U.S. reported 80,000 cases in a day; France extends curfew
Grim data highlighted the struggle for authorities around the world to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control on Saturday, as the U.S. reported 80,000 infections in a single day, France extended a curfew to two-thirds of citizens and Germany’s death toll passed 10,000.
The World Health Organization had earlier warned of an “exponential” rise in infections threatening health systems’ ability to cope.
Clashes over restrictions
But populations weary of social isolation and economic hardship have pushed back against fresh restrictions to slow the resurgent virus’ spread, including overnight clashes in hard-hit Naples between Italian police and hundreds of protesters.
In the U.S., COVID-19 has become a central election issue ahead of a November 3 vote, with President Donald Trump on Friday promising attendees at a Florida rally that “we’re going to quickly end this pandemic, this horrible plague.”
Meanwhile, challenger Joe Biden matched Mr. Trump’s vow to make a vaccine available for free to all who want it “whether or not you’re insured” and said the Republican incumbent has “given up” on controlling the outbreak.
Johns Hopkins University had earlier reported 79,963 new American cases in 24 hours, a new record, although the number of daily deaths has remained broadly stable since the beginning of autumn at between 700 and 800.
Overall, more than 2,23,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.
France on Friday followed Spain past the milestone of one million cases, while the government extended an overnight curfew designed to slow the spread to affect some 46 million people.
And after Germany recorded its 10,000th death from the novel coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel told citizens that “the order of the day is to reduce contacts, to meet as few people as possible” in a weekly video podcast.
In Poland, President Andrzej Duda tested positive for COVID-19.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that “too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close to or above capacity — and we’re still only in October.”
Across the world, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 1.1 million people and infected close to 42 million, with the WHO warning the northern hemisphere was at a critical juncture.