Americans readied for a subdued Thanksgiving holiday Thursday under the pall of a worsening coronavirus crisis, with death tolls hitting new highs worldwide as infections multiply to surpass more than 60 million.
While vaccine breakthroughs have raised hopes for an end to the pandemic, much of the world is still facing a gloomy winter holiday season dampened by lockdowns, economic anxiety and the devastating losses of from a disease that is claiming thousands of lives daily.
In the United States, Americans suffered their highest daily death toll in six months on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The US government’s health protection agency has for the first time called on Americans not to travel for the holiday -- a call that not all have heeded. In his Thanksgiving address on Wednesday, US President-elect Joe Biden also appealed for his “weary” countrymen to dig deep and soldier through the remaining months until vaccines are available.
“There is real hope, tangible hope. So hang on. Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue,” Biden urged. More than 60 million infections and 1.4 million deaths have now been recorded around the world since the new coronavirus emerged in China late last year, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
The number of infections -- roughly equivalent to the population of Italy -- likely only reflects a fraction of the actual total, as many countries lack testing capacity.
In Europe, where many countries have imposed sweeping shutdowns in recent weeks, ski holidays were fast becoming the latest victims of the pandemic.
26 Nov, 2020