Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike incases overwhelms hospitals. The crisis prompted the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center for the ill.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Sunday night issued a stay home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order.
“We are in a crisis stage,” said Samaniego, the county’s top elected official.
Earlier Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 50 hospital beds will be set up in the convention center and another 50 beds could be added if needed.
Abbott ordered the alternate care site to expand hospital capacity in the El Paso area in response to the coronavirus surge, he said. The site, scheduled to open this week, will provide additional medical equipment and medical personnel.
The surge in El Paso cases comes as President Donald Trump downplayed the virus’ effect on Texas, saying during last week’s presidential debate: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”
The state has already provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will be staffing the convention center site.
“The alternate care site and auxiliary medical units will reduce the strain on hospitals in El Paso as we contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” Abbott said.
El Paso County health officials reported 772 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a day after a record 1,216 new cases were reported, making up more than 20% of the 3,793 new cases reported statewide. That brought the total cases since the pandemic first hit Texas to 862,375. An estimated 91,885 active cases was the most since Aug. 30, and the 5,206 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported statewide Sunday was the most since Aug. 22.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to how personal responsibility and social distancing is the key to ending the spread of the coronavirus.
EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso civic center will be converted into a medical care site and some patients will be flown to other cities as local hospitals are being inundated with COVID-19 patients.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Sunday evening issued a stay-at-home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless going to work or going to an essential service. Violation of the order is punishable by a $500 fine.
“We are in a crisis stage,” Samaniego said, adding that hospitals and intensive care units were filling to capacity.
The curfew is intended to help slow the spread of the virus by reducing the number of people out in public.
As of Sunday morning, a record 786 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 in El Paso, an increase of 71 patients from the day before, and the number of known active cases was a new record with 11,321, according to city-county health data.
El Paso County saw a new record high in coronavirus cases: 1,443 new cases were reported Monday morning, and one new death.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday that the Texas Division of Emergency Management will set up an emergency care site with hospital beds, equipment and medical personnel at the civic center this week.
The civic center site will have a capacity of 50 beds and can expand to 100 beds, if needed, the office of the governor said.
Coronavirus updates: In one-week span, US reports highest number of cases since pandemic began; states struggle to contain COVID spread
‘Please stay home’
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is deploying two 35-member disaster medical assistance teams and a trauma critical care team to El Paso, Abbott said. The teams will arrive this week.
El Paso public health officials on Sunday again issued a plea for residents to stay home for two weeks to help curb coronavirus infections.
“In less than three weeks we’ve spiked from 259 to 786 COVID-related hospitalizations – a 300% increase. If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire healthcare system,” El Paso Public Health Director Angela Mora said in a statement.
“For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve,” she said.
The increase in COVID-19 patients means there are fewer
The rule of six and 10pm pubs curfew are likely to have had “zero effect” on coronavirus transmission in England, a study has claimed.
The study by the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) examined the impact of both measures, which were introduced last month.
It interviewed thousands of individuals to assess if their contacts had been reduced by the rule of six, working from home and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
It found that 42% of the 3,222 individuals it surveyed about the rule of six had the same amount of contacts before and after the measure was introduced.
Just over three out of ten (31%) reduced their contacts, while 26% saw more people after the rule was introduced.
Researchers interviewed 1,868 people about the 10pm pubs curfew and found the data was “consistent with no change in other contacts”.
When asked about the 10pm closure, 50% said their number of contacts had remained the same, while 25% said they had decreased and 24% said they had increased.
In its conclusion, the authors of the study wrote: “We determine that the rule of six and encouraging people to work from home, has seen the average person reduce contacts but these reductions are likely small.
Watch: Revellers head out before rule of six comes into force
“There was little suggestion that 10pm closure has affected the number of contacts that participants make outside home, work and school.
“In contrast to national restrictions, there was a strong suggestion that local restrictions reduced the number of contacts individuals make outside of work and school, though again, this effect was small in comparison to the national lockdown.”
The study has yet to be peer reviewed.
The rule of six was introduced on 14 September, followed ten days later by the pubs curfew.
One government science adviser said the rule of six laws “did not go far enough”.
Earlier this month, it emerged the government’s own scientific advisers had warned that the 10pm curfew would have only a “marginal impact” on the spread of coronavirus.
There was criticism that prime minister Boris Johnson “never discussed” the curfew with his science advisers, one of whom described the plan as “fairly trivial” and said it would have a “very small impact on the epidemic”.
Watch: Can you catch coronavirus twice?
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El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego issued the curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Sunday night for the next two weeks to help curb the rising rates.
The county — which includes the city of El Paso and sits in the southwest border of Texas above Juarez, Mexico — has seen a 160% increase in positivity rate since October 1 and a 300% increase in hospitalizations, the judge said.
“We’ve had significant spikes to the point that our hospital capacity is really tapped. We’re probably at the end of our rope there,” Mayor Dee Margo told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Newsroom Sunday night. “It’s not good here at all.”
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) resources will arrive in Texas this week, including two 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a Trauma Critical Car Team, according to a statement from Governor Greg Abbott’s office.
Curfew imposed to slow spread
“The curfew is enough to limit the economic consequences on local businesses by allowing the stores to stay open. We carefully thought about the economic impact if we were to impose a full stay at home order like we did at the beginning of this process,” Samaniego explained.
“We know the impact it would have for you not to be able to go to work. So we’re going to do everything possible to continue moving towards the balancing of the economy and making sure that we adhere to public health and everything that is required for us to continue our battle against this very insidious virus,” he added.
Those who don’t comply with orders could face a fine of $250 for not wearing a mask and $500 for not following the order, Samaniego said.
Mayor Margo said that while there hasn’t been one cause identified for the recent surge, many cases have been attributed to community spread and people letting their guard down.
“We did an analysis for two weeks on 2,404 cases from October 6 through October 20 and what we found is that 37% of our positives were from visiting large big-box stores, 22.5% were restaurants, and 19% were travel to Mexico,” Margo explained, adding that 10% were attributed to parties and reunions, 7.5% were due to gyms and only 4% were due to large gatherings.
The mayor urged people to
COVID ravaged McKinley County, where roughly 74% of the population is non-Hispanic Native American — mostly Navajo and Zuni — and access to resources is scarce.
As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the U.S. and Europe, a patient from the Netherlands was airlifted to a German intensive care unit Friday, the first such international airlift since the global pandemic began.
In the U.S., new coronavirus restrictions in Chicago go into effect Friday for two weeks as the nation’s third largest city fights a surge of COVID-19 infections. Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced a 10 p.m. curfew for all nonessential businesses and ordered bars and breweries without food licenses to shut down indoor service.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, more high school football fans will be allowed to attend games in open-air stadiums in some parishes starting Friday. Stadiums will be allowed to have crowds at 50% capacity in parishes where less than 5% of coronavirus tests have been positive in the last two weeks, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday.
Here’s what to know today:
- France surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. India, Brazil, Russia, Argentina and Spain previously passed that grim milestone.
- The U.S. reported more than 71,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins data. The last time daily cases exceeded 71,000 was during the summer surge in July.
- Wyoming on Thursday became one of the last states to reach 10,000 cases, with half of its infections reported in the last month, according to USA TODAY analysis. Only New Hampshire (9,994), Maine (6,063) and Vermont (1,987) had less than 10,000 cases as of Thursday night.
- President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden sparred bitterly over the pandemic Thursday during the second and final debate. Trump claimed the virus would “go away” while Biden warned of a “dark winter.”
- Pfizer is the only leading drug company that’s producing a coronavirus vaccine to allow minors into trails. The company recently lowered the age of participation to 16, aiming to include at least 3,000 older teens.
- The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.4 million cases and 223,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 41.7 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
When will there be a COVID-19 vaccine? In general, scientists and public health experts say a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved at the earliest by December, but that doesn’t mean it will be widely available to most Americans. The federal government is developing a distribution plan that would get vaccines to various populations first, such as essential workers, those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and the elderly. See what USA TODAY’s expert panel has to say.
Why people of color are dying from COVID-19: Communities
PARIS — The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night on the first day of the government-imposed 9 p.m. curfew that is to last at least four weeks.
The measure was announced this week by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgent coronavirus as new daily infections peaked last week to over 30,000. Macron said the curfews were needed to stop hospitals from becoming overrun.
Many restaurant owners are up in arms about the move that is forcing them to close early, something that they say will devastate the industry.
In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and eerily deserted scenes were observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6 a.m. daily.
France has seen over 33,300 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the fourth-highest death toll in Europe.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— New infections and deaths are hitting records in Russia, but Vladimir Putin’s government appears determined to avoid unpopular restrictions.
— Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge
— Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term
— Chancellor Angela Merkel urges Germans to unite against the virus like they did in the spring, says what Christmas and the winter looks like depends on people’s actions now.
— Iran’s virus death toll passes 30,000, the worst outbreak in the Mideast.
— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from the sharpest recession in modern history but a resurgence in coronavirus cases will likely lead to a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
JERUSALEM — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox elementary schools and religious schools known as yeshivas opened in Israel on Sunday in violation of a government lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Israeli government only permitted nurseries and kindergartens to reopen in person on Sunday as part of country’s first phase of easing restrictions following a month-long lockdown, but schools, learning centers and universities are to conduct classes remotely.
On Saturday, a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi — who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month — called for religious grade schools and yeshivas to reopen, despite government regulations. Police said officers were dispatched to a number of reopened schools in ultra-Orthodox towns, ordered them to send students home and issued fines.
Israel has recorded over 300,000 cases, including nearly 2,200 deaths. The country’s ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom live in densely populated neighborhoods with large families, has been disproportionately affected. Some members of the community have flouted the rules, holding weddings and mass prayers inside synagogues in conditions that help spread the disease.
MILAN — The Italian government has approved 40 billion euros ($47 billion) in new spending to counter the pandemic’s economic blow.
The stimulus package announced Sunday includes an additional 1 billion euros to the national health care system, plus funds to
A small victory in Miami on Friday could shift the power in favor of businesses who are fighting against local COVID-19 restrictions in South Florida.
Tootsie’s strip club in Miami Gardens won in a civil lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, and will be able to stay open past the county’s coronavirus curfew, which the judge called “illegal.”
The curfew has been in place nearly three months to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms at midnight, which is when clubs typically open. In a number of cases, establishments such as Tootsie’s that stayed open were fined and forced to shut down at midnight.
The situation has been similar in Broward. Earlier this month, nightclub owners demanded answers from Broward Mayor Dale Holness, who said businesses would still have to shut down at 11 p.m. even after Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed South Florida into a Phase 2 reopening.
In Miami-Dade, Judge Beatrice Butchko ruled that Tootsie’s can operate all night because of DeSantis’ statewide decree, which effectively snatched power from local governments to enforce COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.
DeSantis’ order allowed counties and cities to set capacity limits for restaurants, but kept local governments from issuing rules that kept people from working.
“The Miami-Dade curfew orders conflict with [DeSantis’ executive order] because they prohibit Tootsie’s from operating; they prohibit employees and contractors from working; and they reduce capacity to zero for the entire time subject to the curfew,” Butchko wrote in the ruling.
Sports radio host Andy Slater broke the news that Tootsie’s won the suit.
Miami-Dade and Broward imposed the curfews in July to crack down on late-night parties in bars, streets and in private homes. The curfews also affected restaurants that had to close their dining rooms early.
Sun Sentinel staff writer Rafael Olmeda contributed to this report.
Brooke Baitinger can be reached at: email@example.com, 954-422-0857 or Twitter: @bybbaitinger
©2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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Belgium will tighten coronavirus restrictions from Monday in an effort to hold the disease in check
The measures are set to enter force from Monday. The curfew will be enforced from midnight until 5:00 a.m. Alcohol sales will be banned after 8:00 p.m. The number of people that Belgians should see socially outside family members will be reduced from three to a maximum of just one — all month.
People have been ordered to work from home wherever possible.
Belgium, which has a population of around 11.5 million, is one of the European countries hardest hit by the disease. Almost 6,000 new cases were recorded each day on average over the last week. In all, about 192,000 people have contracted the disease and 10,327 have died.
“The number of confirmed cases is rising, every day, and not just by a few percentage points,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters in Brussels as he unveiled the new restrictions. “We can see that our hospitals and medical services are under tremendous pressure.”
“Thirty-five people died yesterday from the effects of COVID-19,” De Croo said, and he warned that the number of cases is likely to keep rising this week and next. “In the days to come, the news will be bad,” he said.
The country’s finance and employment ministries will launch a support plan to help keep restaurants and cafes afloat. They’ve been struggling to get back on their feet in recent months due to the impact of the virus. Earlier this month, bars and cafes in the capital Brussels were ordered to close early.
The impact of the closures will be reviewed in two weeks.
Yves Van Laethem, a spokesman for Belgium’s COVID-19 crisis center, said earlier Friday that “new measures are needed, because we see all the figures, all the data, mounting and all the indicators … remain in the red.”
Almost 2,000 people are currently in hospital due to the virus, more than 300 of them in intensive care. Around 180 are being admitted every day, on average.
Van Laethem urged people not to hit bars and night spots or gather in large groups for a final party.
He warned of the impact of such acts after Belgium first went into confinement in mid-March, saying that “this kind of behavior led to the infection spreading and quite a few people found themselves in hospital. So, please, avoid this kind of stupid behavior.”
Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
PARIS — French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new virus infections.
France registered more than 30,000 virus cases Thursday, its highest single-day jump since the pandemic began, and nearly 200 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.
Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot told Le Parisien newspaper she is negotiating for exceptions to a monthlong curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. across the Paris region and eight other metropolitan areas. The curfew comes into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it.
“The French culture world isn’t invincible, it needs help,” author and filmmaker Yoann Sfar, who has a new movie coming out, said Friday on RTL radio.
One movie theater chain will start opening at 8 a.m. in hopes of making up evening losses. Since Paris restaurants generally open at 7 or 7:30 p.m. for dinner, some might close altogether because it no longer makes financial sense to stay open for such a short shift.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Europe, U.S. reel as virus infections surge at record pace, prompt new restrictions
— White House puts political operatives at CDC to try to control virus information
— Thousands arrive in Hawaii on first day pre-travel testing allowing no quarantine
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The number of deaths in Hungary caused by the coronavirus hit a new record on Friday, for the second day in a row as the epidemic is gaining momentum.
Hungarian health authorities reported 33 deaths over the past 24 hours, up from 29 a day earlier. The total number of confirmed infections since the outbreak of the pandemic stood at 41,732, including 1,085 deaths. The number of patients needing hospital treatment was 1,642, of whom 171 were on ventilators.
The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has implemented less severe measures than in other neighboring countries during the second wave of the contagion.
Hungarians are required to wear masks on public transportation, shops, malls and entertainment venues, as well state-run health care institutions. Restaurants and clubs close at 11 pm and visitors are banned from hospitals and nursing homes. Policy makers have repeatedly stressed that shielding the economy from the fallout caused by the pandemic is a critical priority for the government.
GENEVA — Europe is at a “turning point” in the fight against the coronavirus, the head of Switzerland’s biggest hospital complex says, acknowledging growing public fatigue over anti-COVID measures but insisting people must buckle down as the country grapples with record daily case counts.
CEO Bertrand Levrat of Geneva University Hospitals, which counts 12,000 personnel, spoke to The Associated Press at a time when Switzerland — like many other European countries — is fighting a second wave of coronavirus cases that grew in large part out of a