Tokyo Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies will take a “simpler, more restrained approach”

The opening and closing ceremonies for the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games will be carried out with a “simpler, more restrained approach,” the organizing committee announced on Wednesday.

The ceremonies will be designed to “reflect the overall simplification of the Games” with Covid-19 countermeasures in place.

Tokyo 2020 was originally due to take place this summer, but was postponed to next year as a result of the pandemic.

The organizing committee made no announcements about how the ceremonies’ formats would be different or modified.

“It is appropriate to make ceremonial events and programs simpler and have them in some way reflect and respect the world’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the committee said in a statement. A new team will be convened that will help prepare the events.
The hope is that the ceremonies can be “symbols of the unity and symbiosis of humankind in its overcoming of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
New cases: Japan on Wednesday reported 2,683 new coronavirus infections and 50 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 3,007.

Tokyo, the worst-hit city, reported 563 cases in the past 24 hours.

1 hr 36 min ago
Germany reports highest single-day coronavirus death toll
From CNN’s Samantha Beech in Atlanta

The word “Corona” is written in chalk on a coffin containing a deceased person who died of or with the coronavirus at the crematorium in Meissen, Germany on December 22.
The word “Corona” is written in chalk on a coffin containing a deceased person who died of or with the coronavirus at the crematorium in Meissen, Germany on December 22. Robert Michael/dpa/AP
Germany’s disease control agency reported 962 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday — the country’s highest single-day total since the pandemic began. The previous record was 952, recorded on December 15.

The European nation is currently experiencing a major surge in coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and entered a hard national lockdown last week in an effort to bring the winter spike under control.

Other parts of the continent are also experiencing similar increases in cases amid the colder weather, and many countries have closed off travel to the United Kingdom after a new variant of the virus was detected there, which may be more infectious than previously-spreading forms.

On Wednesday, Germany reported an additional 24,740 coronavirus cases, bringing the national total to 1,554,920. At least 27,968 have died as a result of the coronavirus in Germany so far.

1 hr 58 min ago
US reports second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day
From CNN’s Tina Burnside

The United States reported 195,033 new coronavirus cases and 3,401 deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That’s the second-highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the US reported in a single day and also marks the fifth time since the pandemic began that the country has added more than 3,000 Covid-19 fatalities in a day.

The top five worst days for new deaths are:

Dec. 16: 3,682
Dec. 22: 3,401
Dec. 17: 3,346
Dec. 11: 3,283
Dec. 9: 3,064
At least 18,230,242 cases of coronavirus and 322,765 deaths have been reported in the US, according to JHU data.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

At least 4,624,325 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 614,117 doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CNN is tracking US cases:

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