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New COVID-19 cases top 50,000 in US for second straight day

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New coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 50,000 for the second day in a row, as countries around the world struggled to curb the virus’s spread.

Total cases in the U.S. exceeded 5.2 million, about a quarter of the world-wide total, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll rose by about 1,000 to more than 167,000. That was down from the previous day’s tally, which was the highest daily total since May 27.

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The seven-day average of new infections topped the 14-day average in 13 states and Washington, D.C., according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, suggesting that cases were rising in those areas. When a seven-day average is higher than a 14-day average it suggests an increase. Looking at averages also helps smooth out data anomalies.

Testing trends, meanwhile, varied across the country. In 17 states, the seven-day moving average of tests per 1,000 people was down from a week ago, according to Johns Hopkins. It was higher in 14 states.

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“We need to keep up, if not accelerate, the testing pace,” said Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Ms. Carnethon cited Vermont, where the virus’s prevalence has been low, as an example. “Even if a place has low rates of disease, we need to continue testing there” to monitor what is happening in the population, she said.

Medical personnel confer about COVID-19 patients at DHR Health, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

In North Carolina, the state’s health department corrected figures marking the cumulative number of coronavirus tests it has completed, reducing its total tally by more than 200,000. The error, which the department reported Wednesday, resulted from “a discrepancy between electronic and manual testing data” from Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health department secretary, said the error didn’t impact other metrics, such as its testing positivity rate over time.

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New details emerged Thursday about how hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccines will be distributed in the U.S. and who will bear the cost. The U.S. government will pay for the vaccines and their distribution, and is working with commercial health insurers to offer the shots free of charge and without a copay, according to Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A collaboration between the federal government and the health-care industry would handle distribution, Mr. Mango said.

Elsewhere, a French official said the U.K.’s decision to impose a two-week quarantine on all arrivals from the country would lead to a reciprocal requirement. The U.K. said it had to act quickly because of rising infection rates in France, the Netherlands and other countries. The French government Friday declared Paris and the area in and around Marseille high-risk zones for the coronavirus, enabling local authorities to introduce measures to limit the spread of the virus. Earlier this week, the two cities made face masks mandatory in some public areas.

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France on Thursday reported more than 2,500 new infections for the second consecutive day. It hasn’t seen infection levels this high since the mid-April, during the initial peak of the contagion.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un eased a three-week lockdown on the border city Kaesong, state media reported Friday. There was a reported coronavirus case in the city, but state media KCNA didn’t say if it had been confirmed. Mr. Kim told the ruling politburo Thursday that there had been no cases of the virus in North Korea, but that the country would have to restrict aid for recent flood damage and tighten border controls.

New Zealand continues to struggle to contain a new wave of infections. The number of confirmed and probable cases due to community transmission has risen by 13 to 30. In Auckland, the country’s largest city, pandemic restrictions will be extended for a further 12 days.

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South Korea reported 103 new cases, bringing the nation’s total to 14,873. Locally transmitted cases hit their highest level since March 31, as clusters were reported in the Seoul metropolitan area. Health officials warned social-distancing measures may be strengthened again if the trend continues. More than 30 recent cases have been linked to a church in Goyang, north of Seoul. Another church in Yongin, south of Seoul, has been linked to more than 70 cases.

“We are facing a grave situation,” South Korea’s vice health minister, Kim Gang-lip, said on Friday.

India reported 64,553 new cases, taking its total to more than 2.4 million, according to Health Ministry data Friday. The country reported more than 1,000 new fatalities, as the death toll topped 48,000.

Tokyo on Friday reported 389 new cases, exceeding 300 for the first time in nine days. Gov. Yuriko Koike urged residents again to refrain from traveling and visiting their hometowns during the summer holidays. Nationwide, 1,177 cases were confirmed for Thursday, the first time since Aug. 9 that the daily tally surpassed 1,000.

In China, authorities reported eight new locally transmitted cases, all in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang.


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