U.S. Deaths Near 400,000; Brazil Approves Vaccines: Virus Update
Another 3,830 people in the U.S. died of causes related to Covid-19, keeping the country on track to reach 400,000 deaths before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Biden’s promise of delivering 100 million doses of the vaccine in 100 days is “absolutely a doable thing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
Brazil granted approval for the emergency use of AstraZeneca Plc and Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccines against Covid-19 as the virus roars back in Latin America’s largest economy.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he’s considering all possible measures after the nation recorded 1,200 deaths for the fifth day in a row on Saturday. Austria is extending its lockdown.
- Global Tracker: Cases pass 94.8 million; deaths surpass 2 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 39.7 million shots given worldwide
- The rich are minting money in the pandemic like never before
- From the bubonic plague to 2021, why lockdowns look set to stay
- Thailand sold itself as a paradise Covid retreat. No one came
- Norway lifts estimate of deaths among elderly who got Pfizer vaccine
- How fear of vaccine threatens to delay pandemic’s end: QuickTake
Swedish PM Says Use of New Coronavirus Laws Can’t Be Ruled Out (3:50 p.m. NY)
Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has said he can’t rule out further restrictions under a temporary new law to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“But I hope we won’t need to use it,” he said during an interview on state broadcaster SVT on Sunday evening. The law, which runs from January until September, gives Lofven’s government the right to shutter businesses and fine citizens that fail to comply with tougher restrictions.
New York Cases Continue to Slow (2:44 p.m. NY)
New York state reported 13,842 new cases Sunday, the second daily drop after infections climbed to a record of just below 20,000 on Friday. Hospitalizations, a growing concern, fell slightly to 8,771, as did the positive test rate, to 5.61% statewide, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Another 172 people in the state died.
Virginia Cases Break Record for Second Day (2:33 p.m. NY)
Virginia shattered its record for new infections Sunday, rising to a new daily high of 9,914, state health data show. The state had set a record of 6,757 new infections on Saturday. New fatalities slowed to 23, compared with 50 the previous day, for a total of 5,729.
California Death Rate Drops (2:25 p.m. NY)
California reported 432 deaths, fewer than 669 the previous day and below the 14-day rolling average of 490, according to the health department’s website. If the state were a country, its 33,392 total fatalities would rank it 16th, between South Africa and Poland.
California added 42,229 new cases yesterday, surpassing the 2.94 million mark. The state’s 14-day positivity rate was 12.5%, little changed from the 14-day average. California, home to 40 million people, has administered more than 38.2 million tests in total. The Greater Los Angeles area has surpassed 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, though county scientists estimate actual infections are three times higher.
France Cases Slow (2:22 p.m. NY)
France reported 16,642 new cases on Sunday, the lowest daily increase in six days and less than the previous seven-day rolling average of infections of 18,148. Total cases are now 2.91 million. Deaths linked to the virus rose by 141 in the past 24 hours, to 70,283, according to data from health authorities. Separately, the health ministry said 422,127 people have been vaccinated since Dec. 26, with those over the age of 75 eligible for inoculation starting Monday.
Brazil Approves First Vaccines; Shots Begin (2:02 p.m. NY)
Brazil granted approval for the emergency use of AstraZeneca Plc and Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccines against Covid-19, allowing the country to kick-start deploying shots as the virus roars back in Latin America’s largest economy.
Health regulator Anvisa cleared the vaccines in a Sunday meeting, citing the recent significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Brazil and the lack of alternatives for treatment of the disease.
Minutes after Anvisa finished its meeting, Sao Paulo began vaccinations, making Monica Calazans, a 54-year-old Black nurse, the first Brazilian to get a shot against Covid-19.
Ireland Hospitalizations Not Yet at Peak, Minister Says (1:05 p.m. NY)
Ireland expects coronavirus hospitalizations to peak “in the next week or two,” Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told state broadcaster RTE Radio, even as the nation ramps up its vaccination program.
The country has seen one of the worst virus outbreaks in the world since the new year, with hospitalizations almost double the previous high in April. Daily infections have started to fall, however, and on Sunday, the 2,944 cases reported were the lowest since New Year’s Day, health authorities said.
Still, Donnelly said the number of those seeking hospital treatment has not yet peaked. The National Public Health Emergency Team said Sunday the situation in the hospitals remains “stark.”
The government expects to have vaccinated about 140,000 people by Jan. 24, Donnelly said. About 77,000 people had received their first dose by Jan. 13.
French Minister Dismisses Vaccination Passports as ‘Premature’ (12:08 p.m. NY)
France is “very reluctant” to back any move by the European Union to create vaccination passports that would allow people who have been inoculated against Covid-19 to travel, Clement Beaune, junior minister for European Affairs, told France Info radio on Sunday. “It’s premature” to discuss using a document of this type to allow travel within Europe, at least until the vaccine is widely available, he said.
Italy Hospitalizations Drop (11:54 a.m. NY)
Italy reported 12,545 new cases Sunday, down from 16,310 a day earlier. The number of hospitalized patients fell for a fifth day, reaching 25,260, the lowest since Nov. 4. Patients in intensive-care units are also at the lowest since early November.
The country reported 377 deaths linked to Covid-19, down from 475 on Saturday. Italy has reached 1,123,021 vaccination doses and started second shots Sunday.
U.K. Reports Fewest Cases in Three Weeks (11:46 a.m. NY)
The U.K. reported another 38,598 cases on Sunday, the fewest since Dec. 27. Reporting is often lower on weekends, however. Fatalities, at 671, were also below the average of 1,100 over the previous seven days. Hospitalizations continued to rise with 37,475 patients as of Jan. 14.
Fauci Says Biden’s 100 Million Doses ‘Doable’ in 100 Days (10:30 a.m. NY)
President-elect Joe Biden’s promise of delivering 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in 100 days is “absolutely a doable thing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he expects Biden not to hesitate to “use whatever mechanisms we can” to speed the production and distribution of the shots.
“The feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear, there’s no doubt about it,” Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Portugal New Cases, Deaths Fall From Record (9:40 a.m. NY)
Portugal on Sunday reported 10,385 new confirmed cases, less than the record of 10,947 on Saturday, taking the total to 549,801. The total number of deaths rose by 152 in a day to 8,861, following Saturday’s record daily increase of 166. The number of patients in intensive-care units rose by nine to 647, according to government data. The country’s national health service has a capacity of about 960 beds in intensive-care units.
Australian Open to Go Ahead With 72 Players in Quarantine (9:30 a.m. NY)
The Australian Open tennis tournament will go ahead as scheduled next month, even after the number of players sent into a 14-day hotel quarantine on arrival rises to 72.
A passenger has tested positive on a third flight, arriving in Melbourne from Doha, the event organizers said in a statement on Sunday. This means an additional group of people, including a further 25 players, will need to complete a 14-day hotel quarantine. It brings the total number of players in a two-week isolation period to 72.
U.S. Adds More Than 3,800 Deaths (8 a.m. NY)
Another 3,830 people in the U.S. died of causes related to Covid-19, keeping the country on track to reach 400,000 deaths before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
Reported cases nationwide increased by about 231,000 to more than 23.7 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Deaths rose to 395,785. The U.S. leads the world in cumulative cases and deaths.
Raab Says U.K. Considering All Measures at Border to Curb Virus (7:04 a.m. NY)
The U.K. government is considering “all possibilities” to enforce Covid-19 rules for travelers, and won’t rule out setting up quarantine hotels and using GPS trackers to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
Raab warned on Sunday there would be more checks by Public Health England to make sure people are self-isolating in their own homes for 10 days after arrival.
He also refused to rule out setting up the hotels or using global positioning system trackers.
Separately, the Telegraph reported that the government aims to vaccinate four to five million people a week within months, with shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson helping it to inoculate all 54 million adults by the end of June.
The U.K. reported more than 1,200 deaths for the fifth day in a row on Saturday. New cases of 41,346 were below the weekly average of 51,221. More than 37,000 people were in hospitals, and 3.56 million people have received their first dose of a vaccine.
Austria Extends Lockdown to Feb. 7 as Virus Mutation Spreads (5:57 a.m. NY)
Austria will keep its current lockdown in place until Feb. 7. It will shut restaurants, cafes and hotels for at least all of February and tighten mask and distancing requirements as more infectious coronavirus mutations accelerate the spread of the disease.
The setback for the Alpine country that had planned to lift most measures on Jan. 25 comes as the B.1.1.7 mutation is suspected to have reached locations including Vienna. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country will now make the more effective FFP2 masks mandatory on public transport and in supermarkets and pharmacies -- the only stores still open -- and increase the required distance in public places to 2 meters.
Israel to Begin Reopening Economy in February (4:01 a.m. NY)
Israel will begin gradually reopening its economy from February, and much of it will be active by March, Finance Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday.
As of Sunday morning, 1,772 soldiers and IDF civilian employees have been diagnosed with Covid-19, the Jerusalem Post reported. In addition, 12,196 are in home isolation. Some 31,110 soldiers have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine so far.
Germany to Detain Quarantine Breakers as Cases, Deaths Increase (2:30 a.m. NY)
Several German states plan to detain quarantine breakers, Welt am Sonntag reported. People who repeatedly violate quarantine orders face detention in some German states, in addition to high fines, the newspaper reported, citing its own inquiries.
The state of Baden-Wuerttemberg plans to admit persistent quarantine breakers to designated sections of hospitals, which are monitored by a security service, Schleswig-Holstein plans to detain the persons on the premises of a youth detention center, and Saxony is in the process of putting up a designated facility for such cases, according to the paper.
The country reported an increase of 14,817 to 2,038,645 coronavirus cases for the past 24 hours, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 related deaths rose by 242 to 46,464.
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