NEW YORK — After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries and U.S. states are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again around the world, especially in Europe and the Americas.

New York’s new round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighborhoods, closing schools and businesses in hot spots measuring just a couple of square miles.

Spanish officials limited travel to and from some parts of Madrid before restrictions were widened throughout the capital and some suburbs.

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Pedestrians pass a storefront Thursday in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens in New York City as restrictions on operations are imposed because of an increase in COVID-19 infections. John Minchillo/Associated Press

Italian authorities have sometimes quarantined spots as small as a single building.

While countries including Israel and the Czech Republic have reinstated nationwide closures, other governments hope smaller-scale shutdowns can work this time, in conjunction with testing, contact tracing and other initiatives they’ve now built up.

The concept of containing hot spots isn’t new, but it’s being tested under new pressures as authorities try to avoid a dreaded resurgence of illness and deaths, this time with economies weakened from earlier lockdowns, populations chafing at the idea of renewed restrictions and some communities complaining of unequal treatment.

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People should wear masks on public transit, tougher CDC guidance says

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday recommended in newly issued guidelines that all passengers and workers on planes, trains, buses and other public transportation wear masks to control spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Travelers check in at a United Airlines kiosk with help from a United employee in the main terminal of Denver International Airport this month in Denver. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strengthened its guidance on wearing masks on all mass and public transportation. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The guidance was issued amid pressure from the airline industry, surging cases of the coronavirus in the United States and strong evidence on the effectiveness of masks in curbing transmission, according to CDC officials.

The recommendations fall short of what transportation industry leaders and unions had sought.

The CDC had previously drafted an order under the agency’s quarantine powers that would have required all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public transportation, according to a CDC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Such orders typically carry penalties. The order was blocked by the White House, the official said. It was first reported by The New York Times.

Read the full story on CDC guidelines here.

South Carolina authorities break up huge party amid pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities in South Carolina broke up a party where at least 2,000 people were gathered without taking precautions to prevent spreading the coronavirus, fire officials said.

University of South Carolina fans cheer on the Gamecocks during an NCAA college football game Saturday in Columbia, S.C. Police broke up a party where at least 2,000 people were gathered during the game at a Columbia apartment complex. Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The gathering occurred Saturday at an apartment complex during the University of South Carolina’s football game, Columbia Fire Department spokesman Mike DeSumma told The State. Fire department photos show a huge crowd of young people with little evidence of face masks or social distancing.

Some people threw bottles at crews as they arrived to answer a medical call, DeSumma said. Sheriff’s deputies and university police helped break up the party after fire officials declared it an imminent danger.

“There were so many people there that our responders had trouble getting in,” DeSumma said. “If we had come out for a fire or an emergency situation it would have been impossible to get in.”

The fire chief planned to meet with apartment managers Monday to discuss what happened.

No citations were issued to partygoers, DeSumma said, but not wearing a mask is a civil infraction with a fine up to $25, and businesses face a $100 penalty, according to a pandemic ordinance in Richland County.

At least 3,650 people in South Carolina have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University. The state is 14th highest per capita in the nation for deaths, and the daily rolling average of new cases is up more than 15% over the last two weeks.

Pelosi, Mnuchin to meet on coronavirus relief

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday as a self-imposed deadline looms for a deal worth about $2 trillion.

The two top negotiators have been making progress but are still apart on a sprawling deal that Pelosi says must be done by Tuesday if anything is going to happen before Election Day.

One elephant in the room is President Trump. The president first ordered talks scrapped but has recently ordered Mnuchin to come up with a bigger relief plan than Pelosi.

Another potential obstacle is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who says he won’t consider a deal worth anything even close to that amount.

Pelosi has been holding out for a bigger package for weeks now as the White House has slowly given ground.

The two sides are still far apart on issues such as funding for hard-hit states and local governments and a GOP push to eliminate liability for companies that reopen amid the pandemic. Democrats deride that plan as absolving big business from putting workers and customers in danger.

Democratic leaders believe they have maximum leverage because Trump is hungry for a deal that could give him something to tout to voters in the closing days of the presidential election campaign.

But Pelosi is also under pressure from Democratic lawmakers to take yes for an answer as Trump has already caved on the overall price tag for the package.

If Pelosi and Mnuchin can cut a deal, it would put McConnell on the hot seat and might expose serious rifts on the GOP side.

McConnell plans to push through a much smaller $500 billion package this week and says he won’t go higher than that.

Trump says he can pressure GOP senators to accept any package that he agrees to. But with Trump and several GOP incumbent senators trailing in polls, it remains to be seen whether that’s really the case.

Fauci says he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised by Trump’s COVID diagnosis

In a striking interview on “60 Minutes” Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said he was “absolutely not” surprised President Donald Trump contracted the novel coronavirus after watching him flout public health guidelines at a White House event last month.

The president and more than a dozen other people who had close contact with him in late September – including many maskless attendees at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event honoring Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett – tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month.

When asked by CBS News chief medical correspondent Jon LaPook if Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis surprised him, Fauci answered, “Absolutely not.”

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Fauci said Sunday. “When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that’s got to be a problem.’ And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”

Senate Hearing to Examine Federal Response to COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Monday about the president’s political rallies, “We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregant settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.” Graeme Jennings/Pool via Associated Press

In the interview, Fauci discussed being restricted from doing interviews, his frustration with the Trump campaign over a political ad, and the threats his family has endured since he became the face of the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci, who has been one of the most trusted voices on the coronavirus pandemic, has clashed with the president and others in the White House on multiple occasions. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has long advised that Americans wear masks in public when they cannot maintain at least six feet of social distancing. Trump has often spurned mask-wearing. Fauci said Trump’s campaign rallies, which often attract mask-free crowds, are “asking for trouble” amid the pandemic. Trump swiped back at Fauci last week, referencing the infectious-disease specialist’s errant ceremonial first pitch at a Washington Nationals game over the summer: “Tony’s pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications.”

Fauci clashed with Trump last week after his campaign team irritated the doctor by quoting him out of context in an ad supporting the president’s reelection campaign.

“I do not, and nor will I ever, publicly endorse any political candidate,” Fauci said on “60 Minutes.” “And here I am, they’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad, which I thought was outrageous.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the “60 Minutes” interview. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the ad last week, saying: “The words spoken are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”

Fauci also confirmed long-standing suspicions that the White House had restricted his availability to journalists to control flow the information coming from the administration’s coronavirus task force.

“During this pandemic, has the White House been controlling when you can speak with the media?” LaPook asked on Sunday’s show.

“I think you’d have to be honest and say yes,” Fauci answered. “I certainly have not been allowed to go on many, many, many shows that have asked for me.”

Read the full story here.

Confirmed coronavirus cases globally passes 40 million

LONDON — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the planet has passed 40 million.

The milestone was passed early Monday according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reporting from around the world.

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Hospitality workers protest in Parliament Square in London, Monday, Oct. 19. Hospitality workers are demonstrating outside Parliament against tougher coronavirus restrictions and the amount of financial support given by the government to the industry. AP Photo/Frank Augstein

The actual worldwide figure of COVID-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been variable, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases. To date, more than 1.1 million confirmed virus deaths have been reported.

The U.S., Brazil and India are reporting by far the highest numbers of cases, although the increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe.

Russia reports its highest 1-day virus total yet

MOSCOW— Russia reported almost 16,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest single-day number since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the Russian government’s coronavirus task force, the 15,982 confirmed infections brought the country’s total to over 1.4 million, which is the fourth largest in the world. The task force has also reported over 24,300 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

Russian authorities lifted most virus-related restrictions over the summer and have said there were no immediate plans to impose a second lockdown despite the resurgence. In some Russian regions, officials urged the elderly to self-isolate and called on employers to have at least part of their staff work from home. Several regions have shut down nightclubs and limited the hours of restaurants and bars.

In Moscow, which on Monday reported 5,376 new infections, officials recommended the elderly to self-isolate at home and ordered employers to have 30% of their staff work remotely. Starting from Monday, school students from 6th to 11th grades also moved their studies online until Nov. 2.

Man in Germany being investigated for using pepper spray to enforce social distancing

BERLIN — A 71-year-old man faces an investigation in Germany after authorities said he used pepper spray to keep cyclists and joggers at a coronavirus-appropriate distance.

Police in the western city of Aachen said Monday that the man, who wasn’t identified, sprayed the passers-by on Saturday. The cyclists were able to dismount and were otherwise unhurt.

The man told officers that he had seen no other way to keep people at a suitable distance. He now faces an investigation on suspicion of bodily harm and dangerous interference in traffic.

German coronavirus rules call for people to keep a 1.5-meter (roughly 5-foot) distance from each other.

Wales locks down economy to fight 2nd wave

LONDON — Wales became the second nation in the United Kingdom to lock down large swaths of the economy to combat a second wave of coronavirus infections as Prime Minister Boris Johnson resists calls to do the same throughout England.

The Welsh government announced its decision Monday. First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales would implement a short, sharp “fire break” to slow the spread of COVID-19 beginning Friday.

Northern Ireland has already ordered schools to close for the next two weeks, while banning most social gatherings and shutting many businesses for a month.

Lockdown to be enforced along German-Austrian border

BERLIN — A German official says a de facto lockdown will be imposed in an area on the Austrian border that has particularly high coronavirus infections.

The Berchtesgaden district in Germany’s southeastern corner has recorded 252 new cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days. That is far above the national average of 45.4.

Berchtesgaden borders the Salzburg province of Austria, which currently has that country’s highest infection rate.

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder said Monday that a package of measures “that corresponds to a lockdown” will be drawn up for Berchtesgaden in consultation with local officials.

Some other German regions are imposing tougher restrictions as new infections rise but those stop well short of lockdowns.

Slovenia imposes overnight curfew

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia has become the latest European nation to introduce a nationwide overnight curfew to control the spread of coronavirus.

The curfew starting Tuesday will run daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Authorities on Monday also said gatherings will be limited to six people and movement among regions will be banned.

The government has formally declared an epidemic following a major surge in cases. Slovenia on Monday reported 537 new cases in 2,637 tests with the positivity rate exceeding 20% for the first time.

This is the first time that Slovenia has decided to impose a curfew since the start of the outbreak. France and Belgium also have new curfews.

Slovenia, an Alpine nation, was the first in Europe to declare the end of the epidemic in May after lowering the number of new infections to one or two daily.

Belgian bars, restaurants, shut down for a month

BRUSSELS — Bars and restaurants across Belgium shut down for a month and a night-time curfew took effect Monday as health authorities warned of a possible “tsunami” of new virus cases in the hard-hit nation that hosts the European Union’s headquarters.

The new measures aim to limit social interactions to slow down the exponential growth of the pandemic in the nation of 11.5 million people. The new surge of coronavirus cases has already prompted several hospitals to delay non-essential operations to focus on treating COVID-19 cases.

“We are really very close to a tsunami,” Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told broadcaster RTL.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Belgium recorded more than 700 infections per 100,000 people over the last 14 days, the second-worst European record behind the Czech Republic, which had 828 per 100,000.

Belgium’s new curfew will be enforced from midnight until 5:00 a.m. for at least for a month.


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