U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update
Protective gloves dry in the sun at the Ana Francisca Perez de Leon II hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. (Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg)

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

Abbott Laboratories surged after its 15-minute test won emergency clearance in the U.S. The government will buy 150 million of the tests for $750 million, according to people familiar with the matter. The number of Americans killed by Covid-19 surpassed 180,000.

California reported virus-related hospitalizations declined to a two-month low and Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s about to present updated guidelines for reopening the economy. In contrast, Iowa closed bars and night spots for almost a month to counter an infection spike blamed mostly on young people.

France reported the most daily virus cases since March even as Europe seeks to avoid a repeat of large-scale lockdowns. Japan’s most recent and largest wave of infections is showing signs of subsiding.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 24.2 million; deaths pass 828,000
  • Covid gag rules at U.S. companies are putting everyone at risk
  • Virus tests spur political brawl over CDC, DOJ inquiry
  • White House vaccine program hedges bets on different technologies
  • Goldman Sachs asks staff to return to London office
  • Vaccine Tracker: Where we are in the race for protection?
  • Merkel tells Germans to avoid virus-hit areas including U.S.

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.

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

Latest in College Outbreaks (6:25 a.m. HK)

Colleges and universities around the U.S. are being increasingly hit with virus outbreaks. The New York Times tallied at least 6,600 cases across the country as of Wednesday. Here are some of the latest:

  • Bloombsburg University in Pennsylvania has reported 90 cases, only one not a student, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. That number doubled in just two days, the paper reported.
  • Central Michigan University reported 110 confirmed cases and 7 probable ones, Central Michigan Life, the school newspaper, reported on Twitter.
  • Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina reported 38 cases, according to WSOCTV.com.

Brazil Cases, Deaths Slow (5:49 p.m. NY)

Brazil reported 44,235 cases, down from 47,161 the previous day, for a total of 3,761,391. Another 984 deaths in the nation with the worst outbreak after the U.S. were reported, fewer than the 1,085 reported the previous day. Total fatalities are now 118,649.

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 Wednesday to 5.85 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.7% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.6% to 180,249.

  • Florida reported 611,991 cases, up 0.5% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.6% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 10,868, an increase of 135, or 1.3%.
  • California reported 4,430 new cases, a 0.7% increase and less than the two-week daily average of 6,456. The state reported 143 additional deaths, bringing its total to 12,550.
  • Arizona reported 680 new cases, a 0.3% increase to 200,139 that matched the prior seven-day average. The state recorded 33 new deaths, a drop from 104 the day before.

Iowa Governor Closes Bars, Clubs in Six Counties (1:36 p.m. NY)

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ordered bars, breweries, wineries and night clubs in six counties to close for more than three weeks starting Thursday as Covid-19 infections rise among young people.

“It is imperative that we implement some immediate steps to slow the spread among young adults,” Reynolds, one of few U.S. governors who hasn’t imposed a statewide stay-at-home order, told reporters Thursday. She stopped short of ordering people to wear face coverings, saying that’s “not enforceable.”

She blamed the “bar scene” and “large-scale parties” for rising cases, especially near reopened college campuses. The closings are in effect until Sept. 20.

U.S. Said to Buy 150 Million Abbott Tests This Year (2:18 p.m. NY)

The U.S. government will acquire almost all of the 15-minute Covid tests Abbott Laboratories plans to produce this year after the company was granted emergency approval for use of the test, according to people familiar with the deal.

The government will pay $750 million for 150 million tests, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deal hasn’t been formally announced. Approval for the test came on Wednesday, and analysts quickly agreed the new assay -- which works without relying on laboratory equipment -- could help ease delays that have crimped much of the nation’s testing capacity.

California Shows Signs of Improvement (2:07 p.m. NY)

California reported 4,430 new cases, a 0.7% increase and less than the two-week daily average of 6,456. The state reported 143 additional deaths, bringing its total to 12,550. The rate of positive tests was stable at 6.1%, while hospitalizations from the virus dropped 1.6% to a two-month low.

The trends point to ongoing improvement in the most-populous U.S. state, where average daily cases exceeded 9,000 a month ago. Governor Gavin Newsom said he plans to announce new guidelines Friday for reopening the economy, noting California’s progress in fighting the outbreak.

Paris Expands Outdoor Face Coverings Citywide (2:43 p.m. NY)

France reported 6,111 new cases, the most since late March, and the Paris mayor’s office expanded a face-covering mandate for public spaces to the whole city, not just certain busy areas, starting Friday.

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government wants to avoid a renewed national lockdown, though it remains a last resort.

Ireland Cases Continue to Rise (1:20 p.m. NY)

Ireland is seeing a “worrying trend” in coronavirus cases, the health ministry warned, as case numbers continue to increase. The country is now seeing about 33 cases per 100,000 people compared to three in June, ministry adviser Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, while the number of people being admitted to the hospital is starting to rise.

The warnings come a day after health minister Stephen Donnelly said the country is at a tipping point that could result in another nationwide lockdown. Ireland reported 93 new cases with no deaths Thursday. There have been 1,535 cases over the past two weeks.

Arizona Cases Steady as Deaths Drop (1:16 p.m. NY)

Arizona on Thursday reported 680 new virus cases, a 0.3% increase to 200,139 that matched the prior seven-day average as the state appeared to continue its progress in controlling Covid-19. The state Department of Health Services recorded 33 new deaths, a drop from 104 the day before.

Spain’s Cases Highest Since Spring (1:07 p.m. NY)

Spain reported 3,781 new Covid-19 cases, the most since April 23. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said that only 5% of cases were hospitalized.

“It was 55% at the peak of the pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the new cases were in the Madrid area.

Cuomo Sets Rules for College Closings (1:03 p.m. NY)

Colleges in New York state that see an increase in coronavirus cases will be temporarily closed for in-person learning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

If a college in the state has 100 cases, or the number of cases equals 5% or more of their population, whichever is less, they must go to remote learning for two weeks, Cuomo said on a media conference call. The number of cases includes students and faculty, and students will not be sent home during that period, he said. After two weeks, the state will reassess, Cuomo said.

The edict comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the state remains low. Of the more than 83,000 people tested on Aug. 26, 0.95% were positive for the virus, according to the most recent state data. There were 490 hospitalizations and four virus-related fatalities.

There have been several virus clusters in Western New York, Cuomo said. A total of 53 cases were tied to a food processing plant in Chautauqua County, and other cases were the result of community spread, state officials said.

Italy Has Most New Cases Since May 6 (11:40 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 1,411 new cases Thursday, in line with the previous day but still the most since May 6. A record 94,024 tests were performed as summer vacationers returned rom countries including Spain and Greece.

The Lazio region around Rome is offering free tests at ports and airports to anyone coming back from the popular destination of Sardinia, where some clusters at nightclubs were reported.

Patients in intensive-care units fell by two to 67, while most new hospitalized patients, at least in Lombardy, have been admitted for other issues than Covid-19 symptoms like respiratory problems or pneumonia.

Merkel Calls on Germans to Avoid Hard-Hit Areas (11 a.m. NY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to refrain from traveling to areas with severe outbreaks of the coronavirus, which include the U.S.

People from Germany who visit high-risk places without a valid reason risk losing income if they’re forced to miss work due to quarantine, which can run as long as 14 days, Merkel said in Berlin on Thursday. “We call on people to avoid traveling to risk areas wherever possible,” she said.

Florida Cases Rise Less Than Average (10:50 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 611,991 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, up 0.5% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.6% in the previous seven days.
The seven-day rolling case total was 23,389, the lowest since June 22, according to the health department report, which includes data through Wednesday. The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time rose to 6.4% for Wednesday, from 5.7% on Tuesday.

Deaths among Florida residents reached 10,868, an increase of 135, or 1.3%, and the seven-day rolling total was 819. By that measure, it has now been under 1,000 for the past six reports, after peaking this month at nearly 1,300. Deaths often trail infections by weeks, and generally take even longer to be reflected in the data.

Abbott Shares Surge on Test Clearance (10:25 a.m. NY)

Abbott Laboratories surged after its 15-minute Covid test priced at just $5 was granted emergency authorization for use in the U.S. The company’s shares climbed 8.7% to $112.91 at 9:57 a.m. in New York trading.

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

The product, dubbed BinaxNOW, works without relying on laboratory equipment at a time when labs can take as long as two weeks to produce results. It uses a nasal swab and a small reactive card, and it can be administered by a range of health-care workers, including pharmacists, at almost any location.

Manchester United’s Pogba Tests Positive (8:41 a.m. NY)

Manchester United star Paul Pogba tested positive for coronavirus. He was withdrawn from the French national soccer team, London-based LBC radio reported.

U.S. Jobless Claims Decline (8:35 a.m. NY)

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs fell by 98,000 to 1.01 million last week, suggesting the labor market’s gradual recovery is back on track. At the same time, claims remain far above pre-pandemic levels, and risks to further improvement include lawmakers’ failure to extend support for cash-strapped companies and jobless Americans.

Putin Says Daughter Didn’t Ask Him Before Taking Vaccine (7:50 a.m. NY)

Defending the vaccine as safe and effective, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his daughter didn’t consult with him before taking the experimental inoculation against Covid-19 this summer.

“She’s an adult. She just told me that she’d made the decision,” Putin told state television, adding that she’s formed antibodies against the virus following the shots. He defended Russia’s approval process for the vaccine as “in line with international practice,” noting that it was conditional on further testing.

U.K. Business Chief Warns Worse May Still Come (7:48 a.m. NY)

The U.K. is still in the eye of the coronavirus storm and more challenging times may yet follow, according to an influential business chief who urged the government to take further steps to support corporate Britain.

The country faces a moment of renewed danger as the winding down of support measures threatens to coincide with a potential winter resurgence of the virus, said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce.

In a separate warning, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply said many U.K. companies are not preparing for Brexit because the pandemic has depleted their cash reserves.

Sanofi to Begin Human Trials for Vaccine (7:20 a.m. NY)

Sanofi will begin human trials of an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus next week, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said Thursday. The drug giant is planning to move to final-stage trials toward the end of the year, he said.

Novavax May File for Vaccine Approval in December (6:30 a.m. NY)

Novavax may file for U.S. approval for its Covid-19 vaccine in December, Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Stanley Erck. Novavax plans to partly produce the vaccine at its Czech plant.

“I’m not saying it will be approved in December, but I’m sure we will have the results in December,” Hospodarske cites Erck as saying.

France Eyes Lockdown as Last Resort (5:42 p.m. HK)

France is ready to institute a new national lockdown as a last resort as Europe grapples with how to contain the resurgent coronavirus. Plans to restrict movement are ready, but the country will do everything possible to avoid measures that clobbered the economy in the second quarter, France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

“The epidemic is gaining ground, and we need to intervene now,” Castex said, rejecting the need for broad restrictions. “This doesn’t mean the situation is as serious as it was” earlier this year.

Passenger Arrivals to U.K. Collapse (5:21 p.m. HK)

The number of passengers arriving in the U.K. collapsed in the second quarter as coronavirus restrictions brought international travel to a standstill. Home Office figures show there were just 1.3 million arrivals between April and June, a 97% decrease from the same period of 2019.

U.K. to Pay People on Low Incomes If Self-Isolating (4:05 p.m. HK)

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will pay workers on low incomes 13 pounds ($17) a day if they are self-isolating during the pandemic.

The payments will begin on a trial basis from Sept. 1 in Blackburn and areas of northwest England that currently have additional social distancing-rules in place to contain local outbreaks, the Department for Health said in a statement.

Japan’s Virus Wave Is Easing (3:45 p.m. HK)

Japan’s most recent and largest wave of infections is showing signs of subsiding, despite a lack of heavy intervention from the government to bring it under control.

After peaking at the start of August, the country is on track for a sixth consecutive day where new cases are below 1,000. The seven-day average of cases is falling in almost every hotspot, including in Tokyo where the 250 cases reported Thursday are about half of the peak level found earlier this month. The test positivity rate in the capital has been below 5% for three days.

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

South Korea Extends Short-Selling Ban Amid Virus Flareup (3:32 p.m. HK)

South Korean regulators extended a ban on short-selling of shares listed on some exchanges for another six months, as the nation grapples with the vagaries of the coronavirus outbreak.

The country had 441 more cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, the biggest gain since early March, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Abbott Cleared for $5, 15-Minute Test (6:40 a.m. HK)

A 15-minute Covid test from Abbott Laboratories that will be priced at just $5 won emergency authorization for use in the U.S., a breakthrough that could ease the bottleneck that has crimped much of the nation’s testing capacity.

The product, dubbed BinaxNOW, works without relying on laboratory equipment at a time when labs can take as long as two weeks to produce results. It uses a nasal swab and a small reactive card, and it can be administered by a range of health-care workers, including pharmacists, at almost any location.

Abbott will start shipping the test within two weeks and intends to manufacture 50 million tests a month by the end of October.

U.S. Deaths Top 180,000; Abbott Jumps on Fast Test: Virus Update

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