• Germany, Romania, Poland and Hungary report new records
  • US hospitalizations at 2 month high
  • Brazil says AZ-Oxford trials to continue
  • EU puts pressure on WHO for more transparency
  • South Korea sees rise in cases
  • Spain warns outbreak “out of control”

* * *

Thursday is shaping up to be another rough session for Europe in terms of COVID-19, as Germany just reported more than 10,000 new cases (a new record) for one of Europe’s best performers, along with Hungary, Romania and Poland, which all reported fresh record numbers of new cases as well.

While cases continued to decline in India, the state of West Bengal notably bucked the trend on Thursday when it reported 4,069 new cases, its biggest daily tally yet, after a major Hindu street festival brought thousands together across the region. All told, India reported just 55,639 new cases in the past day, up from 54,044 the day before. India’s death toll jumpd by 702 to 116,616.

Finally, in the US, the number of COVID-19 patients occupying American hospitals hit 40,000 for the first time since August, according to a Reuters tally. The milestone comes as midwestern states like Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota lead the third wave of the US outbreak. Hospitals have seen the number of patients climb 36% over the past 4 weeks. New York reported more than 2,000 cases in a day yesterday for the first time since May.

After a patient enrolled in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial reportedly died, authorities in Brazil said they wouldn’t pause the trial, run by AZ and the University of Oxford, after the death of the volunteer. The volunteer was said to be a Brazilian who had received the placebo, suggesting that his death wasn’t related to COVID-19 or the trial.

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Here’s some other big COVID-19 news from overnight and Thursday morning:

German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus, the health ministry says, adding that he had placed himself in home quarantine (Source: Nikkei).

The European Union wants the World Health Organization to become more transparent about how countries report emerging health crises, a draft proposal on reforming the U.N. agency says, according to Reuters. The paper, drawn up by the German government after discussions with other member states following criticism of China’s initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the latest to outline the EU’s monthslong plans to address WHO’s shortcomings on funding, governance and legal powers (Source: Nikkei).

Tokyo reports 185 new infections, up from 150 the previous day and bringing the capital’s total to 29,520.

India’s COVID-19 tally tops 7.7 million after 55,839 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, up from 54,044 the previous day. The death toll jumped by 702 to 116,616.

South Korea confirms 121 new cases, up from 89 a day ago. Total infections reach 25,543 with 453 deaths.

Romania reported a record 4,902 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to over 196,000. It also registered 98 deaths, the highest daily toll so far. The total number of fatalities stands at 6,163 (Source: Bloomberg).

India’s government has set aside about 500 billion rupees ($7 billion) to vaccinate the world’s most populous nation after China against the coronavirus, according to people with knowledge of the matter (Source: Bloomberg).

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Poland registered 12,107 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a 21% jump from the previous record set a day ago, according to data published by the Health Ministry on Thursday. The death toll in the country of 38 million rose by a record 168 to 4,019. The government is due to announce further restrictions on Thursday in its battle against the pandemic. Slovenia reported a record 1,663 daily infections while the number of hospitalized patients doubled in the past 10 days to 357 (Source: Bloomberg).

One day after becoming the first European country to top 1 million cases, Spain warned that the spread of coronavirus is out of control in certain parts of the country, according to Health Minister Salvador Illa. “We are in the middle of a second wave, it’s no longer a threat but rather a reality,” Illa said in an interview on Madrid-based Onda Cero radio. “In some parts of our country the epidemic isn’t under control, so we need to take more drastic measures (Sources: Bloomberg).

Via Zerohedge