Midwest Cases Rise; U.K. and France Impose Curbs: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has canceled her travel until Monday after her communications director and a member of her flight crew tested positive. A passenger on Joe Biden’s campaign plane tested positive, though the two did not come near each other. New York City’s mayor reported a leveling off of infections in hot spots.
Covid-19’s recent march across the Midwest has caught up with the region’s most populous states. Illinois, Ohio and Michigan have proven unable to fend off outbreaks at their doorsteps, including in nearby Wisconsin. In Illinois, cases surged to a record 4,015 on Thursday, extending one of the nation’s most concerning weekly trends. Wisconsin and North Dakota also broke records again for daily cases.
The U.K. government imposed tougher curbs on London while France set a curfew in Paris as more European nations reported some of the highest number of new cases since the outbreak’s peak in spring. France led the increase in cases. Spain is planning to shut down bars and restaurants in an area that includes Barcelona.
- Global Tracker: Cases pass 38.7 million; deaths top 1.09 million
- The outbreak has caught up with the most populous Midwest states
- London and Paris clamp down as Europe hits virus records
- Who’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why: QuickTake
- Russia to miss Covid-19 vaccine goal amid production hurdles
- Energy demand will get a work-from-home boost this winter
- The global economy is facing new fiscal cliffs
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Passenger on Biden’s Plane Tests Positive for Coronavirus (4:50 p.m. NY)
A passenger on Joe Biden’s campaign plane tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.
An administrator for the aviation charter company the campaign uses was on the plane this week for trips to Ohio and Florida but sat more than 50 feet from the Democratic nominee, used a different entrance and exit and both Biden and the person were wearing masks at all times, campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement.
She added that health advisers said there was no need for Biden to quarantine.
Wisconsin Governor Expresses Frustration as Cases Rise to Record (4:26 p.m. NY)
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he’ll challenge a Wednesday judicial decision that temporarily blocked the governor’s order limiting capacity in bars, restaurants and other public places.
He spoke as the state again hit a record number of daily cases, 3,747, and he expressed frustration that people are not taking the state’s surge in infections seriously. He has imposed a mask mandate and other public health measures that have been challenged in court.
“I don’t know how anyone in the state of Wisconsin can feel comfortable about saying, ‘What the hell, I don’t care about preventing deaths.’ That is unimaginable to me,” Evers said in a conference call Thursday.
Wisconsin’s seven-day average of new cases has more than quadrupled since the first week in September, Andrea Palm, Department of Health Services secretary-designee, said Thursday.
North Dakota Reports Record Again (3:58 p.m. NY)
North Dakota, which ranks highest in the nation for virus cases per capita, hit another record, adding 705 new cases on Thursday, the state reported.
The state has been running short of hospital beds, and Governor Doug Burgum is coming under increasing pressure from mayors and others to issue mask mandates. While the state encourages masks and other anti-virus measures, it has either not imposed mandates or does not enforce official guidance.
Earlier this week, pediatricians wrote a letter asking him for a mask mandate, the Bismarck Tribune reported. “The refusal to endorse a mask mandate is no longer an act of strong leadership,” the letter said. “The refusal ignores sound science and the recommendations of medical experts at local, state, and national levels.”
WHO Study Finds Remdesivir Has No ‘Substantial’ Effect on Mortality, FT Reports (3:33 p.m. NY)
Remdesivir has no substantial effect on a patient’s chances of survival, a clinical trial by the World Health Organization has found, Financial Times reports, citing a copy of the study the publication saw.
Results from the Solidarity trial found that none of the treatments “substantially affected mortality” or reduced the need to ventilate patients, the FT said, citing the study.
Results also showed that the drugs had little effect on how long patients stayed in the hospital, the FT said.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
German Nursing Home Cases Rising (3 p.m. NY)
Virus outbreaks are increasing in German nursing homes, resulting in more cases and deaths, according to the country’s public health authority, Robert Koch Institute.
As of Thursday, there were 655 Covid-19 patients in German intensive care units, up 53 from yesterday, the RKI said. About half those patients were receiving invasive mechanical ventilation. The country still had about 8,700 ICU beds available, the RKI report said, citing a national registry.
Covid’s Midwest Surge Hits Populous Illinois, Ohio and Michigan (2:06 p.m. NY)
Midwest states from Illinois, Ohio to Michigan have seen a rise in cases. In Illinois, cases surged to a record 4,015 on Thursday, extending one of the nation’s most concerning weekly trends. Daily Covid-19 deaths in the state rose to 53, the highest since June 24.
In Michigan and Ohio, current coronavirus hospitalizations are up 31% and 28% in the past week, the nation’s fifth- and seventh-biggest spikes respectively, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
On the basis of per-capita cases, none of those states comes close to the viral prevalence in the Dakotas or Wisconsin. But a trend is emerging.
France Leads Europe’s Spike With Record Number of Cases (1:40 p.m. NY)
France reported a record 30,621 new infections on Thursday after the previous high last Saturday with 26,896 cases. Deaths increased by 88 to 33,125, according to the health agency.
In Spain, 6,603 new cases were detected, the biggest daily increase since April. The region reporting the highest number of cases is Madrid, which reported 2,292 new infections, after the national government declared the state of emergency. Catalonia, the country’s second most-populous region, is also set to implement a shutdown of bars and restaurants.
Ireland reported a record 1,205 new cases. The number of hospitalizations is increasing faster than its modeling predicted, health authorities said, a sign of “a rapidly deteriorating disease trajectory nationally.”
Cyprus reported 93 cases, a record high since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s the second time in three days that the small Mediterranean island hit a new daily high of cases, bringing the total number to 2,274.
Ukraine imposed a lockdown for nine cities, 21 towns and 37 districts where schools and restaurants will be shut.
U.K. Adds More Cases to Contain Hot Spots (12:15 p.m. NY)
The U.K. reported a further 18,980 new cases and 138 new deaths on Thursday, as it wrestled with how to control the virus in its hot spots.
Talks over whether Manchester will go into the highest level of restrictions ended without a conclusion on Thursday, as local leaders resisted tougher measures. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham asked for more government support for businesses if they are forced to close.
Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors from this weekend as tighter coronavirus restrictions are imposed in an attempt to curb a rise in cases in the capital. The move was welcomed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, who asked for more financial support and repeated calls for a “circuit breaker” or lockdown.
The U.K. also imposed quarantines on those arriving from Italy, while removing the restriction on people traveling from Crete.
Italy Hits Record (11:16 a.m. NY)
Italy’s cases reached a daily record on Thursday, rising to 8,804, compared with 7,332 the previous day. About 163,000 tests were carried out, and 83 deaths related to Covid-19 were reported, bringing the total to 36,372. Patients in intensive care units rose by 47 to 586.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a series of new curbs on nightlife, social events and amateur sports as the pandemic intensifies throughout the country, though at a slower pace than in other major European nations
NYC Sees Plateau of Infections in Virus Hot Spots, Mayor Says (10:59 a.m. NY)
Mayor Bill de Blasio said a massive testing effort inside areas of increasing Covid-19 had shown a leveling off of new infections, but more must be done to stave off a second wave of the pandemic in the most populous US city.
The city has conducted 17,000 tests in three clusters of the city, offering self-testing with 13 mobile testing units in the the areas where the virus is spreading at a faster rate than the rest of the city, the mayor said. “I am deeply concerned about the threat of a second wave,” he said.
EU President Leaves Summit After Staff Member Tests Positive (10:48 a.m. NY)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left a leaders’ summit in Brussels after a member of her staff tested positive for Covid-19.
Von der Leyen said in a tweet that she herself has tested negative for the infection but will nevertheless be self-isolating immediately.
Harris Cancels Travel After Two on Her Plane Get Covid-19 (10:43 a.m. NY)
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has canceled her travel until Monday after her communications director and a member of her flight crew tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign said Thursday.
The campaign said the California senator was not in “close contact” with communications director Liz Allen or the crew member in the days before they tested positive, but her travel would be paused “out of an abundance of caution.” Neither infected person was in contact with presidential nominee Joe Biden, whose travel schedule won’t be interrupted.
Presidential nominee Joe Biden tested negative last night, his campaign said.
Houston ICUs See Surge in Patients (10:40 a.m. NY)
The Houston metro area’s tally of the sickest virus patients jumped by 18% in 24 hours to the highest in a month, according to the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council. There were 214 Covid-19 patients in intensive-care units in the nine-county region that includes the fourth-largest U.S. city.
The spike comes amid resurgent outbreaks in El Paso, Lubbock and Amarillo that are straining ICU capacity. It wasn’t clear how many of the Houston patients were transported from other parts of the state.
Netherlands, Austria Report Record Number of Cases (10:35 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands added a record 7,833 patients, Dutch news agency ANP said, citing health agency RIVM. The number of infections in the country doubled in less than a month.
In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged the country’s provinces to tighten regional measures as new infections rose by a record 1,552 on Thursday. “Make no mistake: The situation is serious. The coming weeks will decide whether we can slow down and contain the spread of the virus, or if the corona pandemic will inflict even bigger damage to the health system, jobs and companies,” Kurz said.
Portugal reported the biggest daily increase in cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 2,101 new infections in a day, bringing the total is now 93,294.
Argentina Now Among Top Five Most-Infected Countries (9:12 a.m. NY)
A patchy lockdown that’s dragged on for 210 days has failed to spare Argentina from a late and aggressive outbreak of coronavirus.
Argentina passed Colombia as the most-infected country in Latin America after only Brazil and is currently number five globally in overall cases trailing the U.S., India, its northern neighbor and Russia. In total, 931,967 people have tested positive while 24,921 fatalities have been reported.
Germany Warns Tracing Capacity Near Limits (8:51 a.m. NY)
Germany’s top health official warned that the recent surge in infections is threatening its ability to track cases and check the spread of the disease.
“The problem is that day by day with increasing numbers our local authorities are not able any more to trace,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said. “And then you lose track” and the numbers are increasing exponentially, he added.
The country’s public health institute also said France, Netherlands and Slovenia will be considered a coronavirus risk area starting from Oct. 17.
Sanofi Plans Human Trial of mRNA Vaccine (8:14 a.m. NY)
Two doses of the candidate induced neutralizing antibodies “significantly higher” than those observed in Covid-19 patients as well as a response in infection-fighting T-cells in non-human primates, Translate Bio and Sanofi said in a statement.
The candidate is a so-called messenger RNA vaccine, which prompts the body to make a key protein from the virus, sparking an immune response. It’s based on technology similar to that used by one of the fastest-moving vaccine developers, Moderna Inc.
Sanofi is developing another coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Plc. That shot is already in a clinical trial, and first results are expected in early December to support the start of a broader phase 3 study before the end of the year.
Eiger Treatment Lowered Viral Load (8:12 a.m. NY)
Eiger BioPharmaceuticals said its Lambda treatment decreased viral load for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections more than a placebo treatment during a study. Patients treated with Lambda, which stimulates immune responses, were below the infectivity threshold by day 7 of the 14-day study.
Separately, ImmunityBio received authorization from the FDA to begin a Phase I clinical trial of vaccine candidate hAd5-COVID-19, which targets T cells and antibody immunity.
Trump’s Antibody Cocktail Won’t Be Widely Available (7:16 a.m. NY)
The antibody cocktail U.S. President Donald Trump credited for his swift coronavirus recovery won’t become widely available because it’s impossible to make enough for everyone who might need it, according to the Swiss pharmaceutical giant working on scaling up production.
“We’ll never be able to produce enough,” said Bill Anderson, drugs chief at Roche Holding AG, which is working together with U.S. biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. on the project. “This is clearly part of the answer for the world, not the answer. Hopefully we’ll have vaccines and other therapeutics.”
Virus Hot Spots Reemerge in Mideast (6:11 a.m. NY)
Covid infections are rising again in parts of the Middle East, posing a fresh threat to the region’s economies already battered by the collapse in oil prices.
Cases have been rising in Iran, which is battling the Middle East’s worst outbreak, with more than half a million people infected so far. Israel was forced to impose a second nationwide lockdown last month, with the move estimated to cost the economy almost $7.5 billion - about 2% of 2019 GDP.
France Sets Paris Curfew as Europe Sees Record Cases (2 p.m. HK)
France imposed a curfew in Paris as Germany and Italy posted record increases in new infections, as Europe’s leaders intensified efforts to stem an unrelenting surge in coronavirus cases.
President Emmanuel Macron will confine residents of nine of the country’s biggest cities to their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for four weeks starting on Saturday.
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