Sun Belt Eases; FDA Chief Addresses Plasma Error: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledged errors in comments about blood plasma therapy and said he would never reverse an agency decision for political reasons. A summer infection spike in U.S. Sun Belt states showed more signs of easing as California and Florida reported positive trends.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister who helped lead the 2004 Orange Revolution, has been moved to intensive care after contracting the virus. In Asia, Hong Kong will ease some social-distancing rules after new cases fell, while infections in Seoul may have peaked over the past weekend, health officials said.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 23.6 million; deaths surpass 814,000
- After beating the virus, Wuhan is now shutting out the world
- Vanishing jobs, empty offices plague Britain’s retailers
- Big pharma needs vaccine to redeem reeling reputation
- Back to school could be dangerous for some
- Understanding the virus and its unanswered questions
- Vaccine Tracker: where we are in the race for protection
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Fauci Back at Work After Surgery (5:35 p.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, returned to work at the offices of the National Institutes of Health on Monday morning after recovering from surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cord.
“He’s doing very well,” the NIAID said in a statement. “He is able to talk for short periods and his voice sounds good.”
Princess Cruises Cancels Some 2021 Sailings (5:20 p.m. NY)
Carnival Corp.’s Princess line canceled some early 2021 voyages, the latest sign that the pandemic is likely to weigh on the cruise industry for many more months.
The cancellations affect world cruises on the Island Princess from North America and some South America voyages on the Pacific Princess, the company said Tuesday. The actions reflect border and port-access restrictions, according to Princess.
Carnival is dipping its toe back into the water with a few European voyages next month, including some so-called cruises to nowhere that will leave from German ports, sail around for a while and return. But a world cruise could present a whole new set of logistical challenges in the Covid-19 environment.
U.S. Cases Rise 0.6% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Monday to 5.76 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.4% to 177,773.
- Florida reported 605,502 cases, up 0.4% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.7% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 10,580, an increase of 183, or 1.2%.
- Arizona reported 859 new cases, a 0.4% increase to 199,273 that surpassed the prior seven-day average of 0.3%. Deaths rose by 21 to 4,792.
- Hawaii experienced a 2.6% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 6,769, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
Miami-Dade to Allow Indoor Dining (3:22 p.m. NY)
Miami-Dade will let restaurants to reopen for indoor dining as a Covid-19 surge in Florida’s most populous county appears to be abating. The changes will be effective starting Monday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Tuesday in a virtual press conference. He said indoor areas must stay at 50% capacity. There must be 6 feet (1.8 meters) between tables, and as many as six people can sit at a table.
Miami-Dade re-shut indoor dining last month as Covid-19 swept across the Sun Belt. But in recent weeks, the numbers of patients hospitalized with coronavirus have been consistently declining.
More Signs of Improvement in California (2:55 p.m. NY)
California reported more signs of improvement in its outbreak, with 4,480 new cases, well below the 14-day average of 7,049. The average rate of positive tests over the past 14 days fell to 6.3% from 6.5%. Hospitalizations dropped 1% from the prior day to 4,424 patients, the fewest since June.
The most-populous state recorded 105 new deaths, less than the daily average of 128 over the past two weeks. It has a total of 12,257 fatalities from the virus.
Houston Aims for Distancing as Hurricane Nears (2:30 p.m. NY)
Houston’s Hurricane Laura safety plans include measures to protect residents from the coronavirus.
A storm shelter has been established at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston that will house displaced residents and also serve as a distribution center for moving some people to other facilities, Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The plan is to use city buses to transport some residents to outlying facilities operated by the Red Cross and others so that social-distancing standards can be maintained, the mayor added.
French New Cases Slow (2 p.m. NY)
France reported 3,304 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours. Tuesday’s number was well below the 4,897 recorded two days ago, the peak for this month and a four-month high. Fatalities rose by 22 in the past 24 hours to a total of 30,544, according to a health ministry statement.
France and neighboring countries are trying to limit infections as people return from vacations, attend summer gatherings and plan to return to school and workplaces. While officials tighten local restrictions, President Emmanuel Macron is reluctant to resort to the sweeping measures imposed during the initial peak of the pandemic in March and April.
The national lockdown earlier this year stifled the virus but sent the economy into its worst tailspin on record. Macron has warned that the damage from a repeat would be too high and that the country must rely on targeted interventions to curtail emerging clusters.
Macron pledged to unveil clear rules to tackle the virus, amid uncertainty over where and when masks are mandatory to wear.
“To overcome the health crisis, we must learn to live with the virus,” the French president tweeted earlier on Tuesday. “If we show unity and a sense of responsibility, we will succeed.”
VW Begins Offering Virus Test in Germany (12:30 p.m. NY)
Volkswagen AG has installed facilities for voluntary Covid-19 tests at sites across Germany, stepping up efforts to protect its sprawling industrial operations in light of climbing infection rates across Europe.
As many as 2,400 tests per day can be done in Wolfsburg, the home of VW’s headquarters and its largest factory. Results will be available within 24 hours, Gunnar Kilian, VW’s personnel chief, told reporters Tuesday.
Hurricane Evacuation Can Mean More Cases (12:15 p.m. NY)
A duo of storms this week may force tens of thousands of residents in the Gulf region to evacuate, a movement of people that could turn even more dangerous because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new study on the impact such evacuations could have on disease transmission finds that tens of thousands more people could be infected by the coronavirus depending on how emergency planning is handled.
Florida Cases Continue to Moderate (11:52 a.m. NY)
Florida reported 605,502 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, up 0.4% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.7% in the previous seven days. The seven-day rolling case total was 25,570, the lowest since June 23, according to the health department report, which includes data through Monday.
The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time jumped to 7.5% for Monday, up from 5.2% a day earlier. It was the highest rate in a week but the lowest for a Monday since mid-June.
Deaths among Florida residents reached 10,580, an increase of 183, or 1.2%, and the seven-day rolling total was 822, the lowest since late July. Deaths often trail infections by weeks, and generally take even longer to be reflected in the data.
Italy Cases Fall to Five-Day Low (11:50 a.m. NY)
Italy reported 878 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest in five days. It was the second straight decline after a surge in infections linked to returning tourists. The government tightened rules on mask-wearing and closed nightclubs to reduce the contagion potential. Four people died from coronavirus Tuesday, and one new person was put in intensive care. Italy had a peak of 6,557 new cases on March 21.
Arizona Positive Rate Jumps (11:30 a.m. NY)
Arizona on Tuesday reported 859 new virus cases, a 0.4% increase to 199,273 that surpassed the prior seven-day average of 0.3%. The test positivity rate also jumped -- from 4.9% on Monday to 17.3%, among the highest this month. Deaths rose by 21 to 4,792.
Separately, New York state removed Arizona from its list of states from which travelers must quarantine for 14 days.
Officials Dismiss Claim in Times U.K. PM to Step Down (9:29 a.m. NY)
Boris Johnson’s officials privately described as nonsense a story in the Times of London saying he plans to retire as U.K. prime minister in six months. The Times cited a conversation one of its readers had with the father-in-law of Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief adviser.
According to the newspaper’s Diary column, Humphry Wakefield chatted to Times reader Anna Silverman when she visited his castle in northeast England last week. Johnson, Wakefield is reported to have said, is still suffering the after-effects of his coronavirus infection and plans to resign.
Global CEOs See Risk of Recruitment Crisis: Survey (9:12 a.m. NY)
Companies globally fear a recruitment crisis as they cut office space and move more operations online because of the pandemic, according to a new survey. KPMG LLP said that its recent global survey of chief executive officers found that most had accelerated digitalization and digital investment since the start of the pandemic, meaning they would need less office space. There were, however, growing fears about their ability to recruit and retain staff.
Ex-Ukrainian PM Moved to Intensive Care (8:25 a.m. NY)
Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister who helped lead the 2004 Orange Revolution, has been moved to intensive care after contracting the coronavirus. News that the 59-year-old had fallen ill came on Sunday, with Tymoshenko’s health worsening on Monday evening and prompting the transfer, according to her spokeswoman, Maryna Soroka.
“Unfortunately we don’t have good news at the moment,” Soroka said Tuesday on Facebook. Tymoshenko remains in “serious condition.”
Sweden Reports Chinese Producer of Faulty Tests to WHO (8:18 a.m. NY)
About 3,700 people in Sweden have received test results saying they had Covid-19 that were false, the country’s national health agency said. The agency said the tests were PCR based from Chinese producer BGI Genomics, and it will now inform authorities in Europe and the World Health Organization.
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