The US on Monday topped 19 million COVID-19 cases as hospital intensive care units (ICUs) were full to overflowing across much of California, a major US virus hotspot, portending an extension of strict stay-at-home orders imposed this month.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said mandatory constraints on social gatherings and business activities would almost certainly be renewed for at least three more weeks in Southern California — encompassing the state’s biggest metropolitan areas — and its agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley.
Newsom said a formal decision on continuing the stay-at-home orders, among the most stringent in the US, would be announced yesterday, based on trends projected by health authorities for the coming weeks.
He said greater diligence was needed in avoiding crowds and unnecessary travel to curb a raging pandemic that threatens to overwhelm healthcare systems before COVID-19 vaccines can be made widely available to the public this coming spring.
“This is an anxious period,” Newsom told reporters in an online news conference.
Since US regulatory approval was granted to two vaccines earlier this month, about 300,000 doses have been administered in California, the most populous US state with 40 million residents, Newsom said.
Most of those injections have gone to frontline medical professionals.
Nationwide, well over 2 million people have received the first of the prescribed two-dose vaccine regimen, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Among them were residents and staff of a nursing home that made headlines as ground zero of the nation’s earliest major COVID-19 outbreak — the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, outside Seattle.
Injections were given to nearly all of the facility’s 69 patients and most of its employees on Monday, 10 months after the first of 32 coronavirus-related deaths among residents was made public in late February, Life Care officials said.
“This is a great way to end the year,” facility executive director Ellie Schutt said in a statement.
Some say that the third time’s a charm. Not so for SpaceX, whose unmanned rocket on Wednesday exploded on the ground after carrying out what had seemed to be a successful flight and landing — fresh on the heels of two fiery crashes. It was yet another flub involving a prototype of the Starship rocket, which SpaceX hopes one day to send to Mars. “A beautiful soft landing,” a SpaceX commentator said on a live broadcast of the test flight, although flames were coming out at the bottom and crews were trying to put them out. The rocket exploded a few minutes later,
‘GRAVE CONCERN’: A critic of the government died immediately following his complaints of torture at the hands of security forces, a human rights group said Students on Friday clashed with police in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, as anger mounted at the death of a writer and government critic in a high-security jail. At least 18 police and an unknown number of protesters were injured in the clashes, authorities and witnesses said, amid international demands for an independent investigation into the death of Mushtaq Ahmed. An Agence France-Presse correspondent witnessed police using batons and firing tear gas at students who staged a torchlight march calling for “justice” near the University of Dhaka. At least six students who allegedly attacked security forces with torches were detained, police said. More protests were planned
LEGAL ORDEAL: The heavy caseload involving 47 defendants and the vagaries of a Beijing-imposed security law made it difficult for the court to rule on bail requests Dozens of Hong Kong democracy advocates charged with subversion yesterday returned to court to complete a marathon bail hearing that was adjourned overnight when four defendants were rushed to hospital after hours of legal wrangling. Police on Sunday arrested 47 of the territory’s best-known dissidents for “conspiracy to commit subversion” in the broadest use yet of a sweeping National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory last year. The defendants represent a broad cross-section of Hong Kong’s opposition, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers to academics, lawyers, social workers and youth advocates. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside a courthouse on Monday for the
China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse. As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind reports of abuse. Chinese officials have named women, disclosed medical data and information on their fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. Officials said that the information was evidence of bad character,