U.S. Cases Increase 0.9%; California, Arizona Slow: Virus Update
California and Arizona reported positive trends on new cases after battling a surge in infections last month. New Jersey, concerned about recent violations of social-distancing rules among young revelers, reduced crowd limits for indoor parties.
Eli Lilly & Co. will begin testing its Covid-19 antibody drug in nursing homes, a treatment with potential to protect vulnerable groups that vaccines may not cover. Global coronavirus cases surpassed 18 million, with the pandemic now adding a million infections every four days.
Iran’s virus death toll may have been almost three times larger than official counts, the BBC reported, while Hong Kong said it had the fewest number of new cases since July 22.
- Global Tracker: Global cases top 18 million; deaths pass 690,000
- Fauci says face shields good idea for teachers back in schools
- U.K. reviewing Covid-fighting options including London lockdown
- Facing fierce new waves, virus hunters turn to sewage and drones
- How vaccine nationalism could extend the pandemic’s run: QuickTake
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Southwest Cuts Back on Cleaning (5:30 p.m. NY)
Southwest Airlines Co. has scaled back its aircraft-cleaning procedures between flights as reduced staffing and busier operations have swelled the carrier’s average turnaround time to more than 50 minutes.
Starting Aug. 1, Southwest stopped wiping down arm rests and seat belts after every flight, as well as other areas around seats that had been occupied. Tray tables and lavatories, considered the most “high touch” areas, will still be disinfected before each takeoff, the company said Monday. Passengers can also ask for sanitizing wipes if they want to clean other surfaces.
L.A., Teachers Union Reach Deal (4:30 p.m. NY)
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest after New York, struck a deal with its teachers union that will allow students to return to virtual classes this month for an almost a full day of online learning. The agreement relieves some anxiety for parents, who were wondering what classes would look like in the fall. Teachers will be allowed, but not required, to work from their classrooms. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered schools in several high-risk counties to stay closed for in-person classes until virus trends improve.
Houston to Ticket People Not Wearing Masks (4:25 p.m. NY)
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner instructed police in the fourth-largest U.S. city to begin issuing warnings and citations to anyone not wearing a mask in public.
The mayor said in a tweet that people meeting certain criteria will be exempted.
“Lives are at stake and we must take these measures to ensure our numbers continue to go down,” Turner wrote in the tweet.
California Governor Sees Encouraging Trends (4:25 p.m. NY)
After setting records last month, the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day in California has started decreasing, Governor Gavin Newsom reported Monday. The even-day average for new cases has dropped 21% in the last week, although it still stands at 7,764. And the percentage of people tested who have the virus slipped to 6.1% after peaking at 8% late last month.
The state is seeing “encouraging signs, but one week does not make the kind of trend that gives us confidence,” Newsom said, during an update with reporters. The virus continues to claim, on average, 121 people per day in California, Newsom said, even though only 32 deaths were reported for yesterday.
U.S. New Cases Rise 0.9% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.9% as compared with the same time Sunday to 4.69 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average 1.4% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose 0.2% to 155,124.
- Arizona reported the smallest number of new cases since late June, with 1,030 new diagnoses. The 0.6% increase trailed the prior seven-day average of 1.3%.
- Florida reported 491,884 cases, up 1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 7,157, an increase of 73, or 1%.
- The District of Columbia had a 2.1% increase in cases to 12,313, according to the Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News data.
California Cases Are Lowest in 4 Weeks (2:25 p.m. NY)
California reported 5,739 new virus cases, the fewest in four weeks and below the average increase of 8,812 over the past 14 days. Deaths rose by 32, also well below the two-week daily average of 121, for a total of 9,388.
New cases and deaths tend to be lower on Mondays because of delays in reporting over the weekend. Still, the most populous state has seen some positive trends after a surge in infections last month. Hospitalizations have fallen to 6,383 patients after reaching more than 7,000 two weeks ago. The rate of positive tests over the past 14 days is at 7%, down from 7.5% last week.
N.Y. School Decision This Week, Cuomo Says (2:20 p.m. NY)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a decision on reopening schools for in-person learning will be made this week but that ultimately parents would have the final say. The state education and health departments are reviewing reopening plans submitted by school districts last week, and some still need to provide additional details, Cuomo said at a briefing on Monday.
“I don’t care what any bureaucrat says. I trust the parents more than anyone,” Cuomo said. “If they don’t have a good plan for reopening, no kids are going to come and no teachers are going to come. So then you have no reopening.”
With just 545 positive results out of 51,839 tests conducted, New York’s positivity rate hit 1.05% on Aug. 2, Cuomo said. There were 536 hospitalizations in New York state as of Aug. 2 and three people died as a result of the virus, according to the latest state data.
N.J. Tightens Party Crowd Limits (1 p.m. NY)
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reduced crowd limits for indoor parties after a jump in cases related to noncompliance of social-distance orders. Indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people, down from 100, Murphy said Monday.
London Lockdown Possible Under Plans (12:15 p.m. NY)
The U.K.’s plans to block further spikes in coronavirus allow for ministers to lock down London, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, as officials prepare for a resurgence of Covid-19 in the months ahead.
The so-called Contain Strategy, unveiled last month, “does set out the possibility of a power to restrict people’s movement and potentially close down local transport networks,” Prime Minister’s Spokesman James Slack told reporters on Monday when asked whether the government had war-gamed sealing off the capital.
White House Explores Own Virus Relief Plan (12 p.m. NY)
The White House is exploring whether President Donald Trump can act on his own to extend enhanced unemployment benefits and eviction protection if lawmakers fail to act, people familiar with the matter said.
The White House is concerned about the economic impact of the $600 a week supplemental benefits having expired on Friday, the people said, as Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach an agreement over a new coronavirus stimulus package.
Arizona Cases Lowest Since June (11:40 .m. NY)
Arizona on Monday reported the smallest number of new cases since late June, with 1,030 new Covid-19 diagnoses. The 0.6% increase trailed the prior seven-day average of 1.3%. The state Department of Health Services also reported 14 new deaths, the lowest since July 13, bringing the toll to 3,779.
Arizona had a positivity rate of 12.9% statewide. In Maricopa County, the state’s most populous and home to Phoenix, the positivity rate was 14.3%, below the 20.3% of positive tests reported on Sunday.
Norway Bars Cruise Ships For 2 Weeks (11 a.m. NY)
Norway’s government banned cruise ships from entering its ports for 14 days after an outbreak on board a Hurtigruten Group ASvessel led to about 40 new cases, Trade Minister Iselin Nybo told reporters in Oslo on Monday.
The two-week ban applies to cruise ships with more than 100 passengers, including crew, but not to regular ferry traffic.
The decision follows an outbreak on board Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen ship, which has resulted in at least 36 employees and several passengers testing positive.
NYC Open-Air Restaurants to Return in 2021 (10:45 a.m. NY)
New York City’s open-air restaurants have been so successful, they will return next spring, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. More than 9,000 restaurants have set up tables on sidewalks, curbs and on streets closed to traffic in the past few months after the outbreak of the coronavirus shut down indoor dining.
The Open Restaurants plan has created more than 80,000 jobs, de Blasio said. The program will reopen by June 1, and may begin earlier, the mayor said. “A lot of restaurants have been able to survive because of this,” de Blasio said during a Monday news briefing. “It’s one of the things that has given people hope.”
Florida Cases, Positivity Rate Drop (10:35 a.m. NY)
Florida reported 491,884 Covid-19 cases on Monday, up 1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 7,157, an increase of 73, or 1%, according to the report, which includes data through Sunday. The new rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 9.1% for Sunday, from 9.3% on Saturday. It was the lowest rate since June 24. But state-run testing sites were closed for several days in anticipation of Hurricane Isaias.
U.S. Still Can Fight Spread, WHO Says (10 a.m. NY)
“The United States can turn this around,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s top epidemiologist on Covid. “Stay at home if you’re asked. Wear a mask if you’re asked to wear a mask.”
Asked to comment on White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx’s comments that the U.S. is in a new phase, Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said his interpretation is that the statement is intended as a reminder that the disease hasn’t gone away and states need to re-evaluate the measures they’re taking.
“It’s not our job to be telling the U.S. what it should be doing at a sub-national level,” Ryan said. The way states are taking measures under the guidance of national experts “seems to be the right path,” he said. Many countries need to review their approach in fighting Covid as the disease spreads further and flare-ups occur in countries that had previously stemmed the rate of new infections, he said. “This is going to require a reset in many countries.”
WHO Says Studies Put Mortality Rate at 0.6% (10 a.m. NY)
Several studies estimate the mortality rate of the novel coronavirus at 0.6%, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s top epidemiologist on Covid. “That may not sound like a lot, but it is quite high,” she said. The death rate is about 1 in 200 compared with one in 10,000 or 100,000 in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program.
Eli Lilly Starts Testing Drug in Nursing Homes (6:45 a.m. NY)
Eli Lilly & Co. will begin testing its Covid-19 antibody drug in nursing homes in the U.S., a treatment with potential to protect vulnerable groups that vaccines may not cover. The trial, dubbed BLAZE-2, will kick off Monday and marks the third phase of testing for the monoclonal antibody that Lilly co-developed with Canadian start-up AbCellera Biologics Inc. It will enroll up to 2,400 participants who are either diagnosed with Covid-19 or at the risk of exposure.
Alibaba’s Tsai Warns of ‘Scary’ Surveillance Powers in Covid Era (6:44 a.m. NY)
The pandemic is allowing governments around the world to track people more closely than before thanks to the rapid digitization of personal data, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Joseph Tsai warned Monday. The digitization of information has accelerated in just past months as various countries try to trace people to curb Covid-19, Tsai said at the virtual launch event of the Singapore FinTech Festival.
Portugal in Talks With U.K. to Lift Quarantine Rule (6:02 a.m. NY)
Portugal is in talks with the British government to try to lift a rule that requires anyone arriving in England from the southern European country to self-isolate for two weeks. Rita Marques, Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Monday that she wasn’t sure when the U.K. would revise its quarantine rule even as the coronavirus situation in the country continues to evolve positively. The British rank as the biggest group of visitors to Portugal.
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