Fauci Sees Wide U.S. Vaccine Availability by April: Virus Update

The coronavirus is roaring back in U.S.cities after months of crisis centered in more rural areas, with infections across the country reaching records.

New York state recorded the most newcases since early May. Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, will impose a curfew in three hot spots. Houston’s intensive-care cases are rapidly rising, while San Francisco will shut indoor dining to slow a new outbreak.

The resurgent virus also continued its deadly spread across Europe, with France and Italy reporting the most fatalities since April. Lebanon announced a nationwide lockdown, and Moscow adopted a raft of new restrictions as the number of new infections surged.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases near 51 million; deaths top 1.26 million
  • U.S. Hot Spots: Covid back in cities after months as rural problem
  • Virussuperspreader risk is linked to restaurants, gyms, hotels
  • States grapple withdistribution of a potential vaccine
  • Where things stand in the race for avaccine: QuickTake
  • Vaccine Tracker:Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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Fauci Sees Wide Vaccine Availability by April (5:30 p.m. NY)

Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, said Americans less at risk for contracting Covid-19 could have access to a vaccine by April.

“I would say by April you’ll be able to be vaccinated,” he said on CNN, indicating the time frame was an estimate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in charge of prioritizing who will get a shot first. Health-care providers and high-risk groups such as the elderly would likely be at the front of the line, Fauci said. He said in a CNN interview yesterday that some of the first vaccinations could come at the end of the month or December.

Fauci acknowledged logistical challenges related to distributing doses, but said the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program was meant to help overcome those hurdles.

“To say it’s going to be easy would not be truthful,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge. But I believe we’re going to be able to do it.”

N.Y. Nears 4,000 New Daily Cases (4:15 p.m. NY)

New coronavirus cases in New York state are nearing 4,000 a day and the positive testing rate topped 3%, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. The tally was the most positive cases since the start of May, when New York City was a global center of the crisis.

Of the more than 128,000 tests reported on Monday, 3,965 were positive. There were 1,548 hospitalizations and 32 virus-related deaths Monday, according to state data.

San Francisco Pares Reopening (4:10 p.m. NY)

San Francisco will close indoor dining and reduce capacity on businesses such as gyms and movie theaters after a dramatic increase in virus cases. Infection rates have more than doubled in the past few weeks and the surge has the potential to be worse than in the spring, said Grant Colfax, the city’s top health official.

“The uptick we’ve seen is really a cause for concern,” Mayor London Breed said at a press conference Tuesday. “The fact is the virus is spreading, and we have to make the hard decisions.”

The virus is rebounding across California and for the first time since the state enacted its tiered reopening system, no counties made forward progress in the past week. Three counties moved back Tuesday into the most restrictive tier, including Sacramento, home of the state capital.

If current trends continue, more than half of the state’s 58 counties will have moved backward in the four-tier system by next week, said Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. Although still far below the summer peak, the number of Californians hospitalized with Covid-19 has grown nearly 32% in the past 14 days, he said.

Newark Imposes Curfew in Hot Spots (3:45 p.m. NY)

Newark, New Jersey’s most populous city, immediately will enforce a curfew in three sections where positivity rates are highest, save for emergencies and those going to and from work.

“No one should be on the street after 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekend​s,” according to a statement issued by the office of Mayor Ras Baraka.

Newark’s positivity is 19% while New Jersey’s is 7.7%, Baraka said. He also ordered the suspension of “all sports of any kind,” capped indoor and outdoor gatherings at 10 people, banned visits to long-term health-care facilities and limited religious services to 25% capacity. The city is averaging 230 new cases per day, higher than some county-wide numbers.

French Death Toll is Highest Since April (3:35 p.m. NY)

Deaths in France from the coronavirus rose 1,220 to 42,207, the biggest increase since April 15. The European nation also reported 22,180 new s cases in the past 24 hours. The seven-day average, which smooths out fluctuation in the data, dropped to 46,699 cases.

Pennsylvania Has Record Cases (3:20 p.m. NY)

Pennsylvania reported a record 4,361 additional cases of Covid, more than double its highest number during the first surge in April.

Hospitalizations have jumped to more than 1,900 from less than 600 a month ago. As of Nov. 9, the state had a positive test rate of 6.9%, up from 6.1% the week before.

Hungary to Mandate Mask-Wearing (2:35 p.m. NY)

Hungary will make mask-wearing mandatory in all public spaces as of Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview on state television.

Orban said further restrictions were needed to contain the spread of the pandemic and avoid hospitals being overwhelmed. The government would review the impact of the lockdown measures in two weeks, he said.

Economic measures would focus on the hardest-hit industries, including hotels and restaurants, in the next month amid the strictest lockdown steps. The government was planning broader stimulus to help other businesses later.

N.J. Hit With ‘Devastating’ Surge (1:20 p.m. NY)

New Jersey reported 3,877 new cases, an 87% jump from a day earlier. Essex County alone, home to Newark, the state’s most populous city, reported 675 cases, the most among 21 counties. Four other northeastern counties — Passaic, Union, Bergen and Hudson — accounted for 35% of the state’s total new positive tests. Those five suburban New York City counties were early hard-hit targets in March and April.

“These numbers are devastating,” Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter.

At the same time, the statewide need for in-patient medical care is soaring: The 1,645 people hospitalized Monday night were the most since June 9, and a 41% increase over the figure a week ago. Intensive-care units reported 327 patients, 49% more than on Nov. 2.

Starting on Thursday, Murphy’s administration will enforce new restrictions, including ending indoor restaurant service at 10 p.m. daily and banning bars from serving anyone other than diners seated at tables.

Italy Deaths Highest Since Mid-April (12:30 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 35,098 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 995,463. Covid-19 related daily deaths jumped to 580, the most since mid-April.

Silvio Brusaferro, head of the ISS public health institute, said at a press conference that the pressure on hospitals is close to critical levels. Covid-19 patients occupied 36% of all intensive therapy units and 51% of hospital beds across the country.

Cases Surging in U.S. West (11:50 a.m. NY)

Cases are sweeping through estern and Midwestern U.S. states. New Mexico reported new positive test results topped 1,400 for the first time on Monday. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, infections at the El Paso County jail rose to 859 inmates out of 1,246 in custody as on Sunday, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

In Nebraska, state Senator State Senator Mike Groene, a proponent of herd immunity, announced “I finally got my wish and cont(r)acted the COVID-19 virus,” the Omaha-World Herald reported. In Oskaloosa, Kansas, Jefferson County commissioners reversed course after opting out of a state mask mandate in July, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Arizona on Tuesday reported 3,434 new Covid-19 cases, the most since late July as the state battles to keep the virus spread from returning to levels it saw in the summer. The one-day spike was almost double the prior seven-day average increase of 0.7%. Arizona reported 3,748 cases on July 25.

Paris-Area ICU Occupation to Exceed 99% (11:05 a.m. NY)

The Paris region will cross the threshold of more than 99% of initial intensive-care unit capacity taken by Covid-19 patients on Tuesday, regional health agency head Aurelien Rousseau said in a tweet. That’s up from about 96% a day earlier, and the highest in five months, after confirmed coronavirus cases in France rose to record levels last week. Nationwide, 92.5% of initial ICU beds were occupied by severely ill Covid patients on Monday, data from health authorities show.

Houston ICU Admissions Soar (10 a.m. NY)

Houston-area intensive-care units logged an almost 10% surge in virus patients in the past 24 hours as hot spots worsened across the second-largest U.S. state.

The number of Covid-19 patients in ICU wards in the nine-county region that includes Houston jumped to 246, the highest since Sept. 11, according to the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council. The figure is still well below the July peak of 990.

In El Paso, the state’s worst hot spot, virus hospitalizations in general beds and ICUs topped 1,000, a six-fold increase since the resurgent outbreak emerged in that town about six weeks ago. The contagion has overwhelmed El Paso’s contact-tracing efforts: Just 49% of identified “close contacts” have been notified within 48 hours, city and county data showed.

HHS Chief Sees Vaccines for Public by Spring (8:20 a.m. NY)

By spring, there could be enough vaccine for general public vaccination, the U.S.’s Azar told NBC’s Today show.

Speaking about a possible distribution schedule for vaccines from Pfizer or other drugmakers, Azar said there would be enough for nursing homes and health-care workers by the end of January.

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel, and Max Reyes

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