KYJOV, Czech Republic (AP) — Soldiers in Poland are giving coronavirus tests. American National Guard troops with medical training are headed to the Czech Republic to work alongside doctors there. A Czech university student is running blood samples to labs, and the mayor of the capital is taking shifts at a hospital.
With cases surging in many central European countries, firefighters, students and retired doctors are being asked to help shore up buckling health care systems.…
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Marshall Islands has reported its first cases of the coronavirus after two people who flew from Hawaii to a U.S. military base tested positive.
The small Pacific nation had been among the last places in the world to have no reported cases of the virus.
Hundreds of American hospitals are being targeted in cyberattacks by the same Russian hackers who American officials and researchers fear could sow mayhem around next week’s election.
The attacks on American hospitals, clinics and medical complexes are intended to take those facilities offline and hold their data hostage in exchange for multimillion-dollar ransom payments, just as coronavirus cases spike across the United States.
“We expect panic,” one hacker involved in the attacks said in Russian during a private exchange on Monday that was captured by Hold Security, a security company that tracks online criminals.
Some hospitals in New York State and on the West Coast reported cyberattacks in recent days, though it was not clear whether they were part of the attacks, and hospital officials emphasized that critical patient care was not affected.
The Russian hackers, believed to be based in Moscow and St. Petersburg, have been trading a list of more than 400 hospitals they plan to target, according to Alex Holden, the founder of Hold Security, who shared the information with the F.B.I. Mr. Holden said the hackers claimed to have already infected more than 30 of them.
On Wednesday, three government agencies — the F.B.I., the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — warned hospital administrators and security researchers about a “credible threat” of cyberattacks to American hospitals, according to a security executive who listened to the briefing.
Officials and researchers did not name the affected hospitals, but Sonoma Valley Hospital in California said it was still trying to restore its computer systems after an intrusion last week. St. Lawrence Health System in New York confirmed that two of its hospitals, Canton-Potsdam and Gouverneur, were hit by ransomware attacks Tuesday morning that caused them to shut down computer systems and divert ambulances. Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon was also crippled by a ransomware attack Tuesday that froze electronic medical records and delayed surgeries, a hospital representative said.
Employees at that hospital, in Klamath Falls, Ore., were told, “If it’s a P.C., shut it down,” said Thomas Hottman, the public information officer at Sky Lakes.
It was unclear whether those attacks were related to the hacking campaign underway. But the latest breaches were linked to the same Russian hackers who held Universal Health Services, a giant network of more than 400 hospitals, hostage with ransomware last month in what was then considered the largest medical cyberattack of its kind.
The hackers are also the same group behind TrickBot, a vast conduit for ransomware attacks that government hackers and technology executives have targeted in two takedowns over the past month.
In late September, United States Cyber Command started hacking into TrickBot’s infrastructure in an effort to disable it before the election. Microsoft also started taking down TrickBot servers via federal court orders over the past month. The goal of both efforts, officials and executives said, was to pre-empt ransomware attacks on the election that could disrupt voting
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s number of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations continued to surge higher Wednesday as medical professionals have begun to express concern that hospitals could be overwhelmed with patients if no action is taken to slow the virus spread.
Iowa hospitals had 596 coronavirus patients Wednesday, by far the highest number so far in Iowa. The 113 patients admitted in the past 24 hours also was the highest seen since the virus surfaced in Iowa in March. The number of patients needing intensive care unit services has also trended upward in the past month.…
The resurgence and the resulting clampdown sent a shudder through Wall Street. The S&P 500 fell 3.5%, its biggest drop since June, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 943 points, or 3.4%.
French President Emmanuel Macron declared a new nationwide lockdown starting Friday, saying the country has been “overpowered by a second wave.” Many doctors had urged the move, given that 58% of the nation’s intensive care units are now taken up by COVID-19 patients.
Countries such as Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece have closed or otherwise clamped down again on nightspots and imposed other restrictions such as curfews and mandatory mask-wearing. Madrid and other parts of Spain banned all but essential travel in and out of their regions.
“We are deep in the second wave,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “I think that this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas.”
In the U.S., where practically every state is seeing a rise in cases, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of hard-hit Wisconsin has been reduced to pleading with people to stay home, after an order he issued in the spring was overturned by the courts. Illinois’ governor banned indoor dining and drinking in Chicago this week. Other states are likewise considering reimposing restrictions.
The virus has killed more than 250,000 people in Europe and over 227,000 in the U.S., according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The long-feared surge is blamed in part on growing disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing, as well as the onset of cold weather, which is forcing people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
Dr. David Letzer, an infectious-disease specialist who doubles as chairman of the Wisconsin Medical Society’s COVID-19 task force, is getting swamped with patients. He said he was incensed to see people without masks going into a restaurant as he was driving between hospitals.
“I’m just coming from a place with ventilators and people are just going to an indoor restaurant,” he said. “Those are the things that are frustrating and take their toll.”
In the U.S., more than 71,000 people a day are testing positive on average, up from 51,000 two weeks ago. Cases are on the rise in all but two states, Hawaii and Delaware, and deaths are climbing in 39 states, with an average of 805 people dying in the U.S. per day, up from 714 two weeks ago.
Wisconsin, one of the worst hot spots of them all, set records Tuesday for the number of daily infections at nearly 5,300 and deaths with 64. About 12% of the state’s intensive care beds were
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in South Dakota reached new heights for the fourth straight day on Wednesday.
The number of daily new cases also set a record, with 1,270 people testing positive for the virus. The virus has surged in the state and region, sending South Dakota to the nation’s second-worst ranking in new cases per capita over the last two weeks. Johns Hopkins researchers report that one out of roughly every 77 people in the state has tested positive in the last two weeks.
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron ordered his country into a new month-long, nationwide lockdown Wednesday aimed at stopping a fast-rising tide of virus patients filling French hospitals, but said schools and some workplaces will stay open.
With over 520 deaths recorded Tuesday, the French leader said the measure that will come into effect Friday would be the only possible way to successfully fight COVID-19.…
(Bloomberg) — India’s confirmed cases reached just under 8 million as virus infections spread across the country. Europe’s resurgent coronavirus outbreak intensified, with Italy’s new cases reaching a record and France reporting the most deaths since April as stricter measures are weighed on the continent.
Japan passes a bill to offer a free vaccine. In a rare admission, U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged that coronavirus cases are rising in “certain areas” of the Midwest. Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen at least 10% in the past week in 32 states and the nation’s capital as the month-old viral surge increasingly weighs on America’s health-care system.
Pfizer Inc. CEO Albert Bourla said the company may know by the end of October whether its vaccine is effective. Russia has begun production of a second vaccine that hasn’t completed trials.
Global Tracker: Cases top 43.9 million; deaths exceed 1.16 millionEast Europe fights for its life against virus it thought crushedCity locked down for three months has bleak lesson for the worldCan you get Covid twice? What reinfection cases mean: QuickTakeSlow Covid recovery stalks health industry as new cases surgeEuropean governments running out of options to avoid lockdownsVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope
Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.
India Virus Cases Reach Almost 8 Million (12:22 p.m. HK)
India’s total confirmed virus cases reached 7.99 million on Wednesday, according to government data. The nation added 43,893 cases in a day. Coronavirus-related deaths rose to 120,010.
India trails only the U.S. as the nation with the most number of cases. The U.S. has 8.77 million cases, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Iran’s Parliament Speaker Tests Positive (11.26 a.m. HK)
Iranian parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently in self-isolation, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Earlier this month, IRNA reported the country’s nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi as well as Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, a deputy president and top aide to President Hassan Rouhani, had also tested positive for the virus.
Trump Says Midwest ‘Heated Up’ With Cases (10:41 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night acknowledged that coronavirus cases are rising in “certain areas” of the Midwest, a rare admission during the final week of the presidential campaign.
“Certain areas that are heated up right now,” Trump said at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska. “They’ll go down. They’ll go down very quickly. They’ll be down within two weeks, they’re figuring.”
Trump has routinely downplayed the virus while making his closing argument to voters, who have rated his pandemic response poorly, according to opinion polls. The president said again on Tuesday that the country is “turning that corner.”
South Korea’s Moon Says Virus Contained, Seeks to Revive Economy (9:34 a.m. HK)
Video: Health panel proposes colon cancer tests start
People have also begun complaining about long wait times.
“There is some disbelief that you’ve had six months to prepare for this and why haven’t you been training more nurses,” said Dr. Tamás Szakmany, an intensive care doctor in Newport, Wales. But, he said, “it’s not just like you’ve got a car factory and you suddenly need more transmissions, so you train the factory workers to build more transmissions. It’s just not that simple.”
Among doctors and nurses, a sense of battle fatigue has set in. Extra weekend shifts that were intended to be temporary have lasted through the summer, especially in northern cities where coronavirus wards remained busy even as a national lockdown was lifted in the summer. Health workers are calling in sick, many of them with anxiety and depression.
Rapid testing remains scarce for doctors and nurses. And health workers on coronavirus wards are supplied only with basic surgical masks, not the heavier-duty N-95 masks reserved for intensive care units.
“The first time around, it’s almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of medical challenge,” said Paul Whitaker, a respiratory doctor in Bradford, in northern England, where the number of coronavirus patients has returned to its early May peak.
“The hospital provided packed lunches for us all,” Dr. Whitaker added. “People were sending good luck messages. But the prospect of going into another six months, which is almost certainly what it’s going to be, is relatively frightening. How are you going to maintain the morale, the focus and the energy of all these people?”
In the ex-mining and manufacturing towns in England’s north that have been hit hardest by the latest surge of infections, doctors are especially harried. Nearly 40 percent of critically ill patients are now classified as the country’s most deprived, compared to a quarter of such patients in the spring and early summer.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 103 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, continuing a steady spread as people increasingly venture out in the public amid eased social distancing measures.
The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday brought the national caseload to 26,146, including 461 deaths.…