Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
England to enter second lockdown in days, says Boris Johnson
England will go into a second national lockdown on Thursday after spiking infections forced British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to give up on his desire to control the virus through piecemeal local restrictions.

The strict lockdown will see the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses, including hair salons and gyms. Schools, universities and playgrounds will stay open.

People will only be able to leave their homes for specific reasons: education, work (if they are unable to work from home), to shop for food, for health reasons, or for exercise and recreation outdoors, either with that person's household or with one person from another household.

Johnson is expected to tell Parliament on Monday that coronavirus deaths in the winter could be twice as high as during the first wave of the outbreak. But for many, the action came too late — the government’s scientific experts suggested in September more measures were needed.

The Office for National Statistics now estimates that one in 100 people in England had Covid-19 in the week of October 17, compared to one in 2,300 in July and one in 200 at the start of October. The total number of confirmed cases has now surpassed 1 million.

Merkel likens the pandemic to the challenges Germany faced after World War II as a new lockdown begins.
Germany entered a new partial lockdown on Monday amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases across Europe, a specter that Chancellor Angela Merkel called a test not seen in her country since the end of World War II.

Under the new rules, labeled “lockdown light” by the German media, restaurants, bars and gyms will have to close for a month. The policy is designed to bring Germany’s per capita rate of new cases below 50 per 100,000 residents, from 128, so that health authorities can once again trace individual infections.

Ms. Merkel will meet with state governors in two weeks to gauge progress, and promised that if all goes well, Germans would be able to “allow ourselves more freedom at Christmas,” though wild New Year’s parties remain unimaginable.

Germany is still recording far fewer cases per capita than many other European nations, but there are grave fears that the second wave of infections could prove even more difficult than the spring.

Ms. Merkel pushed back against criticism of her government’s decision to focus on curtailing social life, saying it was the only way to keep schools and shops open, while still cutting back on interactions.

2 Warehouse Halloween Parties Attended by Nearly 1,000 Are Shut Down
Two Halloween parties with hundreds of guests dancing and drinking inside warehouses were broken up by New York City authorities this weekend, as officials strive to curb behavior that they worry could fuel a second wave of the pandemic.

A party in Brooklyn with nearly 400 people was broken up by city sheriffs early Saturday morning. About 24 hours later, the sheriff’s office shut down another party with more than 550 people in the Bronx.

Twenty-eight people — including party organizers, D.J.s and security guards — and two businesses face a variety of charges in connection with the parties, including a failure to protect health and safety in violation of the city’s health code.

Revelers wore costumes, but only a few people were wearing face masks or social distancing, said Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

It was not clear if organizers failed to understand or simply ignored the dangers of large indoor gatherings, given the months of warnings from experts and officials. “I wish I had the wisdom to explain human nature,” Sheriff Fucito said.

Together, the parties speak to the continuing challenges of keeping the spread of the coronavirus in check, particularly as the winter approaches and people grow tired of restrictions on crowds. That danger is only increasing as the weather cools and several holidays approach.