Germany announced on Wednesday that it will push for Europe to ban ski holidays in an effort to curb coronavirus infections, while cases of Covid-19 reached a new high of more than 60 million globally.
The prospect of Christmas behind closed doors rather than on the slopes stretched for Europeans as Americans faced their own gloom and recorded the highest daily death toll from the virus in six months ahead of a subdued Thanksgiving holiday.
US President-elect Joe Biden cited urgent plans to deliver a vaccine when he appealed to his “tired” compatriots to dig deep, with Covid-19 swinging around the country.
“There is real hope, concrete hope. So hang on. Do not let yourself give in to fatigue, Biden said in a TV Thanksgiving address.
“You will get your lives back. Life will return to normal. It will happen. This will not be forever. ”
Biden spoke as a summary of official sources compiled by AFP showed that more than 60 million infections that led to 1.4 million deaths have been registered around the world since the new coronavirus occurred in China at the end of last year.
The number of infections – roughly equivalent to the population of Italy – probably reflects only a fraction of the actual sum, as many countries lack test capacity.
Increasing cases have led countries around the world to face new restrictions in recent weeks, although some – such as France and the United Kingdom – have begun to cautiously reopen.
However, Germany announced on Wednesday that it will extend its virus edges until 2021 and plans to seek an agreement with European partners to close ski slopes until January 10.
The statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel was in line with French plans announced a day earlier to close ski resorts by the end of the year. Infected tourists at ski resorts helped spread the virus across Europe earlier this year.
“I will say this openly that it will not be easy, but we will try,” Merkel said.
The move put Berlin and Paris on a collision course with holiday operators and holiday hotspot Austria before the crucial Christmas period.
In Switzerland, which is not an EU member, however, ski resorts are open – although the police have been seen patrolling to ensure that skiers respect antiquated measures such as wearing masks and social distances.
In the United States, thousands of grieving families stood for a loss that was marked by loss.
Americans usually cross the country to be with family and friends for the carb-filled party on Thursday to mark one of their most important national holidays.
But Covid-19 has increased nationwide for several weeks, with daily numbers of new cases regularly exceeding 150,000.
On Wednesday, it increased to almost 200,000 cases with a death toll of more than 2,400 – six months high. More than 262,000 people have so far been killed by the virus in the United States.
In recent days, images on social media are driven by cramped airports concerns Americans did not take advice from health authorities to severely restrict travel.
But Los Angeles officials and passengers noted an eerie silence compared to previous years.
“The plane was basically empty. There were only a handful of people there, Nathan Peterson, a student arriving in LA from Utah on Wednesday, told AFP.
US food banks, on the other hand, have seen long queues in recent days as the economy continues to falter during the pandemic.
“We’re ready to feed 4,000. Me and my crew, we’re constantly working on this, just to make sure anyone who’s not been able to eat a nice Thanksgiving meal this year,” said David Thomas, chef at the Los Angeles Mission.
With the end of 2020 in sight, the virus continued to hit the global economy.
The UK is expected to see its largest annual decline in more than three centuries, with the government predicting that the economy will shrink by 11.3 percent with the fallout from coronavirus.
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to cut foreign aid budgets to help repair the battered finances, prompting a minister to stop and defy passionate talks to protect the world’s poorest people.
And the pandemic began to put new pressure on the animal kingdom.
The traveling Zavatelli Circus in Belgium appealed to local donors to help feed their 50 animals, after being blocked in the country for almost a year by the epidemic.
While in Denmark a rushed slaughter of minks over concerns about a coronavirus mutation has left the country facing a new horror, when carcasses of the animals return from the earth, lifted by pressure from gases released through the decomposition.
Photos and videos of the macabre phenomenon have confused social media, with a Twitter user dubbing 2020 “the year of zombie mutant killer minks.”
There are 36 days left in 2020. Plenty of time for zombies.
– Mary Annaïse Heglar (@MaryHeglar) November 26, 2020