N.Y. Deaths Surge; Germany Weighs Tighter Lockdown: Virus Update
A border patrol guard wears a hazmat suit and a protective face mask while checking a driver's temperature for coronavirus symptoms during European Union (EU) citizen movement restrictions and virus containment efforts on the Oder bridge near the border of Germany and Poland, in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. (Photographer: Rolf Schulten/Bloomberg)

N.Y. Deaths Surge; Germany Weighs Tighter Lockdown: Virus Update

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday will unveil a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, setting up his first legislative test in the face of a split U.S. Senate and a deteriorating economy. New York state reported more than 200 daily Covid-19 deaths for the first time since May. The state’s hospitalizations are mounting even as much of the Northeast has started to get a reprieve.

Florida also reported over 200 deaths, the most in one day since August. Ohio, facing a shortage of vaccines, is phasing out inoculations by age group, while an outbreak at new In-N-Out Burger restaurants in Colorado worsened.

France will extend a 6 p.m. curfew across the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to tighten Germany’s lockdown as cases surpassed 2 million.

In Brazil, severe oxygen shortages at hospitals in the Amazon prompted local authorities to impose a curfew, and some patients are being airlifted to other states to deal with the onslaught of a second coronavirus wave.

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N.Y. Deaths Surge; Germany Weighs Tighter Lockdown: Virus Update

NYU Langone Tells Doctors It May Not Get New Vaccines Next Week (4:36 p.m. NY)

A major New York hospital system alerted its physicians that it hadn’t yet been allocated Covid-19 vaccine doses for next week and can’t continue its vaccination program without them.

NYU Langone Health has given about 30,000 shots to date, a hospital official said. As of Thursday morning, the health system told its physicians that it hadn’t gotten commitments from New York state or New York City for new supplies next week, according to an email reviewed by Bloomberg News and confirmed by the hospital.

Texas Tops 1 Million Vaccinations (4:15 p.m. NY)

Texas said it’s the first U.S. state to top 1 million vaccinations. The announcement comes just days after the Lone Star state opened a network of large hubs to administer the shots to thousands of people per day.

Meanwhile, Houston posted 1,620 new virus cases, bringing the total for the fourth-largest U.S. city to more than 135,000, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet.

Biden to Unveil $1.9 Trillion Covid-19 Package (3:55 p.m. NY)

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday will unveil a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, according to two people familiar with the matter, setting up his first legislative test in the face of a split U.S. Senate and a deteriorating economy.

The plan is expected to be the first phase of a two-part strategy, with a broader program coming in subsequent weeks focused on longer-term goals such as infrastructure and climate change, people familiar with the matter said.

Florida Reports More Than 200 Deaths, Most Since August (3:40 p.m. NY)

Florida posted 217 Covid-19 deaths among residents on Thursday, matching the highest single-day total since Aug. 19, according to the state health department. Its all-time high was 276 on Aug. 11. Florida, like much of the Sun Belt, experienced its worst stretch of the pandemic between July and August, and the pandemic’s impact was relatively subdued for several months thereafter. But the virus is now returning to southern states in earnest, with the Sunshine State’s hospitalization levels and rolling seven-day deaths now approaching their previous highs.

Moderna Plans to Test Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shots (2:48 p.m. NY)

Moderna plans to test a booster shot of its Covid-19 vaccine beginning in July, CNBC reports. Trial sites have begun contacting participants from earlier studies, CNBC reports, citing an email shared by one of the people.

Oxygen Shortage Prompts Curfew in Capital of Brazilian Amazon (2:47 p.m. NY)

Severe oxygen shortages at hospitals in Brazil’s Amazon prompted local authorities to impose a curfew and some patients are being airlifted to other states to deal with the onslaught of a second coronavirus wave.

The state of Amazonas set a 7 p.m. curfew and suspended public transportation in roads and rivers, governor Wilson Lima said on Thursday.

Ohio Faces Vaccine Shortage, Phases Out Shots by Age Group (2:24 p.m. NY)

Ohio is coping with a shortage in vaccines and will begin inoculating those 80 and older Jan. 19, before adding other age groups through phases. Governor Mike DeWine, who released the state’s vaccination schedule on Twitter, said there are 750,000 provider locations to distribute about 100,000 vaccines. The state has given out 361,603 doses so far, DeWine said.

“We don’t have enough vaccines in Ohio right now, but we hope our allotment will increase in the future - but as of right now we must deal with this scarcity,” he said.

He also warned that cases are starting to rise again in spite of the drop of ICU patients, which he said is a lagging indicator.

California’s Intensive-Care Unit Bed Capacity Falls (2 p.m. NY)

California’s intensive-care unit bed capacity fell to one of its lowest levels since the pandemic started as hospitalizations surged in the past two months. The number of available ICU beds dropped by 89 to 1,094.

The number of cases increased by 35,930 to 2.8 million. The state added 552 new deaths, bringing the total to 31,654.

Most of the state remains in some form of a lockdown as its hospitals, especially those in Southern California, run of ICU capacity.

Colorado In-N-Out Burger Outbreak Worsens, Report Says (1:20 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 infections at new In-N-Out Burger restaurants in Colorado, which opened to hours-long lines in November, now stand at almost 170 employees, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The number of cases at the restaurants in Colorado Springs and Aurora have steadily increased since detected in December, but local health officials have said there are no plans to close the sites, the newspaper said. State data indicate no customers have been infected, the Gazette reported.

N.Y. Deaths Rise Above 200 for First Time Since May (1:18 p.m. NY)

New York state reported more than 200 daily Covid-19 deaths for the first time since May. The additional 202 fatalities bring the total to 32,379. Of 212,589 tests reported yesterday, 13,661, or 6.42%, were positive.

Both the cases and positive rate were lower than in recent days. Hospitalizations also declined, by 106 to 8,823, even as New York leads the Northeast in people hospitalized with Covid-19. “New York is pushing forward to conduct more tests, add to hospital beds and make it easier to get the COVID-19 vaccine across the state,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The health department’s appointments for vaccinations are booked 14 weeks out as the state expanded the eligibility criteria.

Spain Cases Break Record for Third Day (1:04 p.m. NY)

Spain reported a record number of new cases for the third consecutive day as regions put in place restrictions to contain the spread. The Health Ministry reported 16,676 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, more than double those reported on Monday. Deaths over the past week rose to 774, from 576 on Monday.

Merkel Mulls Tougher German Lockdown (12:56 p.m. NY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to tighten Germany’s lockdown, fearing a more contagious coronavirus variant may cause infections to spiral out of control.

Merkel wants to meet with regional leaders soon to discuss additional curbs aimed at decisively lowering the infection rate, a government official said. There is no consensus with the state premiers yet about such further restrictions, the person added, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

On Thursday, the nation surpassed 2 million virus cases since the start of the pandemic, and hospitals in some German states are running out of intensive-care beds.

France Extends Earlier Curfew Nationwide (12:21 p.m. NY)

France will extend tighter curfew measures across the country. The 6 p.m. curfew already in place across much of eastern France will become nationwide from Saturday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a news conference on Thursday. It will last at least 15 days.

The country’s cases increased by 21,228 to 2.85 million on Thursday, while the seven-day rolling average was little changed at close to 18,000. Deaths linked to the virus rose by 282 to 69,313.

EU May Secure 50 Million More Moderna Vaccine Doses at a Premium (12 p.m. NY)

The European Union may secure an extra 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Moderna Inc. as the bloc seeks to accelerate inoculations, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal being arranged by the European Commission would bring to 210 million the total number of vaccine doses from Moderna for EU countries, with the additional supply costing 33% more than the 160 million doses covered by the original accord, said one of the people.

South African Miners Can Scale Up Vaccinations, Sibanye Says (11:38 a.m. NY)

Sibanye Stillwater Ltd., one of South Africa’s largest precious metals producers, offered to help the government’s vaccination campaign by inoculating hundreds of thousands of mineworkers and people living in communities near its mining operations.

The company that employs about 84,000 workers has enough capacity at its 45 health and medical facilities to vaccinate 18,000 people a day, Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in an interview Thursday.

Italy Cases Rise as Government Extends Emergency Powers (11:32 a.m. NY)

Italy registered 17,246 new virus cases on Thursday, from 15,774 the day before, and 522 deaths, compared with 507 on Wednesday. The rate of positive tests increased from 9% to 10.7%. Last night Italy’s government decided to extend its emergency powers to battle the pandemic through April 30.

U.K. Bans Travel From South American Nations and Portugal (11:17 a.m. NY)

U.K. Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps says he’s taken the “urgent decision” to ban arrivals from countries including Argentina and Brazil from 4 a.m. tomorrow, Jan. 15. Citing evidence of new variant in Brazil, he also included Portugal in the ban “given its strong travel links with Brazil.”

Portugal Reports Record Cases for Second Day (10:58 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported the biggest daily increase in confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 10,698 new cases reported Thursday, more than the previous record of 10,556 on Wednesday, taking the total to 517,806. The total number of deaths rose by 148 to 8,384, following Wednesday’s record increase of 156.

The government on Wednesday announced new confinement measures, ordering most shops to close from Friday.

N.Y. Congressman Who Got Vaccine Tests Positive (10:49 a.m. NY)

Democratic Representative Adriano Espaillat of New York said he tested positive for Covid-19 after receiving the second dose of a vaccine, and is isolating at home.

“I received the second dose of the #COVID19vaccine last week and understand the affects take time,” Espaillat said on Twitter Thursday, without identifying which vaccine he got. At least one other member of Congress has tested positive after getting a Covid inoculation.

U.K. Administered 3 Million Shots (8:26 a.m. NY)

The U.K. has administered three million vaccines so far, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a tweet. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target to deliver about 15 million shots to the most vulnerable people by mid-February.

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