Florida has record deaths; US nears 150,000 toll: virus update
Florida posted a record number of Covid-19 deaths for a second straight day as the U.S. neared 150,000 fatalities. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said expectations for a safe and effective vaccine by December are reasonable.
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, partners developing a potential coronavirus vaccine, agreed to supply the U.K. with as many as 60 million doses of their experimental shot. In the European Union, officials backtracked further on a plan to let in more foreign travelers.
China reported 101 new cases, up from 68 a day earlier, while Japan found a record 1,002 infections on Wednesday. Australia’s Queensland state will close its borders to all visitors from Sydney from Saturday.
Key Developments: Global Tracker: Cases exceed 16.7 million; deaths pass 660,800EU shows no signs of easing visitor restrictionsWhat made U.S. health care so vulnerable to Covid-19Barclays wants officereturn for 60,000 staff working from homeU.S. created a data disaster with its uneven Covid responseSubscribe 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.
Gambian President Isolates After VP Tests Positive (10:50 a.m. NY)
Gambian President Adama Barrow started to self-isolate Wednesday for two weeks after his deputy contracted the coronavirus.
Vice President Isatou Touray, 65, tested positive for Covid-19, the presidency said in a Twitter post. A presidential spokeswoman couldn’t say if Barrow, 55, had been tested for the virus, when reached by phone in the capital, Banjul.
The West African country, which shut its air borders since March 23, reported 246 cases, including eight deaths as of Tuesday.
Florida Posts Record 216 Deaths (10:30 a.m. NY)
Florida reported a record 216 new Covid-19 deaths among residents Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 6,333. Hospitalizations rose by 582 to a cumulative 25,499, according to the health department report, which includes data through Tuesday. Florida reported 451,423 Covid-19 cases, up 2.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.6% in the previous seven days.
Anti-Mask Lawmaker Tests Positive: Politico (10:20 a.m. NY)
Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has refused to wear a mask, has tested positive for the coronavirus, Politico reported. Gohmert tested positive in a screening at the White House ahead of a scheduled flight to Texas with President Donald Trump, Politico said, citing multiple people it didn’t identify. Gohmert told CNN last month that he wasn’t wearing a mask because he was being regularly tested, Politico said.
Minorities’ High Risk of Virus to Be Studied in U.K. (9:11 a.m. NY)
Research into the reasons behind the high risk of severe Covid-19 cases among Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities will be funded with more than 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) from the U.K. government.
Iran to Allow University Exams, Mourning Rituals (8:55 a.m. NY)
Iran plans to allow annual university entrance exams and mass religious mourning ceremonies to take place this summer even as the coronavirus kills record numbers of people and cases continue to surge. President Hassan Rouhani said ritual public mourning processions, due at the end of August during the Shia holy month of Muharram, will go ahead “while implementing complete health protocols,” according to Iranian state media.
Glaxo Cautious on Vaccination Rate Recovery (8:22 a.m. NY)
GlaxoSmithKline said its 2020 earnings forecast is at risk if routine vaccination rates fail to recover after lockdowns. Its vaccines unit was hit especially hard as the crisis hindered visits to health workers. Glaxo said its forecast depends on rates returning in the U.S.
Israel to Drop Quarantine for Citizens Flying From Green’ Areas (7:22 a.m. NY)
The Health Ministry is planning to allow Israeli citizens returning from “green” countries to enter without being required to take a coronavirus test and enter quarantine, Itamar Grotto, deputy director general of the ministry, said in a Knesset committee meeting.
Flooded Hotspot in Texas Cuts Power to Some For a Week (7 a.m. NY)
New coronavirus guidelines for line crews and flooding are complicating restoration efforts after Hurricane Hanna came ashore Saturday and knocked out power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses at a virus hot spot in South Texas. Some of the 7,600 customers currently without power in the Rio Grande Valley may not have service restored until Sunday, American Electric Power Co. said Tuesday. About 85,000 customers of Magic Valley Electric Cooperative Inc. lost power, and the company expects most of them will be back up by late Wednesday.
EU, Gilead Reach Deal on Supply of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir (6:41 a.m. NY)
The European Union reached an agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc. for supplies of the company’s antiviral drug remdesivir to combat the coronavirus. The European Commission signed a 63 million-euro ($74 million) contract with Gilead for batches of Veklury – the brand name for remdesivir – to be made available to EU countries and the U.K. starting in early August.
Herd Immunity Seems to Be Developing in Mumbai’s Poorest Areas (6:23 a.m. NY)
About six in 10 people living in some of India’s biggest slums have antibodies for the novel coronavirus indicating they’ve recovered from infection, in what appears to be one of the highest population immunity levels known worldwide.
The findings, from a July serological survey of 6,936 people across three suburbs in India’s financial center of Mumbai, may explain why a steep drop in infections is being seen among the closely packed population, despite new cases accelerating overall in the hard-hit country.
Russia May Register World’s First Covid-19 Vaccine by Aug. 10 (6:21 a.m. NY)
Russia plans to register a coronavirus vaccine as soon as Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, clearing the way for what its backers say would be the world’s first official approval of an inoculation against the epidemic. The drug developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Heathrow Says Quarantine Testing Is Possible by September (6:16 a.m. NY)
London Heathrow airport will aim to introduce Covid-19 testing for arriving passengers by September if it can secure official U.K. approval for the move. There has been more engagement from the government over testing in the last few days, Heathrow Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said in an interview. The possibility that Britain could repeat its reimposition of quarantine on people arriving from Spain for other countries has helped to energize the discussion, he said.
EU Retreats on Border Opening for Second Time (5:58 p.m. HK)
The European Union backtracked further on a plan to let in more foreign travelers amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases around the world, according to officials familiar with the matter. EU envoys in Brussels on Wednesday recommended removing Algeria from a list of 13 states whose residents have the green light to visit the bloc, the officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because deliberations were confidential.
Japan Daily Virus Tally Passes 1,000 as Osaka, Tokyo Cases Surge (5:54 p.m. HK)
Japan found a record 1,002 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, broadcaster NHK reported, with surging infections in Osaka bringing the western prefecture close to surpassing Tokyo as the nation’s biggest hot spot. The day’s tally brings the total number of cases in Japan above 33,000, as the nation grapples with a new surge of infections two months after a state of emergency was lifted.
Austria Agrees on New Furlough Plan (5:14 p.m. HK)
Austria’s government agreed to extend its furlough program for another six months to protect jobs as the coronavirus ravages European economies. The new plan – agreed with unions and employers – is similar to an existing program in force since March, but with small changes. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the deal on a new furlough together with the heads of unions and chamber of commerce ahead of a government meeting in Vienna.
Hong Kong’s Confirmed Cases Top 3,000 (4:55 p.m. HK)
Hong Kong reported 118 additional coronavirus cases, bringing total infections to 3,002, Department of Health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a briefing on Wednesday. Of the 118 cases, 113 were locally transmitted and the remainder imported.
Thailand Extends State of Emergency to Aug. 31 (4:55 p.m. HK)
Thailand’s Cabinet extended the country’s state of emergency for a fourth time, by one month through Aug. 31, an expected decision aimed at keeping the country’s Covid-19 count to one of the lowest in Asia, according to a government spokeswoman. The country hasn’t detected any new coronavirus cases from local transmission for about two months. Overall, it has reported 3,298 cases and 58 deaths from the virus, but officials said they are wary as new outbreaks have occurred in other places, including Hong Kong and Vietnam.
U.K. Was Negligent’ on Care Homes, Lawmakers Say (4:20 p.m. HK)
The U.K. government was “slow, inconsistent and, at times, negligent” in providing support to care homes during the pandemic, a cross-party panel of lawmakers said. It was unclear who was responsible for the facilities and there was “a failure to issue consistent and coherent guidance throughout the pandemic,” the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said in a report on Wednesday.
Pakistan Warned of New Threat as Millions Travel for Eid (3:15 p.m. HK)
Pakistan is at risk for another wave of virus infections during the upcoming Eid holidays as millions travel to their home towns and mingle at family and religious gatherings. The South Asian nation – with the second highest number of infections in Asia – has had some respite over the last few weeks with the rate of new infections slowing. But experts warn the chances of a resurgence are high, with Friday marking the start of the religious holiday. They added that the testing rate remains one of the lowest in the world, making it difficult to assess the path of the epidemic.
Japan, China to Take Steps Soon Toward Resuming Travel (2:34 p.m. HK)
Foreign Ministers Toshimitsu Motegi and Wang Yi affirmed in a phone call that they’ll make arrangements as soon as possible toward resuming travel between their countries in line with the plans Japan has already announced, according to a statement from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Japan’s Falling Death Rate (2:29 p.m. HK)
Japan avoided a surge in overall fatalities during its deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic, indicating the country has been successful in limiting the damage from Covid-19. Mortality across the nation dropped by 3.5% in May from a year earlier, with Japan recording a total of 108,380 deaths from any cause, data released Tuesday by the nation’s Health Ministry show. The month, during which much of the country was under a state of emergency, saw the most deaths so far from Covid-19. Japan officially recorded 468 coronavirus-related fatalities in May, almost half its total to date of 1,001.
Vietnam Says Nobody In or Out of Danang (2:07 p.m. HK)
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered that nobody should be getting in and out of Danang at this time, in an effort to stem the coronavirus outbreak, state-owned broadcaster VTV reported.
The premier wants strict implementation of the order, VTV reported, citing his comments in an ongoing meeting. The coastal city issued a stay-at-home order for up to 15 days for seven of eight districts starting Tuesday.
Sanofi, Glaxo to Supply U.K. With 60 Million Vaccine Doses (1:23 p.m. HK)
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are also in talks to sell the shot to the U.S., the European Union and global organizations, the French drugmaker said in a statement. Both are among dozens of companies and institutions sprinting to deliver a vaccine to help curb the pandemic.
Vaccine by Year-End Reasonable,’ Fauci Says (8:33 a.m. HK)
“It’s a reasonable statement to make that by December we’re going to have a safe and effective vaccine,” Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, said on a webcast with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
As U.S. schools prepare to reopen, Fauci said asymptomatic infections are more prevalent among young people. He said it’s not fully clear how children communicate the virus so teachers will be “part of the experiment.”
Fauci said the “default situation” is to try to get children back to school, but “you’ve got to be flexible.” Teachers should have personal protective equipment, if needed, and access to masks. Students in areas of active transmission should also wear masks, he said.