Live updates: Death toll tops 300,000 as first health-care workers receive coronavirus vaccine

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The death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 in the United States on Monday, a somber milestone that came on an otherwise celebratory day as health workers around the country received the first doses of a long-awaited vaccine.receive coronavirus vaccine

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Infection rates in London actually increased during the final weeks of lockdown, influential study shows

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Coronavirus infections increased in London during the final weeks of a nationwide lockdown, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, researchers said Tuesday — a potentially frustrating development that comes as other European nations like Germany and the Netherlands impose strict new rules for the Christmas season.receive coronavirus vaccine

“We need to understand why the effectiveness of lockdown appears to be uneven so that future strategies can be better tailored to the evolving epidemic,” Steven Riley, an author of Imperial College London’s React-1 study, said in a statement.

The influential study, which tests 150,000 randomly chosen participants around the country for the coronavirus every two weeks, is believed to be the most accurate gauge of how widely covid-19 infections are spreading across England at any given time. The most recent data, based on more than 168,181 tests conducted between Nov. 13 and Dec. 3, showed overall infection rates dropping by about 30 percent.receive coronavirus vaccine

In London, however, the prevalence of infections grew from 0.98 percent in mid-November to 1.21 percent at the start of December, just as the nationwide lockdown ended and was replaced with a tiered system of restrictions that vary from region to region.

In their latest report, the Imperial College researchers suggest one possible explanation: Before the lockdown, parts of Northern England were subject to the toughest level of restrictions under the tiered system, and their success at reducing infection rates “may therefore reflect the combination of these prior measures and lockdown.”

Though the rise of infections in London during lockdown raises questions about how effective it was to close most businesses and ban most activities outside the home, the researchers point out that the city and southern region of England saw a rapid rise in infections in September and October that never resulted in prevalence rates as high as those reported in the north, “suggesting that, in the absence of lockdown, rates may have gone much higher.”receive coronavirus vaccine

Video: Surgeon General describes the dangers of coronavirus vaccine hesitancy for communities of color

As George Washington University Hospital administered its first coronavirus vaccines, Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams addressed lack of trust for government health programs for communities of color.receive coronavirus vaccine

Santa and Mrs. Claus may have exposed 50 children to the coronavirus during Christmas parade

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Santa and Mrs. Claus may have exposed dozens of children to the coronavirus, officials in one rural Georgia community revealed on Monday.

The potentially disillusioning revelation came in the wake of the annual Christmas parade in Ludowici, Ga., where roughly 50 children posed for pictures with the festive pair, according to the Long County Board of Commissioners. Both Santa and Mrs. Claus felt fine during the Thursday event, but tested positive days later.receive coronavirus vaccine

“I have personally known both ‘Santa’ and ‘Mrs. Claus’ my entire life and I can assure everyone that they would have never knowingly done anything to place any children in danger,” County Chairman Robert D. Parker wrote in a message to the community. He noted that his own children had their photo taken with Santa, “and their smiles were bigger than any day when they head off to school, where the same risk of exposure exist.”

The children who came into close contact with Santa are being told to stay home from school until after winter break, WSAV reported. Administrators had already begun offering the option of virtual learning the week before, citing the high number of students and staff who have either contracted the coronavirus or are quarantined due to potential exposure.

Parker didn’t indicate whether the Clauses had been wearing masks during the photo opportunity, but defended the decision to hold the annual parade.receive coronavirus vaccine

Learn More: daily coronavirus cases

“While this event was not put on by the City of Ludowici or the Long County Board of Commissioners, it was well attended by our public officials and I believe I speak for the majority of them in saying that we still stand by the decision of the Chamber to move forward with these holiday traditions, and to bring some sense of normalcy to these trying times,” he wrote.

More Northern Virginia school systems revert to online-only learning

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More Northern Virginia school systems are sending children back to fully online learning, citing unacceptable levels of community transmission of the novel coronavirus, as cases and deaths continue to rise in the Washington region and nationally.

Over the weekend, Fairfax County Public Schools — whose 186,000 students make it the largest school system in the state — announced that it was returning thousands of children to virtual learning on Monday. Likewise, Fauquier County Public Schools, a neighboring district of roughly 10,000 students, said last week that it would return to remote schooling starting Monday.

“The start of the increase . . . appears to be temporally related to Halloween when residents gathered in groups and ignored public health mitigation strategies,” April Achter, a population health coordinator in the Fauquier County area, said in a statement. “We are now observing a post-Thanksgiving spike in cases as well.”receive coronavirus vaccine

Brazil unlikely to begin mass vaccination program until March, top health expert says

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Brazil, home to one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, is unlikely to begin a large-scale vaccination rollout until March, a leading public health expert told Reuters on Monday.

The South American nation hedged its bets by entering an agreement to purchase more than 200 million doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which appeared to be the front-runner when the deal was announced this summer. But that vaccine has not yet received regulatory approval — and Brazil is just now moving to secure 70 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that has already been approved in the United States and Britain, while anticipating that only 2 million doses will arrive in the first three months of 2021.receive coronavirus vaccine

Marco Krieger, the vice president of health production and innovation at the Fiocruz institute, told Reuters that a mass vaccination campaign will rely on the AstraZeneca shot. “We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel,” he said, predicting that 30 to 40 percent of the population could be immunized by the middle of 2021.

Over the weekend, Brazil’s health authorities released a vaccination plan that was quickly criticized for the fact that it only accounted for enough shots to immunize a quarter of the population, and did not list a start date. The document also suggested that social distancing measures might have to stay in place for as many as two more years.Brazil has reported more than 181,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, more than any country besides the United States, and nearly 7 million coronavirus infections, the third-highest tally worldwide.receive coronavirus vaccine

Collect By: washingtonpost.com

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