- US sees new record as daily tests top 2 million
- Germany tops 1 million cases
- Merkel urges Germans to do more to rein in virus
- London avoids toughest COVID restrictions
- Hundreds of Argentines take to the streets
- Italy ICU patients fall
- Japan plans distribution of vaccines
- WHO official weighs in on COVID measures
* * *
Perhaps the biggest COVID-19 news comes out of the US, as LA County has temporarily banned public and private social gatherings of individuals from different households will be banned for at least three weeks starting Monday under new restrictions local health officials unveiled on Friday, citing a continued surge in COVID-19 infections.
This latest public health order affects some 20 million people living in and around the second-largest city in the US. After a US judge barred NY Gov Andrew Cuomo from placing restrictions on religious gatherings, LA County specifically exempted religious services and protests due to the fact that they are constitutionally protected gathering.
After falling test numbers led to lower case numbers for a few days, the numbers jumped back on Saturday.
In Europe, the total number of cases in Germany topped 1 million, making Germany the 12th country to top that milestone, just days after Mexico became No. 11.
Given the new numbers, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to do more to rein in the pandemic and called on Europe’s ski resorts to do more to stop vacationers.
Meanwhile, London plans to avoid the toughest coronavirus restrictions when England’s partial lockdown ends next week, allowing municipalities in England to start allowing more patients. The number of severely ill French patients in ICU fell to the lowest level in more than three weeks. Argentines are still mourning the death of soccer icon Diego Maradona ignored virus restrictions. In Australia, Victoria reported 0 new cases for the 28th straight day, a new record, which suggests that Australia might be among a handful of western nations that can reliably hold Christmas holidays with only limited restrictions.
Globally, coronavirus cases have reached 61,585,651 according to Johns Hopkins University data, while the worldwide death toll has hit 1,441,335.
Here’s some new coronavirus news from overnight and Saturday morning:
Hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires to mourn Wednesday’s death of soccer icon Diego Maradona, upending the nation’s strict Covid restrictions (Source: Bloomberg).
The number of patients in Italy’s intensive-care units fell to 3,846, the first decline in seven weeks, and new infections dropped 20% from a week ago, adding to signs that the virus is spreading more slowly in the country (Source: Bloomberg).
Japan looks to begin distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by the March end of the fiscal year as clinical trials on a number of candidates move forward. Tokyo aims to secure enough vaccine for the country’s entire population by the first half of 2021. It is set to source doses for 145 million people from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna (Source: Nikkei).
The WHO’s top emergency official weighs in on the origins of the novel coronavirus. “I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” Mike Ryan told a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked whether COVID-19 could have first emerged outside China. “It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” Ryan said (Source: Nikkei).