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World Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus

23:25  20 october  2020
23:25  20 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures.

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, people gather during a © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, people gather during a "Trash Your Mask Protest" rally hosted by the Utah Business Revival at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2020, file photo, a waiter closes a bar terrace in Paris. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2020, file photo, a waiter closes a bar terrace in Paris. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

The stark contrasts in efforts to contain infections come as outbreaks on both sides of the Atlantic raise similar alarms, including shrinking availability of hospital beds and rising deaths.

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Shoppers buy face masks on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020. Ireland's government is putting the country at its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks in a bid to combat a rise in infections. The measures take effect at midnight Wednesday and run until Dec. 1. (Niall Carson/PA via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Shoppers buy face masks on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020. Ireland's government is putting the country at its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks in a bid to combat a rise in infections. The measures take effect at midnight Wednesday and run until Dec. 1. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Governors of states including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska and North Dakota are all facing calls from doctors and public health officials to require masks.

In Utah, a spike in cases since school reopened has created a dynamic that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has called “unsustainable.”

But schools remain open and Herbert, who has been pressured by an outspoken contingent of residents opposed to masks, has resisted a statewide mandate. Instead, he announced last week that they would be required only in six counties with the highest infection rates, while leaving it to others to make their own rules. Meanwhile, many hospitals are being pushed to the breaking point.

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“We are not just managing COVID. We are also managing heart attacks and strokes and respiratory failure and all those other things that need ICU-level care," said Dr. Kencee Graves, chief medical officer for inpatient care at the University of Utah Health hospital in Salt Lake City. The hospital's intensive care unit was filled by the end of last week, forcing the reopening of a backup intensive care unit.

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, people protest Gov. Gary Herbert during an anti-mask rally outside of the Governors Mansion in Salt Lake City. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. Herbert, who has been pressured by an outspoken contingent of residents opposed to masks, has resisted a statewide mandate. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, people protest Gov. Gary Herbert during an anti-mask rally outside of the Governors Mansion in Salt Lake City. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. Herbert, who has been pressured by an outspoken contingent of residents opposed to masks, has resisted a statewide mandate. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

“The sooner we take care of each other, wear masks, physically distance, the sooner we can have some gatherings in a safe way,” Graves said.

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In Oklahoma, where the number of people hospitalized for the virus has reached record levels, doctors have called on officials to do more.

“We need face mask mandates to protect more of our Oklahoma citizens,” Dr. George Monks, the president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said in a tweet Sunday.

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, people gather during a © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, people gather during a "Trash Your Mask Protest" rally hosted by the Utah Business Revival at the Utah State Capitol in Salt lake City. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. Herbert, who has been pressured by an outspoken contingent of residents opposed to masks, has resisted a statewide mandate. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

But Gov. Kevin Stitt has said repeatedly he has no plans to do so, citing concerns about how such a mandate would be enforced.

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Oklahoma health officials reported a record high of 821 people hospitalized Tuesday with the virus or under investigation for the infection. Wyoming also reported a record high number of patients hospitalized for the virus.

New virus cases in the U.S. have surged in recent weeks from a daily average of about 42,000 in early October to about 58,000 — the highest level since late July, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In one of the most troubling outbreaks, 10 residents of a nursing home in northwest Kansas have died from the virus, health officials said. All 62 residents of the Andbe Home in Norton County, as well as an unspecified number of employees, have tested positive for the infection.

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2020, file photo, students walk into Liberty Elementary School during the first day of class in Murray, Utah. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. In Utah, a spike in cases since school reopened has created a dynamic that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has called “unsustainable.” (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2020, file photo, students walk into Liberty Elementary School during the first day of class in Murray, Utah. Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. In Utah, a spike in cases since school reopened has created a dynamic that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has called “unsustainable.” (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The surge in new cases prompted a change of heart Monday from the mayor of North Dakota's largest city, in favor of a mask mandate.

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  Poland heralds virus strategy protecting both lives and jobs WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s prime minister on Wednesday outlined a “middle of the road” strategy of defending people’s health and lives while also protecting the economy and jobs in the country's fight against COVID-19. Mateusz Morawiecki said the policy rejected the approaches of those playing down the danger posed by the pandemic, as well as of those calling for another lockdown. “Our strategy is to structure social and economic life in a way that will allow us to continue to learn, work and live without locking down the economy, but at the same time to break the transmission belt of infection," Morawiecki said.

Tim Mahoney, who in addition to being Fargo’s mayor is also a general surgeon, has been largely supportive of Republican Gov. Doug Burgum’s approach of leaving management of the virus to local officials.

Mahoney, himself, cast the deciding vote against a mask mandate at a recent meeting of city officials. But with North Dakota leading the nation in new cases and up to one in four city residents now testing positive, Mahoney said a statewide change is in order.

A sign greets visitors outside the Curb Event Center at Belmont University as preparations take place for the second Presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn., during the coronavirus outbreak. Governors of states including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska and North Dakota are all facing calls from doctors and public health officials to require masks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) © Provided by Associated Press A sign greets visitors outside the Curb Event Center at Belmont University as preparations take place for the second Presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn., during the coronavirus outbreak. Governors of states including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska and North Dakota are all facing calls from doctors and public health officials to require masks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The dynamic contrasts sharply with Europe, where national officials are battling a similar spike with measures including new lockdowns and smart phone apps that track the virus’ spread.

In Ireland, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced a lockdown starting at midnight Wednesday that will close all non-essential stores, limit restaurants to carryout service and require people to stay within three miles (five kilometers) of their homes, while banning visits to other households.

This photo provided by the Norton Telegram shows the Andbe Home, a privately owned nursing home facility in Norton, Kan., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in the nursing home. The health department in Norton County reported Monday night that all of the remaining 52 residents and an unspecified number of employees had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (Dana M. Paxton/Norton Telegram via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This photo provided by the Norton Telegram shows the Andbe Home, a privately owned nursing home facility in Norton, Kan., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in the nursing home. The health department in Norton County reported Monday night that all of the remaining 52 residents and an unspecified number of employees had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (Dana M. Paxton/Norton Telegram via AP)

It marks a near-return to restrictions imposed by the government in March, although schools, construction sites and manufacturing industries will remain open. If people comply with the restrictions, which will be in place until Dec. 1, the country will be able to celebrate Christmas “in a meaningful way,” Martin said.

Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell

  Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell ROME (AP) — Curfews were largely expanded Thursday across France, which registered some 41.600 new confirmed virus cases to approach a total of 1 million, while similar overnight restrictions were slapped on Italy's three biggest cities — Rome, Naples and Milan — as rapidly rising caseloads across Europe prompted tighter limits on everyday ways of life. In Greece, people in the Athens area and other parts of the country with high infection rates were also ordered to stay off the streets from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.

FILE - In this  Oct. 17, 202, file photo, Champs-Elysees avenue is almost empty during curfew in Paris. French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new coronavirus infections. The monthlong curfew came into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 17, 202, file photo, Champs-Elysees avenue is almost empty during curfew in Paris. French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new coronavirus infections. The monthlong curfew came into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

But as cases surge, some decisions by European leaders to impose new restrictions are facing stiff opposition at the local level. After a tense faceoff, Britain’s government said Tuesday it had failed to reach agreement with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has rejected tough new measures without money to support the workers and businesses that will be most affected.

Police patrol in the streets as the curfew starts in Paris, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new coronavirus infections. The monthlong curfew came into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly) © Provided by Associated Press Police patrol in the streets as the curfew starts in Paris, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new coronavirus infections. The monthlong curfew came into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

Britain’s Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick expressed disappointment with Burnham, saying the mayor ”has been unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday he would impose the restrictions, drawing criticism from Burnham.

“It cannot be right to close people’s place of work, to shut somebody’s business, without giving them proper support,” Burnham said. He said Manchester had sought 90 million pounds ($117 million) from the national government to help people get through the winter. It was unclear how much the city would receive.

In the Netherlands, which has one of the highest infection rates in Europe, a judge in The Hague rejected an appeal by more than 60 Dutch bars and restaurants to overturn a government four-week closure order.

Lawyer Simon van Zijll, representing the bars and restaurants, warned in court that the Dutch hospitality industry faces “a tidal wave of bankruptcies” caused by the lockdown order, which he described as “random and disproportionate.”

___

Geller reported from New York. Associated Press writers Adam Causey in Oklahoma City, Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota, and Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this story.

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