The Latest: Governor urges Nebraskans to follow guidelines
OMAHA, Neb. — Gov. Pete Ricketts implored residents Thursday to follow Nebraska’s voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines as the number of new cases and hospitalizations surged, and he hinted that the state could reimpose some of the social distancing mandates that were lifted in September.
His comments came as the state’s top public health official warned that Nebraska needed to reduce the number of cases to avoid overwhelming hospitals.
Nebraska reported a record 1,828 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the number of daily hospitalizations soared to an all-time high of 698 on the same day, following a week of massive growth.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— U.S. counties with the worst coronavirus surges overwhelmingly voted for Trump
— Britain extends salary support for unemployed because of virus restrictions
— Cal-Washington football game canceled after player’s positive test
— Greece announces 3-week, nationwide lockdown in the hopes of stemming an increase in hospitalizations
— In Spain, coronavirus puts the poor at the back of the line
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/virus-outbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is launching a media campaign to encourage people to act to reduce the state’s surging coronavirus infection numbers but won’t impose any mandates or enforce new rules.
Reynolds also said Thursday that the success of Republican candidates in the general election proves that most Iowans support her decision to not require masks and quickly end most restrictions on businesses.
“I think the election reflects that Iowans somewhat agree with how we have handled not only COVID-19 but conservative fiscally responsible decisions that have been made,” she said.
The newspaper, television and radio advertising campaign will begin next week, Reynolds said. She didn’t specify how much it would cost nor the funding source.
Also Thursday, Iowa reported 4,562 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours and 20 more deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 26% on Oct. 21 to over 39% on Nov. 4, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Iowa’s rate is second in the nation behind South Dakota.
Reynold attributed the rapid spread to Iowans growing weary of changing their lives to slow transmission.
“What is honestly happening is people are just experiencing pandemic fatigue,” she said.
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert says he is “frustrated” as new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue a streak of record highs in Utah.
Herbert says state health experts project the numbers will continue to rise dramatically and overwhelm hospitals if people don’t modify their behavior.
The state recorded 2,807 more confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the seven-day average of new cases to 1,943.
According to state data, Utah’s positivity average has increased from 18.1% to 19.5% in the past week.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has notched a single-day high of new COVID-19 cases for the second straight day.
The state surpassed 4,000 new cases Thursday for the first time, and coronavirus hospitalizations also surged to a new high.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has resisted calls to reinstate restrictions he largely lifted in September, said following his landslide reelection that he’s not making any changes to state policy on the pandemic.
The 4,462 new COVID-19 cases the Indiana State Department of Health reported Thursday were the state’s highest since the pandemic hit.
Indiana also had 1,948 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, the most since officials began releasing those counts last spring.
State health officials added 45 more coronavirus-related deaths Thursday, raising the overall toll to 4,511 including confirmed and presumed infections.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo has issued an advisory aimed at keeping people home late at night and other new restrictions to slow the increasing spread of coronavirus in Rhode Island.
Starting Sunday, the Democrat says, residents will be asked to remain at home from 10 p.m. until the next morning. Restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses must end in-person service at 10 p.m.
State health officials are reporting more than 500 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths.
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s state labor department will begin distributing an additional $300 a week per person in jobless benefits for a period dating back to the summer after technical challenges complicated the pandemic relief program’s rollout.
The department says it will start distributing the funds Friday. The program applies to people who were eligible for at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits from the week ending Aug. 1 to the week ending Sept. 5.
Patsy Westcott, director of the department’s Division of Employment and Training Services, said an estimated 35,000 Alaskans are expected to benefit.
An executive order by President Donald Trump allowed for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for states to provide the extra $300-a-week benefit after a $600-a-week benefit approved by Congress expired.
OKLAHOMA CITY — New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have reached single-day highs in Oklahoma.
The State Department of Health reported 2,101 new cases and 1,055 hospitalizations, nearly 400 more cases than the previous high from July and surpassing the 1,026 hospitalizations reported Wednesday.
The department also reported 21 more COVID-19 deaths.
Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, says the state is seeing “the worst hospital crisis we’ve ever had.”
The association and other medical groups have repeatedly urged Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to impose some kind of mask mandate, but he has resisted, citing concerns about how such an order would be enforced.
ROME — Italy has recorded a new daily high of 34,505 confirmed coronavirus cases.
The health ministry also reported 428 deaths Thursday, the highest since May.
The previous day, the country announced four two-week regional “red zone” lockdowns to ease pressure on hospitals and allow for more effective contact tracing.
Italy, formerly the European epicenter of the pandemic, has seen a resurgence of the coronavirus with more than 790,000 confirmed cases and over 39,000 deaths, the sixth highest worldwide.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is extending through Dec. 11 an order requiring face masks in public but lifting business occupancy limits despite worsening hospitalizations and deaths.
Occupancy caps are ending for retailers headed into the holiday shopping season, along with entertainment spots and fitness centers. Businesses including restaurants, hair salons and barbershops won’t have to follow the 6-foot social distancing requirement if people wear masks and are separated by a barrier or partition.
The 1,848 new cases reported Wednesday were the most for the state since early August. More than 1,020 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 45% since late September.
Alabama’s total cases surpassed 200,000 and the death toll topped 3,000 this week.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s governor has issued an executive order requiring people wear face coverings in public settings regardless of their ability to physically distance from others.
Janet Mills, a Democrat, beefed up an earlier executive order mandating mask use when it’s difficult to maintain social distance.
Owners and operators of public places must post signs notifying people they can be denied entry for non-compliance to the mask rule.
MADRID — Spain has nearly 22,000 new coronavirus infections and 368 deaths.
The country’s Health Ministry says COVID-19 patients occupy 16% of hospital beds, including 29% in ICUs. Spain has a 14-day average of 527 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest in Europe.
The ministry reports a total of nearly 1.3 million confirmed cases and almost 38,500 deaths.
GENEVA — Switzerland has surpassed 10,000 new coronavirus cases in the last day, putting the total at more than 200,000 since the start of the pandemic.
Swiss health officials have expressed concerns about hospitals filling up, saying the impact of higher case counts generally takes about 10 days to translate into increased hospitalizations.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. will hold a summit Dec. 3-4 on the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread and its “unprecedented” effects on societies, economies, jobs, trade and travel.
The General Assembly voted 150-0 on Thursday to authorize the meeting, with the United States, Israel and Armenia abstaining. It will include recorded speeches by world leaders and a presentation and discussion led by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Assembly President Volkan Bozkir called the high-level special session “a historic moment and a test for multilateralism” that “will be defined by our collective action on one of the most critical issues of our time.”
PARIS — In Paris, 84 people with the coronavirus died Wednesday in region hospitals, which are at 92% capacity.
There are 1,050 COVID-19 patients in intensive care and another 600 patients in ICU with other ailments, Aurelien Rousseau, head of the Paris region health service, told public broadcaster France-Info on Thursday.
France is in a monthlong partial lockdown to lessen rising coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. Restaurants and non-essential stores are closed, but schools remain open.
The infection rate per 100,000 people remains extremely high at around 480.
COVID-19 patients are occupying more than 80% of the nation’s beds, the highest level since April.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Health officials say the number of coronavirus patients in Dutch hospitals has fallen for the second straight day.
Authorities say 2,512 people infected with the coronavirus were hospitalized as of Thursday, a decline of 60. That includes 607 in intensive care
Prime Minister Mark Rutte enforced a “partial lockdown” last month, closing all bars and restaurants. He tightened the restrictions this week, shuttering public venues such as cinemas, theaters, libraries and museums for two weeks.
LONDON — The British government has extended for five months a salary support program paying 80% of wages for people left unemployed amid the pandemic.
Treasury chief Rishi Sunak tells lawmakers the program, which ended Oct. 31, will run through the end of March.
Last week the government put England into lockdown until Dec. 2 because of surging infections.
Sunak says the economic effects “are much longer lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian officials have reported a record 9,850 daily coronavirus cases, the third new high this week.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov warned Tuesday that the country’s outbreak could soon take a “catastrophic” turn.
Ukrainian authorities have reported 430,467 confirmed cases and more than 7,900 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
HELSINKI — Norway’s prime minister is urging people to “stay at home as much as possible” and limit social contacts to avoid a new lockdown.
Erna Solberg says coronavirus measures introduced just last week were not enough. The nation had 3,290 new confirmed infections in the past week.
The new measures include tighter regulations for public gatherings and restrictions on restaurant hours and household visits.
Norway has reported 21,955 confirmed coronavirus cases and 282 deaths.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister has announced a three-week nationwide lockdown starting Saturday, saying the increase in coronavirus infections must be stopped before the health care system comes under “unbearable” pressure.
Unlike the lockdown imposed in the spring, this time kindergartens and primary schools will remain open. High schools will operate by remote learning.
Residents will only be able to leave home for specific reasons such as work, medical appointments or exercise, and after informing authorities by text message. Retail businesses will be shut down, but not supermarkets or other food stores. Restaurants will be delivery-only.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says he “chose once again to take drastic measures sooner rather than later” after seeing an “aggressive increase in cases” over the last five days.
MOSCOW — Moscow authorities have extended online studies for middle and high school students for two more weeks amid a rapid resurgence in coronavirus cases.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered the 6th to 11th grades to continue remote learning until Nov. 22.
Sobyanin said it’s understandable that many children want to return to school, but “it is obvious that it is too early to relax.”
New infections in Russia have gone from over 5,000 a day in early September to over 19,000 a day this week. On Thursday officials reported 19,404 new cases, bringing the country’s total to over 1.7 million.
Authorities have insisted there is no need to impose a second lockdown or shut down businesses, however.
Moscow, which accounts for roughly a quarter of new infections, has ordered older adult residents to stay home and employers to have at least 30% of their staff work remotely.
BERLIN — Germany has recorded nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, its highest level yet.
The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, on Thursday said 19,990 infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours. That tops the previous high of 19,059 from Saturday.
It brings the total case tally in Germany, a nation of 83 million people, to 597,583 since the pandemic began. Another 118 deaths raised that total to 10,930.
Like other European countries, Germany has seen a sharp rise in infections. A four-week partial shutdown took effect Monday, with bars, restaurants and leisure and sports facilities closed. Shops and schools remain open.
Although Germany’s situation is alarming officials, other European countries are in worse shape. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Wednesday that per-capita new cases are seven times higher in Belgium.