Antibody Cocktail Shows Promise; NYC Positivity Up: Virus Update
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) holds test devices to collect swab samples at the Covid-19 rapid test facility at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. (Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg)

Antibody Cocktail Shows Promise; NYC Positivity Up: Virus Update

Global confirmed deaths topped 1 million, while U.S. hospitalizations have plateaued after falling for months. That suggests that the country could see more deaths and illness as it heads toward winter.

New York City’s daily test positivity rate topped 3% for the first time in months. In North Dakota, the seven-day average of new cases climbed to a record.

Boris Johnson apologized after wrongly explaining his own government’s coronavirus rules, and responded to reports of concern among colleagues by saying he is healthier than he was before getting the virus in March.

The pandemic is among selected topics for Joe Biden and President Donald Trump’s face-off on Tuesday night, and viewers can expect them to tangle over the path toward a vaccine approval in the U.S.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 33.4 million; deaths exceed 1 million
  • New York region sees 40% bankruptcy surge, braces for more
  • Trump administration and House face reckoning on virus relief
  • Barclays calls the end of the American city an ‘urban myth’
  • Who’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why: QuickTake

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.

Antibody Cocktail Shows Promise; NYC Positivity Up: Virus Update

Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Resort Workers (5:20 p.m. NY)

Walt Disney Co. is laying off 28,000 workers in its U.S. resort business, the latest sign that travel and other communal experiences will be slow to recover from the pandemic.

The cuts span the company’s theme parks, cruise ships and retail businesses, Disney said on Tuesday. They include executives, although 67% of those being terminated are part-time workers. Disney is offering benefits to the workers being cut, including 90 days of severance.

The Covid-19 crisis closed Disney parks around the world. Although the resorts in some areas have reopened -- including Florida, in July -- Disney still hasn’t received clearance to restart operations at its two theme parks in Anaheim, California.

Illinois Adds Restrictions After Spike (5:10 p.m. NY)

Illinois is implementing restrictions, including no indoor restaurant or bar service, in the northwest part of the state starting on Oct. 3, after the region saw an 8% or higher coronavirus positivity rate for three straight days.

The area includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties, according to an emailed statement from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office. The region’s test positivity rate has jumped more than two percentage points in two weeks, the governor said.

Pritzker said earlier that he is self-isolating for 14 days after one of his staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

Regeneron Antibody Cocktail Lowers Virus Levels (4:30 p.m. NY)

A Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. antibody cocktail may help treat coronavirus patients outside of the hospital by reducing virus levels and symptoms.

In an early-stage clinical trial of 275 Covid-19 patients, those who received Regeneron’s experimental therapy had lower virus levels in the bloodstream seven days later compared with patients who received a placebo, the company said in a statement.

The results are a sign that experimental antibody treatments could become a powerful part of the arsenal for treating the coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease official, has referred to antibody-based medicines that could treat infected patients sooner after they contract the virus as a bridge to a vaccine.

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 7.17 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose to 205,547.

San Francisco to Expand Reopenings (4 p.m. NY)

San Francisco moved into a less-restrictive classification under California’s tiered guidelines for reopening the economy, paving the way for the city to reopen more businesses. The county, with a test positivity rate of 2%, is the only part of the Bay Area to have improved to a “moderate” status in the state’s tiers.

Indoor restaurants and places of worship will open at 25% capacity starting on Wednesday, Mayor London Breed said in a statement. Movie theaters are slated to reopen at limited capacity on Oct. 7, while public playgrounds will open mid-month.

North Dakota’s Outbreak as Bad as Florida in July (2:50 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 extended its march across the Midwest on Tuesday, with the surge in North Dakota looking similar to Florida’s two months earlier. Cases were also on the rise in South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In North Dakota, the seven-day average of new cases climbed to a record 413, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s about 54 daily cases per 100,000 residents.

France New Infections Decline (2:45 p.m. NY)

France reported 8,051 new coronavirus cases on Monday and a decline in the seven-day rolling average of new infections.

The seven-day average fell to 11,803 from 12,083 on Monday, when it had declined for the first time since August. France’s virus-related deaths increased by 85 to 31,893.

Finland to Stop Serving Alcohol at Midnight (1:45 p.m. NY)

Finland unveiled new restrictions on restaurants and bars after the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic began to pick up pace.

Bars and restaurants will have to stop serving alcoholic drinks at midnight starting Oct. 8, Krista Kiuru, minister for family affairs and social services, said on Tuesday.

Finland had about 20 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, according to Kiuru. Just under 10,000 people have been infected and about 350 have died since the pandemic began in March.

Germany Reins In Partying (12 p.m. NY)

Germany is taking aim at public and private parties, joining several other European countries in stepping up restrictions to contain a resurgent wave of coronavirus infections.

Europe’s largest economy will “urgently” recommend that state governments restrict at-home gatherings to 25 people and it will limit meetings in public or rented locations to 50 people if infection numbers rise, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday after discussing the pandemic with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states.

NYC Positive Rate Tops 3% (11 a.m. NY)

New York City’s daily rate of positive tests is more than 3% for the first time in months, with the problem primarily in nine of 146 zip codes, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

More serious action will be needed to stop the spread, he said.

Italy Cases Fall Below Weekly Average (11 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 1,648 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, compared with the previous seven-day average of 1,694, and well below the March 21 peak of 6,557 new infections in a day. There were 24 additional deaths related to Covid-19.

The region of Campania around Naples accounted again for the most new cases. The local governor ordered bars and restaurants to stop serving take-away drinks after 10 p.m. to limit social gatherings. Unlike earlier this year, the Milan region of Lombardy is no longer the epicenter of the virus in the country, with Campania and Lazio, the region around Rome, leading for hospitalized patients and patients in intensive care units.

Warning Signs Flash Ahead of Winter (10:30 a.m. NY)

As the seasons turn and the global death toll from Covid-19 tops 1 million, signs suggest there will be more deaths and serious illness ahead.

Data collected by the Covid Tracking Project shows that the number of people hospitalized has plateaued at about 30,000 in the past week, after a decline from nearly 60,000 that began in late July. Deaths, meanwhile, averaged about 750 over the seven days through Sunday, higher than the roughly 600 deaths a day in the first week of July.

Johnson Apologizes for Getting His Own Covid Rules Wrong (8:40 a.m. NY)

Boris Johnson apologized on Twitter after wrongly explaining his own government’s coronavirus restrictions in the northeast of England. It was the third time in three hours that government officials had failed to be clear on the new rules.

Earlier, the prime minister said he is now fitter than he was before he contracted coronavirus in March, following reports of concern among his Conservative Party colleagues that he has not fully recovered. He was responding to questions from the media at the end of a speech in Exeter, southwest England.

In the speech, Johnson had called out the “painfully apparent” shortcomings in the U.K. labor market as he pledged a new program of skills training to help people forced out of work because of the pandemic.

In India, 1 in 15 People Exposed to Virus: Survey (8:31 a.m. NY)

The results of India’s second nationwide serological survey, conducted between Aug. 17 and Sept. 22, showed that 1 in 15 people in the country had been exposed to Covid-19. The prevalence of infections nationwide rose to 6.6% from 0.73% in the first survey done in May, said Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research. The highest rates were in densely packed urban slums.

Separately, India reported 70,589 additional cases, bringing the total to 6.15 million, according to data released by the health ministry. That’s the smallest increase in almost a month, though India is still reporting roughly twice as many cases each day as the U.S. and may overtake it as the country with the most in the world. Hospitals in several states are now struggling to secure medical oxygen.

Dutch Cases Continue to Surge (8:26 a.m. NY)

The number of new cases in the Netherlands continued to climb, with 19,326 confirmed in the week ended Sept. 29. That’s up from 13,471 in the previous week, according to numbers released by Dutch health agency RIVM. Hospital admissions due to Covid-19 also rose sharply. The government has announced measures to fight the recent surge, including closing bars at 10 p.m. and banning public attendance at sports events.

Spain Extends Furlough Program as Crisis Drags On (7:57 a.m. NY)

The Spanish government reached a last-minute deal to extend its furlough program through January after weeks of negotiations that left businesses and workers on edge in a country suffering one of Europe’s deepest economic shocks this year.

EU Plans 2nd Contract With Gilead for Remdesivir (7:37 a.m. NY)

The European Union’s executive arm aims to sign a second contract with Gilead Sciences Inc. for supplies of its antiviral drug remdesivir to combat the coronavirus. The European Commission said it hopes EU countries will be able to start placing extra orders in early October.

Iran Has Second-Highest Daily Jump in Cases (7:01 a.m. NY)

Iran recorded 3,677 new cases in the past 24 hours, its second-highest number of daily new infections since the outbreak emerged in the country in February, bringing the total to 453,637. The death toll reached 25,986 with 207 more fatalities overnight, up from 190 a day earlier.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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