N.J. Hospital Use Up; El Paso Lockdown Challenged: Virus Update
A temporary field hospital used to treat coronavirus patients, close to the Novomoskovsky multi-specialty hospital complex in this aerial photograph in the Kommunarka settlement of Moscow, Russia. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

N.J. Hospital Use Up; El Paso Lockdown Challenged: Virus Update

The resurgent coronavirus continues to batter Europe. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary suffered their deadliest days of the pandemic. Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands are laying out new curbs, while French fatalities rose by 854, the most since April 15.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. joined banking rivals in asking most of its employees in England to work from home until further notice as figures showed the number of Covid deaths there and in Wales climbed 46% in a week.

The rate of growth in U.S. infections has surpassed Morgan Stanley’s bear-case scenario, and investors wonder if the country will follow Europe with lockdowns, analysts wrote. Cases are soaring in key battleground states amid Tuesday’s presidential election.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 47.2 million; deaths top 1.21 million
  • WHO, nations’ Covid response hampered by politics, reviewer says
  • Contact tracers eye cluster-busting to tackle Covid’s new surge
  • Testing shows schools aren’t propelling virus outbreaks
  • Governors judged by Covid response as 11 states pick leaders
  • Vaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart in hopeful sign

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

N.J. Hospital Use Up; El Paso Lockdown Challenged: Virus Update

Texas Attorney General Seeks to End El Paso Lockdown (4:29 p.m. NY)

Texas’s top law-enforcement official asked a judge to end the lockdown in El Paso, where a surging caseload has pushed hospitals to capacity.

Attorney General Ken Paxton requested an injunction to stop an El Paso County stay-home order and nighttime curfew, arguing that County Judge Ricardo Samaniego usurped authority that rests solely with the governor. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The El Paso region is Texas’s worst hot spot, with almost 20,000 active cases -- second only to the Houston area. Virus hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past two weeks, city and county data showed. Samaniego, the county’s highest-ranking administrator, issued the stay-home order and curfew on Oct. 25.

Ontario Unveils Color-Coded System (4:10 p.m. NY)

Ontario unveiled a new five-color system for deciding when to ramp up or relax Covid-19 restrictions and said it will allow restaurants, gyms and other businesses to reopen in some regions where they’re currently closed.

The Canadian province’s new system has five levels, ranging from the least-serious green “prevent” tier to the most restrictive “lockdown” grouping. Different business sectors will face specific restrictions and safety measures for each level.

Under the framework, some regions currently operating under tight rules, including Ottawa and Peel, will see restrictions ease to the middle tier on the scale -- orange “restrict” -- on Nov. 7. That will see the reopening of dining rooms, gyms, movie theaters and other activities, with capacity limits.

Netherlands Tightens, Extends Lockdown (2:10 p.m. NY)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced plans to extend the country’s partial lockdown until mid-December and impose additional restrictions as the number of Covid-19 cases in hospitals continues to rise.

Cinemas, theaters, museums, libraries and zoos will close for two weeks, joining bars and restaurants, which have been shut since mid-October. Fitness clubs are allowed to remain open, but group exercises are prohibited. The move comes as cases slow, but not fast enough, Rutte said.

Health agency RIVM said 64,087 infections were confirmed in the country in the week ending Nov. 3, down slightly from the 67,542 patients in the prior seven-day period.

N.J. Hospital Use Still Climbing (2 p.m. NY)

New Jersey hospitalizations for Covid continue to climb, with 1,133 as of Nov. 2, the most since the end of June. The number has more than doubled in a month. Daily cases reported also doubled, to 1,832 from 957 on Oct. 2.

Intensive-care units had 216 patients, compared with 88 on Oct. 2, for a sixth straight day of a 200-plus count. Though hospitals reported a drop in ventilator patients over 24 hours -- 78 users, compared with 100 on Nov. 1 -- the state also logged 18 virus-related deaths. Hospitals also reported 23 additional fatalities that may have a virus link.

Hungary Keeps Restrained Response as Deaths Hit Record (2 p.m. NY)

Hungary’s government set out new measures to fight the spiraling coronavirus pandemic, reinstating a state of emergency and imposing a midnight curfew, but falling short of some of the tighter restrictions announced elsewhere in Europe.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared a state of emergency as of Wednesday, and asked lawmakers to approve an extension for 90 days, increasing his executive maneuver room. The government will allow sporting and cultural events to continue, albeit at a third of maximum capacity, the premier said in a video on Facebook. Nightclubs will be shut and a daily curfew imposed between midnight and 5 a.m.

Orban is sticking to relatively loose restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, despite record new cases and daily deaths announced Tuesday. Unlike peers in eastern Europe, Hungary will keep restaurants and schools open, and hasn’t formally requested people to work remotely, where possible.

Italy Preps New Restrictions (12:15 p.m. NY)

The Italian government, which has fought to avoid a new national lockdown in a bid to spare the country’s fragile economy, is drawing up new restrictions as the country registered 28,244 new virus cases Tuesday.

Italy reported 353 virus deaths, the most since early May, and patients in intensive care units surged by 203 to 2,225, the biggest jump since March.

The government is set to ban people from leaving or entering cities and towns in designated high-risk areas, according to the draft of a new decree on coronavirus restrictions.

NYC Sees ‘Cause for Concern’ as Cases Rise (11:40 a.m. NY)

New York City’s seven-day average of newly diagnosed daily Covid-19 cases continued its upward trend, reaching 605 as of Nov. 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“We’re watching that very carefully,” de Blasio said during a Tuesday news briefing. “Some of that again is because of a lot more testing, but it’s still cause for concern.”

The data marked the fifth time since Oct. 15 that the city’s weekly average of new cases exceeded 550, a public health safety threshold established several months ago as a warning that infection rates were reaching levels that could strain the city’s hospital system. While case numbers have climbed, daily hospitalizations have remained more stable, with 83 reported as of Nov. 1, well below the city’s hospital capacity warning threshold of 200. The seven-day average of positive tests dipped slightly to 1.59% from 1.81% the previous day.

Thessaloniki in Lockdown as Greek Cases Surge (11:35 a.m. NY)

Greece recorded 2,166 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a record high since the beginning of the pandemic. The government has placed Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city, into a general lockdown as of Tuesday morning and it has tightened measures to contain the spread of the virus in the rest of the country. Greece also reported 13 more deaths, while the occupancy rate of intensive-care units stands at 63.1%.

Sweden Adds Restrictions Amid ‘Very Serious’ Resurgence (8:33 a.m. NY)

Swedes face a new wave of restrictions, with the government warning of a grim winter ahead. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said his country is facing a “very serious situation.” Sweden’s new cases hit a record of 4,062 on Friday. As of Tuesday, a total of 134,532 Swedes had been infected, with 5,969 deaths.

German Spread Eases (7:48 a.m. NY)

A gauge of the rate of increase in coronavirus infections in Germany has fallen in recent days, though it’s too early to conclude that there has been a turning point, according to the RKI public health institute.

“The curve looks to be flattening somewhat at the moment, but this has to be treated with a great deal of caution as a few days cannot provide concrete evidence of a change in the trend,” RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said at a news conference in Berlin. The institute’s virus reproduction factor, which last week climbed to as high as 1.45, was at 1.07 on Monday. A reading above 1 represents exponential growth.

JPMorgan to Send London Workers Home (7:08 a.m. NY)

JPMorgan Chase & Co joined rivals in asking the majority of its employees in England to work from home following government rules to stop a surge in coronavirus infections. The Wall Street bank told staff in a memo Tuesday that most workers will be required to work from home from Thursday until further notice. The new measures mean that about 5% of workers will be in the office.

Danish PM Cancels Appearances After Exposure (6:55 a.m. NY)

Denmark’s prime minister has canceled appearances at parliament and with the press on Tuesday after learning she may have been exposed to the virus. Mette Frederiksen said she is awaiting test results from her justice minister, Nick Haekkerup, who has displayed “clear” symptoms. Haekkerup last week participated in meetings with members of parliament who have since tested positive, she said.

Records in Eastern Europe (6:33 a.m. NY)

Romania reported a single-day record of coronavirus infections, with more than 7,700 new cases on Tuesday, coupled with a daily record of 120 fatalities. There have been 7,200 deaths in total, the most in the European Union’s eastern wing. Close to 1,000 people are hospitalized in intensive-care units. The government has repeatedly shunned imposing a nationwide lockdown.

Bulgaria also reported a record number of Covid-19 deaths. New cases in the Balkan country doubled last week. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, himself recovering from the virus at home, said the government isn’t planning a lockdown.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is scheduled to make an announcement later Tuesday of new virus measures that he had all but ruled out as recently as last week, as the country reported its highest number of daily cases and deaths.

Serbia reported another daily record in infections, with 1,878 new cases. There were 11 deaths, the most since mid-July.

Dubai Ruler Gets Covid Vaccine, Joining Other Officials (6:31 a.m. NY)

The vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates has become the latest high-ranking official in the country to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of the UAE emirate of Dubai, said he was vaccinated on Tuesday.

​Phase 3 trials for a shot developed by China’s Sinopharm Group Co Ltd. started in the UAE in July, and the country granted emergency approval for its use in health-care workers in September.

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