(Bloomberg) -- Norway, Denmark, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea and Switzerland are the only countries that didn’t slip into the bottom half of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking in the past 12 months.

Indonesia, where half the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, canceled vacations for workers in a bid to prevent a potential spike in cases. Singapore infections rose.

The U.S. is struggling with yet another surge. Michigan is the latest hot spot, racking up a seven-day case rate more than triple the national average. Even hospitals in highly vaccinated New England are suffering.

Deaths in Europe from Covid-19 will reach 2.2 million by March based on current trends, the World Health Organization warned. European Union officials are trying to agree on how to manage vaccine rollouts. 

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases exceed 258.5 million; deaths pass 5.16 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 7.76 billion shots given
  • The winners and losers from a year of ranking Covid resilience
  • Covaxin gave lower protection amid India’s deadly delta-led wave
  • U.K. workforce is younger, smaller and more female since Covidcanceled
  • Merkel and her successor played politics and let Covid run wild

New England Hospitals Suffering (6:30 a.m. HK)

The northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, all highly vaccinated, are suffering from surges that are taxing hospitals beset by staff shortages and sicker-than-usual patients.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told reporters Tuesday that the state is seeing its highest level of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, averaging about 1,000 new infections per day. He issued an executive order to help hospitals use their space more flexibly to add capacity.

All three northern New England states report that hospitalized patients are mainly unvaccinated people from rural areas where vaccination rates are lower.

MTA Worker Vaccine Mandate Unlikely (6 a.m. HK)

Governor Kathy Hochul indicated a vaccine mandate was unlikely for Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for one similar to what’s required for all city employees.

“I appreciate the advice that’s coming our way. That’s fine,” the governor said. “If we had a problem, I’d address it, but we’re doing an outstanding job.”

De Blasio has been pushing for vaccinations as the city and state confront a rise in Covid-19 cases with the weather turning colder and people spending more time indoors. However, the MTA has seen a shortage of subway operators this year, which could make a mandate challenging. The state-controlled agency, which is responsible for city public transportation, is still recovering from a hiring freeze during the pandemic when ridership plummeted.

CDC Raises Advisory for Denmark, Germany (2:20 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved its travel advisory for Denmark and Germany to the highest level in response to recent surges in infections across Europe. Both Denmark and Germany are ranked as level 4, or “very high,” which means Americans should avoid all travel there, and make sure they are fully vaccinated if they do visit.

NYC Mayor Wants MTA Vaccine Mandate (12:40 p.m. NY)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Governor Kathy Hochul to impose a vaccine mandate for Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers after he implemented requirements for all city workers.

“We need them to be vaccinated for the safety of each other and their families, their communities, for the safety of the passengers,” the mayor said at a briefing Tuesday. “It’s worked for the New York City workforce, it can work for the MTA as well.”

De Blasio has been pushing for vaccinations as the city and state confront a rise in Covid-19 cases with the weather turning colder and people spending more time indoors. However, the MTA has seen a shortage of subway operators this year, which could make a vaccine mandate challenging. The state-controlled agency, which is responsible for city public transportation, is still recovering from a hiring freeze during the pandemic when ridership plummeted.

Netherlands Reintroduces Social Distancing (10:45 a.m. NY)

Maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) will once again become mandatory in the Netherlands starting Wednesday as cases continue to rise. People were already encouraged to maintain social distancing, but the caretaker Dutch cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday that the rule is now mandatory and can be enforced by police.

Weekly coronavirus cases rose by 39% on Tuesday from 110,558 infections in the week prior to 153,957 infections. The national health service said the biggest spike in positive tests was reported in children up to the age of 12. Covid-19 weekly hospital admissions rose by 19% with nearly half of the admissions coming from patients age 60 to 79.

Astra Plots Next Steps With New Lab (10 a.m. NY)

AstraZeneca Plc will open labs for its Covid-19 products at a new U.K. research and development site this year as the drugmaker faces questions about the future of its vaccine in its home country.

The labs, which will be based at the R&D hub in Cambridge, England, opened Tuesday, will house a unit for vaccines and will also focus on the company’s antibody cocktail, which is expected to receive U.S. and U.K. authorization in the coming months. 

The U.K. ordered 100 million doses of Astra’s vaccine last year but ultimately limited its use to people over 40 after a very rare blood-clotting side effect emerged. Britain is only relying on vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. for its booster program, leaving Astra on the sidelines.

WHO Says Europe May Exceed 2 Million Deaths (10 a.m. NY)

Deaths in Europe from Covid-19 will reach 2.2 million by March based on current trends, the World Health Organization warned, advising countries to vaccinate more to avoid further lockdowns.

Covid is now the leading cause of death in Europe, and the number of reported daily fatalities approached 4,200 last week, double the level at the end of September, the WHO said Tuesday. The cumulative total is 1.5 million in the WHO’s European region.

The WHO said it expects intensive-care units in 49 out of 53 countries in the region will have high or extreme stress between now and the start of March.

Helsinki Region to Push Remote Work, Masks (9:36 a.m. NY)

Helsinki and its surrounding cities are set to recommend a return to remote working as well as extended mask use as cases mount.

When remote work isn’t possible, employers should require mask use at workplaces even if social distancing is possible, a group that drafts recommendations for municipal authorities said in an emailed statement. Mask use will be recommended in all public indoor spaces and public transport, including schools starting at the age of 12.

The recommendations will be in place until Jan. 16.

Zoom Tumbles on Signs of Slowing Growth (9:33 a.m. NY)

Zoom Video Communications Inc. shares were down about 12% Tuesday morning after the video-conferencing company reported a smaller-than-projected number of large customers for a second straight quarter, stoking concerns about growth as more workplaces and schools open back up.

Germans Line Up at Vaccine Centers (9:22 a.m. NY)

Germany’s sluggish vaccine campaign is rattling back to life, with many snapping up online appointments for shots and others enduring hours of lines in the cold to receive more protection against the coronavirus.

Some are taking to Twitter to voice frustration, elation or both at the surge in demand for shots. Comments thanked those hardy enough to brave the elements for a shot, while others criticized authorities for not better organizing the latest inoculation push.

Poland Sees Jump in Hospitalizations (6:56 a.m. NY)

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in Poland rose by 962 to 18,320, the Health Ministry reported on Tuesday, the biggest daily increase since April. The number of patients requiring ventilation rose by 35 to 1,551.

Countries Mull Stricter Measures, Compulsory Shots (6 a.m. NY)

Slovakia’s ruling parties took a step closer to imposing a stricter lockdown, which the country’s prime minister said may be needed to contain one of the world’s worst outbreaks.

Premier Eduard Heger said he’s “intensely” considering mirroring steps taken in neighboring Austria. The three-party coalition late on Monday agreed in principle to tighten the restrictions, but needs to finalize the details, the SITA news service reported on Tuesday.

Separately, the Czech government is considering mandatory vaccination for people over age 60, as well as health-care and social-care workers, the outgoing prime minister, Andrej Babis, said. The government is waiting for an opinion from the health ministry due next week, Babis said.

 

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