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U.S. hospitalizations have been declining for more than two weeks. Newly reported cases remain below 200,000.

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U.S. hospitalizations for Covid-19 have now been declining for more than two weeks, while newly reported cases are hovering around 150,000 after remaining above 200,000 for most of December and early January. The metrics, while declining, remain high and reported deaths, a lagging indicator, were near 4,000 again on Wednesday.

The easing of the fall surge in the U.S. has led states to begin rolling back some restrictions on businesses and daily life. But government officials and health experts around the globe continue to monitor new, highly transmissible variants, which have jolted case numbers in the U.K. and elsewhere, and led to a fresh round of restrictions. In France, officials are considering stricter measures as soon as Saturday.

www.wsj.com/livecoverage/covid-2021-01-28

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Israel leads vaccine race with 12% given jab

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Israel has given vaccinations against coronavirus to more than one million people, the highest rate in the world, as global immunisation efforts step up.

Israel has a rate of 11.55 vaccination doses per 100 people, followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

In comparison, France had vaccinated 138 people in total by 30 December.

More than 1.8m people have now died of the virus around the world.

The comparative figures on vaccination are put together by Our World in Data, which is a collaboration between Oxford and a UK-based educational charity.

They measure the number of people who have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Most of the vaccines approved for use so far rely on two doses, given more than a week apart.

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The E.U. begins its vaccine rollout, aiming to inoculate more than 450 million people

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From nursing homes in France to hospitals in Poland, older Europeans and the workers who care for them rolled up their sleeves on Sunday to receive coronavirus vaccine shots in a campaign to inoculate more than 450 million people across the European Union.

The inoculations offered a rare respite as the continent struggles with one of its most precarious moments since the pandemic began.

Despite national lockdowns, restrictions on movement, shuttering of restaurants and cancellations of Christmas gatherings, the virus has stalked Europe into the dark winter months. The spread of a more contagious variant of the virus in Britain has raised such alarm that much of continental Europe rushed to close its borders to travelers coming from the country, effectively plunging the nation as a whole into quarantine.

“Today, we start turning the page on a difficult year,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president wrote on Twitter. “The #COVID19 vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries.”

For Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, the vaccine’s arrival could not come soon enough. Italy’s suffering at the outset of the pandemic served as a warning for the world, and the current death toll is again among the worst in Europe.

“Today Italy reawakens. It’s #VaccineDay,” he wrote on Twitter after a 29-year-old nurse at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital was the first person to be inoculated. “This date will remain with us forever.”

The nurse, Claudia Alivernini, said she hoped the vaccination campaign would signal “the beginning of the end” of the pandemic.

In Spain, a 96-year-old great-grandmother, Araceli Rosario Hidalgo, was the first to receive the vaccine. The Los Olmos nursing home, where she lives, is in Guadalajara,  a city that has a special storage facility where the first doses of the vaccine were delivered on Saturday, transported from Belgium.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter that the  vaccinations marked “a hopeful new chapter.”

Similar scenes played out across the continent, although not every member of the bloc followed the rollout plans. In Germany, a nursing home in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt jumped the gun, inoculating dozens of residents and staff members on Saturday, hours after the doses arrived. Officials in the Netherlands said they planned to begin vaccinations on Jan. 8.

But all E.U. member nations now have a supply of vaccine on hand to distribute.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/27/world/covid-19-coronavirus-updatesHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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French medical regulator approves COVID-19 vaccine

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French medical regulator HAS said on Thursday it had approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for France’s vaccination rollout, after the European Medicines Agency gave its go-ahead on Monday.

“The vaccine can be used for people aged 16 and over, including elderly”, the regulator says.

The European Union is gearing up for a vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale following regulatory approval for the shot. France plans to start its vaccination programme on Dec. 27.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-vaccine/french-medical-regulator-approves-covid-19-vaccine-idUSKBN28Y0ZSHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Vaccines Effective Against New Coronavirus Strain: German Health Minister

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The new virus strain “has no impact on the vaccines”, said German Health Minister.

European Union experts believe existing vaccines against coronavirus are effective against the new fast-spreading strain identified in Britain, Germany’s health minister said Sunday.

“According to everything we know so far” the new strain “has no impact on the vaccines”, which remain “just as effective”, Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ZDF, citing “talks among experts of European authorities”.

Spahn was referring especially to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is already being administered in countries including the US and UK and which is on the brink of receiving approval from the European Medicines Agency.

A health ministry spokesman said the EU experts’ meeting had taken place on Sunday and included representatives of Berlin’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health.

A number of EU nations have banned air travel from Britain in response to the new strain, while France said it would block people arriving from the UK and all freight unless it is unaccompanied.

https://network20news.com/international/21/12/2020/vaccines-effective-against-new-coronavirus-strain-german-health-minister/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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France reports decline in COVID-19 infections and hospital deaths

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French health authorities reported 11,022 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from the 12,923 new infections detected the previous day.

The coronavirus death toll in French hospitals rose by 174, the health ministry said, a smaller increase than Saturday’s 216. The number of COVID-19 patients rose by 223 to 26,293, while the number in intensive care declined by 10 to 3,220.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-france-numbers-idUKKBN28G0QSHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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US expects 100 million people vaccinated by February

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The US hopes to have immunized 100 million people against Covid-19 by the end of February, a top official said Wednesday, which is approximately 40 percent of the country’s adult population.

The push should start within weeks, when vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIH are expected to be approved.

Each of these require two doses, the second after three weeks and four weeks, respectively.

“Between mid-December, and the end of February, we will have potentially immunized 100 million people,” Moncef Slauoi, scientific advisor to the government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) program told reporters.

This, he continued, would cover the “at-risk” population comprising the elderly, health care workers, and first responders.

There will be an “ample” amount of vaccine to immunize three million residents of long-term care facilities, said the former pharmaceutical executive, who was recruited by the administration of President Donald Trump in May.

The rest would be enough to reach the bulk of health care workers, if states and other territories agree with federal recommendations to prioritize this population.

As production of the two vaccines expands, 20 million will be reached in December, 30 million in January and 50 million in February, making 100 million total.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201202-us-expects-100-million-people-vaccinated-by-februaryHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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New COVID-19 cases in France stay below 10,000 for third day

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New COVID-19 infections in France stayed below 10,000 for the third day in a row on Tuesday, a sequence unseen since mid-September, and the number of people hospitalised for the disease resumed a downward trend.

The government has loosened its second national coronavirus lockdown, put in place on Oct. 30, by allowing all shops to reopen at the weekend.

President Emmanuel Macron said last week the lockdown could be lifted on Dec. 15 if by then the number of new infections per day fell to 5,000 and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care declined to between 2,500 and 3,000.

Earlier in the day, Macron said that France should be in a position to embark on a broader COVID-19 vaccination campaign between April and June next year, after initially targeting a smaller group of people.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-infections-idUSKBN28B64YHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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France’s lockdown will be lifted on Dec 15 – but bars and restaurants will stay closed for Christmas

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France’s coronavirus lockdown will be lifted on December 15 – but bars and restaurants will stay closed over the Christmas period, Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday evening in a televised address.

It was part of a three-stage easing of restrictions over the next two months.

November 28

– Shops can reopen under strict hygiene restrictions

– Lockdown will continue but restrictions on how long one can leave home for is extended. Currently, one can exercise for up to an hour with a one-kilometre radius of one’s residence. That will be extended to a radius of 20 kilometres for up to three hours.

– Religious centres can reopen but with no more than 30 people at any one time.

December 15

– Lockdown is lifted if the health situation continues to improve, allowing people to move around the country and spend Christmas with their families and friends.

– Cinemas, theatres and museums will reopen their doors.

– Instead of a lockdown, the country will revert to a night-time curfew (9 pm to 7 am).

– Bars and restaurants will stay closed over Christmas

– Ski resorts unlikely to be open for Christmas. Final decision expected in the coming days.

January 20

– If the health situation allows it, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen.

– Sports centres and gyms will be allowed to reopen

– What else did Macron say?

– Macron said the country had passed the peak of its second wave of coronavirus. He said the easing of restrictions had been made possible by an improving picture nationwide. But, he added, several more weeks of restrictions would need to be endured to allow the country to get the pandemic fully under control.

He said the most vulnerable in society should begin to get a COVID-19 vaccine from the end of December or the beginning of January.

www.euronews.com/2020/11/24/will-emmanuel-macron-ease-france-s-coronavirus-lockdownHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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France’s second wave of the coronavirus may have already reached its peak

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France may be past the worst of its second wave of coronavirus infections, the country’s health agency said Friday, warning however that protective measures should be kept in place.

Thanks to curfews and lockdowns, confirmed new infections dropped 40 percent last week, admissions to hospital fell 13 percent, and the number of new intensive care patients was down nine percent, Santé Publique France said.

The data provided fresh arguments for shop owners who have been lobbying to be allowed to reopen for the crucial Christmas period, while the government was trying to decide what to do about the coming Black Friday shopping splurge.

“Although indicators are still at high levels, they suggest that the peak of the second peak is behind us,” the agency said.

President Emmanuel Macron will talk about the country’s coronavirus crisis on Tuesday at 2000 CET (1900), a source at the presidential palace said on Friday.

The number of Covid deaths has stabilised after several weeks of increases, the agency said, with 3,756 recorded fatalities compared with 3,817 a week earlier.

French cities that imposed curfews earliest are now seeing the sharpest decreases in patient numbers, Santé Publique said.

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20201120-france-s-second-wave-of-the-coronavirus-may-have-already-reached-its-peakHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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