Christie Urges Mask Wearing; Midwest Cases Rise: Virus Update

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris canceled her travel until Monday after her communications director and a flight crew member tested positive. A passenger on Joe Biden’s campaign plane tested positive, though the two didn’t come near each other — and he tested negative Thursday.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, recovering from Covid-19 after a weeklong hospitalization, said he was wrong not to wear a mask when he visited the White House. The outbreak’s march across the U.S. 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.

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 bars and restaurants in the Barcelona area.

Key Developments:

  • 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
  • Johnson’s virus strategy in disarray days after it was announced
  • Who’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why: QuickTake
  • Russia to miss Covid-19 vaccine goal amid production hurdle
  • The global economy is facing new fiscal cliffs

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.

Chris Christie Says He Was Wrong Not to Wear Mask (6:36 a.m. HK)

The former New Jersey governor said he was wrong not to wear a mask when he visited the White House and urged people to take steps to prevent infection.

Christie, who attended the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and helped President Donald Trump prepare for his debate, said he learned from his experience with the virus that “you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are.”

“I am happy and fortunate to inform you that I have recovered from Covid-19,” Christie, 58, said Thursday. “When you have seven days in isolation in an ICU, though, you have time to do a lot of thinking.”

Sinopharm Says Covid Shot Safe, Immunogenic in Early Trials (6:30 p.m. HK)

The shot under development by China National Biotec Group Co., a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm Group Co., was tested in more than 600 volunteers, according to results published Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.

Argentina Now Among Top Five Most-Infected Countries (6:14 a.m. HK)

Argentina reported a daily record of 17,096 as it passed Colombia as the second most-infected country in Latin America after Brazil. Argentina, currently No. 5 globally in overall cases, has 949,063 positive cases and 25,342 fatalities.

Brazil reported 28,523 cases, a slight increase from the day before amid a continuing general decline in the nation with the third-highest number of infections. It has a total of 5,169,386 cases and 152,460 deaths, 713 reported in the last 24 hours.

Passenger on Biden’s Plane Tests Positive for Coronavirus (4:50 p.m. NY)

A passenger on 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.

Health advisers said there was no need to quarantine Biden, she said.

Wisconsin Governor Expresses Frustration as Cases Rise to Record (4:26 p.m. NY)

Wisconsin Governor 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 expressed frustration that people aren’t 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.

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, the Financial Times reported, citing a clinical trial by the World Health Organization. Results from the Solidarity trial found that none of the treatments “substantially affected mortality” or reduced the need to ventilate patients, the FT said.

Covid’s Midwest Surge Hits Populous Illinois, Ohio and Michigan (2:06 p.m. NY)

Midwest states 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. Still, a trend is emerging.

In North Dakota, which ranks highest in the nation for cases per capita, a record 705 new cases were reported. The state has been running short of hospital beds, and Governor Doug Burgum is under increasing pressure from mayors and others to issue mask mandates.

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. Meanwhile, 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.

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.

New York 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, the mayor said. “I am deeply concerned about the threat of a second wave,” he said.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

France Sets Paris Curfew as Europe Sees Record Cases (2 p.m. HK)

France imposed a curfew in Paris while 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.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Flavia Rotondi, Joe Carroll, Dara Doyle, Joao Lima, Jennifer Epstein, Charles Capel, Henry Goldman, Tyler Pager, Tim Loh, Gaspard Sebag, Sotiris Nikas, Jessica Park, Ben Sills, Nour Al Ali, Boris Groendahl, Jose Orozco, Gabriela Mello, and Caroline Aragaki

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