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: Busy Thanksgiving journey worries the US because the European disaster worsens

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the U.S. streets and airways fill up, officials raise concerns about the further spread of COVID, especially as Europe's battle against rising cases intensifies.

The global number of coronavirus-borne diseases rose to over 257.6 million on Monday, while the death toll rose to over 5.15 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US continues to lead the world with a total of 47.7 million cases and 771,118 deaths.

The total number of deaths in the US of 385,775 in 2021 has now exceeded 385,343 COVID deaths in 2020. The US is still averaging 1,100 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, and cases and hospital admissions are on the rise – just as Americans prepare to take to the streets for Thanksgiving.

"There is concern that the rate of spread of the infection is so high by the start of the holiday season," Amber D’Souza, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in an interview with The Hill. "We're definitely going on our next climb."

The latest peaks on a per capita basis are in Michigan and Minnesota. Federal medical staff travel to Minnesota to assist hospital staff. While cases are below last Thanksgiving, an average of more than 90,000 daily cases are reported, the Times reported.

Most cases and deaths were reported in unvaccinated people. India ranks second after the US with 34.5 million cases and has suffered 465,911 deaths. Brazil has the second highest death toll with 612,659 and 22 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities with 260,319 deaths, followed by Great Britain with 144,369.

On the vaccine front, Biocept
BIOC,
-4.49%
rose 4% after the liquid cancer test provider said it now offers a single test that can detect and differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. Pfizer
PFE,
+ 0.81%,
meanwhile, announced that a longer-term, late-stage study by her and her partner BioNTech shows their COVID vaccine is effective in 12 to 15 year olds.

Violent protests in Europe, worried leaders

As Americans prepared to celebrate the biggest festival of the year, the tone was more muted in much of Europe after a weekend of protests across the continent that became at times violent in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Austria, meanwhile, thousands took to the streets over the weekend to protest a 10-day nationwide lockdown that began on Monday.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe at 66%. More than a week ago, the government restricted the free movement of the unvaccinated, but decided last Friday that more drastic measures needed to be taken. The news came as a shock to the oil market, which slid to a 7-week low on fears that regional demand could decline, which could now raise growth concerns.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have recently told CDU party members that the picture of COVID infections in her country is "worse than anything that Germany has experienced so far".

The German state of Saxony is partially closed, and markets fear that Europe's largest economy could follow in Austria's footsteps. Berlin joined other German states on Monday, restricting access to restaurants and other venues for people who have been vaccinated or who have recently recovered.

Read: Europe stocks give up gains after Merkel faces COVID. warns

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