U.S. COVID-19 Cases Steady as Death Toll Nears 200,000: Virus Update


SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

Covid-19 cases in the U.S. steadied as deaths approached 200,000. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he expects the U.S. to experience “at least one more cycle” of the virus in the fall and winter.

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the country is at a “tipping point” and more measures will be taken unless people comply with rules to contain the resurgent coronavirus. He didn’t rule out national action.

Hong Kong halted Air India flights until Oct. 3 after six passengers on a plane from New Delhi tested positive. Myanmar tightened restrictions after a record number of new cases.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 30.8 million; deaths exceed 958,000. UN is latest blow to New York City’s battered economy. Fewer people are dying of Covid as doctors gain practice, drugs improveA rash of infections on trading floors threatens Wall Street’s return to workThe virus is putting Britain’s next industrial revolution on iceThreat of a lethal autumn looms in Europe after Covid-19 reprieve

California’s Infection Curve Rises (2:15 p.m. NY)

New cases in California topped 4,000 for the second straight day, while the number of new deaths fell below the 14-day average, according to the health department’s website.

There were 4,265 new coronavirus cases, more than the 14-day average of 3,304. Deaths increased by 75, compared with an average of 91, raising the state’s toll to 14,987.

Lebanon Weighs Lockdown as Cases Surge (2:15 p.m. NY)

Lebanon hit a third consecutive day of record virus cases as Health Minister Hamad Hassan proposes a two-week lockdown, Associated Press reported.

Political gridlock after the devastating Beirut port explosion on Aug. 31, a previous lockdown and a shrinking economy are likely to make any solution more difficult.

Lebanon reported 1,006 new cases Sunday, for a total of 29,303.

France’s Pace of Infection Picks Up (1:37 p.m. NY)

France’s daily coronavirus cases rose by 10,569 on Sunday, after surging to more than 13,000 twice in the highest daily increases since the national lockdown ended in May on Saturday.

Still, the seven-day average, which smooths out reporting spikes, rose above 10,000 for the first time, indicating a significantly higher pace of infections than a week ago. The authorities have been calling on the population to step up social distancing measures as the number of clusters has increased in past weeks.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire became on Friday the country’s most senior official to become infected. Le Maire is doing well, Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said during an interview on RTL radio on Sunday. The government is monitoring the economic situation and doesn’t rule out nationalizing a company if necessary, she said.

Irish Cases Surge as Dublin Locks Down (12:49 p.m. NY)

Ireland recorded 396 new cases on Sunday, the highest since mid May, with about two thirds of the infections in Dublin.

The news came as the Irish capital experienced a first weekend of new curbs – travel in and out of the region was restricted, and indoor dining at bars and restaurants halted. Still, mild weather over the weekend drew many to the outdoor cafes and bars that popped up in city streets.

Arizona Cases, Deaths Fall (12:20 p.m. NY)

Arizona’s new cases continued to slow after a two-day spike last week. The state reported 469 cases, a 0.2% rise compared with an average 0.4% daily increase in the previous seven days. Total cases are now 214,018.

Another nine deaths were reported, the fewest in almost a week. Total deaths are 5,476, the state’s department of health services reported.

Gottlieb Warns of ‘At Least’ One More Surge in 2020 (12:05 p.m. NY)

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he expects the U.S. to experience “at least one more cycle” of the virus in the fall and winter. He cited rising cases in the South and Midwest, despite slowdowns in New York, Miami and Houston.

Gottlieb also said he doesn’t believe there will be a vaccine available for general inoculation until the end of second quarter or the third-quarter in 2021, contradicting President Donald Trump’s earlier comment that all Americans could get vaccinated by April.

“Hopefully this virus will start to dissipate in the summer” next year, Gottlieb said on CBS on Sunday morning, so that the timing of vaccine availability “isn’t going to make that much of a difference because the virus won’t be transferring as readily by then.”

Florida Deaths Fall (11:47 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 683,754 virus cases, a 0.4% rise equal to the average daily increase of the previous seven days. That amounted to 2,521 new cases, according health department data through Saturday.

The positive-test rate continued to rise, ticking up slightly to 4.6%, from 4.5% the previous day and 4.1% on Friday. The state reported only nine fatalities among residents, compared with 67 the previous day.

Italy Cases Slow Slightly (11:33 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 1,587 new coronavirus cases on Sunday down from 1,638 the previous day. There were 15 additional deaths bringing the total number of people that have died from the virus in Italy since the beginning of the pandemic to 35,707.

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care at hospitals rose by 7 to 222, according to Health Ministry data. That compares with a peak of more than 4,000 ICU patients in April.

Myanmar Tightens Restrictions (11:29 a.m. NY)

Myanmar imposed tighter restrictions on Yangon, its largest province, after reporting a record 671 new cases, according to the Central Committee on Covid-19 Control led by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The order covers more than 7 million people, barring travel outside the province except for essential workers and limiting outside shopping to one person in a household. Another 11 fatalities were reported.

U.K. Cases Above Seven-Day Average (11:10 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported 3,899 more Covid-19 cases in the past day, after two days of infections exceeding 4,000. Still, it’s above the average of 3,600 reported over the previous seven days. Another 18 people died, bringing the death toll to 41,777.

Curbs on socializing are set to come into effect in areas of Northern England on Tuesday, while Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned further restrictions will probably be needed “soon” in the British capital, where infection rates are the highest in the country after the northwest.

New York Cases, Deaths Even (11 a.m. NY)

New York reported 862 new cases, a 0.2% rise equal to the average daily increase of the previous seven days. The transmission rate remained less than one, below the point at which the virus is considered to be increasing. Two more fatalities were reported, the same as the previous day.

U.S. Cases Steady as Deaths Near 200,000 (7:28 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added 41,206 new cases, a 0.6% rise that equals the average daily increase in the previous seven days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Another 693 people died, as cases rose to 199,258, just under 200,000.

France Doesn’t Rule Out Nationalizations (7:05 a.m. NY)

The French government doesn’t rule out nationalizing a company if necessary, Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in an interview on RTL radio on Sunday. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is doing fine, she added.

Le Maire became the country’s most senior official to become infected by the coronavirus.

EU Intent on Avoiding Lockdown, Breton Says (7:05 a.m. NY)

The European Commission’s priority is to avoid another lockdown, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in an interview on radio France Inter. There is no plan to close borders for people or goods, he said.

Hong Kong Halts Air India Flights for Two Weeks (7:04 a.m. NY)

Hong Kong suspended Air India flights until Oct. 3 after six passengers on a plane from New Delhi tested positive for the virus, the government said.

Hong Kong recorded the highest number of new infections in almost a month. One-third of the 23 new cases were in people who had recently traveled from India, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Only four local infections were reported.

U.K. Must Spur Tech Revolution: BOE’s Haldane (6:52 a.m. NY)

The U.K. government must take action to spur a technological revolution that will create a “faster and smarter” economy and equip companies for the post-pandemic world, according to Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane.

The U.K.’s recovery in July was “further and faster” than expected, but a whole new raft of measures are needed, including tax incentives and access to funding, to help millions of businesses adapt, Haldane wrote in a joint paper with former John Lewis Partnership Chairman Charlie Mayfield for the The Mail on Sunday.

The rare policy recommendation comes just weeks before Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils his budget and spending review to save jobs and pump new life into the coronavirus-battered economy.

U.K. at ‘Tipping Point,’ Hancock Tells Sky TV (4:41 p.m. HK)

The U.K. is at a “tipping point” in its fight to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and the government is ready to impose new restrictions to try stem the accelerating numbers of new infections, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a television interview on Sky TV.

The government isn’t ruling out new national measures, but for now will stick with more localized efforts to tamp the outbreak, he said.

Hancock said he was “very worried” about a second wave. Anyone who tests positive “must be isolated,” he said. The government announced that people breaking self-isolation rules could face fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($12,917).

The country reported a further 4,422 new cases on Saturday, the biggest daily increase since early May.

Hungary Cases Hit Record as Government Steps Up Measures (4:19 p.m. HK)

New coronavirus cases in Hungary reached a record 1,070 in the past day. The government is selectively ramping up regulations to slow the spread of the virus, by stricter mask usage and closing bars at 11 p.m., but sporting events like football matches are still open for spectators. Hungary, which has a population of almost 10 million, has had 17,990 cases from 615,999 tests.

Germany New Cases Subside at Elevated Level (4:16 p.m. HK)

Germany recorded 1,685 new coronavirus cases as per Saturday, a daily drop of 23% although levels are still the highest since April. A total of 9,390 deaths have been recorded to date along with 241,125 recoveries.

South Korea to Strengthen Holiday Distancing Rules (4:07 p.m. HK)

South Korea plans to strengthen social-distancing restrictions for two weeks around the nation’s Chuseok holidays in early October to cap the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a briefing on Sunday. Details will be released this week.

The government will also extend Level 2 distancing rules placed in regions outside the Seoul metropolitan area by one week to Sept. 27.

Cathay Flight Suspended After Infections Found (9:20 a.m. HK)

Cathay Pacific said in a statement that five passengers from India who were on a Cathay Dragon flight between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong on Sept. 18 tested positive for Covid-19, even after they submitted negative nucleic acid tests before their trip. The passengers were earlier on an India Express flight.

Hong Kong authorities will bar Cathay Dragon passenger flights from Kuala Lumpur for two weeks, leading the airline to suspend the service until Oct. 3, according to the statement. The carrier had been scheduled to operate three flights a week on that route, it said.

Courtesy/Source: Bloomberg