U.S. Cases Rise 0.8%; Texas Nears 14,000 Deaths: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The virus is surging among the young in the U.K., as France’s prime minister warned of a “clear degradation” with more than 9,000 cases reported for a second day. Israel is headed for a second national lockdown.
U.S. cases rose 0.8%, above the 0.6% average daily increase of the previous week. Florida is taking further steps to reopen its economy, announcing that bars will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Miami schools seemed poised to reopen, even as the state’s daily cases ticked up slightly. Texas neared 14,000 deaths.
U.S. doctors recommend cardiac screening tests for competitive athletes who have recovered from Covid-19 after a small study found heart damage in 1 in 7 college sports competitors.
- Global Tracker: Cases surpass 28.2 million; deaths exceed 911,500
- Trump’s stimulus end run fizzles as firms spurn payroll tax halt
- Volatility in vaccine support highlights looming Covid challenge
- The University of Illinois shows there’s no foolproof reopening plan
- Interruption insurance isn’t saving anyone from shutdowns
- How hotels are helping their neighbors fight the pandemic
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Texas Near 14,000 Deaths (5:15 p.m. NY)
Texas reported an additional 144 deaths, bringing the state’s total virus fatalities to 13,997 since the beginning of the oubreak. Confirmed cases rose by 0.5%, on par with the seven-day average, to 653,356.
People hospitalized by the virus fell to 3,465 Friday, the lowest number since June 21, marking a dramatic 3-month rise and fall that saw hospitalizations peak at almost 11,000 in late July.
Arkansas Reports Record Cases (4:35 p.m. NY)
Arkansas reported new 1,107 cases, a daily record reached only a week after its last peak. Governor Asa Hutchinson said the numbers did not call for more restrictive measures at the moment: Roughly a quarter of those cases came from one laboratory, he said in a news conference, many of which were from last week. It marked a 1.6% rise, compared with the average 0.8% daily increase in the previous seven days.
Dr. Jose Romero, the state’s health secretary, noted that 13% of the new cases came from campuses, though Hutchinson, a Republican, said he believes the state’s colleges and universities were taking appropriate precautions.
The state has a total of 67,911 cases and 953 deaths, 13 of which were reported Friday.
U.S. Cases Rise 0.8% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Thursday to 6.43 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was higher than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.6% to 192,616.
- Florida reported 658,381 cases, up 0.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average 0.4% increase in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 12,502, an increase of 1.4%.
- Arizona reported 521 new cases, a 0.3% increase to 207,523 that was above the prior seven-day average of 0.2%. The state recorded 15 new Covid-19 deaths, pushing the toll to 5,288.
- Wisconsin experienced a 3.5% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 86,250, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
Young People in New Jersey Driving Positive Tests (3:42 p.m. NY)
New Jersey’s test positivity rate is highest among 19-24 year olds at 6%, according to State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. She said off-campus parties and other gatherings are to blame.
The second-highest group is 14-18 year olds, at about 4%, though the state has received no reports of transmission at reopened schools, Governor Phil Murphy said.
Statewide, the positivity rate was 2.6% as of Sept. 7. New Jersey reported an additional 518 cases for Sept. 10, an increase of about 0.2% that’s on par with the seven-day average.
VMware, Twitter Cut Pay for Remote Workers Fleeing Bay Area (3:10 p.m. NY)
VMware Inc. employees who take up the company’s offer to become permanent remote workers will get a pay cut if they move from Silicon Valley, one of the nation’s most costly areas to live, to a less-expensive city.
The software maker has joined technology companies such as Facebook Inc.and Twitter Inc. in letting some of its office staff choose to permanently work from home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But employees who worked at VMware’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters and go to Denver, for example, must accept an 18% salary reduction, people familiar with the matter said. Leaving Silicon Valley for Los Angeles or San Diego means relinquishing 8% of their annual pay, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal policies.
Facebook and Twitter are among the other technology companies that have put in place or are considering similar pay policies.
California Tops 14,000 Deaths (2:34 p.m. NY)
California reported 111 new deaths from the the virus, bringing its total to 14,089. The state reported 3,326 new virus cases, a 0.4% increase. That was less than the average 14-day average of 4,095 and well below the average of more than 7,000 a month ago. The 14-day rate of positive tests was stable at 4%.
France Reports More Than 9,000 Cases Again (2:08 p.m. NY)
France reported more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases for a second day on Friday. Earlier, Prime Minister Jean Castex warned the country is seeing a “clear degradation” in the spread of the virus.
Cases rose by 9,406, according to data from the public health agency. The seven-day rolling average stands at 7,742 and has been steadily climbing for almost four weeks.
French deaths linked to the coronavirus rose by 80 to 30,893, the government reported. That’s the biggest increase in daily deaths since mid-July.
While the virus is mainly circulating among young people, many of whom don’t show symptoms, there is a “significant” increase in hospitalizations, according to Castex. Intensive care units are seeing a similar share of elderly patients as in March, the prime minister said.
Florida Cases Climb Slightly More Than Average (1:28 p.m. NY)
Florida reported 658,381 cases Friday, up 0.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average 0.4% increase in the previous seven days. That’s a daily change of 3,650 new cases, according to the health department report, which includes data through Thursday.
Deaths among Florida residents reached 12,502, an increase of 1.4%, or 176. Deaths often trail infections by weeks, and generally take even longer to be reflected in the data.
Arizona Cases Tick Upward (1:25 p.m. NY)
Arizona on Friday reported 521 new virus cases, a 0.3% increase to 207,523 that was above the prior seven-day average of 0.2%. The Arizona Department of Health Services recorded 15 new Covid-19 deaths, pushing the toll to 5,288. The state’s daily death tally has remained under 100 for more than two weeks.
Miami-Dade Schools on Path to Reopening (1:17 p.m. NY)
Miami-Dade County Public Schools appeared poised to reopen later this month after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis moved the area into the next phase of reopening, a technical hurdle for welcoming hundreds of thousands of students back to schoolhouses.
Appearing Friday with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and school Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, DeSantis said he was moving Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County into Phase 2, which also clears the way for reopening certain entertainment venues in the area.
“The most significant aspect of that is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume, of course at the parents’ discretion,” DeSantis said.
Fauci Again Questions Trump’s Optimism (1:10 p.m. NY)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, said he disagreed with President Donald Trump’s assessment Thursday that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” in the Covid-19 outbreak.
“I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with that because if you look at the thing that you just mentioned, the statistics, Andrea, they’re disturbing,” he told Andrea Mitchell in an interview on MSNBC Friday. “We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day and the deaths are around 1,000.”
He also warned of a “precarious situation” as the weather cools and people begin spending more time indoors -- potentially allowing the virus to spread more easily.
Ireland Likens Virus to an Invasion (1 p.m. NY)
The coronavirus impact is more akin to a war or invasion, Irish deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said, as the country reported 211 more cases, with one death. “A war has phases, periods where part of your country may be under occupation and parts aren’t and then you can get reoccupied again, and that’s the difficulty that we’re in,” he said.
Nearly two thirds of new cases were in Dublin, where the government is considering tightening restrictions to control the virus.
France’s Prime Minister Warns of ‘Degradation’ (12:10 p.m. NY)
France is seeing a “clear degradation” of the status of the virus, Prime Minister Jean Castex told a news conference. “The virus is circulating more and more in France. The percentage of positive cases doesn’t stop increasing. For the first time in many weeks, we’re seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations.”
The period of self-quarantine for people testing positive will be reduced to 7 days from 14 days, Castex said. He said that while the virus is mainly spreading among young people, “it inevitably ends up affecting the most vulnerable.”
The prime minister said people must “scrupulously” adhere to prevention measures.
Italy Cases Rise, Deaths Steady (11:35 a.m. NY)
Italy reported 1,616 new cases Friday, compared with 1,597 the previous day and slightly higher than the previous seven-day average of 1,454.
Ten deaths were reported, in line with Thursday. Patients in intensive care units rose by 11 to 175 from a low of 38 at the end of July. That still compares with a peak of more than 4,000 ICU patients in early April.
Even as Lombardy, the original epicenter, still accounts for a large part of the infected, summer travel resulted in the region around Rome recording the highest number of hospitalized patients.
Czech Republic Hits Record Cases (11:25 a.m. NY)
The Czech Republic registered a record number of new cases on Thursday, at 1,382, more than three-times as high as the peak during the pandemic’s early stages in March.
The worsening situation prompted authorities to order citizens to wear face masks in all public indoor spaces this week, after relatively relaxed social-distancing measures during summer holiday season.
The country, one of Europe’s most successful in containing the initial outbreak, now has higher daily numbers of new cases per 100,000 people than neighboring Germany, Austria and Poland. The share of hospitalized patients has remained below 3% in September, compared with more than 10% in March. The government has tightened some measures, like limiting opening hours for restaurants and bars, but it has pledged not to reinstate a nationwide lockdown to minimize economic damage.
Heart Injury After Covid Spurs Call to Screen College Athletes (11:01 p.m. NY)
Doctors recommend cardiac screening tests for competitive athletes who have recovered from Covid-19 after a small study found heart damage in 1 in 7 college sports competitors, including in those whose coronavirus infection caused no obvious symptoms.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging on 26 competitive college athletes who had either a mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection found four, or 15%, with signs of inflammation of the heart muscle. These suspected myocarditis patients were males in their late teens and early 20s, including two who experienced no Covid-19 symptoms, doctors at Ohio State University in Columbus reported Friday in a research letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that the pneumonia-causing coronavirus is also resulting in damage to the heart, as well as other organs.
Florida Will Reopen Bars Next Week (9:22 a.m. NY)
Florida plans to reopen bars next week as the state’s June and July resurgence of Covid-19 waned, but Miami’s party zone will remain dark.
Bars will reopen at 50% occupancy Monday, and the state is rescinding the executive order that had kept them closed, according to a tweet late Thursday from Halsey Beshears, Florida’s secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Switzerland to Require Quarantine for Some Travelers (9:00 a.m. NY)
Switzerland added Paris and Vienna to its Covid-19 quarantine list but won’t subject those countries’ border areas to the same restrictions.
There were concerns that adding entire neighboring countries to the quarantine list would make life very difficult for Switzerland’s businesses and hospitals, which rely on foreign labor. Some 332,000 people commute across the border to work in Switzerland, with the biggest concentration in the Geneva region. They’ll be exempt from any quarantines, the government said.
Spain Reports Most Cases Since April (11:53 a.m. NY)
Spain’s daily coronavirus infections rose the most since mid-April, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks.
There were 4,708 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 4,137 recorded Thursday, according to Health Ministry data. That was the highest since mid-April but still well below the levels of around 8,000 seen at the height of the crisis in the spring.
The total number of infections, including adjustments for historical cases, was 566,326, up from 554,143 reported yesterday. The government said 241 people died in the past 7 days.
U.K. Virus Cases Surge Among Young People (8:47 a.m. NY)
Coronavirus is now spreading rapidly again across the U.K. for the first time since March, prompting ministers to urge the public to limit social activities.
Government figures put the so-called “R” rate -- the reproduction number that shows how fast the virus multiplies -- between 1.0 and 1.2, driven by a surge in cases among younger people. The virus is spreading exponentially when R is above 1. A separate study by Imperial College of more than 150,000 people in England estimated the R number as 1.7 and found the virus is now doubling every seven to eight days.
Austrian Virus Situation “Is Getting Serious,” Chancellor Warns (7 a.m. NY)
Austria is widening mask requirements, limiting the size of events and restricting restaurants and bars again after new infections rose to levels last seen in early April this week. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz warned that rising infections would damage the economy even if a second lockdown can be avoided, because it weighs on consumption, tourism and economic activity in general.
Masks, which had only been mandatory in supermarkets, banks and pharmacies after lockdown measures were eased, will now have to be worn in all shops, official buildings and in schools outside of classrooms again. The audience for events is limited to 50 indoors, or 100 outdoors, or as much as 1,500 and 3,000 for events with designated seating and special distancing rules. Food and drinks can only be served in restaurants and bars for seated guests.
New infections were over 500 for the fourth day running, lifting the 7-day incidence per 100,000 population to 35 on Friday. That value stood at 84 for the capital Vienna.
Hungary’s Orban Vows to Get Tough (3:15 p.m. HK)
Hungary reported a daily record of new coronavirus infections as Prime Minister Viktor Orban vowed to get tough with those skirting pandemic rules, which he said was essential avoid another crippling lockdown.
Hungary had 718 new positive tests for Covid-19, taking active cases to 6,264, more than doubling in the past week, according to data published by the government’s task force on Friday. An adviser to Orban has said the real case count may be up to 20 times that, taking into account Hungary’s relatively low rate of testing.
Elsewhere in Europe, Ukraine reported a new record of 3,144 cases on Friday and the government approved additional restrictions in some areas, including Kyiv. Slovenia confirmed a record 108 new infections as well. While the number of positive cases is on the rise, testing is also increasing.
Israel Headed for Second Coronavirus Lockdown (3 p.m. HK)
Israel will enter a second coronavirus lockdown, becoming the only developed country to shut down again nationwide after a botched reopening of the economy sent infections soaring.
An inner cabinet of ministers late Thursday approved a two-week, full-fledged lockdown, to be followed by two more weeks of strict restrictions on movement and economic activity. After that, if the situation improves, limitations will be applied only to communities with large outbreaks. Details, such as the start date, are to be submitted to the full cabinet for final approval Sunday.
Macron Seeks Solutions as French Cases Climb (2:55 p.m. HK)
French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with his government Friday to discuss how to curb a surge in coronavirus infections without endangering a tentative economic recovery.
France recorded close to 10,000 new cases Thursday, the most since the lockdown ended in May, and the seven-day rolling average has been steadily climbing for more than three weeks. Macron said that his government has important decisions to make to contain the disease, which is circulating actively in major cities including Marseille and Lyon.
Munich Re Stops Selling Pandemic Coverage (2:50 p.m. HK)
Munich Re has stopped selling coverage to protect against business losses in future pandemics after the German reinsurer took a 1.5 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) virus-related hit in the first half.
“We are currently examining whether we will offer new contracts that include pandemic protection in property and casualty insurance in the future,” Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s head of reinsurance, said in an interview. “For the moment it has been suspended, for example with respect to event cancellations.” The company will continue to cover pandemics in its life and health contracts.
China Starts Testing Covid-19 Nasal Spray Vaccine (2:10 p.m.)
The newest Covid-19 vaccine candidate to start human testing is the first where volunteers won’t get a painful injection. Instead, they’ll receive a spray through the nose.
China on Wednesday approved phase I human testing for the nasal spray vaccine, which is co-developed by researchers at Xiamen University and Hong Kong University, as well as by vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co.
Intranasal spray has previously been developed as a vaccine for the flu and is recommended for use among children and adults who want to avoid the more common needle injection. While it is not the most frequent choice for delivery, scientists around the world are working to develop sprays as an alternative to muscle jabs for all sorts of vaccines.
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