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Moderna Vaccine Test Moves Ahead; U.S. Cases Rise: Virus Update

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 7/14/2020 Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc.’s efforts to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine moved forward, with a report in the New England Journal of Medicine saying it was able to produce antibodies to the coronavirus in all patients in an early trial.

Florida reported a record number of coronavirus deaths among residents even as the rise in new infections slowed. Arizona had the most new cases in 11 days and an infection rate of 22%, while California hospitalizations increased.

A potential new wave this winter poses a serious risk to the U.K. and could lead to as many as 120,000 hospital deaths from September to June, according the country’s Academy of Medical Sciences. Face coverings will be compulsory in all shops in England from July 24.

Hong Kong imposed its strictest social-distancing measures yet, and Japan said a new state of emergency is possible. The Australian state of Queensland imposed a quarantine on some visitors.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 13.1 million; deaths surpass 574,000U.S. testing czar rebuts Trump, warns of rising death tollCovid shot derived from tobacco-like plant tested in humansFlorida, haven for NBA and Trump, sets Covid death recordAmazon workers in Memphis spooked as virus rages in SouthDesigners envision urban living for a socially distanced era

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.

Moderna Vaccine Trial Shows Early Promise (5:10 p.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine produced antibodies to the coronavirus in all patients tested in an initial safety trial, federal researchers said.

The neutralizing antibody levels produced were equivalent to the upper half of what’s seen in patients who get infected with the virus and recover, according to the results published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Moderna vaccine is one of the farthest along for Covid-19.

While stimulating production of neutralizing antibodies doesn’t prove a vaccine will be effective, it’s considered an important early step in testing.

Earlier Tuesday, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drugmaker posted details of its final-stage vaccine trial on an official government website, confirming that the widely anticipated trial was still on track to begin on July 27.

California Revives Testing Task Force (5 p.m. NY)

California is reviving its testing task force under the leadership of Bechara Choucair, chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente, and Gil Chavez of the state’s Department of Public Health. It is focused on building testing capabilities, fixing supply-chain vulnerabilities and improving turnaround times for results.

Mark Ghaly, secretary for the state’s Health and Human Services agency, said new guidance will soon be issued on who should be prioritized to get tested, focusing on essential workers and those with symptoms.

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

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.8% as compared with the same time Monday to 3.4 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was slower than the average daily increase of 2% over the past week. Deaths rose 0.5% to 136,117.

Florida deaths rose by a record 132, or 3.1%, to 4,409. Cases rose 3.3% to 291,629, compared with an average increase of 4.6% in the previous seven days.Arizona reported 4,273 new cases, the most in 11 days and a 3.5% increase that was above the prior seven-day average of 2.9%.Montana cases rose 5.9% to 1,952, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.

California Hospitalizations Rise 4% (2:41 p.m. NY)

California Tuesday saw a 4% increase in hospitalizations and a 2% rise in intensive-care unit cases because of the virus, the health department said. The state had 7,346 new cases, less than the seven-day average of 7,817. The rate of positive tests over the past 14 days was 7.1%, down slightly from 7.4% yesterday. The state has recorded 336,508 cases of Covid-19 and 7,087 deaths.

Ireland Cases Rise Most Since June 13 (12:45 p.m NY)

Ireland reported reported 32 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the most since June 13. There were no new deaths for the third day in a row.

The country is weighing random virus tests for travelers arriving from abroad, amid concerns about cases being imported, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said. Ireland has seen 25,638 cases so far, with 1,746 deaths.

Arizona Reports Most Cases in 11 Days (11:40 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 4,273 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the most in 11 days and a 3.5% increase that was above the prior seven-day average of 2.9%. The state Department of Health Services also reported 92 new deaths, bringing the toll to 2,337.

The number of new cases reported Tuesday included some that weren’t tallied on Monday, the department said. Arizona also reported 19,488 new tests, with a positivity rate of 21.9% statewide. In Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, the positivity rate was 23.6%.

N.Y. Adds 4 States to Quarantine List (10:55 a.m. NY)

New York added four states to the 14-day quarantine list, bringing the total to 22. Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin meet the metrics to qualify for the quarantine advisory, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement. Delaware has been removed.

The self-quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher rate of positive tests, either over a 7-day rolling average. In New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak, 1.5% of tests conducted on Monday were positive.

Florida Posts Record 132 Deaths (10:40 a.m. NY)

Covid-19 deaths among Florida residents rose by a record 132 to 4,409, according to a report Tuesday, which includes data through Monday.

Florida reported 291,629 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, up 3.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 4.6% in the previous seven days.

Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 383, or 2.1%, to 18,881. On a rolling seven-day basis, hospitalizations have totaled 2,456, a record.

The new rate of people testing positive for the first time climbed to 15% for Monday, from 11.5% on Sunday.

Germany Considers Local Travel Restrictions (8:50 a.m. NY)

Germany’s federal government is in discussions with states about rules that would prevent residents in an area hit by a coronavirus outbreak from traveling, Angela Merkel said Tuesday. People would only be allowed to leave the area if they have a negative test, the chancellor said, noting that she supports the plan.

Iqvia, AstraZeneca Collaborate On Potential Vaccine (8:30 a.m. NY)

Iqvia said the collaboration with AstraZeneca will drive faster delivery of clinical studies in the U.S. aimed at demonstrating efficacy of AstraZeneca’s potential Covid-19 vaccine.

Virgin Atlantic Set for $1.25 Billion Rescue (7:13 a.m. NY)

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. is poised to announce a rescue worth at least 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion), after clearing the last major hurdle to the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Negotiations with credit-card processors holding back some 200 million pounds of sales have been resolved, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.

The rescue will mark a coup for billionaire founder Richard Branson, who managed to secure a private bailout after the U.K. government refused to contribute taxpayer funds when Virgin Atlantic was grounded by the coronavirus crisis.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Weakened Niche © Bloomberg Weakened Niche

Delta Sees U.S. Virus Surge Stalling Rebound (7:08 a.m. NY)

Delta Air Lines said the virus resurgence and related travel restrictions have stalled a fledgling recovery in U.S. travel demand and prompted it to slash the number of flights it had hoped to return to its schedule next month. The airline will add back no more than 500 flights in August instead of the planned 1,000. It doesn’t expect to add much more through the end of this year.

“Demand growth has largely stalled,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an interview. “The pace of improvement from this point is going to depend on consumers’ confidence in flying.”

Tax-Haven Firms Shouldn’t Get Covid Bailouts, EU Says (7:08 a.m. NY)

Companies linked to tax havens such as Panama and the Cayman Islands shouldn’t get subsidies from cash-strapped governments amid the pandemic, according to European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

“We are in an unprecedented situation where exceptional volumes of state aid are granted” to companies during the outbreak, Vestager said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is not acceptable that companies benefiting from public support engage in tax avoidance practices involving tax havens.”

Carnival Visits Debt Markets a Third Time (6:38 a.m. NY)

Cruise ship operator Carnival Corp. is back in the debt markets this week, adding around $1 billion to the nearly $7 billion it’s borrowed since the pandemic devastated the international tourism trade.

The world’s largest cruise group is selling bonds to international investors in both euros and U.S. dollars, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public yet.

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