U.S. Cases Up 2.1%; Travelers to U.K. Must Isolate: Virus Update
Visitors wearing protective masks walk through the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing, China, on May 4, 2020. (Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

U.S. Cases Up 2.1%; Travelers to U.K. Must Isolate: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) --

U.S. cases rose 2.1% to 1.3 million as the global tally passed 4 million. The federal government reversed course and will let states distribute remdesivir to hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

Italy had the fewest cases in four days. Germany and Spain are ready to lift some restrictions. Russia’s largest gold mine in Siberia has 89 sick workers.

Elon Musk threatened to move Tesla’s operations after a California county blocked its only U.S. car plant.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: cases top 4 million; deaths exceed 277,000
  • Half-empty bar feels like a win after Georgia reopens
  • Brazil is new virus hotspot as infections triple in two weeks
  • Mass shootings in the U.S. have plunged
  • Austria under pressure over ski resort hot spot
  • Auto industry to raise $100 billion from banks for virus relief

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. See this week’s top stories from QuickTake here.

U.S. Cases Up 2.1%; Travelers to U.K. Must Isolate: Virus Update

U.K. to Require Traveler Self-Isolation (4:30 p.m. NY)

Travelers arriving in the U.K., including Britons returning from abroad, will be told to self-isolate for 14 days as part of the government’s plans to try to avoid a second wave of the coronavirus.

The rules, set start next month, will force travelers to declare where they will stay in isolation, said a person familiar with the plans. Violators face fines as high as 1,000 pounds ($1,145) or deportation.

The measures may heighten criticism that Boris Johnson’s government was slow to contain the pandemic. Johnson is set to announce on Sunday steps to to ease shelter-in-place restrictions. A person familiar with the matter suggested the rules may not change significantly until June.

U.S. Cases Climb 2.1%, Data Shows (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased 2.1% from the same time Friday to reach 1.3 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That matches the average daily increase over the past week. U.S. deaths reached 78,320.

  • New York reported 2,715 new virus cases, for a total of 333,122, with 226 new deaths, bringing the total to more than 21,271.
  • New Jersey had 1,759 new cases, bringing the total to 137,085, Governor Phil Murphy said. The state added 166 deaths, raising the total to 9,116. Patient numbers for critical or intensive care continue to fall, he said.
  • Illinois had 2,325 new cases, bringing the total to 76,085, with 111 new deaths -- the fewest in four days -- for a total of 3,349, the health department said.
  • Pennsylvania reported 1,078 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 55,316. The state added 72 deaths, for a total of 3,688, the state health department said.
  • Michigan had 430 new cases, bringing the total to 46,756, with 133 new deaths, for a total of 4,526, the state reported on its website.
  • Florida reported 802 new cases, raising the total to 40,001, with 46 new deaths, for a total of 1,715.
  • Ohio reported 681 new cases, for a total of 23,697, with an additional 25 deaths, bringing the total to 1,331, the health department reported.
  • North Carolina added 407 cases to bring its total to 14,360, and 15 new deaths for a cumulative total of 544, the health department said.

Trump Response a ‘Chaotic Disaster:’ Obama (3:30 p.m. NY)

Former President Barack Obama excoriated Donald Trump’s handing of the pandemic as he urged members of his administration to rally behind presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

While “it would have been bad even with the best of governments,” Obama said, “it has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalized in our government.”

Obama, in Friday’s remarks reported by Yahoo News, said the response is an outgrowth of a trend where “being selfish, being tribal, being divided and seeing others as an enemy” have emerged as a stronger impulse in America.

Read the story here.

N.Y. Deaths Steady, Cuomo Warns About Children (2 p.m. NY)

Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 226 new deaths in New York, while new hospitalizations, based on a three-day rolling average, dropped to the lowest since March. Daily deaths have remained “infuriatingly constant,” Cuomo said, in the 200s for more than a week.

Cuomo also raised a warning that children are becoming seriously ill, and three have died, after developing unconventional and dangerous symptoms.

New York reported another 2,715 virus cases on Saturday, for a total of 333,122.

Read the full story.

Musk: Tesla to Quit California (1 p.m. NY)

Elon Musk said on Twitter he is moving Tesla’s headquarters and future programs to Texas and Nevada “immediately” after a California county blocked plans to open an assembly plant shut during the pandemic.

He had earlier tweeted he was suing Alameda County for “acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!” The county on Friday said Tesla’s sole U.S. plant in Fremont, California, didn’t meet the criteria to reopen. Musk told staff he aimed to restart the factory Friday.

Canada Gets China Medical Gear (12:50 p.m. NY)

Canada is securing large amounts of personal protective equipment on daily flights of goods from China and elsewhere, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

So far, about 23 flights from China have brought millions of PPE items. In order to gradually restart the economy, Canada needs enough equipment to ensure people can work in safe environments, he said. Equipment arriving from other countries will be tested before being sent out to front-line workers.

Africa Seeks Debt Relief, Stimulus (12:40 p.m. NY)

African nations needs a two-year debt standstill to give governments the fiscal space to fight the pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

A $100 billion injection of emergency economic stimulus is also required to combat the impact of the disease and almost half of that could come from waiving interest payments, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

African finance ministers are discussing debt-relief proposals, including a special-purpose vehicle to exchange their sovereign debt for new concessional paper to avoid having to use funds needed to battle the virus to pay private creditors.

Italy Has Fewest Cases Since May 5 (12:20 p.m. NY)

Italy registered 1,083 new cases on Saturday -- the fewest since May 5 -- compared with 1,327 a day earlier. Confirmed cases now total 218,268. Daily fatalities fell to 194 from 243 on Friday, with a total of 30,395.

With the government cautious on easing measures after an initial relaxation on Monday, an Ipsos survey published in newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday showed 58% of Italians want all economic sectors to restart as soon as possible.

N.Y. Hospitalizations Fall (11:50 a.m. NY)

New York reported 572 new hospital cases based on a three-day rolling average on Saturday, the lowest level since late March, which Governor Andrew Cuomo called “welcome news.”

New deaths were 226, the same as five days ago and an increase from 216 reported on Friday. The rate of hospitalizations fell again.

FDA Chief in Self-Quarantine (11:45 a.m. NY&)

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn has quarantined himself after coming into contact with someone who tested positive. Hahn, a member of the White House virus task force, notified staff of his decision in a note Friday, according to an emailed statement from the agency.

“Per CDC guidelines, he is now in self-quarantine for the next two weeks,” the FDA said. “He immediately took a diagnostic test and tested negative.”

The FDA didn’t identify the infected person, but Hahn’s Covid-19 exposure comes as several aides working in the White House have the virus. Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive Friday, a day after a positive test was reported for a member of the military who works as a valet to President Donald Trump.

U.K. Urges Cycling, Walking (11:30 a.m. NY)

The U.K., the European country hardest hit by the outbreak, plans to spend 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) to encourage people to cycle and walk to work and help relieve pressure on transport systems.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the U.K. has passed the peak of the outbreak, and limiting travel on public transit will help curb the risk of a second wave of infections, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. The government will also spend more on electric-car charging points and extend trials of e-scooters and permit their rentals.

Daily deaths rose by 346, Shapps said Saturday, down from 626 on Friday and the lowest since May 4. Total deaths reached 31,587, surpassed only by the U.S., with total infections at 215,260.

U.S. Can’t Wait for End of Outbreak: Carson (11:25 a.m. NY)

America’s economic infrastructure could be destroyed if the nation waits too long to reopen closed businesses, said White House coronavirus task force member Ben Carson, who also is secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The nation has to learn to live with the coronavirus before it can be eradicated, Carson said on Fox News. “If we wait until it’s all gone before we come out, our economy will be gone also.”

Carson, who also heads the president’s revitalization council, stressed that it’s possible to resume activity, guided by “data and evidence” from regions that reopened first.

Collapse of Travel Demand Scuttles Deal (10:50 a.m. NY)

Carlyle Group Inc. and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. are backing out of a deal to buy a stake in American Express Global Business Travel, hit hard by the pandemic. The parties were in talks on terms of the deal, which was set to close this week, but couldn’t reach an agreement, people familiar with the matter said. The deal valued the American Express Co. unit at $5 billion with debt.

U.S. Ships Gilead’s Drug to States (10:40 a.m. NY)

The U.S. is sending Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir to Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey after doctors raised questions about the federal allocation of the drug to treat Covid-19 patients.

State health agencies -- rather than the federal government -- will distribute doses to the hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services said Saturday. Illinois and New Jersey each get more than 100 cases, with the other states receiving from 10 to 40 cases. Each case has 40 vials.

After remdesivir won U.S. approval for emergency use, the federal government said it would decide which hospitals got the drug. Doctors then raised questions about the opaque process for getting the therapy to U.S. hospitals.

FDA Clears Antigen Test (9:39 a.m. NY)

The FDA issued the first emergency use authorization for a Covid-19 antigen test. The diagnostic tests quickly detect fragments of proteins found on or within the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs, Quidel Corp. said in a statement that linked to a letter from the FDA. The authorization was issued late Friday for its Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA.

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