U.S. Cases Rise 0.4%; Big AstraZeneca Trial Begins: Virus Update
A shopper wearing a protective face mask pushes a shopping trolley in the San Antonio market in Barcelona, Spain. (Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

U.S. Cases Rise 0.4%; Big AstraZeneca Trial Begins: Virus Update

U.S. coronavirus cases topped 6 million, with outbreaks accelerating on college campuses. Arizona recorded the smallest one-day increase in cases since May, and California’s infection rate fell to the lowest since June.

AstraZeneca Plc has begun a large-scale human trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. At the same time, a new poll found that 78% of Americans worry that the government’s vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science.

India saw its Covid-19 fatalities surpass Mexico’s to give it the third-largest death toll globally, as the Asian nation fast becomes the new epicenter of the pandemic.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 25.3 million; deaths exceed 847,000
  • India on course to top Brazil after unrelenting infection surge
  • NYC eateries stay shut while N.J. indoor dining to resume
  • Hunger is threatening to kill more people than Covid this year
  • Colleges with outbreaks advised to keep students on campus
  • Vaccine Tracker: Where we are in the race for protection?

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.4%; Big AstraZeneca Trial Begins: Virus Update

Zoom’s Pandemic Growth Continuing Unabated (4:30 p.m. NY)

Zoom Video Communications Inc. raised its annual revenue forecast, signaling the company is confident that consumers and businesses will continue to flock to the video-conferencing service amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earnings and sales for the most recent quarter handily beat analyst estimates. Shares jumped in extended trading.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.4% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.4% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.01 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.7% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 183,312.

  • Florida reported 623,471 cases, up 0.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.5% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 11,187, an increase of 68, or 1.1%.
  • Arizona recorded 174 new cases, the smallest one-day tally since May 17. The state’s total number of cases rose to 201,835.
  • North Dakota experienced a 2.9% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 11,816, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.

AstraZeneca Begins U.S. Human Trial (3:15 p.m. NY)

AstraZeneca Plc has begun a large-scale human trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. following a brief delay, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health who are helping conduct the tests.

The university, one of the sites for the 30,000-person trial, plans to begin injecting healthy volunteers on Tuesday, according to William Hartman, a UW Health anesthesiologist and investigator on the trial. It plans to ramp up to injecting 50 people a day shortly after the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday, he said in an interview.

AstraZeneca didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

An Aug. 27 article in the Palm Beach Post reported that the U.S. trial of the vaccine, which was invented by researchers at the University of Oxford, has been put on hold due to political pressure, perhaps because U.S. regulators planned to grant an emergency use authorization on the basis of a trial in Europe.

California Infection Rate Drops (2:35 p.m. NY)

California reported ongoing signs of improvement in its outbreak, with its average rate of positive tests over the last 14 days falling to 5.3%, the lowest since June. Hospitalizations from the virus also are at a more than two-month low, decreasing 1.6% Sunday to 3,878 patients.

The most-populous state reported 4,176 new virus cases, a 0.6% increase and less than the 14-day average of 5,432. There were 28 additional deaths, bringing total fatalities to 12,933. While deaths were well below the 14-day average of 121, data on Mondays tend to be low because of delays in reporting over the weekend.

EU Pledges 400 Million Euros to Covax (1:19 p.m. NY)

The European Commission said Monday it would contribute 400 million euros ($478 million) to the Covax Facility to secure Covid-19 shots and ensure equitable access to them around the world. Covax was established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; and the World Health Organization.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the contribution would benefit low- and middle-income countries but did not specify which. The European Union’s participation in the Covax program is “complementary to ongoing EU negotiations with vaccine companies that aim at scaling up manufacturing capacity,” the commission said in a statement.

Speaking in a press briefing later on Monday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended the European Commission for its commitment. “The best way to end the pandemic is through solidarity,” he said. “The only option we have is to move together.”

Tedros also said that Germany had joined the Covax program, and that the WHO is looking to see if EU members could join as a block.

Italian New Cases Lowest in Nearly a Week (12:40 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 996 new coronavirus infections on Monday, the fewest in almost a week and compared with 1,365 the previous day.

That brought the total number of confirmed cases to 269,214, according to data from the Italian Health Ministry website. The number of fatalities rose by six to 35,483, while 207,653 have recovered from the disease.

Poland Expects Milder Second Wave (12:45 p.m. NY)

Poland expects that a second wave of infections predicted for this fall will be less acute than the wave that hit in the spring, according to Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska.

Most cases create less severe health complications and about 96% of cases remain asymptomatic, Kraska said in an interview with RMF FM Radio.

The government is completing works on country’s plan to fight pandemic during autumn and will present it on Sept. 3., while number of infections dropped to a one-month low on Monday.

Ireland New Cases Decline (12:35 p.m. NY)

Ireland on Monday reported 53 new cases. The nation has seen 95 cases over the past two days, the lowest two-day total since Aug. 12. Instances of new cases are no longer significantly above the national average, the government said.

Canada Unveils Vaccine Deals with Novavax, J&J (12:30 p.m. NY)

Canada has agreed to buy more than 100 million Covid-19 vaccines from Novavax Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The deals add procurement agreements with Pfizer Inc. for at least 20 million doses and with Moderna Inc. for as many as 56 million doses.

“It is possible that there is a breakthrough soon that will allow us to get a vaccine more quickly, but we don’t know where or if that breakthrough will come,” Trudeau said. “That’s why the government of Canada has moved forward on signing agreements with a broad range of vaccine developers.”

Arizona Reports Smallest Increase Since May (12:10 p.m. NY)

Arizona on Monday recorded 174 new virus cases, the smallest one-day tally since May 17, as the state continues to make progress in controlling the spread of Covid-19. The state’s total number of cases rose to 201,835. The Department of Health Services reported minus-1 new deaths, which it said reflected no new deaths and one death that previously had been double-counted, reducing the death toll to 5,029. Arizona’s testing positivity rate also continued to decline, dropping to 3.5%, the lowest in more than a week.

UAE Sees Surge in Cases (11:03 a.m. NY)

The United Arab Emirates recorded its highest daily new coronavirus cases since July 9, with 541 new diagnoses on Monday compared with 362 the day before. The Gulf state is seeing a surge in cases after it began easing the lock down two months ago and has described the increase as “alarming.”

Florida Has Fewest Cases Since June 15 (10:45 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 623,471 Covid-19 cases on Monday, up 0.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.5% in the previous seven days. The daily increase of 1,885 was the least since June 15.

Case numbers are typically lower in the early part of the week due to reduced lab hours on weekends, but the seven-day rolling case total fell to 20,642, the lowest since June 20, according to the health department report, which includes data through Sunday.

The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time rose to 5.5% for Sunday, from 5.1% a day earlier. That’s in line with the average over the past week. The weekly mean positivity rate is now about half of what it was at the start of August.

Deaths among Florida residents reached 11,187, an increase of 68, or 1.1%, and the seven-day rolling total was under 1,000 for the 10th straight day. Deaths often trail infections by weeks, and generally take even longer to be reflected in the data.

NYC Mayor to Delay Layoff Notices (10:40 a.m. NY)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he agreed to delay layoff notices that were set to go out Monday after municipal unions told him they would help push for state legislation to authorize city borrowing.

The pause will be on a “day-to-day basis,” de Blasio said Monday at a press briefing. The mayor has been warning of 22,000 job cuts without federal aid and state approval to borrow billions of dollars amid virus-related revenue losses.

Vaccine Procees Seen as Politicized (10 a.m. NY)

Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry that the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a survey from Stat and the Harris Poll, STAT reported Monday.

Seventy-two percent of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressed such concerns in the poll, a survey of 2,067 American adults conducted last week, STAT said.

The results underscore speculation that President Donald Trump may pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one vaccine prior to the election but before testing has been fully competed, according to STAT.

N.J. to Resume Indoor Dining at Restaurants (9:03 a.m. NY)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a tweet that restaurants will be able to open for indoor dining beginning Sept. 4 at 25% capacity and with social distancing between tables. The move is aimed at restoring a key industry for the state while continuing to fight the virus, he said.

Cases Surge in Uganda (7:05 a.m. NY)

The coronavirus outbreak in Uganda is spreading quickly in the capital, Kampala, where health facilities have run out of bed capacity, New Vision reported.

“We are fast moving to the stage of uncontrollable transmission,” the newspaper cited Monica Musenero, the presidential adviser on the outbreak, as saying. “The bed capacity, especially in Kampala, has been outstripped.”

The East African country had 2,928 confirmed cases and 30 Covid-19 deaths as of Sunday.

Iranian Cases Decline (6:15 a.m. NY)

Iran’s daily coronavirus cases fell for a fifth day to 1,642, bringing the total to 375,212. Fatalities rose to 21,571 with 109 more deaths overnight, up from 103 a day earlier, according to the latest Health Ministry data.

Iran averaged 113 deaths and 2,009 new cases per day over the last seven days, a significant drop from a daily average of 211 deaths and 2,526 cases in the last week of July.

Italy’s Record Contraction (4:25 a.m. NY)

The strict national coronavirus lockdown in Italy, the original European epicenter of the virus, sent its economy into a record contraction in the second quarter.

The economy shrank 12.8% in the three months, slightly worse than an initial estimate. The government forecasts that GDP will contract 8% in 2020, a projection that looks optimistic next to the 10% predicted by economists, and the European Commission’s 11%.

Paris Expands Free Testing (4:10 a.m. NY)

The city of Paris said it will offer free coronavirus tests at locations in each of its 20 districts starting Monday as it battles against a sharp resurgence of the virus in the French capital. With schools across the country preparing to start reopening from Tuesday, the city aims to make it easier for Parisians to get tested for the virus by offering an alternative to regular laboratories.

On Friday, more than 7,000 new cases were reported in France, the most since the nation was under a strict lockdown. For the moment, the number of deaths and hospitalizations remains relatively low, with young adults making up the bulk of new contaminations.

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