What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Naples

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

U.S. cases surpass 7 million

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States topped 7 million on Thursday – more than 20% of the world’s total – as Midwest states reported spikes in COVID-19 infections in September, a Reuters tally shows.

The latest milestone comes just days after the nation surpassed over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest. Each day, over 700 people die in the United States from COVID-19.

California leads the country with over 800,000 total cases, followed by Texas, Florida and New York. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/363tab5)

All Midwest states except Ohio reported more cases in the past four weeks as compared with the prior four weeks, led by South Dakota and North Dakota.

AstraZeneca gets partial immunity in vaccine deal

European governments will pay claims above an agreed limit against AstraZeneca over side-effects from its potential COVID-19 vaccine, under different terms to a deal struck with Sanofi, an EU official told Reuters.

The deals reflect different strategies by two of the world’s top drugmakers for protecting themselves as a debate rages about liabilities for vaccines aimed at ending the pandemic.

AstraZeneca has secured the European Union’s backing in a confidential agreement which reflects the lower price sought by the British drugmaker.

Unexpected side-effects after a drug has regulatory approval are rare, but the speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine is being pursued increases the risks of unforeseen conditions.

Virus ravages Latin America’s working class

Mexico was set to surpass 75,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths on Thursday, as the pandemic ravages Latin American nations with large informal economies where workers have grappled with the twin threats of hunger and contagion.

Mexico has the world’s fourth-highest coronavirus death toll, according to a Reuters tally, behind the United States, Brazil, and India. Despite closing schools and offices six months ago, the Mexican government has struggled to contain the virus’ spread.

More than half of Latin America’s active population have informal jobs in areas such as street commerce and domestic labor. In Mexico, working from home or strict social distancing measures can mean no income, since the welfare safety net is small.

UK hits highest daily cases

Britain recorded its highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 on Thursday at 6,634, reflecting a second wave of infections sweeping through the country but also a much higher level of testing than during the first wave.

Thursday’s number was up from 6,178 on Wednesday, itself a jump from 4,926 the previous day.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government estimated fewer than 10,000 people were becoming infected every day, as opposed to estimated numbers over 100,000 during the peak of the first wave.

While testing capacity has increased dramatically since the first wave, the system has nevertheless been under strain, with many people reporting they were unable to get tests, or had to travel long distances.

Moscow mayor urges more home-working

The mayor of Moscow urged businesses on Friday to get more people to work from home as Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit its highest since June 23.

Officials reported 7,212 new infections, bringing the national case total to 1,136,048. In Moscow, the tally of new cases rose almost 50% overnight to 1,560 from 1,050 the previous day.

Russia lifted many of its lockdown restrictions in June and many shops, businesses and public transport in the capital of more than 12.5 million people are operating largely as normal.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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