Coronavirus Morning News Brief – December 19: Omicron spread leads to cancellation of holiday events, tightening of restrictions across the world

Fortnum & Mason in London

Just one week before Christmas, Dutch authorities have announced a full lockdown to prevent the spread of the omicron variant. The Dutch hit stores in force on Saturday after Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the plan, which includes the closure of all shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, fitness centers, outdoor sporting activities, cultural venues and schools non-essential. The measure entered into force on Sunday and will remain in force at least until mid-January.

Meanwhile, in Britain, ministers are reportedly considering a plan to stem the spread of the omicron variant via a two-week “circuit breaker” that would bring the country back to the measures last seen in April. The measures would ban reunions between people outside the immediate family living together, except for business purposes, and pubs and restaurants would be restricted during the fortnight to delivery, take-out and field service only.

In London, which is experiencing the strongest British push, Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” or emergency for the first time since the start of the year. The move came as the number of patients in London hospitals rose 29% over the past week and the statement is intended to help city hospitals cope. It calls for closer coordination between different public agencies and could lead to increased support from central government.

With New York on the brink of a possible pandemic disaster, a third of all Broadway shows were on hiatus on Saturday. The list includes “Hadestown”, “Hamilton”, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, “Jagged Little Pill”, “MJ – The Musical”, “Moulin Rouge”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Thoughts of a colored man ”and“ Tina ”.

At Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, “Saturday Night Live,” one of the longest-running network television programs in history, announced just hours before it aired that there would be no ‘live studio audience, claiming on Twitter that there would be “limited cast and crew.” Ultimately, the show opened with Tom Hanks waving to a virtually empty studio, noting that “Covid arrived early this year.” Special guest Paul Rudd appeared, as did Kenan Thompson, the show’s longest-serving actor, along with Tina Fey and Michael Che.

The show aired some brand new skits recorded earlier in the week as well as some from the past.

In other news related to the television industry, CNN said it would close its offices to non-essential employees. This decision was announced Saturday by the president of the network, Jeff Zucker.

Meanwhile, German police foiled an anti-vaccine plot to assassinate Sachsen’s Minister President Michael Kretschmer. Six suspects, believed to be members of a group called the Dresden Offlinevernetzung, or Dresden Offline Network, had indicated in a chat on Telegram, a messaging platform, that they possessed guns and crossbows, Polizei Sachsen said on Twitter. Kretschmer has called for a strict lockdown in Saxony, which has one of the highest infection rates in the country and the lowest vaccination rates.

Finally, Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, who had led efforts to oppose emergency coronavirus pandemic orders and his state’s vaccine warrants, has died after contracting the virus .

Now here are the daily stats for Sunday, December 19.

As of Sunday morning, the world had recorded 274.7 million cases of Covid-19, an increase of 0.6 million new cases and nearly 5.4 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks this information. In addition, 246.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.4 million.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 127,643, a 12% increase. The average number of deaths per day over the same period is 1,296, an increase of 12% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded 51.7 million cases on Sunday, a figure higher than any other country, and a death toll of 827,206. India has the second highest number of officially recorded cases worldwide, more than 34.7 million, and a reported death toll of 477,422. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths from the virus, 617,784, and has slightly more of 22.2 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Sunday, 241.2 million people in the United States – or 72.7% – had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of this population, 61.4%, or 203.7 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been delivered in the United States is now 493.6 million. Breaking down further, 85% of the population over the age of 18 – or 219.4 million people – has received at least one initial vaccination, and 72.4% of the same group – or 186.9 million people – is fully vaccinated. . In addition, 31.6% of this population, or 59.1 million people, has already received a recall.

Some 56.8% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, an increase that is largely unchanged from the previous day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks the information. . So far, 8.7 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide.

Meanwhile, only 7.6% of people in low-income countries received a dose, while in countries like Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the UK and the states – United, at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain single-digit or even lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that wealthy countries immunize people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to administer a single dose to their citizens.

It is essential that the world does a better job of sharing vaccines with the poorest countries.

Sharing vaccines is not just a form of charity. On the contrary, equitable distribution of vaccines is in the health and economic interests of each country and no country will be able to overcome the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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