Health News Roundup: European Commission chief self-isolates; Poland imposes new restrictions and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

COVID upsets EU summit as European Commission chief self-isolates

The coronavirus upset a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday as one of the key participants, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, had to quit the meeting minutes after it began to go into precautionary self-isolation. Planned meetings of the 27 EU nations’ leaders have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic since the spring. Some have been postponed and some held by video-conference, but they returned to in-person summits over the summer as infection rates eased.

Poland imposes new restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to spike

Poland announced new restrictions on Thursday to curb the coronavirus pandemic, including limits on opening hours for bars and restaurants, sports events and schools in some areas as it faced another daily record spike in infections. “I am calling on all elderly people to stay home…we will win this fight, but only if we are united and responsible,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

Italy coronavirus cases surge to new daily record close to 9,000

Italy has registered 8,804 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country’s outbreak and up steeply from 7,332 on Wednesday. There were also 83 COVID-related deaths on Thursday, jumping from 43 the day before but still far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April when a daily peak of more than 900 fatalities was reached.

France’s new COVID-19 cases set new 24-hour record, above 30,000

French health authorities on Thursday reported the number of new daily coronavirus infections jumped above 30,000 for the first time since the start of the epidemic. French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered a nightly curfew in Paris and eight other big cities where the coronavirus is rampant.

U.S. CDC reports 216,025 deaths from coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported 7,894,768 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 59,761 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 831 to 216,025. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 14 compared with its previous report a day earlier.(https://bit.ly/3j622Lw)

WHO vaccine drive bedevilled by familiar question: who pays if things go wrong?

Who foots the bill if people in poor countries fall sick with unexpected side-effects from coronavirus vaccines? It’s not clear and that’s a big problem in the battle to beat COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far left the question of financial claims unresolved as it seeks to ensure shots are fairly distributed around the world, according to confidential documents reviewed by Reuters and six people familiar with discussions.

Spain adds 13,300 COVID infections, Catalonia to shut bars, eateries

Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 on Thursday to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as the region of Catalonia was preparing to shut down bars and restaurants to prevent contagion. Data from the health ministry, which includes new cases and deaths in the past 24 hours and adds to the total retroactively, also showed the death toll rising by 140 to 33,553.

‘Things will get worse’: London goes into stricter lockdown

London, the world’s international financial capital, will enter a tighter COVID-19 lockdown from midnight on Friday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to tackle a swiftly accelerating second coronavirus wave. The respiratory pandemic, which emerged in China last year and has killed over a million people worldwide, is spreading in most parts of Britain, whose official death toll of 43,155 is the highest in Europe.

New coronavirus infections rise to record highs in U.S. Midwest and beyond

Wisconsin and other states in the U.S. Midwest and beyond are battling surges in COVID-19 cases, with new infections and hospitalizations rising to record levels in an ominous sign of a nationwide resurgence as temperatures get colder. Nine states, including Michigan and North Carolina, reported record one-day increases of new infections on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally. Michigan last set a record for new daily cases on April 3 in the early days of the pandemic in the United States.

Coronavirus exposure risk on airplanes very low, U.S. defense study finds

The risk of exposure to the coronavirus on flights is very low, a U.S. Department of Defense study released on Thursday found, a positive sign for the airline industry as it tries to rebound from the pandemic’s crushing effect on travel. When a seated passenger is wearing a mask, an average 0.003% of air particles within the breathing zone around a person’s head are infectious, even when every seat is occupied, it found.



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