US surpasses 20 million COVID cases

Monitoring Desk

The US has entered the first days of the new year with bleak figures. With over 20 million cases — the US has about a quarter of all infections recorded worldwide. Follow DW for the latest.

The US has tallied more than 20 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. That corresponds to about a quarter of all infections recorded worldwide, according to data from the John Hopkins University.

The US also registered over 346,000 coronavirus-related deaths, out of a population of 330 million people.

As of Friday, an estimated 2.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, mostly to frontline healthcare workers as well as staff and residents of care homes.

US Senator Mitt Romney called on the US government to immediately enlist veterinarians, combat medics and others in a national campaign to provide coronavirus vaccinations and slow down the soaring rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths. 

German company BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer have announced on their website that they plan to give volunteers who received a placebo in its coronavirus vaccine trial an option to receive a first dose of the vaccine by March 1, 2021, while staying within the study.

The trial allows all participants aged 16 or older the choice to discover whether they were given the placebo, “and for participants who learn they received the placebo, to have the option to receive the investigational vaccine while staying in the study,” they said. 


Around 2,500 partygoers attended an illegal underground New Year rave in France, triggering concerns the event could lead to a coronavirus outbreak. The rave took place in Lieuron, south of Rennes in Brittany. According to a police statement, partygoers violently clashed with police who failed to stop the event.

Local officers tried to “prevent this event but faced fierce hostility from many partygoers” who set one of their cars on fire and threw bottles and stones, the statement read, adding that attendees included French nationals as well as people from abroad. French news agency AFP reported that the rave had included partygoers from foreign countries, including the UK and Spain.

France has imposed a nationwide 8 pm curfew to curb the spread of COVID. The country has also banned mass gatherings. France has a total of 2,697,014 COVID cases with 64,892 deaths, according to the latest figures from John Hopkins University.

The UK’s Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned healthcare workers are at risk of burnout as the number of patients infected with the coronavirus continues to rise.

“We are very much at battle stations,” Adrian Boyle, the vice president of the doctors association, told the BBC.

“There is a real worry about burnout … The people who go into emergency medicine expect it to be tough from time to time,” Boyle said. “However, doctors and nurses are tired,
frustrated and worn down, as are others in the sector,” he added, urging Britons to follow government guidelines on how to prevent the virus from spreading. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 12,690 to 1,755,351, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 336 to 33,960, the tally showed.

Asia Pacific

In Australia, the state of New South Wales (NSW) made masks mandatory as a coronavirus cluster increased by seven cases, bringing the total number of active coronavirus cases to around 200. NSW authorities said it would impose a A$200 ($154, €165) fine for not wearing a mask as of Monday.

NSW also imposed restrictions including a ban on singing and dancing in nightclubs, reducing gym classes and limiting numbers at weddings, funerals and places of worship. 

“By putting these measures and settings in place we are confident we can continue to increase and encourage economic activity, give confidence to business and jobs, but also, of course, keep the virus at bay,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters, adding that a five-day Cricket test match between Australia and India on Thursday will go ahead with attendance at 50% capacity.

South Korea is extending distancing rules for two more weeks after it confirmed its first case of an apparently more infectious coronavirus variant detected in South Africa. Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said the second-highest level of distancing rules will remain in place for the Seoul region until January 17.

Social gatherings of more than five people as well as in-person religious services are also banned. Foreigners entering South Korea will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID rest result starting January 8.

Middle East

Israel says it has vaccinated 1 million people against the coronavirus as it rolls out one of the world’s earliest and fastest vaccination campaigns.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Juli Edelstein praised the millionth vaccination on Friday in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm. Israel has administered the first dose of vaccine to more than 10% of the population, Edelstein said.

Netanyahu said Israel’s goal is to vaccinate 5.5 million people in the country of 9.3 million. More than 40% of people aged over 60 in Israel have received the first of two injections of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.


Venezuela will implement a week of hard lockdown starting on Monday, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has announced.

“President Nicolas Maduro, having examined the epidemiological development of COVID-19 during the month of December, has decided to resume the 7 + 7 scheme with the start of radical quarantine measures on Monday, January 4 at midnight until Sunday the 10th. United we will win!” Rodriguez tweeted.

Brazil recorded  58,428 additional cases of the new coronavirus and 762 related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the country’s health ministry. Brazil has now logged a total of 7,423,945 confirmed coronavirus cases with 189,982 deaths. 

Courtesy: DW