Coronavirus News Update for Oct. 19 – Record 70,000 New Cases in U.S., Austrian Foreign Minister Infected

By Anna Breuer on 18 October 2020
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Vienna’s famous Riesenrad, or Giant Ferris Wheel

The United States reported over 70,000 new cases on Friday, the first time the number has crossed that mark since July.  At least nine states including Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Utah set new daily records. On Sunday, the number of new cases was 52,774, and the 14-day change was up 28%, based on data from John Hopkins University.

In Europe, Austrian Außenminister Alexander Schallenberg and his Belgian counterpart, Sophie Wilmès, have been infected by the novel coronavirus, their governments said.  The news raises the possibility that they might have become infected on Monday at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

The new three-tier regional approach to the pandemic in the United Kingdom went into effect on Saturday.  Each tier brings with it progressively tighter restrictions.  In Tier 2 cities, such as London and York, people are barred from socializing with those from other households, while Tier 3 cities such as Lancashire and Liverpool have seen fairly comprehensive lockdowns with the closure of pubs and restaurants and a further limit on socializing.

France and Germany both reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Saturday.  The Robert Koch Institut reported an increase of 7,830 coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total in Germany to 348,557.  Meanwhile, France reported 32,427 over the same period.  Nine cities in France including Paris are enforcing a 9 p.m. curfew by which time bars, restaurants, cafés, and cinemas must close for the night.

Meanwhile, a cluster of cases in Switzerland has been traced to several yodeling concerts in the canton of Schwyz at the end of September. One of the performers was reported as infected nine days after the concert. Over the past two weeks, Schwyz has recorded 474 cases per 100,000 people.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands cut short a vacation to Greece on Friday after coming under criticism at home for traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.  While the trip did not break any Dutch rules or restrictions amidst the coronavirus, the government has discouraged unnecessary travel. “We see the reactions by people to reports in the media,” the king and queen said in a statement published by the Royal House on Friday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will allow movie theaters and ski resorts to reopen, albeit at a limited capacity.  Skiers would have to socially distance themselves at bars and restaurants and on ski lifts and shuttles. Ski lessons are limited to ten people or fewer, and ski resorts are to reduce capacity on the slopes by 25%. Movie theaters will be allowed to reopen with 25% capacity but with no more than 50 people in the theater at any one time.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, the Flaming Lips held at concert at the Criterion in which each band member and fan was placed in an inflatable bubble or sphere. The band first unveiled the concept in May on the television program, “Late Night with Stephen Colbert.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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