As COVID-19 cases climb, Americans urged to stay home for Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving is the busiest US holiday in terms of travel
- America was hit by a spike of over 200,000 new infections
- President Donald Trump has been muted in his public reactions to the surge in cases
Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, US authorities on Thursday urged Americans not to travel as COVID-19 cases in the State climb at a higher rate. Apart from this, California announced a night-time curfew aimed at curbing the surging pandemic. Thanksgiving is the busiest US holiday in terms of travel, as it falls on a Thursday and many Americans take the Friday off work and make a long weekend of it.
"It's not a requirement. It's a strong recommendation," Henry Walke, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor, told reporters.
America was hit by a spike of over 200,000 new infections and 2,239 fatalities -- the worst death toll since May -- over the past 24 hours, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
US states and cities have been imposing their own restrictions, including home confinement, the closure of indoor dining and a limit on gatherings as infections soar across the country.
New York City on Thursday closed its schools -- affecting 1.1 million students -- but left gyms and bars open, the opposite of the virus strategy in many European cities where schools have stayed open.
California will impose a 10:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew from Saturday, with state Governor Gavin Newsom saying it was "crucial to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations."
President Donald Trump has been muted in his public reactions to the surge in cases, staying largely out of the public eye as he presses his unsubstantiated fraud claims in the election he lost to Biden.
Health Secretary Alex Azar told a White House briefing that the BioNTech/Pfizer application was expected Friday, confirming a timeline BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin shared with AFP in an interview.
"There is a chance that we can receive approval from the US or Europe or both regions this year still," Sahin said.
"We may even start delivering the vaccine in December," he added, "if everyone works together very closely".
The BioNTech/Pfizer shot and another one from US firm Moderna have taken the lead in the race for a vaccine, after large-scale trial data this month showed their jabs were around 95 percent effective against Covid-19.
Trials for another vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, also show it safely produces a robust immune response in healthy older people, while producing fewer side effects than in younger people, its British maker said on Thursday.
After the US, the second worst-affected country is Brazil with 167,455 deaths, followed by India with 131,578 and Mexico which hit 100,104 deaths on Thursday.