N.Y. Hospitalizations Rise, Cases Fall From Spike: Virus Update
A coronavirus PCR swab test is carried out ahead of the launch of a new Covid-19 screening service at London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

N.Y. Hospitalizations Rise, Cases Fall From Spike: Virus Update

New York City reported the most daily cases since May, passing 1,500 for the second consecutive day, based on a seven-day average. The state reported a significant drop from the spike of more than 8,100 cases the day before, though hospitalizations and positive tests rose to their highest since May. California’s infections fell for the third day.

With countries across Europe signaling an extension to restrictions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel implored citizens to wear masks and stick to distancing measures. The U.K., France and Italy continued showing signs their outbreaks are slowing.

The city of Wuhan in China, where the pandemic first broke out, reported three imported frozen food packaging samples tested positive.

Key Developments:

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N.Y. Hospitalizations Rise, Cases Fall From Spike: Virus Update

Three Added to Biden’s Covid-19 Transition Team (4:03 p.m. NY)

Joe Biden’s transition team named three more experts to its Covid-19 Advisory Board, which is helping guide the president-elect to fulfill the key campaign promise of a robust, national strategy against the resurgent virus.

The new members are Jane Hopkins, a nurse specializing in mental health who worked most recently in Washington state; Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Health; and David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Violence and Confusion Mark New Regulations in England and Wales (3:30 p.m. NY)

More than 150 people were arrested during anti-lockdown protests in central London, for offenses including breaching new coronavirus regulations and assaulting a police officer, the Metropolitan Police said.

Protesters, many of them maskless and some dressed as Santa’s elves, carried signs reading, “All I want for Christmas is my freedom back” and “Stop controlling us.”

In South Wales, police handed out 12 fixed penalties and 15 warnings to drivers as part of random checks to make sure people going into the capital Cardiff were allowed to do so.

Virus Spreads to More Iowa Long-Term Care Facilities (3:17 p.m. NY)

Iowa reported outbreaks of three or more infections at 153 long-term care facilities, according to state data. Just over a week ago, the number was 114. Deaths in the facilities number 1,059, almost half the total 2,360 recorded in Iowa since the start of the outbreak, the data show.

South Dakota Hits Record Fatalities (2:54 p.m. NY)

South Dakota reported a record 54 deaths, putting fatalities for November over 500. Total deaths since the start of the pandemic are just under 1,000. The state, one of the hardest hit, also passed 79,000 infections, with another 819 cases reported on Saturday.

South Dakota is among the dwindling number of states not to impose a mask mandate or other public health measures against the virus.

California’s New Cases Fall for Third Day (2:30 p.m. NY)

California reported 11,996 new cases, with new infections declining for a third day after hitting a record earlier in the week. That brings the total to 1.18 million. The state also added 56 new deaths, with its fatalities at 19,089.

Still, daily hospitalizations climbed to their highest levels in almost four months. The state admitted 296 new patients, bringing the total to 7,684. The number of available ICU beds is also hovering near the lowest levels since the end of July.

Los Angeles County, the biggest in the state, imposed a new stay-home order Friday, limiting capacity in both essential and non-essential outlets and other common areas. It urged residents to mask up and remain at their residences as much as possible as it restricts both public and private gatherings with others who aren’t in the same households. The three-week order starts Monday.

New York Hospitalizations Rise (2:16 p.m. NY)

New York state reported 6,063 cases Saturday, a marked drop from the spike of 8,176 the previous day, when a record 219,442 tests were conducted, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. The statewide positive-test rate rose to 3.98%, the highest since May. Total hospitalizations rose to 3,287, also the highest since May.

Cuomo has adopted what he calls a “micro-cluster” strategy that targets an increasing number of areas with higher infection for tighter restrictions. The positivity rate inside those areas is 5.65%, outside 3.45%, he said.

“We are entering a challenging period of sustained Covid-19 spread across this state,” he said. “It’s up to you, your neighborhood and your community to slow the spread.”

France Reports Fewest Virus Deaths in Month as Stores Reopen (1:37 p.m. NY)

France’s fatalities rose by 213 to 52,127 on Saturday, the smallest daily increase in a month. That’s as the government eased some of the lockdown measures that have curbed infections and hospitalizations across the country, with non-essential stores reopening after four weeks of shutdown.

Health authorities reported confirmed cases increased by 12,580 to 2.21 million, while the seven-day average fell to 11,664 cases, the lowest since Oct. 5. The rate of positive tests continued its decline of the past three weeks, falling to 11.4% from 20.6% early November.

N.Y.C. Passes 1,500 Cases for Second Straight Day (12:24 a.m. NY)

New York City reported 1,589 new cases, based on a seven-day average, the most since May. It was the second consecutive day over 1,500.

The seven-day average positive test rate increased to 3.64%. The figure has been above 3% since it reached that level earlier this month, prompting a shutdown of city schools. New hospital admissions increased to 136.

Greece Reports Record Fatalities (11:56 a.m. NY)

Greece reported 121 Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours, a daily record. The number of daily cases fell to 1,747 bringing the total to 103,034. The government announced Thursday that the lockdown will be extended for a week to Dec. 7. “We know that we have one or two very difficult weeks ahead of us,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit to the second largest city of Thessaloniki, calling on Greeks to be even more careful when restrictions start easing.

Italy’s Outbreak Continues to Slow (11:17 a.m. NY)

Italy reported on Saturday 686 virus deaths on 26,323 new daily cases, in a declining trend compared with the previous day. The number of patients in intensive care units across the country continued to slightly fall for the third day, while total number of hospitalized patients fell for the fifth day.

U.K. New Cases Drop for Third Day (11:12 a.m. NY)

The number of new virus cases in the U.K. declined for a third straight day. The U.K. reported 15,871 infections, below the average of 16,725 for the previous seven days. Another 479 deaths were reported Saturday, above the weekly average of 467.

The Metropolitan Police said it arrested more than 60 people protesting against coronavirus measures in central London. The national lockdown in England is set to end on Wednesday. The capital will move into tier 2, allowing non-essential shops to reopen for the first time in a month.

Modi Visits India Vaccine Makers (10:43 a.m. NY)

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government was working with local drug companies to speedily develop a Covid-19 vaccine, even as questions mounted over human trials conducted by AstraZeneca Plc, which is expected to produce the country’s front-runner shot.

Modi, who crisscrossed the country to meet officials at Cadila Healthcare Ltd., Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India Ltd., said his government was “actively working” with scientists and officials to facilitate their vaccine efforts.

U.K. May Begin Vaccinations in Early December, FT Reports (10:27 a.m. NY)

The U.K. may start coronavirus immunization from Dec. 7, using the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the Financial Times reports. Vaccination could start within hours of approval, making the U.K. the first western country to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine, the report says, citing unidentified people close to the process. Fourty million doses of the Pfizer product have been ordered.
The same sped-up process may apply to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University.

Austria Reports Record Deaths as New Infections Decline (9:22 a.m. NY)

Austria reported a record 132 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,018, or 339 per million population. While the country came through the first wave with relatively few fatalities, the second wave proved more deathly with 93% of all victims occurring since September. Meanwhile, the pace of new cases continued to decline for the 15th straight day, bringing the 7-day incidence down to 379 per 100,000. The government is due to decide next week how to proceed after the end of the lockdown, scheduled to last until Dec. 6.

Wuhan Finds Virus in Imported Food (9:20 a.m. NY)

Wuhan, where the Coronavirus pandemic first broke out, reported three imported frozen food packaging samples tested positive for Covid 19, the city’s health commission said in a statement on Saturday. Two of them samples were taken from frozen Brazilian beef stored in a refrigerated warehouse in the central Chinese city. A third sample from frozen Basa fish from Vietnam in another warehouse.

Canada to Unveil New Stimulus Amid Second Wave (9:18 a.m. NY)

Justin Trudeau, already among the most enthusiastic champions of government spending, will deliver another dose of stimulus to shore up an economic recovery that’s starting to creak amid a second wave of Covid-19 in Canada.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to announce billions of additional funding in a fiscal update Monday, with dozens of new measures that could include topping up existing benefits to families and business along with teeing up money for infrastructure, daycare and climate change. Here’s more details.

Zahawi Appointed U.K. Minister for Vaccine Deployment (7:35 a.m. NY)

Boris Johnson has appointed Nadhim Zahawi as minister responsible for covid vaccine deployment, the U.K. government said in a statement. He will hold the position until at least next summer. Zahawi, who has served as business minister up till now, will continue to be responsible for Life Sciences. The U.K. has secured 355 million doses of vaccines from several developers and plans to deploy them “as quickly as possible,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.

Iran’s Daily Death Toll Drops (6:17 a.m. NY)

Iran’s daily deaths fell below 400 for the first time in four weeks, with 391 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. The number of daily new infections dropped to 13,402 from a record 14,051 reported yesterday, the latest Health Ministry data showed. The country now has a total of 47,486 deaths and 935,799 known cases.

Merkel Seeks to Rally Germans as Death Toll Mounts (6:25 p.m. HK)

Chancellor Merkel sought to rally citizens after Germany reported its worst run of coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic broke out.

“We have come a long way,” she said in her weekly podcast published on the government’s website, imploring people to wear masks and stick to social-distancing measures as cases mount. “Each and everyone one of us still has a role to play.”

Merkel’s comments come after coronavirus deaths exceeded 300 for a fifth day on Friday, the first time that’s happened since the disease reached Germany.

Record Deaths in Hungary (4:55 p.m. HK)

Hungary’s new coronavirus deaths reach record high at 152 data released on Saturday show, while daily new infection numbers remain above 6,000 amid increased testing. Hungary is set to evaluate current virus curbs, which include curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Dec. 11, Premier Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Restrictions in Belgium Extended to January (4:50 p.m. HK)

Belgium reported 998 coronavirus patients in ICU on Saturday. This marks the first time the figure slips below 1,000 after crossing into the four-digit area on October 30, and reaching a peak of 1,474 on November 10.

The development comes the day after Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned the country might not ease virus restrictions before mid-January. While the situation was “better than four weeks ago,” De Croo said, “we have to persevere and not endanger what we’ve achieved.”

The Belgian 14-day incidence rate has dropped to 397 of 100,000 population, slipping below 400 for the first time since mid October.

U.K. Restrictions Could Last Until Easter (12:53 p.m. HK)

The U.K.’s Covid-19 restrictions won’t likely be lifted until Easter next year, Sky News reported, citing unidentified senior sources.

The government’s scientific advisers have warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior ministers about the need for prolonged measures, Sky News said. The sources told Sky that restrictions could continue into April even if vaccination for Covid-19 began at the end of January.

Germany May Extend Restrictions to 2021 (12 p.m. HK)

Germany’s partial shutdown could be extended until early spring 2021, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.

“There are three to four long winter months ahead of us,” Altmaier said. “It is possible that the restrictions will remain in place for the first months of 2021.”

Restrictions will remain in place as long as the number of new infections is above a reasonable level, and the next days will show whether rules have to be adjusted, he said.

U.S. Cases Post Daily Record After Thanksgiving Break (9:50 a.m. HK)

The U.S. added 205,568 new cases Friday, a record, as some states resumed daily updates following the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

N.Y. Hospitalizations Rise, Cases Fall From Spike: Virus Update

The increase brings the total for the country to 13.1 million. Deaths increased by 1,433 to 264,850. The CDC said in a tweet that forecasts predict as many as 21,400 new deaths may be reported during the week ending Dec. 19, with up to 321,000 fatalities. It also warned that cases and hospitalizations are rising.

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