Manila May Return to Lockdown; Fauci Has Warning: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Manila, capital of the Philippines, may return to a lockdown as coronavirus cases rise while Jakarta in Indonesia keeps social-distancing measures set to expire amid a surge in cases. Florida and Texas reported record numbers of virus deaths. Brazil surpassed 2 million cases as the virus spreads in the country’s poorer, remote areas.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said many states reopened too quickly and called for “a time out” yet said he expects results for a clinical trial on monoclonal antibodies by late summer or early fall. The U.K. accused Russian state intelligence of trying to steal vaccine research.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 13.7 million; deaths near 588,000
- New lockdowns are threatened in virus-stricken U.S. states
- Childhood Covid-19 infections mount with schools eyeing openings
- Covid cold war flares up with claims of Russian vaccine attack
- Fewer Covid ICU deaths suggest care is improving
- New York launches national ad campaign to promote mask wearing
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Jakarta Keeps Loose Social Distancing Measures as Cases Surge (9:08 a.m. HK)
Indonesia’s capital will remain under social-distancing measures for two more weeks after new coronavirus cases surged since the easing of a partial lockdown a month ago.
The transition period to completely exit a so-called large scale social distancing rules to contain the virus will be extended to July 30, Governor Anies Baswedan said in a message posted on YouTube. The city, which last month allowed offices, places of worship, restaurants and shopping malls to reopen in phases with some limits, was set to lift the remaining restrictions on Friday.
Jakarta, home to more than 10 million people, has remained one of Indonesia’s virus hotspots with the gradual easing of social distancing rules allowing most economic activities to resume, fueling a surge in infections. The continuation of curbs may hit a nascent recovery in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Meadows Calls Fauci’s 1918 Flu Comparison ‘Irresponsible’ (9:00 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff criticized Anthony Fauci for comparing the current coronavirus outbreak to the 1918 flu pandemic, calling it “irresponsible,” after reprimanding another top White House adviser for publicly attacking Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
“He suggested that this virus was worse than, or as bad as, the 1918 flu epidemic,” Mark Meadows said during a Fox News interview. “I can tell you that not only is that false, it’s irresponsible to suggest so.”
Fauci said earlier this week at an event sponsored by Georgetown University that the coronavirus is a “pandemic of historic proportions” and “when history looks back on it, will be comparable to what we saw in 1918,” when influenza killed tens of millions of people worldwide.
Manila May Return to Lockdown as Infections Rise (8:58 a.m. Hong Kong)
The Philippine capital will remain under loose movement restrictions starting July 16, but may return to lockdown in two weeks if coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine until the end of July, allowing most businesses to remain open, presidential spokesman Harry Roquesaid at a televised briefing. The health department on Thursday said the nation added 2,498 cases, bringing total infections to 61,266 while deaths rose by 29 to 1,643.
Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have more than tripled since stay-home orders in the capital were lifted and most businesses were allowed to reopen starting June. The Philippines has the second-highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.
Japan Suspends Bids for Program to Support Restaurants: Jiji (7:54 a.m. HK)
Japan’s agriculture ministry has decided to suspend bids seeking contractors for its “Go To Eat” campaign aimed at supporting eating establishments hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Jiji reports without attribution.
“It would make a bad impression if bids were started under the current circumstances,” Jiji quotes an unidentified government official as saying.
A separate “Go To” travel campaign to help ailing tourism industry came under fire out of concerns it would fuel the spread of infections. Japan’s government decided to exclude Tokyo, where infections are again surging, from the nationwide program.
Netflix Warns on U.S. Locations (6:20 a.m. HK)
Netflix Inc. said that while the company has resumed making shows in Asia and Europe, “current infection trends create more uncertainty for our productions in the U.S.” Other parts of the world such as India and some of Latin America “are also more challenging and we are hoping to restart later in the year in these regions,” Netflix said in a shareholder letter.
The company warned that “growth is slowing as consumers get through the initial shock of Covid and social restrictions.” Netflix shares plunged after its subscriber forecast missed estimates.
Fauci Calls for ‘Time Out’ on Reopening (5:54 p.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci said many states rushed too quickly to reopen without bringing the virus adequately under control, leading to the resurgence in states across the U.S. south and west.
“We’ve got to regroup, call a time out,” Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said live in an interview with Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.
Fauci also told Zuckerberg that he expects results for a clinical trial on monoclonal antibodies by late summer or early fall.
“What we really need are drugs that, when given early, can prevent a symptomatic person from requiring hospitalization or very dramatically diminish the time that they’re symptomatic,” Fauci said during the Facebook Live interview on Thursday. Monoclonal antibodies can be administrated intravenously or through a shot.
Washington State Pauses Reopening (5:50 p.m. NY)
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee further curbed the state’s reopening, limiting social gatherings to 10 people in counties returning to normal business because of the rise in virus cases.
“Unless something changes we will have to make more decisions that are difficult,” Inslee, a Democrat, told reporters. “So we hope everyone bears down right now.”
On Tuesday, Inslee paused any new reopening for at least two weeks. The limits on social gatherings do not apply to weddings, funerals or religious services. The state’s department of health reports 43,046 cases and 1,421 deaths.
Brazil Tops 2 Million Cases (5:35 p.m. NY)
Latin America’s biggest economy reported 45,403 new cases of Covid-19 in a 24-hour period, pushing the number of infections to more than 2 million. The death toll rose by 1,322 to 76,688. Brazil trails only the U.S. on both counts.
Brazil has added 1 million cases in less than a month in a rapidly shifting outbreak. Wile official numbers have stabilized in places such as Sao Paulo, the richest state, the disease is spreading fast elsewhere. The World Health Organization has said that Brazil’s outbreak may not peak until August.
Texas Reports Record Deaths, Soaring Infections (5:07 p.m. NY)
Texas posted its worst day of Covid-19 fatalities and recorded more than 10,000 new cases for a third straight day. The death toll rose by 129, breaking the record of 110 set on Wednesday, according to state health department data.
The tally of new cases is closing in on the 300,000 mark. Governor Greg Abbott warned delegates at the state Republican convention that the worsening outbreak is leaving him with few options aside from shutting down the second-most populous U.S. state.
Officials across Texas are mobilizing overflow mortuary space as communities anticipate a surge in coronavirus deaths following Fourth of July festivities. The U.S. South and Southwest are contending with explosive outbreaks after relaxing controls.
U.S. Infections Rise 2.1% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 2.1% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 3.54 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The percentage gain was in line with the past’s week’s average of 2%. Deaths rose 0.7% to 137,897.
- Florida posted a record 156 new deaths, pushing the total to 4,677. Cases rose 4.6% to 315,775, compared with an average increase of 4.4% in the previous seven days.
- Arizona reported 3,259 new cases, a 2.5% increase to 134,613 that was below the prior seven-day average of 2.8%. The state reported 58 new virus deaths, bringing the total to 2,492.
- Oklahoma cases rose 7.9% to 23,446, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
Arkansas Issues Mask Mandate (2:47 p.m. NY)
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson orderered people to wear face masks in public, reversing course during a surge in coronavirus cases, the Associated Press reported. The Republican governor had resisted a statewide mask mandate and opposed issuing a stay-at-home order earlier in the pandemic, the wire service said.
Colorado Issues Mask Mandate (2:50 p.m. NY)
Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide mask mandate for public indoor spaces, including stores, for anyone over 11 years old. The order takes effect at midnight, and will last at least 30 days.
“Look, in Colorado, there’s no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,” Polis, a Democrat, told reporters. “Very simple.”
Cases have increased by 40% over the last week, the Denver Post reported, and hospitalizations are also rising. The newspaper reports that Colorado has 38,155 cases and 1,601 deaths attributed to the virus.
California Deaths Climb (2:45 p.m. NY)
California reported another 8,544 new coronavirus cases, as the pandemic continued its rebound in the state. Although increased testing -- with more than 122,000 people tested Wednesday alone -- accounts for some of the rise in cases, deaths from the virus are also climbing. State officials recorded 118 deaths Wednesday, well above the 14-day rolling average of 84. The virus has now claimed 7,345 lives in the state.
In one hopeful sign, the number of Californians hospitalized with Covid-19 dropped by nine patients, after setting fresh records every previous day this week. Statewide, 6,777 people are hospitalized with the disease, including 1,897 people in intensive care.
Covid Depression Hits U.S. Cities (12:40 p.m. NY)
The majority of Americans in the largest metro areas felt down, depressed or hopeless last week, according to Bloomberg calculations from a new U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, which collects data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the sunniest cities were the saddest, with high levels of depression reported in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Miami.
Russia Denies Vaccine Hacking (12:35 p.m. NY)
A Russian official denied accusations by the U.S., U.K. and Canada that state intelligence is hacking international research centers working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
“This whole story is an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Russian vaccine by some of the people who are scared of its success,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, which is involved in research into a vaccine. “Because the Russian vaccine could potentially be the first to the market and it could potentially be the most effective vaccine out there.”
N.Y. Bans Walk-Up Bar Service (12:07 p.m. NY)
Walk-up bar service will be banned statewide in New York as part of additional restrictions and tougher penalties for violations in bars and restaurants, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The new restrictions apply mostly to New York City: Any establishment that receives three violations will be closed for business, he said. “Egregious” violations can result in an immediately loss of a liquor license.
While New York City is on track to enter Phase 4 of reopening on Monday, there will be no additional indoor activity in the city because of compliance issues, the governor said.
Johnson & Johnson Discussing Vaccine Supply (11:55 a.m. NY)
Johnson & Johnson is in discussions with multiple countries and a charitable foundation to determine how much of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will be needed.
Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said they are in talks with the European Union, Japan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We’re still trying to determine the volumes,” he said in an interview.
Florida Reports Record Fatalities (10:40 a.m. NY)
Florida posted a record 156 new Covid-19 deaths among residents, pushing the cumulative total to 4,677, according to a report Thursday.
Florida reported 315,775 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, up 4.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 4.4% in the previous seven days, according to the report from the state’s Department of Health, which includes data through Wednesday.
The new rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 12.9% for Wednesday, from 13.6% on Tuesday.
Florida Outbreak Forces Smaller Republican Convention (10:13 a.m. NY)
The Republican National Committee is scaling back its convention next month in Jacksonville, Florida, as cases of the coronavirus spike in the state and some officials said they would not be going out of concern for their safety.
For the first three days of the event, only party delegates will be allowed to attend. On the final day of the four-day event, when Donald Trump accepts the party’s nomination for president, the RNC will allow delegates, their guests and alternate delegates to attend, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a letter Thursday to members.
U.K. Says Russians Are Trying to Steal Vaccine Research (9 a.m. NY)
The U.K. accused Russian state intelligence of hacking international pharmaceutical and academic research in a bid to win the race to secure a vaccine against Covid-19. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said vaccine and therapeutic sectors in multiple countries have been targeted, declining to list the names and number of institutions affected on security grounds.
Britain named the group responsible for the hacking as APT29, saying it is “almost certainly” part of Russian state intelligence. The group also goes by the name of Cozy Bear or The Dukes and has targeted U.K., U.S. and Canadian vaccine research and development organizations.
China’s Sinopharm Begins Mass Testing of Vaccine in UAE (9 a.m. NY)
Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm Group began the first mass trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm G42 will carry out the trial. The company will test 15,000 people as part of the Phase 3 trial, a milestone in the vaccine testing process that is normally followed by mass production, officials said.
Chinese companies have had to look for places with active virus outbreaks to complete the final stage of human testing.
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