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U.S. Cases Rise 1.3%; Another Record Day in Brazil: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
U.S. Cases Rise 1.3%; Another Record Day in Brazil: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) -- Banks laid out plans for returning to work, with Credit Suisse offering employees antibody tests and JPMorgan preparing desks for common use in offices capped at 50% capacity. President Donald Trump said he may hold the June G-7 meeting at Maryland’s Camp David after previously planning a video conference.

Social distancing efforts were complicated by nature as millions of people in India and Bangladesh were displaced by a cyclone. In Michigan, a dam failure may force the evacuation of more than 10,000 residents.

Brazil loosened protocols for the use of chloroquine and reported another record day for infections. Chile extended the quarantine measures in Santiago by a week and the Spanish Parliament lengthened the country’s state of emergency by another two weeks.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases top 4.9 million; deaths exceed 326,000Big banks plan staffing limits, shift to suburbs after lockdownCDC issues detailed guidance for reopening businessesNew York sees spreading in lower-income communitiesChina’s new outbreak shows signs the virus could be changingTech-savvy Korea beats paperwork-heavy Japan in virus relief

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. See this week’s top stories from QuickTake here.

Brazil Has Another Record Day for Cases (6 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 19,951 new confirmed cases over the past 24 hours, a fresh record. The country has 291,579 infections, trailing only the U.S. and Russia.

Earlier Wednesday, Brazil’s health ministry loosened protocols for the use of anti-malarial drug chloroquine to fight the virus, indicating it even for mild cases despite dangerous side effects, experts’ warnings and no demonstrated success in clinical trials.

Expedia Sees First Revenue Decline in Eight Years (5:05 p.m. NY)

Expedia Group Inc. followed its peers in the online travel industry in witnessing a staggering decline in business since the spread of the virus, with total gross bookings down 39% in the first quarter.

The Seattle-based company reported total gross bookings of $17.89 billion, including a decline of as much as 90% in the second half of March as the pandemic took hold. Revenue fell 15% to $2.21 billion, its first quarterly drop in eight years.

Turkey Declares #MissionAccomplished (4:57 p.m. NY)

The communications director for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country’s outbreak has been contained. Turkey had 152,587 confirmed coronavirus cases, ninth-highest in the world, as of Wednesday.

“Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan invested billions in healthcare infrastructure, let top scientists devise a strategy and treated all COVID-19 patients for free,” Fahrettin Altun said in a Twitter post. “The result? Our recovery rate is almost 75 percent. The pandemic has been contained. #MissionAccomplished.”

Disney, Universal to Submit Florida Reopening Plans (4:25 p.m. NY)

Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. are taking another step toward reopening their massive theme parks in Orlando, Florida.

The operators will begin submitting their plans to a reopening task force on Thursday, a spokesperson for Florida’s Orange County said in an email. Universal is slated to make its presentation on Thursday, with the others coming at a later date.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said last week that theme-park operators could begin reopening once they submit plans and win approval from local authorities. Jerry Demings, the mayor of Orange County, later said it will still likely be June or afterward before the resorts completely reopen.

Ohio Unemployed Data Exposed (4:15 p.m. NY)

Ohio said that “about two dozen” Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applicants were apparently able to view the personal data, including social security numbers of the more than 100,000 other applicants. The state has hired Deloitte consultants to clean up the mess and give free credit monitoring to about 130,000 people who might have been impacted.

The access to others data was “accidental” and that there is “no evidence of any widespread data compromise” from the mistake, Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services said.

On Sunday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office disclosed that a glitch in a newly launched state system for processing unemployment claims for gig workers had publicly exposed personal information.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.3% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.3% as compared to the same time yesterday to 1.54 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s less than Tuesday’s 1.6% rate, which was on par with the average of the past seven days. Deaths rose 1.6% to 92,645.

New York cases rose 0.4% to 354,370, according to the state’s health department. That was below the average daily increase of 0.6% over the past week.New Jersey reached 150,399 cases after adding 1,670, a 0.9% increase that matched the rate of the past seven days, according to Governor Phil Murphy. The death toll reached 10,747 with 168 new fatalities, the sixth-straight day of fewer than 200.Florida reported 47,471 cases, up 1.1% from a day earlier, according to the state’s health department. That compared with an average increase of 1.6% in the previous seven days. Deaths rose 1% to 2,096.California added 2,262 cases, a 2.8% jump, for a total of 84,057. There were 102 daily deaths, the most in four weeks.Texas cases climbed 2.8%, in line with its average over the past seven days, to 51,323.

Ohio Judge Blasts ‘Oppressive’ Health Director (3:25 p.m. NY)

Ohio Health Director Amy Acton’s “oppressive” coronavirus prevention orders illegally “quarantined the entire people of the state of Ohio,” a state judge said Wednesday in an order barring enforcement of rules closing gyms and health centers.

The order adds to the bevy GOP critics who have blasted Acton instead of Republican Governor Mike DeWine for social-distancing rules. Despite the attacks, polls indicate Acton has remained popular and fans continue to broadcast their adoration by sporting swag with her face or quotes on mugs, t-shirts and even a bobblehead.

“The ruling affirms that facilities must follow Ohio Department of Health safety protocols to keep patrons and all Ohioans safe and healthy,” DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said. “These facilities were due to open Tuesday anyways. However, our office disagrees with the ruling’s analysis of law.”

Texas Cuts Budgets, Spares Health Agency (3:14 p.m. NY)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and state legislative leadership Wednesday told agencies to slash their budgets 5% for the two-year budget cycle as the state adjusts to the economic impact of the pandemic on finances. Agencies identified as “critical” to Covid-19 are spared from the cuts, including departments of health, military, public safety, emergency management and the Texas Workforce Commission.

State agencies and higher education institutions have until June 15 to submit a plan to the governor identifying how they will achieve a 5% spending reduction for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2021, the directive reads.

Irish, Italian Cases Slow (2:12 p.m. NY)

Ireland reported 11 more coronavirus deaths, with 64 new cases. That was the fifth day in a row with fewer than 100 cases. Ireland, which started to allow some businesses to reopen this week, has seen 24,315 confirmed cases so far, with 1,571 deaths. About 87% of those diagnosed have recovered so far.

Italy registered a continued decline in new cases with 665 reported Wednesday, compared with 813 a day earlier, as the government monitors how the pandemic subsides at a regional level, before further relaxing containment measures with free movement within the country from June 3.

French cases rose by 987 to 218,326 total, compared with an increase of 813 a day earlier, while deaths rose by 110.

N.Y. Sees Virus Spreading in Lower-Income Communities (1 p.m. NY)

New York is seeing the new coronavirus continue to spread in lower-income and predominately minority communities as the state’s overall numbers improve, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The majority of new Covid-19 cases are originating in those parts of New York City, Cuomo said Wednesday at a press briefing. A review of 8,000 antibody tests conducted in those areas found an infection rate of 34% in the Bronx, 29% in Brooklyn and 25% in Queens, higher than the 19.9% average citywide, the governor said.

U.S. Cuts Hurt Emergencies Program, WHO Says (12:28 p.m. NY)

A U.S. funding cut would have implications for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable areas of the world, said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program. The program receives some $100 million from the U.S. per year and is hoping other donors will step in to fill that gap.

Some EU Nations Eye Bilateral Border Deals (12:12 p.m. NY)

Pairs of European Union countries may enter border-opening agreements as part of a push to revive the pandemic-stricken tourist industry, said Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli of Croatia, which holds the 27-nation bloc’s rotating presidency. The idea gained broad support during a video conference of EU tourism ministers on Wednesday, according to Cappelli. He said such bilateral deals would reflect similar epidemiological situations in the countries and avoid discrimination based on nationality.

Greece Flights From Abroad to Resume July 1 (11:50 a.m. NY)

Greece will allow direct flights from abroad to the country’s tourist destinations to gradually restart from July 1, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, as he announced financial support measures to revive the country’s crucial tourism sector. Seasonal hotels will reopen on June 15.

Greece, with a population of about 11 million, has reported 2,850 confirmed coronavirus cases and 166 deaths as of Wednesday, a fraction of the per capita toll in Italy, Spain and France. Restaurants in the country will reopen on May 25 and a ban on traveling to islands for non-residents will also be lifted.

CDC Issues Reopening Guidelines (11:05 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a 60-page document that provides detailed suggestions for different phases of reopening workplaces, schools and restaurants, after an earlier draft was rejected by the White House for being too prescriptive. It was posted on the CDC website over the weekend without fanfare.

Most states have begun reopening. Much of the new guidance provides an overview of measures like testing aimed at tracking the virus’s spread and guiding the response. It also lays out stages of reopening for child-care programs; schools and day camps; companies with high-risk workers; restaurants and bars; and mass transit.

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