U.S. Cases Top 50,000; China Stamps Out Flareup: Virus Update

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Medical staff change a patient’s clothes in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston on June 30.

Photographer: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Bloomberg News –  Bloomberg.com

U.S. daily coronavirus cases topped 50,000 for the first time ever with reopenings halted in areas including New York City and California. China reported just one new coronavirus case in Beijing as the nation appears to have brought the latest flareup under control.

U.S. cases continue to hit records amid increases in big states including Florida, Texas and California, while reopenings were pulled back and more local governments instituted mask requirements. In an interview with Fox Business Network, President Donald Trump said he’d wear a mask if he were “in a tight situation with people” but that he’s not convinced they should be required even as cases spike.

Australian police are probing alleged security lapses at Melbourne hotels used to quarantine overseas arrivals, including claims guards slept with guests. Victoria state on Thursday recorded 77 infections in the previous 24 hours, while most other states and territories have recorded few, if any, transmissions for weeks. Mexico’s deaths reached 28,510, overtaking Spain to have the world’s sixth deadliest outbreak.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Global cases pass 10.6 million; Deaths top 515,000
  • Young Americans party hard and spread virus fast
  • Understanding the virus and its unanswered questions
  • Tourism industry’s losses seen exceeding $1.2 trillion
  • Australia opens borders for students
  • How a Chinese firm jumped to the front in vaccine race

U.S. Cases Top 50,000 for First Time Ever (11:05 a.m. HK)

U.S. daily cases rose above 50,000 for the first time ever on the first day of July, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

New cases rose by 51,374 on Wednesday. They rose 1.95% from Tuesday, the fastest rate since mid-May.

Taiwan Mulls Easing Border Controls Gradually (11:01 a.m. HK)

The government will gradually lift border controls without compromising virus containment efforts, depending on Covid-19 situation globally and domestically, Mainland Affairs Council says on its website. Decision will be announced in a timely manner.

Washington Frats Record Widespread Infections (10:57 a.m. HK)

At least 80 students living in a dozen fraternity houses at the University of Washington campus tested positive, with hundreds of results pending, the Seattle Times reported.

Three fraternity residents had symptoms of COVID-19, and public health officials noticed a spike in cases from the area among people ages 18 to 20, said university spokeswoman Michelle Ma, according to the newspaper.

U.S. House Extends Small Business Loan Plan (10:08 a.m. HK)

The House gave congressional approval Wednesday to extending the popular Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses until Aug. 8, hours after the deadline for applications lapsed with more than $130 billion still available.

The Senate passed the extension Tuesday, shortly before the Small Business Administration was to stop accepting new loan applications at 11:59 p.m. Both chambers used expedited procedures to send the bill to President Donald Trump, who was expected to sign it, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Australia’s Victoria Records 77 Cases (9:28 a.m. HK)

Victoria on Thursday said it had 77 new infections in the previous 24 hours, while most other states and territories have recorded few, if any, community transmissions for weeks.

The new infections means that Victoria has 415 active cases that its aware of, which state Chief Heath Officer Brett Sutton said on Thursday “means there are other infections still to be found out there and they’re all at risk of transmitting to others.”

South Korea Confirms 54 Coronavirus Cases (9:16 a.m. HK)

South Korea found 54 more confirmed Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 12,904, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Of the new cases 44 were locally infected, while 10 were imported. The death toll remained unchanged at 282.

China Reports 3 Coronavirus Cases, 2 Imported (8:54 a.m. HK)

China reported three new cases, including one in Beijing and two imported cases in Shanghai and Guangdong, according to a statement from China’s National Health Commission.

On Wednesday, the nation reported three local cases in Beijing, down from seven the day before. China has reported 83,537 confirmed coronavirus cases, and the total death toll now stands at 4,634.

Hotel Quarantine Lapses Probed in Australia (8:35 a.m. HK)

Australian police are probing alleged security lapses at Melbourne hotels used to quarantine overseas arrivals, including claims guards slept with guests.

Health authorities are investigating whether the breaches have contributed to a resurgence of coronavirus in the nation’s second-largest city.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday he supported a judicial review into “strong claims of inappropriate behavior” by guards employed by security companies contracted by Victoria’s state government.

Mexico Now Has Sixth Deadliest Outbreak (8:33 a.m. HK)

Mexico’s Covid-19 deaths rose by 741 to reach 28,510, leading the country to overtake Spain and have the world’s sixth deadliest outbreak, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night.

Confirmed cases rose by 5,681 to 231,770. Deaths and cases in Mexico have increased steadily in recent weeks as Latin America has emerged as a hot spot for the pandemic. The country is also likely to soon overtake France, which has 29,864 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

JetBlue Guarantees No Furloughs in Pilot Accord (7:53 a.m. HK)

JetBlue Airways Corp. agreed not to furlough any pilots involuntarily until May 1 in exchange for unspecified contract concessions designed to help the carrier cut expenses.

The deal doesn’t include changes to pay rates or significant modifications in work rules, the JetBlue unit of the Air Line Pilots Association said Wednesday in a letter to members. The union said it couldn’t yet disclose short-term changes in portions of its contract from October through April, which will return to normal earlier “if demand for flying recovers.”

N.Z. Health Minister Resigns, Citing Distraction (7:44 a.m. HK)

New Zealand’s Health Minister David Clark has resigned, saying his remaining in the role would be a distraction from the government’s successful response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Clark came under pressure after twice breaching the nation’s strict lockdown rules by traveling outside his local area to exercise. He offered to resign at the time, but Ardern retained him, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate to change ministers while the pandemic was raging.

“The prime minister made it clear at the time that under normal circumstances she would have accepted that resignation, but she did not want significant disruption to the health system in the middle of the emergency response,” Clark told reporters today.

Top Copper Producer Scales Back as Workers Fall Ill (7:38 a.m. HK)

BHP Group announced plans to scale back one of its copper mines in Chile, while unions in the country push for safer conditions as more workers fall ill. In the first mining cutback since Covid-19 infections began to explode in Chile six weeks ago, BHP said its Cerro Colorado operation will “significantly” reduce activities and trim its workforce.

Cerro Colorado is small and has a short mine life, but the decision stokes concerns over whether the top copper-producing nation can maintain output at high levels as the virus spreads.

Brazil Delays Municipal Election By a Month (7:13 a.m. HK)

Brazil delayed this year’s municipal elections by a month as the country struggles to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil’s lower house of congress approved on Wednesday a constitutional amendment to postpone the first round of the election, initially scheduled to October, to November 15. Run-off votes will take place on November 29th. The proposal, which had already been approved by the Senate, is ready to be signed into law by the president of Congress.

Delivery staff at Brazil’s biggest mobile app providers staged a one-day nationwide walkout Wednesday to demand better working conditions and highlight the country’s increased dependence on the informal labor market. Demands by staffers for apps such as Uber Eats, Rappi, Loggi, and iFood include increased pay per delivery, benefits such as life insurance and coverage for on-the-job injuries, personal protective equipment during the pandemic, and meal vouchers.

Trump Says Masks ‘Good’ But Questions Mandates (6:46 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said he’d wear a mask if he were “in a tight situation with people” but that he’s not convinced they should be required even as coronavirus cases are spiking in parts of the U.S.

“I don’t know if you need mandatory,” Trump said Wednesday in a Fox Business Network interview. “I’m all for masks, I think masks are good.”

Trump has mocked his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, for wearing a mask and hasn’t publicly worn one, though he is facing calls to do so. His comments come a day after Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “Please, please, please wear a face covering when you go out in public.”

Trump added that Americans should “do what makes you feel good” and follow guidelines, and alluded in both interviews to wearing a face covering during a tour of a ventilator plant in Michigan. In that visit, he opted not to wear the covering in front of the media but was photographed masked during a private part of the tour.

McDonald’s Halts Resuming U.S. Dine-In (6:20 a.m. HK)

McDonald’s Corp. is pausing the resumption of all dine-in services in its U.S. restaurants as the coronavirus outbreak flares up in areas across the country.

The halt will last for 21 days, the fast-food chain said in an internal letter that was viewed by Bloomberg. Locations that have already reopened their dining rooms should consult guidance from local and state officials on whether to roll back services, according to the letter, which was signed by Joe Erlinger, McDonald’s U.S. president, and Mark Salebra, head of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance.

Florida’s Miami-Dade to Require Masks (6 a.m. HK)

Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous, will start requiring masks in all public spaces.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he will sign an emergency order later Wednesday, according to an emailed statement. Masks were previously required in indoor public spaces and outdoors when effective social distancing was not possible.

Under the new rules, masks must be used outdoors “with few exceptions,” the statement said.

Texas Posts Record Rise in Cases (4:58 p.m. NY)

Texas posted a record 8,076 new virus cases, pushing the total to 168,062, according to state health department figures. Fatalities jumped by 57 to 2,481 for the biggest one-day increase since May 14.

The state’s positive-test rate has been above 13% for four days, the longest stretch above that threshold since the pandemic emerged.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.8% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by 46,065 from a day earlier to 2.66 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.8% rise was in line with the average daily increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.9% to 127,681.

  • Florida reported 158,997 cases, up 4.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.7% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 3,550, an increase of 1.3%.
  • Arizona reported 4,878 new cases, a record number for the state. That brought the total number of cases to 84,092. It also reported 88 new deaths, another one-day record that put the total at 1,720.
  • California reported 9,740 new infections, its biggest-ever daily jump. The 4.4% rise in cases exceeded the seven-day average of a 2.8% increase, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

California Closes Indoor Dining in Hard-Hit Counties (3:41 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the shutdown of indoor businesses including restaurants, bars, museums and movie theaters in 19 counties as the state grapples with a surge of infections from the coronavirus.

The areas affected include Los Angeles County, the hardest-hit part of the state, and in total account for about 70% of California’s population, Newsom said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Watch: California Governor Gavin Newsom orders the shutdown of indoor businesses including restaurants, museums and movie theaters in 19 counties.

(Source: ABC/Bloomberg)

Pennsylvania Mandates Masks (3:30 p.m. NY)

People in Pennsylvania must now wear masks when leaving home, Governor Tom Wolf announced Wednesday.

“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in Covid-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Pennsylvania has 84,751 confirmed coronavirus cases and 6,649 deaths, according to its website.

South Africa Reports Record Case Increase (3:30 p.m. NY)

South Africa reported a record 8,124 new coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, with the infection-rate in the economic hub that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria set to rise to the highest in the nation over the next few weeks.

With eased lockdown guidelines, more people are returning to work as more businesses including hairdressers and sit-in restaurants have reopened.
Cumulative infections rose to 159,333 in the latest daily report, with an additional 92 confirmed deaths, bringing the national coronavirus death toll to 2,749.

Miami-Dade Covid-19 Hospitalizations Jump (1:46 p.m. NY)

Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous, reported the highest numbers of Covid-19 intensive-care patients since at least early April.

Covid-19-related ventilator use is now about two-and-a-half times higher than it was at the end of May, according to the county’s daily report on Wednesday, which is based on self-reporting by hospitals.

Miami-Dade has 1,298 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, an increase of 96 from a day earlier. The number of virus patients in intensive-care unit beds rose to 266 from 245. There are 118 Covid-19 patients on ventilators, up from 103 a day earlier.

N.Y. Allows All Residents to Get Tested (1:35 p.m. NY)

New York state is opening testing to all residents as the number of positive coronavirus cases in more than half of the country continues to rise.

The state previously had limited testing to essential workers, nursing-home staff and those who had been exposed. But Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Wednesday that it has increased testing capacity and all New Yorkers can and should be tested.

“Go get a test,” Cuomo said. “It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t hurt.”

Since March, the state has tested 4 million of its approximately 19 million residents and has more than 750 testing sites, he said.

Houston’s ICU Beds Exceed Capacity (1:20 p.m. NY)

Houston’s intensive-case units exceeded full capacity as the Covid-19 outbreak spread, according to data from the Texas Medical Center.

There were 1,350 patients in Houston-area ICU wards as of late Tuesday, surpassing the system’s normal capacity of 1,330 beds, the medical center said on its website on Wednesday. Covid-19 patient accounted for 36% of those beds.

Houston’s intensive-care wards are overflowing normal capacity, prompting hospitals to tap so-called surge beds to cope with the expanding outbreak. Surge capacity comes from converting beds normally used for standard care to ICU use.

WHO Laying Out New China Mission Scope (12:45 p.m. NY)

A small World Health Organization advance team is making preparations with Chinese colleagues to set up the scope of its mission to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, according to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program. The WHO plans to send an expert on animal health and an epidemiological expert with a background in field investigations of epidemics.

“We expect then in collaboration with our colleagues in China to define a larger international mission,” Ryan said.

Watch: Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, says a small advance team is making preparations with Chinese colleagues to set up the scope of its mission to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.

(Source: APTN/Bloomberg)

Europe Says It Has Enough Covid Drug (12:30 p.m. NY)

Countries including Britain, Germany and Switzerland sought to allay concerns that they won’t have sufficient stocks of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, one of two drugs shown to treat Covid-19, after the U.S forged a deal to snap up almost all the supplies for three months.

The U.K. worked with Gilead in May to secure remdesivir in advance and has enough of the medicine to treat every National Health Service patient who needs it, officials said in an email response to questions Wednesday. Switzerland has supplies of the drug set aside for seriously ill patients, according to a government spokesman.

Arizona Reports Record Case Jump (11:33 a.m. NY)

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,878 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, a record for the state as it battles a surge in the virus. That brought the total number of cases to 84,092. The state also reported 88 new deaths, another one-day record that put the total at 1,720.

NYC Delays Indoor Dining (10:30 a.m. NY)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was postponing a planned return to indoor dining next week, citing a surge in infections in other states. He said outdoor dining would continue.

“It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining, but it is the time to double our efforts with outdoor dining,” de Blasio said, citing rising cases in Florida, California and Texas. “The news we’ve gotten around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”

The city — which had initially planned a return to indoor dining on July 6 — will now help restaurants expand operations outdoors on sidewalks and curbside parking spaces, he said.

De Blasio also announced that city’s beaches in the Rockaways, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Bronx would open Wednesday, and that 15 of the city’s largest public pools will be open over the next few weeks.

(Source: ABC/Bloomberg)

— With assistance by Jonas O Bergman, and Jason Scott

 

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