U.S. Cases Rise 2.1%; Baseball Reports First Tests: Virus Update

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U.S. cases rose 2.1%, higher than the seven-day average. The spread in the south and west continued, with Texas, Arizona, Alabama and North Carolina reporting above-average increases. New cases in Florida, where the spread has regularly broken records, dropped to 5.6%, less than the seven-day average.

New York’s infections rose by 0.2%, a rate that’s been stable for almost a month. First results from professional baseball players and staff reporting for training showed 1.2% tested positive.

A World Health Organization official said it would be “unwise” to predict when a vaccine might be rolled out. Mexico City stopped the reopening of its downtown after business ignored health guidelines.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases near 11 million; Deaths top 523,000
  • Trump’s Covid drug to get morescrutiny in 40,000-person test
  • Why Americans say they are, or aren’t, wearingface masks
  • ECB split isbrewing on pandemic program that calmed crisis
  • How to make small business relief programs moreeffective
  • European credit marketsupbeat amid easing national lockdowns
  • Japan insists this time isdifferent even as cases surge

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.

Virus Forces U.S. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia (6:10 a.m. HK)

Dozens of American diplomats were leaving Saudi Arabia, as cases there continued to rise, Dow Jones reported. The diplomats and their families were scheduled to return on a repatriation flight Saturday, and more are expected to leave soon. Saudi Arabia now has the most cases in the Middle East, over 200,00, second only to Iran. Deaths have topped 1,800.

Outbreak in Brazil Pork Plant (5:58 p.m. NY)

More than 1,000 workers at a JBS SA pork plant in Brazil, or a quarter of those tested, were infected with Covid-19, according to figures from the Labor Prosecutor’s Office.

While almost all have recovered, the high rate of infection reveals the challenges Brazilian meat companies face to keep plants running as the virus spreads in the nation, which has the second-highest infections and deaths behind the U.S.

California Cases Rise 2.3% (5:55 p.m. NY)

California reported a 2.3% increase in new cases, for a total of 248,235 as of Saturday. The state, which has been rolling back its reopening amid new outbreaks, also reported 100 more deaths, for a total of 6,263.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Tests Positive (5:40 p.m. NY)

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he tested positive for the coronavirus and has isolated himself, the latest senior politician sidelined by the virus, Press Trust of India reported.

On Twitter, he said he felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined at home.

The country reported 4,087 new cases on Friday, a 1.9% rise from the previous day, to a total of 221,896, while deaths reached 4,551.

MLB Announces First Test Results (5:05 p.m. NY)

Major League Baseball said 1.2% of its players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 after the first set of results after team members reported for training this week, the league and the players associationannounced. The groups reported 38 positive tests, of which 31 were players and the remainder were staff. A total of 3,185 tests were conducted.

Nineteen clubs have had one or more individuals test positive during testing. The tests were mandatory and were given prior to the workouts and full baseball activities that began Saturday. The independent Utah laboratory has reported the results through the first week of testing.

Texas Cases Climb (5 p.m. NY)

Texas reported 7,555 new cases, for a total of 183,532. That’s an increase of 4.3%, above the 4.2% seven-day average. Fifty more people died, for a total of 2,575 fatalities.

The rise in cases alarmed Republican Governor Greg Abbott to the point of mandating face coverings in public in the most affected counties and scaling back its aggressive reopening policies.

U.S. Case Rise 2.1% (4:10 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by 57,271 from a day earlier to 2.77 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 2.1% increase was higher than the average daily increase of 1.8% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.6% to 129,192.

  • New York reported 918 new coronavirus cases, up slightly from 875 the day before, but in line with the 0.2% seven-day average. The state reported 9 deaths. New total cases rose to 395,872.
  • Alabama posted 1,758 new cases and North Carolina 2,099 — both single-day records. There were 22 deaths in Alabama, for a total of 983. North Carolina reported one new death for a total of 1,392.
  • Florida reported a total 178,594 cases on Friday, up 5.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,684, an increase of 1.9%.
  • Arizona reported 4,433 new cases on Friday, a 5.1% increase from the previous day and higher than the seven-day average of 4.7%. Total cases reached 91,858. The state reported 31 new deaths, down from a record 88 on Wednesday, putting the total at 1,788.
  • New Jersey reported 386 new cases, a 0.2% increase, bringing the total to 172,742, with 58 deaths for a toll of 13,308.

Air France to Cut 7,500 Jobs (3 p.m. NY)

Air France-KLM will cutover 7,500 jobs, warning that it is unlikely to rebound from curbed travel from the coronavirus pandemic before 2024. Europe’s second-biggest airline will cut 6,500 jobs at Air France and another 1,020 at its regional carrier, Hop!, the company said in a statement.

Employees who retire or leave on their own are expected to make up about half the reductions.

Mexico City Halts Reopening on Violations (2:30 p.m. NY)

Mexico City suspended the reopening of its historic downtown after businesses failed to meet measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, Reforma reported on Saturday. The area will be closed until a new opening plan is created, Reforma reported, citing the city government.

Violations included businesses ignoring closing hours, employees not wearing masks and lines of customers without sufficient physical distance.

UAE Eases Travel Limits (1:30 p.m. NY)

United Arab Emirates citizens and resident expatriates can now travel abroad after testing negative for Covid-19, in the latest move by the OPEC nation to ease virus restrictions. Travelers need to comply with requirements in the UAE and destination countries, state news agency WAM reported, citing an official statement. Returning expatriates will require a “pre-examination” in countries where testing facilities are available, WAM said.

U.K. Sets Timetable to Reopen Arts (12:45 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said hisgovernment next week will outline a schedule for reopening theaters, museums and the events industry, which have “had an incredibly tough time” during the pandemic. He ruled out another national lockdown.

“We want life to get back as fast as possible to as normal as possible, to get the disease down so that the events and arts industry really have a chance of recovering,” Johnson said in a televised press conference from his Downing Street office.

The premier said he would not hesitate to reimpose restrictions, but any closures would be at the local level to control an outbreak. The U.K. lockdown did save hundreds of thousands of lives, he said.

WHO Sees Scaling Up Vaccine as Key (12:30 p.m. NY time)

Vaccines may show efficacy by the end of this year, but a key question will be whether the scale-up of production will allow mass vaccination to start by early 2021, Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, told reporters. “It would be unwise at this point to predict when a vaccine could be rolled out,” Ryan said.

U.K. Seeks More Private-Sector Testing (11:45 a.m. NY)

The U.K. government plans to award 5 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) of coronavirus testing contracts to private companies as it overhauls the way it tracks Covid-19. While drug giants such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc already work with the government on its testing system, there have been reports of missing tests and longwaits for results.

Arizona on Upward Curve; New York Stable (11:30 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 4,433 new cases on Friday, a 5.1% increase from the previous day and higher than the seven-day average of 4.7%. Total cases reached 91,858. The state reported 31 new deaths on Friday, compared with 88 on Thursday, raising the total to 1,788. On Wednesday, Arizona reported a record 4,878 new cases. New York cases rose by 0.2%, in line with the seven-day average. While hospitalizations in the state fell to 857, another nine people died of virus-related causes, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter.

Florida Pace of New Cases Eases Slightly (10:30 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 178,594 cases on Friday, up 5.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,684, an increase of 1.9%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Thursday.

Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 341, or 2.3%, to 15,491. The rate of people testing positive rose to 14.8% for Thursday from 14.5% a day earlier.

Gilead Drug Wins European Authorization (10:15 a.m. NY)

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir received conditional marketing authorization from the European Medicines Agency for treatment of the novel coronavirus in patients with pneumonia who are receiving supplemental oxygen.

The drug, which will carry the brand name of Veklury, is cleared for treatment of adults and adolescent age 12 and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds), Foster City, California-based Gilead said in a statement. The authorization was based on a rolling review of supporting data that began in April 2020, the company said.

Remdesivir is one of two drugs shown to fight the virus in robust clinical trials. The other is dexamethasone, a cheap, generic anti-inflammatory treatment that appears to damp an immune overreaction to the virus.

Mexico’s AMLO Weighs Test for Trump Meeting (10:05 a.m. NY)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he’ll take a Covid-19 test ifrequired before a U.S. trip next week that includes talks with President Donald Trump on trade on Wednesday. It isn’t clear yet whether a test will be needed, Lopez Obrador told reporters on Friday. He has said that the trip is only about kicking off the the USMCA North American trade deal, the replacement for Nafta, and U.S. electoral politics won’t play a role.

Philippines Revises Data on Cases (9:50 a.m. NY)

The Philippines’ case count rose by a record on Friday, which the health department attributed to further changes in its data collection method.

The Southeast Asian nation reported 1,531 infections, breaching the previous daily record of 1,150 cases on June 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The department said the increase reflected a return to extracting data for the previous 24 hours.

New infections were 294 on Thursday based on only 19 hours of data as the agency said it needed more time to analyze cases.

English National Opera Prepares to Reopen (7:45 a.m. NY)

Stuart Murphy, CEO of the English National Opera, said he is planning for a stripped-back opera season from Oct. 1. “On stage two or three performers, instead of our full orchestra of 70, probably an orchestra of 20, and people spaced out 1 meter apart,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. “We think with that setup we can do probably three performances a week until Christmas to about 1,000 people.”

U.K. Scientists Ask for More Details on Track and Trace (7:30 a.m. NY)

The U.K. needs to do more to inform the public about its test and trace system, according to a group of top scientists, as thousands of businesses such as pubs and hairdressers re-open over the weekend.

A presentation Friday from the Independent SAGE group — set up earlier this year as an alternative to the U.K. government’s official Covid-19 scientific advisory panel — raised questions over a lack of findings being shared by the government from its tracing efforts or evidence of checks to make sure those people that have been in contact with the infection are self-isolating.

The group cited Office of National Statistics data published Thursday that estimated there are between 20,000 and 25,000 newly infected people in England every week and that infection rates have stopped slowing in the last fortnight.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Ian Fisher, Virginia Van Natta, Suzi Ring, John Lauerman, and Corinne Gretler

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