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Southern California enters new COVID-19 lockdown; some NYC schools reopen

By Don Jacobson
Southern California enters new COVID-19 lockdown; some NYC schools reopen
Medical personnel move a coronavirus patient on a stretcher into the emergency room at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- After 175,000 new COVID-19 cases were added nationwide, millions of people in Southern California began living under new lockdown restrictions on Monday as nearly 200,000 children returned to school in New York City.

According to updated data from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there were another 175,700 cases in the United States on Sunday and 1,100 new coronavirus deaths.

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The figures are typically lower on Sundays, due to slower reporting at the end of the weekend. In just three days since Friday, there have been close to 620,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins. The average for the past week is 196,000, a record.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been about 14.76 million coronavirus cases and 282,400 deaths.

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The number of patients in hospitals also continues to rise. The figure was almost 101,500 Sunday, which included 20,000 in intensive care, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

In New York City on Monday, more than 190,000 children returned to classrooms from the preschool level to fifth grade.

The return comes three weeks after the city closed schools due to rising positivity rates. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the schools will stay open as long as the rates remain low. As part of the return, all parents must sign a consent form for their child to be tested.

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It's not yet known when grades 6 and above, including middle and high schools, will return to classrooms.

In Southern California, residents in 11 counties began living under new lockdown orders on Monday. The restrictions include closing bars, hair salons, museums, movie theaters and indoor recreational facilities.

The measures are a response to surging cases, particularly in Los Angeles County, which set a new single-day record on Sunday.

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Two weeks of protests outside the home of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti turned violent on Sunday and led police to arrest one person, authorities said.

Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Podany told reporters that a protester was using a bullhorn, a violation of municipal law. When officers moved to arrest the activist, they were punched and kicked by protesters and police declared the assembly unlawful, she said.

Video of the incident was posted online.

Jamie Penn, a neighborhood council official, told the Los Angeles Times it was she who was arrested. She said she was acting as a street medic at the protest. She said she was trying to prevent an older demonstrator from being trampled when she was detained, and leter released.

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In Texas, cases in Houston surpassed 100,000 on Sunday with thousands of new patients.

"We're in a dire situation," Texas Children's Hospital infectious diseases expert Dr. Peter Hotez told KHOU-TV. "People are coming in sicker than they were in the past.

"That gives me a lot of concern that people aren't taking this seriously."

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