California Hits Record; Hong Kong Tightens Rules: Virus Update

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New Jersey and Illinois said they expect to receive Covid-19 vaccine doses, as Pfizer became the first company to apply for emergency use authorization in the U.S. for the vaccine developed with BioNTech SE.

California, Ohio and Oregon reported record numbers of new infections. The share of U.S. hospitals anticipating a critical staff shortage within seven days rose to a record. Donald Trump Jr. has tested positive, as has Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew.

Hong Kong added new measures to its social distancing rules while Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, will go back into lockdown. Brazil surpassed 6 million total infections.

  • Global Tracker: Cases reach 57.3 million; deaths 1.3 million
  • Pfizer’s Covid vaccine still faces hurdles after FDA filing Friday
  • One in five U.S. hospitals face staffing crisis within a week
  • EU could approve BioNTech, Moderna vaccines in December
  • Only the best London offices thrive in an emerging Covid divide
  • Tracking Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S.
  • Vaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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.

Hong Kong Bans Live Pub Performances in Latest Social Distancing Measures (8:30 a.m. HK)

Hong Kong has added new social distancing measures, including the banning of live performances, as the city combats a spike in cases.

The ban on live performances applies to catered premises such as clubs, pubs and nightclubs, the government said on its website on Saturday. Party rooms must also be closed with the new measures to take effect from midnight on Nov. 22, it said.

The new measures come a day after the government asked more students to stay home as local cases jump by the most in about three months. The new wave is threatening a high-profile travel bubble with Singapore before its launch on Sunday.

South Australia Records No New Local Cases With Lockdown Set to End (8:04 a.m. HK)

South Australia reported no new local infections Saturday with the state set to lift its lockdown early after fears of an extremely infectious strain of the virus proved unfounded.

The state was plunged into one of the strictest lockdowns in the world on Thursday, after contact tracers believed a man became infected after buying a takeaway pizza. It turns out he lied to contact tracers and had worked at the restaurant. The original six-day lockdown will end at midnight Saturday.

Donald Trump Jr. Tests Positive (7:06 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for coronavirus infection earlier this week and is isolating, according to three people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for Trump Jr. said in a statement he is asymptomatic for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Trump Jr. adds to the dozens of people associated with the president who have been infected by the virus, including Trump himself. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew Giuliani, who is a White House aide, announced on Twitter he had tested positive.

Test Turnaround Times Rising (5:53 p.m. NY)

Average turnaround times for Covid-19 tests done by Laboratory Corp of America Holdings, one of the largest laboratories in the U.S., are inching up to 24-48 hours, up from 24 hours, as the company sees rising demand across the country, it said on Friday.

Rival Quest Diagnostics Inc. also said on Tuesday that tests will now take just over two days on average for results, a slight increase, and warned that growing demand could make for longer waits. Labs are facing strains amid record new coronavirus infections in the U.S. and as Thanksgiving further drives demand.

Ohio Reports Record Infections (5:40 p.m. NY)

Ohio reported a record 8,808 new infections, in a state where Governor Mike DeWine said Covid-19 is spreading like “wildfire.” The state also reported a near-record 65 new fatalities. Tightened restrictions went into place on Thursday, including a three-week statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., though it allows for work, grocery shopping, takeaway and dog walking.

Oregon Breaks Record (5:21 p.m. NY)

Oregon reported 1,306 new infections, breaking a record for the second consecutive day. To tamp down rapidly-rising infections, new restrictions went into place on Wednesday, limiting social gatherings, restricting restaurants to take-out and closing gyms, zoos and museums.

Illinois Expects 400,000 Vaccine Doses (4:52 p.m. NY)

Illinois, where a series of new restrictions to curb a Covid-19 resurgence took effect Friday, expects to receive about 400,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine after one gets approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Ngozi Ezike, the director of the state’s public health department, said on Friday.

State officials are identifying ultra-cold storage to hold the doses. Pfizer Inc. has filed for an emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, which requires storage at extremely low temperatures. When a vaccine is approved, the initial doses Illinois receives would be for health care workers and first responders, Ezike said.

Toronto Goes Back to Lockdown (4:47 p.m. NY)

Canada’s largest province ordered a lockdown in Toronto and one of its suburbs, a declaration that forces shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to close their doors to slow a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Ontario, home to 14.7 million of the country’s 38 million people, said all non-essential retail stores in Toronto and Peel will have to close, though they can take orders for outdoor pickup and delivery. Restaurants will be allowed to operate takeout and delivery services only. Personal services such as salons will also shut down and indoor gatherings will be largely banned. The measures take effect Monday.

Brazil Passes 6 Million Cases as Covid-19 Roars Back (4:43 p.m. NY)

Brazil reached 6 million coronavirus infections amid growing signs the spread is accelerating in what was already one of the world’s hardest-hit nations.

Sao Paulo, one of the early hotspots, is of particular concern as data show hospitalizations on the rise, threatening to stretch the health system to its limits. Nationwide, the daily infections have jumped 25% in the past two weeks as testing picked up, according to the country’s association of diagnostic medicine.

NYC Restaurants Likely to Stay Open for Now (4:23 p.m. NY)

New York City restaurants are expected to remain open through the Thanksgiving holiday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The city hasn’t yet met the state’s criteria that would require a shutdown of indoor dining, and isn’t expected to do so until December at the soonest, Cuomo said on a call Friday with reporters.

The state requires a seven-day average Covid-19 positive-test rate of 3% for 10 days before an area has to shut down indoor dining and other “high-risk” nonessential businesses, Cuomo said. New York City has different criteria for calculating its average test rate, and has already reached 3%, resulting in a shutdown of its school system this week

While state cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, they are doing so at a manageable rate, Cuomo said. The state reported 5,468 positive cases for Thursday, the most since late April; It conducted 205,000 tests, the most in one day by any state ever, according to Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.

California Reports Record Cases (3:50 p.m. NY)

California reported 13,005 new infections, a daily record. The average rate of positive tests jumped to 5.2%, the highest since the end of August and up two percentage points from the start of November, according to state health data.

The figures reflect a rapidly worsening outbreak in the most-populous state, where just a month ago cases were averaging around 3,000 a day. Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for areas that are home to 37 million residents to curb transmissions from late-night socializing, and health officials have warned that more restrictive measures may be needed if trends worsen.

Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine First to Seek Emergency U.S. Clearance (2:52 p.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. filed with U.S. regulators for an emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, seeking clearance for an experimental shot that’s expected to play an important role in an immunization effort to halt the virus.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. drugmaker with its German partner BioNTech SE, is the first to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. An emergency clearance would allow Americans to access the vaccine before it’s granted full approval. It is likely to first be made available on a limited basis to health workers and older Americans.

France Hospitalizations Drop for 4th Day (2:22 p.m. NY)

France reported a fourth day of falling hospitalizations and patients in intensive care for Covid-19 on Friday, after health authorities said the country has passed the peak of its second wave of the coronavirus.

President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, when he is expected to give a road map for easing of the country’s lockdown measures.

New confirmed cases increased by 22,882 to 2.1 million, while the weekly pace of infections continued its decline of the past two weeks. The rate of positive tests fell to 15%, from a peak of more than 20% earlier this month. Deaths linked to the virus increased by 1,138 to 48,265.

U.S. Courts Close Doors, Cancel Juries (2:05 p.m. NY)

Courts across the U.S. are shutting their doors again due to rising Covid-19 cases, including several that had outbreaks inside their courthouses.

State and federal courts—including those in Texas, New York, Maryland, New Mexico, and Illinois—have suspended jury trials in the past few weeks as a result of spikes in Covid-19 infections.

Johnson Plans Overhaul of Covid Rules (1:30 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s officials are considering plans that would spell the end of targeted local lockdowns, with tougher restrictions instead placed on broader regions of England next month. England is in a nationwide lockdown that Johnson has promised will end on Dec. 2.

England’s infection rate continued to rise, with one in 80 people having the disease in the week to Nov. 14, according to Office for National Statistics figures published Friday. However, the pace has leveled off in recent weeks. There were an estimated 38,900 new cases per day in the latest week, down from almost 48,000 in the previous seven days.

Germany Set to Extend Lockdown (1:30 p.m. NY)

Germany’s partial lockdown may be extended well into next month as Europe’s biggest economy seeks to regain control over the spread of the coronavirus before people head home for the holidays.

More than two weeks into a partial shutdown — which closed museums, bars and restaurants but kept schools and most shops open — Germany’s contagion rates are still above the level that authorities have determined to be manageable, raising the prospect of tougher curbs over the festive period.

Paris Prepares to Vaccinate (1:25 p.m. NY)

Paris will be ready to vaccinate between 30% and 40% of the French capital’s population against Covid-19 starting in January, AFP reported Friday, citing city health official Anne Souyris. Residents over the age of 65 or in fragile health will be targeted, she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on Tuesday evening about changes to measures designed to stem the spread of Covid-19, AFP reported, citing the president’s office. French non-essential stores, bars and restaurants are closed under existing measures.

Gauge of U.S. Hospital Strain Rises to Record (12:35 p.m. NY)

One in five American hospitals this week anticipated a critical staff shortage within seven days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ratio was a record as cases swell and patients flood facilities for a third time since the pandemic began.

North Dakota, Missouri and Wisconsin reported the highest share, each with almost half of its hospitals in need of medical staff as of Wednesday.

Arizona Cases Spike as Mayors Challenge Governor (12:17 p.m. NY)

Arizona reported 4,471 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the most since July 1, as mayors from four cities implored Governor Doug Ducey to issue a statewide mask mandate and take stronger steps to curb the rising cases.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero also called on Ducey, a Republican, to more forcefully tell people to avoid gatherings and to implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine or a negative Covid-19 test for travelers arriving in Arizona. “We have to act now, before the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said.

The total number of cases has hit 291,696, and Arizona recorded 43 new deaths, bringing the toll to 6,427, according to the state Department of Health Services.

Italy’s Cases Stabilize, Health Official Says (11:30 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 37,242 new coronavirus cases on Friday, an increase on the day but 9% fewer than a week earlier. Patients in intensive-care units rose by 36 to 3,748, the smallest increase in more than a month. That compares with a peak of more than 4,000 in April.

Daily deaths climbed to 699 from 653 on Thursday. There is a stabilization in new cases while the high number of deaths is still worrisome, Giovanni Rezza, head of prevention at the Health Ministry, said at a press conference.

N.J. Sees Vaccine Deployed in Late December (11:30 a.m. NY)

New Jersey expects 130,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine by the third week of December, for the initial two-dose treatment of 65,000 health-care workers and others at high risk, state health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a CNN interview. Another 130,000 doses will arrive in January, and Moderna Inc. may provide another 100,000, she said.

That would cover about 200,000 people in a state of about 9 million.

Hungary May Sidestep EU to Speed Russia Vaccine (6:49 a.m.)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban indicated that his government may sidestep the European Union’s drugs regulator to accelerate the authorization of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.

Hungary’s government has ordered comprehensive testing of the Sputnik V vaccine after receiving 10 doses on Thursday. The EU, which clears drug approvals for member states, said it had no data on the efficacy of the Russian shot and warned Hungary against using an opt-out to sidestep the bloc’s regulator.

— With assistance by Robert Fenner, Henry Goldman, Elise Young, Shruti Singh, Rudy Ruitenberg, Vincent Del Giudice, Robert Langreth, Kait Bolongaro, Boris Groendahl, Paul Tugwell, Zoe Schneeweiss, Marco Bertacche, Kara Wetzel, Ilya Banares, Riley Griffin, Caroline Aragaki, Simone Preissler Iglesias, Marisa Wanzeller, Emma Court, Jennifer Jacobs, Tyler Pager, Mario Parker, Shawna Kwan, and Soraya Permatasari

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