Stoinis doubtful for 2nd ODI after picking side injury


Sydney [Australia], November 27 (ANI): Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis may be a doubtful started for the second ODI against India as he picked up a side injury during the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

According to an ESPNcricinfo report, Stoinis left the field two balls into his seventh over, and although Australia called the decision not to bring him back out precautionary, Stoinis is set to have a scan on Friday night.

Australia won the opening game by 66 runs after an all-round performance and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The quick turnaround between matches — the second game is on Sunday — would seem to make it unlikely he would be available for the next game.

The all-rounder bowled 6.2 overs and gave just 25 runs after failing to put up a show with the bat. Stoinis was picked up by Yuzvendra Chahal for a first-ball duck.

Cameron Green, the Western Australia allrounder, could come in as a replacement for Stoinis. Green was picked largely on the back of his first-class record, with his List A numbers being more modest.

All-rounders Moises Henriques, Ashton Agar and Sean Abbott are the other options for Australia for the second ODI on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the hosts won the toss and opted to bat first. Skipper Aaron Finch (114) and Steve Smith’s (105) tons guided the hosts to a mammoth 374/6 in their 50 overs.

Defending the target, leg-spinner Adam Zampa joined Josh Hazlewood with the ball to derail the Indian batting line-up. While Zampa finished with figures of 4/54 from his 10, Hazlewood picked three from his 10 overs and gave away 55 runs.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan (74) and all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s (90) knocks were the only positives for the visitors in the game. (ANI)



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Australia vs India Tips and Odds – 2nd ODI Cricket Match 2020


Australia host
India
at Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday November 29, 2020. Australia are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 2:40 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Australia vs.
India
game live.

When: Sunday November 29, 2020 at 2:40 pm

Where: Sydney Cricket Ground

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Australia vs India Odds

Australia vs India Preview

Australia are searching for an early kill of India in their three-match ODI series after producing a dominant performance in Friday’s opener.

The home side racked up a massive 6/374 in their 50 overs. Aaron Finch (114 off 124 balls) and David Warner (69 off 76) set the platform with a 156-run first-wicket stand.

Steve Smith then carved out the third-fastest ODI century ever by an Australia, smashing 105 from just 66 balls. The brilliant Glenn Maxwell (45 off 19) chipped in withe blistering, trademark cameo.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini both went for over eight an over. Mohammad Shami (3/59) was easily the pick of the Indian bowlers.

A 128-run stand from Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 86) and Hardik Pandya (90 off 76) for the fifth wicket kept India in the hunt. But the tourists were always behind the eight-ball after Virat Kohli was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood for 21.

Hazlewood finished with 3/55, while Adam Zampa took 4/54.

Australia are $1.54 favourites to wrap up the series – and they look tough to beat with their big guns all firing. Kohli is the key to India sending it to a decider; expect the skipper to stand tall.

Content provided by Palmerbet

Head To Head Bet

We”re tipping Australia to win at $1.54 odds.

Top India Batsman

Top India Batsman
Virat Kohli at $3.00.





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2nd Trump lawyer asks to pull out of case challenging Pennsylvania election


Linda Kerns had served as a primary attorney in Trump’s Pennsylvania lawsuits.

Republican attorney Linda A. Kerns submitted papers with the U.S. District Court Monday saying she had “reached a mutual agreement that Plaintiffs will be best served” if she withdrew.

She was joined in the motion by two other attorneys — colleagues who only recently signed on to the case with her.

Kerns is a veteran of election law battles in Pennsylvania and has written publicly about her desire to see voter ID laws passed to prevent election fraud.

She had served as the primary attorney on the central Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania challenging the election’s outcome. It is not clear why she has asked to step aside.

Over the weekend, the Trump campaign asked the court to sanction lawyers at a firm helping defend the state in the case, saying someone from the firm left a harassing message on Kerns’ voicemail.

Lawyers from Ohio firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur recently asked to withdraw from the federal lawsuit the Trump campaign filed in Pennsylvania to challenge the election results there.

On Friday President Donald Trump installed Rudy Giuliani to lead the legal efforts he has mounted to resuscitate his failed bid for a second term in office, a move that came after a series of court defeats on Friday, two sources told ABC News.

A spokesperson for Giuliani confirmed his expanded role for the president.

Biden holds a lead of more than 59,500 votes in Pennsylvania. On Friday, the Trump campaign suffered adverse rulings in six cases in the state, which together determined that 8,921 votes the Trump legal team had contested would not be tossed out.

Since Election Day, Giuliani has been a public face of the president’s legal campaign. He has headlined a series of press conferences to claim, without support, that the mishandling of the election and fraud cost Trump the race, despite purported evidence that has been exposed as weak in court.

The announcements from the Trump lawyers seeking to step away came after progressive groups announced protests in front of law firm offices in Washington to protest the president’s legal challenge to the election.

“These law firms have been under tremendous pressure as it became clear these claims were baseless, and that they were part of a broader campaign to delegitimize the election,” Wendy Weiser, from the Brennan Center for Justice, a bipartisan law and public policy institute, told ABC News. “This was not an appropriate use of the court system.”



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2nd virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests – Long Island Business News


Moderna said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be highly effective in a major trial, a second dash of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent virus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.

The company said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from Moderna’s ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.

A vaccine can’t come fast enough, as virus cases topped 11 million in the U.S. over the weekend — 1 million of them recorded in just the past week. The pandemic has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide, more than 245,000 of them in the U.S.

Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” but said having similar results from two different companies is what’s most reassuring.

“That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives,” Hoge told The Associated Press. 

“It won’t be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It’s going to require many vaccines” to meet the global demand, he added.

Still, if U.S. regulators allow emergency use of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s candidates, there will be limited, rationed supplies before the end of the year. Both require people to get two shots, several weeks apart. Moderna expects to have about 20 million doses, earmarked for the U.S., by the end of 2020. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech expect to have about 50 million doses globally by year’s end.

The reaction in global financial markets was immediate. The Dow doubled premarket gains and was up 500 points before the opening bell. Shares of Moderna, which rocketed 13% higher, were likely to hit an all-time high. Markets in Asia and Europe jumped sharply as well.

Moderna’s vaccine, created with the National Institutes of Health, is being studied in 30,000 volunteers who received either the real vaccination or a dummy shot. On Sunday, an independent monitoring board broke the code to examine 95 infections that were recorded starting two weeks after volunteers’ second dose — and discovered all but five illnesses occurred in participants who got the placebo.

The study is continuing, and Moderna acknowledged the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 infections are detected and added to the calculations. Also, it’s too soon to know how long protection lasts. Both cautions apply to Pfizer’s vaccine as well.

But Moderna’s independent monitors reported some additional, promising tidbits: All 11 severe COVID-19 cases were among placebo recipients, and there were no significant safety concerns.

The main side effects were fatigue, muscle aches and injection-site pain after the vaccine’s second dose, at rates that Hoge characterized as more common than with flu shots but on par with others such as shingles vaccine.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company’s vaccine is among 11 candidates in late-stage testing around the world, four of them in huge studies in the U.S.

Both Moderna’s shots and the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate are so-called mRNA vaccines, a brand-new technology. They aren’t made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there’s no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

The strong results were a surprise. Scientists have warned for months that any COVID-19 shot may be only as good as flu vaccines, which are about 50% effective. 

Another steep challenge: distributing doses that must be kept very cold. Both the Moderna and Pfizer shots are frozen but at different temperatures. Moderna announced Monday that once thawed, its doses can last longer in a refrigerator than initially thought, up to 30 days. Pfizer’s shots require long-term storage at ultra-cold temperatures.





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Religious leaders welcome Joe Biden’s election as 2nd Catholic to win presidency


“To everything there is a season,” Biden said in his victory speech.

Some prominent U.S. Catholic leaders praised the historic moment over the weekend as they welcomed the president-elect.

During his victory speech Saturday night, Biden — who regularly attends mass and has long been open about his faith — quoted Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 from the Bible.

“To everything there is a season: a time to build, a time to reap, and a time to sow and a time to heal,” he said. “This is the time to heal in America.”

He also ended his speech by quoting the Catholic hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” to underscore his message of unity and healing.

“And now together on eagles’ wings, we embark on the work that God and history have called us to do with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice,” he said. “Let us be the nation that we know we can be — a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed.”

Father James Martin, who delivered the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention and serves as an adviser to Pope Francis, tweeted that Biden’s use of the hymn made his phone “buzz like crazy.”

“This means four years of not only a Catholic president, but an injection of #Catholic culture into our national conversation in a way probably not seen since JFK,” he tweeted.

John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic president when he was elected in 1960.

In 2015, Biden told the weekly Jesuit publication America Magazine that he shared a lot of the pope’s doctrine.

“He’s the embodiment of the Catholic social doctrine I was raised with,” Biden said of Francis. “The idea that everyone is entitled to dignity, that the poor should be given special preference, that you have an obligation to reach out and be inclusive.”

Despite the historic nature of his presidential run, Biden did not have a landslide victory with Catholic voters, according to ABC News’ exit polls. Roughly 51% of respondents who identified as Catholic voted Democratic in this year’s election, according to the poll. Some conservative Catholics who disagree with Biden on issues like abortion voted instead for President Donald Trump.

Last year, a priest in South Carolina denied Biden communion due to the former vice president’s stance on abortion.

Biden, however, received commendations from Catholic leaders after he was declared the winner of the election Saturday.

Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice lobby group NETWORK and leader of “Nuns on the Bus,” said in a statement that Catholics aren’t one-issue voters.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents all the nation’s bishops, also congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a statement and called for unity among Americans.

“Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline,” the statement said. “It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy.”





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Ontario reports 1,328 new COVID-19 cases, marking new record for 2nd straight day


Ontario reported 1,328 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking a new single-day peak for a second day in a row.

The Ontario health ministry reported 1,132 new cases on Saturday, for a total of 2,460 cases over the weekend. Both totals surpassed the previous high of 1,050, which was reported on Tuesday. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province processed under 37,600 tests since its last daily report. 

Ontario says it wants to build capacity for up to 100,000 tests for the novel coronavirus each day by mid-December. The province, however, has never surpassed its current capacity of about 50,000, let alone approached its mid-November target of 68,000.

Toronto saw 434 of Sunday’s new cases, followed by 385 in Peel Region, 105 in York Region, and 71 in Ottawa.  

A handful of other public health units also reported double-digit increases: 

  • Hamilton: 68
  • Durham Region: 56
  • Halton Region: 43
  • Waterloo Region: 23
  • Windsor: 22
  • Niagara: 21
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 20
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 18
  • Sudbury: 12
  • Eastern Ontario: 10

The province’s seven-day average of new cases, a measure that provides a clearer understanding of long-term trends, also reached a new record-high for the seventh day in a row and now sits at 1,063. 

Province marks 13 more deaths 

Ontario is also reporting 13 more deaths — the sixth straight day of double-digit increases. The province’s official death toll stands at 3,233. 

Sunday’s new cases bring Ontario’s official total of cases since the outbreak began in late January to 84,153. Of those, 71,815 are considered resolved. Some 877 cases were marked resolved in today’s update. 

The health ministry is reporting a total of 374 patients currently in hospital with COVID-19, though it says a number of hospitals do not submit data on weekends. 

The ministry also said data concerning the number of patients in intensive care and on ventilators is currently unavailable. 

The health ministry says there are currently 91 long-term care homes battling COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario.

Currently, there are 75 long-term care residents with COVID-19, an increase of 45 from Saturday. 

Peel imposes stricter public health measures 

The new figures come as most of Ontario’s hot spots imposed less stringent health measures on Saturday, according to the terms of a new colour-coded assessment system that classifies regions as red, orange, yellow or green.

Health restrictions in red zones include limiting indoor dining capacity and gyms to 10 patrons.

Meanwhile, Peel Region has rejected the province’s COVID-19 guidelines as too lenient and is bringing its own directives that are stricter than those required for red zones.

“It is time to shrink our lives to stop COVID-19 from growing completely out of control,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, the top doctor in Peel Region, said in a written statement.

On Saturday, Peel Public Health issued directives to the area that are stricter than those required for red zones. (CBC)

 

“These directives are strict, but they are what is needed to keep people in Peel working and learning, and able to access food, medical care and the basics of everyday life.”

Loh said the region’s indicators are heading in the wrong direction, and swift action is needed.

“Residents of Peel must restrict their contact to members of their household and essential supports only. Those that live alone may join one designated household,” the public health unit said.

Residents are also not allowed to invite members of other households into their homes or yards, unless there’s an emergency.

The region is also barring wedding receptions “and associated gatherings” starting on Nov. 13 and lasting until at least Jan. 7, 2021.

“Social gatherings celebrating holidays and life events in business establishments” will be banned on the same day, while religious services and rites will be urged to go online if possible.

Peel asked to stay in modified Stage 2, province rejected request

In-person religious events, including wedding ceremonies and funerals, must reduce indoor capacity to 30 per cent, with a maximum of 50 people per facility.

Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls, must also close.

And workplaces have to prohibit all non-essential visitors and make work-from-home options available as much as  possible.

The orange level of the new provincial system limits bars and restaurants to 50 people indoors, with no more than four seated together.

Health officials in Peel had asked that the region remain under a modified Stage 2 — the restriction classification system previously used by the government — which involves more stringent rules such as a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars.

But the province rejected that request, instead classifying it as a red zone.

Toronto is to stay in modified Stage 2 for another week.



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Nitish Kumar: Tejashwi Yadav, 4 ministers of Nitish Kumar government in fray in 2nd phase


PATNA: The stage is set for the second and, arguably, the most crucial of the three phases of Bihar assembly elections in which over 2.85 crore voters will decide the fate of nearly 1,500 candidates on Tuesday.

Voting will take place on November 3 in 94 assembly segments, more than a third of the 243-strong assembly spread across 17 districts, all of which but three — Patna, Bhagalpur and Nalanda — are situated north of the Ganges.

Notable among the candidates is the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, the opposition Grand Alliance’s Chief Ministerial candidate, who has been aggressively trying to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor against the Nitish Kumar government.

The 31-year-old is seeking re-election from Raghopur in Vaishali district which he had wrested back for his party from the BJP’s Satish Kumar in 2015. The BJP leader had defeated Yadav’s mother Rabri Devi, a former chief minister, in 2010.

The BJP has retained its trust in Satish Kumar, hoping that the giant killer will be able to do a repeat of 2010 when, like this time, JD(U) president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was with the NDA.

Tejashwi’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav is trying his luck from Hasanpur in Samastipur district, shifting his base from Mahua in Vaishali.

There were said to be fears in the RJD camp that Tej Pratap’s bid to retain Mahua could be challenged by the NDA through his estranged wife Aishwarya as its trump card.

She is already taking an active part in the campaign for her father Chandrika Roy in Parsa, which he has represented a number of times and is seeking to retain on a JD(U) ticket this time.

All the four assembly segments in the capital city – Patna Sahib, Kumhrar, Bankipur and Digha – are also going to polls in the second phase.

All these are held by the BJP.

State minister Nand Kishore Yadav is in the fray trying to retain Patna Sahib for a seventh consecutive term.

Multiple-term MLA Nitin Nabin faces a challenge in Bankipur from Congress candidate Luv Sinha, who is the son of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, a two-time local MP who lost the seat when he entered the fray after quitting the BJP.

The BJP has retained as its candidates Arun Sinha and Sanjiv Chaurasia for Kumhrar and Digha respectively.

Seven constituencies of Nalanda district, to which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar belongs, also go to polls in the second phase.

Barring Hilsa, represented by the RJD’s Shakti Singh Yadav, and Bihar Sharif, which two-term MLA Sunil Kumar retained on a BJP ticket in 2015, all the remaining five were won by the JD(U).

The assembly segment named after the district is represented by state minister Shrawan Kumar who is seeking re-election from the seat.

The JD(U) has suffered a setback in the reserved Rajgir seat where its sitting MLA Ravi Jyoti, a former police inspector, is now the fray on a Congress ticket.

Two other ministers Ram Sevak Singh (JDU) and Rana Randhir Singh (BJP) are trying their luck from Hathua and Madhuban in Gopalganj and East Champaran districts respectively. The ministers are sitting MLAs from the respective seats.

Many “bahubalis” or their wives, sons, brothers or other close relatives are also contesting a number of seats.

Of the 1,463 candidates in the fray on the 94 seats, nearly 10 per cent (146) are women. Among the 2.85 crore voters, females account for 1.35 crore.

Maharajganj has the maximum number of 27 candidates for any constituency while Darauli (04) has the lowest.

Among the major parties, the RJD is contesting 56 of the 94 seats while its ally Congress is contesting 24. The CPI and CPI(M), which joined the Grand Alliance recently, are fighting four seats each. Quite a few seats are being contested by the CPI(ML), the Left outfit with the strongest presence in Bihar.

BJP candidates are in the fray in 46 of the seats, while another 43 are being contested by those with JD(U) tickets. Mukesh Sahni’s VIP, the latest entrant in the NDA, is contesting the remaining five.

The LJP is contesting 52 seats, including the two it had won in 2015 contesting as an NDA constituent. The party has fielded one transgender candidate too in this phase.

The bid of Raju Tiwari and Raj Kumar Sah to retain Govindganj and Lalganj respectively is being challenged by the BJP.

According to the Election Commission, votes will be cast at a total of 41,362 polling stations.





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Why experts aren’t declaring victory yet despite fewer COVID-19 deaths so far in Ontario’s 2nd wave


As Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case counts have risen this fall, those with an eye on the data may see reason for optimism in the lower numbers of deaths. 

In the spring, the province experienced a wave of fatalities. Typically, there were between 20 and 60 reported deaths a day. By mid-May, nearly 2,000 Ontarians had died. 

Since cases began rising again in September, the daily number of people dying from COVID-19 has been noticeably lower in comparison, ranging between one and 10 per day. 

“There’s a definite trend towards improvement, but with a caveat,” Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Sinai Health in Toronto, told CBC News. “We haven’t observed where that trend is going to end up.”

Health officials in Ontario are also registering some concern, pointing out a recent increase in long-term care home deaths despite an overall projection of slowing growth in novel coronavirus cases.

Although it’s too soon to tell what the impact of the second wave will ultimately be, Stall said, he and other experts have some theories about what’s behind the fall data to this point — and what could be coming next.

Learning about the virus

In the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals were “taken unaware,” said Dr. Amol Verma, a physician and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “There was a lot of chaos.”

Over eight months, Verma said, he and his colleagues have learned to detect the virus earlier and treat it more effectively.

A pharmacist displays an ampoule of Dexamethasone at the Erasme Hospital in Brussels, Belgium. Dexamethasone is one of several corticosteroids found to improve survival rates of COVID-19 patients sick enough to be in intensive care. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

During the summer, steroids emerged as a fruitful treatment, he said. COVID-19 patients are also more likely to get supplemental oxygen sooner, which can have a “life-saving benefit,” he said.

“Someone who gets COVID-19 today is more likely to survive and have a better outcome than someone who got COVID-19 in the spring.”

Widespread testing, younger patients 

The segments of the population that are contracting the virus right now may be even more important to the lower death numbers, Verma said.

In the most recent provincial data, from Thursday, more than half of new cases were among people under 40 — carrying on a trend seen for several months.

“It’s infecting younger, healthier people right now,” he said. “And we’re testing more than in the spring.”

Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, agrees those are critical factors. 

WATCH |Fewer people are dying during second wave, but that might not last, experts warn: 

Epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan says we are seeing a reduced number of COVID-19 deaths during the second wave because the long-term care population is better protected, but he warns that is starting to change. 0:31

But that may be where the good news ends. 

Deonandan said that COVID-19 comes with a built-in “lagging issue,” in that it takes time for the virus to develop and get worse and then to spread from younger to older populations.  

“It may just be a matter of waiting,” he said. “Wait a few weeks and the death rates might rise.”

Long-term care residents remain at risk

That’s exactly the concern of Stall, the Sinai Health geriatrician — especially when it comes to Ontario’s still vulnerable long-term care homes.

Although there have been improvements since the spring’s devastating outbreaks — when such issues as insufficient knowledge and lack of personal protective equipment hastened the spread of the virus — Stall said problems such as crowding and under-staffing continue to pose a threat.

“For long-term care, it’s not possible that we could do worse than we did the first time around. It’s really hard to imagine that,” he said.

A chart indicating the number of COVID-19 deaths per day in Ontario. The sudden spike in early October consists of previously unreported deaths from the spring and summer that turned up in a data review conducted by the province. (Ontario Public Health)

Ontario’s newest numbers, released on Thursday, show that the risk for long-term care residents remains.

In Thursday’s update, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, who is advising the province on its pandemic response, said deaths in long-term care homes are increasing sharply.

“We have more [long-term care] deaths in the last week — 27 — than we did between the entire period between Aug. 15 and Oct. 8,” he said. 

Little ‘wiggle room’ in hospitals

If more people become critically ill with the virus, doctors such as Stall and Verma are also warning that Ontario hospitals may be less equipped to receive them than in the spring — and less able to help out if long-term care homes are once again plunged into crisis.

In the first wave of the virus, hospital capacity was created by putting off surgeries and other treatments. Many people also refrained from visiting hospital emergency rooms.

Now, Stall said, Ontario hospitals are once again running at between 80 and 100 per cent capacity, and surgeries have resumed. The upcoming flu season could increase the strain even further, doctors are warning.

“We have very little wiggle room,” Stall said.

“The system has to eat all of these cases at some point,” he said. “I don’t know many people who are declaring victory. And I would be very cautious to do so.”



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French PM says 2nd virus wave is here, vastly extends curfew


France’s prime minister has announced a vast extension of the nightly curfew that is intended to curb the spiraling spread of the coronavirus

Hours after the prime minister announced the curfews, public health authorities reported that France had recorded more than 41,600 new virus cases, a daily high since the country began widespread testing. Figures showed France nearing 1 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 999,043 as of Thursday evening.

“In France, like everywhere in Europe, the second wave is here,” Castex said at a news conference, adding that “no one is spared.”

The virus is spreading less rapidly during the second wave but more extensively, the prime minister said. The number of cases of COVID-19 has doubled in France in the past 15 days.

“The situation is grave,” Castex said.

The number of cases reported daily recently has floated around 30,000. However, the count leaped to a new record Thursday, when health authorities reported 41,622 cases in the previous 24 hours. More than 34,200 people have died in France since the start of the pandemic, one of the highest death tolls in Europe.

The prime minister said the national hospital bed occupancy rate is now at more than 44% percent and that four regions, including Paris, have more than half of their intensive care unit beds filled by COVID-19 patients, including the Paris region.

Several other government ministers joined Castex at the news conference as he prepared much of the nation for a stay-at-home life after dark and the need to wear masks outdoors.

France has been using a targeted approach to curb the virus, but some of the regions to go under a curfew have yet to reach alert-level infection rates. Castex said those areas are being placed under curfew for preventive reasons.

In just one week, the infection rate per 100,000 people has climbed by 40%, he said.

“The weeks ahead will be tough…and the number of dead will increase,” he said.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran called the rate at which the virus is spreading “alarming” even if it is less rapid than earlier in the pandemic. The map of areas to go under curfew shows that infections are reaching beyond big cities and into less populated or even rural areas.

The southern coast, from the Pyrenees to Nice, is to go under curfew, along with a mass of areas in the southeast and central France, as well as patches in the north, in the east and around Paris.

ICU beds represent a major challenge, he said, and scheduled operations are being delayed to free up beds. France has increased its ICU beds from 5,100 to 5,800 but can go quickly to 7,700 beds to treat COVID-19 patients.

In another step to better track the virus, the minister in charge of data and electronic communications, Cedric O, formally announced plans for a new application that provides more information than a previous version, included the number of daily cases. When ready, it will replace the failed StopCovid app, which the prime minister recently admitted he had never downloaded.



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