U.S. Cases Rose Most in Three Weeks; MLB Training: Virus Update
Workers wearing protective gear bury the casket of a Covid-19 victim in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg)

U.S. Cases Rose Most in Three Weeks; MLB Training: Virus Update

U.S. cases rose 1.6%, the biggest jump in three weeks, as more than 30,000 infections were reported for a second straight day, fueling concern about a resurgence. Florida set another record for cases.

The Yankees and Mets will leave the Florida hot spot for New York to further train, pending a decision to start the 2020 baseball season. Spain, set to end a state of emergency, will let Brits enter without quarantine restrictions.

The clinical trial on a malaria drug has been stopped by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases over low enrollment. Social distancing rules in England could ease as soon as next week.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 8.7 million; deaths exceed 461,000
  • Bond market eyes gathering crowds for clues on path of rates
  • Governments find it’s easier to give virus relief than end it
  • Young Americans struggle to find summer jobs, internships
  • Mask furor shows how treacherous theater reopening will be
  • Swimming holes step into the void as virus closes pools
  • From spam to corned beef, sales of canned meat are booming
  • Brazil lacks consistent strategy as virus cases top 1 million

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U.S. Cases Rose Most in Three Weeks; MLB Training: Virus Update

LSU Tigers in Quarantine: Report (5:05 p.m. NY)

As many as 30 LSU football players, a quarter of the team, were quarantined this week over virus-related concerns, Sports Illustrated reported, citing sources it didn’t identify. The players were isolated because they tested positive or were found to had contact with those who tested positive, the magazine said.

Shelly Mullenix, the senior associate athletic trainer, declined to confirm details, but told the magazine LSU’s situation matched the nationwide uptick tied to the Memorial Day holiday and widespread mass protests. “It’s not surprising we’re seeing the rise right now,” she told SI. “It’s a pandemic.”

Some players are quarantined after frequenting nightclubs near the Baton Rouge campus in an area called Tigerland, the magazine said. On Friday, the Louisiana Department of Health said more than 100 Tigerland bar-goers tested positive and warned those who have frequented the establishments to quarantine for at least 14 days.

CDC Kits ‘Likely Contaminated,’ HHS Study (4:45 p.m. NY)

One of two test kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to detect the “first wave” of the coronavirus failed because some reagents were “likely contaminated,” a Department of Health and Human Services review concluded.

Development of kits began in early January, on a rush basis, and the reagents -- needed to determine final results -- may have been exposed in late January, according to the report. Lab processes may have been insufficient to prevent the contamination risk, although “it is likely that time pressure also contributed,” the report found.

The three-page review, first reported by the Washington Post, didn’t identify any CDC staff responsible.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.6%, Biggest Jump in June (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased by 34,284 from the same time Friday, to 2.24 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.6% rise was above the average daily increase of 1.2% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.6% to 119,460.

For a second day, new cases topped 30,000 after ranging from 19,200 to 28,300 over the previous seven. The U.S. added more than 116,000 cases in four days.

  • New York registered 716 cases, a 0.2% rise, bringing the total to 387,272, with 24 new fatalities, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Total deaths are 24,710, the health department said.
  • New Jersey reported 446 cases -- higher than the 408 seven-day average -- pushing the total to 168,834, and 25 deaths, raising the total to 12,857.
  • California cases increased 3,893, or 2.4%, to 169,309, while an additional 64 deaths, a 1.2% increase, raised the toll to 5,424.
  • Illinois reported a 0.5% rise in cases, to 135,470, with 99 more than a day earlier, with 44 deaths bringing the total to 6,608.
  • Arizona cases jumped by 3,109, or 6.7%, bringing the total to 49,798, with 26 deaths, raising the total to 1,338.
  • Ohio reported 531 new cases, above a 21-day average of 439, raising the total to 44,262, with 30 deaths raising the toll to 2,697.

Spain to Allow British Travelers (3:15 p.m. NY)

Spain will let Britons enter without having to undergo a quarantine starting Sunday, under the same rules that apply for European Union citizens, Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said Saturday in an interview with the BBC.

Upon arrival, they will have their temperature checked and be asked to register a contact with authorities. Spain is relaxing rules out of respect for more than 400,000 Britons who have second homes in Spain, she said.

Of almost 84 million foreign-visitor arrivals to Spain last year, 18 million were from the U.K., according to the National Statistics Institute.

Tulsa Cases Jump 6.6% Ahead of Trump Rally (2:50 p.m. NY)

Tulsa County in Oklahoma reported a 6.6% increase in cases on Saturday, with a record 125, to bring its total to 2,206 ahead of the Donald Trump re-election campaign rally at an arena in the city. Daily cases have climbed by more than 100 for three straight days, and the county accounts for 22% of the Oklahoma state total.

The state reported a 3.4% rise in new cases, to 10,037, with one new death, bringing the toll to 368. Infections in the state are up 20% since Monday.

Trump Campaign Says 6 Staff Test Positive (2:51 p.m. NY)

Six members of the Trump re-election campaign’s advance team tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a spokesman said. Quarantine steps were taken after results from hundreds of tests, according to a statement.

“No Covid-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials,” said Tim Murtaugh, campaign communications director. “All rally attendees are given temperature checks before going through security, at which point they are given wristbands, face masks and hand sanitizer.”

Thousands of Donald Trump supporters poured into Tulsa for his first campaign rally in three months at the 19,000-seat BOK Center, which is expected to be packed.

N.Y. Clears More Regions to Advance (2:10 p.m. NY)

New York City accounted for 55% of the new infectins reported across the state, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the city is still on-track to move to the second phase of reopening on Monday.

Infection rates were flat or lower in six of the state’s 10 regions, he said on a phone conference with reporters. Long Island and the Hudson Valley reported a slight rise, “but nothing extraordinary,” he said. The North Country region also had a slight rise, he said.

Yanks, Mets Move Camps to NYC (12:45 p.m. NY)

The Yankees and the Mets will move their baseball training camps from Florida, where cases of the coronavirus are accelerating, to New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The teams will work out at their home fields, in the Bronx and Queens.

“We’ve determined it’s possible for the Yankees and the Mets to safely conduct spring training in the state this year and are thrilled to begin reopening America’s national pastime right here in New York, Cuomo said. “I can’t remember the last time we had spring training in New York,” he said on a phone conference call with reporters.

The Associated Press said all baseball teams closed their training facilities in Florida and Arizona -- where infections are rising at a record pace -- after the Philadelphia Phillies said five players tested positive and the Houston Astros reported one team member got infected.

England Distance Rule May Be Eased (12:20 p.m. NY)

U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested that England’s social distancing rules may be relaxed, saying a decision is due next week. The 2-meter (6 feet, 6 inches) rule, in place since March, has been criticized for undermining efforts to reopen shops, bars and other parts of the economy.

“I’m very understanding of the calls for action on that, particularly for the hospitality industry,” Sunak said on the BBC “That’s something that will make an enormous difference, I think, to many businesses who are keen to see a change.”

Non-essential shops opened this week, and pubs, cafes and restaurants are slated to restart as early as July 4.

Most Italy New Cases Near Milan (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy registered 262 new cases compared with 251 on Friday, based on figures from the country’s civil protection agency. A total of 238,275 cases have been reported since the end of February.

Lombardy added 165 cases, or 63% of all new infections; the region around Milan said this week that most new cases refer to past infections that are detected by increased testing.

The country had 49 new deaths were reported, compared with 47 Friday, bringing the total to 34,610.

Spain Cases Rise as Emergency Ends (12:10 p.m. NY)

Spain’s cases rose to 245,938 as the government prepares to end the country’s state of emergency, according to Health Ministry data. In the past 24 hours, 134 infections were detected, the ministry said on its website. A total of 36 deaths were reported in the past seven days and the total now stands at 28,322.

The state of emergency, declared in March to stem the outbreak, is due to end Sunday. In a televised address, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez praised Spaniards for their discipline, urged continued caution and said the country would prepare for a possible second wave by building up a strategic reserve of materials and medicines.

Florida Cases Increase by Record 4,049 (10:40 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 93,797 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, up 4.5% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.4% in the previous seven days. It is the most new cases for a single day. Deaths reached 3,114, an increase of 1.3%.

NIH Halts Malaria Drug Trial (9:45 a.m. NY)

A National Institutes of Health unit stopped a clinical trial evaluating whether hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin can prevent hospitalization and death from coronavirus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, said fewer than 20 people signed up for a trial that targeted 2,000 adults. No safety concerns were associated with the trial.

NIAID said it recently began a trial evaluating remdesivir plus the anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib to treat hospitalized Covid-19 adults. Separately, Novartis AG on Friday halted its clinical trial using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, citing slow enrollment.

Hong Kong Has First Death Since Mid-March (10:20 a.m. NY)

A 78-year-old female patient died Saturday, Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority said in a statement, the first virus-related fatality in the city since mid-March and bringing its toll to five. The city has 1,128 confirmed cases.

The patient belonged to a recent cluster of local infections whose origins remain unknown to authorities. She was admitted June 2, but was transferred to intensive care six days later as her condition deteriorated.

Saudi Arabia to Lift Curfew (8:53 a.m. NY)

Saudi Arabia will resume all commercial activities and lift restrictions on movement even as coronavirus cases show no signs of easing. Saudi Arabia reported another 3,941 cases of the virus on Saturday.

The curfew will be lifted across the nation from 6 a.m. on Sunday but international travel and the Muslim pilgrimage known as Umrah will continue to be banned, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday.

Social distancing remains in place and wearing of masks is mandatory. Gatherings can’t exceed 50 people.

U.K. to Open Pubs, Restaurants in July, Times Says (7:10 a.m. NY)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce next week that pubs, restaurants, cafes and gyms in the U.K. can reopen from July 4, according to the Times. There will be limits to the number of people allowed into pubs with markings on the floor to ensure social distancing. Beer gardens will be patrolled to make sure customers don’t get too close, the newspaper said.

The U.K. is also likely to announce “air bridges” to make travel easier between 10 countries seen as low risk for coronavirus, the Telegraph said. The agreements with destinations including Portugal, Spain, Greece and France could enable holidaymakers to fly without a 14-day quarantine on their arrival or return. The U.K. reported another 1,295 cases on Saturday, with 128 deaths, in line with increases reported this week.

Nigerian Vaccine Developed (6:53 a.m. NY)

Nigerian scientists are confident that they will get approval for a vaccine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Africa, Nigerian newspaper Guardian reported. Oladipo Kolawole, a specialist in medical virology, immunology and bioinformatics and leader of the group that developed the vaccine, said the researchers explored the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates. Nigeria has reported 19,147 cases and 487 deaths since its first identified case on Feb. 27.

Antibodies Decline in Asymptomatic People (6 a.m. NY)

Antibodies may only last a few months in patients with Covid-19, a Chinese study published Thursday in Nature Medicine showed. Virus-specific antibodies started to decrease after two or three months, compared with almost three years for people who had Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in earlier outbreaks.

U.S. Embassy in Kabul Has Cases, AP Says (5:50 p.m. HK)

Infections have been reported at the U.S. embassy in the Afghan capital and the staff who are affected include diplomats, contractors and locally employed staff, the Associated Press reported. An official at the embassy in Kabul, who wasn’t identified, said as many as 20 people were infected, the majority of whom are Nepalese Gurkhas, who provide embassy security.

Iran to Mandate Masks in Some Areas (3:29 p.m. HK)

Iran plans to make wearing masks mandatory in areas with high rates of infection amid a sharp rise in the country’s fatalities and new cases, President Hassan Rouhani said on state TV without giving details. A regulation making face masks mandatory for subway and bus riders in Tehran has proved unsuccessful in the absence of adequate enforcement.

Iran’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 9,500 as the country recorded 115 more deaths since Friday. The total number of infections reached 202,584 with 2,322 new cases reported overnight.

South Africa Gets $1 Billion Loan (3:06 p.m. HK)

The New Development Bank approved a $1 billion emergency loan for South Africa. The money will address the nation’s urgent health needs and help mitigate the impact of the virus on the most vulnerable people, Xian Zhu, NDB vice president and chief operations officer, said in an emailed statement on Saturday.

Croatia Tightens Border Restrictions (2:55 p.m. HK)

Croatia is tightening restrictions for visitors from its eastern neighbors Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, where cases are on the rise again, Hina news agency quoted Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic as saying.

German Rate Rises on Meat Industry Outbreak (2:24 p.m. HK)

There were 482 new infections in the 24 hours through Saturday morning, bringing the total to 190,299 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

A German meatpacking plant was ordered to shut Friday after hundreds of workers became infected, adding to a string of outbreaks at slaughterhouses across Europe.

Australian State Reduces Home Visitor Numbers (1:38 p.m. HK)

Victoria will reduce the number of visitors to homes to five from Monday after cases began rising.

“Around half of our cases since the end of April have come from transmission inside someone’s home,” state premier Daniel Andrews said. “The numbers are being driven by families – families having big get-togethers and not following the advice around distancing and hygiene.”

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