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New York Spikes Again; WHO Faults U.S. Response: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
·17 mins read
New York Spikes Again; WHO Faults U.S. Response: Virus Update
New York Spikes Again; WHO Faults U.S. Response: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) -- A top World Health Organization official said the outbreak at the White House constituted a “cluster,” suggesting that the U.S. had yet to “get this disease under control.” President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed hospital for a “few days” after he was treated with an “antibody cocktail.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden tested negative for the virus, as did several senior administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence. New York reported its highest cases since June as infections continued to surge in hot-spot neighborhoods in the city.

U.S. cases rose 0.7%, above the average 0.6% daily increase of the last week. Women, especially those in the age group most likely to have young children, are dropping out of the job market at the fastest pace since the height of the pandemic.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases pass 34.4 million; deaths exceed 1.02 millionTrump’s age and weight make Covid particularly dangerousTrump’s campaign events will go virtual or will be delayedHow Russia shortened the Covid vaccine race to declare victoryEurope’s banks lead the way in global jobs cull this year

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.

Trump to Spend a ‘Few Days’ in Hospital (5:22 p.m. NY)

President Trump will be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday to be treated for Covid-19, the White House press secretary said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

Trump is in “good spirits” after his Covid-19 diagnosis on Friday and has been treated with a Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. “antibody cocktail,” the White House physician said.

Regeneron shares spiked in late trading, rising 2.7% after the market closed in New York.

Montana Surge Continues (4:16 p.m. NY)

Montana reported 360 cases, the second-highest after a record set the previous day. Amid a spike around the region, the state now has 13,855 cases and reported another five deaths, for a total of 186.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.7% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Thursday to 7.3 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose to 208,304.

New York’s Cases Spike Again (3:34 p.m. NY)

The number of new coronavirus cases in New York reached nearly 1,600 the highest since late-May, as the state looks to quell several hot spots.

Of the 119,493 tests conducted statewide on Thursday, 1,598 or 1.3% were positive, according to state data released on Friday. There were seven virus-related fatalities and 648 people were hospitalized.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on a conference call with members of the media Friday morning said the state is continuing to focus its efforts on 20 hotspot ZIP codes mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, and Orange and Rockland counties.

Of the tests conducted in the hotspot ZIP codes, 6.4% were positive, Cuomo said.

Utah Senator Tests Positive After White House Visit (2:30 p.m. NY)

Utah Senator Mike Lee said he tested positive after returning from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he attended the White House nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“Yesterday morning, I was experiencing symptoms consistent with longtime allergies,” the Republican wrote on Twitter. “Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive.”

University of Notre Dame’s president, another ceremony attendee, tested positive as well, the Associated Press reported. Rev. John Jenkins apologized to students, faculty and staff on Monday for shaking numerous hands and not wearing a mask at the ceremony.

Barrett tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year but has since recovered, the Washington Post reported, citing three officials familiar with the matter.

NYC Average Daily Cases Highest Since June (1:32 p.m. NY)

New York City reported a seven-day average of 406 daily new confirmed cases, marking the first time since June 8 that indicator exceeded 400.

The city said Friday that there were 79 hospital admissions of patients presenting coronavirus-like symptoms on Sept. 30, of which 15, or 19%, have been confirmed as positive for the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has identified 11 ZIP code clusters of Covid-19 prevalence experiencing an overall 6.43% infection rate through testing. Removing these areas from city calculations, the overall test-infection rate stands at a low 1.08% in the city’s 135 remaining ZIP codes. Altogether, the citywide seven-day average rate stood at 1.53% Friday, up from 1.52% the previous day.

Covid Cases in the White House Constitute a Cluster, WHO Official Says (1:21 p.m. NY)

The outbreak of coronavirus in the White House constitutes a disease cluster and it needs to be taken seriously, said Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program.

“In the classic epidemic dictionary, two cases of any disease that are linked in space and time can be considered to be an epidemic or a cluster,” Ryan said during the WHO daily press conference. “There clearly is a cluster of cases occurring” at the White House, he said in response to a question about whether the outbreak is a sign that the U.S isn’t on the right track when it comes to controlling the disease.

The outbreak at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs to be properly investigated and individuals who are at risk should be properly advised, Ryan said. Quarantines need to be put in place for those who have been exposed, he said.

France Deaths at Week High (1:12 p.m. NY)

France reported 12,148 new coronavirus cases in the past day. This means the weekly pace of infections has slowed for a fifth day, with the seven-day rolling average of new infections falling to 10,946, the lowest since Sept. 23.

Deaths linked to the virus increased by 136 to 32,155, the most in a week with inclusion of several days of data from nursing homes.

Ireland Reports Most Cases Since April (12:57 p.m. NY)

The spread of the coronavirus in Ireland is now “a matter of serious concern” nationwide, the health ministry said, as it reported the most new coronavirus cases since April for the second day in a row. There were 470 newly confirmed cases, with one death. The increase came on the same day Northern Ireland reported a record number of newly confirmed coronavirus infections.

Almost a Quarter Million Downloads for New York Virus App (12:38 p.m. NY)

New York state’s coronavirus alert phone app has been downloaded more than 210,000 times in approximately 24 hours, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced on Twitter.

The state on Thursday launched “COVID Alert NY,” which tells users whether they were in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

New Jersey also released its version, “COVID Alert NJ,” joining Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional app network that operates across state lines to combat the spread of the virus.

Biden Tests Negative (12:28 p.m. NY)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, tested negative for Covid-19 on Friday, their physician said in a statement, after being exposed to President Trump at the debate on Tuesday.

The Biden campaign was awaiting test results before deciding whether to embark on planned campaign stops in Michigan on Friday.

Debate Precautions High, Cleveland Clinic Says (12:12 p.m. NY)

The Cleveland Clinic, co-sponsor of the U.S. presidential debate this week, said there was a “low risk” of exposure to the coronavirus there because of strict safety measures.

In a statement, the clinic said it had enforced “temperature checks, hand sanitizing, social distancing and masking.”

“Most importantly, everyone permitted inside the debate hall tested negative for Covid-19 prior to entry,” the clinic said. “Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns.”

U.K.’s Johnson, Who Fought Covid, Sends Trump Best Wishes (11:45 a.m. NY)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself suffered from a severe case of coronavirus, sent his best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump, following their positive coronavirus tests.

At the lowest point of Johnson’s battle with the disease in April he was confined to intensive care. Johnson still felt the effects of the disease for weeks, and has since been on a health-kick.

The U.K. is struggling to contain its second outbreak of the coronavirus, despite new nationwide restrictions recently taking effect.

The U.K.’s top scientists warned on Friday that the virus is still growing exponentially, estimating the reproduction rate between 1.3 and 1.6, higher than last week’s estimate. Nearly 7,000 new cases were reported on Friday by Public Health England, and a further 59 deaths from the disease were announced.

Greece Hits Record Amid Cannery Outbreak (11:24 a.m. NY)

Greece reported 460 cases Friday, the highest one-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic, bringing the total number to 19,346. Employees at a canning factory in the north of the country accounted for 114 of the cases. Athens and the capital’s Attica region accounted for 207 of the daily total.

Another five people died, for a total of 398. The number of cases in younger age groups continues to increase with the average age of people testing positive for the virus at 39.

Italy Cases Steady (11:12 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 2,499 new coronavirus cases Friday, from 2,548 a day earlier and above the seven-day average of 1,870. Another 20 deaths were reported, in line with previous days.

The second wave is putting pressure on hospitals especially in the southern region of Campania, which has accounted for the most cases in the past few days. Non-intensive care hospital beds are running out at Ospedale dei Colli in Naples as in other facilities in the region, the hospital’s general director Maurizio Di Mauro said on Radio CRC. The fact that ICU beds aren’t under pressure yet doesn’t mean that the virus is weaker, but that the illness is being tackled better than earlier this year, he added.

Myanmar Hits Record Cases, Deaths (10:46 a.m. NY)

Myanmar reported 32 more fatalities and 1,142 new cases, resulting in the highest single-day surge in Covid-19 deaths and infections, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

As of Friday, Myanmar had a total of 15,525 cases including 4,378 recoveries and 353 fatalities.

Virus Forcing More Women From Workforce (10:22 a.m. NY)

Women, especially those in the age group most likely to have young children, are dropping out of the job market at the fastest pace since the height of the pandemic as many schools and child care centers remain closed.

Participation in the labor force by women between the ages of 25 to 54 dropped to 74.2% in September, down from 74.9% in August after nearly hitting an all-time record right before the virus hit, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

At the same time, Black Americans -- who have been bearing much of the brunt of job losses in recent months -- saw an improvement in their employment situation as the gap between Black and White joblessness narrowed for the first time since April.

Trump Experiencing ‘Mild’ Covid-19 Symptoms (9:47 a.m. NY)

President Trump has mild coronavirus symptoms and is continuing to work, according to a person familiar with the matter. Trump announced early Friday that he and the First Lady had tested positive for Covid-19, shortly after close aide Hope Hicks had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Trump contracted the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, but Hicks became ill after flying with the president aboard Air Force One to the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and to a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative Friday for coronavirus, according to tweet from his aide Devin O’Malley.

U.S. Jobs Rise Less Than Forecast as Economic Rebound Downshifts (9:28 a.m. NY)

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000, compared with the median estimate of economists for a gain of 859,000.

The report, the last before November’s presidential election, reflects a sizable decline in local education jobs, while gains in retail and temporary workers slowed. Persistently high jobless claims, along with this week’s announcements of tens of thousands of layoffs, also indicate widespread economic pain.

The share of the total labor force with permanent employment loss also continues to climb at a faster pace than during the Great Recession and is now the highest since 2013.

Puerto Rico Extends Virus Measures for Two More Weeks (9:08 a.m., NY)

The new extension is necessary to gather “complete and valid data” that will “effectively establish the reality of Covid-19 in Puerto Rico,” Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez said in a statement.

Last week, the government ordered Quest Puerto Rico, part of Quest Diagnostics, to suspend operations, citing concerns about the accuracy of its testing.

U.S. Stimulus Talks in Limbo After Vote on Democrat-Only Plan (8:51 a.m NY)

The House passed a $2.2 trillion package, without any GOP support, following the most concerted talks between the top negotiators since early August. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday evening that she would review documents that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had sent her to determine where to go next.

President Trump’s positive test for Covid-19 adds to uncertainty surrounding stimulus plan. The Treasury said Friday morning that Mnuchin has tested negative for the virus. He’s been advised that he need not quarantine, based on limited contact with Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Covid-19 Vaccine Plays Jump After President Trump Infected (7:03 a.m. NY)

Small-cap vaccine developers, some of which have yet to test shots in people, jumped in premarket trading in New York. IBio rose 15% before the bell. The company has been touting vaccine candidates since March, without yet starting clinical trials. Vaxart and Sorrento were among other gainers.

EU Leaders Scrap Summit Agenda to Talk About Virus (6:43 a.m. NY)

A Summit of European Union leaders on Friday morning went off topic, highlighting increasing alarm across the 27 nation-bloc about mass flare-ups in new infections. Leaders were supposed to debate industrial policy, how to reduce “strategic dependencies” on complex supply chains, and then get a brief update on Brexit. Instead, they spent the entire morning talking about the pandemic, a topic which wasn’t even on the agenda of the summit, according to two officials familiar with the matter.

EU summits are well-choreographed events and parachuting in new items is rare. The debate on Friday focused again on coordination of the responses, according to the two officials, an area where the bloc’s record has been poor so far.

One of the officials said that some leaders asked for the pandemic to be placed permanently on the agenda of summits, as a standard item, until a cure or vaccine is found.

Virus Hits Record Numbers in Eastern Europe Nations (6:38 a.m. NY)

Romania reported a record 2,343 daily Covid-19 infections on Friday and a record number of people hospitalized in intensive-care units, two weeks after schools reopened in the nation with the highest death toll in eastern Europe. A full lockdown isn’t on the cards and the government will only impose targeted restrictions to contain local outbreaks.

Local epidemiologists warn that a new strategy to tackle the spread would have to be considered by the authorities in the coming weeks if cases continue to spike as about 55% of coronavirus-designated ICU beds are already occupied.

Hungary’s new coronavirus infections also hit a record at 1,322, while 17 people died on Thursday, data by the state task force show. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has signaled he intends to avoid a a full lockdown similar to that in spring after counter-measures pushed the country’s deficit into 9.1% of GDP in the second quarter.

Sturgeon Tells U.K. MP Who Broke Covid Rules to Quit (5:33 a.m. NY)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged one of her party’s lawmakers who broke Covid quarantine rules to resign from the U.K. Parliament, calling her actions “dangerous and indefensible.”

Scottish National Party MP Margaret Ferrier admitted breaking self-isolation rules to attend Parliament in London this week while waiting for the result of a coronavirus test, which later came back positive.

Europe’s Virus Fight Threatens to Close Down Paris Restaurants (4:17 a.m. NY)

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said he may have to declare Paris and its suburbs as high-risk areas as soon as Monday, which would trigger closing bars and restaurants.

Representatives of France’s hospitality industry are trying to thwart the move and plan to present proposals to authorities as soon as Friday. Positive tests in Paris and the number of intensive-care patients have climbed past the “maximum alert” level, Veran told reporters.

London residents are also being told to take immediate action to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus amid warnings that the U.K. capital is at a “tipping point” in its fight with the disease.

AstraZeneca Says Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Resumed in Japan (3:38 a.m. NY)

AstraZeneca’s Phase I/II clinical trial for the Covid-19 vaccine AZD122 has resumed in Japan, adding to earlier restarts around the world, the drugmaker said in a statement.

Regulators have deemed trials to be safe after a standard review process triggered a voluntary pause last month, AstraZeneca said. Tests have restarted in the the U.K., Bra5zil, South Africa and India.

The company is also working with the FDA to facilitate a review of information needed to make a decision regarding resumption of a U.S. trial.

Trump’s Age and Weight Make Covid Particularly Dangerous (3:33 a.m. NY)

President Donald Trump, who turned 74 in June, may face extra risk from the coronavirus due to his age and weight.

Covid sufferers between the ages of 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die than patients between 18 and 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obese people may also be more likely to suffer fatalities, even if the relationship isn’t well understood.

Melania Trump, who is 50, is at lower risk because the vast majority of women to have died from the disease in the U.S. were over 65. Most coronavirus cases worldwide have also only been categorized as mild.

Germany Records Most New Cases Since April 18 (1 a.m. NY)

Germany recorded 2,626 new infections, the most since April 18, taking the nation’s total to 295,539, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The new cases are “predominantly due to transmission at family and other private events,” the RKI public health institute said. The proportion of returning travelers among new infections is declining, the institute said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly urged citizens to adhere to distancing and hygiene rules to prevent another surge in infections, and has vowed to do everything possible to avoid a general lockdown. At the height of the outbreak in late March and early April, Germany’s daily cases rose to almost 7,000.

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