COVID-19 Live Updates: Cases Surge in Upper Midwest, Vaccine Mandate Row Flares up at Google

Live Updates

A new wave of COVID cases in the Upper Midwest is spreading to other regions as Northeastern states report a surge in infections and hospitalizations.

Hospitals in Michigan are now on alert as almost there 4,000 people are in hospital with the virus in the state - just shy of a record number. The latest figures show that 83 percent of ICU beds are now occupied and nine hospitals are completely full.

States across the Northeast, including New England and Vermont, are also reporting a rise in new infections. In New York, daily case rates are almost double what they were at the beginning of this month. Meanwhile, rows over corporate vaccine mandates have flared up as hundreds of Google employees sign a manifesto resisting a company mandate.

Live updates have now ended

BLACKPINK's Lisa tests positive for COVID

Lalisa Manobal - better known as Lisa - from the K-pop girl group was diagnosed with the virus earlier today, YG Entertainment told South Korean news site Star News earlier.

In its statement, the group confirmed the other three members of the group – Rosé, Jennie, and Jisoo – are currently waiting for their PCR test results, while noting that none of them have been "classified as close contacts yet".

BLACKPINK's Lisa tests positive for COVID
Lisa aka Lalisa Manoban of South Korean girl group BLACKPINK attends the photocall for BVLGARI 'Serpenti Seduttori' Getty Images

Biden administration asks federal court to lift ban on COVID vaccine mandates

The White House is asking the federal appeals court to terminate a court-ordered stay on the corporate vaccine mandate to avoid "enormous" harm to public health, according to a court filing.

Officials claim that delaying the rule, enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), would lead to thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Nearly 3 in 4 American believe their lives have returned to normal - poll

A total of 74 percent of Americans said they believe their lives are now back to normal, a poll by Yahoo News/YouGov has revealed.

That includes 21 percent who said their lives are "very normal," along with 53 percent who said their lives are "somewhat normal" when factoring in the impacts of the virus, according to the survey.

However, the optimistic outlook comes as COVID cases are again on the rise across much of the country. In the hardest-hit regions, like the Northeast and Midwest, hospitalizations are also beginning to soar and intensive care units are running out of beds, threatening the sense of a return to normality.

FULL STORY: 74 Percent of Americans Believe Their Lives Have Returned to Normal Amid Pandemic

Amazon helping New Hampshire deliver a million rapid tests

Hundreds of thousands of people will be asked to test themselves for COVID using lateral flow devices delivered by Amazon over the next few weeks, Governor Chris Sununu has announced.

New Hampshire sets up 'surge centers' as cases soar

The state has averaged around 1,000 new positive tests per day in recent weeks, with 350 people hospitalized Tuesday, contributing to high wait times in hospital emergency rooms, and delays in other treatments, according to The Associated Press.

The new executive order signed by Governor Chris Sununu will establish "surge centers" in space not typically used for inpatient care, like ambulatory surgical centers and outpatient clinics. It also makes it easier to add beds in rehabilitation facilities and will simplify licensing procedures to boost the state healthcare workforce.

FULL STORY: Record Number of COVID Hospitalizations Prompts NH Gov. to Order Setup of 'Surge Centers'

Detroit Mayor asks residents to 'keep your gatherings small' at Thanksgiving

Mike Duggan called on people in the city - and across Michigan - to take steps to "reduce the risk" of getting the virus as hospitals in the state struggle to cope with near-record virus inpatients.

Michigan health provider restricts hospital patient visits

Michigan-based Spectrum Health has warned hospitals in the west of the state are at or near capacity as it limits the number of people who can visit patients, reports Michigan Radio.

In Kent County, where many Spectrum Health hospitals are located, figures show infections have soared by 94 percent in the past two weeks and hospitalizations are up nearly 40 percent in the same period.

Germany set to pass 100,000 COVID deaths this week

The grim milestone - reached by the U.S. in May 2020 after less than four months - is likely to be hit in the European country amid a surge in cases in recent weeks.

The country has well surpassed its record daily infections, with numbers out of control and a government minister suggesting most people will be "vaccinated, cured or dead" in the coming months.

Large candle memorials (pictured) have been made by 60-year-old Gertrud Schop at various milestones throughout the pandemic, with one candle dedicated to each virus victim. It is not yet known whether she will be creating another artwork for the 100,000 milestone.

Woman creates candlelight memorial for COVID victims
Woman creates candlelight memorial for COVID victims
Woman creates candlelight memorial for COVID victims

'I can't stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated': Detroit Mayor warns of ticking timebomb in city

Mike Duggan said a surge in his city is "making our state the national hotspot" as Michigan suffers a near-record number of hospitalizations.

The mayor tweeted a heat map that shows Michigan suffering heavily from a new wave of infections in the Upper Midwest, which is now spreading to Northeastern and Southwestern states.

New Zealand begins loosening strict border measures

The country will allow for the return of displaced residents from January and tourists from April next year after a near-total lockdown of the borders since the beginning of the pandemic.

A ban on tourists and the requirement for returning residents to spend two weeks in a quarantine hotel, run by the military, has caused much frustration among travelers hoping to get home and/or rejoin loved ones.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government had made difficult trade-offs to keep New Zealanders safe throughout the pandemic, acknowledging that a zero-COVID policy has "been very tough".

Families have been separated. People have found themselves having to shelter in places they did not expect to stay for prolonged periods of time. We are acutely aware of the impact that these restrictions have had on individuals' lives and their livelihoods.

New Zealand to relax COVID border rules
New Zealand announces travel agreement that allow travellers from the country to visit New South Wales without having to quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic Getty Images

Hundreds of Google employees call on colleagues to resist vaccine mandate

At least 600 Google staffers have signed a manifesto calling on co-workers to reject the measure and for management to implement a new vaccine rule that is "inclusive of all Googlers," telling them to "oppose the mandate as a matter of principle".

The manifesto comes as the December 3 deadline looms for over 150,000 Google employees to upload their vaccination status and tell the company whether they intend to return to the office.

FULL STORY: Hundreds of Google Employees Encourage Co-Workers to Resist Company's Vaccine Mandate

Detroit facing 'serious problem' in hospitals amid COVID surge

City Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters last night that the number of Detroit residents hospitalized with the virus has doubled compared to the beginning of November, with 256 residents in the hospital on Tuesday.

"It if doubles again in the next three weeks, we're going to see the most serious problem we've had since the spring of 2020," he said, adding that the infection spike was not a surprise because people are spending more time indoors due to colder weather.

Michigan's largest city, Detroit has had more than 67,500 confirmed COVID cases and 2,504 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

FULL STORY: Detroit Mayor Warns of 'Serious Problem' if COVID Cases Continue Rising in City

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Hospitalizations in Michigan are reaching near-record levels as a case surge spreads to Northeast and Southwest.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest U.S. and worldwide COVID news.