SCUC-CCP :: Selective Cause Until it is Concluded : Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic

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SCUC-CCP :: Selective Cause Until it is Concluded : Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic


What  Wikipedia / Google Says
About ‘Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic‘ ? :
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
 
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
 
 
HOW IT SPREADS
 
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
 
You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

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Russian COVID-19 vaccine to cost less than $20, free for citizens

Russia’s two-shot Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and will be free of charge for Russian citizens, according to a statement on the official Sputnik V Twitter account.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told the Reuters news agency Sputnik V earlier on Tuesday that it would be priced significantly lower than rivals with similar efficacy levels.

He was speaking after RDIF and the Gamaleya National Center said new clinical trial data based on 39 confirmed cases and 18,794 patients who got both shots had shown that Sputnik V was 91.4 percent effective on day 28 and more than 95 percent effective on day 42.

The announcements come as several drugmakers unveil positive interim data in a scientific race to curb the global pandemic.

British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which has pledged it will not make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organisations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose.

Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna’s is $15-25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the US government.

The Russian drug is named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race, a nod to the project’s geopolitical importance for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RDIF has said as of November 11, no serious side effects had been reported during the Sputnik V phase three trial.

Some volunteers had short-term minor adverse effects such as pain at the injection site and flu-like symptoms including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headaches, it said.


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Israel Announces Deal With Pfizer to Buy Coronavirus Vaccine

Small bottles labeled with ‘Vaccine COVID-19’ stickers and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Dado Ruvic.

Israel will sign a provisional deal with Pfizer on Friday to receive 8 million doses of the drugmaker’s still-experimental coronavirus vaccine as of January, the Israeli health minister said.

The deal, implementation of which would be subject to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Israel‘s Health Ministry, would provide vaccines for close to half of the Israeli population, Minister Yuli Edelstein said.

“The supply would begin in January 2021, with the remainder arriving throughout the course of 2021,” he said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the order would be for 8 million doses, enough for 4 million people.

There was no immediate comment from Pfizer, which on Monday announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine had been more than 90% effective based on initial trial results, a major victory in the war against a virus that has killed over a million people and battered the world’s economy.


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Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective

Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine may be a remarkable 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results that nevertheless brought a big burst of optimism to a world desperate for the means to finally bring the catastrophic outbreak under control.

The announcement came less than a week after an election seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s handling of the scourge, which has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including almost a quarter-million in the United States alone.

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”

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Pfizer, which is developing the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech, now is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, once it has the necessary safety information in hand.

Even if all goes well, authorities have stressed it is unlikely any vaccine will arrive much before the end of the year, and the limited initial supplies will be rationed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said the results suggesting 90% effectiveness are “just extraordinary,” adding: “Not very many people expected it would be as high as that.”

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“It’s going to have a major impact on everything we do with respect to COVID,” Fauci said as Pfizer appeared to take the lead in the all-out global race by pharmaceutical companies and various countries to develop a well-tested vaccine against the virus.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization’s senior adviser, said Pfizer’s vaccine could “fundamentally change the direction of this crisis” by March, when the U.N. agency hopes to start vaccinating high-risk groups.

Global markets, already buoyed by the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, rallied on the news from Pfizer. The S&P 500 finished the day with a gain of 1.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 800 points. Pfizer stock was up more than 8%.

Still, Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean for certain that a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

Some participants got the vaccine, while others got dummy shots. Pfizer released no specific breakdowns, but for the vaccine to be 90% effective, nearly all the infections must have occurred in placebo recipients. The study is continuing, and Pfizer cautioned that the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 cases are added to the calculations.

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Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, former chief of the FDA’s vaccine division, called the partial results “extremely promising” but ticked off many questions still to be answered, including how long the vaccine’s effects last and whether it protects older people as well as younger ones.

Trump, who had suggested repeatedly during the presidential campaign that a vaccine could be ready by Election Day, tweeted: “STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!”

Biden, for his part, welcomed the news but cautioned that it could be many months before vaccinations become widespread in the U.S., and he warned Americans to rely on masks and social distancing in the meantime. He said the country still faces a “dark winter.”

Confirmed infections in the U.S. eclipsed 10 million on Monday, the highest in the world. New cases are running at all-time highs of more than 100,000 per day. And tens of thousands more deaths are feared in the coming months, with the onset of cold weather and the holidays.

Pfizer’s vaccine is among four candidates already in huge studies in the U.S., with still more being tested in other countries. Another U.S. company, Moderna Inc., also hopes to file an application with the FDA late this month.

Both companies’ shots are made with a brand-new technology. These “mRNA vaccines” aren’t made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there’s no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

Despite cheering the news early on Monday, Trump posted a series of tweets later Monday accusing Pfizer and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of waiting until after the election to announce its positive vaccine news for political reasons.

Pfizer has insisted that its work is not influenced by politics and that it was “moving at the speed of science.” The company itself learned of the interim results on Sunday after its independent data monitors met to discuss them. The FDA was not involved in Pfizer’s decision to announce its early results and did not make any announcements of its own.

Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

Pfizer initially opted not to join the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which helped fund a half-dozen vaccine makers’ research and manufacturing scale-up. Pfizer instead said it has invested $2 billion of its own money in testing and expanding manufacturing capacity. But in July, Pfizer signed a contract to supply the U.S. with 100 million doses for $1.95 billion, assuming the vaccine is cleared by the FDA.

Pfizer said its only involvement in Operation Warp Speed is that those doses are part of the administration’s goal to have 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines ready sometime next year.

The strong results were a surprise. Scientists have warned for months that any COVID-19 shot may be only as good as flu vaccines, which are about 50% effective and require yearly immunizations. Earlier this year, Fauci said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective.

Whatever the ultimate level of protection, no one knows if people will need regular vaccinations.

Also, volunteers in the study received a coronavirus test only if they developed symptoms, leaving unanswered whether vaccinated people could get infected but show no symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus.

Pfizer has estimated it could have 50 million doses available globally by the end of 2020, enough for 25 million people.

Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group, called the release of the preliminary and incomplete data “bad science” and said that any enthusiasm over the results “must be tempered” until they are reviewed by the FDA and its independent experts.

“Crucial information absent from the companies’ announcement is any evidence that the vaccine prevents serious COVID-19 cases or reduces hospitalizations and deaths due to the disease,” the organization said.

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AP writers Marilynn Marchione, Frank Jordans and Charles Sheehan contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Coronavirus vaccine update: Chinese vaccine shows positive results, US govt probes Vaxart’s tall claims

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that international cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine could boost the global economy by $9 trillion to pull it out of the economic crisis. Meanwhile, in the global vaccine race, a Chinese vaccine has shown positive results in the human test.

A New York Times report has said the United States is probing Vaxart, a California-based biotech firm, over its claims on developing a vaccine against coronavirus.

CHINA’S CNBG VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE

CNBG, which is producing one of China’s top coronavirus vaccine candidates, has said the antidote has shown positive results in the latest test conducted on volunteers. Researchers have said the coronavirus vaccine candidate looks safe and has triggered immune responses in the early and mid-stage trials in humans.

The vaccine named BBIBP-CorV is being developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG). The BBIBP-CorV vaccine is one of the top 10 coronavirus vaccine projects in the world that have entered Phase III clinical trials. Three of China’s vaccine candidates are in Phase III trials, according to WHO.

The Chinese vaccine trials have shown it has not caused any severe side effects among the volunteers while common mild or moderate adverse reactions including fever and pain at injection sites, according to a paper published on Thursday in medical journal the Lancet.

US PROBES VAXART’S VACCINE CLAIMS

California-based biotech firm Vaxart has come under the scanner of the US government over its claims on vaccine against Covid-19. According to a report in New York Times, Vaxart had said in June that the firm has been selected for the US government’s vaccine programme Operation Warp Speed. The announcement gave a major boost to Vaxart’s stocks.

Vaxart reaped $200 million in profits from share selling, however, the report has said that the company may have overestimated its claims on the vaccine.

Now, Vaxart has said it has received a notice from the US justice department over its role in the Operation Warp Speed programme. On the other hand, the company has also been slapped with a number of lawsuits filed by its investors for overstating the vaccine claims, said the report.

VACCINE’S $9 TRILLION ECONOMY BOOST

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has said strong international cooperation on Covid-19 vaccines could speed up the world economic recovery and add $9 trillion to global income by 2025.

Speaking at a news conference after a meeting of the IMF’s steering committee, Georgieva also called on the United States and China to keep up strong economic stimulus that could help boost a global recovery.

She emphasized the need for coronavirus vaccines to be distributed evenly across the world in both developing countries and wealthy nations, to boost confidence in travel, investment, trade and other activities.

SANOFI SHOWS POSITIVE RESULTS

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by France’s Sanofi and US biotech firm Translate Bio is on track and the clinical trials are showing positive results on animals.

Sanofi and Translate Bio said in a statement on Thursday that the results from pre-clinical trials showed two doses of the MRT5500 vaccine induced a “favourable” immune response in mice and monkeys.

There is no internationally-approved vaccine to protect against Covid-19, which has killed more than 1 million people around the world and triggered economic chaos.

Sanofi and Translate Bio has confirmed that a phase 1/2 trial on humans would begin in the fourth quarter to test for safety and to determine the dosage before a possible final Phase III trial.

OXFORD 5-MINUTE TEST

Scientists from Britain’s University of Oxford have developed a rapid Covid-19 test that is able to identify the coronavirus in less than five minutes, researchers said on Thursday, adding it could be used in mass testing at airports and businesses.

The university said it hoped to start product development of the testing device in early 2021 and have an approved device available six months afterwards.

The device is able to detect the coronavirus and distinguish it from other viruses with high accuracy, the researchers said in a pre-print study.

“Our method quickly detects intact virus particles,” said Professor Achilles Kapanidis, at Oxford’s Department of Physics, adding that this meant the test would be “simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective”.

(With inputs from Reuters)


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Coronavirus updates: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ignores his own travel advice; US deaths top 260K

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A nurse fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Nebraska sent an urgent message as positive cases passed 100,000 in her state. Storyful

Federal government officials said the first 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed to U.S. communities as early as December within 24 hours of approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

But the U.S. recorded its highest daily death toll since May on Tuesday, and experts warned that good vaccine news doesn’t mean Americans should let down their guard down over the holidays.

Several state restrictions go into effect Wednesday just hours before the Thanksgiving holiday, including a ban on alcohol sales at restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania. State health officials ordered restaurants and bars to not sell alcohol starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday in an effort to prevent social gatherings.

“It turns out the biggest day for drinking is the day before Thanksgiving,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference this week. “When people get together in that situation, it leads to the exchange of fluids that leads to the increase in infection.”

Overseas, British authorities relaxed restrictions on social gatherings to allow people to celebrate the Christmas holiday with friends and family. Officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland came up with a holiday plan to allow up to three households to create a “Christmas bubble” Dec. 23-27.

Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 12.7 million cases and over 260,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 60 million cases and 1.4 million deaths.

️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

What we’re reading: Here’s why this Harvard doctor is optimistic about US overcoming COVID-19 despite “epidemic of mistrust.”

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

An unidentified COVID-19 patient sits in a hospital bed on Friday, November, 6, 2020 at the El Paso LTAC hospital in central El Paso.A team of health care workers does a procedure on a patient with COVID-19 in UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus Wednesday, November 18, 2020. This group of nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists work on a floor of negative-pressure rooms treating 18 patients with COVID-19 requiring an intensive care unit level of care.A COVID-19 patient on a ventilator lies in a negative air pressure room in a 12-bed intensive care unit Thursday, November 5, 2020 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wis. The U.S. is contending with its third, and worst, wave of the virus yet. On Wednesday for the first time, more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a day.Registered Nurse Daniel Corral works with a COVID-19 patient Thursday, November, 6, 2020 at the El Paso LTAC Hospital.Ventilator tubes are attached to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2020. The surge of coronavirus is taking an increasingly grim toll across the United States, even as of a vaccine appears close at hand.Registered nurses Daniele Payne, right, and Katie Zupek wearing powered air purifying respirators tend to a COVID-19 patient in a negative air pressure room in a 12-bed intensive care unit Thursday, November 5, 2020 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wis.The patient board at the El Paso LTAC Hospital identifies those infected with COVID-19.EMT Giselle Dorgalli, second from right, looks at a monitor while performing chest compression on a patient who tested positive for coronavirus in the emergency room at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.Medical staff members treat a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas.Sparrow ICU nurses Mary-Jo Julin, left, and Lauren Brandon prepare to see a COVID-19 patient under their care, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, during their shift in the intensive care unit at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.Medical staff member Tanna Ingraham checks I.V. on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas.A medical staff member works on a computer as the number on the wall indicates the days since the hospital opened its COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical center on November 14, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 1,070,000 cases, including over 19,900 deaths.Medical staff members insert a pipe into a vein of a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at United Memorial Medical Center on November 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas.Respiratory therapist Babu Paramban talks on the phone next to hospital beds while taking a break in the COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

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Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive for COVID-19

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has tested positive for COVID-19, but has only minor symptoms and plans to continue working remotely, he said Wednesday.

The governor’s office at the Wyoming State Capitol was closed on Tuesday for a deep cleaning after another office employee tested positive for the respiratory virus. 

Less than two weeks ago, Gordon said Wyoming residents needed to be more responsible about preventing the spread of COVID-19, complaining at the time about some people who were being “knuckleheads.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apologizes for holiday travel

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has apologized for flying to visit family members in Mississippi even as he tweeted out advice to the city’s residents asking them to avoid traveling.

Hancock said his family canceled plans for a large gathering and instead he boarded the plane to visit his wife and daughter who have been staying in Mississippi. Hancock said he believed him traveling alone was lower risk than having both of them return home for the holiday.

“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock tweeted on Wednesday.

“I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

The contradiction between Hancock’s recommendation and his actions was reminiscent of another elected leader, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had to apologize after reports surfaced of his attendance at a friend’s birthday party in a restaurant, violating the public health guidelines he has been constantly promoting.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: States need funding to distribute vaccine

The encouraging recent news about coronavirus vaccines, with three companies reporting high effectiveness in their candidates, has obscured one large obstacle that lies ahead in getting people inoculated: garnering the required resources.

“The states are broke,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Wednesday. “Washington never approved the state and local funding. They estimate that the cost to the states to distribute a vaccine … $8 billion. So far, the government provided $200 million.”

States are facing budgetary pressures created by the unexpected need to allocate money to combat the coronavirus pandemic combined with diminished revenue from the closure of businesses aimed at curbing spread of the virus.

A federal stimulus package that might help shore up state and local budgets has stalled in Congress, although the Department of Health and Human Services told CNBC that the agency is trying to secure funds to help cover the cost of vaccination programs. 

President-elect Joe Biden has a plan that calls for $25 billion for that purpose, but he might take office in January with a divided Congress.

Cuomo, who earlier this week said he intended to spend Thanksgiving with his mother and two adult daughters, later backtracked upon receving criticism that pointed out none of the women are regular members of his household. The CDC has advised against separate households mingling because of the pandemic.

Ravens-Steelers shifted from Thanksgiving to Sunday

The NFL has moved Thursday’s featured game between the Baltimore Ravens and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers to Sunday because of a coronavirus outbreak among the Ravens. The night matchup in Pittsburgh was one of three NFL games on Thanksgiving, but the only one pitting teams with winning records.

The Ravens canceled Tuesday’s practice after learning in the morning that additional players had tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports. On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins had tested positive for COVID-19. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also listed as a close contact and placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that five Ravens players and four staff members had tested positive this week.

This is the first time since Week 5 that the league has postponed a game because of COVID-19 concerns.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

School closings may lead to shorter life spans, study says

The March closure of schools prompted by the pandemic is likely to cost some of today’s students future years of their lives, according to a study conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Washington.

The researchers said more than 24 million students ages 5-11 in public elementary schools missed approximately 54 days of instruction in the spring, resulting in an average loss of educational attainment of four months for boys and nearly three months for girls.

The study, published in the November edition of JAMA Network Open, estimates the potential years of life lost for all those students at 5.53 million. That’s based on previous analysis of the relationship between educational attainment and life expectancy and the impact of the coronavirus’ spread.

“If the choice is just between keeping schools open or closing them in the face of this unprecedented upsurge in COVID-19 cases, I would favor closing them. But that isn’t the only choice,” said study co-author Frederick Zimmerman, a UCLA health policy professor who mentioned increased spending in protective equipment at schools as an option.

Los Angeles outdoor dining ban to go into effect

A reinstated ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County can go into effect Wednesday night, a judge ruled, after a restaurant industry group had tried to block the restriction.

The California Restaurant Association challenged the order issued Sunday that prohibited outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars, and asked county health officials to provide medical or scientific evidence that it poses an unreasonable risk to public health. The ban is supposed to last at least three weeks.

The county’s Board of Supervisors also considered blocking the ban but failed to garner enough support. The Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a resolution to urge county officials to rescind the ban but that vote was nonbinding.

The rule is now set to go into effect Wednesday at 10 p.m. and will limit restaurants in the nation’s most populous county to takeout and delivery. The county averaged more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases over a five-day period, triggering the restriction. 

US records highest daily death toll since May with more than 2,000

More than 2,100 people died in the U.S. because of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since May.

Deaths have been steadily rising since October but hadn’t surpassed 2,000 in a day since May 6, when more than 2,300 people died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The at least 2,146 people who died Tuesday translates to roughly one death every 40 seconds in the United States. More than 172,000 new cases were added Tuesday, too, according to Hopkins data.

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Without masks and a vaccine, we could reach Herd Immunity from COVID-19, but deaths would skyrocket. We break down the science of it. USA TODAY

Fauci has a final Thanksgiving message for Americans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued his final Thanksgiving message for Americans as COVID-19 cases surge and dinner tables are still expected to fill up.

“The final message is to do what really we’ve been saying now for some time, is to the extent possible, keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings, as small as you possibly can,” Fauci said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.”

“By making that sacrifice, you’re going to prevent people from getting infected,” he added. “A sacrifice now could save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this.”

27 virus deaths at Illinois veterans nursing home

Illinois officials will investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans nursing home after 27 veterans died and nearly 200 residents and staff members tested positive.

Illinois’ Department of Veterans’ Affairs requested an independent probe into the facility after the outbreak was first spotted in late October.

“The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans’ home cannot be understated,” said State Senator Sue Rezin, who represents the district where the home is located.

Europe’s virus cases are slowing

The World Health Organization said COVID-19 cases in Europe are slowing down despite it still being the region with the biggest proportion of new cases and deaths around the world.

New cases dropped by 6% in Europe over the last week, the WHO said. And that’s after a 10% decline the previous week. However, the virus death rate continues to rise, and more than 67,000 new deaths were reported.

  • France: President Emmanuel Macron laid out new rules Tuesday to ease France’s partial shutdown. They include allowing the reopening of some shops and houses of worship next week while indoor dining and gyms remain shuttered.
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to extend Germany’s partial shutdown into December. The restrictions have slowed a virus spike, but cases remain at high levels rather than sinking lower.

Singapore nearly virus free

Once a hot spot of cases in southeast Asia, Singapore is virtually virus free after Tuesday marked 14 days without a new local case, Reuters reported.

A few infections from abroad have been recorded, but people in those cases have been immediately isolated. Many cases in Singapore have been tied to infections at dormitories for foreign workers, the news agency reported.

Tuesday also marked the first time there were no live infection clusters across Singapore, Reuters reported. 

The country was one of the first outside of China to report a COVID-19 infection, but it has staved off the worst of the virus and has the lowest case fatality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins data.

CDC pondering quarantine reduction to 7-10 days, report says

In an effort to encourage compliance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may reduce the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to the coronavirus from 14 days to seven to 10, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said agency officials are putting the final touches on the recommendation, which would require a negative COVID test for the exposed person to exit quarantine.

Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager for COVID-19 response, told the Journal that studies have shown effective quarantines can be done in less time than the currently recommended two weeks. Although there’s a chance some infections could be missed, he said there’s a valuable tradeoff to be gained.

“Hopefully people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days,” he said. 

A sign at the entrance to a park on Tuesday warns pedestrians about increased risk for the coronavirus in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J.

A sign at the entrance to a park on Tuesday warns pedestrians about increased risk for the coronavirus in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J. (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

New Mexico approves $330M relief bill, including stimulus checks

New Mexico lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that will deliver a one-time $1,200 check to all types of unemployed workers and up to $50,000 for certain businesses.

The bill also provides smaller stimulus checks to immigrants without legal status in the country and dependents, as well as additional funds for food banks, virus testing and contact tracing efforts.

Most of the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico, including around $319 million in unspent funds that were expected to expire soon. An additional $10 million in state general funds were allocated for testing and tracing efforts.

The bill allocates $100 million to support businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The New Mexico Finance Authority is tasked with distributing the grants, which can be up to $50,000, and has wide discretion about whom to choose. It’s instructed to focus on the service industry.

Texas judge implements new shelter-at-home curfew in El Paso

Judge Ricardo Samaniego implemented a new curfew to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso, Texas. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew goes into effect Wednesday and will last until Monday.

However, unlike his previous curfew, people would not be barred from going to businesses outside those hours, Samaniego told the El Paso Times on Monday.

The curfew sends a message that “we are serious about this and have to do something” to curb the rise in cases, he said. Even if the COVID-19 numbers go down, it’s still a serious problem in El Paso County based on existing cases, he said.

“It is a shelter-at-home order. Residents are encouraged to stay at home,” Samaniego said. “We want no more than 10 people to gather together in public or at home.”

– Aaron A. Bedoya, El Paso Times

Tennessee won’t mandate COVID vaccine in K-12 schools

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will be optional in the state’s K-12 public schools once they become available.

The Republican governor said vaccines will be very important for Tennessee to “ultimately really be able to handle” the spread of the virus. However, it is a choice he believes people should make on their own.

“Vaccines are a choice and people have the choice and will have the choice in this state as to whether or not they should take that vaccine,” he said.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines could be available to residents as soon as Dec. 15. Front-line health care workers and first responders will receive the first wave of vaccines.

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

A demonstrator has her mask around her cuffs as restaurants, bars and night clubs owners demonstrate in Marseille, southern France, Thursday Nov.26, 2020. The government laid out details Thursday of a gradual easing of France's monthlong virus lockdown, including hundreds of millions of euros in new aid for struggling workers and students and businesses forced to close.Israeli animal rights activists wearing protective gear demonstrate against the spread of coronavirus among mink in Denmark's fur industry ahead of international Fur Free Friday, in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Gravediggers at Panteon Sueños Eternos burry someone who died of COVID-19 Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Panteon Sueños Eternos has implemented a different protocol for COVID-19 related deaths. Cemetery workers place the caskets in a cement barrier that later gets covered with more cement before filling the gravesite with dirt. They began doing this as a precaution because they do not know what the spread of the virus can be like postmortem. Health workers in personal protective equipment carry the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload is expected to surpass 9 million on Friday as authorities in New Delhi battle to slow down the surge of infections in the city by increasing testing.A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus walks along the restaurant area of Omoide Yokocho alleyway in Shinjuku district in Tokyo on November 19, 2020.Medical workers and patients are seen in the treatment hall of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in the Krylatskoye Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The resurgence of the outbreak has swept the Russia since September, with the number of daily new cases spiking from roughly 5,000 in early September to over 22,000 this week.A health worker conducts a rapid antigen test for Covid-19 coronavirus on a lecturer at college premises as the state government education department directed the reopening of degree colleges after several months of closure in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in Bangalore on November 17, 2020.A father wearing a protective mask holds his newborn son against his chest during the Covid-19 pandemic, novel coronavirus at the maternity of the Diaconesses hospital in Paris, on November 17, 2020.People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at a department store in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.Health workers prepare to take samples for a COVID-19 test from passengers who are arriving from Cancun Mexico, at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. The airport is receiving its first commercial flights in over 8 months, since the country shut the facility down due to the coronavirus pandemic.Army medical personnel, wearing a protective suit, works at a quick coronavirus testing area which was set up to ease the pressure on hospital emergency wards, following the surge of COVID-19 case numbers, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.Members of the public perform push-ups as punishment for not wearing face masks amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Banda Aceh on November 10, 2020.Members of the medical staff take care of Covid-19 patients aboard a French army Airbus A400 M before their transfer from Lyon-Bron aerodrome to the French capital Paris on November 10, 2020, amid a surge in Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) cases in France.Medical workers collect a swab sample from a resident to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Colombo on Nov. 9, 2020. Couples gather on steps in La Defense Business District on the outskirts of Paris on November 6, 2020, during a lockdown imposed by authorities in an attempt to halt the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).A box with food slides down to car from a window of the apple cider restaurant 'Zum Lahmen Esel' in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Nov.5, 2020. Due to the new partial lockdown to avoid the coronavirus spread the restaurant which has been in operation since 1807 offers cider and food to go in a self-made drive through set up.Two women wait in line at a bakery in Antwerp, Belgium, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Belgium, proportionally still the worst-hit nation in Europe when it comes to coronavirus cases, said Wednesday there are increasing signs of that a turning point in the crisis was drawing close. The announcement came in the wake of increased measures over the past weeks with bar and restaurant closures capped by a partial lockdown starting last Monday, which further restricted close contacts and closing non-essential shops.A Kashmiri health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.Tabatha Watley, 54, checks the temperatures of voters as they enter their polling place at Diann Banks-Williamson Education Center on Cadieux street in Detroit on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. A Christian priest (C) offers prayers during All Souls Day at Rajapur Cemetery in Allahabad on November 2, 2020.Members of a local electoral commission wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walk with a mobile ballot box to visit villagers at their houses during Moldova's presidential election in the village of Stetcani, some 40 km north of Chisinau, on Nov. 1, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.Revellers take part in Halloween in Hong Kong on October 31, 2020.A woman wearing a face mask walks under torii gates (traditional Japanese gates) as she visits a Shinto shrine on October 28, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 171 new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus today.Voters stand in queues maintaining social distance at a polling station, during the first phase of state elections at Paliganj, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. With an overall declining coronavirus positive trend, Indian authorities decided to hold the first state legislature election since the outbreak of COVID-19. People began voting Wednesday in the country’s third largest state Bihar with of a population of about 122 million people.A health worker takes a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 testing center in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. India reports 36,470 new coronavirus cases, the lowest in more than three months in a continuing downward trend. However, the overall tally neared 8 million, the second in the world behind the U.S. with over 8.7 million positive cases.Medical staff carry medical equipment to a waiting medical flight at the Bron airport near Lyon, southeastern France, on October 27, 2020, to be evacuated on another hospital, amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 caused by the new Coronavirus.An officer from the district magistrate office holds a COVID-19 coronavirus-themed mascot in a market area during an awareness campaign against coronavirus and rising air pollution levels in New Delhi on Oct. 26, 2020.Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) suits bury the body of a person suspected of dying from the COVID-19 coronavirus at a cemetery, in Yangon on Oct. 26, 2020.A cleaner sweeps in an empty Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, in Milan, northern Italy, early Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. Since the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew took effect last Thursday, people can only move around during those hours for reasons of work, health or necessity.Vatican Swiss Guards wearing masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 march as they leave the St. Damaso courtyard after the visit of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.A man checks his mobile phone as he sits amid physical distancing markers prior to the start of a movie at CGV Cinemas theater in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. The cinema reopened this week after months of closure due to coronavirus outbreak. Pope Francis puts on his face mask as he attends an inter-religious ceremony for peace in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, in Rome Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.A health worker collects a swab sample from a resident to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a testing centre in New Delhi on Oct. 19, 2020.An indigenous woman sits on a bench as she waits at a polling station in Huarina, Bolivia, on Oct. 18, 2020 during the country's general election. Landlocked Bolivia elects a new president on Sunday after a 2019 poll was annulled and follow-up elections postponed twice amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. A girl and her mother, wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visit a makeshift worship venue of Hindu goddess Durga ahead of Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, India, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020.People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus commute during rush hour in Beijing on October 15, 2020.A Kashmiri health worker takes a swab sample of a child to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Oct. 14, 2020. India is the second worst-nation in terms of confirmed coronavirus caseload.A worker sanitizes a theatre hall ahead of the scheduled reopening of cinemas as theCOVID-19 coronavirus imposed lockdown eases further in Mumbai on Oct. 13, 2020.High school students in their last year, attend classes at an improvised classroom in the yard of their school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Oct. 13, 2020 amid the virus lockdown against the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. The city government partially allowed students on their last year to attend face-to-face classes under a strict sanitary protocol and in the school open spaces.Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) on a boat transfer people suspected of having the COVID-19 coronavirus to a quarantine center in Yangon, Myanmar on Oct. 12, 2020.A child wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus tries to hold a statue's hand as he sits in an art installation on display at a shopping mall in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Even though the spread of COVID-19 has been all but eradicated in China, the pandemic is still surging across the globe with ever rising death toll. A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Qingdao, China on Oct. 12, 2020.A 'COVID-19 Awareness Project' volunteer measures the body temperature to check on a patient infected with leprosy as part of a general health checkup for all inmates at the Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh rehabilitation center, in Ahmedabad on Oct. 11, 2020. A pair of protective gloves hang by the testing booth, as health workers prepare for the day at a COVID-19 testing center in Kohima, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.Face masks hang on a boat during a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, at the port in the mixed Arab Jewish city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. City police officers wearing masks patrol shopping street Via Condotti in Rome, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.Members of the Arts and Shows Association Union (AGTAE) march pushing boxes with lights and wires during a protest demanding the government of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera for support since they have been inactive for months due to the new coronavirus pandemic, in Santiago on Sept. 29, 2020. A  grave digger takes a break as smoke from fires clearing a new section of cemetery drifts over at a public cemetery, part of which is reserved for suspected COVID-19 victims on Sept. 27, 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Due to a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, Jakarta is running short on hospital beds, quarantine facilities and now graveyard space.  There are currently 2 official cemeteries equipped to handle the special protocol for COVID-19 deaths. When asked, nearly all of the men say the saddest part of their jobs is seeing victims arrive with no one to bury them because the family is all in quarantine.People walk among the Spanish flags placed in memory of coronavirus (COVID-19) victims in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. An association of families of coronavirus victims has planted what it says are 53,000 small Spanish flags in a Madrid park to honor the dead of the pandemic. Dancers wearing face shields as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus attend a practice session at an art and cultural centre in Banda Aceh on September 26, 2020. An employee manually inspects syringes of the SARS CoV-2 Vaccine for COVID-19 produced by SinoVac at its factory in Beijing on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.First grade students wearing protective face masks line up to have their temperature taken before entering the school building at the Florya Ugur College on Sept. 21, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. For the first time since schools closed on March 16, due to the coronavirus outbreak, kindergarten and first grade students were allowed to return for in-person classes at schools across Turkey. The one day a week classes are voluntary and restarted amid strict coronavirus precautions. As coronavirus cases continue to spike around the globe many families continue to opt for online classes.A Palestinian worker disinfects supermarket carts as part of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic precautions outside a supermarket in Gaza City on Sept. 21, 2020.Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against the restrictions on gatherings for public prayers despite a new nationwide lockdown order aimed at curbing a raging coronavirus outbreak in Bnei Brak, Israel, Sept. 20, 2020. In the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak near Israel's commercial hub of Tel Aviv, over 100 activists took to the streets and burned garbage to protest restrictions on gatherings for public prayers.A man wears his face mask attached to his headphones in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020.A worker wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit sanitizes public toilets at a bus station in Kathmandu on September 17, 2020.A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus smokes in the street in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The Spanish capital will introduce selective lockdowns in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster, regional health authorities announced on Tuesday.A priest offers prayers before the burial of a three-month-old boy who died of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.A worker draws marks on the ground for social distancing at a school in Lahore on Sept. 13, 2020, following the government's announcement to reopen educational institutes starting from September 15, nearly six months after the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.People wearing face masks attend a meeting by Thai government officials discussing the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the border area with Malaysia at Sungai Kolok town in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on September 12, 2020.A vendor sets up his stall in marks painted on the floor for social distancing as he waits for customers at the 100-year-old Pallavaram Friday market that has reopened following the state government's decision to ease the measures imposed against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on September 11, 2020.Exile Tibetan Buddhist monks wearing masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus walks in a deserted market area in Dharmsala, India, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. India's coronavirus cases are now the second-highest in the world and only behind the United States.A municipal cemetery worker digs a grave in a special cemetery for suspected Covid-19 Coronavirus victim on September 11, 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakartas governor, Anies Baswedan, has ordered the reimposition of strict measures to curtail rising cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, starting Monday Sept. 14 due to an alarming shortage of ICU and quarantine beds in hospitals treating an increasing number of COVID-19 patients.Jewish Seminary students study behind a protective plastic screen cells to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease COVID-19 in a Hesder Yeshiva on Sept. 9, 2020 in Sderot, Israel. Israel is struggling to contain the COVID-19 Virus outbreak with daily records of new infections and more than 1,000 lives claimed. Pope Francis takes off his face mask as he arrives by car to hold a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on September 9, 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.The 'Manneken Pis' statue wears a uniform with a protective mask and face shield to honor the healthcare staff, in Brussels on September 5, 2020.Teachers and auxiliary staff take COVID-19 tests in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. The Madrid region is a coronavirus hot spot, with almost 32,000 new cases officially recorded over the past two weeks. The tests are mandatory for school employees.An inmate (L) sprays disinfectant as part of measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus at a prison in Banda Aceh on September 3, 2020.Suad Al-Dairi plays with her grandson in their house during a coronavirus lockdown in the Al-Karamah neighborhood on September 02, 2020 in Gaza City, Gaza.Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.A worker sanitises the floor of a shopping mall reopened after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on September 1, 2020.Graceland University student athletes go through a health screening, including a temperature check and COVID-19 test before moving into campus housing on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Lamoni.Phoenix Fire Department battalion chief Scott McDonald  (right) receives a free antibody test for the new coronavirus, administered by Phoenix firefighter paramedic Nate Byrd at the Phoenix Fire Department training facility in Phoenix on April 28, 2020.Wearing a mask and gloves because of the coronavirus pandemic, Byron Blades of Los Angeles, takes a rest, while hiking the trail up Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve on April 6, 2020.Health workers protest in front of the Peruvian Ministry of Health, in Lima on August 26, 2020. - Thousands of health workers protested in Peru to denounce the lack of resources to face the COVID-19 coronavirus.Engineering faculty and workers at La Sabana University work on a low-cost ventilator for patients with COVID-19 in Bogota, Colombia, Monday, July 6, 2020.A worker disinfects as a precaution against the coronavirus on a street in Goyang, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. South Korea is closing schools and switching back to remote learning in the greater capital area as the country counted its 12th straight day of triple-digit daily increases in coronavirus cases.Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus approach Lei Muk Shue care home in Hong Kong on Aug. 23, 2020. Russian servicemen wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare to roll out a huge Russian national flag during a celebration ceremony of the National Flag Day at Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow on August 22, 2020.Workers unload coffins from a truck outside a funeral home located in front of the General Hospital in Mexico City on August 20, 2020 amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.A man reacts while having a nasal swab sample taken at a testing and screening facility for the coronavirus, in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits guide asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to the entrance of the Siliguri Indoor Stadium, temporarily converted into a COVID-19 coronavirus safe home care centre, in Siliguri, India on August 21, 2020.Nepalese army personnel pay tributes to a person who died of COVID-19 before a cremation in Kathmandu, Nepal, Aug. 17, 2020.An Indian health worker waits to take a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in a swab collection center in Gauhati, India, Aug. 17, 2020.A health workers wearing protective clothing makes a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on residents at Hoan Kiem district medical centre in Hanoi on August 13, 2020.Public Order Agency officers watch as a man does push ups as a punishment for violating city regulation requiring people to wear face mask in public places as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.Fruit and vegetable vendors, wearing masks against the spread of the COVID-19 infections, wait for customers at a market in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.Gravediggers work during a funeral for victims of the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Pondok Ranggon cemetery in Jakarta on Aug. 10, 2020. The country, home to nearly 270 million people, has been easing movement restrictions in a bid to head off economic collapse but COVID-19 infections are mounting, with cases topping 115,000 and more than 5,300 deaths. Music fans enjoy a life performance from their tuk-tuk, Thai traditional taxi cars, in Bangkok on August 8, 2020, during the first-ever new normal Thai-style concert, called the Amazing Tuk Tuk Festival, respecting  social distancing to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. - The event organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand  is aimed at promoting tourism and stimulating the economy.A demonstrator with a Brazilian flag is seen beside crosses before a thousand red balloons are released, during a tribute to COVID-19 victims organized by the Rio de Paz NGO at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 08, 2020.A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital, in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil on August 08, 2020. - The vaccine trial is being carried out in Brazil in partnership with Brazilian Research Institute Butanta. A vendor holds liquor bottles to give to customers at his alcohol shop covered with plastic sheets as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hyderabad on August 7, 2020. - India's official coronavirus case tally passed two million on on August 7 after a daily jump of more than 60,000.A woman places a mask on a mannequin outside a clothing store in Aranda de Duero, near Burgos, on August 7, 2020, on the first day of a two week lockdown in an attempt to limit the contagion of the new coronavirus COVID-19 in the area.Muslims perform Friday prayer while keeping social distance and wearing face mask at Kocatepe Mosque on August 7, 2020, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.Visitors to a fast-food restaurant share a seat with Colonel Sanders' cutout as an effort to force a physical distancing as a measure to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus spread in Medan, North Sumatra on August 7, 2020.People line up to be tested for COVID-19 at the Unidad Educativa Quitumbe school that is being used as a triage unit and to help hospitals that are operating at the limit of their capacity during the new coronavirus pandemic, in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 3, 2020.A health worker takes a break outside of Medellin's General Hospital, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Medellin, Colombia on Aug. 3, 2020.Doctors, (L-R) Yohanes Ridora and Nabila Kirtti pose for a photograph during the virtual fashion show of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the Coronavirus pandemic on Aug. 1, 2020 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The fashion show was held as a form of gratitude for all medical personnel who had fought against COVID-19. Indonesia is struggling to contain hundreds of new daily cases of coronavirus amid easing of rules to allow economic activity to resume, over 100,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded and more than 5,100 fatalities.A health worker prepares to collect nasal swab samples for COVID-19 tests at a mobile testing centre in Hyderabad, India,  July 31, 2020. India is the third hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the United States and Brazil.Children travelling from Kuwait international Airport, wear face masks and shields as  protections against the novel coronavirus, in Farwaniya, about 15kms south of Kuwait City, on August 1, 2020.A woman shops for dresses in town of Sóller in the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Concerns over a new wave of coronavirus infections brought on by returning vacationers are wreaking havoc across Spain's tourism industry, particularly in the Balearic Islands following Britain's effective ban on travel to the country.A person who tested positive for the new coronavirus is transferred to one of the tents set up outside the Seguro Social hospital to continue their treatment, in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The Ecuadorian capital has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases since the government started to reopen the economy last month.A member of the Bolivarian National Militias wearing a face shield and a protective mask to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, guards a validation center to certify the authenticity of voter data in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Venezuela is scheduled for Dec. 6 midterm legislative elections, and thus far the opposition has indicated it will not participate.Customers dine among mannequins, used as a method to maintain social distancing, at a restaurant in the Akabane district of Tokyo on July 26, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Models wearing masks take part in a mask fashion show in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 24, 2020.This aerial picture shows a funeral taking place at the Olifantsvlei Cemetery in Soweto, on July 23, 2020. Movie-goers wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus are spaced apart as they watch a movie in a newly reopened cinema in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province on Monday, July 20, 2020. China is going back to the movies. Following months of closure, limited numbers of movie goers were allowed back Monday in cities where the risk of virus infection is considered low.Indonesian firefighters spray disinfectant as a precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Surabaya on July 21, 2020.Students seen through a plastic curtain placed on a doorway attending classes during the first day of reopening of public high schools following closure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Yangon on July 21, 2020.A South Korean worker wearing protective clothes sprays disinfectant in a theatre at Sejong Center in Seoul on July 21, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.A man wears a face mask inside a tent at a free COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in Manila, Philippines on Monday, July 20, 2020. Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines soared past 50,000 in early July in a troubling milestone for a country that has reopened an economy on the brink of recession while still struggling to combat the pandemic.A security personnel with a face shield chats with a kid wearing a protective face mask due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, outside a shop in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on July 20, 2020.A health worker (L) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) takes the temperature of a resident during a door-to-door medical screening drive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a residential complex in Mumbai on July 20, 2020. - Coronavirus cases in India passed one million on July 17, official data showed as authorities struggle to check the spread of the deadly pandemic across the world's second-most populous nation.People wearing face masks watch a movie during the first day of re-opening the theaters after COVID-19 in Shanghai on July 20, 2020. - Hundreds of cinemas reopened in scores of Chinese cities on July 20 following a nearly six-month nationwide shutdown due to the coronavirus. But the threat from COVID-19 remains in the air, with cinemas in Beijing still closed for now.An Iranian woman stands next to a street bin, painted with a drawing of a mask in a campaign to spread awareness over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the capital Tehran on July 18, 2020. P resident Hassan Rouhani said that 35 million Iranians may contract the coronavirus, as the country still did not have herd immunity although a quarter of the population may be infected.A taxi driver gets tested by health workers for coronavirus COVID-19 at a makeshift testing station in a carpark in Hong Kong on July 19, 2020. The deadly coronavirus is spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 100 new cases confirmed, the finance hub's leader said as she tightened social distancing measures to tackle the sudden surge in infections.Healthcare workers dressed in full protective gear organize their documents of data they have collected during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing drive, ringed by a produce market in the Villa Dolores neighborhood of El Alto, Bolivia, Saturday, July 18, 2020.An employee of a funeral home plays the violin during the accompaniment of mourning before the cremation of a victim of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the Serafin cemetery in Bogota, on July 17, 2020. - The pandemic has killed at least 590,000 people worldwide, including more than 6,000 in Colombia, since it surfaced in China late last year and more than 13.8 million have been infected, according to an AFP tally at 1200 GMT on Friday based on official sources.An Ecuadorean soldier patrols a market as part of an inter-institutional operation alongside the National Police and the municipality to enforce lockdown restrictions amid the new coronavirus pandemic at Guamani -a COVID-19 high contagion sector-, in southern Quito, on July 17, 2020.A resident sits inside her home during the start of a lockdown due to a rise in COVID cases in the city of Navotas, Manila, Philippines, Thursday, July 16, 2020.A healthcare worker talks with a woman prior to collecting a sample from her at a temporary testing centre for the novel coronavirus in the Spanish Basque city of Getaria on July 15, 2020.A veteran wears a face mask prior to a Bastille Day ceremony at Parc Borely, Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Marseille, southern France. France is honoring nurses, ambulance drivers, supermarket cashiers and others on its biggest national holiday Tuesday. Bastille Day's usual grandiose military parade in Paris is being redesigned this year to celebrate heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.A health worker screens residents for COVID-19 symptoms at Devnar slum in Mumbai, India, Saturday, July 11, 2020.A doctor measures the temperature of woman during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing campaign, in Avircato, Bolivia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020.Palestinian health workers recite a prayer in front of the body of a woman who died after contracting the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, before her funeral in the West Bank city of Nablus on July 5, 2020.A customer has her hair washed at Tusk Hair stylists in Camden just after midnight on July 4, 2020 in London, England.A volunteer from the #MissingLiveTheatre initiative wears a face mask as she wraps pink tape reading missing live theatre on the National Theatre in south east London on July 3, 2020, - Venues around the country, from the National Theatre to Manchesters Royal Exchange, will be wrapped in pink tape reading missing live theatre as part of a campaign to bring joy and colour to the buildings.A mask-clad camel guide stands before a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu at the Giza Pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo on July 1, 2020 as the archaeological site reopens while the country eases restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.Egyptians get tested for COVID-19 at a drive-through coronavirus-testing center at the Ain Shams University in Cairo on June 29, 2020. Egypt has so far registered 65,188 COVID-19 cases including 2,789 fatalities. Workers disinfect and clean the Zocalo square in Mexico City on June 29, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting this week Mexico City is allowing the reopening of shops, street markets and athletic complexes but with limited capacity and hours. Hotels and restaurants in the capital will reopen at about 30% seating capacity.A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suits as she talks to a foreign resident as she and others arrive to a residential compound as part of quarantine measures after arriving in China on June 29, 2020 in Beijing, China. In an effort to limit imported cases China closed its borders to non-citizens on March 28, 2020 allowing only those with special permission to enter the country. Those who do are required to complete 14 days of quarantine and week medical observation. Health workers arrive to administer a free medical checkup in a slum in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 28, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. Staff at Shiva's Signature hair salon wearing Personal Protective Equipment suits and face shields attend customers after personal grooming services were allowed to resume following relaxation of lockdown norms amidst COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai on June 28, 2020. India now has more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to government figures released on June 27 that showed a record daily leap of 18,500 new infections.A man wearing a protective mask with rainbow colors takes part in a Pride March in Berlin on June 27, 2020.Health officials collect a sample from a man at a COVID-19 testing centre during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai on June 26, 2020. Senegalese students wear masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus as they return to classes on the first day back after more than three months away, at the Sacre Coeur college in Dakar, Senegal Thursday, June 25, 2020.Mannequins are seen placed at tables to make customers sit according to social distancing rules at Elpaso Bar, which reopened after being closed for weeks, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ankara on June 24, 2020. - Turkey, a nation of some 83 million, has removed most restrictions, reopened restaurants and resumed mass prayers but officials have warned against complacency. Turkey's daily infections have risen in recent weeks to over a thousand, and authorities have made face masks mandatory in public in several cities including Istanbul. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images) ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1U12S2People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus walk through a shopping and office complex in Beijing, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. New virus cases have declined in China and in the capital Beijing, where a two-week spike appears to be firmly waning.A health worker takes a moment after screening people  for COVID-19 at Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil.Agustina Cañamero, 81, and Pascual Pérez, 84, hug and kiss through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the new coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, June 22, 2020. The Ballesol Fabra i Puig elderly care center installed the screens to resume relatives' visits to residents 102 days after a strict, nationwide lockdown separated them. As she and her husband broke out into tears while kissing through layers of protective masks and the transparent plastic film, Cañamero said that the couple had never spent such long time with no physical contact in 59 years of marriage.People in their cars attend a show at the Las Vegas Circus in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil late on June 20, 2020. Closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Las Vegas Circus returned to activity with a drive-in show, which includes those circus artists with less risks of spreading the COVID-10 pandemic. Wuhan University graduates wear face masks during their graduation ceremony at Wuhan University on June 20, 2020 in Wuhan, China. More than 600 student representatives attended the graduation ceremony, while 15000 graduates watched the live webcast. Since June 13, 2020 the response level of public health emergencies in Hubei Province has been reduced to level 3. Wuhan's health commission said that the city had no asymptomatic cases as of June 15, and there are no more close contacts under medical observation.Health workers walk out of a mobile laboratory before analyzing samples collected during mass coronavirus tests in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 18, 2020.Vendors clean fish at Khlong Toei Market, the biggest fresh market in Bangkok, on June 18, 2020. A huge wholesale market has become the centre of focus for a new cluster of coronavirus cases in Beijing, where nervous local officials have begun mass testing, closing schools and neighbourhoods, and turned sharp scrutiny towards the food supply chain.A police officer stops motorcyclists from entering a restricted area that is sealed off to control the spread of the coronavirus, in Lahore, Pakistan, June 18, 2020. Chefs social distance while waiting to take a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus as officials conduct mass testing following a new cluster of cases last week, in Beijing on June 18, 2020.  Beijing reported another 21 cases of the coronavirus on June 18, as authorities rushed to contain a new outbreak in the capital and warned cases may keep rising.Indonesian firefighters spray disinfectant at the public area near an elephant enclosure at Ragunan Zoo prior to its reopening this weekend after weeks of closure due to the large-scale restrictions imposed to help curb the new coronavirus outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 17, 2020. As Indonesia's overall virus caseload continues to rise, the capital city has moved to restore normalcy by lifting some restrictions, saying that the spread of the virus in the city of 11 million has slowed after peaking in mid-April.An Israir Airlines flight attendant wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) prepares for take off from the Ben Gurion International Airport near the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv to southern Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on June 16, 2020.Undertakers carry coffins at the end of the funeral proceedings for COVID-19 coronavirus victims at a Mosque in Cape Town, on June 16, 2020.  Most of South Africa's infections -- around two-thirds -- are found in the Western Cape province, a popular tourist destination home to the coastal city of Cape Town. WHO said on June 11, 2020  that the pandemic was accelerating on the continent and that 10 of the 54 countries on the continent are currently driving the numbers.Young people sit in a restaurant with plastic dividers to apply social distancing rules amid concerns for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a shopping mall in Surabaya, East Java on June 16, 2020.A passenger, wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus, sits before boarding her flight at the Zaventem international airport during the partial lifting of coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown regulations in Brussels, Monday, June 15, 2020. Borders opened up across Europe on Monday after three months of coronavirus closures that began chaotically in March.Cemetery workers wearing protective gear against the new coronavirus, walk after carrying the coffin of 72-year-old Monica Lagos to her grave at the Manantial cemetery in Santiago, Chile, Monday, June 15, 2020. According to her grandaughter Ninoska Vasquez, who works as an assistant at a health center, Lagos died from complications related to COVID-19. Gondoliers go with customers for a gondola ride on a canal in Venice, Italy on June 12, 2020 as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.Activists in costume dig symbolic graves on Copacabana beach as a protest, organized by the NGO Rio de Paz, against the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 11, 2020.COVID-19 patients lie on beds in a field hospital built inside a gym in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 9, 2020.Muslim worshippers, distanced safely from each other and clad in face masks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, perform the noon prayers at a mosque in Kuwait City on June 10, 2020 for the first time since a lockdown was instated three months ago.Health workers from the city of Melgaco ride a boat ambulance on their way back after visiting eight families that live without electricity in a small riverside community at the Quara river, amid concern over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in the southwest of Marajo Island, Brazil, on June 9, 2020.Members of the Bangladesh police attend a yoga session to boost the immune system of police personnel during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Dhaka on July 8, 2020.A barber cuts the hair of a customer at a barbershop as it reopened after closing due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Quezon City, Manila on June 7, 2020.Religious brother, Anil, wearing a face mask sanitizes a statue at Saint Joseph's Cathedral as government plans to reopen places of worship as part of the relaxation measures of the nationwide lockdown imposed against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Hyderabad on June 7, 2020.Medical workers wearing protective gear to protect against coronavirus infection, carry a patient at an infectious diseases hospital where patients with coronavirus are treated in St.Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2020.Muslim men practice social distancing, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, as they attend Friday prayers at a mosque in Narathiwat, Thailand on June 5, 2020.A worker disinfects the houses of the Villa 21-24 on June 3, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Government-ordered lockdown was extended until June 7 due to increase in the number of positive cases.A masked waiter works at the terrace of the Cafe de la Mairie on the Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris on June 2, 2020, as cafes and restaurants reopen in France, while the country eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).A couple wears protective masks as they walk in a commercial street while shopping on June 2, 2020 in Beijing, China.Stranded migrant labourers gather at an assembling centre to get transferred to a railway station to board on a special train to Bihar after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on May 30, 2020.A doctor wearing a   face mask and protective gear  stands next to an ambulance at the Grigor Lusavorich Medical Centre in Yerevan on May 29, 2020,  amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus.Disinfection team disinfect a classroom at Ivory Park Secondary School east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, May 28, 2020, ahead of the June 1, 2020, re-opening of Grade 7 and 12 learners to school.A government medical worker, in a joint operation with military police, prepares to check passengers on boats in the Melgaco bay, southwest of the island of Marajo, Para state, Brazil, on May 27, 2020. People onboard small boats, ferries and ships on the river had their body temperature checked as authorities try to combat the new coronavirus.Women in period dress and wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus walk outside the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference concluded its session in Beijing on Wednesday, part of the annual meetings of China's two top legislative bodies. A woman disinfects her hands from a mobile robot that carries a container of sanitization liquid at Central World, an upmarket shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Thai government continues to ease restrictions related to running business in capital Bangkok that were imposed weeks ago to combat the spread of COVID-19.Healthcare workers demanding time off for COVID-19 fatigue stage a lie-in in front of Maisonneuve Rosemont hospital, Wednesday May 27, 2020, in Montreal.In this aerial photo taken with a drone, newly made social distancing circles are seen in a park on the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr during a four-day lockdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on May 26, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.Employees from Fatih Municipality disinfect Suleymaniye Mosque on the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr during a four-day lockdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on May 26, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.A woman visits her husband on May 25, 2020 at a retirement home in Bourbourg, France where a double entry bubble has been installed to allow visits without risk of contamination, as part of a prophylactic measure against the spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Relatives and residents each enter the tent through a different entrance to find themselves in the same room, separated by a transparent plastic canvas. These bubbles were originally designed for tourism by the company.Indian health workers in hazmat suits bury a 55-year-old Muslim who died from the coronavirus, during Eid ul-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, on May 25, 2020 in Delhi, India. Eid-ul-Fitr, considered one of the most important festivals in Islam, lacked its traditional fervor as religious gatherings remain banned in India as the country reels under a lockdown imposed by the government on March 25 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Over 4,000 people have died and there have been over one hundred forty thousand infections so far. Ana and a fellow volunteer prepare food rations to be distributed to people in need at the Nazaret Association food bank in Madrid on May 24, 2020. The association who is attending to 600 people warned that due to the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak many people have barely any resources left. A protester is taken away by police officers during a rally against restrictions in place to limit the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on May 23, 2020 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Young children look out of the sun roof of a car ahead of the Stage X drive-in concert at KINTEX parking lot in Goyang, South Korea, Saturday, May 23, 2020. The concert's aim is to provide entertainment for South Korean citizens who have been craving for music events that have been suspended during the coronavirus outbreak.Women wearing protective face masks pray at a cemetery at the grave of a relative who died of COVID-19, on May 21, 2020, in Istanbul, amid the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. The cemetery in the city's Beykoz district on the Asian side was built in March when Turkey confirmed its first case. Now it houses more than 700 people who died of contagious diseases including COVID-19.People eat at a street restaurant implementing social distancing with plastic dividers after the Thai government relaxed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Bangkok's Chinatown on May 21, 2020.  Thailand continued easing restrictions related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus on May 17 by allowing various businesses to reopen, but warned that the stricter measures would be re-imposed should cases increase again.Relatives of a deceased person mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery on May 19, 2020 in Manaus, Brazil.  Brazil has over 260,000 confirmed cases and more than 17,000 deaths caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.A woman sunbathes in a roped off distancing zone marked out by the municipality along the beaches in La Grande Motte, France, on May 21, 2020, as the nation eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus.  The local municipality dubbed this set up 'organized beaches', the first in France to implement separated zones for beach goers in order to respect social distancing.Colombian Huitoto indigenous people pose wearing face masks, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Leticia, department of Amazonas, Colombia on May 20, 2020.A customer sits with his laptop beside display mannequins at the Cafe Livres in Essen, Germany, May 20, 2020. The cafe set the dolls as placeholders on various places for more distance between customers due to the new coronavirus orders for restaurants and cafes.Students sit behind protective screens as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus as they eat lunch at a high school in Daejeon on May 20, 2020.  Hundreds of thousands of South Korean students returned to school on May 20 as education establishments started reopening after a coronavirus delay of more than two months.A passenger wearing a face shield sits along with others in a train carriage of Karachi bound Awam Express at the Rawalpindi railway station as train services resumed ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on May 20, 2020. Passengers wearing face masks stand in close proximity as they ride a canal boat during the evening rush hour in Bangkok, Thailand, May 20, 2020. The Thai government continues to ease restrictions related to running businesses in the capital Bangkok that were imposed weeks ago to combat the spread of COVID-19.Policemen push back stranded migrant workers as they gather for a medical screening before taking a train to Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh state to return to their hometowns after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar on May 20, 2020.People wait in line to undergo the new coronavirus tests while keeping distance from each other at a makeshift clinic set up on a playground in Incheon, South Korea, May 20, 2020.

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Russian COVID-19 vaccine to cost less than $20, free for citizens

Russian COVID-19 vaccine to cost less than $20, free for citizens

Russia’s two-shot Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and will be free of charge for Russian citizens, according to a statement on the official Sputnik V Twitter account.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told the Reuters news agency Sputnik V earlier on Tuesday that it would be priced significantly lower than rivals with similar efficacy levels.

He was speaking after RDIF and the Gamaleya National Center said new clinical trial data based on 39 confirmed cases and 18,794 patients who got both shots had shown that Sputnik V was 91.4 percent effective on day 28 and more than 95 percent effective on day 42.

The announcements come as several drugmakers unveil positive interim data in a scientific race to curb the global pandemic.

British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which has pledged it will not make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organisations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose.

Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna’s is $15-25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the US government.

The Russian drug is named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race, a nod to the project’s geopolitical importance for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RDIF has said as of November 11, no serious side effects had been reported during the Sputnik V phase three trial.

Some volunteers had short-term minor adverse effects such as pain at the injection site and flu-like symptoms including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headaches, it said.


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Israel Announces Deal With Pfizer to Buy Coronavirus Vaccine

Israel Announces Deal With Pfizer to Buy Coronavirus Vaccine

Small bottles labeled with ‘Vaccine COVID-19’ stickers and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Dado Ruvic.

Israel will sign a provisional deal with Pfizer on Friday to receive 8 million doses of the drugmaker’s still-experimental coronavirus vaccine as of January, the Israeli health minister said.

The deal, implementation of which would be subject to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Israel‘s Health Ministry, would provide vaccines for close to half of the Israeli population, Minister Yuli Edelstein said.

“The supply would begin in January 2021, with the remainder arriving throughout the course of 2021,” he said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the order would be for 8 million doses, enough for 4 million people.

There was no immediate comment from Pfizer, which on Monday announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine had been more than 90% effective based on initial trial results, a major victory in the war against a virus that has killed over a million people and battered the world’s economy.


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Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective

Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine may be a remarkable 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results that nevertheless brought a big burst of optimism to a world desperate for the means to finally bring the catastrophic outbreak under control.

The announcement came less than a week after an election seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s handling of the scourge, which has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including almost a quarter-million in the United States alone.

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”

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Pfizer, which is developing the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech, now is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, once it has the necessary safety information in hand.

Even if all goes well, authorities have stressed it is unlikely any vaccine will arrive much before the end of the year, and the limited initial supplies will be rationed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said the results suggesting 90% effectiveness are “just extraordinary,” adding: “Not very many people expected it would be as high as that.”

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“It’s going to have a major impact on everything we do with respect to COVID,” Fauci said as Pfizer appeared to take the lead in the all-out global race by pharmaceutical companies and various countries to develop a well-tested vaccine against the virus.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization’s senior adviser, said Pfizer’s vaccine could “fundamentally change the direction of this crisis” by March, when the U.N. agency hopes to start vaccinating high-risk groups.

Global markets, already buoyed by the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, rallied on the news from Pfizer. The S&P 500 finished the day with a gain of 1.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 800 points. Pfizer stock was up more than 8%.

Still, Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean for certain that a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

Some participants got the vaccine, while others got dummy shots. Pfizer released no specific breakdowns, but for the vaccine to be 90% effective, nearly all the infections must have occurred in placebo recipients. The study is continuing, and Pfizer cautioned that the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 cases are added to the calculations.

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Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, former chief of the FDA’s vaccine division, called the partial results “extremely promising” but ticked off many questions still to be answered, including how long the vaccine’s effects last and whether it protects older people as well as younger ones.

Trump, who had suggested repeatedly during the presidential campaign that a vaccine could be ready by Election Day, tweeted: “STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!”

Biden, for his part, welcomed the news but cautioned that it could be many months before vaccinations become widespread in the U.S., and he warned Americans to rely on masks and social distancing in the meantime. He said the country still faces a “dark winter.”

Confirmed infections in the U.S. eclipsed 10 million on Monday, the highest in the world. New cases are running at all-time highs of more than 100,000 per day. And tens of thousands more deaths are feared in the coming months, with the onset of cold weather and the holidays.

Pfizer’s vaccine is among four candidates already in huge studies in the U.S., with still more being tested in other countries. Another U.S. company, Moderna Inc., also hopes to file an application with the FDA late this month.

Both companies’ shots are made with a brand-new technology. These “mRNA vaccines” aren’t made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there’s no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

Despite cheering the news early on Monday, Trump posted a series of tweets later Monday accusing Pfizer and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of waiting until after the election to announce its positive vaccine news for political reasons.

Pfizer has insisted that its work is not influenced by politics and that it was “moving at the speed of science.” The company itself learned of the interim results on Sunday after its independent data monitors met to discuss them. The FDA was not involved in Pfizer’s decision to announce its early results and did not make any announcements of its own.

Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

Pfizer initially opted not to join the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which helped fund a half-dozen vaccine makers’ research and manufacturing scale-up. Pfizer instead said it has invested $2 billion of its own money in testing and expanding manufacturing capacity. But in July, Pfizer signed a contract to supply the U.S. with 100 million doses for $1.95 billion, assuming the vaccine is cleared by the FDA.

Pfizer said its only involvement in Operation Warp Speed is that those doses are part of the administration’s goal to have 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines ready sometime next year.

The strong results were a surprise. Scientists have warned for months that any COVID-19 shot may be only as good as flu vaccines, which are about 50% effective and require yearly immunizations. Earlier this year, Fauci said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective.

Whatever the ultimate level of protection, no one knows if people will need regular vaccinations.

Also, volunteers in the study received a coronavirus test only if they developed symptoms, leaving unanswered whether vaccinated people could get infected but show no symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus.

Pfizer has estimated it could have 50 million doses available globally by the end of 2020, enough for 25 million people.

Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group, called the release of the preliminary and incomplete data “bad science” and said that any enthusiasm over the results “must be tempered” until they are reviewed by the FDA and its independent experts.

“Crucial information absent from the companies’ announcement is any evidence that the vaccine prevents serious COVID-19 cases or reduces hospitalizations and deaths due to the disease,” the organization said.

___

AP writers Marilynn Marchione, Frank Jordans and Charles Sheehan contributed to this report.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Coronavirus vaccine update: Chinese vaccine shows positive results, US govt probes Vaxart’s tall claims

Coronavirus vaccine update: Chinese vaccine shows positive results, US govt probes Vaxart’s tall claims

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that international cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine could boost the global economy by $9 trillion to pull it out of the economic crisis. Meanwhile, in the global vaccine race, a Chinese vaccine has shown positive results in the human test.

A New York Times report has said the United States is probing Vaxart, a California-based biotech firm, over its claims on developing a vaccine against coronavirus.

CHINA’S CNBG VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE

CNBG, which is producing one of China’s top coronavirus vaccine candidates, has said the antidote has shown positive results in the latest test conducted on volunteers. Researchers have said the coronavirus vaccine candidate looks safe and has triggered immune responses in the early and mid-stage trials in humans.

The vaccine named BBIBP-CorV is being developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG). The BBIBP-CorV vaccine is one of the top 10 coronavirus vaccine projects in the world that have entered Phase III clinical trials. Three of China’s vaccine candidates are in Phase III trials, according to WHO.

The Chinese vaccine trials have shown it has not caused any severe side effects among the volunteers while common mild or moderate adverse reactions including fever and pain at injection sites, according to a paper published on Thursday in medical journal the Lancet.

US PROBES VAXART’S VACCINE CLAIMS

California-based biotech firm Vaxart has come under the scanner of the US government over its claims on vaccine against Covid-19. According to a report in New York Times, Vaxart had said in June that the firm has been selected for the US government’s vaccine programme Operation Warp Speed. The announcement gave a major boost to Vaxart’s stocks.

Vaxart reaped $200 million in profits from share selling, however, the report has said that the company may have overestimated its claims on the vaccine.

Now, Vaxart has said it has received a notice from the US justice department over its role in the Operation Warp Speed programme. On the other hand, the company has also been slapped with a number of lawsuits filed by its investors for overstating the vaccine claims, said the report.

VACCINE’S $9 TRILLION ECONOMY BOOST

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has said strong international cooperation on Covid-19 vaccines could speed up the world economic recovery and add $9 trillion to global income by 2025.

Speaking at a news conference after a meeting of the IMF’s steering committee, Georgieva also called on the United States and China to keep up strong economic stimulus that could help boost a global recovery.

She emphasized the need for coronavirus vaccines to be distributed evenly across the world in both developing countries and wealthy nations, to boost confidence in travel, investment, trade and other activities.

SANOFI SHOWS POSITIVE RESULTS

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by France’s Sanofi and US biotech firm Translate Bio is on track and the clinical trials are showing positive results on animals.

Sanofi and Translate Bio said in a statement on Thursday that the results from pre-clinical trials showed two doses of the MRT5500 vaccine induced a “favourable” immune response in mice and monkeys.

There is no internationally-approved vaccine to protect against Covid-19, which has killed more than 1 million people around the world and triggered economic chaos.

Sanofi and Translate Bio has confirmed that a phase 1/2 trial on humans would begin in the fourth quarter to test for safety and to determine the dosage before a possible final Phase III trial.

OXFORD 5-MINUTE TEST

Scientists from Britain’s University of Oxford have developed a rapid Covid-19 test that is able to identify the coronavirus in less than five minutes, researchers said on Thursday, adding it could be used in mass testing at airports and businesses.

The university said it hoped to start product development of the testing device in early 2021 and have an approved device available six months afterwards.

The device is able to detect the coronavirus and distinguish it from other viruses with high accuracy, the researchers said in a pre-print study.

“Our method quickly detects intact virus particles,” said Professor Achilles Kapanidis, at Oxford’s Department of Physics, adding that this meant the test would be “simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective”.

(With inputs from Reuters)


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Coronavirus updates: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ignores his own travel advice; US deaths top 260K

Coronavirus updates: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ignores his own travel advice; US deaths top 260K

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A nurse fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Nebraska sent an urgent message as positive cases passed 100,000 in her state. Storyful

Federal government officials said the first 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed to U.S. communities as early as December within 24 hours of approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

But the U.S. recorded its highest daily death toll since May on Tuesday, and experts warned that good vaccine news doesn’t mean Americans should let down their guard down over the holidays.

Several state restrictions go into effect Wednesday just hours before the Thanksgiving holiday, including a ban on alcohol sales at restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania. State health officials ordered restaurants and bars to not sell alcohol starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday in an effort to prevent social gatherings.

“It turns out the biggest day for drinking is the day before Thanksgiving,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference this week. “When people get together in that situation, it leads to the exchange of fluids that leads to the increase in infection.”

Overseas, British authorities relaxed restrictions on social gatherings to allow people to celebrate the Christmas holiday with friends and family. Officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland came up with a holiday plan to allow up to three households to create a “Christmas bubble” Dec. 23-27.

Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 12.7 million cases and over 260,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 60 million cases and 1.4 million deaths.

️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

What we’re reading: Here’s why this Harvard doctor is optimistic about US overcoming COVID-19 despite “epidemic of mistrust.”

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An unidentified COVID-19 patient sits in a hospital bed on Friday, November, 6, 2020 at the El Paso LTAC hospital in central El Paso.A team of health care workers does a procedure on a patient with COVID-19 in UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus Wednesday, November 18, 2020. This group of nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists work on a floor of negative-pressure rooms treating 18 patients with COVID-19 requiring an intensive care unit level of care.A COVID-19 patient on a ventilator lies in a negative air pressure room in a 12-bed intensive care unit Thursday, November 5, 2020 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wis. The U.S. is contending with its third, and worst, wave of the virus yet. On Wednesday for the first time, more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a day.Registered Nurse Daniel Corral works with a COVID-19 patient Thursday, November, 6, 2020 at the El Paso LTAC Hospital.Ventilator tubes are attached to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2020. The surge of coronavirus is taking an increasingly grim toll across the United States, even as of a vaccine appears close at hand.Registered nurses Daniele Payne, right, and Katie Zupek wearing powered air purifying respirators tend to a COVID-19 patient in a negative air pressure room in a 12-bed intensive care unit Thursday, November 5, 2020 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wis.The patient board at the El Paso LTAC Hospital identifies those infected with COVID-19.EMT Giselle Dorgalli, second from right, looks at a monitor while performing chest compression on a patient who tested positive for coronavirus in the emergency room at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.Medical staff members treat a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas.Sparrow ICU nurses Mary-Jo Julin, left, and Lauren Brandon prepare to see a COVID-19 patient under their care, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, during their shift in the intensive care unit at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.Medical staff member Tanna Ingraham checks I.V. on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas.A medical staff member works on a computer as the number on the wall indicates the days since the hospital opened its COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical center on November 14, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 1,070,000 cases, including over 19,900 deaths.Medical staff members insert a pipe into a vein of a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at United Memorial Medical Center on November 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas.Respiratory therapist Babu Paramban talks on the phone next to hospital beds while taking a break in the COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

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Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive for COVID-19

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has tested positive for COVID-19, but has only minor symptoms and plans to continue working remotely, he said Wednesday.

The governor’s office at the Wyoming State Capitol was closed on Tuesday for a deep cleaning after another office employee tested positive for the respiratory virus. 

Less than two weeks ago, Gordon said Wyoming residents needed to be more responsible about preventing the spread of COVID-19, complaining at the time about some people who were being “knuckleheads.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apologizes for holiday travel

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has apologized for flying to visit family members in Mississippi even as he tweeted out advice to the city’s residents asking them to avoid traveling.

Hancock said his family canceled plans for a large gathering and instead he boarded the plane to visit his wife and daughter who have been staying in Mississippi. Hancock said he believed him traveling alone was lower risk than having both of them return home for the holiday.

“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock tweeted on Wednesday.

“I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

The contradiction between Hancock’s recommendation and his actions was reminiscent of another elected leader, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had to apologize after reports surfaced of his attendance at a friend’s birthday party in a restaurant, violating the public health guidelines he has been constantly promoting.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: States need funding to distribute vaccine

The encouraging recent news about coronavirus vaccines, with three companies reporting high effectiveness in their candidates, has obscured one large obstacle that lies ahead in getting people inoculated: garnering the required resources.

“The states are broke,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Wednesday. “Washington never approved the state and local funding. They estimate that the cost to the states to distribute a vaccine … $8 billion. So far, the government provided $200 million.”

States are facing budgetary pressures created by the unexpected need to allocate money to combat the coronavirus pandemic combined with diminished revenue from the closure of businesses aimed at curbing spread of the virus.

A federal stimulus package that might help shore up state and local budgets has stalled in Congress, although the Department of Health and Human Services told CNBC that the agency is trying to secure funds to help cover the cost of vaccination programs. 

President-elect Joe Biden has a plan that calls for $25 billion for that purpose, but he might take office in January with a divided Congress.

Cuomo, who earlier this week said he intended to spend Thanksgiving with his mother and two adult daughters, later backtracked upon receving criticism that pointed out none of the women are regular members of his household. The CDC has advised against separate households mingling because of the pandemic.

Ravens-Steelers shifted from Thanksgiving to Sunday

The NFL has moved Thursday’s featured game between the Baltimore Ravens and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers to Sunday because of a coronavirus outbreak among the Ravens. The night matchup in Pittsburgh was one of three NFL games on Thanksgiving, but the only one pitting teams with winning records.

The Ravens canceled Tuesday’s practice after learning in the morning that additional players had tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports. On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins had tested positive for COVID-19. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also listed as a close contact and placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that five Ravens players and four staff members had tested positive this week.

This is the first time since Week 5 that the league has postponed a game because of COVID-19 concerns.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

School closings may lead to shorter life spans, study says

The March closure of schools prompted by the pandemic is likely to cost some of today’s students future years of their lives, according to a study conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Washington.

The researchers said more than 24 million students ages 5-11 in public elementary schools missed approximately 54 days of instruction in the spring, resulting in an average loss of educational attainment of four months for boys and nearly three months for girls.

The study, published in the November edition of JAMA Network Open, estimates the potential years of life lost for all those students at 5.53 million. That’s based on previous analysis of the relationship between educational attainment and life expectancy and the impact of the coronavirus’ spread.

“If the choice is just between keeping schools open or closing them in the face of this unprecedented upsurge in COVID-19 cases, I would favor closing them. But that isn’t the only choice,” said study co-author Frederick Zimmerman, a UCLA health policy professor who mentioned increased spending in protective equipment at schools as an option.

Los Angeles outdoor dining ban to go into effect

A reinstated ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County can go into effect Wednesday night, a judge ruled, after a restaurant industry group had tried to block the restriction.

The California Restaurant Association challenged the order issued Sunday that prohibited outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars, and asked county health officials to provide medical or scientific evidence that it poses an unreasonable risk to public health. The ban is supposed to last at least three weeks.

The county’s Board of Supervisors also considered blocking the ban but failed to garner enough support. The Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a resolution to urge county officials to rescind the ban but that vote was nonbinding.

The rule is now set to go into effect Wednesday at 10 p.m. and will limit restaurants in the nation’s most populous county to takeout and delivery. The county averaged more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases over a five-day period, triggering the restriction. 

US records highest daily death toll since May with more than 2,000

More than 2,100 people died in the U.S. because of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since May.

Deaths have been steadily rising since October but hadn’t surpassed 2,000 in a day since May 6, when more than 2,300 people died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The at least 2,146 people who died Tuesday translates to roughly one death every 40 seconds in the United States. More than 172,000 new cases were added Tuesday, too, according to Hopkins data.

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Without masks and a vaccine, we could reach Herd Immunity from COVID-19, but deaths would skyrocket. We break down the science of it. USA TODAY

Fauci has a final Thanksgiving message for Americans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued his final Thanksgiving message for Americans as COVID-19 cases surge and dinner tables are still expected to fill up.

“The final message is to do what really we’ve been saying now for some time, is to the extent possible, keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings, as small as you possibly can,” Fauci said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.”

“By making that sacrifice, you’re going to prevent people from getting infected,” he added. “A sacrifice now could save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this.”

27 virus deaths at Illinois veterans nursing home

Illinois officials will investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans nursing home after 27 veterans died and nearly 200 residents and staff members tested positive.

Illinois’ Department of Veterans’ Affairs requested an independent probe into the facility after the outbreak was first spotted in late October.

“The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans’ home cannot be understated,” said State Senator Sue Rezin, who represents the district where the home is located.

Europe’s virus cases are slowing

The World Health Organization said COVID-19 cases in Europe are slowing down despite it still being the region with the biggest proportion of new cases and deaths around the world.

New cases dropped by 6% in Europe over the last week, the WHO said. And that’s after a 10% decline the previous week. However, the virus death rate continues to rise, and more than 67,000 new deaths were reported.

  • France: President Emmanuel Macron laid out new rules Tuesday to ease France’s partial shutdown. They include allowing the reopening of some shops and houses of worship next week while indoor dining and gyms remain shuttered.
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to extend Germany’s partial shutdown into December. The restrictions have slowed a virus spike, but cases remain at high levels rather than sinking lower.

Singapore nearly virus free

Once a hot spot of cases in southeast Asia, Singapore is virtually virus free after Tuesday marked 14 days without a new local case, Reuters reported.

A few infections from abroad have been recorded, but people in those cases have been immediately isolated. Many cases in Singapore have been tied to infections at dormitories for foreign workers, the news agency reported.

Tuesday also marked the first time there were no live infection clusters across Singapore, Reuters reported. 

The country was one of the first outside of China to report a COVID-19 infection, but it has staved off the worst of the virus and has the lowest case fatality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins data.

CDC pondering quarantine reduction to 7-10 days, report says

In an effort to encourage compliance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may reduce the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to the coronavirus from 14 days to seven to 10, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said agency officials are putting the final touches on the recommendation, which would require a negative COVID test for the exposed person to exit quarantine.

Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager for COVID-19 response, told the Journal that studies have shown effective quarantines can be done in less time than the currently recommended two weeks. Although there’s a chance some infections could be missed, he said there’s a valuable tradeoff to be gained.

“Hopefully people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days,” he said. 

A sign at the entrance to a park on Tuesday warns pedestrians about increased risk for the coronavirus in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J.

A sign at the entrance to a park on Tuesday warns pedestrians about increased risk for the coronavirus in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J. (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

New Mexico approves $330M relief bill, including stimulus checks

New Mexico lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that will deliver a one-time $1,200 check to all types of unemployed workers and up to $50,000 for certain businesses.

The bill also provides smaller stimulus checks to immigrants without legal status in the country and dependents, as well as additional funds for food banks, virus testing and contact tracing efforts.

Most of the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico, including around $319 million in unspent funds that were expected to expire soon. An additional $10 million in state general funds were allocated for testing and tracing efforts.

The bill allocates $100 million to support businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The New Mexico Finance Authority is tasked with distributing the grants, which can be up to $50,000, and has wide discretion about whom to choose. It’s instructed to focus on the service industry.

Texas judge implements new shelter-at-home curfew in El Paso

Judge Ricardo Samaniego implemented a new curfew to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso, Texas. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew goes into effect Wednesday and will last until Monday.

However, unlike his previous curfew, people would not be barred from going to businesses outside those hours, Samaniego told the El Paso Times on Monday.

The curfew sends a message that “we are serious about this and have to do something” to curb the rise in cases, he said. Even if the COVID-19 numbers go down, it’s still a serious problem in El Paso County based on existing cases, he said.

“It is a shelter-at-home order. Residents are encouraged to stay at home,” Samaniego said. “We want no more than 10 people to gather together in public or at home.”

– Aaron A. Bedoya, El Paso Times

Tennessee won’t mandate COVID vaccine in K-12 schools

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will be optional in the state’s K-12 public schools once they become available.

The Republican governor said vaccines will be very important for Tennessee to “ultimately really be able to handle” the spread of the virus. However, it is a choice he believes people should make on their own.

“Vaccines are a choice and people have the choice and will have the choice in this state as to whether or not they should take that vaccine,” he said.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines could be available to residents as soon as Dec. 15. Front-line health care workers and first responders will receive the first wave of vaccines.

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

A demonstrator has her mask around her cuffs as restaurants, bars and night clubs owners demonstrate in Marseille, southern France, Thursday Nov.26, 2020. The government laid out details Thursday of a gradual easing of France's monthlong virus lockdown, including hundreds of millions of euros in new aid for struggling workers and students and businesses forced to close.Israeli animal rights activists wearing protective gear demonstrate against the spread of coronavirus among mink in Denmark's fur industry ahead of international Fur Free Friday, in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Gravediggers at Panteon Sueños Eternos burry someone who died of COVID-19 Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Panteon Sueños Eternos has implemented a different protocol for COVID-19 related deaths. Cemetery workers place the caskets in a cement barrier that later gets covered with more cement before filling the gravesite with dirt. They began doing this as a precaution because they do not know what the spread of the virus can be like postmortem. Health workers in personal protective equipment carry the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload is expected to surpass 9 million on Friday as authorities in New Delhi battle to slow down the surge of infections in the city by increasing testing.A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus walks along the restaurant area of Omoide Yokocho alleyway in Shinjuku district in Tokyo on November 19, 2020.Medical workers and patients are seen in the treatment hall of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in the Krylatskoye Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The resurgence of the outbreak has swept the Russia since September, with the number of daily new cases spiking from roughly 5,000 in early September to over 22,000 this week.A health worker conducts a rapid antigen test for Covid-19 coronavirus on a lecturer at college premises as the state government education department directed the reopening of degree colleges after several months of closure in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in Bangalore on November 17, 2020.A father wearing a protective mask holds his newborn son against his chest during the Covid-19 pandemic, novel coronavirus at the maternity of the Diaconesses hospital in Paris, on November 17, 2020.People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at a department store in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.Health workers prepare to take samples for a COVID-19 test from passengers who are arriving from Cancun Mexico, at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. The airport is receiving its first commercial flights in over 8 months, since the country shut the facility down due to the coronavirus pandemic.Army medical personnel, wearing a protective suit, works at a quick coronavirus testing area which was set up to ease the pressure on hospital emergency wards, following the surge of COVID-19 case numbers, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.Members of the public perform push-ups as punishment for not wearing face masks amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Banda Aceh on November 10, 2020.Members of the medical staff take care of Covid-19 patients aboard a French army Airbus A400 M before their transfer from Lyon-Bron aerodrome to the French capital Paris on November 10, 2020, amid a surge in Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) cases in France.Medical workers collect a swab sample from a resident to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Colombo on Nov. 9, 2020. Couples gather on steps in La Defense Business District on the outskirts of Paris on November 6, 2020, during a lockdown imposed by authorities in an attempt to halt the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).A box with food slides down to car from a window of the apple cider restaurant 'Zum Lahmen Esel' in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Nov.5, 2020. Due to the new partial lockdown to avoid the coronavirus spread the restaurant which has been in operation since 1807 offers cider and food to go in a self-made drive through set up.Two women wait in line at a bakery in Antwerp, Belgium, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Belgium, proportionally still the worst-hit nation in Europe when it comes to coronavirus cases, said Wednesday there are increasing signs of that a turning point in the crisis was drawing close. The announcement came in the wake of increased measures over the past weeks with bar and restaurant closures capped by a partial lockdown starting last Monday, which further restricted close contacts and closing non-essential shops.A Kashmiri health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.Tabatha Watley, 54, checks the temperatures of voters as they enter their polling place at Diann Banks-Williamson Education Center on Cadieux street in Detroit on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. A Christian priest (C) offers prayers during All Souls Day at Rajapur Cemetery in Allahabad on November 2, 2020.Members of a local electoral commission wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walk with a mobile ballot box to visit villagers at their houses during Moldova's presidential election in the village of Stetcani, some 40 km north of Chisinau, on Nov. 1, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.Revellers take part in Halloween in Hong Kong on October 31, 2020.A woman wearing a face mask walks under torii gates (traditional Japanese gates) as she visits a Shinto shrine on October 28, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 171 new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus today.Voters stand in queues maintaining social distance at a polling station, during the first phase of state elections at Paliganj, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. With an overall declining coronavirus positive trend, Indian authorities decided to hold the first state legislature election since the outbreak of COVID-19. People began voting Wednesday in the country’s third largest state Bihar with of a population of about 122 million people.A health worker takes a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 testing center in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. India reports 36,470 new coronavirus cases, the lowest in more than three months in a continuing downward trend. However, the overall tally neared 8 million, the second in the world behind the U.S. with over 8.7 million positive cases.Medical staff carry medical equipment to a waiting medical flight at the Bron airport near Lyon, southeastern France, on October 27, 2020, to be evacuated on another hospital, amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 caused by the new Coronavirus.An officer from the district magistrate office holds a COVID-19 coronavirus-themed mascot in a market area during an awareness campaign against coronavirus and rising air pollution levels in New Delhi on Oct. 26, 2020.Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) suits bury the body of a person suspected of dying from the COVID-19 coronavirus at a cemetery, in Yangon on Oct. 26, 2020.A cleaner sweeps in an empty Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, in Milan, northern Italy, early Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. Since the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew took effect last Thursday, people can only move around during those hours for reasons of work, health or necessity.Vatican Swiss Guards wearing masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 march as they leave the St. Damaso courtyard after the visit of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.A man checks his mobile phone as he sits amid physical distancing markers prior to the start of a movie at CGV Cinemas theater in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. The cinema reopened this week after months of closure due to coronavirus outbreak. 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The city government partially allowed students on their last year to attend face-to-face classes under a strict sanitary protocol and in the school open spaces.Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) on a boat transfer people suspected of having the COVID-19 coronavirus to a quarantine center in Yangon, Myanmar on Oct. 12, 2020.A child wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus tries to hold a statue's hand as he sits in an art installation on display at a shopping mall in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Even though the spread of COVID-19 has been all but eradicated in China, the pandemic is still surging across the globe with ever rising death toll. A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Qingdao, China on Oct. 12, 2020.A 'COVID-19 Awareness Project' volunteer measures the body temperature to check on a patient infected with leprosy as part of a general health checkup for all inmates at the Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh rehabilitation center, in Ahmedabad on Oct. 11, 2020. A pair of protective gloves hang by the testing booth, as health workers prepare for the day at a COVID-19 testing center in Kohima, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.Face masks hang on a boat during a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, at the port in the mixed Arab Jewish city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. City police officers wearing masks patrol shopping street Via Condotti in Rome, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.Members of the Arts and Shows Association Union (AGTAE) march pushing boxes with lights and wires during a protest demanding the government of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera for support since they have been inactive for months due to the new coronavirus pandemic, in Santiago on Sept. 29, 2020. A  grave digger takes a break as smoke from fires clearing a new section of cemetery drifts over at a public cemetery, part of which is reserved for suspected COVID-19 victims on Sept. 27, 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Due to a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, Jakarta is running short on hospital beds, quarantine facilities and now graveyard space.  There are currently 2 official cemeteries equipped to handle the special protocol for COVID-19 deaths. When asked, nearly all of the men say the saddest part of their jobs is seeing victims arrive with no one to bury them because the family is all in quarantine.People walk among the Spanish flags placed in memory of coronavirus (COVID-19) victims in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. An association of families of coronavirus victims has planted what it says are 53,000 small Spanish flags in a Madrid park to honor the dead of the pandemic. Dancers wearing face shields as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus attend a practice session at an art and cultural centre in Banda Aceh on September 26, 2020. An employee manually inspects syringes of the SARS CoV-2 Vaccine for COVID-19 produced by SinoVac at its factory in Beijing on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.First grade students wearing protective face masks line up to have their temperature taken before entering the school building at the Florya Ugur College on Sept. 21, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. For the first time since schools closed on March 16, due to the coronavirus outbreak, kindergarten and first grade students were allowed to return for in-person classes at schools across Turkey. The one day a week classes are voluntary and restarted amid strict coronavirus precautions. As coronavirus cases continue to spike around the globe many families continue to opt for online classes.A Palestinian worker disinfects supermarket carts as part of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic precautions outside a supermarket in Gaza City on Sept. 21, 2020.Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against the restrictions on gatherings for public prayers despite a new nationwide lockdown order aimed at curbing a raging coronavirus outbreak in Bnei Brak, Israel, Sept. 20, 2020. In the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak near Israel's commercial hub of Tel Aviv, over 100 activists took to the streets and burned garbage to protest restrictions on gatherings for public prayers.A man wears his face mask attached to his headphones in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020.A worker wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit sanitizes public toilets at a bus station in Kathmandu on September 17, 2020.A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus smokes in the street in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The Spanish capital will introduce selective lockdowns in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster, regional health authorities announced on Tuesday.A priest offers prayers before the burial of a three-month-old boy who died of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.A worker draws marks on the ground for social distancing at a school in Lahore on Sept. 13, 2020, following the government's announcement to reopen educational institutes starting from September 15, nearly six months after the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.People wearing face masks attend a meeting by Thai government officials discussing the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the border area with Malaysia at Sungai Kolok town in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on September 12, 2020.A vendor sets up his stall in marks painted on the floor for social distancing as he waits for customers at the 100-year-old Pallavaram Friday market that has reopened following the state government's decision to ease the measures imposed against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on September 11, 2020.Exile Tibetan Buddhist monks wearing masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus walks in a deserted market area in Dharmsala, India, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. India's coronavirus cases are now the second-highest in the world and only behind the United States.A municipal cemetery worker digs a grave in a special cemetery for suspected Covid-19 Coronavirus victim on September 11, 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakartas governor, Anies Baswedan, has ordered the reimposition of strict measures to curtail rising cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, starting Monday Sept. 14 due to an alarming shortage of ICU and quarantine beds in hospitals treating an increasing number of COVID-19 patients.Jewish Seminary students study behind a protective plastic screen cells to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease COVID-19 in a Hesder Yeshiva on Sept. 9, 2020 in Sderot, Israel. Israel is struggling to contain the COVID-19 Virus outbreak with daily records of new infections and more than 1,000 lives claimed. Pope Francis takes off his face mask as he arrives by car to hold a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on September 9, 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.The 'Manneken Pis' statue wears a uniform with a protective mask and face shield to honor the healthcare staff, in Brussels on September 5, 2020.Teachers and auxiliary staff take COVID-19 tests in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. The Madrid region is a coronavirus hot spot, with almost 32,000 new cases officially recorded over the past two weeks. The tests are mandatory for school employees.An inmate (L) sprays disinfectant as part of measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus at a prison in Banda Aceh on September 3, 2020.Suad Al-Dairi plays with her grandson in their house during a coronavirus lockdown in the Al-Karamah neighborhood on September 02, 2020 in Gaza City, Gaza.Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.A worker sanitises the floor of a shopping mall reopened after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on September 1, 2020.Graceland University student athletes go through a health screening, including a temperature check and COVID-19 test before moving into campus housing on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Lamoni.Phoenix Fire Department battalion chief Scott McDonald  (right) receives a free antibody test for the new coronavirus, administered by Phoenix firefighter paramedic Nate Byrd at the Phoenix Fire Department training facility in Phoenix on April 28, 2020.Wearing a mask and gloves because of the coronavirus pandemic, Byron Blades of Los Angeles, takes a rest, while hiking the trail up Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve on April 6, 2020.Health workers protest in front of the Peruvian Ministry of Health, in Lima on August 26, 2020. - Thousands of health workers protested in Peru to denounce the lack of resources to face the COVID-19 coronavirus.Engineering faculty and workers at La Sabana University work on a low-cost ventilator for patients with COVID-19 in Bogota, Colombia, Monday, July 6, 2020.A worker disinfects as a precaution against the coronavirus on a street in Goyang, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. South Korea is closing schools and switching back to remote learning in the greater capital area as the country counted its 12th straight day of triple-digit daily increases in coronavirus cases.Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus approach Lei Muk Shue care home in Hong Kong on Aug. 23, 2020. Russian servicemen wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare to roll out a huge Russian national flag during a celebration ceremony of the National Flag Day at Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow on August 22, 2020.Workers unload coffins from a truck outside a funeral home located in front of the General Hospital in Mexico City on August 20, 2020 amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.A man reacts while having a nasal swab sample taken at a testing and screening facility for the coronavirus, in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits guide asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to the entrance of the Siliguri Indoor Stadium, temporarily converted into a COVID-19 coronavirus safe home care centre, in Siliguri, India on August 21, 2020.Nepalese army personnel pay tributes to a person who died of COVID-19 before a cremation in Kathmandu, Nepal, Aug. 17, 2020.An Indian health worker waits to take a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in a swab collection center in Gauhati, India, Aug. 17, 2020.A health workers wearing protective clothing makes a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on residents at Hoan Kiem district medical centre in Hanoi on August 13, 2020.Public Order Agency officers watch as a man does push ups as a punishment for violating city regulation requiring people to wear face mask in public places as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.Fruit and vegetable vendors, wearing masks against the spread of the COVID-19 infections, wait for customers at a market in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.Gravediggers work during a funeral for victims of the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Pondok Ranggon cemetery in Jakarta on Aug. 10, 2020. The country, home to nearly 270 million people, has been easing movement restrictions in a bid to head off economic collapse but COVID-19 infections are mounting, with cases topping 115,000 and more than 5,300 deaths. Music fans enjoy a life performance from their tuk-tuk, Thai traditional taxi cars, in Bangkok on August 8, 2020, during the first-ever new normal Thai-style concert, called the Amazing Tuk Tuk Festival, respecting  social distancing to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. - The event organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand  is aimed at promoting tourism and stimulating the economy.A demonstrator with a Brazilian flag is seen beside crosses before a thousand red balloons are released, during a tribute to COVID-19 victims organized by the Rio de Paz NGO at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 08, 2020.A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital, in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil on August 08, 2020. - The vaccine trial is being carried out in Brazil in partnership with Brazilian Research Institute Butanta. A vendor holds liquor bottles to give to customers at his alcohol shop covered with plastic sheets as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hyderabad on August 7, 2020. - India's official coronavirus case tally passed two million on on August 7 after a daily jump of more than 60,000.A woman places a mask on a mannequin outside a clothing store in Aranda de Duero, near Burgos, on August 7, 2020, on the first day of a two week lockdown in an attempt to limit the contagion of the new coronavirus COVID-19 in the area.Muslims perform Friday prayer while keeping social distance and wearing face mask at Kocatepe Mosque on August 7, 2020, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.Visitors to a fast-food restaurant share a seat with Colonel Sanders' cutout as an effort to force a physical distancing as a measure to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus spread in Medan, North Sumatra on August 7, 2020.People line up to be tested for COVID-19 at the Unidad Educativa Quitumbe school that is being used as a triage unit and to help hospitals that are operating at the limit of their capacity during the new coronavirus pandemic, in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 3, 2020.A health worker takes a break outside of Medellin's General Hospital, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Medellin, Colombia on Aug. 3, 2020.Doctors, (L-R) Yohanes Ridora and Nabila Kirtti pose for a photograph during the virtual fashion show of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the Coronavirus pandemic on Aug. 1, 2020 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The fashion show was held as a form of gratitude for all medical personnel who had fought against COVID-19. Indonesia is struggling to contain hundreds of new daily cases of coronavirus amid easing of rules to allow economic activity to resume, over 100,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded and more than 5,100 fatalities.A health worker prepares to collect nasal swab samples for COVID-19 tests at a mobile testing centre in Hyderabad, India,  July 31, 2020. India is the third hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the United States and Brazil.Children travelling from Kuwait international Airport, wear face masks and shields as  protections against the novel coronavirus, in Farwaniya, about 15kms south of Kuwait City, on August 1, 2020.A woman shops for dresses in town of Sóller in the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Concerns over a new wave of coronavirus infections brought on by returning vacationers are wreaking havoc across Spain's tourism industry, particularly in the Balearic Islands following Britain's effective ban on travel to the country.A person who tested positive for the new coronavirus is transferred to one of the tents set up outside the Seguro Social hospital to continue their treatment, in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The Ecuadorian capital has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases since the government started to reopen the economy last month.A member of the Bolivarian National Militias wearing a face shield and a protective mask to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, guards a validation center to certify the authenticity of voter data in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Venezuela is scheduled for Dec. 6 midterm legislative elections, and thus far the opposition has indicated it will not participate.Customers dine among mannequins, used as a method to maintain social distancing, at a restaurant in the Akabane district of Tokyo on July 26, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Models wearing masks take part in a mask fashion show in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 24, 2020.This aerial picture shows a funeral taking place at the Olifantsvlei Cemetery in Soweto, on July 23, 2020. Movie-goers wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus are spaced apart as they watch a movie in a newly reopened cinema in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province on Monday, July 20, 2020. China is going back to the movies. Following months of closure, limited numbers of movie goers were allowed back Monday in cities where the risk of virus infection is considered low.Indonesian firefighters spray disinfectant as a precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Surabaya on July 21, 2020.Students seen through a plastic curtain placed on a doorway attending classes during the first day of reopening of public high schools following closure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Yangon on July 21, 2020.A South Korean worker wearing protective clothes sprays disinfectant in a theatre at Sejong Center in Seoul on July 21, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.A man wears a face mask inside a tent at a free COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in Manila, Philippines on Monday, July 20, 2020. Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines soared past 50,000 in early July in a troubling milestone for a country that has reopened an economy on the brink of recession while still struggling to combat the pandemic.A security personnel with a face shield chats with a kid wearing a protective face mask due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, outside a shop in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on July 20, 2020.A health worker (L) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) takes the temperature of a resident during a door-to-door medical screening drive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a residential complex in Mumbai on July 20, 2020. - Coronavirus cases in India passed one million on July 17, official data showed as authorities struggle to check the spread of the deadly pandemic across the world's second-most populous nation.People wearing face masks watch a movie during the first day of re-opening the theaters after COVID-19 in Shanghai on July 20, 2020. - Hundreds of cinemas reopened in scores of Chinese cities on July 20 following a nearly six-month nationwide shutdown due to the coronavirus. But the threat from COVID-19 remains in the air, with cinemas in Beijing still closed for now.An Iranian woman stands next to a street bin, painted with a drawing of a mask in a campaign to spread awareness over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the capital Tehran on July 18, 2020. P resident Hassan Rouhani said that 35 million Iranians may contract the coronavirus, as the country still did not have herd immunity although a quarter of the population may be infected.A taxi driver gets tested by health workers for coronavirus COVID-19 at a makeshift testing station in a carpark in Hong Kong on July 19, 2020. The deadly coronavirus is spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 100 new cases confirmed, the finance hub's leader said as she tightened social distancing measures to tackle the sudden surge in infections.Healthcare workers dressed in full protective gear organize their documents of data they have collected during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing drive, ringed by a produce market in the Villa Dolores neighborhood of El Alto, Bolivia, Saturday, July 18, 2020.An employee of a funeral home plays the violin during the accompaniment of mourning before the cremation of a victim of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the Serafin cemetery in Bogota, on July 17, 2020. - The pandemic has killed at least 590,000 people worldwide, including more than 6,000 in Colombia, since it surfaced in China late last year and more than 13.8 million have been infected, according to an AFP tally at 1200 GMT on Friday based on official sources.An Ecuadorean soldier patrols a market as part of an inter-institutional operation alongside the National Police and the municipality to enforce lockdown restrictions amid the new coronavirus pandemic at Guamani -a COVID-19 high contagion sector-, in southern Quito, on July 17, 2020.A resident sits inside her home during the start of a lockdown due to a rise in COVID cases in the city of Navotas, Manila, Philippines, Thursday, July 16, 2020.A healthcare worker talks with a woman prior to collecting a sample from her at a temporary testing centre for the novel coronavirus in the Spanish Basque city of Getaria on July 15, 2020.A veteran wears a face mask prior to a Bastille Day ceremony at Parc Borely, Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Marseille, southern France. France is honoring nurses, ambulance drivers, supermarket cashiers and others on its biggest national holiday Tuesday. Bastille Day's usual grandiose military parade in Paris is being redesigned this year to celebrate heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.A health worker screens residents for COVID-19 symptoms at Devnar slum in Mumbai, India, Saturday, July 11, 2020.A doctor measures the temperature of woman during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing campaign, in Avircato, Bolivia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020.Palestinian health workers recite a prayer in front of the body of a woman who died after contracting the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, before her funeral in the West Bank city of Nablus on July 5, 2020.A customer has her hair washed at Tusk Hair stylists in Camden just after midnight on July 4, 2020 in London, England.A volunteer from the #MissingLiveTheatre initiative wears a face mask as she wraps pink tape reading missing live theatre on the National Theatre in south east London on July 3, 2020, - Venues around the country, from the National Theatre to Manchesters Royal Exchange, will be wrapped in pink tape reading missing live theatre as part of a campaign to bring joy and colour to the buildings.A mask-clad camel guide stands before a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu at the Giza Pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo on July 1, 2020 as the archaeological site reopens while the country eases restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.Egyptians get tested for COVID-19 at a drive-through coronavirus-testing center at the Ain Shams University in Cairo on June 29, 2020. Egypt has so far registered 65,188 COVID-19 cases including 2,789 fatalities. Workers disinfect and clean the Zocalo square in Mexico City on June 29, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting this week Mexico City is allowing the reopening of shops, street markets and athletic complexes but with limited capacity and hours. Hotels and restaurants in the capital will reopen at about 30% seating capacity.A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suits as she talks to a foreign resident as she and others arrive to a residential compound as part of quarantine measures after arriving in China on June 29, 2020 in Beijing, China. In an effort to limit imported cases China closed its borders to non-citizens on March 28, 2020 allowing only those with special permission to enter the country. Those who do are required to complete 14 days of quarantine and week medical observation. Health workers arrive to administer a free medical checkup in a slum in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 28, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. Staff at Shiva's Signature hair salon wearing Personal Protective Equipment suits and face shields attend customers after personal grooming services were allowed to resume following relaxation of lockdown norms amidst COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai on June 28, 2020. India now has more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to government figures released on June 27 that showed a record daily leap of 18,500 new infections.A man wearing a protective mask with rainbow colors takes part in a Pride March in Berlin on June 27, 2020.Health officials collect a sample from a man at a COVID-19 testing centre during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai on June 26, 2020. Senegalese students wear masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus as they return to classes on the first day back after more than three months away, at the Sacre Coeur college in Dakar, Senegal Thursday, June 25, 2020.Mannequins are seen placed at tables to make customers sit according to social distancing rules at Elpaso Bar, which reopened after being closed for weeks, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ankara on June 24, 2020. - Turkey, a nation of some 83 million, has removed most restrictions, reopened restaurants and resumed mass prayers but officials have warned against complacency. Turkey's daily infections have risen in recent weeks to over a thousand, and authorities have made face masks mandatory in public in several cities including Istanbul. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images) ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1U12S2People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus walk through a shopping and office complex in Beijing, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. New virus cases have declined in China and in the capital Beijing, where a two-week spike appears to be firmly waning.A health worker takes a moment after screening people  for COVID-19 at Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil.Agustina Cañamero, 81, and Pascual Pérez, 84, hug and kiss through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the new coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, June 22, 2020. The Ballesol Fabra i Puig elderly care center installed the screens to resume relatives' visits to residents 102 days after a strict, nationwide lockdown separated them. As she and her husband broke out into tears while kissing through layers of protective masks and the transparent plastic film, Cañamero said that the couple had never spent such long time with no physical contact in 59 years of marriage.People in their cars attend a show at the Las Vegas Circus in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil late on June 20, 2020. Closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Las Vegas Circus returned to activity with a drive-in show, which includes those circus artists with less risks of spreading the COVID-10 pandemic. Wuhan University graduates wear face masks during their graduation ceremony at Wuhan University on June 20, 2020 in Wuhan, China. More than 600 student representatives attended the graduation ceremony, while 15000 graduates watched the live webcast. Since June 13, 2020 the response level of public health emergencies in Hubei Province has been reduced to level 3. Wuhan's health commission said that the city had no asymptomatic cases as of June 15, and there are no more close contacts under medical observation.Health workers walk out of a mobile laboratory before analyzing samples collected during mass coronavirus tests in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 18, 2020.Vendors clean fish at Khlong Toei Market, the biggest fresh market in Bangkok, on June 18, 2020. A huge wholesale market has become the centre of focus for a new cluster of coronavirus cases in Beijing, where nervous local officials have begun mass testing, closing schools and neighbourhoods, and turned sharp scrutiny towards the food supply chain.A police officer stops motorcyclists from entering a restricted area that is sealed off to control the spread of the coronavirus, in Lahore, Pakistan, June 18, 2020. Chefs social distance while waiting to take a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus as officials conduct mass testing following a new cluster of cases last week, in Beijing on June 18, 2020.  Beijing reported another 21 cases of the coronavirus on June 18, as authorities rushed to contain a new outbreak in the capital and warned cases may keep rising.Indonesian firefighters spray disinfectant at the public area near an elephant enclosure at Ragunan Zoo prior to its reopening this weekend after weeks of closure due to the large-scale restrictions imposed to help curb the new coronavirus outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 17, 2020. As Indonesia's overall virus caseload continues to rise, the capital city has moved to restore normalcy by lifting some restrictions, saying that the spread of the virus in the city of 11 million has slowed after peaking in mid-April.An Israir Airlines flight attendant wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) prepares for take off from the Ben Gurion International Airport near the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv to southern Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on June 16, 2020.Undertakers carry coffins at the end of the funeral proceedings for COVID-19 coronavirus victims at a Mosque in Cape Town, on June 16, 2020.  Most of South Africa's infections -- around two-thirds -- are found in the Western Cape province, a popular tourist destination home to the coastal city of Cape Town. WHO said on June 11, 2020  that the pandemic was accelerating on the continent and that 10 of the 54 countries on the continent are currently driving the numbers.Young people sit in a restaurant with plastic dividers to apply social distancing rules amid concerns for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a shopping mall in Surabaya, East Java on June 16, 2020.A passenger, wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus, sits before boarding her flight at the Zaventem international airport during the partial lifting of coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown regulations in Brussels, Monday, June 15, 2020. Borders opened up across Europe on Monday after three months of coronavirus closures that began chaotically in March.Cemetery workers wearing protective gear against the new coronavirus, walk after carrying the coffin of 72-year-old Monica Lagos to her grave at the Manantial cemetery in Santiago, Chile, Monday, June 15, 2020. According to her grandaughter Ninoska Vasquez, who works as an assistant at a health center, Lagos died from complications related to COVID-19. Gondoliers go with customers for a gondola ride on a canal in Venice, Italy on June 12, 2020 as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.Activists in costume dig symbolic graves on Copacabana beach as a protest, organized by the NGO Rio de Paz, against the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 11, 2020.COVID-19 patients lie on beds in a field hospital built inside a gym in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 9, 2020.Muslim worshippers, distanced safely from each other and clad in face masks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, perform the noon prayers at a mosque in Kuwait City on June 10, 2020 for the first time since a lockdown was instated three months ago.Health workers from the city of Melgaco ride a boat ambulance on their way back after visiting eight families that live without electricity in a small riverside community at the Quara river, amid concern over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in the southwest of Marajo Island, Brazil, on June 9, 2020.Members of the Bangladesh police attend a yoga session to boost the immune system of police personnel during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Dhaka on July 8, 2020.A barber cuts the hair of a customer at a barbershop as it reopened after closing due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Quezon City, Manila on June 7, 2020.Religious brother, Anil, wearing a face mask sanitizes a statue at Saint Joseph's Cathedral as government plans to reopen places of worship as part of the relaxation measures of the nationwide lockdown imposed against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Hyderabad on June 7, 2020.Medical workers wearing protective gear to protect against coronavirus infection, carry a patient at an infectious diseases hospital where patients with coronavirus are treated in St.Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2020.Muslim men practice social distancing, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, as they attend Friday prayers at a mosque in Narathiwat, Thailand on June 5, 2020.A worker disinfects the houses of the Villa 21-24 on June 3, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Government-ordered lockdown was extended until June 7 due to increase in the number of positive cases.A masked waiter works at the terrace of the Cafe de la Mairie on the Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris on June 2, 2020, as cafes and restaurants reopen in France, while the country eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).A couple wears protective masks as they walk in a commercial street while shopping on June 2, 2020 in Beijing, China.Stranded migrant labourers gather at an assembling centre to get transferred to a railway station to board on a special train to Bihar after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on May 30, 2020.A doctor wearing a   face mask and protective gear  stands next to an ambulance at the Grigor Lusavorich Medical Centre in Yerevan on May 29, 2020,  amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus.Disinfection team disinfect a classroom at Ivory Park Secondary School east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, May 28, 2020, ahead of the June 1, 2020, re-opening of Grade 7 and 12 learners to school.A government medical worker, in a joint operation with military police, prepares to check passengers on boats in the Melgaco bay, southwest of the island of Marajo, Para state, Brazil, on May 27, 2020. People onboard small boats, ferries and ships on the river had their body temperature checked as authorities try to combat the new coronavirus.Women in period dress and wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus walk outside the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference concluded its session in Beijing on Wednesday, part of the annual meetings of China's two top legislative bodies. A woman disinfects her hands from a mobile robot that carries a container of sanitization liquid at Central World, an upmarket shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Thai government continues to ease restrictions related to running business in capital Bangkok that were imposed weeks ago to combat the spread of COVID-19.Healthcare workers demanding time off for COVID-19 fatigue stage a lie-in in front of Maisonneuve Rosemont hospital, Wednesday May 27, 2020, in Montreal.In this aerial photo taken with a drone, newly made social distancing circles are seen in a park on the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr during a four-day lockdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on May 26, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.Employees from Fatih Municipality disinfect Suleymaniye Mosque on the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr during a four-day lockdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on May 26, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.A woman visits her husband on May 25, 2020 at a retirement home in Bourbourg, France where a double entry bubble has been installed to allow visits without risk of contamination, as part of a prophylactic measure against the spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Relatives and residents each enter the tent through a different entrance to find themselves in the same room, separated by a transparent plastic canvas. These bubbles were originally designed for tourism by the company.Indian health workers in hazmat suits bury a 55-year-old Muslim who died from the coronavirus, during Eid ul-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, on May 25, 2020 in Delhi, India. Eid-ul-Fitr, considered one of the most important festivals in Islam, lacked its traditional fervor as religious gatherings remain banned in India as the country reels under a lockdown imposed by the government on March 25 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Over 4,000 people have died and there have been over one hundred forty thousand infections so far. Ana and a fellow volunteer prepare food rations to be distributed to people in need at the Nazaret Association food bank in Madrid on May 24, 2020. The association who is attending to 600 people warned that due to the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak many people have barely any resources left. A protester is taken away by police officers during a rally against restrictions in place to limit the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on May 23, 2020 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Young children look out of the sun roof of a car ahead of the Stage X drive-in concert at KINTEX parking lot in Goyang, South Korea, Saturday, May 23, 2020. The concert's aim is to provide entertainment for South Korean citizens who have been craving for music events that have been suspended during the coronavirus outbreak.Women wearing protective face masks pray at a cemetery at the grave of a relative who died of COVID-19, on May 21, 2020, in Istanbul, amid the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. The cemetery in the city's Beykoz district on the Asian side was built in March when Turkey confirmed its first case. Now it houses more than 700 people who died of contagious diseases including COVID-19.People eat at a street restaurant implementing social distancing with plastic dividers after the Thai government relaxed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Bangkok's Chinatown on May 21, 2020.  Thailand continued easing restrictions related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus on May 17 by allowing various businesses to reopen, but warned that the stricter measures would be re-imposed should cases increase again.Relatives of a deceased person mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery on May 19, 2020 in Manaus, Brazil.  Brazil has over 260,000 confirmed cases and more than 17,000 deaths caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.A woman sunbathes in a roped off distancing zone marked out by the municipality along the beaches in La Grande Motte, France, on May 21, 2020, as the nation eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus.  The local municipality dubbed this set up 'organized beaches', the first in France to implement separated zones for beach goers in order to respect social distancing.Colombian Huitoto indigenous people pose wearing face masks, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Leticia, department of Amazonas, Colombia on May 20, 2020.A customer sits with his laptop beside display mannequins at the Cafe Livres in Essen, Germany, May 20, 2020. The cafe set the dolls as placeholders on various places for more distance between customers due to the new coronavirus orders for restaurants and cafes.Students sit behind protective screens as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus as they eat lunch at a high school in Daejeon on May 20, 2020.  Hundreds of thousands of South Korean students returned to school on May 20 as education establishments started reopening after a coronavirus delay of more than two months.A passenger wearing a face shield sits along with others in a train carriage of Karachi bound Awam Express at the Rawalpindi railway station as train services resumed ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on May 20, 2020. Passengers wearing face masks stand in close proximity as they ride a canal boat during the evening rush hour in Bangkok, Thailand, May 20, 2020. The Thai government continues to ease restrictions related to running businesses in the capital Bangkok that were imposed weeks ago to combat the spread of COVID-19.Policemen push back stranded migrant workers as they gather for a medical screening before taking a train to Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh state to return to their hometowns after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar on May 20, 2020.People wait in line to undergo the new coronavirus tests while keeping distance from each other at a makeshift clinic set up on a playground in Incheon, South Korea, May 20, 2020.

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BREAKING: James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery has died Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90, his
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