Russian health officials have approved a Covid-19 vaccine created by a former biological weapons research lab for public use, marking the second time the Kremlin has bypassed accepted scientific protocol as it attempts to put in place a defense against the pandemic. President Vladimir Putin is seeking a role in the fight against the coronavirus, which has hit Russia hard.
- Global Tracker: cases exceed 38.3 million; deaths nearly 1.09 million
- Hot Spots in the United States: Covid’s deadly return spreads to 46 states
- Interview: FDA chief says stop testing on safety, not politics
- Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine study still ongoing, CEO says
- US states face great challenges in preparing for vaccine distribution
- How do people get Covid-19? Here’s what the experts are saying: QuickTake
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Alabama football coach test positive (6:20 a.m. HK)
Nick Saban, the head coach of the University of Alabama football team and a prominent college sports figure, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. The team are ranked second in the country for football and are set to face No.3 Georgia on Saturday.
The case follows news that the University of Florida will delay its Saturday football game with Louisiana State University following a Covid outbreak.
Germany Imposes Limits in Hard-Affected Areas (5:15 p.m. NY)
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a series of piecemeal measures to contain a second wave of the pandemic in Germany, and warned more would follow if the rise in viral infections did not stop in 10 days.
In hard-hit areas, bars and restaurants are to close at 11 p.m., while gatherings will be limited to 100 people. The use of masks in public will be extended.
“Economically speaking, we cannot afford a second wave with the same consequences as in the spring,” said Merkel, mainly calling on citizens to respect hygiene and distancing rules and to avoid groups. “What we do and do not do in the days and weeks to come will be key to the question of how to get through this pandemic.”
Texas Hot Spots Facing Declining ICU Capacity (5 p.m. NY)
Critical care units in Texas’ hardest-hit towns and cities fill up as a new wave of infections grips America’s second-largest state.
The El Paso area has just 10 intensive care beds after an increase in hospital admissions of more than 80% over the past week, according to state and city data. In the other two hot spots around Lubbock and Amarillo, spare intensive care capacity has fallen to 27 beds – to cover an area spread across 47 counties, according to the state’s health department.
Statewide, hospitalizations from the virus increased 17% last week to a six-week high of 4,131.
Governor Greg Abbott announced plans for public and private schools to begin testing students and staff on a voluntary basis within two weeks. The program will use rapid antigen tests that will provide results within 15 minutes, Abbott said in a statement.
Ireland bans home visits, closes more businesses (4:15 p.m., NY)
Ireland is introducing new measures to curb the spread of the virus, after daily cases increased at the fastest rate since April. All home visits will end and a number of districts near the border with Northern Ireland will move to a so-called Level 4 lockdown.
In addition to existing restrictions in these areas, including the closure of most bars and restaurants, most businesses and services deemed non-essential will be closed, wedding guests will be limited to six, and gyms will close.
Barron Trump had a virus, now negative (4:10 p.m. NY)
President Donald Trump’s youngest son Barron tested positive for the coronavirus as his parents recovered from Covid-19 but never showed symptoms of the disease, his mother said.
First Lady Melania Trump said in an article on the White House website Wednesday that Barron Trump initially tested negative after his parents both contracted the virus.
“I couldn’t help but think ‘what about tomorrow or the next day? She wrote. “My fear came true when he was tested again and it turned out to be positive. Fortunately, he is a strong teenager and had no symptoms.
She added: “He has since tested negative. ”
Slovenia closes schools and sidewalk gatherings (3:34 p.m. NY)
Slovenia has ordered the nationwide closure of fifth-grade colleges from Monday, as the Alpine nation recorded 707 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, Prime Minister Janez Jansa said in a statement. press conference.
Further restrictions will apply to seven of the hardest-hit regions, including the capital Ljubljana, where the government will limit public gatherings to 10 people, impose mandatory masks in most public spaces and restrict some sporting services and events. starting on Friday. Further details will be presented Thursday by the ministers concerned.
Illinois reports most deaths since June (2:51 p.m., NY)
Illinois reported 2,862 coronavirus cases and 49 deaths on Wednesday, the highest number since June 24, according to the state’s Department of Public Health website. The state’s seven-day positivity rate has climbed to 4.6%, from 4.5% a day ago and 3.5% a week ago
France to impose curfews in major cities (2:05 p.m. NY)
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an evening curfew in the country’s largest cities to stem the relentless spread of the coronavirus, as rising infections begin to fill hospital beds.
“This virus is dangerous and serious for everyone,” Macron said in a television interview Wednesday night. “We are at a stage where we have to react.”
Greater Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse are among the areas affected by the curfew, which will last four weeks from Saturday.
NJ sees peak in hospitalization (2 p.m. NY)
In New Jersey, the coronavirus is causing more cases of serious illness: Hospitals had 699 positive patients in the past 24 hours, a jump of 51 from the previous day and the highest total since August 5. Of those, 168 were in intensive care and 58 were dependent on ventilators, figures not seen since the end of July. The state reported 953 new cases and nine deaths. In all, 14,402 deaths in New Jersey have a laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 link, and 1,789 others are not tested but probable.
Puerto Rican cabinet member gets virus (1:20 p.m. NY)
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez is canceling face-to-face meetings and other events this week after Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez tested positive for Covid-19. Vazquez, who met Gonzalez on Tuesday, said she still tested negative for the virus but was canceling and postponing her events with “great caution”.
Italy Reports New Cases (11:10 a.m. NY)
Italy reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with the spread of contagion surpassing levels reached at the height of the outbreak last spring.
New cases climbed to 7,332 from 5,901 on Tuesday, more than the 6,557 infections at the height of the pandemic on March 21. The peak at least in part reflects more in-depth screening. Daily tests totaled 152,196, up from 112,544 the day before and more than 9 times the March daily average of 15,752.
NYC Making Progress in Hot Zones, Says Mayor (11 a.m. NY)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said city health officials were making progress in reducing infection rates in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where coronavirus cases have recently increased.
“We are seeing some stabilization in the city, some stabilization in the communities that are affected,” de Blasio said, referring to the hot areas of high infection demarcated by state health officials. “Obviously we need to see more progress, but what we see overall in the indicators is that we are making progress. We have to stop a second wave. ”
The mayor gave no data on specific areas of high infection, but the number of new cases reported over a seven-day average fell to 512 from 520, the daily percentage of residents testing positive dropped to 1.13 % of 1.90% and the seven-day moving average of positive tests edged down from 1.48% to 1.46%.
Duterte wants soldiers to be vaccinated first (10:45 a.m. NY)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he wants the poor, soldiers and police to receive the first coronavirus vaccines once available.
The Philippines, which has the most infections in Southeast Asia with nearly 347,000, has the funds to purchase the vaccine, Duterte said.
Portugal tightens limits as business hits record (10:40 a.m. NY)
Portugal on Wednesday reported the largest daily increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the epidemic. There were 2,072 new cases in one day, more than the previous record of 1,646 announced on Saturday, bringing the total to 91,193. The number of patients in intensive care units rose from 3 to 135, a level which represents half of the peak reached in April.
Portugal is tightening the limit on gatherings in public spaces to five in 10 people, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Wednesday.
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