NYC Adds to Death Toll; California Maps Reopening: Virus Update
A border patrol guard wears a hazmat suit and a protective face mask while speaking to face mask wearing pedestrians during coronavirus symptoms testing as European Union (EU) citizen movement restrictions and virus containment efforts are enforced on the Oder bridge near the border of Germany and Poland, in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. (Photographer: Rolf Schulten/Bloomberg)  

NYC Adds to Death Toll; California Maps Reopening: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) --

Leaders across Europe weighed steps to exit quarantines, while California offered guidelines for its reopening. Spain, Germany and Italy all reported fewer infections, suggesting the crisis continues to ease.

The International Monetary Fund predicted that the “Great Lockdown” recession would be the steepest in almost a century.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s first-quarter profit tumbled to the lowest in more than six years, and Johnson & Johnson cut its outlook for the year. Stocks surged on signs the coronavirus outbreak is either leveling off or easing.

Key Developments

NYC Adds to Death Toll; California Maps Reopening: Virus Update

Airlines, Treasury Reach Tentative Accord on Aid (5:21 p.m. NY)

U.S. airlines reached preliminary agreements with the Treasury Department to access billions of dollars in aid as the government attempts to shore up one of the industries hardest-hit by the pandemic.

The deal covers all major carriers, Treasury said in a statement. American Airlines Group Inc. said it would get $5.8 billion in payroll support, while Southwest Airlines Co. said it would get $3.2 billion. The money comes from $25 billion in payroll assistance allocated for passenger carriers in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law March 27.

NYC Deaths Cross 10,000 With New Victim Count (5:16 p.m. NY)

New York City added more than 3,700 people to its virus death toll to account for victims who died in recent weeks without seeking hospital care. The additional deaths pushed the city’s total to more than 10,000. Freddi Goldstein, press secretary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said they include at-home deaths of people suspected of having Covid-19, based on reported symptoms including cough, fever and shortness of breath.

California Outlines Criteria for Reopening (4:45 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom outlined his plan to lift restrictions in the most-populous U.S. state, saying a reopening depends on meeting a series of benchmarks that would remake daily life for 40 million residents.

“There’s no light switch here,” Newsom said at a briefing, declining to estimate timing on a reopening. “It’s more like a dimmer,” toggling back and forth between more and fewer rules.

To consider modifying stay-at-home orders, California will need to meet criteria including the ability to do widespread testing and contact tracing, making sure hospitals can meet demand, and having businesses and schools support physical distancing.

Even then, public outings will look quite different, with restaurants likely having fewer tables and face coverings common, Newsom said. Mass gatherings will be “negligible at best” at least through the summer.

U.S. Infections Continue to Slow (4:05 p.m. NY)

U.S. coronavirus cases rose 4.6% to 598,670 Tuesday, according to data from John’s Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was below the average daily increase of 6.8% over the past week, suggesting the U.S. outbreak continues to ease.

New York, the epicenter in the U.S., reported a 3.7% increase. That’s down from 10% on April 1. New Jersey cases rose 6.6%.

South Dakota reported the highest growth rate, with cases increasing 14%.

Louisiana reported 129 new deaths, pushing its total count above 1,000.

“Today’s death count is the largest we have reported in a single day,” Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “It is incumbent upon our people to follow the stay at home order.”

NYC Taps Manufacturers to Make Gear (3:03 p.m. NY)

New York City has turned to its garment industry to shift from high fashion to mass manufacturing of surgical gowns to protect medical workers treating coronavirus patients.

The gowns are part the city’s plan to build up its manufacturing capacity to locally produce personal protective equipment and test kits by the tens of thousands per week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Local companies will make face shields, surgical gowns and virus test kits in neighborhoods like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Manhattan’s Garment District, de Blasio said Tuesday at his daily virus briefing.

Trump Holds Off on Threats Against WHO (2:17 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump is holding off for now on his threat to slash U.S. contributions to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

One person who has appealed to Trump is United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who, through the U.S. ambassador to the UN, made the case that there will be time to apportion blame for the pandemic but that it’s not appropriate while the outbreak is still growing.

Read more here.

N.J. Shows Signs of Curve Flattening (2:11 p.m. NY)

New Jersey coronavirus cases increased by less than 10% for an eighth straight day, signs of a flattening curve even as the state reported an 365 new deaths, the most in a 24-hour period.

Cases in at least 12 of 21 counties were doubling every seven days or more, and just one, Cumberland, was doubling every four days. A few weeks earlier, cases in several counties were doubling every three days.

Still, the state “can’t begin to think of reopening” until the federal government supplies more testing resources, Governor Phil Murphy said at a press briefing Tuesday.

Italy Has Fewest Cases in a Month (12:45 p.m. NY)

Italy reported its fewest new coronavirus cases in a month on Tuesday, as a government-appointed task force seeks to map out a way to ease a nationwide lockdown that’s crippling the economy.

There were 2,972 new cases of the disease -- the fewest since March 13 -- compared with 3,153 a day earlier, civil protection officials said at their daily briefing in Rome. The decline comes as testing slowed over the Easter holiday weekend. Confirmed cases in the country now total 162,488.

Italy registered 602 deaths linked to the virus, compared with 566 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 21,067.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended containment measures until May 3, and has appointed Vittorio Colao, former chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, to head a team that will help the country’s firms gradually restart activity, depending on the spread of the disease.

Antibiotic Added to FDA Short-Supply List (12:15 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration put the antibiotic azithromycin on its list of drugs in short supply Tuesday, adding to a growing tally of treatments becoming scarce as the number of Americans with Covid-19 increases.

The drug is being used in combination with the malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine, which is also in shortage after President Donald Trump touted its potential effectiveness against the coronavirus.

Pfizer Inc. said next delivery of most doses of its brand-name Zithromax tablets will be in June or July, according to FDA’s shortages database. Many of the nine generic-drug manufacturers in the FDA’s database indicated they were struggling to keep up with demand or were anticipating a backorder.

Trump, Cuomo Clash on Reopening (11:27 a.m. NY)

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo publicly sparred over who has the authority to reopen the U.S. economy.

“If he ordered me to reopen in a way that endangered the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it,” Cuomo said in an interview on CNN. “We don’t have King Trump. We have President Trump.”

Trump said in a tweet that he’s given Cuomo all the resources he’s asked for to combat the coronavirus.

“I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!,” Trump said.

Read more here

Denmark to Lift Lockdown for Young (10:46 a.m. NY)

Denmark will release its youngest citizens from a month-long lockdown Wednesday in a move that has fueled considerable controversy.

Babies will return to daycare centers, kindergartens will open their doors and primary schools will resume for children up to age 13.

The government says the move, which follows signs that Denmark’s early Covid-19 restrictions paid off, will let parents focus on their jobs and keep the economy going. But the model has drawn a lot of criticism, including from some parents who are threatening to boycott the plan.

U.K. Reports Larger Number of Deaths (9:48 a.m. NY)

A further 778 people have died in U.K. hospitals from the coronavirus, up from 717 on Monday, as the country decides how long to continue its lockdown. Confirmed cases rose to 93,873 from 88,621, Department of Health and Social Care figures show. Before today, the rate of increase in deaths and cases had been decelerating, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Portugal Cases Rise; Netherlands Slows (9:22 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases and patients in intensive-care units as it plans to extend its state of emergency for two more weeks. There were 514 new cases in a day, taking the total to 17,448, the government said on Tuesday. Total deaths rose to 567 from 535.

In the Netherlands, confirmed cases rose 3% to 27,419, the slowest rate since the country reported its first case in late February. Deaths from the virus increased 4% to 2,945, but the figure may reflect an administrative processing backlog over the Easter weekend.

Scotland Questions Equipment Distribution (8:48 a.m. NY)

Scotland is investigating a claim that personal protective equipment is being redirected to England as tension grows within the U.K. over the handling of the outbreak.

“I am not prepared for the Scottish government to stand by and be treated unfairly regarding the distribution of PPE,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Swedish Deaths Top 1,000 Amid Controversy (8:11 a.m. NY)

Sweden reported 1,033 deaths from Covid-19. The development adds to controversy surrounding the country’s decision not to impose a lockdown, and instead leave schools, bars, cafes and restaurants open. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has said stricter measures may be needed.

U.K. Fiscal Watchdog Sees 35% Real GDP Drop (7:20 a.m. NY)

The U.K.’s Office for Budget Responsibility sees real GDP falling 35% in the second quarter under a scenario that assumes a three-month lockdown followed by another three months where measures are partially lifted. OBR sees unemployment jumping to 10% in second quarter and the deficit climbing to 218 billion pounds ($274 billion) relative to March forecasts under this scenario.

Singapore to Enforce Masks, Close More Workplaces (7:17 a.m. NY)

“The minute you leave your house you have to wear a mask when you go out,” Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong said, adding that first offenders will get a S$300 fine ($212). The government will also cull the number of industries allowed to stay open.

The measures were announced as virus cases escalated in tightly packed dormitories housing mainly low-paid foreign workers. More than 200,000 of the migrants serving key industries such as construction from across Asia live in 43 of the facilities in Singapore. The cramped accommodation complicates efforts to enforce social distancing rules.

Singapore on Tuesday recorded 334 new cases, the second day figures have exceeded 300, bringing the tally so far to 3,252. No imported cases were reported, while 122 cases are unlinked. Monday recorded a new high of 386, the largest single-day spike.

Sanofi, Glaxo Join Forces to Develop Vaccine (7 a.m. NY)

Sanofi will combine its experimental coronavirus vaccine with GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s adjuvant technology, which may allow more doses of a shot to be produced. The drugmakers said they plan to start human trials in the second half of this year, with the goal of having a vaccine available by the second half of 2021 if the studies are successful.

The collaboration brings together two of the world’s biggest vaccine makers with manufacturing might in the race to deliver a Covid-19 vaccine. Dozens of companies from Moderna Inc. to Johnson & Johnson, along with universities, are pursuing a shot to halt the rapidly spreading pathogen

JPMorgan Profit Plunges to Lowest Since 2013 (6:57 a.m. NY)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said first-quarter profit tumbled 69% to the lowest in more than six years as credit costs surged, giving investors a first glimpse at the extent of the damage Covid-19 is wreaking on bank results.

The bank set aside $8.29 billion for bad loans, the biggest provision in at least a decade and more than double what some analysts expected, as it grappled with the effects of the pandemic on the economy. That prompted the bank’s first drop in profit since the fourth quarter of 2017.

JPMorgan reported first-quarter provision for credit losses of $8.3 billion, a $6.8 billion increase from the prior year’s quarter, on reserve builds to reflect a deteriorating economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic and continued pressure on oil prices. “The company entered this crisis in a position of strength, and we remain well capitalized and highly liquid,” Dimon said.

Barclays Won’t Cut Jobs (6:53 a.m. NY)

The plan to dismiss staff outlined in the early stages of the crisis is now on hold, Financial News reported, citing a memo. Barclays says it will also provide additional financial support for laid-off staff.

J&J Cuts 2020 Outlook (6:40 a.m. NY)

The company lowered guidance for 2020 to reflect the impact of Covid-19. For the full year, J&J said it expects sales of $79.2 billion to $82.2 billion. Previously, it had forecast revenue for the year of $85.8 billion to $86.6 billion.

However, J&J posted stronger sales and earnings for the first quarter compared with a year ago, and boosted its quarterly dividend.

Carmakers Begin Rebooting European Plants (6:37 a.m. NY)

Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit is among automakers gradually reopening factories in Europe, even as lockdowns drag on across much of the region. Hyundai’s car-making facility in Nosovice, Czech Republic, is resuming output with two shifts instead of the usual three, CTK reported. And Renault is working on restarting factories in Portugal, Romania and Russia, Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said on Friday.

Rokos’s Macro Hedge Fund Has Best Month Ever (6:12 a.m. NY)

Billionaire Chris Rokos’s macro hedge fund had its best month ever, gaining 14% in March amid market chaos fueled by the pandemic. That takes the fund’s advance for the year to about 20%, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. About a quarter of this year’s returns have come from short equities trades as the longest-running bull market in stocks came to an end.

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