Worst Yet to Come, WHO Says; Virtual APEC Forum: Virus Update


Bloomberg News

People wait in line at a walk up Covid-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, on June 27.

Photographer: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

The World Health Organization warned the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come because of a lack of global solidarity. More U.S. areas took steps to scale back reopenings, with Arizona closing bars and New Jersey halting plans for indoor dining.

Daily deaths in Iran reached a record, while South Korea and China reported more cases. New Zealand will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 2021 using virtual platforms.

Gilead Sciences Inc. said it will charge the U.S. government and other developed countries $390 per vial for its coronavirus-fighting drug remdesivir, or about $2,340 for a typical five-day course of treatment.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 10.2 million; deaths top 504,000
  • Testing in U.S. hot spots means long lines, delays
  • Johnson promises ‘New Deal’ to rebuild U.K. economy
  • Bali hotels are cheap with virus hammering tourism
  • One big question: Are we going back into lockdown?: QuickTake

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.

China, South Korea Report New Cases (9:26 a.m. HK)

China reported 19 coronavirus cases for Monday, according to the National Health Commission. Seven of them were in Beijing. The country reported four asymptomatic cases.

Separately, South Korea confirmed 43 more cases, bringing its total to 12,800.

New Zealand Will Host APEC in 2021 Using Virtual Platforms (8:28 a.m. HK)

New Zealand’s hosting of the APEC forum in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms rather than the usual series of conferences and high-level meetings.

While the annual APEC leaders meeting wouldn’t be held until November 2021, hosting requires thousands of people entering New Zealand from late 2020, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement Tuesday in Wellington. The government is making the call now for planning and security purposes, he said.

Mexico Reports Lowest Daily Rise in Cases in Two Weeks (8:27 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 3,805 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 220,657, according to data released by the Health Ministry. That’s the lowest daily increase in confirmed cases since June 15.

Arizona to Close Bars, Gyms and Theaters (6:39 a.m. HK)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said the state will pause operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks as of 8 p.m. local time. The state is targeting reopening in 30 days.

The Arizona Department of Health Services will activate crisis standards of care Monday afternoon and tell hospitals to prepare for a surge, Director Cara Christ said.

L.A. County Warns of Overwhelming Hospitals (5:55 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles County counted its highest daily totals of new cases and people who are hospitalized due to the virus, Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said at a daily briefing Monday. The seven-day average rate of positive tests has jumped to 8.4% from 4.6% in late May, the county said in a release.

The data indicate the virus is increasingly spreading through the community, not just because of increased testing, Ferrer said. Some businesses also aren’t in compliance with public-health rules, she said, urging residents to practice physical distancing and to wear masks.

“Immediate action is needed,” Ferrer said. “Otherwise we’re quickly moving toward overwhelming our health-care system.”

Last week, one in 400 people in Los Angeles County were unknowingly infected and not isolated. This week that number is now one in 140 people, said Christina Ghaly, director of L.A. County Health Services.

Powell Stresses Urgency of Containing Virus (5:40 p.m. NY)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stressed the importance of keeping the coronavirus contagion contained as the U.S. economy bounces back from its deepest contraction in decades.

”We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,” Powell said in remarks prepared for testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges — notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”

Texas Cases Rise 2.9% (4:45 p.m. NY)

Texas posted a 2.9% increase in new cases, which pushed the cumulative total to 153,011, according to state health department figures. The one-day increase trailed the seven-day average of 4.2% and was the lowest in a week.

In Houston, where emergency rooms and intensive-care units have been strained by the influx of patients, the cohort of Covid-19 patients in ICUs below the age of 40 is about 15%, David Persse, the city’s director of emergency medical services, said during a media briefing on Monday.

“They are extremely ill,” Persse said. “If they’re thinking, ‘I’ll get sick and then I’ll get over it,’ recognize that 15% of the people in ICUs now are in their 20s and 30s.”

Since late May, calls to the city’s 911 system have soared by almost 40%, driven by respiratory-distress cases, Fire Chief Samuel Pena said during the briefing. Emergency rooms are getting backed up trying to admit the influx of patients and that’s delaying how quickly ambulances can return to service and respond to new 911 calls, he said.

Unions Sue Vegas Casinos Over Virus Protection (4:30 p.m. NY)

MGM Resorts International’s Bellagio and Signature Condominiums, as well as Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s Harrah’s, were sued by Las Vegas labor unions for allegedly failing to do enough to protect workers from Covid-19.

The culinary workers and the bartenders unions filed a complaint Monday in federal court in Las Vegas claiming the hotel and casino operators wouldn’t immediately close and deep-clean areas where infected employees had worked and would require employees to continue working without immediate informing them that a co-worker had tested positive or conducting contact tracing to see if they had been exposed.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of everyone inside of our properties,” MGM Resorts said in response to the lawsuit. “We have spent months working with health experts to create a comprehensive health and safety plan. We have offered free testing to all employees before they report to work and require it if they exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.”

Representatives of Caesars didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.2% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by 29,182 as compared to the same time Sunday to 2.56 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.2% increase was below the average daily increase of 1.6% over the past week. Deaths rose 0.2% to 125,928.

  • Montana cases rose by 6.5% to 919, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
  • Florida reported 146,341 cases, up 3.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.5% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 3,447, an increase of 0.8%,
  • California cases rose 2.5%, less than the seven-day average of 2.8%, for a total of 216,550. Deaths rose 0.5% to 5,905.

AMC Delays Theater Reopenings to July 30 (3:30 p.m. NY)

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the largest U.S. cinema chain, will start reopening its theaters on July 30, two weeks later than expected, after Hollywood studios rescheduled nearly every movie that was supposed to come out next month.

The chain said Monday it will reopen 450 locations on July 30, and a further 150 the following week. AMC initially planned a July 15 end to its four-month domestic closing, which was so devastating to the company that it warned it might go out of business. The first new big-budget film of the summer, “Tenet” from AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros., was expected to come out on July 17.

N.J. Pauses Indoor Dining Plan for July 2 (2:58 p.m. NY)

Governor Phil Murphy said he would pause New Jersey’s plans to restart indoor dining on July 2, citing concerns about such a “sedentary” activity especially among “outlier” bars and restaurants not following social distancing.

This “brings me no joy to do this, but we have no choice,” Murphy said.

New Jersey indoor dining, with capacity caps and other restrictions, had been scheduled to restart on July 2, four days before New York City was to do so. But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said skyrocketing cases in the South and West have prompted them to consider postponing dining’s return. Cuomo also cited the failure of some New York City residents to practice social distancing.

10,000 Iran Health-Care Workers Have Virus (2:45 p.m. NY)

Some 10,000 Iranian health-care workers have contracted the coronavirus and least 64 have died fighting the pandemic, Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister, said on state TV.

On Monday, Iran reported its highest daily death toll from Covid-19 at 162. The country has 10,670 fatalities from more than 225,000 confirmed cases.

Houston-Area ICU Beds Are 95% Full (2:07 p.m. NY)

Houston-area intensive-care unit wards were 95% full as of Sunday night, up from 93% on Saturday, according to data from the Texas Medical Center. Covid-19 patients occupied 34% of the beds, compared with 31% a day earlier.

The number of Covid-19 patients requiring ICU admission is growing by an average of 3.5% a day, the center said on its website. The hospital systems that inform the medical center’s database have 64 regular ICU beds available and another 877 additional slots that could be made available to handle an overflow.

Houston residents reported waiting for hours to test for #Covid19.

Texas is fast becoming the new center of America’s #coronavirus pandemic. More @business: https://t.co/h5EZPDpcwe #CoronavirusUSA pic.twitter.com/yEVEk23jwQ

— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 29, 2020

Worst Yet to Come, WHO Chief Says (12:30 p.m. NY)

Tomorrow marks six months since the World Health Organization became aware of the novel coronavirus, and the “worst is yet to come” given a lack of global solidarity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said at a briefing in Geneva.

Some countries are experiencing a resurgence of cases and half the deaths are coming from the Americas, he said.

“This virus can be suppressed and contained using the tools at hand,” and countries shouldn’t wait for a vaccine to deal with it, Tedros said, giving the examples of South Korea, Japan and Germany. “If any country is saying that contact-tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse.”

The WHO will send a team of researchers to China next week to study the virus’s origins, Tedros said.

“This is not even close to being over.”

WHO Director-General says international unity is required to end the pandemic pic.twitter.com/DxigKcQcVr

— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 29, 2020

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel



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