Texas Cases at Record; Pennsylvania Mandates Masks: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- New York City postponed a planned reopening of restaurant dining rooms, California ordered many indoor businesses to shut and Pennsylvania required residents to wear masks as U.S. state and local leaders grapple with a surge in coronavirus infections. Texas and Arizona reported record new cases.
An early trial of an experimental vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE showed promise, winning praise from Wall Street analysts and showing the industry remains on track for having a potential shot by January.
Europe’s two largest economies reported more evidence of the damage wrought by the pandemic. Unemployment in Germany surged in June, accompanied by warnings of a slower-than-expected recovery. In the U.K., house prices posted their first annual decline since 2012, while the nation’s businesses reported a record slump in sales.
- Global Tracker: Global cases pass 10.5 million; Deaths top 512,000
- Arizona’s daily death record chips at Pence virus talking point
- Europe’s ban on U.S. travelers means an ongoing tourism slump
- FDA vaccine guidance throws cold water on Trump 2020 goal
- Half of all Mexico Covid tests are positive, highest in the world
- Here’s how the pandemic shook emerging markets
- How do people catch Covid-19? What experts say: QuickTake
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Texas Posts Record Rise in Cases (4:58 p.m. NY)
Texas posted a record 8,076 new virus cases, pushing the total to 168,062, according to state health department figures. Fatalities jumped by 57 to 2,481 for the biggest one-day increase since May 14.
The state’s positive-test rate has been above 13% for four days, the longest stretch above that threshold since the pandemic emerged.
U.S. Cases Rise 1.8% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by 46,065 from a day earlier to 2.66 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.8% rise was in line with the average daily increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.9% to 127,681.
- Florida reported 158,997 cases, up 4.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.7% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 3,550, an increase of 1.3%.
- Arizona reported 4,878 new cases, a record number for the state. That brought the total number of cases to 84,092. It also reported 88 new deaths, another one-day record that put the total at 1,720.
- California reported 9,740 new infections, its biggest-ever daily jump. The 4.4% rise in cases exceeded the seven-day average of a 2.8% increase, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
California Closes Indoor Dining in Hard-Hit Counties (3:41 p.m. NY)
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the shutdown of indoor businesses including restaurants, bars, museums and movie theaters in 19 counties as the state grapples with a surge of infections from the coronavirus.
The areas affected include Los Angeles County, the hardest-hit part of the state, and in total account for about 70% of California’s population, Newsom said at a press briefing Wednesday.
Pennsylvania Mandates Masks (3:30 p.m. NY)
People in Pennsylvania must now wear masks when leaving home, Governor Tom Wolf announced Wednesday.
“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in Covid-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Pennsylvania has 84,751 confirmed coronavirus cases and 6,649 deaths, according to its website.
South Africa Reports Record Daily Case Increase (3:30 p.m. NY)
South Africa reported a record 8,124 new coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, with the infection-rate in the economic hub that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria set to rise to the highest in the nation over the next few weeks.
With eased lockdown guidelines, more people are returning to work as more businesses including hairdressers and sit-in restaurants have reopened.
Cumulative infections rose to 159,333 in the latest daily report, with an additional 92 confirmed deaths, bringing the national coronavirus death toll to 2,749.
L.A. Restaurant Dining Rooms to Shut Again: Eater (2:30 p.m. NY)
California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to announce new lockdown measures for Los Angeles County that will force restaurants to close their dining rooms again, according to trade publication Eater.
The lockdowns will last for at least three weeks and force restaurants to revert to takeout and delivery service, Eater reported, citing an unidentified person in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.
Miami-Dade Covid-19 Hospitalizations Jump (1:46 p.m. NY)
Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous, reported the highest numbers of Covid-19 intensive-care patients since at least early April.
Covid-19-related ventilator use is now about two-and-a-half times higher than it was at the end of May, according to the county’s daily report on Wednesday, which is based on self-reporting by hospitals.
Miami-Dade has 1,298 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, an increase of 96 from a day earlier. The number of virus patients in intensive-care unit beds rose to 266 from 245. There are 118 Covid-19 patients on ventilators, up from 103 a day earlier.
California Records Biggest Daily Case Jump (1:45 p.m. NY)
California reported 9,740 new infections, its biggest-ever daily jump. The 4.4% rise in cases far exceeded the seven-day average of a 2.8% increase, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The state also reported 110 additional deaths, its second-largest one-day tally, for a total of 6,090.
N.Y. Allows All Residents to Get Tested (1:35 p.m. NY)
New York state is opening testing to all residents as the number of positive coronavirus cases in more than half of the country continues to rise.
The state previously had limited testing to essential workers, nursing-home staff and those who had been exposed. But Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Wednesday that it has increased testing capacity and all New Yorkers can and should be tested.
“Go get a test,” Cuomo said. “It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t hurt.”
Since March, the state has tested 4 million of its approximately 19 million residents and has more than 750 testing sites, he said.
Houston’s ICU Beds Exceed Capacity (1:20 p.m. NY)
Houston’s intensive-case units exceeded full capacity as the Covid-19 outbreak spread, according to data from the Texas Medical Center.
There were 1,350 patients in Houston-area ICU wards as of late Tuesday, surpassing the system’s normal capacity of 1,330 beds, the medical center said on its website on Wednesday. Covid-19 patient accounted for 36% of those beds.
Houston’s intensive-care wards are overflowing normal capacity, prompting hospitals to tap so-called surge beds to cope with the expanding outbreak. Surge capacity comes from converting beds normally used for standard care to ICU use.
WHO Laying Out New China Mission Scope (12:45 p.m. NY)
A small World Health Organization advance team is making preparations with Chinese colleagues to set up the scope of its mission to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, according to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program. The WHO plans to send an expert on animal health and an epidemiological expert with a background in field investigations of epidemics.
“We expect then in collaboration with our colleagues in China to define a larger international mission,” Ryan said.
Luxembourg Faces Rising Infections (12:45 p.m. NY)
Luxembourg is facing a new trend of rising infections that can no longer be ignored, the nation’s health minister, Paulette Lenert, said at a press conference Wednesday.
The tiny country has seen 146 new infections in the past week, compared to 54 cases the week before and even fewer cases earlier.
While masks remain obligatory in closed spaces or in close proximity with people, the government has noticed the latest batch of infections mainly stem from private gatherings and parties.
The average age of people testing positive in the past week was 35. Seeing people huddle in groups in cafes without wearing masks or respecting a certain distance is also a concern, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said.
Authorities have had to intervene in numerous cases and even stopped a number of rave parties.
“It’s irresponsible,” Bettel said.
Europe Says It Has Enough Covid Drug (12:30 p.m. NY)
Countries including Britain, Germany and Switzerland sought to allay concerns that they won’t have sufficient stocks of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, one of two drugs shown to treat Covid-19, after the U.S forged a deal to snap up almost all the supplies for three months.
The U.K. worked with Gilead in May to secure remdesivir in advance and has enough of the medicine to treat every National Health Service patient who needs it, officials said in an email response to questions Wednesday. Switzerland has supplies of the drug set aside for seriously ill patients, according to a government spokesman.
Arizona Reports Record Case Jump (11:33 a.m. NY)
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,878 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, a record for the state as it battles a surge in the virus. That brought the total number of cases to 84,092.
The state also reported 88 new deaths, another one-day record that put the total at 1,720.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Monday the state would institute a
month-long halt on bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and tubing rentals.
Jackson Health Limits Florida Surgeries (11:20 a.m. NY)
Jackson Health System in Miami, which operates one of Florida’s biggest hospitals, said it will limit inpatient surgeries and procedures to emergency and urgent cases starting Monday amid an increase in Covid-19 cases in the state.
The hospital system said it continues to see a “steady increase” in Covid-19 patients admitted to its facilities, according to an emailed statement Wednesday.
Florida Positivity Rate Rises to 15% (10:35 a.m. NY)
Florida reported 158,997 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, up 4.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.7% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,550, an increase of 1.3%, according to the report, which includes data through Tuesday.
Seen on a rolling seven-day basis, Florida’s new cases reached 49,983, the highest ever. Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 245, or 1.7%, to 14,825.
The new rate of people testing positive for the first time climbed to 15% for Tuesday, from 14.5% on Monday.
NYC Delays Indoor Dining (10:30 a.m. NY)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was postponing a planned return to indoor dining next week, citing a surge in infections in other states. He said outdoor dining would continue.
“It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining, but it is the time to double our efforts with outdoor dining,” de Blasio said, citing rising cases in Florida, California and Texas. “The news we’ve gotten around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”
The city -- which had initially planned a return to indoor dining on July 6 -- will now help restaurants expand operations outdoors on sidewalks and curbside parking spaces, he said.
De Blasio also announced that city’s beaches in the Rockaways, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Bronx would open Wednesday, and that 15 of the city’s largest public pools will be open over the next few weeks.
Yale to Hold Almost All Courses Online (9:52 a.m. NY)
Yale University plans to hold almost all classes next semester online while also allowing some students to attend on campus.
The Ivy League school will allow graduate and professional school students and a portion of the undergraduate class to be on campus, according to a letter Wednesday from President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel.
Macy’s Takes $3.1 Billion Charge On Pandemic (9:50 a.m. NY)
Macy’s Inc. recorded a $3.1 billion charge in the first quarter as the pandemic ravaged retail, even as sales have started to track ahead of expectations in the two months since.
The department-store chain took the pre-tax goodwill charge, in addition to an $80 million impairment charge related to long-lived assets, after its long-term projections and market capitalization were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic that has battered traditional retailers across the world.
Pfizer, BioNtech Vaccine Trial Shows Promise (9:03 a.m. NY)
An early trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE showed it’s safe and prompted patients to produce antibodies against the new virus, keeping it in the lead pack for a pandemic shot.
Lagarde Warns of Rocky Recovery (9 a.m. NY)
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde renewed her warning of a difficult road ahead even as an economic recovery following months of coronavirus shutdowns starts to take hold.
“The worst is behind us and the hardest is yet to come,” Lagarde said in a video message for a United Nations event. The recovery is going to be “as uncertain and as uneven as the shock was decisive and across the board.”
It will also lead to a rise in inequality and unemployment that will leave the most vulnerable in difficult conditions, she said.
Global Tourism Industry’s Losses May Exceed $1.2 Trillion (9 a.m. NY)
The global tourism industry will lose at least $1.2 trillion this year amid crippling travel restrictions and consumer wariness during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The losses, equal to 1.5% of the world economy, could balloon to $3.3 trillion if the hit to international leisure travel persists until March 2021, with the harshest effects afflicting developing and island nations, according to the Geneva-based agency’s report.
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