UNITED NATIONS — The White House coronavirus response coordinator says Americans must not gather indoors with outsiders or take off their masks at any time when they are outdoors — even when they are eating and drinking.
Dr. Deborah Birx says people also have to observe social distancing and wash their hands to contain the coronavirus pandemic. She says some states are taking these measures, but in others it’s “not happening at the level that they need to happen.”
Birx says that even once vaccines are approved, it will take weeks to months before “the most vulnerable individuals in America” can be immunized.
She made the comments after meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— U.S. reaches daily records with more than 3,100 deaths and 100,000 hospitalizations; tops 200,000 daily cases
— Russia vaccine available at 70 facilities in Moscow; hits record 28,145 daily cases
— Getting vaccine to right people could change course of pandemic in U.S.
— Britain is 5th nation to reach 60,000 coronavirus deaths
— Facebook says it will remove misinformation about coronavirus vaccines
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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has recorded 629 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally in about nine months.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Friday that 600 of the newly confirmed patients were domestically transmitted cases — nearly 80 % of them in the densely populous Seoul area, which has been at the center of a recent viral resurgence.
It says the 629 new cases took the country’s total to 36,332 for the pandemic, with 536 deaths related to COVID-19.
After successfully suppressing two previous outbreaks this year, South Korea has been grappling with a fresh spike in infections since it relaxed stringent social distancing rules in October. Last week, it toughened distancing restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.
DOVER, Del. — Delaware’s governor is issuing a stay-at-home advisory and implementing a universal mask mandate requiring people to wear cloth face coverings even in their own homes if someone outside the immediate household is present.
Gov. John Carney on Thursday also recommended that schools suspend in-person instruction from Dec. 14 to Jan. 8 and resume hybrid learning on Jan. 11. Winter sports competitions will be prohibited during that period.
The mask mandate will require all Delawareans to wear cloth face coverings anytime they are indoors with anyone outside their immediate household. Delaware has had a public mask mandate since April 28 requiring use of face coverings in public settings where social distancing is not possible.
A spokesman for the governor says officials are relying on voluntary compliance with the mask mandate.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois public health officials have reported 10,959 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and a second consecutive day of near record deaths from COVID-19.