The coronavirus has hit another sobering milestone: more than 50 million positive cases worldwide since the pandemic began.
Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker reported more than 50.2 million COVID-19 cases globally as of Sunday.
There have been more than 1.2 million deaths from the disease worldwide since the pandemic started.
The U.S., with about 4% of the world’s population, represents almost a fifth of all reported cases.
The country has had more than 9.8 million cases and more than 237,000 deaths from the virus since the pandemic started, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data.
Coronavirus cases and deaths also continue to soar in the U.S., as they are in many countries.
The U.S. reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the university.
A transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as the 2019 novel coronavirus. (NIAID-RML)
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ROME — The governor of an autonomous Italian Alpine province famed for its ski resorts has declared it a “red zone,” shutting down as of Monday most non-essential shops, barring cafes and restaurants from serving meals and forbidding citizens to leave their towns except for essential reasons like work.
Bolzano Province Gov. Arno Kompatscher told Sky TG24 TV Sunday evening he decided to order the crackdown as ICU beds started rapidly filling up with COVID-19 patients.
“We could add 100 ICU beds,” the governor said, but “we can only hold up to a certain point.” He noted that the province needed more doctors and nurses.
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Bolzano Province joins the northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, a small Alpine region, in Italy’s “red zone.” Calabria, the southern “toe” of the Italian mainland, is also under strict “red zone” measures in view of its fragile public hospital system.
Italy on Sunday registered some 7,000 fewer new COVID-19 cases compared to the previous day’s increase, but nearly 40,000 fewer swab tests to detect the coronavirus were conducted in the last 24 hours.
With the addition of 32,616 confirmed infections on Sunday, Italy’s known total in the pandemic totals 935,104. There were 331 more deaths since Saturday, raising the nation’s confirmed toll to 41,394.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Hospitalizations from the coronavirus in Arkansas continued to climb on Sunday, reaching a new one-day record high of 741, state health officials said.
The Arkansas Department of Health said 19 more people were hospitalized Sunday.
Health officials also reported 1,038 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total so far to nearly 122,000.
“With yet another day of over 1,000 new cases, we are likely headed for a difficult week,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday on Twitter. “Let’s all be safe and take action to protect each other.”
The state also reported 17 new deaths, bringing the death toll so far to 2,085.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas on Sunday reported 5,404 new cases of the coronavirus, with almost 2,000 of those cases coming from the hard-hit El Paso area, state health officials said.
The state’s total number of cases since the pandemic began is nearing 1 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, which puts the number of cases at more than 985,000.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Sunday that with 43 additional deaths reported, the state’s death toll was at 18,743.
Cases and hospitalizations have been rising in Texas, and the situation has become especially acute in El Paso, with El Paso county’s top elected official shutting down nonessential activities and medical teams being sent in to help.
Health officials said that statewide, more than 6,000 people were hospitalized Sunday with COVID-19.
ATHENS, Greece — Health authorities announced 1,914 new cases of the new coronavirus, including a record 35 deaths, on Sunday.
The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 56,698, with 734 deaths.
Researchers at the chemistry department of the University of Athens said Saturday that an analysis of waste at the Athens region’s main waste treatment plant has led them to estimate that 1.5 to 2 percent of the capital region’s population of 4.2 million are active coronavirus carriers, which would mean 63,000 to 84,000 individuals.
Authorities said Sunday that of the country’s 1,063 intensive care units, 734 were occupied, 259 with coronavirus patients. The rapid filling of such places was one of the reasons the country was placed on lockdown Saturday.
BOSTON — The U.S. has set another record for daily number of coronavirus cases.
The country reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University.
It marked the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000 as the country has broken its own record for daily cases with nearly every passing day this week.
The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from more than 64,000 on Oct. 24 to nearly 104,000 on Nov. 7, according to the university’s data.
The virus death toll is also rising in the country.
The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose over the past two weeks from 801 on Oct. 24 to 930 on Nov. 7, the university said.
There have been more than 9.8 million cases and more than 237,000 deaths from the virus in the U.S. since the pandemic started.
Globally, there have been nearly 50 million positive cases and more than 1.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
JERUSALEM — Israel has allowed most retail shops to reopen for the first time in nearly two months, in the latest phase of its exit from a second coronavirus lockdown.
Under the new rules, shops can accept up to four customers at a time, and indoor shopping malls remain closed.
Israel moved quickly last spring to contain the coronavirus, quickly sealing its borders and shutting down much of the economy. But it mismanaged the reopening of the economy, and the coronavirus quickly returned. A second lockdown was imposed in mid-September.
The country has moved more cautiously this time– gradually opening preschools and elementary schools and some offices in recent weeks. The dual lockdowns have hit small businesses especially hard.
Rina Shapira, a shopper in a Jerusalem bookshop, said the plight of businesses is heartbreaking. “Without an economy, there is also no health,” she said.
ROME — More than 200 migrants who reached a tiny Italian island were in mandatory preventative quarantine Sunday aboard a ferry that has been pressed into service as part of the country’s measures against COVID-19 spread.
The 238 migrants are some of about 2,200 who arrived on Lampedusa island in the past week, Italian news reports said. Among them are Tunisians who arrived in small boats directly on the island from their homeland, while some of the others were spotted by an Italian border patrol vessel, which then brought them to shore.
With tourism practically flattened by the pandemic, Italy earlier this year started using empty passenger ferries that normally would ply the waters between Sicily and the mainland to instead house migrants to ensure they don’t bring infection when they are later transferred to shelters in Italy.
While earlier in the pandemic some clusters of infections were found in migrant residences, in past weeks most of the new cases in a resurgence of COVID-19 infections have been traced to transmission within Italian households, according to health experts.
RENO, Nev. -- A rural Nevada church is headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court in a second attempt to overturn the state’s 50-person cap on attendance at religious gatherings.
The high court denied Calvary Chapel Dayton Valleys’ request for an emergency injunction in July.
A new petition filed Thursday asks the justices to consider the challenge of Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions as a test case for others brought by churches across the country arguing their religious freedoms are being violated.
Calvary Chapel argues the 50-person cap is an unconstitutional violation of religious freedoms, partly because casinos and other businesses are allowed to operate at 50% of capacity.
Other secular businesses allowed to operate at half capacity include restaurants, gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys.
A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments next month on the Nevada church’s appeal of a U.S. judge’s ruling in Reno upholding the state policy.
NEW YORK — Students attending college at one of New York’s public universities in the spring will have to quarantine at home for a week first and be tested for COVID-19, at home or on campus.
The rules are part of new guidance for the spring semester issued by the State University of New York on Sunday.
Classes will start later than usual, on Feb. 1, and there will be no spring break. And with big gatherings still not allowed, graduation plans for the Class of 2021 are shaping up once again to be scaled-back or virtual ceremonies.
NEW DELHI — India has reported 45,674 new coronavirus infections, with the capital coping with a sharp surge of nearly 7,000 cases a day this past week.
India’s tally of confirmed cases — currently the second largest in the world behind the United States — has exceeded 8.5 million. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 559 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 126,121.
India has seen an overall steady dip in new cases after touching nearly 100,000 a day in mid-September.
However, the tally in New Delhi continues to hover at around 7,000 a day after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. The capital also reported 79 deaths in the past 24 hours, the most since June.
Delhi state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that apart from aggressive contact tracing, targeted testing in shopping areas and other busy locations also has started. And authorities are reaching out to people through mobile testing vans.
The government has warned that the situation could worsen due to festival shopping crowds, coupled with the onset of winter and high air pollution levels.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska on Saturday reported hitting a daily record in new coronavirus cases.
The state reported 604 cases, the highest in a single day since Oct. 25, when 526 cases were tallied, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The Department of Health and Social Services says there were no new deaths from the virus. The state has had 19,306 cases and 79 deaths since the coronavirus hit.
The Daily News reports that 95 people were currently hospitalized with the virus in Alaska as of Saturday, slightly down from Friday’s record of 97 hospitalizations. Another 10 hospital patients were suspected of having COVID-19, according to state data.
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico on Saturday for the second day in a row reported nearly 1,300 additional COVID-19 cases and 16 additional deaths.
Officials say there are 1,287 additional cases, a one-day record that was the same number reported Friday. But officials on Saturday also said that 10 of the cases reported Friday had turned out to be duplicates or not lab-confirmed. With those adjustments and the latest reported cases, the statewide case total reached 53,671 with 1,104 deaths.
State officials warned Thursday that new records would be set over the coming weeks as the rate of spread remains high.
WICHITA, Kan. — A council member in Kansas’ largest city has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the mayor and other council members to quarantine for about two weeks.
Wichita announced Council Member Brandon Johnson’s positive result Saturday in a tweet. The city says Mayor Brandon Whipple, members of the City Council and some staff, including city manager Robert Layton, must temporarily stay away from city hall.
“The City continues to strongly urge all Wichita residents and City employees to practice safe social distancing whenever possible, to wear face masks when distancing isn’t possible, limit public exposure and to wash hands frequently,” the City of Wichita tweeted.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Johnson said he had a cough Thursday that worsened Friday, so he went to be tested. He received his results Saturday morning.