TOKYO — The daily tally of reported COVID-19 cases in Japan hit a record for the fourth day in a row, with 2,508 people confirmed infected, the health ministry said Sunday.
Japan has had fewer than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far, avoiding the toll of the harder hit nations. But fears are growing about another surge. A flurry of criticism has erupted, from opposition legislators and the public, slamming the government as having acted too slowly in halting its “GoTo” campaign, which encouraged travel and dining out with discounts.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision Saturday. But many people had already made travel reservations for this three-day Thanksgiving weekend in Japan.
Airports and restaurants have been packed. Some said the government should have offered to pay for cancellations, or stepped up more on PCR testing instead, if the goal is to keep the economy going amid a pandemic. Tutorials are circulating online on the proper way to eat and drink at restaurants, while wearing masks.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— US reaches 12 million total coronavirus cases
— Italy hits nearly 35,000 new daily virus cases
— Calif Gov. Newsom’s child in 14-day quarantine
— Donald Trump Jr. doing ‘very well’ after coronavirus diagnosis this week.
— U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson says he’s ‘out of the woods’ after battling COVID-19.
— Los Angeles County businesses trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic face new restrictions and the prospect of a shutdown on the horizon.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
EL PASO, Texas -- The Texas National Guard has sent a 36-member team to El Paso to assist morgues in the border region with the number of dead as a result of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Statewide, the Texas health department on Saturday reported a one-day high of 12,597 new virus cases, nearly 20,500 dead since the pandemic began and more than 8,200 virus hospitalizations.
“The Texas Military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said late Friday when the deployment was announced.
The pandemic is blamed for 853 deaths in El Paso County, including more than 300 since October. Jail inmates are being paid to move bodies and county leaders are offering $27 an hour for morgue workers.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for support for a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew in the county, said mortuaries are being overwhelmed. He wrote that the local medical examiner’s office reported that 234 bodies were being held at the main morgue and nine mobile morgues.
WILMINGTON, Delaware — President-elect Joe Biden says all Americans should be able to attend religious services during the pandemic — as long as they do so safely.
Biden made the statement in response to a reporter’s shouted question as he was walking out of church Saturday evening in Delaware.
Specifically, Biden was asked whether all Americans should be able to attend religious services during the pandemic.
He responded, “Yes, safely.”
He did not answer a follow up question about whether indoor services should be allowed.
Some in-person church services across America have been closed as state leaders grapple with social distancing safeguards as the pandemic surges.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon has reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the second day in a row.
On Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority said there were 1,509 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections, spread across all but four of the state’s 36 counties, with the majority in the Portland metro area.
Among the seven new deaths being reported Saturday, all were in their 70s or 80s, and either had or were suspected of having underlying health conditions.
The state’s total is now 63,668 confirmed coronavirus infections and 819 deaths.
BALTIMORE — More than 12 million people in the U.S have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
The nation’s total number of confirmed cases reached 12.01 million on Saturday, six days after the number had reached 11 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Daily numbers of new U.S. cases are approaching 200,000, less than three weeks after hitting 100,000 for the first time. The record of 195,542 new cases on Friday was the latest of several recent daily highs.
Deaths rates are getting closer to the dire numbers seen in the spring. The U.S. daily death toll exceeded 2,000 on Thursday, the first time since early May. On Friday, 1,878 deaths were reported.
The U.S. leads the world with more than 255,000 dead.
ROME — Italy registered 34,767 new cases on Saturday, about 2,500 fewer than the previous day.
The government recently put the majority of Italy’s regions under new restrictions, including banning dining at cafes and restaurants in areas where the health care system risked collapse.
Italy has 1.3 million total confirmed cases. With 692 more deaths, the known death toll reached 49,261.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas will launch a media campaign to encourage more of its residents to wear masks.
The campaign comes months after the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature forced Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to accept that local officials would set pandemic restrictions. Kelly issued two mandates for people to wear masks in public, including one set to take effect Wednesday, but a law enacted in June allows each of the state’s 105 counties to opt out.
The state has set aside $1.5 million of its federal coronavirus relief funds for television, radio, print and social media ads promoting masks that are set to start before Thanksgiving and run through January or longer.
Kansas added an average of 2,718 per day over the seven-day period that ended Friday, with the state reaching a confirmed total of more than 134,000 cases. There’s been more than 1,400 confirmed deaths.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Saturday there were 3,162 people hospitalized with coronavirus, the most since May.
A total of 661 coronavirus patients were in intensive care units. The trend in the 14-day rolling average of hospitalized patients per day had increased by nearly 1,900 since the end of September, the department says.
Officials noted again that most of the hospitalized patients and deaths occurred among those 65 or older.
NEW YORK — The Rockefeller Center ice-skating rink is opening in a limited way and on time for