Coronavirus live news: US sees new case highs as Spain curfew begins

1 month ago

Five aides to US Vice President Mike Pence test positive

Ed Pilkington

The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the White House itself, with the chief of staff to Mike Pence and four others in the vice-president’s inner circle having tested positive.

Despite Pence being exposed to the disease, he planned to continue an aggressive campaign schedule in the final nine days of the race. The vice-president was scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, North Carolina.

Such unbroken travel plans amounted to a breach of the recommendations of the Trump administration’s own public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They would require the vice-president to be in quarantine for 14 days and always to wear a mask around other people. Pence has frequently been seen maskless in public.

Such blatant disregard for the administration’s own health standards is doubly awkward given that Pence has led the White House coronavirus taskforce since late February. Dr Anthony Fauci, the most senior public health expert on the taskforce, said on Friday meetings had dwindled and Trump had not attended one in months.

The White House said Pence was not required to follow the quarantine rule because he is deemed “essential personnel”. Asked why electioneering was classed “essential”, Meadows said the-vice president continued to do his official work in between campaign stops.

Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University in Virginia, called Pence’s decision to travel “grossly negligent”:

US sees new case highs

A day after the US set a daily record for new coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again.

Data published by Johns Hopkins University showed that 83,718 new cases were reported nationally on Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 reported on Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the US on a single day was 77,362 on 16 July.

Close to 8.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and about 225,000 have died. Both statistics are the world’s highest. India has more than 7.8m infections but its daily numbers have been declining.

The new figures came as the Trump administration made the extraordinary admission that it had abandoned all pretence of trying to conquer the crisis

“We are not going to control the pandemic,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas”:

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

The United States saw 83,718 new cases reported nationally on Saturday, nearly matching the record 83,757 infections reported on Friday, as US Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will continue campaigning on Sunday, despite his chief of staff and four other top aides having tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, declared a new nationwide state of emergency on Sunday – including a curfew – in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. The Socialist leader told the nation in a televised address that the extraordinary measure will go into effect on Sunday from 11pm to 6am.

The World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases. Nearly half of Saturday’s new cases were registered in the WHO’s Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases. The WHO chief warned against “vaccine nationalism”, calling for global solidarity in the rollout of any future coronavirus vaccine, as the number of cases soared across the world. In a video address at the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,“It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively. And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries.” Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Monday reported zero cases of coronavirus for the first time since June, a day after the state delayed the easing of restrictions because of a fresh outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. France registered 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. It also said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total confirmed death toll to 34,761. An official from China’s Xinjiang health commission said that 137 new asymptomatic cases have been detected in the region. All of the new cases were linked to a garment factory. The prime minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte announced a raft of new restrictions and warned that the country’s escalating coronavirus infection rate was already having a worrying impact on hospitals. Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday, up from the 19,644 new infections reported on Saturday. Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez has declared a new nationwide state of emergency in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. He said: “The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic.” The number of new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands has risen by more than 10,000 in 24 hours, according to newly released official data. The US’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told the BBC that he expected news on whether a vaccine is safe and effective by December, but noted that a wide rollout was unlikely “until the second or third quarter of [next] year”. He also acknowledged that Donald Trump’s public statements on several key issues had not “followed the science”. In Indonesia, the health ministry reported 3,732 new coronavirus infections, and 94 deaths, bringing the totals to 389,712 cases and 13,299 deaths – the highest totals in south-east Asia. In Hungary, there were 3,149 new cases of coronavirus reported on Sunday, the highest single-day tally and jumping above 3,000 for the first time. The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas in the United States said it was “extremely disappointed” after the Trump administration pulled out of a deal offering the Christmas legends early access to a Covid-19 vaccine in exchange for promoting it.
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