NYC to Reopen in July; Concerns on Oregon Surge: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- New York City is moving to fully reopen on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, though Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants it to happen sooner. Chicago is broadly easing restrictions to allow for higher capacity at restaurants, bars and large indoor venues. Michigan will tie reopening to hitting vaccination benchmarks.
A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population, with steep rises in case rates among the young -- an indication that the U.S. may struggle with distinct outbreaks for months to come. Meanwhile, the country’s focus on increasing vaccine supply for other nations may mean boosting manufacturing at U.S. facilities rather than waiving intellectual-property protections, the White House said.
France will ease virus restrictions in four stages starting on May 3 and ending June 30, while Ireland plans to start reopening after a four-month lockdown. Germany believes it’s steered away from a third wave, as vaccinations hit a record.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 149.9 million; deaths exceed 3.15 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.1 billion doses have been given
- U.S. Spotlight: A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population
- How India’s vaccine drive crumbled and left a country in chaos
- The rich are flocking back to NYC for Frieze art fair
- Study shows a little extra weight raises the risk of severe Covid-19
Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.
Portugal Continues Easing (4:48 p.m. NY)
Portugal will continue to gradually ease confinement measures as planned, with restaurants and stores allowed to have customers until later in the evening. From Saturday, shops can stay open until 7 p.m. on weekends and 9 p.m. on weekdays, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference in Lisbon on Thursday night. Controls on the land border with Spain will be lifted.
The number of daily infections in Portugal eased in February and March after the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks in January.
Utah Says No ‘Excuses’ to Skip Vaccine (4:39 p.m. NY)
Utah Governor Spencer Cox said that “any type of organization,” from employers to churches to community groups, can request a mobile clinic to administer vaccines. Vaccine supply is outstripping demand in Utah, as is in the case in many places around the U.S.
“We want to make it as easy as possible,” the Republican governor said at a press briefing on Thursday. “We want to take away any excuses to not get the vaccine.”
About 39% of Utahans have received at least one dose, compared with an average of 43% nationally, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. No one signed up for 4,000 appointments offered by the health department last week in Utah county, the state’s second-most populous, the Salt Lake Tribute reported, quoting a local health official.
Millions of J&J Shots Await Approval (3:04 p.m. NY)
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has produced more than 115 million doses worth of drug substance used in the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter, 60 million doses of which are in vials and ready to deploy at U.S. regulators’ discretion.
The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based contract manufacturer has been producing the J&J single-shot vaccine since the fourth quarter of 2020, said the person. The size of the stockpile, which isn’t yet cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for release, hasn’t been previously reported.
Colleges Urged to Mandate Vaccines (2:42 p.m. NY)
Colleges and universities should require all on-campus students to be vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus this fall, the American College Health Association said.
“Comprehensive Covid-19 vaccination is the most effective way for institutions of higher education to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience for students in fall semester 2021,” the group said in a statement Thursday.
Dozens of colleges, including Rutgers and Duke University, have already said that they’ll make vaccinations mandatory for students to return to campus, with some exemptions.
U.S. Diplomatic Families Can Leave India (2:30 p.m. NY)
The State Department said it’s allowing families of staffers at U.S. missions in India to leave the country due to record levels of Covid-19 cases. U.S. embassies and consulates in India will remain open, the department said in a notice on its website.
The State Department has advised against travel to India, its most severe advisory level.
Italy Sets Vaccine Target (2:30 p.m. NY)
Italy is targeting to reach herd immunity by the end of September, when about 80% of its population will have received a full vaccine, General Francesco Figliuolo, who’s heading the country’s vaccination campaign, said in remarks quoted by Ansa. Figliuolo said that Italy seeks to vaccinate about 60% of people by mid-July and that the nation can potentially administer 600,000 to 700,000 shots a day.
Oregon Surges, Pandemic Not Over (1:35 p.m. NY)
A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population, with steep rises in case rates among the young -- an indication that the U.S. may struggle with distinct outbreaks for months to come.
The state reported 888 confirmed and presumed cases on Tuesday and a 6.5% test positivity rate, bringing the seven-day average to 832, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Governor Kate Brown has elevated more than a dozen counties to the most extreme risk category.
The spike is the latest indication that the pandemic is far from over. A surge in Michigan and an all-out crisis in India is reminding health officials how delicate the path to recovery can be.
Ireland to Start Reopening (1:30 p.m. NY)
Ireland will reopen swathes of its economy next month, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said, as the country’s four-month lockdown comes to an end.
Hair dressers and so-called click-and-collect retail will reopen on May 10, with non-essential stores to open fully a week later. The government will also ease restrictions on household gatherings and religious services, while some sporting activities can resume.
“We now believe it is safe to continue moving forward” with reopening, Martin said.
NYC Plans Full Reopening on July 1 (12:58 p.m. NY)
New York City is moving to fully reopen by July 1 with arenas, gyms, stores, restaurants and hair salons returning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“This is going to be the summer of New York City,” de Blasio said Thursday during a press briefing. “We’re all going to get to enjoy this city again, and people are going to flock here from all over the country.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has ultimate reopening authority, said he hopes the city can fully reopen before de Blasio’s July 1 target, but isn’t going to make projections. “I don’t want to wait that long,” he said.
India Strain Spreads Abroad (12:39 p.m. NY)
China has detected new Covid-19 variants circulating in India among its imported cases, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a briefing in Beijing.
In Israel, the Health Ministry reported 41 cases of the strain, more than half of whom were people returning from abroad. Uganda also detected the strain, with the health ministry saying it was a “wake up call” for people to step up precautions.
Outbreaks Rise in Colorado Schools (12:15 p.m. NY)
Covid-19 outbreaks are rising in Colorado’s elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools as the state endures a fourth wave of infections, The Denver Post reported. As of Wednesday, state data showed 210 active outbreaks in schools, the highest since the beginning of December, the newspaper said.
Chicago Relaxes Restrictions (12:04 p.m. NY)
Chicago is broadly easing restrictions across industries to allow for higher capacity at restaurants, bars and large indoor venues as Covid-19 vaccinations increase, city officials said Thursday.
“It’s time for the Pier and the city to be open,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday at Navy Pier, an entertainment complex with shops, restaurants and parks on Lake Michigan. “We are able to broadly loosen capacity restrictions across industries starting today.”
Moderna Aims for 3 Billion Doses (11:32 a.m. NY)
Moderna Inc. said it would produce as many as 3 billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine next year as it makes new investments to bolster output at several factories in the U.S. and Europe.
The biotech company said it would increase supply by 50% at its Norwood, Massachusetts, plant, which makes much of the vaccine substance used in shots for the U.S. market. The investments would also enable partner Lonza Group AG, which is making supply for foreign markets, to double its output at a factory in Switzerland that makes vaccine substance.
Michigan Ties Easing to Vaccinations (10:43 a.m. NY)
Michigan health officials will peel back the state’s remaining pandemic health orders as residents hit vaccination benchmarks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.
Roughly 49% of Michiganders ages 16 and older are vaccinated. At 70%, she said all social distancing, occupancy and mask orders will be lifted. Further easing on rules for remote work begins at 55%, a goal she said could be reached as early as the end of next week.
“Vaccines are our best chance of putting this pandemic behind us and returning to normal,” the Democratic governor said at a press briefing. “If we work together we can get this done.”
U.K. Reports Clot Cases From Astra (10:09 a.m. NY)
The U.K. regulator received 209 reports of major blood clot cases following a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, almost a fifth of whom died.
The cases, which occurred in 120 women and 89 men aged from 18 to 93 years, were recorded up to April 21 under the U.K.’s Yellow Card side effects scheme. The latest tally marks a 24% increase on the number of cases in the last week, with the proportion of deaths remaining stable at 19%.
U.S. Weighs Local Vaccine Production (9:40 a.m. NY)
The U.S. focus on increasing supply of Covid-19 vaccines for other countries may mean boosting manufacturing at American facilities rather than waiving intellectual-property protections for doses, the White House said.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has yet to make a recommendation to the White House on the waiver proposal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview with CNN Thursday. President Joe Biden and his Covid-19 team will then make the ultimate decision on the U.S. waiver position, she said.
France Plans Phased Reopening (8:56 a.m. NY)
France will ease its coronavirus restrictions in four stages starting on May 3 and ending on June 30, said President Emmanuel Macron cited in an interview with French media by Le Parisien.
Curbs will be lifted on domestic travel from Monday, with the curfew to be pushed back from the current 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. from May 19. From June 9 the curfew will be 11 p.m.
Germany Hits Record Doses (7:19 a.m. NY)
Germany administered about 1.1 million Covid-19 shots Wednesday, a record. More than a quarter of Germans have now received one dose, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said. About 7.5% of Germans have received two doses, he said.
Germany has managed to check a third wave of the virus, but it’s too early to sound the all-clear, according to the president of the country’s public-health institute.
“The case numbers are still too high, especially among the under 60s, where they are even increasing,” RKI President Lothar Wieler said. “The pandemic is unfortunately not over and it won’t be under control until it’s under control in every part of the world.”
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