Coronavirus News Update – Nov. 23: Oxford/Astra Zeneca Vaccine 90% Effective, L.A. Suspends Outdoor Dining

By Anna Breuer on 23 November 2020
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Castle Gould in Sands Point on Long Island

Just as the world hit 59 million cases, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut crossed a collective milestone over the weekend that few wish to cross: The tri-state area recorded its one millionth positive coronavirus case.  Earlier in the month, Texas, followed by California, crossed that milestone.

The number of new reported daily cases in the United States was 141,648.  The nation has seen a 54% increase over the past 14 days.  The total number of reported cases there is 12.5 million.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that parts of Manhattan and Staten Island as well as Long Island will soon face new restrictions if the trajectory they are on doesn’t change.  Upper Manhattan could become a yellow zone, the least restrictive of areas with coronavirus-related limits, while parts of Staten Island could become a red zone, the most restrictive.  Two counties on Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk, would become yellow as well if the numbers don’t change, the governor said.

Officials in Los Angeles said that they would suspend outdoor dining in the county effective Wednesday. The action restricts restaurants, bars, cafes, and breweries to takeaway service, for the first time since restrictions on outdoor dining were lifted in May. ”The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks,” Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County public health director, said in a statement.

As coronavirus cases continue to increase, hospitals are once again increasingly facing shortages in staff.  The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in the United States has hit new highs every day since November 11. Because the cases are less concentrated in areas such as New York, as they were in the spring, hospitals are not facing a shortage of beds but rather a shortage of staff qualified to treat infectious diseases.

Citing a surge in cases,officials placed Toronto, Canada’s largest city, into lockdown for 28 days. The action shuttered shops, businesses, and restaurants, and banned indoor gatherings.

After the number of new daily cases in South Korea rose above 300 for five days straight, the Seoul government closed nightclubs and curtailed late-night restaurant dining effective Tuesday.  Most of the new cases were reported in the capital city.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine was up to 90% effective in preventing people from getting the novel coronavirus in a large trial, the two said.  A rollout of the vaccine could begin in December.

Dr. Scott Atlas, an adviser to President Trump for pandemic-related matters, argued against excluding older people from Thanksgiving gatherings, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the contrary.  Dr. Atlas, who is a radiologist, not an infectious disease specialist said that isolation “is one of the unspoken tragedies” of the pandemic and that “for many people, this is their final Thanksgiving, believe it or not.”

The CEO of Australian flag carrier Qantas said that international passengers will be required to have proof of a coronavirus vaccination to fly the airline. “We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Alan Joyce told the news program “A Current Affair” on the Channel 9 network.

Flight attendants in Canada want to be classified for optional early immunization and have asked Health Minister Patty Hajdu to “recognize the essential role” they play, putting them at higher risk of infection, the head of the airline division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees said in a letter to the minister.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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