Second Wave Slows In Europe; China’s Vaccine; Borders Closed To US
Media outlets report on news about the pandemic and an end to the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Second Wave May Have Eased In Europe, But Deaths Are Increasing.
Europe’s painful second coronavirus wave may be starting to ease, a top World Health Organization official said Thursday, as cases drop slightly even though over the last week someone on the continent died every 17 seconds from the virus. The cautious prognosis came after new diagnoses of the novel coronavirus slowed last week across Europe to 1.8 million cases, compared to 2 million the week before last. Hospitals across the continent remain packed, a situation that sharply increases the chance that patients will die of the disease. “There is good news and not so good news,” said Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, at a news conference, describing the drop in new diagnoses as “a small signal, but it’s a signal nevertheless.” (Birnbaum, 11/19)
China Sinopharm's Coronavirus Vaccine Taken By About A Million People In Emergency Use
Nearly one million people have taken an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) through the country’s emergency use programme, the firm said late on Wednesday. China launched the emergency use programme in July, which so far includes three vaccine candidates for essential workers and other limited groups of people even as clinical studies have yet to be completed to prove their safety and efficacy. (11/19)
Closures Of US Borders With Canada, Mexico Expected To Be Extended
The U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed through mid-December as cases of the coronavirus spike in the United States, officials said Wednesday. Mexico's foreign ministry confirmed in a pair of tweets that nonessential land traffic would be shut down at the U.S.-Mexico border through Dec. 21. U.S. officials confirmed to Reuters that the same policy was being followed at the U.S.-Canada border. (Bowden, 11/18)
African Continent Hits 2 Million Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
The African continent has surpassed 2 million confirmed cases as the top public health official warned Thursday that “we are inevitably edging toward a second wave” of infections. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 54-nation continent had crossed the milestone. Africa has seen more than 48,000 deaths from COVID-19. Its infections and deaths make up less than 4% of the global total. (Anna, 11/19)
Berlin Police Forcefully Disperse Protest Over Virus Rules
German police used water cannons and pepper spray Wednesday to disperse people protesting coronavirus restrictions in Berlin’s government district, after crowds ignored calls to wear masks and keep their distance from one another in line with pandemic regulations. As water sprayed from the cannons rained down on protesters outside the landmark Brandenburg Gate, police in riot gear moved through the crowd carrying away some participants. Some demonstrators threw fireworks, flares and other objects in response as police helicopters hovered overhead. (Rising, 11/18)
COVID Toll Turns Spotlight On Europe's Taboo Of Data By Race
Many European countries avoid breaking down data along racial or ethnic lines out of concern over privacy or discrimination, but COVID-19’s outsized impact on Black and Asian people has exposed flaws in the approach, some scientists and activists said. They want more comprehensive data collection across the continent to improve understanding about how and why COVID-19 affects different communities, and thereby help countries tailor testing and care to better protect them. (Waldersee, 11/19)
The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Vaccine Progress Gives Tokyo Olympics A Tailwind
Breakthroughs in Covid-19 vaccine trials are giving a boost to the organizers of next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, who are looking into vaccine suppliers and planning to encourage athletes to get their shots. Still, local organizers remain publicly cautious about whether enough vaccines will be available in time, and they are leaving room for the Games to proceed regardless. If vaccines are in short supply, it would be hard to justify prioritizing young athletes with low risk of serious illness. (Gale, 11/19)
The Washington Post:
Japan Still Subsidizing People To Eat Out And Travel Even As Covid Cases Hit New Records
[The Japanese] government said it was sticking with an increasingly controversial domestic travel and tourism subsidy program, in which people can be refunded for up to half of costs of hotels, flights, restaurants, tourist attractions and even shopping on trips within the country. It is meant to boost domestic tourism and support local economies but has been blamed for spreading the virus from urban hotspots to every corner of Japan.
In updates on Ebola —
WHO Declares End To DRC's 11th Ebola Outbreak
Today marks the end of the 11th Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after causing 119 confirmed cases, 11 probable ones (130 cases total), and 55 deaths (42.3% of all cases), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since beginning in the country's western province of Equateur on Jun 1, the outbreak affected 13 of the province's 18 health zones in both urban and remote communities. (McLernon, 11/18)