• US tops 170k new cases for first time
  • Total cases in US top 10.75 million
  • Istanbul mayor proposes lockdown
  • Latest outbreak impacting all states, regions
  • South Korea sees more new cases since September
  • Australia’s Victoria state goes 15th day virus free

* * *

New US cases topped 170k for the first time on Friday as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies across all 50 states. According to data provided by the Coronavirus Tracking Project, hospitalizations are right around 70k, also a new record high since the start of the pandemic, while tests have also reached new record highs.

With Elon Musk and others questioning the rate of false positives, rising deaths and hospitalizations nevertheless suggest that the outbreak is spreading rapidly and worsening. Scientists and researchers have more or less determined that colder temperatures and spending more time indoors lead to increased infection risk, since the virus spreads fastest in poorly ventilated places.

While all states are seeing numbers rise, the Midwest is getting hit particularly hard right now.

Two states, Texas and Illinois, reported more than 10k new cases yesterday, with Illinois seeing its daily number top 15k for the first time.

So far, the US has reported more than 10.75 million COVID-19 cases; of those, roughly 245k have died. Worldwide, more than 53.5 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.3 million deaths.

Interestingly, Charlie Bilello, the founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, has created a model seeking to adjust the severity of America’s COVID outbreak for factors like increased testing. So far, his model has found that we’re currently seeing the highest rate of spread yet. That’s true for the US, and it’s true for most of Europe, too.

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Over the past couple of days, Biden’s COVID advisors have walked back talk of a 4-6 week lockdown, as California and its northwestern neighbors Oregon and Washington urge residents not to leave their state unless they absolutely need to. Even some more red states have started to tighten restrictions, with North Dakota becoming the latest state to mandate mask wearing in indoor public places. ND Gov. Doug Burgum’s office released a series of mitigation measures that will go into effect on Monday.

Meanwhile, in California, public health officials have affirmed that another strict lockdown probably wouldn’t be the best course of action due to “lockdown fatigue”. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said a strict mandate was ruled out over concerns that “COVID fatigue” might spark a backlash, leading people to behave in ways that are less safe.

As the world waits for the next update on the vaccine process, Bloomberg has pointed out that more comprehensive data from Pfizer, released as part of its application for emergency approval, is expected to be released.

Here’s some more news from overnight and Saturday morning:

A shutdown of two to three weeks should be implemented in Istanbul as the city accounts for more than 50% of the coronavirus cases in Turkey, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said. Imamoglu, who recently recovered from coronavirus himself, said that the city’s Science Advisory Board is recommending a shutdown followed by a controlled re-opening (Source: Bloomberg).

South Korea reports 205 cases as of Friday midnight — topping 200 for the first time since September — of which 166 were domestic and 39 imported. More than 65% of locally transmitted cases were from Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, a densely populated area surrounding the capital (Source: Nikkei).

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Australia’s state of Victoria, an epicenter of the virus surge in recent months, records its 15th consecutive day of no new infections and no related deaths — two weeks after it eased one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns (Source: Nikkei).

China reports 18 cases for Friday, up from eight a day earlier. All new infections were from overseas (Source: Nikkei).

Via Zerohedge