December 6 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 7, 2020
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6:22 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

South Korea to toughen distancing measures as coronavirus cases continue to rise

From CNN's Jake Kwon in Seoul

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo speaks during a meeting of the Central Disease Control Headquarters at the government complex in Seoul, South Korea, on July 20.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo speaks during a meeting of the Central Disease Control Headquarters at the government complex in Seoul, South Korea, on July 20. YONHAP/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

South Korea's Minister of Health Park Neung-hoo announced the country will raise its social distancing measures from this Tuesday, as the capital city area has entered a "widespread stage."

South Korea was widely praised as a Covid-19 success story, and had managed to keep the pandemic largely under control.

But there are now more active Covid-19 cases in South Korea than at any other point through the pandemic, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Pandemic is on the brink of spreading: The Seoul Metropolitan Area will enter the fourth-highest level of social distancing restrictions in a five-level system for three weeks starting on Tuesday at 12 a.m. local time, Park said Sunday.

Park noted that past distancing measures had not yielded a clear result and that the pandemic is at the brink of spreading to the rest of the country.

There are currently 7,873 Covid-19 patients in the country, which has recorded a total of 37,546 cases and 545 deaths since the pandemic began.

Seoul restrictions: From Tuesday in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, gatherings including those at weddings and funerals must not exceed 50 people. Karaoke businesses and gyms must close, and spectators will be banned at sports events.

Hair salons and movie theatres must close after 9 p.m. The government will strongly recommend private businesses transition to work from home so only one-third of workers are in the workplace.

Masks mandatory as Covid-19 hospital beds could run out: In the rest of the country, masks will become mandatory in all indoor facilities, and gatherings must not exceed 100 people. Bars and clubs will be closed, and restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeout and deliveries past 9 p.m.

If the current trend persists, beds dedicated to critical care of Covid-19 patients will run out in about a week, Park said. Park said the health authority will work to secure more critical care beds dedicated to Covid-19 patients from 177 beds currently, to 274 beds by December 15.

"We are no longer recommending refraining from having gatherings. Please cancel all of them and reduce all activity for these three weeks," Park said.

5:59 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Tokyo records highest daily spike in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Tokyo reported its highest daily increase in Covid-19 infections on Saturday, with 584 new cases, according to Japan’s Health Ministry. 

On Saturday, 2,514 new Covid-19 cases and 32 deaths were registered throughout the country.

The southwestern city of Osaka recorded 399 new cases, its fifth straight day with more than 300 new infections. 

The number of people suffering severe symptoms is rising in Japan, with 520 people currently in intensive care.

There have been 160,810 Covid-19 cases reported in Japan and at least 2,318 people have died of the virus.

5:22 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Russia reports its highest daily number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Medical workers wearing protective gear return to their ambulance after transferring a patient suspected of having Covid-19 at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, on December 5.
Medical workers wearing protective gear return to their ambulance after transferring a patient suspected of having Covid-19 at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, on December 5. Pavel Golovkin/AP

Russia reported 29,039 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the highest number of cases it has ever reported in a single day, according to data from the country’s coronavirus response center. The previous record was set just a day before with 28,782 cases recorded that day. 

The total number of coronavirus cases reported in Russia as of December 6 is 2,460,770. 

The country reported 457 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall official toll to 43,141.

Russia’s counting methods of Covid-19 deaths have been questioned by independent observers and demographers with CNN previously reporting the numbers could be vastly understated. 

4:19 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Europe's social safety net is often considered the gold standard. Coronavirus has exposed its holes

From CNN's Emma Reynolds in London

Ros Davies is usually busiest at Christmas, building magnificent sets and stages for London's most sparkling parties and events.

This year, the fairytale is canceled. Davies, a self-employed carpenter hasn't worked since March because of the pandemic and has no idea when she may do so again.

She's living in temporary accommodation found for her in the city by St. Mungo's, a homelessness charity, while a plan to get her into permanent housing is on hold.

"I was hoping to move on and sort my life properly but ... here we are," the 50-year old told CNN Business. "I wouldn't have believed if you had said a year ago that your job's going to stop in March and that's it, you might never work doing that again."

Davies did some retraining in painting and decorating, but with England just coming out of a second lockdown it hasn't led to any work. She has gone from regular jobs that paid enough for her to take vacations, to complete reliance on UK social security payments of just over £400 ($530) a month.

Workers falling through the cracks: Coronavirus has revealed gaping holes in European social safety nets that are often seen as the gold standard. While many countries introduced support programs for workers affected by the pandemic, people are falling through the cracks. Most often, those who were already suffering the effects of inequality are hit the hardest — lower-income workers, those in insecure jobs, young people, women and minority ethnic groups.

"Some of the social security systems in Europe are more extensive, better developed [than in the United States]," Michael Spence, a Nobel Laureate and former dean of Stanford Business School, told CNN Business.

He said that during the 2008 financial crisis, pre-existing programs involving governments and businesses helped many European countries avoid too many layoffs.

"But I think in the pandemic economy, the shock's so big that they kind of overwhelm the systems," he said. "The systems weren't built to withstand nearly overnight contractions of 25% in economies."

Unemployment was up by 2.18 million year on year in the European Union in October 2020, rising from a rate of 6.6% to 7.6%. The UK unemployment rate was an estimated 4.8% in the three months to September, up 0.9 percentage points year on year, and 782,000 jobs were lost between March and October, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Read the full story:

2:49 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

"Just wear the mask": CDC urges

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged the public to wear masks as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths soar across the nation.

 “JUST WEAR THE MASK,” the CDC said on Twitter on Saturday.

“Cover your mouth AND nose,” the agency continued, citing public health precautions it has repeatedly recommended, this time with a new sense of urgency.

 The CDC recommends people stay six feet apart, wash hands and stay home when possible.

“Cases are rising fast,” the agency warned. “If we don’t act together and do what we can to slow the spread, thousands more could die.”

 

2:12 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Germany reports 255 new Covid-19 deaths as it struggles to contain the outbreak

From CNN’s Samantha Beech

Germany reported 255 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, amid a recent spike in fatalities.

It comes a day after Germany reported a near-high number of coronavirus deaths, with 483 fatalities recorded on Saturday.

The highest number of reported virus-related deaths in the country came on Wednesday, at 487 fatalities. The national death toll stands at 18,722.

On Sunday, Germany recorded 17,767 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 1,171,322.  

Daily coronavirus fatalities have risen sharply in Germany in recent weeks, as the country struggles to contain an ongoing surge in infections. 

After meeting with state governors this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Thursday the extension of restrictive coronavirus measures in the country until January 10, as infection rates throughout the country remain too high to allow re-opening of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities.

1:41 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

United States reports more than 213,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States reported 213,875 new Covid-19 cases and 2,254 virus-related deaths on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That brings the total number of reported infections nationwide to 14,581,337. At least 281,186 people have died.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

It's the fourth day in a row that the US has reported more than 200,000 daily Covid-19 cases. More than 1 million new cases were reported in the first five days of December and the country is seeing record high numbers of hospitalizations.

CNN is tracking the US cases here:

1:13 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

South Korea now has more active Covid-19 cases than ever before

From CNN’s Jake Kwon in Seoul

A medical staff member wearing protective gear takes samples for the Covid-19 test from a visitor at a testing station in Seoul, South Korea, on November 27.
A medical staff member wearing protective gear takes samples for the Covid-19 test from a visitor at a testing station in Seoul, South Korea, on November 27. Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

There are more active Covid-19 cases in South Korea now than at any other point in the pandemic, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

There are currently 7,873 virus patients in the country.

On Sunday, South Korea reported 599 local and 32 imported cases, which were detected the previous day. Of those, 470 were from the Seoul Metropolitan Area.

That brings South Korea's national total to 37,546 Covid-19 cases and 545 deaths since the pandemic began.

 

12:50 a.m. ET, December 6, 2020

United States sees second highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Nurses care for a Covid-19 positive patient at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on December 4.
Nurses care for a Covid-19 positive patient at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on December 4. Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images

The United States recorded its second-highest number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 on Saturday, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

There were 101,190 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Saturday, down 86 from Friday's record high of 101,276 hospitalizations, according to the CTP.

This is the fourth consecutive day that the US has surpassed 100,000 current hospitalizations.

The highest hospitalization numbers according to CTP data are:

  1. December 4: 101,276
  2. December 5: 101,190
  3. December 3: 100,667
  4. December 2: 100,226
  5. December 1: 98,691