(Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill joined the growing list of US. retailers requiring customers to wear face coverings in their stores. California reported a second straight day of record deaths. Florida’s Covid-19 hospitalizations hit a new high, though deaths declined.
Vermont’s governor issued a mask mandate to protect the state from outbreaks elsewhere. Houston’s mayor suggested the city needs to cut its positive-test percentage by about half to allow an easing of restrictions.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned said his government is preparing for a second wave of infections over the winter. Hong Kong reported a record 115 new cases as the city’s outbreak worsens despite restrictions.
Global Tracker: Cases exceed 15.5 million; deaths pass 634,000In rural Texas, skeptics prevail even with virus mountingExtreme heat, Covid-19 collide in U.S. Sun BeltJobs are being wiped out at airlines and there’s worse to comeThe keys to speed in race for vaccine, and its perils: QuickTakeDogs can sniff out virus infections, study suggests
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U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.9% as compared with the same time Thursday to 4.07 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was above the average 1.7% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 144,780.
California’s deaths from the coronavirus hit a record for a second straight day, with 159 new fatalities, according to state health data. The 14-day average through Thursday was 98. The most-populous state recorded 9,718 additional virus cases, for a total of 435,334.Florida reported a total 402,312 Covid-19 cases on Friday, up 3.2% from a day earlier. Deaths among Florida residents reached 5,653, an increase of 135, or 2.4%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Thursday. The state reported a record 173 deaths the previous day.Arizona reported more than 3,000 new virus cases for the second time this week, a 2.2% rise to a total of 156,301. The state reported a 23.7% positivity rate, lower than Thursday’s 26.7%.Illinois reported 1,532 new coronavirus cases, down from a two-month high of 1,624 reached a day earlier. The state reported 19 more deaths, down from 20 on Thursday.
California Deaths Hit Record Again (2:52 p.m. NY)
California’s deaths reached a record for a second straight day, with 159 new fatalities, according to state health data. The 14-day average through yesterday was 98. The most-populous state recorded 9,718 additional virus cases, for a total of 435,334.
Governor Gavin Newsom has responded to the spiraling crisis by ordering many indoor businesses across the state to shut and requiring schools to start remotely for most of the population. Still, others are seeking more stringent measures. On Thursday, state Senator Steve Glazer, a Democrat from the Bay Area, called for shelter-in-place orders to be reimposed across California.
Illinois Counties at ‘Warning Level’ (2:05 p.m. NY)
Illinois on Friday reported that four counties in the state have reached a “warning level” for coronavirus due to “outbreaks associated with business and risky behavior” such as large gatherings and traveling to hot spots in other states, according to an emailed statement. The counties include Adams, LaSalle, Peoria and Randolph in central and downstate parts of the state.
The state also reported 1,532 new coronavirus cases, down from a two-month high of 1,624 reached a day earlier. Illinois reported 19 more deaths, down from 20 on Thursday, and its 7-day rolling positivity rate held stable at 3.4%.
Houston Positive-Test Rate Seen Too High (1:11 p.m. NY)
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that even as pressure on the city’s hospitals appears to be leveling off, the positive-test rate needs to drop before restrictions are lifted.
The average seven-day positivity rate in the fourth most-populous U.S. city is about 19%, according to the Texas Medical Center. It needs to be less than 10%, Turner told reporters, citing New York and Boston as examples.
McDonald’s Sets Mask Requirement (12:48 p.m. NY)
McDonald’s Corp. will require all customers to wear face coverings when entering U.S. restaurants effective August 1 and is extending a pause on reopening more dining rooms for another 30 days, the company said in a statement.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s has developed divider panels and barrier solutions “to safely allow owner/operators to increase order taking and seating capacity, as well as staffing levels, while continuing to meet social distancing guidelines.”
U.S. Admits Error in Traveler Ban; Cuomo Furious (12:44 p.m. NY)
New Yorkers can again participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Programs, such as Global Entry, after the government said the basis on which it planned to exclude the state’s residents turned out to be flawed.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo demanded that Congress and U.S. Attorney General William Barr investigate what he called a politically motivated exclusion. DHS imposed the ban in February as the Covid-19 outbreak began in New York.
“It was a clear abuse of government power for political purposes,” Cuomo told reporters on Friday. “It is at the exact same time that we know Covid is coming in on European flights and now you packed people into waiting rooms and on lines who didn’t need to be on the line, because you were playing politics?”
Houston Schools to Stay Closed (12:20 p.m. NY)
Houston-area public health officials plan to order most schools to remain shut to in-person classes through Sept. 7.
The order, to be signed later Friday, will apply to all public and non-religious private schools, the Harris County and Houston health departments said in a tweet.
Houston is joining Dallas and other Texas school systems in delaying the start of in-person classes amid surging Covid-19 caseloads. The orders do not apply to private religious schools because of an exemption carved out last week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Toronto Blue Jays to Play Home Games in New York (12:07 p.m. NY)
The Toronto Blue Jays will play their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, this season, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo said he spoke to the Major League Baseball commissioner this morning about the Blue Jays, which have been trying to find a U.S. location.
Arizona Cases Rise (12 p.m. NY)
Arizona on Friday reported more than 3,000 new virus cases for the second time this week, a 2.2% rise to a total of 156,301 that was above the prior seven-day average of 1.8%. The state reported a 23.7% positivity rate, lower than Thursday’s 26.7%.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said Thursday that the state would continue to focus on boosting test capacity. Currently, the average waiting period for test results is more than a week, according to Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ.
Vermont Imposes Mask Mandate (11:27 a.m. NY)
Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed an order mandating masks “in public spaces, both indoor and outdoor, where physical distancing is not possible,” he said on Twitter. He said that Vermont, which has not had a virus fatality in over a month, needs “to protect our hard-won gains” against the surge of cases in the South and West.
U.K. Deaths Rise (11:15 a.m. NY)
The U.K. reported 123 deaths, up from 53 the previous day. Total fatalities reached 45,677. The nation added 770 cases, for a total of 297,914, according to an update on the government’s website.
Florida Hospitalizations Reach Record (10:43 a.m. NY)
Florida reported a total 402,312 Covid-19 cases on Friday, up 3.2% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.1% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 5,653, an increase of 135, or 2.4%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Thursday. The state reported a record 173 deaths the previous day.
Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by a record 581, according data compiled by Bloomberg. On a percentage basis, that’s the biggest daily increase since May 21.
The new rate of people testing positive for the first time increased to 13.3% for Thursday, from 12.3% on Wednesday.
Schlumberger, Honeywell Cut Costs (7:30 a.m. NY)
Schlumberger Ltd. warned that new waves of Covid-19 would derail the nascent recovery in global energy demand. The caution came after the oilfield giant posted its weakest sales in 14 years. Schlumberger is spending $1 billion to eliminate 21,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, Honeywell is targeting cost savings of as much as $1.6 billion in 2020 with actions such as permanently cutting the workforce, reducing work schedules, canceling merit-based increases and slashing executive pay.
In Europe, Swiss elevator maker Schindler Holding AG is planning 2,000 job cuts and French aerospace firm Thales SA said about 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of revenue will disappear this year.
Singapore to Finish Testing Most Migrant Workers by August (7:14 a.m. NY)
Singapore will complete testing most foreign workers living in dormitories by the beginning of next month, allowing for more businesses to resume activities as their employees are cleared to return.
By early August, Singapore will have tested most foreign workers living in dormitories, officials said at a press briefing on Friday, a group previously stated to be 323,000-strong. There are still 28,000 workers serving out their isolation period in various quarantine facilities, they said.
Austria Watches Surge of Rhinovirus (6:45 a.m. NY)
An Austrian decision to re-tighten mask requirements came as a new surge of rhinovirus cases signaled that people are not following social distancing and hygiene rules as closely, an adviser to Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told journalists.
The rhinovirus -- a cause for the common cold with symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and coughing -- is unrelated to the coronavirus, but uses similar channels for infection, and its spread was curbed during the lockdown. In recent weeks, though, it’s risen to even higher numbers than in previous years, a worrying sign for the coronavirus situation, said Professor Elisabeth Puchhammer-Stoeckl of the Medical University of Vienna.
Starting today, face masks are mandatory again in Austrian supermarkets, banks and postal offices. Infections have been above 100 per day for much of July, after lingering in the 20s and 30s in June, and the number of active cases stood at 1,461 on Friday, about four times the level on June 14.
Russia Cuts Rates (6:30 a.m. NY)
The Bank of Russia delivered its third interest-rate cut in a row, but surprised most economists in a Bloomberg survey by opting for a smaller reduction than at recent meetings. The central bank has now slashed interest rates by 325 basis points in the past year, in line with other major emerging markets.
Russia’s economy has been hammered by virus-related lockdowns and falling demand for oil. The economy is heading for its deepest slump in more than a decade, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a 6.6% contraction. Incomes slumped 8% in the second quarter, the biggest drop since a financial crisis in 1998.
The country is one of the most-affected by the virus in the world, with confirmed cases topping 800,000 on Friday.
German Study Shows Dogs Can Sniff Out Virus (6:15 a.m. NY)
A German foundation has published a study that shows that specially trained dogs can identify patients infected with the coronavirus. The dogs need only a week’s training and could be deployed to detect infections at places such as airports, border crossings and sporting events, according to the Stiftung Tieraerztliche Hochschule Hannover.
Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces took part in the study and had a success rate of 94%, the foundation said.
Johnson Warns of ‘Tough Times’ (6:10 a.m. NY)
Boris Johnson warned the U.K. will still be dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in mid-2021 and said his government is preparing for a second wave of infections over the winter months.
“We will have tough times ahead in keeping this virus under control, and we have tough times ahead in coming through economically,” the prime minister said Friday in a Sky News interview. “I think that by the middle of next year that we will be well on our way past it.”
Ministers outlined plans to widen the normal winter flu vaccination program, doubling those eligible for free injections, as it seeks to minimize pressure on hospitals if coronavirus and flu outbreaks occur at the same time. In televised comments to nurses on Friday, Johnson said he regards those who oppose vaccinations as “nuts.”
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