Posted by News Express | 15 August 2020 | 471 times
Canada announced Friday that the border it shares with the U.S. will remain closed to nonessential travel for another month as the U.S. continues to lead the world in COVID-19 deaths and coronavirus infections.
Many Canadians remain concerned about reopening the border after Canada successfully flattened its epidemic curve.
Canada has more than 123,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 9,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In contrast, the U.S. has more than 5.3 million cases, one-fourth of all the cases worldwide, and more than 168,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Canada, which first announced the border restrictions in March, made the announcement one day after Mexico announced similar restrictions for its border with the U.S.
Spain announced Friday a new set of restrictions to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. Health Minister Salvador Illa said all discos and night clubs will be closed across the country. He also said smoking in public areas would be banned if smokers are unable to stay at least two meters from other people.
Spanish authorities have recorded nearly 50,000 cases over the past two weeks, an average of about 3,500 new cases a day.
In Paris, officials are expanding the areas of the city where pedestrians are required to wear face masks, including the Champs-Elysees Avenue and the area around the Louvre museum, as cases continue to increase in the country. France has nearly 250,000 cases and more than 30,400 deaths.
Meanwhile, a glitch in California's COVID-19 reporting system undercounted the state's cases by as many as 300,000 cases, state officials say.
According to a New York Times database Friday, California is the first U.S. state to reach more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases, with almost 11,000 deaths.
Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday that while the number of cases in California is increasing, the number of confirmed infections as a percentage of tests done has declined from 7% to 6% statewide over the past two weeks.
"I'm not going to back off on more tests because I fear (more cases)," Newsom said.
The U.S. Postal Service is warning states that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted as the country ramps up preparations for larger numbers of mail-in votes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the Postal Service sent warning letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Many states have made it easier to vote by mail to address voters' concerns about public gatherings at election precincts during the pandemic.
The nation's top infectious disease expert said he had hoped the U.S. would be in a better place by now with the coronavirus.
"We certainly are not where I hoped we would be, we are in the middle of very serious, historic pandemic," Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a National Geographic panel discussion Thursday.
Even though President Donald Trump said this week he expects the outbreak to be in "good shape ... in a very short period of time," Fauci said the number of cases will continue to rise unless federal and state governments can work together.
There has been no single coordinated strategy between Washington and the states on how to fight the outbreak. Some states have mask mandates and are continuing restrictions, while others do not require masks in public places and have eased the rules on social gatherings.
Some states are seeing the number of cases rise while such hot spots as Arizona, California and Florida are improving and are "having now, less deaths, less hospitalizations, less cases," Fauci said.
Fauci has said that the coronavirus will likely never go away but that health officials can work to bring it down to "low levels."
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said governments must "do it all" – test, isolate and treat patients, and trace and quarantine all the people with whom they had contact.
Other experts are warning that unless world leaders take more action to contain it, the coronavirus could be just as or even deadlier than the 1918 flu pandemic, which is believed to have killed 50 million people worldwide.
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open looked at New York City.
It says even when doctors take into account the technology, life-saving drugs and information that did not exist 100 years ago, the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases during the first two months of the outbreak was "substantially greater" than the peak of the 1918 epidemic. (Text, excluding headline, courtesy VOA)
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