U.S. coronavirus cases pass 6 million as Midwest, schools face outbreaks

U.S. coronavirus cases pass 6 million as Midwest, schools face outbreaks

The latest:

  • U.S. coronavirus cases pass six million as Midwest, schools face outbreaks.
  • Detroit honours COVID-19 victims with public park memorial.
  • Portugal Communist Party gets OK for 16,500 people at event, prompting outcry.
  • Ottawa signs agreement in principle for up to 114 million doses of possible COVID-19 vaccine from two U.S. drug companies.
  • Some Russian teachers fear back-to-school shots of “Sputnik V” COVID-19 vaccine.
  • British authorities say 16 coronavirus cases have been linked to a flight from Greece.
  • Paris to make free COVID-19 tests available in the capital.
  • New COVID-19 rules take hold in South Korean capital.

U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus have passed six million as many states in the Midwest report increasing infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases, while Montana and Idaho are seeing record numbers of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, but there are emerging hot spots in the Midwest.

Many of the new cases in Iowa are in the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, which are holding some in-person classes. Colleges and universities around the country have seen outbreaks after students returned to campus, forcing some to switch to online-only learning.

A person wearing a face mask with a Tigerhawk logo walks on the University of Iowa campus on the first day of in-person classes for the fall semester last week. Iowa is among the U.S. states that have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen/The Associated Press)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said his state was sending a SWAT team to a State University of New York (SUNY) campus in Oneonta, in upstate New York, to contain a COVID-19 outbreak. Fall classes, which started last week at the college, were suspended for two weeks after more than 100 people tested positive for the virus, about three per cent of the total student and faculty population, SUNY chancellor Jim Malatras said.

“We have had reports of several large parties of our students at Oneonta last week, and unfortunately because of those larger gatherings, there were several students who were symptomatic of COVID,” he said.

Across the Midwest, infections have also risen after an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., drew more than 365,000 people from across the country from Aug. 7 to 16. The South Dakota health department said 88 cases have been traced to the rally.

More than eight months since the country’s first case, the United States continues to struggle with testing. The number of people tested has fallen in recent weeks.

Many health officials and at least 33 states have rejected the new COVID-19 testing guidance issued by the Trump administration last week that said those exposed to the virus and without symptoms may not need testing.

Public health officials believe the United States needs to test more frequently to find asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers to slow the spread of the disease.

WATCH | Politicization of FDA could hurt credibility, epidemiologist says:

If the U.S. FDA grants emergency authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine before key trials are complete, due to pressure from the Trump administration, it could damage the agency’s credibility, according to Dr. Christopher Labos. 1:00

The United States leads the world with the most recorded coronavirus infections with more than six million cases, followed by Brazil at nearly 3.9 million and India with 3.6 million cases.

The U.S. also has the most coronavirus-related deaths in the world at more than 183,000, followed by Brazil at 120,000 and India at 64,000.

In Detroit, an island park has become an extraordinary memorial garden, with cars packed with families on Monday slowly passing hundreds of photos of city residents who have died from COVID-19.

Mayor Mike Duggan declared it Detroit Memorial Day to honour the 1,500-plus city victims of the pandemic. Hearses escorted by police led solemn all-day processions around Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River after bells rang across the region at 8:45 a.m.

More than 900 photos submitted by families were turned into large posters and staked around Belle Isle, revealing the crushing breadth of the virus.

(CBC News)

What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada

As of 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 128,224 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 113,811 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,156.

Canada’s federal government announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement in principle with two U.S. drug companies, securing up to 114 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines under development.

Maryland-based biotechnology company Novavax announced on Monday that it has struck a deal to produce 76 million doses of a vaccine it is working on for the Canadian government, should the vaccine ever get Health Canada approval.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced it has signed another deal with U.S. drug company Johnson & Johnson to supply up to 38 million doses of the company’s potential vaccine.

Canada has now secured access to four of the leading vaccine candidates, including agreements already reached with Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer will supply a minimum of 20 million doses of its vaccine candidate, while Moderna will supply up to 56 million doses.

WATCH | Quebec premier encourages citizens to ‘be careful’ this fall:

The number of coronavirus cases is rising in many regions and sectors of Quebec society and may threaten children’s return to school, warned Quebec Premier François Legault. 0:45

Novavax’s vaccine is known as a “protein subunit” vaccine, which has the advantage of being manufactured faster than some other types of vaccine but generally doesn’t produce as strong an immune response as some other potential options.

The company released promising results of a very small clinical trial earlier this month, which showed it produced higher levels of the antibodies in healthy volunteers after two doses than those found in recovered COVID-19 patients.

The company plans to start much larger late-stage clinical trials soon, and told Reuters last month that if all goes well, it expects it could obtain regulatory approvals as early as December. The company said Monday that the vaccine, should it work and be safe, would be available to Canadians as early as the second quarter of 2021. 

Here’s what’s happening around the world

According to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 25.3 million. More than 847,797 people have died, while 16.6 million have recovered.

Health authorities in Portugal are allowing the country’s Communist Party to let 16,500 people into its annual open-air festival next weekend — an unusually high number for a gathering in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The permit has caused an outcry because officials have for months slashed the number of people allowed into other public events, forcing many of them to cancel.

The announcement came as the centre-left Socialist government is seeking political support from other parties, including the Communists, for its 2021 spending plan.

WATCH | WHO’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove describes the new normal:

The World Health Organization’s technical lead for COVID-19 says controlling the coronavirus is clearly possible, but people need to make modifications to their daily lives to keep themselves and others safe. 2:34

The festival, called Festa do Avante, features concerts and political speeches in a fenced-off area of countryside south of Lisbon. In past years it has drawn some 100,000 people over three days.

Authorities in the United Kingdom say 16 coronavirus cases have been linked to a flight that brought U.K. tourists back from Greece, and everyone aboard has been told to self-isolate for two weeks.

Public Health Wales says it is contacting almost 200 people who were aboard the Tui flight from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff, Wales on Tuesday.

Gwen Lowe of Public Health Wales says 30 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last week among people who returned from Zante on several flights. She says the number is expected to rise.

A worker cleans plexiglass dividers at the Grosvenor Casino at the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff last week, as the establishment reopened following an easing of coronavirus measures in Wales. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

The U.K. requires people arriving from overseas to quarantine for two weeks, unless they are coming from one of more than 70 countries and territories considered at low risk from the coronavirus. Greece is on the exemption list.

The Paris local municipality said on Monday that it would look to make free COVID-19 testing available in all of the capital’s 20 districts, or arrondissements, as authorities battle against signs of a re-emergence of the virus in France.

The Paris mayor’s office said in a statement that from Monday onward, there would be three permanent laboratories set up to conduct free COVID-19 tests, as well as two other mobile laboratories that would go around the capital.

France’s new COVID-19 infections surged by almost 50 per cent in August, which recorded the highest monthly tally since the beginning of the outbreak earlier this year, while hospitalisations for the disease are slowly increasing.

The country’s health authorities reported 3,082 additional cases over the past 24 hours, sharply down from a caseload of above 5,000 each on the two previous days, however Monday figures always tends to dip as there are less tests conducted on Sundays.

The surge of new cases has led authorities to re-impose some containment measures, such as making face masks mandatory in the streets, shops and public transportation of almost all the country’s main cities. As of Tuesday, masks will also be compulsory in workplaces.

In Russia, a small independent teachers’ union is urging members not to be coerced into accepting shots of the “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine.

Moscow clinics last week began receiving supplies of the vaccine, which has been approved for use inside Russia even though the final Phase III tests, involving 40,000 people, began only last Wednesday.

WATCH | Doubts surround Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine:

Russian President Vladimir Putin says a locally developed COVID-19 vaccine has been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans, but there are concerns safety could have been compromised for speed. 3:14

From September, doctors and teachers will be among the first to be offered the vaccine on a voluntary basis, officials have said. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said shots of the vaccine will be made mandatory for military personnel.

Ahead of Russian schools reopening on Sept. 1, the teachers’ union Uchitel has launched an online petition against making the vaccine mandatory for teachers before all clinical trials are complete. “It’s likely that school principals will be under pressure for everyone to be vaccinated,” the petition says.

Uchitel represents only about 700 of Russia’s 1.2 million school teachers, a senior union official said, but it says nearly 1,400 people have signed its petition.

Private tuition centres shut for the first time in South Korea’s capital on Monday and traffic was light on the first working day of tighter physical-distancing rules aimed at halting a second wave of novel coronavirus infections.

A barista makes coffee as a sign advises customers to wear face masks as a preventative measure against COVID-19 inside a cafe in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

South Korea took the unprecedented step on Friday of restricting the operation of restaurants, coffee shops and so-called cram schools in the greater Seoul area, with churches, nightclubs and most public schools having already closed.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 238 new cases as of midnight on Sunday, mostly in Seoul and surrounding regions, the 18th day of triple-digit rises in daily infections.

A more infectious mutation of the novel coronavirus has been found in Indonesia, the Jakarta-based Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said on Sunday, as the Southeast Asian country’s caseload surges.

A graduate celebrates during a drive-thru graduation ceremony, a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, at PGRI University in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, on Saturday. (Daffa Ramya/AFP/Getty Images)

The “infectious but milder” D614G mutation of the virus has been found in genome sequencing data from samples collected by the institute, deputy director Herawati Sudoyo told Reuters, noting that more study is required to determine whether that was behind the recent rise in cases.

The strain, which the World Health Organization said was identified in February and has been circulating in Europe and the Americas, has also been found in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

The state at the epicentre of Australia’s second wave of COVID-19 infections said on Monday the number of new cases fell to a near two-month low, allowing authorities to detail in a week’s time how stringent lockdown measures will be lifted.

Victoria said it has detected 73 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, the lowest since July 3.

A man wearing a face mask rides a bike in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday. Melbourne is beginning its fourth week of a six-week COVID-19 lockdown. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

At the same time, the country reported a record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths on Monday, as Victoria said its COVID-19 death toll rose by 41, including 22 fatalities that came from aged care facilities in the weeks leading up to Aug 27. Australia’s previous one-day record for COVID-19 deaths was on Aug. 25 when 25 people died.

In neighbouring New Zealand, schools and businesses reopened in Auckland on Monday after the lifting of a lockdown to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus, but face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country.

Published at Mon, 31 Aug 2020 12:48:56 +0000