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Thursday October 21st, 2021 7:38PM

The Latest: UK adds 598 COVID-19 deaths; reports over 52K

By The Associated Press
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LONDON — The British government says another 598 people across the U.K. have died after testing positive for the coronavirus, the highest daily figure since May.

Since the onset of the pandemic, daily death figures released on Tuesday have invariably been higher than the 7-day average because of an evident weekend reporting lag effect.

The daily increase takes the country’s total to 52,745, the highest virus-related death toll in Europe. The actual toll is believed to be higher as the government tally only includes those who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus and doesn’t include those who died without having been tested.

The government also said another 20,051 people tested positive for the virus. That is the lowest level in two weeks and marks the fifth straight daily decline. There have been signs in recent days that the restrictions imposed across the U.K., particularly the current lockdown in England, are helping to suppress the virus’ spread.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Dr. Fauci recommends ‘uniform wearing of masks’ to help curb US outbreak

— France surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases, 4th highest in world

— British PM Johnson tests negative for virus; still in self-isolation

— Some vaccines may be nearing the finish line, but scientists say it’s critical that enough people volunteer to help finish studying other candidates.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin touts coronavirus vaccines developed in Russia.

— States in the U.S. are renewing their push for more federal money to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he placed himself in quarantine Tuesday after finding out he was near someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Wilson said he feels fine and has no symptoms, but will take the precaution to isolate himself and work from home to follow federal health guidelines.

Wilson’s statement did not specify who the Republican attorney general was in close contact with.

COVID-19 cases in South Carolina are rising again after an outbreak this summer. The seven-day average number of new daily cases is above 1,400 for the first time since early August. During the pandemic’s first peak in July, the average was more than 1,900 new cases a day.

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette announced she had COVID-19 back in September.

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CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced new COVID-19 restrictions that will cap crowds in retail stores and temporarily close museums and casinos.

The first-term Democrat said Tuesday that he hopes the limits will help curb soaring coronavirus cases in the state.

Starting Friday, retail stores must lower capacity to 25% from the current 50%. Grocery stores will be excluded. Pritzker says hospitals are starting to see a real strain and will soon be overwhelmed if the current infection rate continues.

The new restrictions came as Illinois reported 12,601 new cases and 97 deaths. Overall, Illinois has reported nearly 600,000 cases with 10,875 deaths.

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The largest city in South Dakota appears ready to reverse course and pass a mask mandate Tuesday after enforcement was removed from the ordinance and medical groups said hospitals have exceeded capacity dealing with COVID-19 patients.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, who cast a tie-breaking vote against a mandate last week, said he was ready to get behind the requirement after the state’s largest physicians’ organization and a hospital system came out in support.

The ordinance faces a City Council vote Tuesday night. But the council said violations of the requirement, which applies to retail businesses and public buildings, will not carry any penalty.

Gov. Kristi Noem opposes mask mandates or other government interventions aimed at slowing the spread of infections.

Just over 1,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, and the number of hospitalizations increased to 582 people, pushing some facilities close to capacity.

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PARIS — France has surpassed 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, the fourth-highest total in the world.

The United States leads with 11.2 million cases, followed by India with 8.8 and Brazil with 5.8.

France health chief Jerome Salomon says with 33,500 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, the situation is far from good. However, he suggested the “collective efforts are starting to bear fruit” since the nation returned to a lockdown until at least Dec. 1.

Hospitals are so stretched that 150 patients have been transferred since Oct. 23 to hospitals around France. The nation added 437 more deaths, increasing the total to 46,273.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a three-week retail business curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

DeWine says the measure, effective Thursday, is needed to reduce cases and stop the state’s hospitals from being overrun. He says the retail business curfew, paired with increased mask-wearing, could help cut contacts between people by 20% to 25%.

The Republican governor also asked Ohioans to reduce their daily contact with others.

Ohio hospital and intensive care admissions for the coronavirus are at record highs, with more than 3,600 people hospitalized Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen from 3,097 cases per day on Nov. 2 to 7,199 cases on Monday, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.

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PHOENIX — Arizona reported nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

The state reported 2,984 new cases with 10 more deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 279,896 cases and 6,312 confirmed deaths.

The Department of Health Services says COVID-19-related hospitalizations reached 1,624 on Monday, including 385 patients in intensive care unit beds.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman urged a statewide mask mandate and new quarantine and testing requirements for seasonal visitors. She also called for a pause of winter sports, expanded outdoor dining and limits on social gatherings.

Seven-day rolling averages of daily cases increased from 1,311 on Nov. 2 to 2,459 on Monday. The daily death average rose from 15 to 19 during the same period, while the positivity average increased from 11.8% to 16.5%.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Oklahoma surged to a new high of 1,381 on Tuesday.

That came a day after Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants, closing in-person service at 11 p.m., and requiring masks worn in state buildings.

The rolling averages of both the positivity rate and number of new cases has more than doubled during the past seven days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The daily positivity rate increased from 9.1% to 18.2% and new daily cases rose from 1,113 to 2,628.

The health department reported 2,729 confirmed cases Tuesday and 10 more deaths. That brings the Oklahoma totals to 156,857 cases and 1,538 confirmed deaths since March.

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WASHINGTON — Leaders of the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association say the Trump administration must share critical COVID-19 information with the Biden transition team “to save countless lives.”

They say in a letter sent to the White House that the Biden team needs information on medication and testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital bed capacity and workforce availability.

“All information about the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile, the assets from Operation Warp Speed, and plans for dissemination of therapeutics and vaccines needs to be shared as quickly as possible ... so that there is no lapse in our ability to care for patients,” the letter said.

It was signed by Richard Pollack, president of the American Hospital Association; Dr. James Madara, the AMA’s CEO; and Debbie Dawson Hatmaker, acting CEO of the nurses association.

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ROME — Italy reported 731 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest one-day increase in deaths since early April.

There were 32,191 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, increasing the total infections to 1.2 million. About 15% of people tested in the last 24 hours were positive for the virus, down from about 17% in recent days. That might indicate the recent partial lockdown imposed by the government in much of the country is reining in surging infections.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased by 120 on Tuesday, for a total of 3,612 nationwide.

Italy’s death toll stands at more than 46,000, the second highest in Europe after Britain.

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MADRID — Spain reported 435 coronavirus deaths, its highest number of daily deaths since a surge after the summer.

The Catalonia region recorded the most coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, with 1,407, followed by the Madrid region with 1,255.

However, the surge in cases shows signs of abating. Spain’s 14-day average coronavirus cases per 100,000 people stands at 466. A week ago, it was 524.

The Health Ministry added 13,159 new cases, increasing Spain’s total reported cases above 1.5 million. There’s been nearly 41,700 confirmed deaths.

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is re-introducing a series of restrictions, including partial weekend lockdowns, in a bid to slow the surge of coronavirus cases.

Speaking following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says people can venture out of their homes between 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. on the weekend, after which a curfew would come into effect.

Restaurants and cafes can serve take-away meals only, while shops, markets and hairdressers can operate until 8 p.m. Cinemas will close, and schools will continue online education until the end of the year.

Erdogan urged the public to wear masks, practice proper hygiene and adhere to social distancing rules, warning that more serious measures will be considered if the restrictions fail to curb the contagion.

Meanwhile, Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, the minister for family, labor and social services became the second member from Erdogan’s Cabinet to test positive for the virus.

Turkey reported 3,819 new patients and 103 deaths on Tuesday, taking the confirmed death toll since the start of the outbreak to 11,704.

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CINCINNATI — A U.S. senator from Ohio is participating in a coronavirus vaccine test. Republican Rob Portman says he hopes to encourage more people to volunteer for the vaccine studies. He says vaccines are the best hope for reducing the pandemic’s toll.

He received an injection this month at a Cincinnati lab that is testing an experimental vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. He does daily monitoring of his vital signs, keeping a log and working with the lab. Portman, like other volunteers, doesn’t know if he got the vaccine or a dummy shot.

Johnson & Johnson’s candidate is one of four vaccines in late-stage testing in the U.S. Two companies, Pfizer Inc., and Moderna, have reported their preliminary results show their experimental vaccines are strongly protective.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Public health programs have experienced a surge in enrollment as the coronavirus has swept through the U.S.

As state and local public health departments struggle with slashed budgets, surging demand and threats to workers’ safety, a new generation is entering the field to help fight the coronavirus and other public health challenges.

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health says applications to master’s in public health programs increased 20% this year to nearly 40,000. Sarah Keeley is among them, studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to become an epidemiologist.

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WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci is recommending “uniform wearing of masks” to help curb the surge of coronavirus cases in the United States.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert told CNN on Tuesday that “we need to intensify public health strategies,” which include wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding places where people gather.

The U.S hit a record daily high of more than 184,000 coronavirus cases on Friday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, Moderna announced early data suggests its vaccine candidate provides strong protection against the coronavirus. That news comes a week after Pfizer revealed its vaccine was similarly effective.

Vaccines candidates must go through independent data and safety monitoring before approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fauci says in the meantime, it’s important for people “to be motivated to hang in there a bit longer and double down on the public health measures. I just can’t understand why there’s pushback against that. They’re not that difficult to do. And they save lives.”

The U.S. leads the world with 11.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 247,000 deaths.

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