International update: Global Covid cases pass 40.8 million – Spain nears one million infections

21 October 2020 (Last Updated October 21st, 2020 12:26)

21 October

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 40.8 million cases, reaching 40,846,867. The global coronavirus death toll is 1,125,752 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 8.2 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 221,083 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has found that 300,000 excess deaths were recorded in the US this year – 66% of which are accounted for by the official coronavirus death toll of around 221,000.

Some 21,447 New Yorkers died from Covid-19 from March through early June, researchers from Columbia University and the city’s health department reported Monday in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. New Yorkers’ risk of death from the coronavirus during the spring, was about double that of earlier estimates from other regions.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed President Donald Trump for coronavirus-related deaths in the state, calling him a liar and “super-spreader.” Cuomo said on Tuesday that Trump has repeatedly lied to the public, including earlier this year when he suggested the virus was a hoax and that it would be gone by Easter.

India: India has recorded 54,044 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 7.65 million, health ministry data showed on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Brazil: Brazil’s health minister Eduardo Pazuello has fallen ill with suspected Covid-19. The ministry said Pazuello had a fever on Tuesday and would be tested for Covid-19. On Monday, the minister had missed a public event with President Jair Bolsonaro.

New Zealand: Health officials in New Zealand recorded 25 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday – the highest number in a single day in many weeks – with two of them diagnosed in the community.

Spain: Spain is nearing a total of a million infections over the course of the pandemic so far, with 988,322 registered on the Johns Hopkins database, which would make it the first European country and sixth country globally to do so. Its death toll stands at more than 34,000.

Ukraine: On Wednesday, Ukraine’s national security council reported a record 6,719 new cases registered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 315,826 cases.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic reported 11,984 new cases of the virus for 20 October, the highest daily tally on record, amid a surge in recent weeks.

Germany: Germany’s new coronavirus cases rose by 8,523 the highest level since the pandemic began. The record in new infections exceeded yesterday’s 8,397, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Italy: Italy’s coronavirus cases rose again on Tuesday to 10,874, from 9,338 a day earlier, as daily fatalities increased to 89. Patients in intensive care jumped by 73 to 870, compared with the early April peak of more than 4,000.

Australia: A case of Covid-19 in Victoria is being treated as a rare case of reinfection, the first case classified as such in Australia.

Vaccine news

China: A state-owned drugmaker in China is setting up production lines to supply a billion doses of two possible vaccines that are being tested on 50,000 people in 10 countries, the company chairman said on Tuesday. Testing by SinoPharm Group is “in the last kilometre of a long march”, chairman Liu Jingzhen said. He gave no indication when results were expected.

China said giving vaccines still in clinical trials to hundreds of thousands of people is justified given the risk of Covid-19 returning through its borders and the lack of any significant side effects so far.

Brazil: Health minister Eduardo Pazuello announced that Brazil would add the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine against Covid-19 to its national immunisation program, despite a political and diplomatic row over whether to use it.

US: On Thursday the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee meets for a “general discussion about the development, authorization, and/or license of vaccines.” Although no specific news on vaccine availability is expected, it might prompt further focus on the issue.

In an October 2 memo, Food and Drug Administration compliance officers wrote that findings from an inspection of Lilly’s New Jersey facility in July and August “support a major failure of quality assurance.” They noted that Lilly planned to make its antibody therapy at the plant and said the inspection group “feels it is still imperative that FDA take action.”

Many people’s hopes for a speedy vaccine are still too high, Roche Holding AG Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan warned.

Lockdown updates

UK: The UK government is “on the cusp” of agreeing a deal with local leaders in South Yorkshire for the area to go into the tightest coronavirus measures, the housing secretary said on Wednesday.

Singapore: Singapore is looking to ease up more on pandemic curbs, with the size of social gatherings possibly raised to eight, in a further step toward normalized activity as new daily coronavirus cases dwindle near zero.

US: Walt Disney Co.’s Disneyland and other large theme parks in California must wait to reopen until their county hits the state’s lowest tier for coronavirus case statistics.

Italy: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said during a press conference in Rome, that Italy’s strategy will be focused on localized restrictions rather than the national lockdown measures taken at the beginning of the outbreak in March.

Spain: The Spanish government will look at implementing a curfew for Madrid, following a plea from the regional administration.

Economy updates

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways said on Wednesday it would cut 5,900 jobs and end its regional Cathay Dragon brand as it grapples with a plunge in demand.

China: The Chinese yuan’s strength seems inexorable right now. However, a widely disseminated Covid-19 vaccine will ultimately narrow the gulf in performance between early winners  – like China – and weaker emerging markets in particular.

Japan: More than 3.4 million people – almost 3% of Japan’s entire population – put the risk of virus infection aside to turn up for the opening weekend of “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinite Train,” an animated film based on a hugely popular comic-book. The film took in 4.62 billion yen ($44 million) in the three days, the movie’s distributor announced. That blew past estimates and more than doubled the previous record held by “Frozen 2.”

US: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she’s hopeful for a stimulus agreement this week, which would be crucial to getting a bill passed by Election Day.