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Japan recorded 490 new coronavirus cases Monday, the country's Health Ministry announced today, marking the first time Japan reported fewer than 500 cases since October 26.
Monday's cases bring the total number of Covid-19 cases in Japan to 102,993. As of Monday, 93,383 of those people have recovered, but 163 coronavirus patients remain in a serious condition, the health ministry said.
The ministry's data shows the number of daily infections in Japan has been hovering below a thousand per day since around August 21, when it reported 1,036 cases.
Japan's nationwide total includes 87 new Covid-19 cases detected in the capital Tokyo Monday, raising the city's total to 31,293. This is the first time the capital recorded fewer than 100 daily cases since October 19.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says the state’s Covid-19 infection rate is spreading at a high rate, with 5,557 active cases and 254 people currently hospitalized.
“When it boils right down to it, what I have done now I've taken an even a more drastic step in trying to provide testing, and our National Guard, local health departments are now being tested beyond belief and being stretched beyond belief," he said Monday night.
"And from the standpoint of the dollar, that pure commitment of dollars from your state, it is astronomical what it is costing in pure flat dollars."
Justice pointed to pandemic fatigue as a major reason why the virus continues to spread in the state, adding that most people are abiding by CDC health guidelines but not all.
“For the most part, most of us are concerned," he said. "Most of us are doing the right stuff. But most of us aren't really concerned to the level that we really truly should be."
West Virginia reported seven additional deaths over the weekend, bringing the state’s total deaths to 458. The governor says there are 95 confirmed cases in public schools, 15 outbreaks in churches and 47 cases at long-term care facilities.
The Australian state of Victoria has recorded its fourth day in a row with zero cases, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the week-long daily average of new infections to just 1.9.
It's a stark contrast to the situation in Victoria -- and its capital city Melbourne -- just a few months ago, when more than 700 people a day were being diagnosed with the virus in a rapidly spreading local epidemic.
But after a strict lockdown which saw a nightly curfew put in place and limits on public gatherings, the number of new infections plunged. Restrictions in Melbourne have now been relaxed.
On Saturday, Australia registered its first day with no coronavirus cases anywhere in the country since June.
In tweeting his thanks to all Australians for working to bring down the infection rate, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned the threat was not over yet.
"We've seen here, and are seeing again overseas, how quickly this virus spreads, so please stay COVIDSafe," he said on his official Twitter.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon will self-quarantine for up to two weeks because of possible exposure to the coronavirus, his office has said.
"Governor Gordon was informed today that he had a potential exposure to an individual who tested positive for Covid-19,” according to a press release.
While a rapid test given to the governor came back negative, they are still awaiting the results of a secondary test, the statement added.
“The possible exposure occurred at a meeting where all attendees took precautionary measures, including the wearing of masks for the entirety of the meeting," the press release said.
Nevada governor's office emptied again: Meanwhile, a staffer for Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing symptoms, according to a press release Monday from the governor’s office.
“The staff member was last in the office on Thursday, October 29, 2020, and was not symptomatic at that time,” the statement said.
The statement says the governor is not quarantining at this time because he was not found to be a “close contact” of the infected worker. Sisolak also has tested negative for the coronavirus for two consecutive weeks, according to his office.
The statement says all staff members who worked out of the capitol office will work from home as a precaution. It’s the second time the governor’s office in Carson City has had to take that step during the pandemic. A staffer at the governor’s capitol office also tested positive on October 6.
Nationwide, the US pandemic has gone from bad to worse.
The US just set a record for the highest seven-day average of daily new cases: 81,336 as of Sunday. That's the first time the number has ever topped 80,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And once again, increases in new cases are far exceeding new testing. Over the past week, new cases have increased 18%, according to Johns Hopkins. But the number of new tests performed has gone up only 4.29%, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
"We are breaking records all over the place here. The rate of acceleration of this virus is just increasing," emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said.
"We're already seeing our hospitals at breaking point in some parts of the country. And that means it doesn't just affect patients with coronavirus. It also means that elective surgeries are being put off for things like hip replacements, for cancer surgery or heart surgery in some cases," she said.
Wen said that as the scale of the US epidemic increased, governments might have "no other choice but to implement these measures that no one wants, like shutdowns."
"And that's why we all have to take action right now with targeted measures, like wearing masks, like restricting indoor gatherings -- things we can do now to prevent that really horrible outcome because cases are raging out of control across the US," she said.
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Sunday night's news that Prince William tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year has raised questions as to why the British public was not told that the second-in-line to the throne had been ill during the pandemic.
According to a report in the Sun newspaper -- which the palace has not denied -- William told an observer at a function that he chose not to go public with his diagnosis because "there were important things going on, and I didn't want to worry anyone."
The Sun noted in its report that the Prince took a seven-day break from calls and video messages from April 9 to April 16.
During that period, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was off work recovering from his own bout of Covid-19, which was so serious he had to be treated in intensive care, leaving his Foreign Secretary to run the country. Several other members of Johnson's government and his advisors also tested positive for the virus.
In March, the royal family deemed it necessary to let Britons know that Prince Charles, William's father and the first-in-line to the throne, had tested positive for Covid-19, and was self-isolating.
The prospect of both the first- and second-in-line having a potentially deadly disease raises an important question about succession.
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In the US, 61,447 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending October 29, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The academy said it is the largest increase in cases in children since the pandemic began.
More than 853,600 children have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic with 200,000 new cases in October, the group reported.
“These numbers reflect a disturbing increase in cases throughout most of the United States in all populations, especially among young adults," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
“We are entering a heightened wave of infections around the country. We would encourage family holiday gatherings to be avoided if possible, especially if there are high risk individuals in the household.”
Children make up 11% of all US Covid-19 infections and account for a small number of deaths and serious cases, according to states reporting cases in children. The overall rate of infection is 1,134 cases per 100,000 children in the population. The AAP defines a child as anyone 17 and younger.
As of October 29, children represented 1% to 3.5% of total hospitalizations, and between 0.5% and 6.7% of all child coronavirus cases resulted in hospitalization, the AAP reported. Children represented no more than 0.20% of total Covid-19 deaths. Sixteen states reported no deaths among the demographic.
AAP said there is an “urgent need” to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children.
Pregnant women with coronavirus are more likely to become severely ill and die from Covid-19, according to a report released Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although the risk of severe illness or death remain low overall, CDC researchers found that pregnant women with coronavirus are more likely to need the intensive care, ventilation and heart and lung support than non-pregnant women with the virus.
The CDC-led team examined data on 461,825 women between the ages of 15 and 44 who tested positive for Covid-19 between January 22 and October 3. They focused only on those who experienced coronavirus symptoms.
The researchers adjusted for outside factors and found that pregnant women were more likely to need intensive care, with 10.5 per 1,000 pregnant women admitted to the ICU, compared to 3.9 per 1,000 non-pregnant women.
The researchers noted that among pregnant women, Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women had a more pronounced risk for ICU admission.
Pregnant women were three times more likely to need help breathing with invasive ventilation than non-pregnant women. Similarly, they were at greater risk of requiring lung and heart support with oxygenation.
They were also more likely to die, with 1.5 deaths per 1,000 pregnant women, compared to 1.2 per 1,000 non-pregnant women. Hispanic women, in particular, were 2.4 times more likely to die if they were pregnant.
The team noted that regardless of pregnancy status, women over 35 were more likely to experience severe illness.
The researchers say that the increased risk for severe illness among pregnant women might be due to physiological changes in pregnancy, including increased heart rate and decreased lung capacity.
“To reduce the risk for severe illness and death from Covid-19, pregnant women should be counseled about the importance of seeking prompt medical care if they have symptoms and measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection should be strongly emphasized for pregnant women and their families during all medical encounters, including prenatal care visits,” the study says.