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Dec. 5, 2020, 2:45 p.m. EST

U.S. reaches daily high of nearly 228,000 COVID-19 cases with California in focus; Russia starts vaccinations

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Associated Press

Coronavirus infections continue to spread at record levels in the United States, reaching a new daily high of nearly 228,000 cases on Friday.

The 227,885 cases eclipses the previous high of more than 217,000 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University .

The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 attributable deaths in the U.S. has passed 2,000 for the first time since the spring. It reached 2,011 on Friday. Two weeks ago, the seven-day average was 1,448. There were 2,607 deaths reported in the U.S. on Friday.

Read: CDC forecasts up to 19,500 deaths from COVID-19 in week ending Dec. 26

Globally, Johns Hopkins reports more than 1.5 million people have died from the coronavirus pandemic, including more than 279,000 in the United States.

Read: Biden wants Americans to wear masks for 100 days — do they protect against COVID-19 or merely promote healthy behavior?


A coronavirus surge hitting much of the U.S. is threatening to overwhelm hospitals in California. Five San Francisco Bay Area counties have imposed a new stay-at-home order for their residents that will take effect Sunday. Much of the rest of the state could join this weekend. In Washington, optimism is finally building for a COVID-19 aid bill that would offer relief for businesses, the unemployed, schools and health care providers. In Moscow, thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of a Russia-wide immunization effort, though the Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

Read : California on the brink: Virus rages and closures imminent

Don’t miss: Bank workers could get COVID vaccines before most Americans


MOSCOW — Thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up Saturday for a coronavirus vaccination in Moscow.

The vaccination effort comes three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of a “large-scale” immunization campaign even though a Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety in line with established scientific protocols.

The Russian leader said Wednesday that more than 2 million doses of the Sputnik V shot will be available in the next few days, allowing authorities to offer shots to medical workers and teachers across the country starting late next week.

On Saturday, Russia reported a record 28,782 daily cases, including 7,993 in Moscow. Russia’s 2.4 million confirmed cases is the fourth-largest caseload in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil.

There’s been 42,684 total confirmed deaths in Russia.

Read: What we still don’t know about COVID vaccines after the U.K.’s emergency-use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate

NEW DELHI — India has registered 36,652 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

India’s health ministry on Saturday also recorded 512 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total deaths to nearly 140,000. The pace of new cases has seen a downward trend, with single-day cases remaining below the 50,000 mark for a month.

India has 9.6 million total cases, second behind the U.S. with 14.3 million. But globally it has one of the lowest deaths per million population, according to the Health Ministry.

India’s home ministry has allowed states to impose local restrictions, such as night curfews. It has asked state officials to consult before imposing lockdowns at state, district or city levels.

CASPER, Wyo. — An official in Wyoming’s Department of Health involved in the state’s response to the coronavirus is questioning the legitimacy of the pandemic and describes a forthcoming vaccine as a biological weapon.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Igor Shepherd called COVID-19 a “so-called pandemic” at a Nov. 10 event in Loveland, Colorado. It says Shepherd described efforts to develop a vaccine as a plot by Russia and China to spread communism worldwide.

Shepherd was introduced as a Wyoming Department of Health employee before his presentation.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and other top state officials have declined to comment.

VENTNOR, N.J. — The FBI is telling anyone who underwent a coronavirus test at a New Jersey laboratory to get retested and to contact the agency.

In a statement Friday on Twitter, the FBI’s Newark office urges people who were recently tested for the virus at Infinity Diagnostic Laboratory in Ventnor “to be retested as soon as possible.” It also asks that anyone who was administered a finger-prick blood test at the laboratory to contact a victim assistance unit at the FBI.

The announcement gave no further details, and a message left with the FBI seeking further information was not immediately returned.

Voicemail for the company’s operations director Friday evening said it was closed and didn’t offer the opportunity to leave a message.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has authorized medically trained National Guard soldiers to fill nursing roles, drive ambulances and perform coronavirus testing for hospitals that are overstretched on staffing while they care for a climbing number of coronavirus patients.

The order Friday allows the adjutant general to send hospitals reinforcements from the Tennessee National Guard. The state is focusing on troops who are actively assigned, including those serving in coronavirus testing roles statewide, but not those currently serving in civilian jobs in health care.

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