US sets new record high for coronavirus cases

A test is sealed in a biohazard bag
A test is sealed in a biohazard bag (AP)
19:32pm, Sun 08 Nov 2020
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The US has set another record for the daily number of coronavirus cases.

The country reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University.

It marked the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000 as the country has broken its own record for daily cases with nearly every passing day this week.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the US rose over the past two weeks from more than 64,000 on October 24 to nearly 104,000 on November 7, according to the university’s data.

The virus death toll is also rising in the country.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose over the past two weeks from 801 on October 24 to 930 on November 7, the university said.

There have been more than 9.8 million cases and more than 237,000 deaths from the virus in the US since the pandemic started.

Globally, there have been nearly 50 million positive cases and more than 1.2 million deaths from Covid-19.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the governor of an Alpine province famed for its ski resorts has declared it a “red zone”, shutting down most non-essential shops, barring cafes and restaurants from serving meals and forbidding citizens to leave their towns except for essential reasons like work as of Monday.

Virus Outbreak Italy (AP)

Bolzano Province Governor Arno Kompatscher reportedly said on Sunday evening that he had ordered the crackdown as ICU beds had started rapidly filling up with Covid-19 patients.

The province joins the northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, a small Alpine region, in Italy’s “red zone”, together with Calabria, the southern “toe” of the Italian mainland.

Italy registered some 7,000 fewer new Covid-19 cases on Sunday compared to the previous day’s increase, but nearly 40,000 fewer swab tests to detect the coronavirus had been conducted in the last 24 hours.

With the addition of 32,616 confirmed infections on Sunday, Italy’s known total in the pandemic is 935,104. There were 331 more deaths since Saturday, raising the nation’s confirmed toll to 41,394.

In Greece, health authorities announced 1,914 new cases of Covid-19, including a record 35 deaths, on Sunday.

The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 56,698, with 734 deaths.

A stray dog sits in front of Presidential Guards during the first day of lockdown in Athens on Saturday (AP)

Researchers at the chemistry department of the University of Athens said on Saturday that an analysis of waste at the Athens region’s main waste treatment plant had led them to estimate that 1.5 to 2% of the capital region’s population of 4.2 million were active coronavirus carriers, which would mean 63,000 to 84,000 individuals.

Authorities said on Sunday that of the country’s 1,063 intensive care units, 734 were occupied, 259 with coronavirus patients. The rapid filling of such places was one of the reasons the country was placed on lockdown on Saturday.

Meanwhile, India has reported 45,674 new coronavirus infections, with the capital coping with a sharp surge of nearly 7,000 cases a day this past week.

India’s tally of confirmed cases — currently the second largest in the world behind the United States — has exceeded 8.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 559 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 126,121.

India has seen an overall steady dip in new cases after touching nearly 100,000 a day in mid-September.

People wearing masks crowd a market place in Mumbai as they shop ahead of Diwali (AP)

But the tally in New Delhi continues to hover at around 7,000 a day after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. The capital also reported 79 deaths in the past 24 hours, the most since June.

Delhi state health minister Satyendar Jain said that apart from aggressive contact tracing, targeted testing in shopping areas and other busy locations had also started. And authorities were reaching out to people through mobile testing vans.

The government has warned that the situation could worsen due to festival shopping crowds, coupled with the onset of winter and high air pollution levels.

Elsewhere, Israel has allowed most retail shops to reopen for the first time in nearly two months, in the latest phase of its exit from a second coronavirus lockdown.

Under the new rules, shops can accept up to four customers at a time, and indoor shopping malls remain closed.

Israel moved quickly last spring to contain the coronavirus, sealing its borders and shutting down much of the economy. But it mismanaged the reopening of the economy, and the coronavirus quickly returned. A second lockdown was imposed in mid-September.

The country has moved more cautiously this time – gradually opening preschools and elementary schools and some offices in recent weeks.

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