States plan for vaccines as daily US virus deaths top 3,100


States drafted plans Thursday for who will go to the front of the line when the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine become available later this month, as U.S. deaths from the outbreak eclipsed 3,100 in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring.

With initial supplies of the vaccine certain to be limited, governors and other state officials are weighing both health and economic concerns in deciding the order in which the shots will be dispensed.

States face a Friday deadline to submit requests for doses of the Pfizer vaccine and specify where they should be shipped, and many appear to be heeding nonbinding guidelines adopted this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to put health care workers and nursing home patients first.


But they’re also facing a multitude of decisions about other categories of residents — some specific to their states; some vital to their

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California gloom: Virus cases spiral, new closures imminent


Newsom’s latest effort to keep people from gathering with others from outside their households divides the state into five regions and links business closures and travel restrictions to hospital ICU capacity. When a region has fewer than 15% of its ICU beds available, new restrictions are imposed.

Newsom said four regions — all but the San Francisco Bay area — could meet that threshold “within a day or two.” A litany of changes would take effect, including closing hair salons, barber shops and movie theaters. Restaurants may only serve takeout and delivery, and playgrounds will be off-limits.

Retailers and shopping centers would have to limit stores to 20% capacity during the busy holiday shopping

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As virus spread worsens, NC is reluctant to add restrictions


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — As coronavirus trends continue to worsen, North Carolina’s top public health official reiterated Thursday the same messages of mask wearing, hand washing and physical distancing that have been promoted for months with mixed success.

“If we were all to follow the things that are currently in place right now, I don’t think we needed to do more (tightening of restrictions),” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, during a Thursday news conference. “But we know that that is hard. We know that we are asking a lot of folks, and it may be possible that we need to go backwards.”

North Carolina on Thursday reported its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with more than 5,600 people testing positive for the coronavirus. The percentage of tests coming back positive also has risen sharply in

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Virus cases spiral, new closures imminent


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With coronavirus cases surging at a record pace, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order Thursday and said if people don’t comply the state’s hospitals will be overwhelmed with infected patients.

Newsom’s latest effort to keep people from gathering with others from outside their households divides the state into five regions and links business closures and travel restrictions to hospital ICU capacity. When a region has fewer than 15% of its ICU beds available, new restrictions are imposed.

Newsom said four regions — all but the San Francisco Bay area — could meet that threshold “within a day or two.” A litany of changes would take effect, including closing hair salons, barber shops and movie theaters. Restaurants may only serve takeout and delivery, and playgrounds will be off-limits.

Retailers and shopping centers would have to limit stores to 20% capacity during the busy holiday

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Global Virus Toll Passes 1.5 Million As Nations Plan For Vaccine


The world passed the grim milestone of 1.5 million global coronavirus deaths on Thursday, as several nations planned to deliver much hoped-for vaccines early next year to break the cycle of lockdowns and restrictions.

But even as the latest positive news about a vaccine was announced, with the Moderna candidate showing it confers immunity for at least three months, several countries marked new Covid-19 records.

Italy registered 993 deaths, topping its previous record of 969 earlier in the year when it was the first European country to be affected by the pandemic.

Daily covid infections per world region since February 2 Daily covid infections per world region since February 2 Photo: AFP / Bertille LAGORCE

Iran, the Middle East’s hardest hit country, passed one million cases even as authorities considered easing restrictions and Britain recorded over 60,000 deaths.

The world’s hardest-hit country, the United States, recorded its highest daily death toll — 2,731 — since March, as the number

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Which New Yorkers Will Be First to Get the Virus Vaccine?


Health care workers. Essential workers. Nursing home residents. New Yorkers who live in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.

These are among the different groups that the public health authorities in New York want to prioritize for coronavirus vaccination.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that the state would receive its first batch of the vaccine — 170,000 doses from the drug maker Pfizer — on Dec. 15, pending federal approval.

New York City expected to have received around 480,000 doses by the beginning of January, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday. Bill Neidhardt, the spokesman, said about roughly half would be Pfizer’s vaccine and half would be from Moderna, another drug maker.

Mr. Cuomo said he was unsure when the vaccine would be widely available. The uncertainty surrounding availability will be just one element of what is shaping up to be the greatest mass vaccination campaign in

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South Africa Fears Virus Comeback As Cluster Outbreaks Flare


Localised coronavirus outbreaks in parts of South Africa have raised fears that the country could see a resurgence in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season.

Officials in Africa’s hardest virus-hit country are scrambling to contain infections after a flare-up was reported in the impoverished Eastern Cape province and adjacent Western Cape province last month.

The national number of new daily cases crept over 3,000 last week, up 50 percent from an average of 2,000 earlier in November.

More than half the increase is driven by infections in the Eastern Cape and around 25 percent by cases in the Western Cape.

“(The) small cluster outbreaks which we are seeing… are transient,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said during an emergency trip to the Eastern Cape last week.

“Something has to be done,” he stressed.

South Africa's daily coronavirus case rate has slowed since July's peaks, but officials fear a resurgence South Africa’s daily coronavirus case rate has slowed since July’s peaks, but officials fear a

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EU stops short of advising against holiday travel over virus


BRUSSELS (AP) — As millions of European citizens gear up for the festive season, the European Union’s executive commission urged member countries to keep strong anti-COVID 19 restrictions in place to avoid a post-holiday surge of coronavirus cases and deaths but stopped short of advising against travel.

The European Commission said in non-binding recommendations published Wednesday that easing pandemic-containment measures this month would jeopardize the efforts that have helped slow infections across the EU in recent weeks.

According to predictions made by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, lifting all anti-coronavirus restrictions on Dec. 21 would result in “a subsequent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions…as early as the first week of January 2021.”

New confirmed cases are falling steadily across Europe, where more than 300,000 people with COVID-19 have died. Until vaccines against the virus are rolled out, the EU commission is recommending prudence.


“Every 17 seconds a

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The Latest: Germany Hits a Record for Daily Virus Deaths | California News


BERLIN — Germany on Wednesday reported a record 487 new coronavirus deaths — the country’s highest daily toll since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The country’s disease control center also said 17,270 people had contracted the virus in the last 24 hours.

The country’s health minister said Tuesday that daily death numbers are way too high and reminded his compatriots that behind every single number there’s a tragedy and a human life lost. Germany has seen 17,123 people die in the pandemic,

Germany implemented a so-called “lock down light” about month ago with schools and stores remaining open. That has led to a stagnation of new infections, but the numbers have not been going down again like in other European countries which have had much stricter anti-corona measures in recent weeks.

Germany is waiting for approval of an anti-COVID vaccine by the end of the year, and has started setting

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Trump’s virus czar resigned, drawing cheers from health officials who say his ideas are dangerous.


President Trump’s coronavirus czar, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, who has had a leading role in the White House’s efforts to play down the virus and politicize efforts to curb its spread, resigned on Monday from a position that was set to expire this week.

Dr. Atlas, a radiologist, was heavily criticized by many health experts as his guidance on key issues — including the wearing of masks — conflicted with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has also been widely criticized for his support for allowing the virus to spread in order to achieve herd immunity — a point when transmission of the virus stalls because so many people have either previously had it or have been vaccinated for it.

Allowing the virus to spread unchecked in an effort to achieve herd immunity could lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of additional deaths.

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