October 28, 2021

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U.S. Cases Slow as Deaths Pass 1,000 for Fifth Day: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

The U.S. added 47,813 virus cases, a 0.9% rise that compares with a 1% increase over the previous week. Nationwide deaths exceeded 1,000 for the fifth consecutive day. A measure of intensive-care hospitalizations in California rose to the highest in seven weeks.

Italy told nightclubs to close, matching a similar directive by Spain on Friday. France’s public health agency warned that all of the country’s Covid-19 indicators are trending upward.

Russia agreed in principle with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine, the head of its sovereign wealth fund said. China and Russia may also work together on a vaccine, a Chinese virus expert said.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Global cases top 21.5 million; deaths pass 772,000How $50,000-a-year private schools plan for Covid: NYC ReopensFirst into the virus slump, China is proving the fastest outRussia’s new Sputnik launch raises risks in dash for Covid shotsIndia’s virus testing system is ‘like flipping a coin’Rubber-glove boom spurred by pandemic creates billionaire

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.

Virus Clusters Spread at University of North Carolina (5:15 p.m. NY)

A new cluster of Covid-19 cases has broken out at a University of North Carolina residence, the fourth in the last three days, the Daily Tar Heel reported on Sunday.

A university spokesman said it would not say how many students were infected, according to the student newspaper. The university defines as five or more cases in “close proximity.”

Residents of infected halls received an email saying that testing and tracing protocols are in place and no additional action was required, the newspaper reported.

Another Georgia High School Closes (2:58 p.m.)

A third high school in a Georgia county hit by a Covid-19 outbreak said it would close after 25 students tested positive and 500 were quarantined, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The school district expects more of the 1,800 students to be quarantined once testing is completed.

Another high school in Cherokee county, Etowah, made national headlines after students posted pictures of maskless crowds of students — and was then closed after 59 students tested positive.

Hard-hit Georgia has been a battleground during the pandemic. Governor Brian Kemp insisted on an early reopening, then sued localities including Atlanta for requiring face masks. He withdrew that lawsuit last week, and on Saturday signed an executive order allowing for local mask ordinances while exempting private property from enforcement or fines.

California ICU Trend Reaches Seven-Week High (2:05 p.m. NY)

California added 7,873 new cases — compared with the 14-day average of 8,029 — bringing the total to 621,562. Deaths rose by 77 to 11,224.

While the number of hospital patients fell to the lowest level since the end of June, the percentage of those in ICU increased to 31.8% based on a five-day average, the highest since late June, according to data on the state’s health department’s website.

France Headed for Masks in Offices (1:48 p.m. NY)

France reported 3,015 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, marking the second straight day with more than 3,000 new infections. One additional death was reported.

“The situation is worrying: All indicators continue to increase and the transmission of the virus is on the rise,” the French public health agency said in a statement.

French Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne will propose Tuesday that masks be required in businesses by September in places where people work together in an enclosed space, she said in an interview with Journal du Dimanche.

She cited meeting rooms and common areas as places where masks would be required, and said she will discuss with the Health Ministry whether they’ll be needed in open-plan offices.

Italy Closes Nightclubs, Widens Mask Orders (1:30 p.m. NY)

The Italian government ordered nightclubs to close and broadened rules on wearing protective masks after talks Sunday with regional leaders.Dances in nightclubs, indoors and in the open will be suspended, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a Facebook post. Wearing masks will be compulsory from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in public spaces, including squares and streets where crowds can gather. Spain closed nightclubs on Friday.

“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in the past months,” Speranza wrote. Italy already requires people to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops among other indoor locations.

Italy reported 479 new coronavirus cases Sunday after 629 a day earlier, which was the most since late May. The trend has been driven in part by Italians returning from vacations abroad.

Ireland Warned on Possible New Curbs (1:07 p.m. NY)

Irish Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said authorities “will make any necessary recommendations” to the government to ensure a safe reopening of health-care services and schools.

While the country’s phased reopening has allowed people to socialize again, “some are doing this recklessly,” Glynn said in a statement. Ireland reported 66 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, compared with 200 a day earlier.

Arizona Cases, Deaths Fall (11:40 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 883 cases, fewer than the previous day and in line with the average 0.5% daily increase from the week before. Total cases are 193,537. Reported deaths fell to 14, from 69 the day before, for a total of 4,506.

Florida Cases, Deaths Slow (11 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 573,416 cases, up 0.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.1% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 9,452, an increase of 107, according to the state health department report, which includes data through Saturday. The state has reported four days in the last week with more than 200 deaths.

New York Reports Fewer Cases (10:15 a.m. NY)

New York reported 607 cases, a 0.1% rise compared with an average 0.2% increase from the previous seven days. Another six deaths were recorded, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet. Hospitalizations remained steady, and positive-test results stayed under 1%, he said.

N.J. Governor Backs Biden Mask Plan (10 a.m. NY)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Sunday he supports Joe Biden’s suggestion that each state should require its people to wear face masks to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that continues to ravage the U.S.

“The science and the data and the facts are unequivocal,” Murphy, who is also a co-chair for the Democratic National Committee’s presidential convention, said in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. “I think we could accelerate dramatically driving this virus into the ground. It’s been a big weapon for us in New Jersey, but as a nation we’re only as strong as our weakest link. To have a national strategy I think would be a game changer.”

Last month Murphy signed an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings when they are outside in public spaces and can’t socially distance.

U.K. Cases Pass 1,000 Again (9:55 a.m. NY)

U.K. cases increased by more than 1,000 for the sixth consecutive day and five more people died of Covid-19, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.

The latest daily figure for deaths, which includes all those who tested positive for coronavirus in the U.K. and then died within 28 days of that test, rose from three reported Saturday, according to the department. The number of new cases was up from 1,012 Saturday.

Vietnam Confirms Coronavirus Death (8:06 a.m. NY)

Vietnam’s health ministry confirmed one death from the coronavirus, and reported nine new local cases, three of them imported. That brings the total number of infections to 962.

U.S. Rise in Cases Below 7-Day Average (8 a.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased by 47,813, a 0.9% rise on the day. That’s lower than the 1% increase over the previous week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. It was the smallest increase since Tuesday.

Deaths related to Covid-19 rose by 1,046 nationwide, the fifth-consecutive day with more than 1,000, though almost 300 fewer than the previous day, according to the data.

CureVac Won’t Sell Virus Vaccine at Cost, CFO Tells FT (7:17 a.m. NY)

CureVac NV won’t sell its coronavirus vaccine candidate at cost and instead plans to demand an “ethical” margin, the German company’s finance chief told the Financial Times.

While the company still expects to sell the vaccine from mid-2021, things could move faster, Chief Executive Officer Franz-Werner Haas told the Boerse Online financial news site in an interview.

“We are not ruling out accelerated approval, but it can only be achieved in close cooperation with authorities,” Haas was cited as saying.

Nestle’s Swiss Sites Add Temperature Checks (6:40 a.m. NY)

Nestle SA has introduced temperature controls at the entrances of all its Swiss locations, including at headquarters and in Nespresso capsule production sites, SonntagsBlick reported. More than 10,000 employees are affected by the measures, according to the newspaper.

Netherlands Tightens Travel Guidelines (6 a.m. NY)

The Netherlands raised its travel advisory level to orange for three Spanish regions, including Madrid and the Balearic Islands, as well as for Paris and Brussels.

The advisory, which discourages nonessential travel and requires self quarantine upon return to the Netherlands, was also raised for the Bouches-du-Rhone region in southern France, and three provinces in central and southern Spain.

The Netherlands had earlier issued its orange travel advisory for the Belgian province of Antwerp and six provinces in Spain’s northeast, including those surrounding Barcelona and Lerida, which was at the center of a late-July outbreak.

China, Russia Plan Joint Tests: Chinese Scientist (4:35 a.m. NY)

Zhong Nanshan, a top virus expert in China, said at a meeting on Sunday that China and Russia have plans to jointly conduct vaccine clinical trials, without giving further details. The meeting, held in China’s Guangdong province, is about virus cooperation between the two countries and attended by virus experts from both sides, according to local reports.

Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin’s drugmaker Petrovax is starting a phase III trial in Russia of Chinese company CanSino Biologics Inc.’s Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate, it said on its website Saturday. Petrovax plans to produce the vaccine at its facilities in the Moscow Region once it’s registered in Russia.

U.K. Putting Jobs in Danger, Think Tank Says (4:23 a.m. NY)

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is endangering 2 million viable jobs by ending his coronavirus jobs support program too early, the Institute for Public Policy Research said. The think tank estimates that 3 million workers will still be relying on the plan when it ends in October, two-thirds of whom are in roles that would be sustainable if the help was extended into next year.

Removing the support too early would “cause long-lasting damage to the economy and to people’s lives,” the authors of the report said. Even with the plan, which currently pays 80% of an employee’s wage, there are signs the labor market is in crisis.

Russia Gets Saudi Arabia to Test Vaccine (3:15 a.m. NY)

Russia reached an agreement in principle to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the head of its sovereign wealth fund.

The Russians are working with a pharmaceutical company in the kingdom and have shared data from Phase I and Phase II trials with Saudi partners, the chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told Arab News. The company wasn’t identified.

Russia can start mass inoculations with its Sputnik V vaccine within about a month, after production ramps up, RIA Novosti reported, citing the head of the Gamaleya center, Alexander Ginzburg.

Russia reported 4,969 new cases of Covid-19 Sunday, the second time since April that daily numbers have dropped below 5,000, bringing the total to 922,853. The official death toll rose by 68, reaching 15,685.

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