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U.S. Cases Rise 2.1%; Baseball Reports First Tests: Virus Update

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 7/3/2020 Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) --

U.S. cases rose 2.1%, higher than the seven-day average. The spread of virus in the south and west continued, with Texas, Arizona, Alabama and North Carolina reporting above-average increases. New cases in Florida, where the spread has regularly broken records recently, dropped to 5.6%, less than the seven-day average.

New York’s infections rose by 0.2%, a rate that’s been stable for almost a month. First tests of baseball players and staff reporting for training showed 1.2% tested positive.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a reopening plan for theaters and other events venues to get public life “back as fast as possible to as normal as possible” and urged citizens to act responsibly as pubs prepare to reopen.

A World Health Organization official said it would be “unwise” to predict when a vaccine might be rolled out. Mexico City stopped the reopening of its downtown after business ignored health guidelines.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases near 11 million; Deaths top 523,000Trump’s Covid drug to get more scrutiny in 40,000-person testWhy Americans say they are, or aren’t, wearing face masksECB split is brewing on pandemic program that calmed crisisHow to make small business relief programs more effectiveEuropean credit markets upbeat amid easing national lockdownsJapan insists this time is different even as cases surge

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.

MLB Announces First Test Results (5:05 p.m. NY)

Major League Baseball said 1.2% of its players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 after the first set of results after team members reported for training this week, the league and the players association announced. The groups reported 38 positive tests, of which 31 were players and the remainder were staff. Nineteen clubs have had one or more individuals test positive during testing. The tests were mandatory and were given prior to the workouts and full baseball activities that began Saturday. The independent Utah laboratory has reported the results through the first week of testing.

Texas Cases Climb (5 p.m. NY)

Texas reported 7,555 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 183,532. That’s an increase of 4.3%, above the 4.2% seven-day average. Fifty more people died, for a total of 2,575 fatalities.

U.S. Case Rise 2.1% (4:10 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by 57,271 from a day earlier to 2.77 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 2.1% increase was higher than the average daily increase of 1.8% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.6% to 129,192.

New York reported 918 new coronavirus cases, up slightly from 875 the day before, but in line with the 0.2% seven-day average. The state reported 9 deaths. New total cases rose to 395,872.Alabama posted 1,758 new cases and North Carolina 2,099 -- both single-day records. There were 22 deaths in Alabama, for a total of 983. North Carolina reported one new death for a total of 1,392.Florida reported a total 178,594 cases on Friday, up 5.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,684, an increase of 1.9%.Arizona reported 4,433 new cases on Friday, a 5.1% increase from the previous day and higher than the seven-day average of 4.7%. Total cases reached 91,858. The state reported 31 new deaths, down from a record 88 on Wednesday, putting the total at 1,788.New Jersey reported 386 new cases, a 0.2% increase, bringing the total to 172,742, with 58 deaths for a toll of 13,308.

Air France to Cut 7,500 Jobs (3 p.m. NY)

Air France-KLM will cut over 7,500 jobs, warning that it is unlikely to rebound from curbed travel from the coronavirus pandemic before 2024. Europe’s second-biggest airline will cut 6,500 jobs at Air France and another 1,020 at its regional carrier, Hop!, the company said in a statement.

Employees who retire or leave on their own are expected to make up about half the reductions.

Mexico City Halts Reopening on Violations (2:30 p.m. NY)

Mexico City suspended the reopening of its historic downtown after businesses failed to meet measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, Reforma reported on Saturday. The area will be closed until a new opening plan is created, Reforma reported, citing the city government.

Violations included businesses ignoring closing hours, employees not wearing masks and lines of customers without sufficient physical distance.

UAE Eases Travel Limits (1:30 p.m. NY)

United Arab Emirates citizens and resident expatriates can now travel abroad after testing negative for Covid-19, in the latest move by the OPEC nation to ease virus restrictions. Travelers need to comply with requirements in the UAE and destination countries, state news agency WAM reported, citing an official statement. Returning expatriates will require a “pre-examination” in countries where testing facilities are available, WAM said.

U.K. Sets Timetable to Reopen Arts (12:45 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government next week will outline a schedule for reopening theaters, museums and the events industry, which have “had an incredibly tough time” during the pandemic. He ruled out another national lockdown.

“We want life to get back as fast as possible to as normal as possible, to get the disease down so that the events and arts industry really have a chance of recovering,” Johnson said in a televised press conference from his Downing Street office.

The premier said he would not hesitate to reimpose restrictions, but any closures would be at the local level to control an outbreak. The U.K. lockdown did save hundreds of thousands of lives, he said.

WHO Sees Scaling Up Vaccine as Key (12:30 p.m. NY time)

Vaccines may show efficacy by the end of this year, but a key question will be whether the scale-up of production will allow mass vaccination to start by early 2021, Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, told reporters. “It would be unwise at this point to predict when a vaccine could be rolled out,” Ryan said.

U.K. Seeks More Private-Sector Testing (11:45 a.m. NY)

The U.K. government plans to award 5 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) of coronavirus testing contracts to private companies as it overhauls the way it tracks Covid-19. While drug giants such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc already work with the government on its testing system, there have been reports of missing tests and long waits for results.

Arizona on Upward Curve; New York Stable (11:30 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 4,433 new cases on Friday, a 5.1% increase from the previous day and higher than the seven-day average of 4.7%. Total cases reached 91,858. The state reported 31 new deaths on Friday, compared with 88 on Thursday, raising the total to 1,788. On Wednesday, Arizona reported a record 4,878 new cases. New York cases rose by 0.2%, in line with the seven-day average. While hospitalizations in the state fell to 857, another nine people died of virus-related causes, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter.

Florida Pace of New Cases Eases Slightly (10:30 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 178,594 cases on Friday, up 5.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,684, an increase of 1.9%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Thursday.

Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 341, or 2.3%, to 15,491. The rate of people testing positive rose to 14.8% for Thursday from 14.5% a day earlier.

Gilead Drug Wins European Authorization (10:15 a.m. NY)

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir received conditional marketing authorization from the European Medicines Agency for treatment of the novel coronavirus in patients with pneumonia who are receiving supplemental oxygen.

The drug, which will carry the brand name of Veklury, is cleared for treatment of adults and adolescent age 12 and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds), Foster City, California-based Gilead said in a statement. The authorization was based on a rolling review of supporting data that began in April 2020, the company said.

Remdesivir is one of two drugs shown to fight the virus in robust clinical trials. The other is dexamethasone, a cheap, generic anti-inflammatory treatment that appears to damp an immune overreaction to the virus.

Mexico’s AMLO Weighs Test for Trump Meeting (10:05 a.m. NY)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he’ll take a Covid-19 test if required before a U.S. trip next week that includes talks with President Donald Trump on trade on Wednesday. It isn’t clear yet whether a test will be needed, Lopez Obrador told reporters on Friday. He has said that the trip is only about kicking off the the USMCA North American trade deal, the replacement for Nafta, and U.S. electoral politics won’t play a role.

Philippines Revises Data on Cases (9:50 a.m. NY)

The Philippines’ case count rose by a record on Friday, which the health department attributed to further changes in its data collection method.

The Southeast Asian nation reported 1,531 infections, breaching the previous daily record of 1,150 cases on June 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The department said the increase reflected a return to extracting data for the previous 24 hours.

New infections were 294 on Thursday based on only 19 hours of data as the agency said it needed more time to analyze cases.

English National Opera Prepares to Reopen (7:45 a.m. NY)

Stuart Murphy, CEO of the English National Opera, said he is planning for a stripped-back opera season from Oct. 1. “On stage two or three performers, instead of our full orchestra of 70, probably an orchestra of 20, and people spaced out 1 meter apart,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. “We think with that setup we can do probably three performances a week until Christmas to about 1,000 people.”

U.K. Scientists Ask for More Details on Track and Trace (7:30 a.m. NY)

The U.K. needs to do more to inform the public about its test and trace system, according to a group of top scientists, as thousands of businesses such as pubs and hairdressers re-open over the weekend.

A presentation Friday from the Independent SAGE group -- set up earlier this year as an alternative to the U.K. government’s official Covid-19 scientific advisory panel -- raised questions over a lack of findings being shared by the government from its tracing efforts or evidence of checks to make sure those people that have been in contact with the infection are self-isolating.

The group cited Office of National Statistics data published Thursday that estimated there are between 20,000 and 25,000 newly infected people in England every week and that infection rates have stopped slowing in the last fortnight.

Johnson Faces Questions Over Care Homes (6:46 a.m. NY)

The scale of coronavirus infections in English care homes was laid bare on Friday, adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his handling of the pandemic. A survey of more than 9,000 institutions found that 56% had at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 since the outbreak began, according to the Office for National Statistics. In total, 11% of all care-home residents tested positive for the disease, almost double the rate in the community as a whole.

The government has come under fire for its failure to shield vulnerable people in care homes, with the ONS now estimating that over 19,000 residents died from the virus as of June 12. In the initial stages of the outbreak, some hospitalized residents were discharged into the facilities without a negative test. Speaking on LBC Radio on Friday, Johnson described the significant loss of life in care homes as “absolutely tragic” and promised a “proper examination.”

Spain to Support Strategic Firms (6:39 a.m. NY)

Spain will create a 10 billion euro fund ($11.2 billion) to back “strategic” companies through debt or equity investments as part of measures to bolster the economy, the government said.

Austria Has More Than 100 New Cases Again (6:30 a.m. NY)

Austria had 109 new cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily increase since April 16 and the second time daily infections surpassed 100 this week. That’s a 0.6% rise in the country that was seen as an example for containing the pandemic very fast in April.

The increase is still driven by a cluster in a small Pentecostal church in Linz, an industrial town two hours west of Vienna. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country is responding to regional clusters with local measures, not new nationwide ones.

Gilead’s Remdesivir Authorized in Europe (6:26 a.m. NY)

The European Commission has cleared the use of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir to treat coronavirus, according to a Twitter post. The bloc had said on Thursday it was in talks with the company about reserving a “sufficient number of doses” after the U.S forged a deal to snap up almost all the drugmaker’s supplies.

Philippines’ New Covid Cases Hit Record (6:20 a.m. NY)

Philippines’ case count rose by a record on Friday, which the health department attributed to further changes in its data collection method. The Southeast Asian nation reported 1,531 new infections, breaching the previous record of 1,150 cases on June 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The health department said the increase was due to the return to its original system of extracting data over the last 24 hours. New infections fell to only 294 on Thursday based on only 19 hours’ worth of data as the agency said it needed more time to analyze cases.

Couples Postponed 73,400 Marriages in England (6:06 a.m. NY)

The coronavirus lockdown has prevented 73,400 couples from saying “I do” in England, according to estimates published by the Office for National Statistics. About 300 same-sex civil partnerships have also been delayed, the ONS said.

Weddings can resume under an easing of restrictions in England from July 4, but only if couples are willing to have a maximum of 30 guests who must maintain social distancing and avoid eating, drinking or singing unless behind a screen.

Azerbaijan Deploys Army (6 a.m. NY)

Azerbaijan is deploying the army to enforce stay-at-home measures that were reimposed last month, then extended by more than two weeks to July 20. New infections have surged to almost 600 a day from around 100 a day in April after restrictions that the government ordered in March were eased.

French Utility to Look Virus Traces in Waste-Water (5:30 p.m. HK)

French utility Suez will start looking for traces of the coronavirus in its waste-water networks in France, Spain and other countries to help authorities anticipate a potential second wave of the pandemic, CEO Bertrand Camus said on Bloomberg Television. While waste-water treatments aren’t sophisticated enough to kill viruses, “there is absolutely no risk in drinking water as treatment processes kill viruses,” he said.

ECB Split Is Brewing on Pandemic Program (5:10 p.m. HK)

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde’s signature crisis-fighting tool is becoming the focus of disagreement among policy makers in what could amount to her first major test of discipline.

Governing Council members face a potential rift over how much their emergency bond-purchase program should stay weighted toward weaker countries such as Italy, according to multiple conversations with central-bank officials.

While the debate remains hypothetical for now, it could crystallize as the economy emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. The danger is that such friction undermines a program unveiled at the height of the crisis to reassure investors of the ECB’s resolve in defending the integrity of the euro.

Beijing Begins Easing Some Restrictions (4:45 p.m. HK)

China’s capital announced the first easing of restrictions as infections that stemmed from an outbreak at its largest wholesale market appear to slow. Residents from areas that have been designated low risk will be able to leave the city without being tested for the virus from July 4, local authorities said. Those from medium and high risk areas will still face strict controls on travel, including 14-day quarantines in some provinces.

The city reported two new infections on July 2.

Emerging Markets Turn Hotspot With 5 Million Cases (4:25 p.m. HK)

The 26 nations classified as emerging markets at MSCI Inc. witnessed the single-biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday. The addition of 116,644 infections took their combined total above 5 million, or 46% of global cases.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Steepening Curve © Bloomberg Steepening Curve

Euro Area’s Path to Growth Haunted by Uncertainty (4 p.m. HK)

The euro-area economy should grow again in the third quarter although weak demand and mounting job cuts will likely weigh on the recovery. The quarterly pace of economic contraction slowed to a mere 0.2% in June, with a gauge measuring private-sector activity rising to a four-month high, according to IHS Markit. While orders -- from home and abroad -- continued to decline, companies grew confident that the easing of lockdown restrictions would break that trend over the next year.

The U.K. economic slump also showed signs of easing in June as parts of the coronavirus lockdown were lifted, allowing more people to return to work.

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