California Hits Record; Toronto Locks Down Again: Virus Update
San Diego, California, on Nov. 19, 2020. (Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg)

California Hits Record; Toronto Locks Down Again: Virus Update

New Jersey and Illinois said they expect to receive Covid-19 vaccine doses, as Pfizer became the first company to apply for emergency use authorization in the U.S. for the vaccine developed with BioNTech SE.

California reported a record number of new infections. The share of U.S. hospitals anticipating a critical staff shortage within seven days rose to a record.

Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, will go back into lockdown, as Brazil surpassed 6 million total infections.

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California Hits Record; Toronto Locks Down Again: Virus Update

Illinois Expects 400,000 Vaccine Doses (4:52 p.m. NY)

Illinois, where a series of new restrictions to curb a Covid-19 resurgence took effect Friday, expects to receive about 400,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine after one gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Ngozi Ezike, the director of the state’s public health department, said on Friday.

State officials are identifying ultra-cold storage to hold the doses. Pfizer Inc. has filed for an emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, which requires storage at extremely low temperatures. When a vaccine is approved, the initial doses Illinois receives would be for health care workers and first responders, Ezike said.

Toronto Goes Back to Lockdown (4:47 p.m. NY)

Canada’s largest province ordered a lockdown in Toronto and one of its suburbs, a declaration that forces shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to close their doors to slow a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Ontario, home to 14.7 million of the country’s 38 million people, said all non-essential retail stores in Toronto and Peel will have to close, though they can take orders for outdoor pickup and delivery. Restaurants will be allowed to operate takeout and delivery services only. Personal services such as salons will also shut down and indoor gatherings will be largely banned. The measures take effect Monday.

Brazil Passes 6 Million Cases as Covid-19 Roars Back (4:43 p.m. NY)

Brazil reached 6 million coronavirus infections amid growing signs the spread is accelerating in what was already one of the world’s hardest-hit nations.

Sao Paulo, one of the early hotspots, is of particular concern as data show hospitalizations on the rise, threatening to stretch the health system to its limits. Nationwide, the daily infections have jumped 25% in the past two weeks as testing picked up, according to the country’s association of diagnostic medicine.

NYC Restaurants Likely to Stay Open for Now (4:23 p.m. NY)

New York City restaurants are expected to remain open through the Thanksgiving holiday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The city hasn’t yet met the state’s criteria that would require a shutdown of indoor dining, and isn’t expected to do so until December at the soonest, Cuomo said on a call Friday with reporters.

The state requires a seven-day average Covid-19 positive-test rate of 3% for 10 days before an area has to shut down indoor dining and other “high-risk” nonessential businesses, Cuomo said. New York City has different criteria for calculating its average test rate, and has already reached 3%, resulting in a shutdown of its school system this week

While state cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, they are doing so at a manageable rate, Cuomo said. The state reported 5,468 positive cases for Thursday, the most since late April; It conducted 205,000 tests, the most in one day by any state ever, according to Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.

Denver Cracks Down on Gatherings (4:01 p.m. NY)

Restrictions went into effect Friday in Denver, Colorado, including a ban on all personal gatherings -- indoor and out, officials said. The restrictions also place limits on office and retail store capacity and prohibit indoor dining at restaurants.

“I know you hate this. I hate this,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a video broadcast to city residents. “I’m asking, I’m urging, I’m pleading with everyone - please stay home.”

At a news briefing, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said an estimated one-in-64 state residents carry Covid-19, meaning “almost everybody you encounter could be infectious.”

California Reports Record Cases (3:50 p.m. NY)

California reported 13,005 new infections, a daily record. The average rate of positive tests jumped to 5.2%, the highest since the end of August and up two percentage points from the start of November, according to state health data.

The figures reflect a rapidly worsening outbreak in the most-populous state, where just a month ago cases were averaging around 3,000 a day. Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for areas that are home to 37 million residents to curb transmissions from late-night socializing, and health officials have warned that more restrictive measures may be needed if trends worsen.

Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine First to Seek Emergency U.S. Clearance (2:52 p.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. filed with U.S. regulators for an emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, seeking clearance for an experimental shot that’s expected to play an important role in an immunization effort to halt the virus.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. drugmaker with its German partner BioNTech SE, is the first to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. An emergency clearance would allow Americans to access the vaccine before it’s granted full approval. It is likely to first be made available on a limited basis to health workers and older Americans.

France Hospitalizations Drop for 4th Day (2:22 p.m. NY)

France reported a fourth day of falling hospitalizations and patients in intensive care for Covid-19 on Friday, after health authorities said the country has passed the peak of its second wave of the coronavirus.

President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, when he is expected to give a road map for easing of the country’s lockdown measures.

New confirmed cases increased by 22,882 to 2.1 million, while the weekly pace of infections continued its decline of the past two weeks. The rate of positive tests fell to 15%, from a peak of more than 20% earlier this month. Deaths linked to the virus increased by 1,138 to 48,265.

South Dakota Bike Rally Spread Covid-19 to Minnesota, the CDC Says (2:12 p.m. NY)

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which attracted roughly half a million people to South Dakota in August, spread Covid-19 to at least 86 people in neighboring Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. One person died.

Of those cases, 51 attended the 10-day rally and 35 were infected from those cases, the study said. Four people were hospitalized.

The rally was a point of contention inside South Dakota and among its neighbors, as is Governor Kristi Noem’s refusal to impose any anti-virus measures while the state has among the worst per-capita outbreaks in the U.S.

U.S. Courts Close Doors, Cancel Juries (2:05 p.m. NY)

Courts across the U.S. are shutting their doors again due to rising Covid-19 cases, including several that had outbreaks inside their courthouses.

State and federal courts—including those in Texas, New York, Maryland, New Mexico, and Illinois—have suspended jury trials in the past few weeks as a result of spikes in Covid-19 infections.

Johnson Plans Overhaul of Covid Rules (1:30 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s officials are considering plans that would spell the end of targeted local lockdowns, with tougher restrictions instead placed on broader regions of England next month. England is in a nationwide lockdown that Johnson has promised will end on Dec. 2.

England’s infection rate continued to rise, with one in 80 people having the disease in the week to Nov. 14, according to Office for National Statistics figures published Friday. However, the pace has leveled off in recent weeks. There were an estimated 38,900 new cases per day in the latest week, down from almost 48,000 in the previous seven days.

Germany Set to Extend Lockdown (1:30 p.m. NY)

Germany’s partial lockdown may be extended well into next month as Europe’s biggest economy seeks to regain control over the spread of the coronavirus before people head home for the holidays.

More than two weeks into a partial shutdown -- which closed museums, bars and restaurants but kept schools and most shops open -- Germany’s contagion rates are still above the level that authorities have determined to be manageable, raising the prospect of tougher curbs over the festive period.

Paris Prepares to Vaccinate (1:25 p.m. NY)

Paris will be ready to vaccinate between 30% and 40% of the French capital’s population against Covid-19 starting in January, AFP reported Friday, citing city health official Anne Souyris. Residents over the age of 65 or in fragile health will be targeted, she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on Tuesday evening about changes to measures designed to stem the spread of Covid-19, AFP reported, citing the president’s office. French non-essential stores, bars and restaurants are closed under existing measures.

Gauge of U.S. Hospital Strain Rises to Record (12:35 p.m. NY)

One in five American hospitals this week anticipated a critical staff shortage within seven days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ratio was a record as cases swell and patients flood facilities for a third time since the pandemic began.

North Dakota, Missouri and Wisconsin reported the highest share, each with almost half of its hospitals in need of medical staff as of Wednesday.

Arizona Cases Spike as Mayors Challenge Governor (12:17 p.m. NY)

Arizona reported 4,471 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the most since July 1, as mayors from four cities implored Governor Doug Ducey to issue a statewide mask mandate and take stronger steps to curb the rising cases.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero also called on Ducey, a Republican, to more forcefully tell people to avoid gatherings and to implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine or a negative Covid-19 test for travelers arriving in Arizona. “We have to act now, before the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said.

The total number of cases has hit 291,696, and Arizona recorded 43 new deaths, bringing the toll to 6,427, according to the state Department of Health Services.

Italy’s Cases Stabilize, Health Official Says (11:30 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 37,242 new coronavirus cases on Friday, an increase on the day but 9% fewer than a week earlier. Patients in intensive-care units rose by 36 to 3,748, the smallest increase in more than a month. That compares with a peak of more than 4,000 in April.

Daily deaths climbed to 699 from 653 on Thursday. There is a stabilization in new cases while the high number of deaths is still worrisome, Giovanni Rezza, head of prevention at the Health Ministry, said at a press conference.

N.J. Sees Vaccine Deployed in Late December (11:30 a.m. NY)

New Jersey expects 130,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine by the third week of December, for the initial two-dose treatment of 65,000 health-care workers and others at high risk, state health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a CNN interview. Another 130,000 doses will arrive in January, and Moderna Inc. may provide another 100,000, she said.

That would cover about 200,000 people in a state of about 9 million.

Turkish Death Toll Hits Record Ahead of Curfew (11:14 a.m. NY)

Turkey reported a record 141 new deaths from Covid-19 on Friday, pushing the toll to more than 12,000 on the eve of partial weekend curfews across the country. Symptomatic patients increased by 5,103 to 435,273, according to the Health Ministry.

A curfew will be in place from 8 p.m. on Saturday to 10 p.m. on Sunday and from 8 p.m. on Sunday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

Greece Backs Off Lockdown Easing (11:06 p.m. NY)

Greece reported 72 more deaths from Covid-19, the most since the pandemic began, and intensive-care units in Greek hospitals are 82% occupied.

Plans to begin a gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions on Dec. 1 are no longer realistic, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Friday.

Wyoming Limits Size of Public Gatherings (10:35 a.m. NY)

Wyoming is responding to a spike in cases by restricting the size of indoor and outdoor public gatherings, with exemptions for faith-related meetings and some others, Governor Mark Gordon said. He refrained from ordering business closings or mask-wearing.

Wyoming recorded a record 21 deaths linked to Covid-19 on Thursday, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Shanghai Reports Two New Cases (10:28 p.m. NY)

Two local Covid-19 cases were confirmed late Friday in Shanghai, the city government said in a statement on Weibo. A couple went to a hospital with fever symptoms, was quarantined and tested positive, according to the statement.

Canadian Officials Warn of Surge (9:53 a.m. NY)

Canadian public health authorities are warning the country will see cases of Covid-19 surge to more than 20,000 per day at the current rate of spread.

The Public Health Agency of Canada on Friday released long-range forecasts that see daily cases rising fourfold from current levels by year-end. The forecasts show an upper level of 60,000 per day if the contact rate increases, and about 5,000 daily if individuals limit contact to essential activities. The country has averaged just under 5,000 cases daily over the past seven days.

Florida Senator Scott Tests Positive (9:32 a.m. NY)

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida has tested positive for Covid-19 and is quarantining in his home in Naples, he said in a statement. Scott said he came into contact with someone in Florida on Nov. 13 who subsequently tested positive.

U.S. Covid-19 Hospitalizations Rose to 11.8% (9:15 a.m. NY)

Almost 12% of hospital beds in U.S. hospitals were occupied by Covid-19 patients on Nov. 17, the most since April 12, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The U.S. hospitalization rate was 0.7 percentage points above the five-day average of 11.1%.

Denmark Extends Covid Restrictions (9:10 a.m. NY)

The Danish government is extending its Covid-related restrictions until Dec. 14 amid an ongoing surge in cases of coronavirus. The current restrictions, which include a 10-people limit on crowds, were announced on Oct. 23. Since then, a new risk assessment by health officials has concluded that the number of confirmed cases will likely increase further in the coming weeks.

Hungary May Sidestep EU to Speed Russia Vaccine (6:49 a.m.)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban indicated that his government may sidestep the European Union’s drugs regulator to accelerate the authorization of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.

Hungary’s government has ordered comprehensive testing of the Sputnik V vaccine after receiving 10 doses on Thursday. The EU, which clears drug approvals for member states, said it had no data on the efficacy of the Russian shot and warned Hungary against using an opt-out to sidestep the bloc’s regulator.

California Hits Record; Toronto Locks Down Again: Virus Update

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