Coronavirus News Update – Jan. 2: 33 Countries Report Cases with New Covid-19 Variant

Los Angeles Sees Unprecedented Post-Holiday Surge in Cases

By Anna Breuer on 2 January 2021
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In most parts of the world, the New Year began much the same way the old year ended, with reports of additional coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

At least 33 countries have detected cases of the more transmissible form of the coronavirus, known as Covid-19 B.1.1.7, the latest being Turkey, which closed its borders to U.K. flights.  In the United States, California, Colorado, and Florida have reported cases involving the coronavirus variant. The list of countries includes Australia, Belgium, Brazi, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

The United States recorded its 20 millionth case since the start of the pandemic, while New York State surpassed the one million mark.  Globally, there are 85 million coronavirus cases and a death toll of over 1.8 million.

Los Angeles County, already in the throes of a post-Thanksgiving surge, is now seeing a spike in cases from Christmas holiday celebrations.  The weekly average of new cases in the county, which is the largest in the United States, is at a record high, 16,193.  Two months ago, that figure was 1,347.

Israel appears to be on track to become the first country to inoculate all of its citizens against the coronavirus, while the U.S. and French rollouts of the vaccine appear to have had a sluggish start.

Canada said it will require all arriving international passengers to show proof of a negative coronavirus test prior to boarding.  Having a negative test does not obviate the need for a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to accelerate the city’s immunization efforts, saying it was a “New Year’s resolution” to vaccinate one million New Yorkers.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles County, thousands of New Year’s even revelers who ignored stay-at-home orders intended to help contain the spread of the virus were dispersed, detained, or arrested.  The Los Angeles Police Department said it broke up at least eight gatherings including one gathering where over 1,000 people were in attendance.  Sheriff’s deputies in New York City broke up multiple parties.  Meanwhile, French authorities were not as lucky: Police there were unable to break up a rave outside Paris near the city of Rennes “but faced fierce hostility from many partygoers,” who threw stones and bottles at the police and set one police car on fire.  More than 1,600 revelers were fined for violating local ordinances and five people were arrested.

At least one individual who attended the Whitestone Republicans Club holiday party at Il Baco, an Italian restaurant in Little Neck, has been hospitalized with the coronavirus, and the restaurant’s liquor license has been indefinitely suspended. Videos posted online of festivities and a conga line showed that the event was in violation of New York’s coronavirus restrictions, although it took place while indoor dining was still permissible, albeit with significant capacity restrictions.  The owner of the restaurant, Joe Oppedisano, was the pilot responsible for the seaplane crash in the East River near Beechhurst, N.Y., in which one passenger died.

Finally, a Republican state senator from Virginia, Ben Chafin, died of the coronavirus at the age of 60 after two weeks in hospital, and traffic-related deaths in New York City were up for the first time in over a decade.  At least 120 people died in car and motorcycle crashes in 2020, a 76% increase over 2019. The increase has been attributed at least in part to drivers speeding recklessly on empty highways and streets.  The number of pedestrian deaths, however, was down, and the number of bicycle-related deaths remained roughly the same.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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