China’s PCR-Test Buying Rose in 2019; EU Boosters: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese province that was the initial epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak made significant purchases of equipment used to test for infectious diseases months before Beijing notified international authorities of the emergence of a new coronavirus, according to research by a cybersecurity company.
A European Union advisory committee endorsed the use of a third dose of the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. for people with severely weakened immune systems. Airline losses from the coronavirus pandemic are set to surpass $200 billion, according to a trade group.
New York City said 95% of teachers and other school staff got Covid-19 shots ahead of a mandate that went into effect Monday, with 18,000 vaccine doses administered over the weekend.
- Global Virus Tracker: Cases top 234.9 million; deaths exceed 4.8 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 6.34 billion shots given
- The march back to office heads in sharply different directions
- Merck’s Covid pill progress sparks Asian vaccine stock selloff
- Vaccine mandates hit amid historic health-care staff shortage
- How Covid is transforming a $380 billion luxury fashion industry
Excess U.S. Deaths in 2020 Hit Minorities Worse (5 p.m. NY)
Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for a disproportionate number of the half million excess deaths last year, according to a new U.S. study that examines mortality both directly and indirectly related to Covid-19.
Researchers compared the number of people who died from March to December 2020 with the number of deaths that had been projected to occur before the pandemic. They found 477,200 excess deaths, with more than twice as many occurring among Blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Alaskan Natives compared with Whites and Asians of similar age. About 74% of the excess deaths were attributed to Covid-19.
FDA Sees Rapid At-Home Test Capacity Doubling (5 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a rapid at-home Covid-19 test from closely held Acon Laboratories Inc. on Monday, a move the regulator said should double the country’s capacity to run such tests in the coming weeks.
The emergency-use authorization comes at a time that many consumers are finding the products are scarce at pharmacies and online.
The Flowflex Covid-19 Home Test doesn’t require a prescription for use. Acon plans to make more than 100 million of the tests monthly by the end of the year, and twice that by February, according to the FDA. Home-testing products already available are made by companies including Abbott Laboratories and Quidel Corp.
Chinese PCR Purchases Rose in 2019 (3:40 p.m. NY)
The Chinese province that was the initial epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak made significant purchases of equipment used to test for infectious diseases months before Beijing notified international authorities of the emergence of a new coronavirus, according to research by a cybersecurity company.
The province’s purchase of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing equipment, which allows scientists to amplify DNA samples to test for infectious disease or other genetic material, shot upward in 2019, with most of the increase coming in the second half of the year, the Australian-U.S. firm Internet 2.0 found.
Based on the research, Internet 2.0 concluded with “high confidence that the pandemic began much earlier than China informed the WHO about Covid-19,” according to the report.
EU Panel Backs Pfizer, Moderna Boosters (10:45 a.m. NY)
A European Union advisory committee endorsed the use of a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. for people with severely weakened immune systems.
The panel also concluded that booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine, developed with BioNTech SE, may be considered for all adults at least six months after their second vaccine. For the immunocompromised, extra doses of either shot may be given at least 28 days after the second one, it said on Monday.
The European Medicines Agency committee is following the U.S. and other countries with ample vaccine supplies in allocating doses or considering the move for booster shots. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may soon authorize half-dose boosters of the Moderna vaccine, setting the stage to further widen the U.S. booster campaign after earlier authorization of the extra Pfizer-BioNTech dose.
De Blasio Says 95% of School Staff Vaccinated (10:20 a.m. NY)
Global Trade Recovers at a Faster Clip (10:07 a.m. NY)
The World Trade Organization raised its projection for global trade growth in 2021 and 2022 to 10.8% and 4.7%, respectively, citing the resurgence of economic activity in the first half of the year. This year’s increase in merchandise trade would mark the biggest year-over-year jump since 2010, the group said.
Hiring at Gulf Carriers Shows Travel Rebound (06:38 a.m. NY)
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways plans to hire as many as 1,000 cabin crew in the latest sign of an improving outlook for travel. The announcement comes a month after Emirates unveiled plans to recruit 3,000 cabin crew and 500 airport services employees to join its Dubai hub.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are part of the United Arab Emirates, which has inoculated more than 80% of its population. Infections rates have dropped and the country is now placed sixth on Bloomberg’s Resilience Rankings.
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