The seven-day average of cases and hospital admissions in the U.S. are both down about 15 per cent from a week earlier, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.
In its most recent seven-day period, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the U.S. had a daily average of roughly:
- 106,400 COVID-19 cases.
- 8,300 hospital admissions.
- More than 1,476 deaths.
Walensky again urged people to get vaccinated, saying the shots protect not just the individual but the broader community.
“While we have made tremendous progress in our campaign to vaccinate as many Americans as possible, we still have work to do to make sure that vaccination coverage is high and even across the country,” she said.
The U.S. is on track to double the number of COVID-19 rapid-scale tests on the market in the months ahead, said White House coronavirus response co-ordinator Jeff Zients.
Health officials welcomed news that a pill developed by U.S. drugmaker Merck could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, but would not provide a timeline for when it could be approved by regulators.
“The news of the efficacy of this particular antiviral is obviously very good news,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The company when they briefed us last night, had mentioned that they will be submitting their data to the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] imminently.”
-From Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 12:45 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province is finalizing an agreement to receive up to 10 medical staff from the Canadian Armed Forces, along with more from the Red Cross and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Doctors have called for a swift lockdown to stem the tide of COVID-19 patients, but Kenney has said the government is waiting to see if recently implemented health restrictions work.
The province, which on Thursday reported 1,706 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths, is facing massive strain on its health-care system — particularly in overburdened intensive care units.
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:45 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Friday morning, more than 233.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, typhoon winds and rain dampened what might have been a more celebratory mood in Tokyo on Friday, as restaurants were allowed to sell alcohol and stay open later following the lifting of the latest COVID-19 state of emergency.
Japan is cautiously easing restrictions that have prevailed across much of the nation for almost six months. New COVID cases in Tokyo totalled 200 on Friday, a sharp drop from more than 5,000 a day in August amid a fifth wave driven by the infectious delta variant that brought the medical system to the brink.
Meanwhile, Pakistan banned unvaccinated adults from flights Friday as it tries to push vaccinations and avoid further lockdowns to contain the coronavirus. Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced the ban on Twitter, saying “only fully vaccinated passengers of age 18 years and above will be allowed to undertake domestic air travel within Pakistan.”
In Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased restrictions to the lowest alert level, as the country looks to open up its economy ahead of the summer holiday season.
Egypt on Thursday received 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States as part of the COVAX initiative, the first batch of a total of five million doses.
In the Americas, beaches and recreation centres have reopened in Cuba’s capital, after authorities announced it is time to resume outdoor activities, including strolling on the Malecon coastal promenade that has long been a gathering place in Havana.
Officials say Thursday’s reopening was possible because 90 per cent of the city’s residents are vaccinated against the coronavirus and the number of new cases has been declining.
In Europe, a fire at a hospital in the Romanian port city of Constanta killed at least seven COVID-19 patients, authorities said Friday.
All the victims were in the intensive care unit of Constanta’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases, said Constantin Amarandei, head of the city’s emergency inspectorate.
Interior Minister Lucian Bode said Friday the early official figure of nine dead was “wrongly” reported. “We are talking about seven people. Five in hospital and two after being transferred to other hospitals,” he said.
The health ministry said in a statement that 113 patients were in the medical unit of the hospital and all the survivors have now been evacuated. The fire was extinguished by mid-morning but its cause is not yet known.
President Klaus Iohannis said in a statement Friday that the Romanian state “has failed in its fundamental mission to protect its citizens.”
In the Middle East, Israel’s health ministry has identified fewer than 10 cases of heart inflammation following a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine among millions administered, according to recently released data.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 8:20 a.m. ET
COVID-19 benefits set to expire this week in Canada – CTV News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday released a statement thanking Canadian small business owners for their “dedication, perseverance, and innovation,” less than a week before a number COVID-19 pandemic financial support programs for businesses and individuals are scheduled to end.
On Oct. 23 – the last day of Small Business Week – the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are set to expire. Both programs have been extended several times since being implemented in 2020.
Over 200,000 business owners have leaned on CERS for help, and over 450,000 have received benefits from CEWS.
The passage of the Budget Implementation Act allows the government to extend CERS and the CEWS to Nov. 30. Beyond that timeline, new legislation would need to be introduced in Parliament.
But many businesses aren’t yet back on their feet, despite their doors being open again.
“Only 40 per cent of small businesses are at normal levels of sales, 60 per cent are not there yet,” Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) president Dan Kelly told CTVNews.ca on Oct. 7. “I think a lot of people see businesses open, and they just assume that we’re back to normal, but it’s definitely not the case.”
Restaurant owners have been particularly hard-hit. According to a survey by Restaurants Canada, eight out of 10 restaurants across the country are either losing money or barely breaking even, while seven out of 10 are currently taking advantage of government subsidy programs.
As for individual benefits, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) are also set to terminate on Saturday. These programs, too, can be extended into November by the government.
More than two million Canadians have applied for CRB to date. Nearly 700,000 have applied for CRSB and over 450,000 for CRCB.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Sarah Turnbull, Nicole Bogart and Brooklyn Neustaeter, and The Canadian Press
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday – CBC.ca
- Liberals considering whether to extend expiring pandemic supports for businesses, individuals.
- Canadians will still need to take a COVID-19 test to return via land border, says Blair.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca
Melbourne, which has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday.
By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of five million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.
While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70 per cent this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.
“Today is a great day,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said as he announced the end of the lockdowns. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”
When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain heavily restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated — estimated by Nov. 5 at the latest.
On Sunday, Victoria recorded 1,838 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths. Neighbouring New South Wales, which emerged last week from a 100-day lockdown, reported 301 cases and 10 deaths. Eighty per cent of the state’s people have been fully vaccinated.
Australia, once a champion of a COVID-zero strategy of managing the pandemic, has been moving toward living with the virus through extensive vaccinations, as the delta variant has proven too transmissible to suppress.
The new strategy makes lockdowns highly unlikely once 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. As of the weekend, about 68 per cent of eligible Australians have been fully inoculated.
Australia’s health officials said on Sunday that quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island, where there is no outbreak, will resume on Wednesday. The government is also in discussions with Singapore about reopening travel between the two countries for the fully vaccinated.
Despite the rise in cases in recent months, Australia’s coronavirus numbers are low compared with many other developed countries, with just over 143,000 cases and 1,530 deaths.
Neighbouring New Zealand, which is also learning to live with COVID-19 by accelerating inoculations, reported 51 new cases on Sunday, 47 of them in the largest city Auckland, which has been in a lockdown since mid-August. On Saturday, New Zealand vaccinated more than 2.5 per cent of its people as part of a government-led mass vaccination drive.
What’s happening in Canada
- Ont. needs to better track vaccines tied to breakthrough cases, expert says.
- N.B. sees 3 more deaths; rapid testing program to roll out provincewide on Monday.
- Staff, students exposed to case at N.W.T. elementary school, says principal.
- 2nd person linked to a class at Whitehorse Elementary School has tested positive.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 240.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.
In Africa, Zimbabwe will bar unvaccinated government workers from reporting for duty beginning Monday. Those barred from work will not get paid.
In Europe, Russia is reporting 34,303 new infections — its largest daily number — as the country faces a sustained rise in cases. It also recorded 999 deaths, barely lower than the record 1,002 deaths reported on Saturday.
In Asia, Sri Lankan authorities are allowing the reopening of cinemas and restaurants and also permitting wedding receptions as a part of the easing of restrictions.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the leading infectious disease doctor in the U.S. — says it’s “really unfortunate” that Gov. Greg Abbott has moved to ban vaccine mandates in the state of Texas, adding the decision will damage public health.
Costa Rica, Milan among winners of Prince William’s Earthshot environmental prize
Milan and Costa Rica were among the winners of the Earthshot Prize on Sunday, an environmental award created by Britain’s Prince William, who has criticized world leaders for an uninspiring response to the climate change crisis.
The honours were established to find solutions through new technologies or policies to the planet’s biggest environmental problems, with a winner in each of the five categories receiving 1 million pounds ($1.37 million).
Milan won the “Build a Waste-Free World” award for its food waste hubs, which recover food to give to those most in need, while Costa Rica received the “Protect and Restore Nature” prize for programmes paying citizens to plant trees and restore ecosystems.
“We are alive in the most consequential time in human history,” William, second in line to the British throne, said in a video message to the ceremony held in London.
“The actions we choose or choose not to take in the next 10 years will determine the fate of the planet for the next thousand.
British royals have recently made a series of comments on environmental issues.
William took a thinly veiled swipe on Thursday at billionaires embroiled in a space tourism race, saying the world’s greatest brains should instead be focused on solving the environmental problems facing Earth.
Queen Elizabeth has said she was irritated by world leaders who talk about climate change but do nothing to address global warming, and added it was still unclear who would turn up at the upcoming (COP26) climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
($1 = 0.7273 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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