The PM said: “I urge York Council and councils across the land to take up this offer of mass lateral flow testing. I think it’s a very, very exciting possibility….it’s one of the boxing gloves we seek to wield to pummel this disease into submission."
Coronavirus hospitalizations in US reach an all-time high with more than 60,000
With the number of coronavirus cases in the United States skyrocketing, many health experts warned the total number of people hospitalized in a given day would rise too. On Tuesday, the number of people with Covid-19 at US hospitals for the first time topped 60,000. The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization that compiles data on coronavirus cases, said the number as of Tuesday was 61,694. That's 2,024 more people than were hospitalized on April 15, the previous record. The United States currently averages about 1,661 new hospitalizations per day, the organization's data shows.
What Joe Biden Has Said About a Nationwide Lockdown If U.S. COVID Cases Continue to Spiral
President-elect Joe Biden has said he will do "everything possible to get COVID-19 under control" in what he describes as "the worst wave yet in this pandemic," following his first coronavirus briefing this week. Biden expressed similar sentiments in August, saying he would do "whatever it takes to save lives," including a national lockdown, if COVID-19 infections surged in January, exacerbated by the flu season. "I would shut it [the country] down; I would listen to the scientists," Biden told ABC News anchor David Muir.
Covid: UK first country in Europe to pass 50,000 deaths
The UK has become the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 coronavirus deaths, according to the latest government figures. A total of 50,365 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, up 595 in the past 24 hours. The UK is the fifth country to pass 50,000 deaths, coming after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the figures showed, despite hopes for a vaccine, "we are not out of the woods". He said: "Every death is a tragedy," but added: "I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it."
COVID-19: Number of UK coronavirus deaths passes 50,000, government figures show
The number of people who have died with coronavirus in the UK has passed 50,000, according to government figures which highlight the devastating impact of the virus on the country. A further 595 deaths were announced on Wednesday - the highest number since 12 May - bringing the country's total to 50,365. It marks a significant moment in the pandemic for the UK, which has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 with Europe's highest recorded number of deaths.
Germany sees spike in COVID-19 deaths
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against reading too much into a moderate drop in new coronavirus infections almost two weeks into an emergency lockdown in Germany, which reported the biggest rise in COVID deaths on Wednesday since April. Europe’s biggest economy, in a partial lockdown since Nov. 2 designed to tame a second wave of the coronavirus, recorded 18,487 new infections and 261 deaths in a day, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said. “As it was the case with the Spanish flu, we now also have to expect that the second wave will be more severe,” Merkel said during a video conference with the government’s council of economic advisers.
Coronavirus deaths in Spain rise to levels not seen since the full lockdown in spring
The number of new coronavirus cases reported on Tuesday by Spain’s Health Ministry was, at 17,395, one of the lowest in recent weeks. Not since October 21 has a better figure been seen. That said, the number of Covid-19 fatalities reported set a new record. The ministry added 411 victims to the overall death toll in yesterday’s report, the highest so far in this second wave of the pandemic – apart from that of Monday (512), but this cannot be used for comparison given that it includes data from the entire weekend. The last time that 400 coronavirus victims were reported in a single day was back in April, when residents of Spain were still in a total lockdown.
India’s Covid-19 Cases Have Plummeted. Many Fear a New Wave.
Two months ago, India looked like a coronavirus disaster zone. Reported infections neared 100,000 a day, deaths were shooting up, and India seemed ready to surpass the United States in total recorded cases. Today, India’s situation looks much different. Reported infections, deaths and the share of people testing positive have all fallen significantly. By contrast, infections in Europe and the United States are surging.
Japan's surge in COVID-19 cases reignites debate over tougher virus law
As flu season approaches and new cases of the novel coronavirus remain consistently high or surge again in several cities, fears of a twofold crisis have led many to call for laws to be revised to distribute power concentrated in the central government and appease municipal leaders demanding teeth in the fight against COVID-19. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga maintains that legal revision is an arduous political process that should be shelved until after the coronavirus is contained. But experts say doing so is an immediate necessity, one that could be achieved within months if not for complacency and bipartisan politics. “It’s better to have a tool and not use it, than to not have it and suffer the consequences,” said Shuya Nomura, a professor at the Chuo University Graduate School of Law. “It’s true that the country has avoided heavy casualties without imposing citywide lockdowns or strict measures, but we don’t know why we got lucky or if those methods will continue to work.”
What Joe Biden Has Said About a Nationwide Lockdown If U.S. COVID Cases Continue to Spiral
President-elect Joe Biden has said he will do "everything possible to get COVID-19 under control" in what he describes as "the worst wave yet in this pandemic," following his first coronavirus briefing this week. Biden expressed similar sentiments in August, saying he would do "whatever it takes to save lives," including a national lockdown, if COVID-19 infections surged in January, exacerbated by the flu season.
Hungary's COVID-19 deaths near record on eve of partial lockdown
Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday granted Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government a special 90-day mandate to rule by decree in an effort to curb a spiking coronavirus pandemic, and they approved new restrictions amounting to a partial lockdown. Hungary’s government reported 103 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, making it the third hardest hit country in Europe in terms of deaths per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, behind the Czech Republic and Belgium, European Union data showed. Orban, signalling a shift away from his policy of avoiding tough restrictions in order to protect the economy, announced a limited lockdown from 12:01 a.m. (2301 GMT) on Wednesday to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed.
Merkel warns of winter long haul as German COVID deaths soar
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against reading too much into a moderate drop in new coronavirus infections almost two weeks into an emergency lockdown in Germany, which reported the biggest rise in COVID deaths on Wednesday since April. Europe’s biggest economy, in a partial lockdown since Nov. 2 designed to tame a second wave of the coronavirus, recorded 18,487 new infections and 261 deaths in a day, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said. “As it was the case with the Spanish flu, we now also have to expect that the second wave will be more severe,” Merkel said during a video conference with the government’s council of economic advisers. The government says the emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres was necessary to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals.
Bill de Blasio says lockdown restrictions are 'on table' as the NYC infection rate jumps to 2.34%
Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily coronavirus press briefing earlier today that the city will ‘have to do something quickly’ to prevent a second wave. He said the city's latest figures are 'very worrisome' and a 'warning sign if I've ever seen one' during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday. On Monday, NYC’s daily positive test rate for the coronavirus was 2.88 percent – the highest single-day figure since at least early August. De Blasio added that the city’s seven-day rolling average of new cases has now hit 2.34 percent, with NYC recording an average of 795 new cases of per-day
New Lockdown
US states resume lockdowns as COVID-19 hospitalisations skyrocket
Several US states on Tuesday imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus as people admitted to hospitals soared, straining the facilities and medical resources across much of the country. The number of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in California has risen by 32 percent over the past two weeks and intensive-care admissions have spiked by 30 percent, Dr Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary told reporters.
Italy May Have to Spend EU10 Billion a Month on Lockdown Aid
Italy may need to spend as much as 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) a month to aid businesses and workers hit by coronavirus restrictions, according to people familiar with the matter. Authorities are working on plans that would help the country navigate through a surge in infections that’s derailed the rebound from one of Europe’s worst recessions. Lockdown measures similar to the ones imposed earlier this year are estimated to cost the government between 40 billion to 50 billion euros, or about 3% of Italy’s output, if they last until March, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are confidential.
Beleaguered Italy needs to spend $11.8bn a month on lockdown aid
Italy needs to spend up to 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) a month on extra aid for businesses and workers during restrictions to contain the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation. Government officials estimate that during lockdowns, the country requires support of at least 6 billion euros a month. Virus measures may have to become tougher through the winter, the people said, which would push the bill to the higher figure. That means a tougher lockdown running into March could cost 40-50 billion euros, the people said. That’s about 3% of Italian GDP
Italy Virus Cases Pass 1 Million With Second Lockdowns Under Way
Italy led the way in fighting the early wave of Europe’s pandemic back in March, imposing a strict three-month lockdown that halted the contagion but almost crippled its economy. Now, with cases topping 1 million, a second round of shutdowns has made Italians anxious about the economic impact and weary of the return to restrictions on daily life. The government’s wavering response hasn’t helped.
Virus restrictions deal European economy lesser blow than in spring
The wave of new coronavirus lockdowns that has swept across Europe in recent weeks has hit consumer services activity hard, but the wider economy is less affected than when the pandemic first hit in the spring, according to high-frequency data indicators. Alternative economic data such as truck mileage, trips to entertainment venues and offices, and restaurant bookings have become widely watched since the pandemic began as they offer a more timely gauge of the economy, although they are less comprehensive and reliable than official data. The indicators show the damage that the new restrictions are doing to Europe’s services industry, but they also suggest that more people are continuing to travel to work than they did in the spring and manufacturing is still operating.
Ukraine approves lockdown restrictions at weekends to fight COVID spread
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's cabinet voted on Wednesday to impose a national lockdown at weekends to strengthen steps to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said the weekend lockdown would be in force from Nov. 14-30. The decision will mean closing or restricting the activity of most businesses at weekends with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and transport. The cabinet also stepped up restrictions on operations of restaurants, cinemas, gyms, and public events.
Lebanon orders full lockdown to combat COVID-19, boost hospital beds
Lebanon ordered a full lockdown for around two weeks to stem a rise in COVID-19 infections and allow a badly strained health sector to bolster capacity as the country buckled under a financial meltdown.