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Friday October 22nd, 2021 7:37PM

The Latest: Brazil rises above 200,000 deaths for pandemic

By The Associated Press
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SAO PAULO — Brazil has passed 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. That is the second highest total in the world.

The health ministry said Thursday that the country had 1,524 deaths in the previous 24 hours, rising to a total of 200,498 for the pandemic.

The milestone was reached as Brazilians are once again crowding their beaches.

Many Brazilians have been straining against quarantine for months, going to bars or small gatherings with friends, but massive blowouts had been few and far between since the pandemic began. Then big festivities kicked off after the Southern Hemisphere’s summer started Dec. 21.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

Surges in Arizona put focus on Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's handling of pandemic Japan has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo area after it hit a high of daily coronavirus cases. South Africa says it will buy 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to inoculate health care workers.

Quebec begins a provincewide 8 p.m. curfew on Saturday to curb surging coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. The Israeli Cabinet OKs tightening a lockdown by closing schools and businesses for two weeks. Mexico has reported a new daily high in coronavirus cases.

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has reached a new agreement with the Pfizer drug company that will allow Israel to vaccinate all citizens over 16 by the end of March.

Israel has already secured millions of doses and launched one of the earliest and fastest vaccination drives in the world. The country of 9 million has already vaccinated more than 15% of its population. Israel’s Magen David Adom medical service said Thursday it has given the first of two vaccine doses to all nursing home residents and staff.

Netanyahu said that under the agreement with Pfizer, Israel would be a “global model” and a source of statistical data that could be used to combat the pandemic elsewhere.

Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza will have to wait longer, as Israel has not announced any plans to distribute the vaccine to them. The Palestinian Authority says it has not requested any from Israel, and is instead relying on a World Health Organization program.

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SAN FRANCISCO — California’s epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Pan, said more than 2 million vaccine doses have shipped to the state and well over 530,000 doses administered, although she expects the numbers are several days out of date. She said like other states, California needs to ramp up distribution and expects to do so as more doses arrive and more pharmacy, dental and medical field staff made available to administer the doses.

“Having the vaccine come in the middle of our worst surge of all has been a real stress on our health care system and on our public health departments,” said Pan at a Thursday webinar hosted by San Francisco area’s business association Bay Area Council. “So a lot of the people who we would traditionally rely on to vaccinate are actually very busy helping support the surge across the state.”

Pan said momentum for vaccinations is building as more frontline workers receive the vaccine but said how quickly regular people get the doses will depend on local conditions. Some counties don’t have many skilled nursing homes so could be able to move on to the next phase faster. About 3 million people are expected to be in the current phase.

The next phase of vaccinations will include agriculture workers as well as people 75 and older.

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TALLAHASSEE — Florida broke its record for the highest single-day number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, tallying 19,816 new cases on Thursday, while the state’s death toll reached 22,400.

Statistics from the Florida Department of Health on Thursday showed the totals surpassed the previous single-day record, which was 17,783 cases on Wednesday.

Since the pandemic started in March, about 1.4 million people in Florida have contracted COVID. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, 7,331 people in the state were hospitalized with the virus.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California issued a new travel advisory late Wednesday that says people from out of state are “strongly discouraged” from entering California. It also says Californians should avoid traveling more than 120 miles from home except for essential travel.

The state’s previous advisory, issued in November, encouraged people to stay home or within their region without giving a specific distance that people could travel. It outlined quarantine guidelines for out-of-state travelers but did not explicitly discourage travel.

“Intra-state travel, likewise threatens to exacerbate community spread within California—particularly because travel itself (especially the use of shared conveyances in air, bus, or rail travel) can increase a person’s chance of spreading and getting COVID-19,” says the new advisory, issued by the California Department of Public Health.

People arriving in California from other places, including state residents returning home, should self-quarantine for 10 days.

The advisory broadly makes exceptions for essential travel and work

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TORONTO — Elementary students in southern Ontario will continue remote learning until Jan. 25. The Ontario government says coronavirus cases are continuing to rise at an alarming rate. Ontario is Canada’s most populous province.

Chief medical officer Dr. David Williams says the move is being made to ensure students and staff in schools remain safe as rates of COVID-19 increase.

All students are currently learning online as part of a provincial lockdown, but those in northern Ontario and elementary students in southern Ontario were supposed to return to schools next week.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he received new data Wednesday night that indicates positivity rates amongst children have been increasing

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LOS ANGELES — California health authorities have reported a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths as many hospitals strain under unprecedented caseloads.

The state Department of Public Health’s website lists 583 new deaths Thursday, a day after 459 deaths.

The previous two-day total was 1,013 deaths at the end of December.

California’s death toll since the start of the pandemic now stands at 28,045

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MADRID — Spain’s health ministry says the country’s pandemic tally for infections has now surpassed the 2 million figure after 42,360 officially recorded new cases of COVID-19 over the past two days were reported Thursday amid a continuing post-Christmas rise in daily numbers.

Government virus expert María José Sierra said the official number of people infected was 2.02 million. The Health ministry said that since Tuesday 245 people have died from the virus, making for total of 51,675 fatalities.

The 14-day cumulative index watched by epidemiologists rose to 321 per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 295 on Tuesday, the last day official figures were issued.

Intensive care unit occupation by coronavirus patients inched up to 24 percent.

Sierra said more COVID-19 patients were being admitted to hospital than patients being released, breaking with a trend of recent weeks.

The health ministry said 207,000 people have been vaccinated since Dec.27. The country hopes to vaccinate 2.5 million people by the end of March. Spain’s population is 47 million.

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The U.S. registered its highest deaths yet from the coronavirus on the day a mob attacked the Capitol.

On Wednesday, the nation recorded nearly 3,900 deaths. The virus is surging in nearly every state. California is particularly hard hit, with skyrocketing deaths and infections threatening to force hospitals to ration care.

On Thursday, there were 583 deaths in California for a record two-day total of 1,042. The confirmed death toll now stands at 28,045. The state has registered over a quarter million weekly cases.

More than 360,000 people in the U.S. have died of the coronavirus. December was the nation’s deadliest month. Health experts are warning January could be worse because of holiday travel and family gatherings.

About 1.9 million people around the world have died of the coronavirus.

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SAO PAULO — State health officials in Brazil say a study has found that a vaccine candidate made by China’s Sinovac is 78% effective in protecting against COVID-19. More than 12,000 health workers participated in the study, which detected 218 cases of COVID-19 -- about 160 of those among people who received a placebo rather than the actual vaccine.

Turkish officials last month said a smaller companion study in that country of the same vaccine candidate found an efficacy rate of over 90%. The government of Sao Paulo state has contracted for the vaccine. Its asking Brazil’s federal health regulators for emergency approval for its use.

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LONDON — The U.K. registered its second-highest daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths.

The British government says 1,162 people died in a 28-day period after testing positive for the virus. The only time the increase was higher was April 21, when 1,224 deaths were registered.

The U.K.’s four nations are all in lockdown after a sharp spike in cases widely blamed on a new variant of the virus that appeared in London and the southeast of England.

On Thursday, the number of cases fell to 52,618 from the previous day’s record high of 62,322. However, the seven-day average is running nearly three times higher than a month ago.

The U.K.’s total death toll stands at 78,508, the highest in Europe and fifth in the world.

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ROME — Italy added 18,020 coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising the confirmed total to 2.2 million.

The Italian government will decide which regions will be allowed more or fewer limits on movements and on commercial activities, such as whether non-essential shops can open and if in-person dining at restaurants and cafes will be permitted.

That comes after a holiday period in which travel between regions was banned. Health experts will look at the rate of transmission of infections, number of COVID-19 clusters and availability of ICU beds.

Another 414 deaths were recorded Thursday, increasing the known death toll to 77,291. After Britain, Italy has registered the most coronavirus deaths in Europe.

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SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging the state Supreme Court to reject demands that businesses be compensated for losses linked to pandemic-related public health orders.

Final written arguments were published Thursday as the high court weighs whether financial compensation is due to businesses in response to the state’s public health orders that ban mass gatherings and prohibit business activities such as indoor dining.

Businesses have scaled back or closed their doors as state health officials struggle to contain the coronavirus.

A coalition of businesses says pandemic restrictions have effectively seized private property from businesses that might otherwise have taken their own precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates has started Phase 3 clinical trials of Russia’s leading vaccine candidate.

Abu Dhabi announced trials for Russia’s coronavirus vaccine will be open to 500 volunteers. The UAE has also authorized the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use.

Russia says its Sputnik V vaccine has showed an efficacy rate of 91% in preliminary results from a small clinical trial.

The UAE’s record of 2,988 infections on Thursday is 900 cases more than the previous day’s record. The surge follows a loosening of restrictions on gatherings, business and tourism during the past several months.

Authorities have reported a total of 221,554 cases and 694 confirmed deaths.

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PARIS — France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex has dashed the hopes the famed restaurant industry for a re-opening this month.

Castex made the announcement Thursday that eateries wouldn’t open before mid-February. Restaurants across the country have been shuttered since November.

That month, President Emmanuel Macron said the restaurants and bars might re-open in January if the daily virus rate fell below 5,000.

Castex says since cases are hovering around 15,000, a relaxing of restrictions isn’t possible.

A national curfew — at 8 p.m. in most places — will remain until at least Jan. 20. Castex added the border with the U.K. would remain “closed” for now.

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