Summary:

  • US reports record COVID cases
  • US 7-day average cases at record high
  • 2.6K deaths confirmed Friday in US
  • UK to start vaccinations Dec. 14
  • Labour leader enters quarantine after staffer tests positive
  • Moscow begins COVID vaccinations Saturday
  • Cases in the Netherlands rise for 2nd straight day
  • Saudi Arabia reports fewer than 200 cases for first time in months
  • Iran 8th country to see deaths top 50K
  • Russian cases top 2.4MM, 4th highest in the world
  • More Danes infected by Mink farm mutations
  • Hong Kong to test taxi drivers as cases rise
  • Hungary sets another record for deaths

* * *

Capping off another brutal week of COVID-19 infections in the US that saw LA and SF order up new lockdowns, health authorities from across the country reported a total of 224.8K new cases on Friday, a new single-day record.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, the US is still reported more than 1.8MM daily COVID-19 tests, while the number of currently-hospitalized patients has climbed to 101K.

Daily deaths eclipsed 2K yet again on Friday, though the 2.6K new deaths was just below post-springtime highs reached earlier in the week. All told, the US has confirmed 269.8K COVID-19 deaths.

The 7-day average for daily cases is also at record highs.

As far as individual states are concerned, 35 are seeing hospitalizations continue to climb, even as governors and mayors tighten restrictions in some hard hit areas (though some governors have been less willing to impose tough mandatory restrictions, arguing compliance with all social distancing rules should be voluntary).

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Notably, some of the hard-hit midwestern and plain states like ND, SD, IL & WI are seeing hospitalizations fall, though those declines are being more than compensated for by rising numbers elsewhere.

Regionally speaking, the South has taken over from the Midwest as the worst hit part of the US.

Globally, cases have exceeded 66 million, while deaths have topped 1.52 million.

In the UK, officials have set a date – Dec. 14 – on which the first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be dispensed to the highest-priority patients (a group that includes health-care workers, nursing home residents and certain ‘essential’ workers). The NHS has a goal of delivering 975 doses per site to priority patients during that week, according to a copy of a letter sent to doctors on Friday. As cases continue to recede thanks to the BoJo’s tougher restrictions, Kier Starmer, the man who replaced Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, has entered self-isolation after a member of his staff tested positive.

As daily new cases reach record highs with Russian health officials reported 28.8K new cases over the last 24 hours, Moscow kicked off widespread vaccinations of frontline workers and other high-risk people on Saturday, following a Wednesday order from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Mayor of Moscow claimed that more than 5,000 people signed up in the first five hours of registration on Friday.

The Kremlin has resisted a broad lockdown, putting the responsibility for imposing restrictions on regional governments.

Russia now has reported a total of more than 2.4MM cases, the fourth-most in the world, behind India (No. 3) and ahead of France (No. 5).

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Here’s more COVID-19 news from Saturday morning and overnight:

The number of new cases in the Netherlands increased for the second day in a row. There were 6,577 new reported infections on Saturday, up from 5,921 on Friday and 5,634 on Thursday, ANP said. Measures by the Dutch government had previously lowered the daily number of cases to below 5,000 from 10,000 or more.

Saudi Arabia’s health ministry reported 190 new cases, the first daily count below 200 in eight months (Source: Saudi Arabia).

Iran’s confirmed virus fatalities since the start of the pandemic have topped 50K, making Iran the 8th country to pass that milestone (Source: Bloomberg).

The nation had 321 deaths overnight, down from 347 a day earlier, while the number of new infections fell 9% in the last 24 hours to 12.15K, bringing total known cases to 1.03MM (Source: Bloomberg).

Germany will probably start mass vaccinations by summer and conclude the majority of its immunization efforts by the fall, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn (Source: Bloomberg).

There has been a marked increase in the number of Danes infected by a form of the coronavirus with mutations that originated in mink farms, Berlingske reported, citing SSI, the Danish government agency for fighting infectious diseases. The estimated number of cases is approaching 2,700 (Source: Bloomberg).

Hong Kong announced a one-time mandatory test for taxi drivers beginning Dec. 9. The city has seen 100+ new cases for 2 days in a row (Source: Bloomberg).

Hungary set another daily record for COVID related deaths, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban prepares to announce whether virus curbs will be relaxed for the holiday period (Source: Bloomberg).

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There were 36,652 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in India, taking the official case tally to 9,608,211, the Press Trust of India reports (Source: Bloomberg).

Via Zerohedge

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