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U.S. Cases Rise 1%; California Breaches 600,000: Virus Update

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 8/14/2020 Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. cases increased by 1% on the day, matching the average daily increase over the past week. Illinois had the most daily cases since May and Florida recorded more than 200 deaths for the third time in four days. California became the first state to top 600,000 confirmed infections.

President Donald Trump said McKesson Corp will aid with vaccine distribution, even as more than a third of Americans in a survey said they wouldn’t get vaccinated. New Jersey’s governor said the state is meeting public resistance to contact tracing.

Paris expanded its outdoor mask-wearing requirement, Spain closed nightclubs and Italy reported the most new infections since May.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Global cases top 21 million; deaths pass 761,600Schumer backs $120 billion restaurant fund as aid talks sputterJamie Salter builds $15 billion empire from washed-up retailersCruise ship inquiry blasts Australian health officialsVirus vaccine rush leaves little recourse for anyone it harmsForced isolation may be the only way to stop resurgence of virusA fake shot may be your ticket to the front of the vaccine line

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.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Germany recorded the largest increase in cases since the beginning of May © Bloomberg Germany recorded the largest increase in cases since the beginning of May

California Tops 600,000 Cases (4:50 p.m. NY)

California became the first U.S. state to top 600,000 confirmed infections, adding 7,934 cases Friday for a total of 601,075. The new cases included 4,429 from a lab-reporting backlog of prior days and 3,505 new daily infections, Governor Gavin Newsom said in a briefing Friday. That’s well below the 14-day average of 7,678.

While California now leads the U.S. in cases, Newsom said the state is “punching above our weight” in testing, conducting an average of nearly 130,000 tests per day.

“We’re not playing in the political frame that somehow tests are bad because they will by, definition, show a higher count of total number of positives,” he said, adding that cases are probably much more prevalent in his state and the rest of the country than numbers suggest. He pointed to the 14-day test positivity rate -- which has dropped to 6.2% from about 7% two weeks ago -- and falling hospitalizations as signs of improving trends.

Hospitalizations from the virus dropped 0.9% yesterday to 5,189 patients, the lowest since the end of June. They’ve declined 28% from a peak last month. The state reported 188 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 10,996.

Citi to Offer Workers Tutoring Discounts (4:37 p.m. NY)

Citigroup Inc. will offer employees discounts on test preparation and tutoring services as many workers remain at home with children at the start of the new school year.

The lender can also now help workers find an educational caregiver to supervise their children’s online learning, Sara Wechter, the bank’s head of human resources, said on LinkedIn. If employees decide to try small-group learning at home, it can also help them find families and educators to join their pod.

Cuomo Beats NRA Over Gun Shop Closures (4:15 p.m. NY)

A federal judge threw out a National Rifle Association lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for refusing to label gun shops as essential businesses allowed to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown he ordered in March.

U.S. District Judge Mae D’Agostino in Albany, New York, ruled Friday that the NRA didn’t have legal standing to sue the state on behalf of its members. The setback for the NRA comes days after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued to dissolve the nonprofit, which is chartered in the state.

U.S. Cases Rise in Line With One-Week Average (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1% compared with the same time Thursday, rising to 5.28 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The national increase in cases matched the average daily increase of 1% over the past week.

The number of cases in Arizona continued to increase at a slower pace, as the state reported 928 new infections Friday, for a total of 191,721.Florida reported 563,285 cases, up 1.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.3% in the previous seven days. The state reported deaths over 200 for the third time in four days.Hawaii experienced a 8.9% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 4,312, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.

Paris Expands City’s Outdoor Mask Requirement (3:20 p.m. NY)

Paris police widened an outdoor mask mandate in parts of the French capital from streets to entire neighborhoods, starting Saturday at 8 a.m. The rule applies to pedestrians and people working out.

Paris is tallying 260 new coronavirus cases a day with a 4.1% positive test rate, compared to an average of 2.4% across the country, the Paris police prefecture said in a statement on Twitter.

Trump Unveils McKesson Distribution Deal (2:04 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump announced a collaboration with McKesson Corp to aid in vaccine distribution at a briefing on Friday.

McKesson Corporation will be a central distributor of future Covid-19 vaccines and related supplies needed to administer the pandemic vaccinations, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Today’s announcement puts another building block in place as the Nation moves toward a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield.

New Jersey Struggles With Contact Tracing (1:35 p.m. NY)

In New Jersey, 20% of people called by contact tracers in the past week didn’t answer, and 50% who did respond “refuse to provide information,” Governor Phil Murphy said at a Trenton news conference. He said the state wasn’t looking for evidence of illegal activity and urged residents to “work with and be honest” with the 1,529 tracers on the job.

New Jersey reported 585 new cases in the past 24 hours, an increase of 0.3% compared with the prior seven-day average of 0.2%. To date, 15,903 deaths had a lab-confirmed or probable link to coronavirus, Murphy said.

Illinois Cases Spike (12:25 p.m. NY)

Illinois reported 2,264 new Covid-19 cases Friday, the largest daily total since May 24 as the state struggles to fend off a possible surge in virus infections. The number rose from 1,834 on Thursday.

France Cases Rise (1:20 p.m. NY)

France reported 2,846 new coronavirus cases on Friday up from 2,669 yesterday, health authorities said, the day after the U.K. declared that travelers from France would have to be quarantined.

The virus is circulating more actively in Paris and Bouches-du-Rhone region where Marseille is located. The authorities insisted on the importance of keep physical distancing. “We can all decide, collectively to massively slow down the epidemic.”

Chile’s Cases Steady (12:30 p.m. NY)

Chile reported 2,077 cases, a 0.6% rise compared with the 0.5% average daily increase in the previous seven days. Total cases are now 382,111. Another 41 deaths were reported, for a total of 10,340.

Chile has reported more cases than Spain, a country with two-and-a-half times more inhabitants.

Germany Says Spain a Risk (12:15 p.m. NY)

Germany’s government on Friday declared mainland Spain and the Balearic islands as a virus risk area after infections continued to rise. Travelers returning from Spain -- a highly popular tourism destination for Germans -- will have to test for the virus and quarantine until they have obtained the result, a spokeswoman of the Health Ministry said. The Canary Islands are excluded from the measure.

NYC Museums Can Reopen Aug. 24 (11:55 a.m. NY)

New York City museums, aquariums and other low-risk indoor activities can reopen starting Aug. 24 with 25% occupancy, and timed, preset and staggered entry, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Bowling alleys can reopen Monday with 50% occupancy and masks required, Cuomo said Friday on a call with reporters. The state will put out protocols on Monday for gyms, he said.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in New York state has remained below 1% for seven straight days, Of the 85,455 tests reported on Thursday, 0.85% were positive. There were 554 people hospitalized, and four virus-related fatalities.

The state is seeing several clusters of outbreaks among farm workers, and is dispatching mobile testing sites, Cuomo said.

Italy Has Most New Cases Since May (11:45 a.m. NY)

Italy registered 574 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest since May 28.

There were three additional deaths from the virus, according to data published by the Health Ministry. The increase was driven by 127 new cases in the Veneto region and 97 in Lombardy, the data showed.

While the numbers remain much lower than the pandemic’s peak of 6,557 new infections in a day on March 21, they have been inching up this week. There were 523 new cases reported on Thursday. Total cases since late February rose to 252,809.

Florida Reports More Than 200 Deaths (10:55 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 563,285 Covid-19 cases on Friday, up 1.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.3% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 9,141, an increase of 228, or 2.6%, according to the health department report, which includes data through Thursday. It was the third daily tally above 200 in four days.

Speaking Thursday in Tallahassee, Governor Ron DeSantis warned that more Covid-19 deaths may be coming at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. He said protective measures have meant it takes longer for Covid-19 to breach the facilities, so they may see impacts after the peak in the general public.

The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 8.1% for Thursday, the lowest since June 21.

Spain Closes Clubs, Limits Smoking (10:50 a.m. NY)

Spain, the country with the most cases in Europe, is closing nightclubs and calling on local authorities to enforce a law that bans drinking in the streets under measures announced Friday. Smoking was prohibited if people can’t maintain a distance of at least two meters (6 1/2 feet) in a bid to prevent clusters of smokers outside nightspots and restaurants.

Bars will close at 1 a.m. and table sizes will be restricted to no more than 10 people, Health Minister Salvador Illa told reporters. All of the measures are meant to stem the spread of the virus among younger people.

N.J. to Use Mail-In Voting (10:15 a.m. NY)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he will order the November general election to be conducted mostly through mail-in voting in a system he called “a little bit more cumbersome.”

The general election format will be similar to that of the state’s July 7 primary. The state, in an unprecedented move, sent vote-by-mail applications to every registered voter -- 6.2 million people, according to state data -- and also opened some polling places.

This time, the state will “have more presence of secure drop boxes,” he said in a CNN interview on Friday.

Greece Limits Bars as Cities Fill Up Again (10 a.m. NY)

Greece ordered Athens-area bars and restaurants to close at midnight to stem a virus surge as people return to the mainland from island vacations. Social events such as weddings will be limited to 50 people in worst-hit parts of the country under the measures, which apply until Aug. 24, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said Friday.

Mask-wearing of masks is strongly recommended in all enclosed spaces and open areas where social distancing isn’t possible, Hardalias said. Greece recorded 263 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the biggest daily number yet.

U.S. Retail Sales Rebound Slows (8:35 a.m. NY)

A rebound in U.S. retail sales slowed sharply in July, indicating a surge in coronavirus cases and still-high unemployment cooled the economic recovery. The value of retail purchases increased 1.2% from the prior month after an upwardly revised 8.4% gain in June, according to Commerce Department data.

A Third of Americans Decline Vaccination: Poll (6:50 a.m. NY)

More than a third of Americans surveyed, about 35%, say they won’t get vaccinated when a Covid-19 vaccine is available, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The survey of 1,261 adults was conducted August 3 through August 11.

The poll also showed Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump had expanded to double-digits.

U.K. Signs Two More Vaccine Deals (6:12 a.m. NY)

The U.K. signed two more deals to purchase doses of experimental vaccines. The government ordered 60 million doses of Novavax’s late-stage experimental vaccine, which may be available as early as the first quarter of 2021, the U.S. biotechnology company said. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit said it got a U.K. order for 30 million doses. The latest agreements bring the total number of potential vaccine doses secured by the U.K. to more than 300 million.

The European Commission confirmed previously announced plans to buy 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine on behalf of EU member states, with an option to purchase 100 million more, once the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective.

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