October 27, 2020

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N.Y. to Review Federal Vaccine; Record U.K. Cases: Virus Update

11 min read
(Bloomberg) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he did not trust the Trump administration...

(Bloomberg) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he did not trust the Trump administration and that the state would independently review any vaccine authorized by the federal government. The virus is taking a toll on U.S. college enrollment.

The U.K. reported the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set out his plan to rescue millions of jobs and businesses as the virus pandemic threatens to derail the economy again.

The Israeli government tightened restrictions in a second lockdown for the next two weeks despite opposition from senior officials. France introduced new steps to fight a rapid resurgence, including an earlier closing time for bars and limiting public gatherings in several cities.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 31.9 million; deaths exceed 977,000Lockdown Lite is the new strategy for fighting Covid-19Chinese vaccine maker to offer shots first to testing nationsAirlines face desolate future as attempts to reopen crumbleTwo cats got Covid from owners, spurring call for vigilanceWhen working from home is sleeping at the office: Lionel Laurent

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 video game: U.S. filings for unemployment benefits contrast with estimates for a decline


© Bloomberg
U.S. filings for unemployment benefits contrast with estimates for a decline

A Distrustful Cuomo Says N.Y. Will Review Federal Vaccine Plans (12:40 p.m. NY)

Skeptical of the Trump administration’s oversight of the Covid-19 response, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state would review any vaccine authorized by the federal government. The move underscored how the push for a vaccine has become enmeshed in politics.

New York will launch a Clinical Advisory Task Force comprised of doctors, scientists and health experts to advise New Yorkers on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, Cuomo said during a briefing in Manhattan. He noted that polls show a growing mistrust of any vaccine. “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo said.

U.K. Cases Hit Record (12:25 p.m. NY)

The U.K. reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic, breaking a record set at the peak of the first wave.

A further 6,634 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday by Public Health England, the agency tracking the data.

The milestone is “a stark warning for us all,” Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said. “The signals are clear. Positivity rates are rising across all age groups and we’re continuing to see spikes in rates of admission to hospital and critical care.”

Italy Cases Rise (12:22 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 1,786 new cases Thursday, compared with 1,640 the previous day and amid increased screening, with more than 108,000 tests in one day. Patients in intensive care units rose to 246 and 23 deaths were reported.

The region of Campania, which registered the most new cases in the past few days, ordered the use of face masks outside, as did the city of Genoa for the city center. Masks are already compulsory in the nation after 6 p.m. if social distancing isn’t possible.

New York, Michigan Call for Investigation of Covid Response (11:45 a.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday called for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democrats said the administration politicized government functions, impeding the country’s response to Covid-19, according to a news release.

“The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence,” the governors said.

College Enrollment Drops (11:20 a.m. NY)

Fewer students are opting to attend college in the U.S., deterred by Covid-19 risk and the prospect of taking classes online.

Undergraduate enrollments dropped 2.5% for the current academic year, according data released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The steepest decline was among international students, with non-resident alien undergrads down 11.2%.

Higher education in the U.S. has been hard hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Schools were forced to close and they have struggled to reopen, with many scrapping full on-campus learning, especially after outbreaks. Students and families are very concerned about the quality of education that is delivered entirely online, said Mikyung Ryu, director of research publications.

Moscow Mayor Wants More Work From Home (11:18 a.m. NY)

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin asked 5,000 companies to allow more employees to work from home due to a rising number of infections, Ria Novosti reported, citing the city’s press service.

Sberbank, which pressed workers to return to the office after Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref told managers in June that work from home was less effective, was among the companies to receive the request, RBC website reported.

On Thursday, Moscow reported 1,050 new cases, the first time that the Russian capital diagnosed over a thousand infections in a day since June.

Ibrahimovic Tests Positive (11:15 a.m. NY)

The Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic tested positive for Covid-19 and won’t take part in AC Milan’s Europa league match Thursday evening, the team said in a statement.

Ibrahimovic, who scored two goals in Milan’s serie A debut against Bologna Monday night, is the second player of the Italian team who tested positive to coronavirus this week.

Ibrahimovic is now in quarantine while all other players in the team were tested negative to the virus.

U.S. Jobless Claims Remain Elevated (8:39 a.m. NY)

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits were little changed last week, contrasting with forecasts for a decline and highlighting an economic recovery that’s coming in fits and starts.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs rose by 4,000 to 870,000 in the period ended Sept. 19, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. Continuing claims fell 167,000 to 12.6 million in the week ended Sept. 12, which coincides with the reference period for the government’s monthly jobs report.

Londoners Carry on Driving (8:30 a.m. NY)

Traffic congestion in London remains high despite the government this week urging office staff to go back to home-working, a development that suggests the U.K.’s recovery in fuel consumption may continue.



a close up of a person: Stuck in Traffic


© Bloomberg
Stuck in Traffic

London’s streets were 3% more congested on Wednesday than they were on average last year, according to data from satellite navigation firm TomTom International BV. The jams were similar to those observed on Tuesday and Monday, and higher than a week earlier.

Brazil Central Bank Lifts Economic Forecasts (7:50 a.m. NY)

Brazil’s central bank sees the economy contracting less than it previously forecast this year as interest rates remain at an all-time low and the government spends billions of dollars in stimulus during coronavirus pandemic.

Gross domestic product will fall 5% this year compared with June’s forecast of a 6.4% drop, according to the bank’s quarterly inflation report released on Thursday. Policy makers see the economy growing 3.9% in 2021, while inflation remains below target in all scenarios through next year.

Sunak Announces Jobs Plan (6:56 a.m. NY)

In an emergency statement to U.K. Parliament, Sunak announced a new “job support scheme” for subsidizing wages of people in part-time work. The government will also extend loans for firms hit by Covid restrictions and provide more relief for value-added tax payments.

Economists — and the chancellor himself — warned the package, while saving some jobs, won’t stop a wave of redundancies when the current more generous program ends.

Chinese Vaccine Maker to Offer Shots First to Testing Nations (6:05 a.m. HK)

Chinese vaccine developer Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said that countries running its final-stage clinical trials like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey will get its coronavirus shots at the same time as China, underscoring how vaccine supply agreements could cement diplomatic ties in the Covid-19 era.

One of three Chinese companies with vaccines in the last stages of testing, Beijing-based Sinovac will prioritize nations conducting its Phase III trials, and then offer doses to regions hard hit by the coronavirus, Chief Executive Officer Yin Weidong said during a government-organized media tour of the company’s facilities on Thursday.

ECB Hands Banks $203 Billion in Cheap Cash (5:36 p.m. HK)

Euro-zone banks took 174.5 billion euros ($203 billion) in another dose of ultra-cheap funding as the European Central Bank gives them every possible incentive to keep lending to the pandemic-stricken economy.



Funding rates had fallen to record lows ahead of this round of cheap loans


© Bloomberg
Funding rates had fallen to record lows ahead of this round of cheap loans

It was well below the record 1.3 trillion euros in the previous round three months ago, suggesting that most lenders now consider themselves well-financed.

Poland Daily Infections Rise by Record (5:05 p.m. HK)

Poland registered a record number of new coronavirus infections on Thursday, raising total to 82,809, the Health Ministry said on Twitter. The previous daily record of 1,002 occurred on Sept. 19.

EU Health Regulators Warn About Rising Infections (5:01 p.m. HK)

European Union health regulators sounded the alarm about a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the bloc and urged governments to step up testing and contact tracing.

As part of an updated risk assessment regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said “this might be our last chance to prevent a repeat of last spring”.

IATA Says Carriers Many Need Fresh Bailouts (4:47 p.m. HK)

Airlines may require a fresh round of state support if traffic levels continue to languish following coronavirus lockdowns, said Alexandre de Juniac, the International Air Transport Association’s head.

A new spate of bankruptcies and job cuts are likely if a rebound of the industry fails to materialize, De Juniac said at the virtual World Aviation Festival.

Indonesia Bans Mass Gathering for Polls (4:16 p.m. HK)

Indonesia banned political parties and campaign teams from holding mass gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19 ahead of polls on Dec. 9. The general elections supervisory body, or Bawaslu, will give a written warning to those violating the provisions or disperse the gathering, according to the rule issued by the nation’s general elections committee, known as KPU.

Norges Bank Says Covid Means No Rate Hike (4:08 p.m. HK)

Norway’s central bank ruled out an increase in interest rates for the coming years, citing a highly uncertain economic environment due to the pandemic. The comments triggered a slump in the krone after some investors and analysts had expected a more hawkish signal.



a screenshot of a cell phone: Tiny Tweaks


© Bloomberg
Tiny Tweaks

“The sharp economic downturn and considerable uncertainty surrounding the outlook suggest keeping the policy rate on hold until there are clear signs that economic conditions are normalizing,” Norges Bank Governor Oystein Olsen said in the statement on Thursday. The bank kept its main rate at zero, as expected.

Hong Kong to Require Tests for U.K. Arrivals (4:08 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will require travelers from the U.K. to submit a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure, according to a Hong Kong government statement.

The move takes effect from October 1. Arrivals from other countries that are already subject to the same requirements include the U.S., South Africa, India and Philippines.

AstraZeneca Awaits U.S. Feedback on Trial Halt (4:07 p.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc said it is still waiting for a decision from U.S. regulators on whether it can resume tests in the country after halting global trials due to concerns about a participant who became ill, said Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot.

Although such temporary halts aren’t uncommon in clinical tests, the event has raised concern about when the first products could be ready as another wave of infections hits Europe. Governments are pushing for vaccines to combat the coronavirus as the death toll approaches 1 million worldwide.

Moscow Surpasses 1,000 Cases (3:55 p.m. HK)

Moscow registered 1,050 new cases in the last day, the first time that the Russian capital diagnosed over a thousand infections since June.

New daily cases in Moscow have grown by two-thirds since Sept. 1, when schools opened nationwide. The number of infections is rising throughout Russia, with 6,595 new cases in the last day. There have been 1,128,836 reported infections, the fourth highest in the world, after the U.S., India and Brazil.

Pakistan Cases Spike to Seven-Week High (3:53 p.m.)

Pakistan virus cases increased by 799 in the past 24 hours, the highest in almost seven weeks, as it gradually increases testing with schools re-opening. The positive cases among tests has continued to around 2%.

The South Asian nation’s cases reached a peak in mid-June but has gradually declined, allowing it to reopen its economy.

Orban Under Fire for Super Cup Match (2:50 p.m. HK)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is under fire for creating a legal loophole to allow tens of thousands of fans to attend Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup game in Budapest amid rising coronavirus cases.

Orban, an avid soccer fan who’s led a stadium construction boom in Hungary, watered down his own ban on foreign visitors to allow attendance to large sporting events such as the Super Cup. Right now, Hungary is struggling to slow the virus spread with new infections more than tripling over the last week to nearly 6,000 cases from earlier this month.

Germany’s Economy Minister in Quarantine (1:50 p.m. HK)

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has become the second member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet to self-isolate this week after coming into contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

Altmaier said late Wednesday in a tweet that he has put himself into quarantine at his home as a precaution after learning that an official attending a meeting of European Union trade ministers in Berlin tested positive for the disease.

China Could Need Two Years to Complete Vaccination (1:30 p.m. HK)

It will take China one to two years to complete Covid-19 vaccine innoculation on a mass scale, infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan said at an industry event, according to Changjiang Daily.

Israel Tightens Lockdown as Cases Soar (1:10 p.m. HK)

The Israeli government sharply tightened lockdown restrictions for the next two weeks in an effort to rein in a coronavirus outbreak that’s spun out of control.

Just last week, the government imposed its second lockdown since the pandemic began. With daily new infections surging dramatically, the government voted early Thursday to clamp down further during a season of major Jewish holidays by almost totally idling the private sector, allowing only essential employees to work.

Singapore Eases Office Restraints, Trials Pass (9:30 a.m. HK)

Singapore will allow more people to return to offices and trial a new business travel pass for senior executives as the city moves to re-open more of its economy amid ebbing virus cases, the health ministry said.

Though working from home remains the default, the updated requirements allow office staff to return up to half their working time, with no more than half of such employees at the workplace at any point in time, it said. The updated measures will take effect from Sept. 28.

South Korea Has Biggest Case Gain in 6 Days (8:45 a.m. HK)

South Korea added 125 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours compared to 110 a day earlier, according to data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 23,341, and the death tally rose by five to 393.

Trump Says White House Could Veto Vaccine Rules (6:45 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said that the White House could veto any tightening of Food and Drug Administration rules for authorizing the emergency use of a coronavirus vaccine.

“That has to be approved by the White House,” Trump said at a news conference on Wednesday. “We may or may not approve it.”

The FDA is expected to issue final rules in coming days for issuing an emergency-use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine. Companies including Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc have vaccine candidates in late-stage trials. Some of the studies could produce data on their efficacy as soon as October.

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