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Nov. 13, 2021, 2:08 p.m. EST

‘Now is not the time for happy talk’: Experts warn the pandemic is far from over and urge people to combine vaccines with face masks and other measures

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By Ciara Linnane

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He pointed to the example of Japan, a country that suffered one of the worst outbreaks around the time it hosted the Summer Olympics, but that has seen a dramatic improvement by combining a high level of vaccination with the continued use of masks and other measures.

Topol called on the U.S. to “heed the European signal for the first time” and to pull out all the stops in promoting primary vaccination and boosters.

“Aggressively counter the pervasive misinformation and disinformation. Accelerate and expand the vaccine mandates that unfortunately became necessary and have been proven effective, and mass distribute medical quality masks and rapid home testing kits at no cost,” he advised.

“Now is not the time for happy talk, but to instead show we can persevere, run this marathon, take it to the finish line,” said Topol.

“We can acknowledge and accept endemicity — that a low level of Covid will remain in the background, but that is not [more than] 75,000 new cases a day. Instead of succumbing to yet another major rise in cases and their sequelae, this is a chance for America to finally rise to the occasion, showing an ability to lead and execute.”

Among news items from Europe on Friday: The Netherlands is planning a partial three-week lockdown,  becoming the first Western European country to do so since summer. Norway is also planning to reinstate nationwide measures, including vaccine passes, AFP reported.

Germany recorded another daily case record of 50,000 on Thursday, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to say that people have a duty to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to protect others.

Austria is moving ahead with a plan to order unvaccinated people to stay at home, implementing a lockdown for those who have refused to get their shots, CNN reported.

Latvia is banning unvaccinated lawmakers from voting and is docking their pay, the Guardian reported.

Latest tallies

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 252 million on Friday, while the death toll edged above 5.08 million, according to  data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University .

The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 46.9 million cases and 759,678 deaths. 

India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.4 million and has suffered 462,690 deaths. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 610,224 and has recorded 21.9 million cases.

In Europe, Russia has had the most official fatalities at 248,203, followed by the U.K. at 142,971.

China,  where the virus was first discovered late in 2019,  has had 110,554 confirmed cases and 4,809 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively understated.

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