Coronavirus: Oregon and New Mexico impose restrictions

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The US states of Oregon and New Mexico have announced strict measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 as the country faces growing outbreaks of the disease.

Officials have ordered most non-essential businesses to close and urged people to limit their social interactions.

On Friday, California became the second state to hit one million Covid cases, after Texas.

On average, more than 900 people a day are dying with the disease in the US.

Daily cases have topped 100,000 for the last 11 days and more than 67,000 people are currently in hospital.

The US has seen over 10.7 million cases and 244,000 deaths thus far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Trump administration struck an optimistic tone on Friday, saying they hope to have two vaccines and two therapeutic treatments for Covid-19 approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming weeks.

Dr Moncef Slaoui, head of the administration’s vaccine initiative, told a news conference that he hoped to have 20 million doses ready to be distributed in December, and then at least 20 million doses each month after that.

Speaking at the same news conference, President Donald Trump said he would not put the US into lockdown. “Lockdowns cost lives and they cost a lot of problems. The cure cannot be…. worse than the problem itself and I’ve said it many times,” he said.

Data shows that the majority of the country has rising community spread of the virus.

In recent weeks, the Midwestern US has been the centre of the outbreaks, with cases rising in states like Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

Stay-at-home directives

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week “freeze” limiting restaurants to take-out and shuttering gyms and recreational facilities from 18 November to 2 December.

“I’m not asking you, I am telling you, to stop your social gatherings … and your house parties and to limit your social interactions to six and under, not more than one household,” she said.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham ordered a two-week shutdown of non-essential businesses such as grocery stores, farms, childcare centres, banks, factories and healthcare facilities.

Number of daily cases and deaths in the US

Meanwhile, California and Texas – which reached the million-case milestone on 10 November – now both have viral caseloads that surpass other countries, including Mexico and Germany.

The surges have prompted local officials to hit pause on reopening efforts in several states, and some are re-imposing stay-at-home directives.

Eleven counties in California were told to reverse some reopening measures.

Southern California is the worst hit part of the state, with substantial outbreaks. In Los Angeles, there are more than 330,000 infections.

San Diego, Sacramento and Los Angeles counties are among the areas now on the lowest tier of California’s reopening plan. Indoor dining and indoor religious services are prohibited.

As the state’s positivity rate – the percentage of positive tests in the population – is now at 3.6%, California Governor Gavin Newsom urged people to wear masks and distance, saying: “Your actions could literally save lives.”

President-elect Joe Biden also again renewed his call for Americans, “regardless of where they live or who they voted for” to “step up and do their part” with social distancing, mask wearing and hygiene.

“I understand it’s not easy. I know people are tired. But this will not go on forever.”

On Friday, it emerged that at least 30 Secret Service officers had contracted the virus in recent weeks, and dozens have been told to quarantine, the Washington Post and New York Times reported.

Many of the individuals had reportedly travelled to events around the US for both Mr Trump and Mr Biden.

BBC

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