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Taiwan celebrates record 200 days with no confirmed local coronavirus transmission

The United States recorded more than 80,000 new novel coronavirus infections and more than 1,000 related deaths on Wednesday amid a nationwide surge in new cases. Taiwan, meanwhile, reached a milestone: 200 days without recording a single locally transmitted coronavirus infection.



Pedestrians with face masks in Taipei on Oct. 29. (Chiang Ying-Ying/AP)


© Chiang Ying-Ying/AP
Pedestrians with face masks in Taipei on Oct. 29. (Chiang Ying-Ying/AP)

The island of more than 23 million people has officially confirmed just 550 cases and seven covid-19 fatalities. Given Taiwan’s density and proximity to China — they are neighbors, and locked in a sovereignty dispute — Taiwan’s successful handling of the pandemic has been closely analyzed by health experts.

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Early in the year, as the virus spread in China, scientists anticipated that Taiwan could have the world’s second-worst outbreak given its location and the frequency of daily flights and travelers from China, according to a March article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Instead, the opposite happened, as Taiwan harnessed lessons from past epidemics and took the virus seriously from the start. And while many countries that initially averted large outbreaks in the spring saw cases surge this summer or autumn, Taiwan in has continued to stave off the worst of the pandemic.

As soon as China first reported to the World Health Organization in late December that a mysterious pneumonia-like virus was circulating in Wuhan, Taiwan began screening passengers on flights from the city. Having already experienced the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, which also originated in China, the island had the foresight and infrastructure to mobilize a fast response.

On China’s front line, emerging cold war haunts battle-worn Taiwanese islands

During this high-stakes period, when the virus was gaining

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2 More Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In Wallingford Schools

WALLINGFORD, CT — Two more cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the Wallingford Public School District, according to officials.

Officials notified families Sunday night that one person associated Pond Hill Elementary School tested positive for the coronavirus. The person was determined to be in “close contact with one or more people while in a school setting,” according to a message sent to parents.

A contact tracing investigation was launched and everyone who was identified as a close contact has already been notified by school officials.

Officials were also notified Sunday night that another person associated with the school district tested positive for the virus.

“In working with the Wallingford Health Department, it has been determined that this individual was in close contact with one or more people while in the school setting,” according to a message sent to parents. “The Wallingford Public School District, in collaboration with the Wallingford Health Department, initiated a case investigation and contact tracing activities to identify all individuals who may have been in close contact with the case. All individuals identified as close contacts have already been notified by the building administration or the school nurse.”

See also: Coronavirus Cases Reported At 3 Schools In Wallingford

This article originally appeared on the Wallingford Patch

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Colombia reaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia reached 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, becoming the second country in Latin America to report that number in less than a week.

The nation of 50 million saw cases peak in August and has seen a decline since but still continues to register around 8,000 new infections a day.

Epidemiologists expect to see another marked increase by the end of the year, a prognosis that has put medical workers like nurse Freddy Harvey Rodríguez and his doctor son at one of Bogota’s largest hospitals on edge.

“The fear is it’s going to be worse,” Rodríguez said on a recent afternoon.


Argentina hit 1 million confirmed cases on Monday and Peru and Mexico are expected to reach the grim marker in the weeks ahead. Brazil ranks third worldwide in the number of virus cases and passed 1 million infections back in June.

Overall, Latin America continues to register some of the highest caseloads, diagnosing more than 100,000 confirmed infections each day, though the World Health Organization reports that Europe is now seeing even larger numbers as a second virus wave strikes.

Experts say the region is experiencing a table-top like effect in which cases remain relatively high instead of dramatically dropping. In a number of countries, the virus has begun spreading to areas that had previously registered relatively few cases.

“The behavior of the virus is different,” said Dr. Luis Jorge Hernández, a public health professor at the University of the Andes in Colombia. “It’s not big resurgences but new outbreaks.”

In Colombia, a six-month lockdown helped slow contagion and gave officials time to expand the number of ICU beds. While cases rose dramatically in Bogota, stretching hospital capacity, the city has managed to avoid the sorts of dire scenes seen elsewhere in the region of patients lined up outside hospitals, struggling to find a bed.

Nonetheless, the cost has been high: Nearly 30,000 people have died, including a number of medical workers like colleagues of Rodríguez. One count by a medical association estimates that nearly 200 physicians and other workers have died.

Rodríguez said his son spent over $100 buying him protective gear at the start of the pandemic. The pair still worry about getting sick. Both work at Bogota’s Kennedy Hospital, which is located in a sprawling working-class neighborhood. The area has the highest total number of cases anywhere in the bustling capital.

Dr. Camilo Rodríguez said he arrives to work in one uniform and changes into another when he treats COVID-19 patients. He lost a close friend and mentor to the virus and fears spreading it to his family.

As an extra precaution, he showers at the hospital before going home.

“Infecting myself would be infecting my family,” he said.

The path of the virus through Latin America is a consequence of weak public health systems, social factors like poverty and poor government decisions early on that resulted in flawed or limited testing and little contact tracing. Today the region is

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Another Coronavirus Case Confirmed At School In Wallingford

WALLINGFORD, CT — Another coronavirus case has been confirmed at Parker Farms Elementary School in Wallingford, according to officials.

Officials notified families Monday that a person associated with Parker Farms tested positive for COVID-19. Health and school officials determined that the person was “not in close contact with anyone while in a school setting,” according to a message sent to parents.

Parker Farms also had a confirmed coronavirus case last Wednesday. Families were notified Sunday night that a person at James H. Moran Middle School tested positive for the virus. That person was determined to be in “close contact with one or more people while in a school setting” and one cohort at Moran was switched to distance learning for this week as a result.

“The Wallingford Public School District and Wallingford Health Department are committed to maintaining a safe environment for students and staff,” officials wrote in a message to parents. “We continue to proactively monitor illness of students and staff, apply cleaning protocols, and social distancing practices. We will continue to review the circumstances of this case and will make any necessary adjustments in our plans.”

This article originally appeared on the Wallingford Patch

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Mass. reports 827 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 15 new deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed by 827 on Monday, bringing the total to 141,474, the Department of Public Health reported Monday.

The death toll from confirmed cases rose by 15 to 9,532.

State officials also reported that 17,654 more people had been tested for coronavirus, bringing the total to more than 2.53 million. The number of administered tests climbed to more than 5.23 million. New antibody tests were completed for 186 people, bringing that total to 124,340.

The seven-day average of positive tests per total tests administered, was at 1.2 percent. The lowest observed figure for that metric — a number watched closely by state officials — is 0.8 percent.

The state also offers on its dashboard a different measure of test positivity: daily positive tests per people tested. That number was 2.9 percent. Some experts have suggested that positive tests per people tested is a better measure of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients dropped slightly from 499 to 494. The lowest that metric has been is 302.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity was zero, and the three-day average of deaths from confirmed cases was 18; the lowest that number has been is nine.

The number of new cases announced Monday was the highest single-day total since late May.

The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases also climbed to 649 on Monday, the highest it’s been since late May. The average bottomed out at 138 on July 5.

Dr. Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said Massachusetts was “certainly in better shape” than many other states.

“That’s because of a very relatively cautious approach to reopening and aggressive efforts to contact trace and otherwise reduce transmission” such as by stepped-up testing in hot spots, he said in a media briefing Monday.

But Lipsitch said, “We are going to have the same challenges as everybody else.”

As the weather gets worse, he said, it will be harder to socialize outdoors and people will be driven indoors. People are also getting weary of pandemic restrictions.

He said, “All of these things are real and understandable . . . It’s just that they will lead to more virus transmission.”

Governor Charlie Baker has acknowledged an increase in cases, but has said the state is prepared to deal with them.

The latest data from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which is looking for traces of the virus in wastewater at the Deer Island treatment plant, also adds to a picture of a state that got the virus under control over the summer but has seen it creeping back upward since.

This chart shows the results of tests looking for traces of coronavirus in the wastewater at the Deer Island treatment plant.
This chart shows the results of tests looking for traces of coronavirus in the wastewater at the Deer Island treatment plant.MWRA

Martin finucane can be reached at [email protected] John Hilliard can be reached at [email protected]

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The Latest: Global Confirmed Virus Cases Tops 40 Million | World News

LONDON — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the planet has passed 40 million.

The milestone was passed early Monday according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reporting from around the world.

The actual worldwide figure of COVID-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been variable, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases. To date, more than 1.1 million confirmed virus deaths have been reported.

The U.S., Brazil and India are reporting by far the highest numbers of cases, although the increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Confirmed cases worldwide top 40 million.

— Coronavirus vaccines will require non-stop sterile refrigeration to stay potent and safe, which may leave 3 billion people without access to them

— India reports lowest daily virus death toll in three months; Poland turns National Stadium into a field hospital

— To avoid the economic hit of full lockdowns, some places where virus is resurgent are trying more targeted restrictions this time

— Congress is past the point of delivering more coronavirus relief before the Nov. 3 election, with Washington’s differences proving insurmountable

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

VIENNA — Austria will limit private gatherings to six people indoors and 12 outdoors in response to increasing coronavirus infections.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the new restrictions will take effect on Friday. Kurz said after a videoconference with provincial governors on Monday that professional events such as soccer games and operas will only be possible with assigned seats and mask-wearing throughout, and without food and drink being served. There will be a maximum of 1,000 people indoors and 1,500 outdoors.

Kurz acknowledged that new restrictions are unpopular but said they’re necessary. He said the next few months will be challenging “simply because all of us in Austria and Europe are already tired of corona, but it will take months before we can really achieve a breakthrough with a vaccine.”

Austria, a country of some 8.9 million people, has recorded as many as 1,750 new infections per day in recent days — as in many other European countries, seeing the highest numbers since the pandemic began. It has recorded 105.6 new cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days.

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s government is transforming the National Stadium in Warsaw into a field hospital to handle the surging number of patients infecting with the coronavirus.

The stadium, with a seating capacity of over 58,500, was constructed to host matches for the Euro 2012 soccer championship.

Government spokesman Piotr Müller said Monday the stadium will have room for 500 patients and will be equipped with oxygen therapy.

“We can see that the number of cases is growing so fast that we need to secure places for hospitalization for those who need it,” Müller said, speaking on

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