Tag: Coronavirus

Coronavirus in Austin, Texas: What to know Dec. 2

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, Dec. 2.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor’s note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new blog here.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus and COVID-19 news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE’s Dec. 2 live blog.

  • Texas: More than 1.2 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 21,700 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 39,037 cases have been reported and at least 486 people have died. At least 35,905 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 7,526 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 104 people have died. At least 6,684 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: At least 13,674 cases have been reported in the county and at least 165 people have died. At least 12,673 people have recovered from the virus.

8 p.m. – Premier ER and Urgent Care says it now has the capability to test for influenza A/B and COVID-19 all with a single swab. 

“COVID-19 has been challenging in many ways. We see patients every day who are scared and concerned with not feeling well and what care they many need. Our team remains committed to partnering with community leaders and we participate with both local and national groups to stay informed, updated on this virus and learn as much as we can. Things continue to change quickly, and we are very excited to serve our community with the ability to offer one swab for multiple tests,” said Kristina Holcomb, the vice president of communications and patient relations for Premier.

5:50 p.m. – Travis County health authorities report 280 new cases and two more deaths. There have now been 39,037 cases, 35,905 recoveries and 486 deaths reported.

The Giddings State School reports one new positive case from a teacher. The employee has not been on campus since Nov. 19 and this is the first positive case since Nov. 4.  A total of 46 staff members and 89 youth have now tested positive.

5:15 p.m. – The Hays County Local Health Department reports 97 new lab-confirmed cases, one new hospitalization, three new hospital discharges and 78 additional people now considered recovered. The total number of individuals considered recovered is 6,684. The total number of lab-confirmed cases is 7,526 with 738 of those considered active.

Williamson County added one more death today, bringing the total to 165. There have now been a total of 13,674 cases and 12,673 recoveries.

5 p.m. – Texas reports 14,758 new cases for a total of 1,200,674. The 7-day average is still down from a week ago due to a lull in reported cases over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but it is up over the past two days.

The

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Many Americans Ignored Thanksgiving Travel Warnings From CDC, Data Show : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

More Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving this year compared with last year — but by relatively small margins.

An NPR analysis of mobile phone location data showed that 42% of Americans with smartphones remained home, up from 36% last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly urged people to avoid holiday travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the warnings, 13% of Americans still traveled a significant distance, the data showed, although that number was down from 17% last year.

Ali Mokdad, from the University of Washington, said that ideally, more people would have stayed home given the high case rates. “This level of travel will unfortunately lead to a rise in cases,” said Mokdad, who is the chief strategy officer for Population Health.

Data, provided to NPR by SafeGraph, are based on tracking the locations of about 18 million mobile phones across the United States. NPR analyzed the anonymized data to determine the percentage of people who stayed at their “home” location for Thanksgiving as well as the percentage who traveled 31 miles or more.

Thanksgiving week is usually one of the busiest travel periods of the year, but 2020 was expected to end an 11-year trend of travel growth going back to the 2008-09 Great Recession. Car travel had been expected to decrease by at least 10%, while accounting for a higher overall proportion of travel, as fewer people were expected to fly, according to AAA.

In fact, air travel this year was less than half of what it was for the same holiday period in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Despite the decrease, the number of air passengers hovered at around 1 million per day for a majority of the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the highest it has been since mid-March, when the pandemic began to ramp up in the U.S. Air traffic has been steadily increasing the last few months, even as the country recorded some of its highest new daily coronavirus case counts. In the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day alone, the U.S. saw about 1 million new cases.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein noted there had been no issues with passenger volume on Thanksgiving Day. To account for more travelers during the travel period, the TSA “opened additional checkpoint lanes to help ensure low wait times and allow for social distancing.”

SafeGraph’s metrics cannot capture what people did when they left home or what safety measures they took to mitigate their risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. SafeGraph’s data also cannot account for whether those who left home went to houses within their social bubble.

If you were one of the people who traveled for Thanksgiving, it’s not too late to reduce the risk involved. Quarantining, wearing a mask near others, limiting interactions outside the house and getting tested if any symptoms develop can all reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

“The best way to prevent further spread of the disease is to stay home, avoid gatherings,

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Coronavirus live news: Italy reports record deaths after close to a thousand Covid-linked fatalities in 24 hours | World news

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, a report has said as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global Covid-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

As nations prepare to roll out mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38bn (£28bn) – of which about $28bn is still outstanding – without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to Covid-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

It found boosts to the global economy as a result meant they stood to gain at least $153bn in 2020-21, and $466bn by 2025, in an analysis based on IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts of varying vaccination scenarios.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the report, and said contributing to the ACT Accelerator was “the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically”.

Its findings are in line with an earlier study that found wealthy countries stood to lose $119bn a year through uneven vaccine access, said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute’s project tracking Covid-19 data.

“It is in the best interests of wealthy nations to invest in equity and it will cost all of us more if we don’t, both in terms of mortality and GDP,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Austin Mayor Encouraged People To Stay Home, Went To Cabo For Vacation : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, shown here at an event in 2018, says he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas last month.

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Austin Mayor Steve Adler, shown here at an event in 2018, says he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas last month.

Eric Gay/AP

After initially saying he didn’t do anything wrong, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, says he now realizes he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

An Austin American-Statesman story revealed Wednesday that Adler attended an in-person wedding for his daughter in early November and then flew with others to Cabo for a weeklong vacation.

At the same time, Adler was encouraging people to stay home to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.

“Not only did we not do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything that abrogated or violated the rules or regulations in the city, or the conduct that we were expecting of others that we also expect of ourselves,” Adler initially told KUT.

Adler confirmed to KUT that 20 people attended the wedding, which was held outside at a hotel and restaurant in Austin. He said people were seated at distanced tables but that not everyone was wearing masks.

At the time of the wedding, which was held in early November, the city and county were under Stage 3 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines, with public health officials urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Adler said his daughter had originally invited about 100 people to the wedding but disinvited dozens to hold a much smaller gathering.

“It’s a hard thing for a girl to do, but there are girls all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing, couples all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing,” Adler said.

When asked why the family didn’t decide to postpone the wedding indefinitely, he said: “We’re not asking people to not get married.”

A few hours after speaking with KUT, Adler released a statement saying he “regrets” his decision to travel.

“I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas,” he wrote. “But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize.”

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Coronavirus live news: Iran passes 1m Covid-19 cases; WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel | World news

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine “cold chain” – the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s national vaccine mission – to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment. Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organizations but only identified one target by name: the European commission’s directorate-general for taxation and customs union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear. IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

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Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Updates For December

Can you believe that 2020 is almost over? If you’re planning an end-of-year trip for the holidays, there are some travel restrictions to know about. Much of the world is inaccessible for leisure travel, but it’s still possible to leave home and sightsee. Only essential travel reasons may be exempt from various travel restrictions.

New York

New York has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the contiguous U.S. 48 states. Most travelers, including New York residents out-of-state for at least 24 hours, will need to quarantine for 14 days or take two qualifying diagnostic tests.

Specifically, “travelers entering New York State from a noncontiguous state, U.S. territory or CDC level 2 or level 3 country,” will need to provide proof of a valid negative diagnostic test upon arrival to the Empire State. This test must be taken within three days before arriving in New York.

The traveler must then quarantine for the first three days and take a second test on the fourth day. The follow-up test must have a negative result to waive the rest of the 14-day quarantine.

If you don’t have a qualifying negative test result before arriving in New York, you will need to quarantine for the full 14 days.

Travelers and residents from bordering states like New Jersey and Connecticut can be exempt from these quarantine and testing rules. However, travelers that only leave New York for less than 24 hours will need to complete the traveler health form and take a diagnostic test four days after returning.

New Jersey

New Jersey strongly encourages a 14-day self-quarantine for those entering from any state or territory outside the immediate region. While a self-quarantine is optional, compliance is expected.

You do not have to quarantine if you arrive from New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Connecticut

Most travelers and returning residents will need to self-quarantine when entering Connecticut. Travelers will need to complete a traveler health form or face a potential $500 fine.

You will need to self-quarantine when you arrive from a state under these conditions:

  • Arrive from a state other than New York, New Jersey or Rhode Island
  • Positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents
  • Higher than a 10% positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average
  • A country with a CDC Level 3 travel health notice

The list of impacted states updates on Tuesdays. As of December 1, 2020, Hawaii is the only noncontiguous state or territory that waives the self-quarantine.

It’s possible to waive the quarantine with qualifying negative diagnostic tests. The first test can be taken up to 72 hours before arriving in Connecticut or after arriving. The negative test results will need to be

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How bad is the coronavirus pandemic about to get? Thanksgiving travel numbers look grim

Coronavirus infections are already reaching unprecedented levels throughout the U.S. Now with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas and New Year’s just around the curve, the question is: Just how much worse is the pandemic going to get?

The latest travel data out Monday suggest that things are looking grim. Between 800,000 and 1.1 million people flew in the days leading up to and after the holiday, according to data released by the Transportation Safety Administration. Though those numbers are a fraction of typical Thanksgiving travel patterns, they are far higher than public health officials and epidemiologists hoped to see.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that Americans who traveled this past week should “assume that you were exposed and you became infected.” She urged those that traveled to get tested within the next week.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. There have been more than 265,000 deaths. Last Wednesday, as millions had already begun their holiday travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast as many as 21,400 new deaths due to the virus over the next four weeks.

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said he suspects those numbers are not high enough.

“Every time I look at the data, it’s worse,” he said.

Jha says he expects the number of new deaths to be more in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 in the Thanksgiving aftermath.

“Things are going to be so bad over the next month,” Jha said.

Exactly how bad it will get is difficult to say. Americans not only flew, but also drove to Thanksgiving celebrations. Before the holiday, the American Automobile Association predicted significant declines in bus, train and cruise travel, but only a slight drop in car travel. AAA said it would not have travel figures for the holiday anytime soon.

Car travel was projected to fall 4.3% from last year’s pre-pandemic level, to 47.8 million travelers. With less travel this year by public transportation, AAA estimates driving will account for 95% of all holiday travel. On Monday, AAA said travel may have been less than initially forecast because of climbing infection rates and public health warnings. U.S. gasoline demand decreased 7.3% in seven days ending Nov. 28, according to GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app.

Even with a surge in online sales, some Americans still hit the road to shop. Chains with lines out the door included Lululemon Athletica Inc., Bath & Body Works and Urban Outfitters. Shoppers camped overnight in some locations of GameStop Corp., one of the few retailers to do brick-and-mortar releases of new video game consoles.

“This does have the potential to turn into another superspreader event,” Doug Stephens, founder of consulting firm Retail Prophet, said of the shopping weekend.

The Trump administration had been sending out widely varying guidance on holiday travel in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and only in the final week did the

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After Thanksgiving travel, Washington region braces for coronavirus rise

While it could be weeks before the region sees the effect of Thanksgiving travel, Bowser on Monday pointed to a nationwide jump in cases that is still being felt in the nation’s capital. She reminded residents to adhere to city travel guidelines, which call on those who visit a “high-risk” state to limit activities for 14 days when returning to the city. Residents and visitors can also get tested within three to five days of arriving and self-monitor for symptoms until receiving a negative test result.

“We expect that we’re going to have more cases,” Bowser said. “We’re also in a good position to do a lot of testing. We have a very robust testing program which we feel strongly will help us identify and isolate people who have been infected by covid.”

The seven-day average of new daily infections across the greater Washington region on Monday was 4,662, down slightly from a high of 4,989 recorded on Thanksgiving Day.

The region recorded 3,920 new coronavirus cases and 20 deaths on Monday. Maryland added 1,923 cases and 16 deaths, Virginia had 1,893 cases and four deaths, and D.C. recorded 104 cases and no additional deaths.

Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland, said it could be weeks before spikes in cases are seen that stem from Thanksgiving holiday travel. Health experts had long cautioned residents to avoid traveling over the traditionally busy period — and also to avoid hosting gatherings at home.

“With the public attitude we saw towards travel over Thanksgiving, it’s very hard to think we won’t see an impact,” Sehgal said. “Cases will undoubtedly increase in the D.C. region.”

Maryland health officials said Monday a child died Sunday of the coronavirus, becoming the pandemic’s youngest victim in the state. Officials didn’t release the child’s age, saying only that the victim was 9 or younger. No other information was available about the child or the nature of the death.

As caseloads continue to jump, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wrote Monday to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, saying the state’s top priority is another wave of stimulus funding to help with the coronavirus fight.

Hogan, who has advocated for more federal funding since the spring, told the transition team that small businesses, as well as state and local governments, need money soon. Many state and local governments, which are unable to carry a budget deficit, face significant shortfalls as tax revenue declines and price tags rise for the public health response to the pandemic.

“States are already fighting an uphill battle to rebuild our economies and maintain services in education, health care, emergency operations and public safety,” Hogan wrote. “Without federal assistance, we could be forced to consider furloughs and job cuts, halts to construction, reductions in government services, and other measures that will cause an increase in unemployment and further delay the economic recovery.”

Hogan’s request comes as officials across the region make similar pleas for additional federal

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Coronavirus: Merkel slams state premiers over Christmas hotel opening plan

Chancellor Angela Merkel railed against the plans of some regional governments to let hotels open for family visits over Christmas, warning it risked worsening the coronavirus surge sweeping Germany, participants in a party meeting said.

Infection levels rose overnight compared to the same time last week, despite the partial lockdown introduced for November and since extended and tightened in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

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Merkel and state premiers agreed last week that some partial easing of the lockdown would be allowed to allow families some low-key Christmas celebrations.

But in a video conference of her conservative party’s top leadership on Monday, Merkel said she could not understand the plans of some northern and western states, where the epidemic is less severe, to allow hotels to open to allow far-flung families to get together.

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Meeting participants told Reuters she saw this as particularly risky in large cities and in regions with high infection numbers.

Despite Merkel’s comments, however, the regional leaders have the final say on what happens in their states under Germany’s federal structure.

Her intervention came shortly before a meeting of the “coronavirus cabinet”, at which ministers are expected to discuss further responses to Germany’s greatest public health crisis in a century.

Though Germany has already mobilized unprecedented government aid to help support the economy through the pandemic, ministers warned on Monday that nothing could fully spare companies from the impact.

Read more:

Coronavirus: German minister says partial lockdown could last until Spring 2021

Germany’s Merkel warns of tough measures if cases don’t stabilize in 10 days

“People have to show discipline,” economy minister Peter Altmaier, the architect of the economic response to the pandemic told Deutschlandfunk radio. “We have to do more to reduce social contacts.”

Altmaier added that pandemic aid for companies could not be extended indefinitely.

In an indication of the severity of the pandemic’s economic impact, the percentage of companies using the state-backed furlough scheme rose to 28 percent in November, up from 24.8 percent the month before, the Ifo institute said.

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Last Update: Monday, 30 November 2020 KSA 20:16 – GMT 17:16

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Experts warn of coronavirus surge after widespread Thanksgiving travel

The US continued to report more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the holiday weekend, as experts warned that widespread Thanksgiving travel could fuel a surge in the coming weeks.

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Related: Moderna Covid vaccine has 94% efficacy, final results confirm

The number of new Covid-19 cases reported in the US topped 200,000 for the first time on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Since January, when the first infections were reported in the US, the total number of cases has surpassed 13m. More than 265,000 people have died.

There was some good news on Monday, as Moderna said it would apply for US authorisation to use its coronavirus vaccine. The company announced final results from its trial, which it said confirmed 94% efficacy.

Moderna’s data will be weighed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 17 December. The company said it expected to have doses for 10 million people ready for the US by the end of December. Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an application for emergency use on 20 November.

News of Moderna’s progress came as the number of hospitalisations in the US reached a record high.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, 93,238 patients were in hospital on Sunday, a steady climb from 47,531 at the start of November, putting more strain on workers and resources as winter approaches.

Despite dire warnings from federal authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans traveled over the weekend, as Thanksgiving drew to a close.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that could cause a spike in cases and warned that the level of infection in the US would not “all of a sudden turn around”.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Fauci told NBC on Sunday.

Fauci said it was “not too late” for people traveling home after Thanksgiving to help curb the virus by wearing masks, staying distant from others and avoiding large groups.

Between 800,000 and more a million travelers made their way through US airport checkpoints each day in the past week, according to Transportation Security Administration statistics, as airports recorded their highest travel numbers since the pandemic began.

Wednesday was the busiest air travel day since mid-March, with 1,070,967 passengers clearing airport security, the Washington Post reported. In the early days of the pandemic, daily totals fell below 100,000 on some days.

The impact of mass travel and Thanksgiving gatherings could mean a flood of new cases just before Christmas.

“When you look at people who are hospitalised today, they were infected two weeks ago, maybe more,” Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN. “And then it takes usually another week for folks to succumb to the illness.”

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