Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
So when they died minutes apart of COVID-19 this month at a Palm Beach County hospice, it may have been a hidden blessing, their only child, Sarah Milewski, said — even if it was a devastating double loss for her.
The tally of confirmed infections is 10.96 million, the second highest after the United States, with more than 156,000 deaths. But actual infections could range as high as 300 million, a government serological survey showed this month.
The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.
"Lots of new cases of COVID-19 infections in children are coming in this second wave and the numbers are much, much higher than they were earlier," Dr Krishan Chugh, head of the department of paediatrics at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, said.
"The mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, where social distancing is not possible, should by accompanied by one very simple precaution: avoid talking and making phone calls," the French National Academy of Medicine said in a statement.
The mission, delayed by China and weighed down by political baggage, has a remit to explore how the virus jumped from animal to human. Experts say the Huanan market still plays a role in tracing the origins of the virus, since the first cluster of cases was identified there.
Senior health official Vinod Kumar Paul told a news briefing that government experts were studying data on boosters but "our emphatic view...is to (first) cover every adult with (just) the primary two doses." The government has said this target can be achieved by January.
Just as global sports had rediscovered its brio and the welcome return to full stadia the Omicron coronavirus variant threatens to once again plunge it into chaos.