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Fauci Says No Covid Victory Yet; U.K. Needs Pilots: Virus Update

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 10/10/2021 Bloomberg News

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Anthony Fauci said infections in the U.S. remain too high for a return to normal. “We have to just be careful that we don’t prematurely declare victory,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said.

Oregon has temporarily dropped the requirement that substitute teachers hold bachelor’s degrees to bolster the pool of standbys that fell almost by half during the pandemic, the Oregonian reported. 

The U.K. faces a pilot shortage as the travel industry reopens after hundreds of aircrew took early retirement or changed careers during the pandemic.

Key Developments:

Global Virus Tracker: Cases top 237.7 million; deaths exceed 4.8 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 6.5 billion shots givenMerck’s Covid pill faces risk that virus could outsmart itSouthwest Airlines pilots try to block vaccination mandateThe stocks to watch as Covid enters its next phaseSuperpower rivalry, vaccine envy set stage for climate talks

Oregon Allows Substitute Teachers Without Degrees (4:21 p.m. NY)

Oregon has dropped the requirement that substitute teachers hold bachelor’s degrees to bolster the pool of standbys that fell almost by half during the pandemic, the Oregonian reported. 

The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission will issue temporary licenses, after the number of substitutes dropped from almost 8,300 at the end of 2019 to 4,700. 

“It could be a parent who is only working part-time, or maybe lost a job,” Anthony Rosilez, director of the board, told the newspaper. “It could maybe be a college student who’s looking to work while they go to school at night.” 

Poll Signals Hurdles to Vaccinating Kids (11:50 a.m. NY)

A majority of parents who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19 say they won’t have their kids ages 5 to 11 get a shot, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll. In contrast, 61% of parents with vaccinations said they’ll have their children inoculated -- the same as the share of unvaccinated parents who said they wouldn’t.

About a quarter on both sides signaled they were undecided. The poll, published Sunday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Kids in the 5-11 age group could get a vaccine as soon as the first week of November. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said Thursday they’d finished submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of an advisory panel meeting set for Oct. 26.

U.K. Official Warns of Heightened Flu Risk (11:44 a.m. NY)

People are “twice as likely to die” from having both Covid-19 and influenza, compared with just having the coronavirus, a British health official said.

Jenny Harries, head of the U.K. Health Security Agency, told Sky News the country’s at risk of “multi-strain flu” this year as last winter’s virus levels -- when much of the country was locked down or practicing social distancing -- were low, meaning lower immunity this year.

“We are likely to see flu first the first time in any real numbers co-circulating with Covid, so the risks of catching both together still remain,” Harries said.

The U.K. last week started its biggest-ever flu shot drive and hopes to give the annual vaccine to 35 million people.

Fauci Says No Victory Yet Over Virus (11:22 a.m. NY)

Anthony Fauci said infections in the U.S. remain too high for a return to normal. 

“We have to just be careful that we don’t prematurely declare victory,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” While average daily infections have fallen to about 95,000, from an average of more than 150,000 a day last month, “that’s still way too high.”

Biden declared “independence” from Covid-19 on July 4, only to see the delta variant push infections to record levels in many states. 

Fauci said that children could enjoy Halloween, particularly outdoors, but added that “it’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated.”

He also said he didn’t expect any vaccine mandate for air travel. 

Pilot Shortage in U.K. (8:35 a.m. NY)

British ministers are concerned that a lack of pilots could impede a rebound in flights to pre-pandemic levels, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

At least double the usual number of pilots retired during the time when most travel was banned, the newspaper said, citing sources in the aviation industry. Activity is now growing steadily, according to weekly seat capacity estimates from OAG Aviation. U.K. capacity surpassed Germany and France in August after lagging for many months though it’s still 45% less than two years ago.

While the U.K. has recently eased entry rules for foreign travelers in a bid to boost tourism, post-Brexit labor shortages are threatening the nation’s economic recovery. A lack of truck drivers has contributed to a fuel crisis.

Slower Virus Spread as Bali Reopens (6:42 a.m. NY)

Indonesia saw a continued slowdown in its virus spread on Sunday, an encouraging sign as it prepares to relax its borders and welcome foreign tourists back to Bali this week.

The Southeast Asian nation added 894 cases and 39 deaths on Sunday, both the lowest since June 2020, as it benefits from an aggressive test-and-trace campaign to contain the delta outbreak. The government has already lifted lockdown measures for large parts of the country and reopened offshore visa applications, following the strategy of its neighbors to start “living with the virus.”

(Except Singapore) © Bloomberg (Except Singapore)

Filters Can Remove Virus From Hospital Air (6:30 a.m. NY)

Inexpensive, portable air filters can efficiently remove coronavirus particles and other pathogens from the air, Nature reported last week, citing a study by doctors in a working hospital. Vilas Navapurkar, an intensive-care unit physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., and a co-author of the study, said filters might be more important to use in general wards than in ICUs.

U.K. Buys 100,000 Doses of GSK’s Experimental Drug (5:35 p.m. HK)

The U.K. government bought 100,000 doses of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Covid-19 antibody drug Sotrovimab, the Telegraph reported on Saturday, in order to boost the nation’s range of treatments in the event of new virus variants emerging. Antibody treatments can prevent Covid patients from becoming severely ill. Sotrovimab is yet to be approved by U.K. regulators and the deal is subject to approval, the newspaper said.

LME Week Returns, But on a Smaller Scale (3 p.m. HK)

An annual gathering of metals traders and producers, London Metal Exchange Week, returns this week after skipping 2020 due to virus restrictions. The champagne will flow but banks, brokers and miners have planned fewer parties at the famously rowdy event because many attendees from Asia, the most important driver of metals demand, and from South America, the key mining region, are opting to stay at home.

 

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