COVID-19 SUMMARY: U.S. is likely in the “last big surge” before a possible COVID-19 vaccine, Turkey reports 116 new deaths highest daily count since April


19th November 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 56,225,387 with 1,348,969 deaths as of 1am today.

Immunity to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can last for at least six months, and possibly much longer, perhaps even years, when all components of the body’s immune memory are taken into consideration, early research suggests.

The pre-print paper, published on Monday to the online server, appears to contradict previous research that has found immunity to the novel coronavirus wanes over time based on measurements of antibodies, or protein components of the immune system. 


Coronavirus is continuing to spread in Europe. While World Health Organization data today showed that Europe has recorded a 10% decline in COVID-19 cases over the past week “for the first time in over three months,” deaths continued to increase.

Over the past week, Europe has recorded a 10% decline in COVID-19 cases “for the first time in over three months”, but deaths continued to increase, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed on Tuesday.

The main body representing UK doctors has urged the government to impose tough new restrictions when England’s national lockdown ends on 2nd December to prevent a “collapse” of health care services this winter. The head of the UK government’s ‘Test and Trace’ program has been told to self isolate by the app that she is responsible for.

The German biotech company BioNTech is working on a formula for its vaccine that would allow it to be shipped at room temperature, CEO Uğur Şahin told CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. 

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which has been working on a Covid-19 vaccine with US Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, will file paperwork for the emergency use of its vaccine in the United States on Friday, the company CEO, Uğur Şahin told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.  German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz defended the government’s latest measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, saying they are accepted by most of the population of Europe’s largest economy.

Mink farming has been temporarily prohibited until 31st  December, 2021 in Denmark. During the same period it will also be forbidden to import or export live minks to or from Denmark and between herds in Denmark. 

An anti-corona measures demonstration is taking place in central Berlin. Several thousand demonstrators assembled near the parliamentary district, according to a Berlin police spokesman. Police are using water cannons at the demonstration, television pictures show. 

Poland recorded a record number of new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. The Health ministry tweeted that new 19,883 daily cases were registered, adding that “112 people had died due to COVID-19, while 491 people had died due to the coexistence of COVID-19 with other diseases.”

Geneva will begin relaxing its Covid restrictions beginning 21st November following a recent plateau of positive cases in the southern Swiss canton. 

Switzerland wants to increase funding for firms whose businesses have suffered due to the pandemic to 1 billion francs ($1.1 billion). The government in Bern announced the plan on Wednesday. It requires Parliament’s approval.

Austria reported 109 deaths of patients with the coronavirus, the first time the pandemic claimed more than 100 per day, bringing the total to 2,054.

Portugal has set up a taskforce to come up with a COVID-19 vaccination strategy and hopes to be prepared to start distributing shots as early as January, Health Minister Marta Temido said on Wednesday.

Spain’s medicines agency authorised the launch of late-stage trials of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday (Nov 18) as the race to develop successful vaccines intensifies.

U.S. and Canada

Global debt is expected to soar to a record US$277 trillion by the end of the year as governments and companies continue to spend in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of International Finance said in a report on Wednesday.

The United States is likely in the “last big surge” before a possible COVID-19 vaccine can start to offer help in the coming months, one expert says. But for now, the country is continuing to set grim case and hospitalization records and the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.

If there’s one thing he regrets about the pandemic, the US’ top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says he wishes he had pushed harder for broader testing early on.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for the first self-test for Covid-19 that can provide rapid results at home.

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday that he and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi have formally invited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans to bipartisan talks on new COVID-19 relief legislation.

“Our colleagues face a simple choice. They put the election behind them and work across the aisle to get something done, or they can remain in their partisan corner,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

The state of Washington reported 2,677 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, a new single-day high, according to its health department.

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.

The dollar slipped for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, sliding to a more than one-week low, as positive vaccine news offset the surge in coronavirus cases and tighter economic restrictions across the United States and Europe.

U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in October as the housing market continues to be driven by record low mortgage rates, but momentum could slow amid a resurgence in new COVID-19 infections that is putting strain on the economic recovery.

More than 900 Mayo Clinic staff have contracted Covid-19 in the past two weeks, according to a report Tuesday in the TwinCities Pioneer Press.

China and Hong Kong

9 new cases were reported in Hong Kong yesterday. Among the newly reported cases announced, six had a travel history during the incubation period, one was local case with unknown sources while the other two were epidemiologically linked with a local case.

Elsewhere in the world

Turkey reported 116 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, its highest daily count since April. The latest data brought Turkey’s total death toll to 11,820, according to the Health Ministry. Turkey stopped reporting all coronavirus cases in July, and has since only reported “patients” who both test positive and display symptoms. On Wednesday there were 4,215 new patients. 

Iran recorded 13,421 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the country’s health ministry said, bringing the total number of infections to 801,894.

Japan reported 1,694 new COVID-19 cases for Tuesday, its third highest single-day jump since the pandemic began. 

Most Indonesians would want to be vaccinated against the virus, but many are unwilling to pay for it. A September survey involving 115,000 respondents found that about 65% want to be inoculated, while just 8% would refuse and 27% were hesitant.

All of Singapore’s five new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Wednesday were imported cases. 

Malaysia said on Wednesday it has signed an agreement with China to cooperate on the development of a safe and efficacious vaccine, as part of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information compiled from REUTERS, CNN, CNA and Bloomberg