World Coronavirus Dispatch: China finds infection risk in frozen food packs

Brazil's weekly cases lowest in 5 months, New Zealand has first community case in three weeks, Israel eases curbs and other pandemic-related news across the globe

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus ride bicycle during the morning rush hour in Beijing | Photo: AP/PTI

China finds Covid infection risk on frozen food packaging:China's disease control authority said on Saturday that contact with frozen food packaging contaminated by living new coronavirus could cause infection.The conclusion came as the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected and isolated living coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen cod during efforts to trace the virus in an outbreak reported last week in the city of Qingdao. The finding, a world first, suggests it is possible for the virus to be conveyed over long distances via frozen goods. Read more here 

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 39,681,253

Change Over Yesterday: 341,291

Total Deaths: 1,109,992

Total Recovered: 27,293,615

Nations hit with most cases: US (8,106,752), India (7,494,551), Brazil (5,224,362), Russia (1,376,020) and Argentina (979,119)

US records over 70,000 cases in one day for the first time since July: At least nine states set single-day case records on Friday: Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. And as of midday Saturday, Indiana and Ohio had set records. Epidemiologists warn that nearly half of the states are seeing surges unlike earlier. Read more here 

Brazil’s weekly cases lowest in five months: Brazil reported 24,062 cases, ending a week with the fewest new infections in five months, according to the nation’s Health Ministry. Total cases are 5,224,362. Another 461 people died for a total of 153,675. The week’s toll was the least deadly since the beginning of May, according to the ministry website. Read more here

New Zealand has first community case of covid-19 in three weeks: An Auckland man tested positive for the virus yesterday after developing symptoms the previous day, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday in Auckland. People the man had contact with in the days prior when he may have been infectious have been put in isolation. Earlier, a cluster of 179 cases in Auckland was eliminated in early October. Read more here 

Israel eases coronavirus restrictions with new cases declining: The spread of the virus has slowed in Israel four weeks after it became the only rich nation to go into a second nationwide lockdown. So far, there have been more than 300,000 confirmed cases and almost 2,200 fatalities. Workplaces that don’t receive the public can now reopen and pre-schools may operate. Restaurants will be allowed to sell takeaway food and drink. Read more here 


Ailments in Covid-19 trials raise questions about vaccine method
Two Covid-19 vaccines stalled by potential side effects have one key feature in common: Both are based on adenoviruses, cold germs that researchers have used in experimental therapies for decades with varying results. Johnson & Johnson said Monday it would pause its trial to investigate an illness, which it didn’t specify, in a study participant. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca Plc’s U. trial of the vaccine it’s developing with the University of Oxford has been halted by regulators for more than a month after neurological symptoms arose in two volunteers. With AstraZeneca in a pit stop, vaccines from Moderna Inc. and the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE partnership have taken the lead in the race to be first out with a shot. Meanwhile, the two paused trials are reviving questions about adenoviral vectors, which have been used in laboratory, animal and human experiments for years. In some cases, the experiments have succeeded, but not always. Read more here 

Top Pandemic Doctor Explains Hong Kong's Low Covid-19 Fatality Rate
Hong Kong’s top pandemic doctor sees a way out of intensive care for thousands of Covid-19 patients: keeping them from entering in the first place. After sobering experiences 17 years ago with the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, Yuen Kwok-Yung is advocating early, aggressive hospitalization and treatment to minimize ravaging disease and death. Hong Kong’s 2 percent Covid-19 fatality rate as of Friday, well below the global average, lends weight to the approach. Most therapies for SARS-CoV-2 are authorized for use in severely ill patients, in some cases backed by research that’s still in question. Yuen, the Henry Fok professor in infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong for 15 years, is admitting patients with minimal disease so they can be isolated, monitored and treated if needed. Read more here

As the coronavirus surges, a new culprit emerges: Pandemic Fatigue
The virus has taken different paths through these countries as leaders have tried to tamp down the spread with a range of restrictions. Shared, though, is a public weariness and a growing tendency to risk the dangers of the coronavirus, out of desire or necessity: With no end in sight, many people are flocking to bars, family parties, bowling alleys and sporting events much as they did before the virus hit, and others must return to school or work as communities seek to resuscitate economies. And in sharp contrast to the spring, the rituals of hope and unity that helped people endure the first surge of the virus have given way to exhaustion and frustration. Read more here 

Covid-19: The global crisis — in data
Individually, each tells a small yet important part of the story. Collectively, they help explain the virus’s enormous death toll — and why its impact will last for years to come. See here