U.S. Tops 8 Million Cases; Midwest Reaches Records: Virus Update

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The U.S. reported the most daily infections in two months as temperatures begin to dip across the U.S., students return to classrooms and more people stay indoors where the virus spreads easily. Total cases topped 8 million. The nation posted its largest fiscal deficit on record after lawmakers opened the spending spigots to soften the pandemic’s blow.

Meanwhile, cases worldwide surpassed 39 million. Nations from Germany to Italy to Portugal reported record cases as the pandemic’s accelerating resurgence across Europe forcedfresh lockdowns. Londoners will bebanned from mixing with other households indoors, while residents of Paris and eight other major French cities will be confined to their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for four weeks.

Pfizer Inc. said it could seekemergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. by late November if the shot is shown to be effective in a large late-stage trial.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 39 million; deaths top 1.1 million
  • Covid-19 cases spread across the U.S. as winter nears
  • Virus surgecrimps Europe with London and Paris leading the way
  • A Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubblewill reopen financial hub links
  • Who’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why:QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Texas Cases Surge Most in 7 Weeks (7:35 a.m. HK)

Texas virus cases climbed by more than 5,600 in the past 24 hours, the biggest increase since Aug. 25, according to state health department data. The surge brought the cumulative total 815,678.

Meanwhile, statewide hospitalizations dropped for the first time in five days even as available intensive-care beds dwindled in the hot spots of El Paso, Lubbock and Amarillo, state figures showed.

Australia’s Hot Spot State Records Just One New Case (6:34 a.m. HK)

Victoria, the state at the center of Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, has recorded just one new case overnight and no deaths, raising pressure on authorities to ease lockdown restrictions.

The 5 million residents of the state capital, Melbourne, remain under stay-at-home orders until the rolling 14-day average drops below 5 new cases and there are fewer than five cases with an unknown source. Critics, including the federal health minister, say the target is too onerous, and that the prolonged lockdown is risking people’s mental health and weighing on the national economy.

State Premier Daniel Andrews is due to address the media on Sunday and is being urged to ease restrictions.

Wisconsin, Indiana Hit Records (5:50 p.m. NY)

Wisconsin reported another record number of cases, as the average daily count topped 3,000 for the first time in the last week. The crucial swing state — where early voting begins next week — reported 3,861 cases Friday, the third time this week it broke a record. Another 21 deaths were reported for a total of 1,574.

Indiana reported 2,328 cases, the most since the outbreak began there, though the state said that included about 300 earlier cases. Total infections, which have been rising in the state since mid-September, are 143,495 and deaths 3,654.

Italy’s Lombardy Restricts Sports, Bars, Restaurants (5:17 p.m. NY)

The northern Italian region of Lombardy, Europe’s first Covid-19 hot spot, is mandating new restrictions to stop a another wave of the virus, including limits on sporting activities, new rules for schools and curbs on operations of restaurants and bars.

The new rules, effective Saturday, narrow operations for restaurants and bars, particularly the sale of alcoholic beverages. Universities are requested to move classes online and some athletic activities are being halted.

Lab That Provided False Test Results Faces License Threat (4:32 p.m. NY)

A company that performed Covid-19 tests for dozens of Massachusetts nursing homes is facingfederal sanctions, including the possible loss of its license, for lab practices that resulted in “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

Last month, Bloomberg News reported that the company, Orig3n Inc., a consumer DNA-testing company that pivoted to Covid-19 testing amid the pandemic, was responsible for hundreds of false positive results at nursing homes across the state.

ln a letter to the company dated Oct. 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Orig3n had not corrected problems after an earlier inspection and proposed sanctions, including revoking or suspending Orig3n’s license.

South Dakota Prison Reports 85% Positive-Test Results (3:41 p.m. NY)

Testing at a South Dakota prison found 127 positive cases in 149 inmate tests, the department of correctionsreported Friday. South Dakota has one of the nation’s highest per capita rates of Covid-19 amid a spike in the Midwest that is helping drive national numbers in recent weeks.

The testing took place at the Mike Durfee State Prison, which had 1,022 inmates on Sept. 30,according to the Rapid City Journal. The paper said the department of corrections did not answer whether those tested represented any particular group — a specific unit at the prison, for example, or symptomatic prisoners.

The state — which has declined to issue mask orders or other mandated anti-virus measures — reported 793 cases Friday. That 3% rise is in line with the average 3% daily increase of the previous seven days. Two weeks ago, that average increase was 2%, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

U.S. Cases Top 8 Million (2:12 p.m. NY)

Total Covid-19 cases in the U.S. topped 8 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. There were 63,330 cases reported on Thursday, the most in more than two months.

Cases nationwide have been rising since mid-September, after a summertime peak as the virus spread through the Sun Belt. The trailing seven-day average of cases rose by almost 9% this week compared to the previous week, illustrating the upward curve faced by the U.S. less than three weeks before the general election.

Cases are climbing as temperatures begin to dip across the U.S., students return to classrooms and more people stay indoors where the virus spreads easily.

While far fewer people are ending up hospitalized with the illness than during the pandemic’s surge in March and April, many more deaths are expected to be added to almost 218,000 already reported nationally as cases spike, experts said.

Pandemic Drives Budget Deficit to Record (2 p.m. NY)

The U.S. budget shortfall ballooned to more than $3.1 trillion in the government’s fiscal year ended in September, Treasury Department data showed Friday.

The deficit as a share of the economy surged to 16%, the largest since 1945, based on second-quarter gross domestic product. At the end of the financial crisis in 2009, the ratio was close to 10% before slowly narrowing through 2015.

CVS, Walgreens to Give Covid-19 Shots in Nursing Homes (1:55 p.m. NY)

CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. will give free Covid-19 vaccines to residents and employees of long-term care facilities, the Trump administration announced Friday.

Residents and employees of long-term care facilities are slated to be among the first vaccinated because the novel coronavirus is especially dangerous in these settings. No Covid-19 vaccines are currently available.

Illinois Cases at Record (1:40 p.m. NY)

Illinois’s daily Covid-19 case count hit another one-day record, pushing the state’s positivity rate up to 5.1%. The state on Friday reported 4,554 new cases, up from 4,015 on Thursday. There have been 336,174 cases and 9,165 deaths in total. Thirty-four of its 102 counties are at a warning level for the virus, up from 26 a week earlier.

Belgium Plans Shutdown, Curfew (1:40 p.m. NY)

Belgium will close restaurants and cafes from Monday for four weeks and introduce a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m., Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said in a press conference Friday evening. The country’s 14-day incidence rate rose to 550 cases per 100,000 from 494 Thursday, trailing only the Czech Republic as the hardest hit country in Europe.

French Senators Test Positive (12:44 p.m. NY)

Eight French senators have tested positive for Covid-19, the French Senate’s press office said Friday. One of the senators has been hospitalized, France Info reported earlier, citing anonymous sources. The cases were detected in a testing campaign among 125 of the nation’s 348 senators.

The country reported 25,086 new coronavirus cases Friday, down from a record of more than 30,000 infections a day earlier. Still, the share of tested people whose results came back positive increased to 12.9% from 12.6% the previous day. The weekly pace of infections rose above 20,000 cases a day for the first time, having nearly doubled in the past two weeks.

Number of European Cities to Run Out of Hospital Capacity (12:35 p.m. NY)

A number of cities in Europe will probably reach full intensive-care hospital capacity in coming weeks, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead officer on Covid-19. The start of the influenza season in the northern hemisphere may boost need for hospital beds, and it can’t be assumed that the region will have fewer flu cases than normal, even though that was the case in the southern hemisphere, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO said at a briefing in Geneva.

WHO to Revise Guidance on Remdesivir in Coming Weeks (12:29 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization will revise its guidance on the use of remdesivir in coming weeks following the results of the Solidarity trial in which it was found not to reduce the risk of death, Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said at a briefing in Geneva. The review will take into account all studies on the drug.

The WHO will only give recommendations on vaccines once it has Phase 3 data about them, Swaminathan said when asked about Russian health authorities approving a second vaccine for public use.

Spain Cases Top 6,000 Again (12:22 p.m. NY)

Spain reported 6,591 cases, the second consecutive day with more than 6,000 infections. The nation hasn’t reached 6,000 daily infections since April, during the height of the pandemic.

Italy Hits Record Cases (11:44 a.m. NY)

Italy posted a record 10,010 cases, compared with 8,804 Thursday. There were 55 deaths Friday, compared with 83 a day earlier. The test positivity rate climbed again to 6.7% and patients in intensive care rose by 52 to 638, compared with the early April peak of more than 4,000.

The country’s regions are starting to introduce more stringent restrictions, putting pressure on the government to impose more national curbs. The Milan region, leading again for number of infected, plans to introduce more restrictive measures, including curfews on bars and restaurants.

Texas Deploys Medical Teams to New Hot Spots (10:37 a.m. NY)

Texas is dispatching more than 270 nurses and other medical personnel to expanding virus hot spots around Lubbock and Amarillo, Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement on Friday.

State aid to those regions also will include intravenous pumps, ventilators and oxygen gear, the governor’s office said.

Hospitalizations are surging so quickly in the Lubbock and Amarillo areas that there are just 25 intensive-care beds still available to cover a 47-county region, state health department figures showed.

Portugal Has Record Number of New Cases for a Third Day (8:44 a.m. NY)

Portugal on Friday reported the biggest daily increase in confirmed virus cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 2,608 new cases in a day, more than the previous record of 2,101 reported on Thursday, taking the total to 95,902.

Outbreak Accelerates in the Balkans (8:42 p.m. NY)

Serbia tightened preventive measures amid rising Covid-19 cases. Masks are required “for everyone, everywhere, all the time” in closed spaces, and are recommended for use in open spaces, epidemiologist Darija Kisic-Tepavcevic, member of the national crisis committee, said in a live broadcast.

Slovenia recorded 834 new infections, posting a new daily high for the third straight day. The number of hospitalized patients almost doubled in a week to 242, with 45 needing intensive care. Croatia saw 1,131 new cases, the highest daily number so far.

Austrian Government to Meet Provinces on Covid Measures (7:46 a.m. NY)

Austria’s government scheduled a meeting with the country’s nine provinces on Monday to decide how to reduce social contacts to stem the rise in new infections while avoiding a second lockdown, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement.

“We need the team spirit we had in the spring and which was the driver of our success in defending against the first wave,” Kurz said in the statement. Bringing down new infections is also necessary to get rid of travel warnings that hit tourism, a major contributor to Austria’s economy, Kurz said.

Pfizer Expects Vaccine Safety Milestone in November (6:59 a.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. said it plans to apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the U.S. soon after the safety milestone for the Covid-19 vaccine program is reached, according to a post on its website.

“Based on our current trial enrollment and dosing pace, we estimate we will reach this milestone in the third week of November,” the company said. It expects to have manufacturing data ready for submission before the safety milestone is reached, according to the statement.

Finnish Premier Leaves EU Summit on Covid Precaution (5:23 p.m. HK)

Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin left the European Union summit in Brussels as a precautionary measure after a member of the Finnish parliament who had been in the same committee room as she was on Wednesday tested positive for coronavirus. Marin has asked Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to represent her for the rest of the meeting, she said in a tweet.

Poland, Hungary See Record Deaths (4:31 p.m. HK)

Poland registered a record 132 daily Covid deaths, even as new infections slowed to 7,705 from 8,099 the previous day. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 157,608, the health ministry said on Twitter.

Hungary reported a daily record of 33 coronavirus deaths, while the number of patients on ventilators more than doubled over the past week to 171. Epidemiologists advising the Hungarian government have warned that with one of the lowest testing rates in the European Union, the nation was at risk of losing track of the pandemic.

Czech Republic, Bulgaria Hit Records Yet Again (2:47 p.m. HK)

The Czech Republic saw a second straight record day with 9,721 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of people currently ill with Covid-19 to 84,430 in the nation of 10.7 million. The army will start to build a field hospital in Prague this weekend to add extra bed capacity for patients.

Bulgaria reported a record number of new cases for a third consecutive day, with 915, as well as a record number of hospitalizations. Health care Minister Kostadin Angelov urged people to respect current anti-virus measures like wearing masks in closed spaces and avoiding big gatherings. The government isn’t yet planning to tighten down further.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Marco Bertacche, Joao Lima, Lenka Ponikelska, Zoltan Simon, Piotr Bujnicki, Joe Carroll, Thomas Mulier, Rodrigo Orihuela, Jonathan Levin, Kristen V Brown, Shruti Singh, Rudy Ruitenberg, Jerrold Colten, Anil Varma, and Ed Johnson

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