Worldwide Cases Pass 50 Million With U.S. Surging: Virus Update

Worldwide cases of Covid-19 surpassed 50 million and the U.S. reported more than 126,000 new infections for the third consecutive day. Total U.S. cases neared 10 million with no slowdown in sight.

President-elect Joe Biden should start working with U.S. state governors to craft more of a national strategy for stemming the pandemic, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said. Biden plans to name a 12-member coronavirus task force on Monday.

U.S. deaths remained at more than 1,000 for a fifth day, a streak last seen in August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Italy will add more than 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in aid to help offset the economic impact of lockdowns. A protest against virus-related restrictions in Leipzig, Germany, ended in violence.

Key Developments:

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Worldwide Cases Pass 50 Million With U.S. Surging: Virus Update

U.S. Covid Cases Near 10 Million With No Slowdown in Sight (5:02 p.m. NY)

Close to 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 10 months, and with the start of winter just a month away, and the public increasingly likely to spend more time cooped up inside, the virus shows few signs of slowing down.

Infections are setting sequential daily records and expected to soar further as cold weather grips northern U.S. states, schools and businesses try to reopen, people move their daily activities inside and the holidays spur gatherings, health officials and experts said.

Oklahoma Cases Spike (4:46 p.m. NY)

Oklahoma added 4,507 new cases on Saturday, more than double the previous daily record, even after a downward revision for duplicate reports, Health Commissioner Lance Frye said in a statement on Sunday. The previous record set last Thursday was 2,101.

“We have no reason to believe our revised number is an anomaly, but instead shows community spread is occurring,” Frye said. With intensive care beds more than 90% occupied, he urged Oklahomans to wear masks and observe other precautions. The state has left to localities most decisions to contain the virus’s spread.

Iowa Passes 150,000 Cases (3:44 p.m. NY)

Iowa reported 2,964 infections Sunday, as cases escalated in recent weeks to a total of 152,802. After taking seven months to reach 100,000 cases, the state has added more than 50,000 in the last four weeks and broke two records for infections last week. More than 900 people are hospitalized for Covid-19, the most of the outbreak by far.

Florida Cases Highest Since August (3:11 p.m. NY)

Florida’s infections continued a second ascent, as the state reported 6,820 cases Sunday. That is the most since August, when the Sun Belt was recovering from its deadly surge, but far less than July’s peak of roughly 15,000 daily cases. Infections and hospitalizations are rising again in the states worst-hit this summer, which include Texas, California and Arizona.

France Cases Slow (2:24 p.m. NY)

France reported 38,619 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, a smaller increase than records in previous days.

Health authorities said there were 1,814 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours, 644 fewer than the day before. The number of deaths rose by 270 to 40,439.

Authorities said Saturday the number of new cases was underreported last week and they will provide a full update on Monday.

Minnesota Hits Record, Reports Nursing Home Deaths (2:08 p.m. NY)

Minnesota reported 5,908 cases, a record and the second time this week infections rose above 5,000. As deaths also rise rapidly, the state reported 31 more fatalities, among them 19 in assisted living facilities, the Star Tribune reported.

Weekly cases among people in nursing homes rose fourfold from early May to late October in 20 hard-hit states, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Associated Press. Weekly cases among staff nearly quadrupled in that same time, the AP reported.

Greece’s Death Toll at a Record (1 p.m. NY)

Greece reported 35 additional deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday, a record number for the second straight day.

With patients swamping intensive-care units, Greece began a nationwide lockdown on Saturday that’s scheduled to stay in place through November. Cases increased by 1,914 on the day to 56,698.

Biden Should Work With Governors, Gottlieb Says (12 p.m. NY)

President-elect Joe Biden should start working with U.S. governors to help craft more of a nationwide strategy to stem the virus pandemic, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

“If you’re not going to have a federally led national strategy in the next couple of months, and it’s going to be led at the state level, you at least want to coordinate across different states so it starts to have the semblance of a more cohesive plan,” Gottlieb, who was President Donald Trump’s first FDA head, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Biden said he’ll name a 12-member coronavirus task force on Monday. His plan calls for increased testing capacity, funding for businesses and schools to reopen safely and eventually a vaccine distributed equitably and for free.

Ahead of his inauguration, “they can start working with the governors to try to formulate policy through the governors, with the governors, and try to create a more national strategy that way,” Gottlieb said.

Worldwide Cases Pass 50 Million (11:41 a.m. NY)

Confirmed cases worldwide surpassed 50 million, with the U.S. accounting for the biggest number -- 9.9 million -- followed by India, Brazil, Russia and France, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

More than 1.2 million people have died of causes related to Covid-19.

Italy Remains at Record Numbers (11:20 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 32,616 new cases on Sunday, some 7,000 fewer than a record number the day before but the fifth consecutive day with more than 30,000. Another 331 deaths were blamed on Covid-19.

More Italian regions are considering lockdowns after authorities imposed tighter restrictions on the worst-hit areas, including Milan and Turin.

U.K. Cases Stuck at More Than 20,000 ( 11:11 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported more than 20,000 cases for the sixth straight day, though the 20,572 reported Sunday were below the seven-day average of 22,826.

With 156 new deaths, the toll was less than half of the weekly average. Reporting has lagged on weekends.

Poland Considers Bond Sales to Aid Economy (8:51 a.m. NY)

Poland may repeat large-scale bond sales by state-run lender BGK SA to aid an economy suffering from a second round of restrictions.

Jaroslaw Gowin, deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, advocated bond issuance to bolster aid to companies and boost public investment at a similar scale to the earlier response, according to an interview with Business Insider.

Welsh First Minister Urges Common U.K. Approach for Holidays (5:36 p.m. HK)

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told Sky News on Sunday his government doesn’t expect to impose another national lockdown before Christmas after Wales emerges from just over two weeks of a “firebreak lockdown” on Monday.

He urged U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to initiate a common approach across the U.K. for the holiday period given the number of families with members in different regions.

Merkel Government Condemns Violent Protest (5:22 p.m. HK)

A protest in Leipzig against coronavirus restrictions turned violent on Saturday evening with attacks on police and journalists.

The thousands of people who didn’t wear masks or observe social distancing showed “a height of irresponsibility and egotism,” Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said. “Such a situation cannot be allowed to happen again in the midst of a pandemic.”

U.K. Government Climbs Down on Meals for Children (5 p.m. HK)

Boris Johnson’s government will spend 396 million pounds ($521 million) on free meals for England’s poorest children, the BBC reported, another significant climbdown by the prime minister after coming under intense pressure from a campaign driven by English soccer star Marcus Rashford.

Merkel Says High-Risk Likely First in Line for Vaccine (4:31 p.m. HK)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes that vaccines will “soon” be approved for use. The question of who gets the shot first is still under discussion, “but I think I can reveal that care staff, doctors and people who are at risk are right at the top of the line,” she said in a video message on Sunday.

Germans will have to live with certain restrictions until 60% to 70% of the population is immune to the virus, she said.

Italy to Spend Over $3 Billion in Rescue for Businesses (4:20 p.m. HK)

Italy will add over 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in spending with the latest relief package for businesses hit by the country’s second lockdown, Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Facebook. Activities hurt by the latest restrictions will receive as much as 200% of the benefits they received during the first lockdown.

Italians are prohibited from leaving or entering cities in high-risk areas, including Milan, Italy’s financial hub, and northern industrial cities. All non-essential commercial activities are closed in the area.

Some of Belgium’s Metrics Improve; Russia Struggles (3:56 p.m. HK)

Belgium reported fewer hospital admissions amid a slowing infection rate. There were 199 more fatalities were recorded.

Germany enters its second week of “lockdown light” with authorities reporting an increase of 26,615 new cases in the last 24 hours. While that’s below the record 31,480 disclosed on Thursday, it’s notable because numbers at the weekend are depressed by less testing and fewer reports to health authorities.

Russia recorded over 20,000 daily coronavirus cases for a third consecutive day. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told state television that coronavirus numbers haven’t stabilized at a certain level and are growing. Moscow earlier requested firms to switch more employees to work remotely and extended remote learning in secondary schools.

The Philippines saw cases rise by 2,442 to 396,395. Meanwhile, Singapore reported no new local cases, and two imported ones.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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