Tue, 11/24/2020 – 15:15
- Macron rolls out plans to reopen shops
- CDC finalizing new quarantine guidelines
- OWS delivers another update
- Global cases near 60 million
- Millions of Americans defy travel warnings
- Hong Kong shutters bars for brief lockdown
- Hospitalizations surge across US
- NC Gov extends mask mandate
- Turkey sees record deaths
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Update (1430ET): French President Emmanuel Macron spoke Tuesday evening in an address to the nation and announced that France’s strict localized ‘lockdown lite’ measures would be lifted, and in their place, he will impose a new curfew.
“We must continue our efforts,” Macron said, addressing the French during a televised address one month after the start of the second confinement. “We must do everything to avoid a third wave, a third confinement.”
Macron added that the easing of the restrictions would not happen overnight; instead, it’ll happen in three phases until Jan. 20. Its implementation will depend on the evolution of the epidemic, he warned. The relaxation process will begin on Saturday, as French citizens will be allowed to travel 20 km instead of 1 km from home, and leave the house for 3 hours instead of one hour. Churches will reopen this weekend, but with a maximum of 30 people.
Non-essential shops would be reopened with “strict sanitary requirements” to allow people to do their Christmas shopping. While some restaurants and bars will remain closed, France will also suspend its new quarantine on Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve.
Back in the US, the CDC is reportedly finally on the cusp of revising its quarantine guidelines for people potentially exposed to the virus. Instead of requiring people to quarantine for 2 weeks (even if they’ve had a positive test) the CDC will soon adjust the requirement to 7-10 days in the hopes it might lead more people to comply. However, whether a shorter quarantine period will lead to greater adherence hasn’t been well-studied.
Roughly 50% of people who become ill develop symptoms between five and six days after they are infected, while 9% develop symptoms after 10 days, and 2% after 14 days, said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, citing estimates he and other researchers have published.
Earlier, Operation Warp Speed and its leader Dr. Moncef Slaoui delivered the latest update on Tuesday with DHHS head Alex Azar. Azar reiterated that vaccinations could begin by mid-December. Azar added that Rear Adm. Erica Schwartz would lead the transition planning effort and brief the Biden team on the ins and outs of OWS.
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No matter how many celebrities tweet or share Instagram posts imploring Americans to ‘just stay home’ this holiday season, more than a million Americans per day have continued to board planes, trains and automobiles as we reach the peak of the Thanksgiving travel season.
About 1 million Americans a day packed airports and planes over the weekend even as coronavirus deaths passed 250,000. Though traffic is down by roughly 50% compared with last year, it’s worth noting that millions of Americans – particularly younger millennials who are relatively new to the workforce – have been living with family since moving back in with mom and dad while working remotely this spring.
To be sure, the crowds are only expected to swell, with next Sunday likely to be the busiest day of the holiday period. To be sure, the number of people flying for Thanksgiving is down by more than half from last year because of the rapidly worsening outbreak.
The 3 million who went through US airport checkpoints from Friday through Sunday marked the biggest crowds since mid-March, when the COVID-19 crisis took hold in the US. According to Bloomberg, “many travelers are unwilling to miss out on seeing family and are convinced they can do it safely. Also, many colleges have ended their in-person classes, propelling students to return home.”
As hospitals across the Midwest struggle with overcapacity and New York reopens an overflow ward on Staten Island, it looks like new case numbers have started to trend lower, suggesting that numbers may have peaked, despite increasingly dire predictions for mortality heading into inauguration day.
Only 4 US states have fewer than 100 people per million hospitalized due to COVID.
In the southwest, New Mexico is standing out as new cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all at all-time highs.
Looking abroad, Hong Kong authorities announced Tuesday that they would shut bars, nightclubs, and bathhouses from Thursday until Dec. 2 – a period of less than a week – as local coronavirus cases rise, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said during a briefing on Tuesday.
The number of tables allowed at banquets will be capped at 10, with four people per table. The 4-person public gathering limit, 4-per-table rule at restaurants and mandatory mask- wearing will remain in place even after the rest of the restrictions end. The news comes as Hong Kong reports 80 coronavirus cases, of which 69 are local, said Department of Health official Chuang Shuk-kwan.
Although the number of new cases being reported worldwide has slowed over the past week, the international total of confirmed COVID-19 cases stands just below 60 million, while deaths are on the verge of 1.4 million.
Here’s more COVID news from overnight and Tuesday:
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Monday that extended a mask mandate and Covid-19 restrictions through Dec. 11, with one-fifth of the state’s counties seeing critical levels of spread. His order limits indoor gatherings to 10 people, closes indoor bar service and restricts occupancy for retail stores, restaurants and other public businesses (Source: Bloomberg).
Turkey reported a record number of deaths from the coronavirus, highlighting the dilemma facing policy makers who are trying to contain the current surge in new cases without shutting down the economy again (Source: Bloomberg).
France reported 4,452 Covid cases on Monday, the lowest number of confirmed new infections in 24 hours since Sept. 28. The seven-day average of cases fell to 21,918, the fewest in more than a month (Source: Bloomberg).
New York City residents received $40 billion in stimulus benefits that have been critical to the city’s recovery from the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said (Source: Bloomberg).
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Author: Tyler Durden