India Cases Jump Again; Trump Holds Indoor Rally: Virus Update


(Bloomberg) --

Pfizer Inc.’s chief executive officer said it’s likely the U.S. will deploy a Covid-19 shot before the end of the year, while another vaccine maker’s CEO warned that global supplies won’t be sufficient until late 2024. AstraZeneca Plc restarted testing after its vaccine trial was halted.

India’s new cases topped 90,000 for a fifth straight day. South Korea began relaxing social-distancing rules as new infections dropped to the lowest in a month. Israel’s cabinet backed a second national lockdown.

Gatherings in the U.K. will be restricted to no more than six people as new cases climb at a pace not seen since May. Donald Trump held his first indoor rally in nearly three months in defiance of Nevada regulations barring large gatherings.

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U.S. deaths head toward 200,000

India Parliament Resumes as Virus Cases Soar (1:00 p.m. HK)

Indian lawmakers returned to the nation’s parliament for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government bracing for a tumultuous session as the country sets new global records in coronavirus infections.

The nation reported 92,071 new cases on Monday, the fifth day in a row that infections topped 90,000. Fatalities rose by 1,136, bringing the total death toll near 80,000. India is now the second worst affected country with more than 4.8 million infections, and has the highest death toll after the U.S. and Brazil.

A Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021, India’s Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said Sunday, according to Press Trust of India. The government is considering emergency authorization of the vaccine for senior citizens and for people working in high-risk settings.

Vaccine Supplies Won’t Reach Entire Globe for Years: CEO (12:26 p.m. HK)

There won’t be enough Covid-19 vaccines available for everyone in the world until the end of 2024 at the earliest, the chief of the world’s largest vaccine maker said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, which has a partnership to produce AstraZeneca’s shot, said in the report that drug companies weren’t increasing production capacity quickly enough to vaccinate the global population in less time.

The forecast comes as others -- from Donald Trump to Pfizer Inc.’s CEO -- have said a vaccine will be ready as early as this year, though manufacturing enough shots and getting them to all corners of the globe will take far longer. Governments have scrambled to make deals securing supplies, raising concerns that poorer developing nations will be last in line for administering shots.

Health Workers Oppose Philippines’ Move to Ease Rules (11:33 a.m. HK)

A group of medical frontline workers in the Philippines opposes the government’s decision to ease distancing rules in public transport, saying it will further increase infections. “It’s still too early,” Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 spokesman Antonio Dans said in a virtual briefing.

The Department of Health said people should still opt for transport with at least 1 meter of distancing, and “be extra vigilant” if they’re unable to. The Philippines has the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, with more than 261,000 cases.

Trump Holds Indoor Rally Despite Nevada Regulations (11:21 a.m. HK)

Donald Trump held his first indoor rally in nearly three months in defiance of Nevada regulations barring large gatherings, prompting the state’s governor to accuse the president of endangering lives with “reckless and selfish actions.”

The U.S. president defended the indoor rally at a warehouse in Henderson, Nevada, telling attendees he was blocked from using multiple “exterior sites” and suggesting political motivations.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has denied his office directly intervened to cancel the outdoor rallies. But on Sunday he tweeted that the president “appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

New Zealand Extends Restrictions for Another Week (10:12 a.m. HK)

New Zealand has decided on a short extension to current restrictions in Auckland and for the rest of the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at news conference. The government will review Auckland’s level 2.5 restrictions on Sept. 21, with a view to relaxing gathering limits in the city from Sept. 23.

South Korea Reports Fewest Cases in a Month (8:56 a.m. HK)

South Korea added 109 cases in 24 hours, down from 121 a day earlier and the lowest number in a month. The number of confirmed cases remained below 200 for a 12th consecutive day.

South Korea is relaxing social-distancing rules as cases ease after last month’s surge. Distancing requirements for the Seoul metropolitan area will be lowered to level 2 from level 2.5 for two weeks. Level 2 forbids indoor gatherings of 50 or more people, affecting everything from weddings to amusement parks.

Pakistan’s Economy Shows Momentum as Cases Slow (7:06 a.m. HK)

Pakistan is showing signs of business activity picking up at a faster clip, as worries about new infections fade in an economy that contracted for the first time in seven decades. Evidence of momentum returning can be seen from growing cement-to-fuel sales and demand for home appliances to cars. That’s happening even as Pakistan added fewer than 2,900 cases last week compared with almost 35,000 cases in a week in June, and 96% of the total 300,000 infected have fully recovered.

Wisconsin New Cases Climb to Record (3:45 p.m. NY)

Confirmed virus cases in Wisconsin increased by 1,582, the most for a single day since the start of the pandemic, raising the total to 89,185.

One person died from the virus over the latest 24-hour period, bringing the toll to 1,210, according to the state Department of Health Services.

California Reports Most Cases in a Week (2:07 p.m NY)

California reported 4,625 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the biggest jump in a week and more than the 14-day average of 3,930.

Deaths increased by 78, less than the 14-day average of 102, according to the health department’s website. More than 14,300 people have died from the virus in California.

Israel Backs Second National Lockdown (2 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved a second nationwide lockdown starting Friday, brushing aside appeals from business leaders and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Israeli cabinet ministers voted Sunday to strictly limit movement, gatherings and economic activity for at least three weeks, coinciding with the Jewish new year holiday season.

French Surge Slows in Latest Daily Report (1:30 p.m. NY)

France reported 7,183 new coronavirus cases on Sunday after more than 10,000 a day earlier, which was the most since a national lockdown ended in May.

The seven-day rolling average of new infections extended its steady climb of almost four weeks, rising to 8,045. Six more people died of virus-related illness, pushing the death toll to 30,916.

French leaders and health officials have warned repeatedly that the virus is raging, mainly among young people.

FDA Ex-Head Faults U.S. Health Agencies (1 p.m. NY)

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said U.S. health officials failed the White House by providing inadequate guidance as Covid-19 began spreading through the country.

“The White House did not have the information they needed to make decisions,” Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. U.S. health agencies drew conclusions from “faulty” and “incomplete” information, said Gottlieb, who served as FDA head under Trump until last year.

Pfizer CEO Predicts Vaccine By Year’s End (12:30 p.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said it’s “likely” the U.S. will deploy a Covid-19 vaccine to the public before year-end and that the company is prepared for that scenario, pushing back against more tepid expectations shared by health authorities.
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Drugmaker CEOs Testify Before Senate Finance Committee On Drug Pricing

Albert Bourla

Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

Bourla said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he’s “quite comfortable” that the vaccine the company is developing in partnership with BioNTech SE is safe and that it could be available to Americans before 2021, contingent on an approval from U.S. regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“I cannot say what the FDA will do,” Bourla said. “But I think it’s a likely scenario, and we are preparing for it.”

Florida Deaths Fall to Three-Month Low (12:24 p.m. NY)

Florida reported eight new deaths among residents, the lowest since June 15, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. That compares with 98 deaths among residents the previous day and a daily average of 107 for the seven preceding days.

The state reported 663,994 total cases on Sunday after an increase of 0.4% from the previous day. That was in line with the average daily increase over the previous seven days.

U.K. Has Third Day With More Than 3,000 Cases (11:35 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported 3,300 new cases on Sunday, the third straight day over 3,000. Rising cases prompted the U.K. on Thursday to limit to six the number of people who can gather indoors or outdoors, starting Monday.

The number of daily confirmed cases is slightly lower than the 3,497 on Saturday.

Italy’s Cases Fall Slightly (11:27 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 1,458 new cases on Sunday, compared with 1,501 the previous day, with 72,143 daily tests. There were 7 additional deaths, higher than the 6 deaths reported on Saturday. The numbers remain distant from the pandemic’s peak of 6,557 new infections in a day on March 21. Total cases reported since February rose to 287,753.

Portugal’s New Cases at April Levels (9:50 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported 673 cases, bringing the total to 63,983, the government said. The country has had more than 600 daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in three of the last five days, remaining at a level last recorded in April. The number of cases in intensive care units fell.

The government announced last week that from Sept. 15 the limit on gatherings in Portugal will be tightened to 10 people from 20, aligning other regions with a rule that’s already in place for Lisbon.

U.S. Cases and Deaths at Steady Pace (8:08 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added 40,016 cases, a 0.6% rise in line with the average daily increase of the previous seven days. Total cases are now 6,483,064.

Another 708 people died, down from more than 1,200 the day before, but in line with the 0.4% average daily increase of the previous seven days. Total deaths reached 193,676.

Norway Overtakes Sweden in Infection Rate (7:15 a.m. NY)

Norway’s infection rate has risen to 24.8 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks, overtaking Sweden’s rate of 24.0, Aftenposten reported. That’s despite Norway introducing stricter restrictions than its neighbor.

German Reproduction Rate Keeps Rising (7 a.m. NY)

Germany’s reproduction rate -- which measures the average number of people infected by one person -- has risen to 1.15, the Robert Koch Institute said. It was 1.0 on Saturday and 0.9 on Sept. 10.

The number of infections rose by 1,713 to 261,448, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The increase was up on the day before but below the 1,898 tally measured on Sept. 8. Germany registered daily new infection numbers as high as 7,000 at the height of the pandemic.

Iran Has More Than 2,000 New Cases (5:50 p.m. HK)

Iran recorded 128 fatalities and 2,089 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 23,157 in 402,029 known infections, latest Health Ministry figures showed. Over 346,000 people have recovered from the virus with 3,791 patients under treatment in intensive-care units.

Austrian Leader Warns of Tough Months Ahead (5:20 p.m. HK)

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged citizens to stick to the rules after coronavirus numbers surged to levels last seen in March.
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Europe’s Young Contender Sebastian Kurz Sharpens Brand

Sebastian Kurz

Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

“What we’re experiencing right now is the beginning of the second wave,” Kurz was quoted as saying by Austria Press Agency. “We’re going to see 1,000 infections soon. Fall and winter will be hard on everybody.”

Health authorities registered 869 new daily infections on Saturday, the highest numbers since March 28. The numbers declined to 463 on Sunday.

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