France Suffers Most COVID-19 Deaths Since Spring; Finance Minister Tests Positive: Live Updates

Summary:

  • France suffers another 10k+ new cases; 50 deaths
  • Finance Minister Brunp Le Maire tests positive
  • US Deaths top 200k
  • Global cases top 30 million
  • UK mulls COVID 'circuit breaker'
  • London weighs 'localized' lockdown
  • Moderna reveals vaccine won't be widely available until next year

* * *

Update (1600ET): Reuters pointed out in a lengthy report published Friday that European countries from Denmark to Greece have announced new social restrictions to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities. In the area around Madrid, Spanish authorities are limiting movement between hot spots, while closing bars and other businesses, closing public parks, and limiting gatherings to 6 people.

Regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said Friday that people would not be stopped going to work, since Spain must do everything it can to stave off "another national disaster."

As we mentioned earlier, authorities in the southern French city of Nice banned gatherings of more than 10 people in public spaces and restricted bar opening hours, following fresh curbs introduced earlier this week in Marseille and Bordeaux.

In Denmark, where the 454 new infections on Friday was close to a record of 473 in April, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the limit on public gatherings would be lowered to 50 people from 100 and ordered bars and restaurants to close early.

Even Greece, which made it through the first round of the pandemic without too much trouble, is preparing to enact new social distancing restrictions as the country's daily case count accelerates. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says the government is ready to impose new restrictions in and around Athens as cases accelerate. Some of those measures could be decided Friday, or in the coming days.

* * *

Update (1440ET): France reported another day of 10k+ new COVID-19 cases as Nice adopt more local restrictions, while health officials reported 50 new deaths, the largest daily death toll in France since May.

France on Friday reported 10,593 new cases of the novel coronavirus, up from 9,784 on Thursday, and 50 new deaths, the highest daily number since the outbreak peaked in late May. France's death toll now stands at 31,095. Hospitalizations have also risen, with France counting 3,223 currently hospitalized patients, of which 535 are in the ICU. Throughout the country, some 896 clusters have been identified, an increase of 84 over the last 24 hours. Of these, 143 are attributed to nursing homes.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are climbing in a handful of 'hot spots' across the Midwest, though the numbers so far are nowhere near as large as the summer surge across the Sun Belt.

Yesterday, Wisconsin reported a record daily tally just as Trump was holding yet another campaign rally, while hospitalizations and deaths also spiked.

Iowa is seeing cases trend higher.

So is Missouri.

North Dakota...

...and South Dakota have also seen cases climb.

Overall, the US is seeing daily cases climb as more of the country opens up.

* * *

Eight months after the coronavirus infected the first person on US soil, America is heading toward a morbid new milestone: the number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus is on track to pass 200,000 as soon as Monday.

With a total of 197,696 deaths, the US could cross the threshold on Sunday if deaths spike over the weekend. If the pace of deaths slows, however, more time will likely be needed.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in the US is nearing 6.75 million, with 6,677,516 cases in total. The US reported more than 44,000 cases yesterday, a sign that numbers are climbing again as more students head back to classrooms, and more states - including Texas and Hawaii - unveil plans for more reopenings of gyms and restaurants.

Globally, the world officially passed the 30 million mark, as we noted yesterday.

A surge of new cases in India has pushed the global daily figures back above 300,000.

While global deaths are on the cusp of topping 950k, with 5,456 counted yesterday.

After releasing a tome-like report yesterday outlining the protocols for the company's 'Phase 3' trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna on Friday revealed (via press reports) that the company expects to have between 500 million and 1 billion vaccine doses manufactured by the end of next year, but only 20 million by the end of 2020.

President Trump earlier this week insisted that a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available within 'weeks', even as the head of the CDC said that while data and approval might come later this week, most Americans won't have access to a vaccine until the middle of next year.

With the UK reporting more than 3k new COVID-19 cases a day, the highest rate since HMG finished reopening the country, Boris Johnson is reportedly weighing a plan to impose short-term nationwide restrictions across England, what he is tentatively calling a "circuit breaker".

The UK's reproduction "R" number, a measure of the rate of spread, found that the rate of new infections in the country has risen to a range of 1.1-1.4 from last week's figure of 1.0-1.2.

"An R number between 1.1 and 1.4 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 14 other people," a government report read.

The temporary closures would help create "a breathing space" in the battle against coronavirus, government sources have reportedly said.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday announced the cancellation of the city's New Year's fireworks during an interview with LBC radio. He also admitted that another 'localized lockdown' targeting London is a possibility that is under discussion.

As London mulls what would be its second lockdown, Israel's second lockdown began on Friday, Israel entered its second lockdown, inspired by a surge in new cases in the small Mediterranean country.

While the Netherlands recorded a new 24-hour record of cases, the French city of Nice imposed new restrictions, including reviving a ban on gatherings with more than 10 people.