Cases Near 30 Million; Europe Auto Sector in Peril: Virus Update
September 17, 2020
(Bloomberg) — Global coronavirus cases are nearing 30 million, with the death toll approaching 1 million. India reported almost 98,000 new infections, a fresh daily record that further added to what’s already the world’s second largest tally.
European car sales plunged by nearly a fifth in August, dashing hopes that the industry was starting to recover and suggesting that the market could remain depressed through year-end.
President Donald Trump said a coronavirus vaccine could be distributed widely to the public as early as October, contradicting statements by some of his top health officials with forecasts that ranged from the spring to the end of 2021.
Global Tracker: Cases pass 29.8 million; deaths exceed 940,000Tracking the Spread of the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.Trump wants a vaccine faster than anyone has ever made oneVirus risks a decade of health, education gains, World Bank saysWorker-dorm infections add to Singapore construction woes
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BioNTech SE is buying a German manufacturing site with capacity to churn out 750 million vaccine doses a year, more than doubling the amount the company can produce. The purchase from Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG shows the German biotech’s confidence in the experimental vaccine it’s developing together with U.S. partner Pfizer Inc. and China’s Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co.
Czech Measures Loom After Daily Record (3:20 p.m. HK)
A Czech government official recommended tighter social-distancing measures after the country reported a daily record of 2,139 new infections. While most cases have mild symptoms, hospitalizations will continue to rise, according to Roman Prymula, the government’s envoy for medical research.
European Car Sales Plunge Dashes Hope for Comeback (3 p.m. HK)
Europe’s car sales fell 18% in August, snapping a three-month streak of easing declines and suggesting that the market could remain depressed through year-end. The Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts Index fell as much as 2.3% in early trading.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held firm against calls by the country’s auto industry for more state aid, despite some of her ministers calling for additional help.
India Sets Daily Record (2:15 p.m. HK)
India discovered nearly 98,000 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, a new daily record that further added to what’s already the world’s second largest tally of confirmed cases. Among the new cases is Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, the second top aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get infected.
Meanwhile, the country’s central bank governor reportedly said economic recovery will be slow and it is “battle ready” to provide support as needed.
Germany Infections Rise the Most in 9 Days (1:00 p.m. HK)
There were 1,855 new cases in Germany during the 24 hours through Thursday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s the most since September 8. It brought the total of the country to 266,869, while fatalities increased by 6 to 9,373. On Wednesday, the infection rate dropped to the key threshold of 1.0.
Airlines in India are seeking at least $1.5 billion as an interest-free credit line from the government, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, as lockdowns and restrictions linked to the pandemic hit demand for air travel.
The carriers in what was until recently the world’s fastest growing aviation market are also seeking to defer loan repayments by six months, without these borrowings getting classified as “non-performing,” Puri said in a written reply in parliament. Local airlines have asked the government to include jet fuel in the South Asian nation’s goods and services tax, and abolish excise duty on aviation turbine fuel, the minister said.
Sinopharm Virus Shot Safe for 3-Year Olds and Above: Daily (11:29 a.m. HK)
Sinopharm’s inactivated Covid-19 vaccines have been given to children, teenagers, adults and the elderly in Phase-III clinical trials and are currently being used under emergency authorization, People’s Daily said, citing the company’s coronavirus vaccine research team.
Australia Unemployment Drops as Half of Jobs Lost Recovered (10:54 a.m. HK)
Australian unemployment unexpectedly fell as government subsidies and central bank stimulus saw the labor market withstand Victoria’s renewed lockdown, with more than half of the jobs lost from the Covid-19 outbreak recovered.
The jobless rate dropped to 6.8% from 7.5% in July versus the economists’ median estimate of an increase to 7.7%, data from the statistics bureau showed Thursday in Sydney. Employment surged by 111,000 in August, far better than an expected 35,000 drop. The participation rate gained to 64.8%, compared with an estimated fall to 64.6%.
South Korea New Cases Have Biggest Gain in 6 Days (08:42 a.m. HK)
South Korea added 153 more cases in 24 hours versus 113 a day earlier, bringing the total tally to 22,657, according to data from Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Cases with unknown origin account for 26.4% of total between September 4 and 17, hitting a record high, the data showed. Of the 2,013 infections reported over the past two weeks, 532 cases were categorized as infections with unknown transmission routes.
The number of new cases had been trending down since South Korea temporarily strengthened its social distance measures for greater Seoul following a church-linked outbreak last month that raised the tally to more than 400 daily infections. But the latest uptick in the percentage of cases without a clear transmission route suggests South Korea is still struggling to contain the spread.
U.S. Offers Talks With N. Korea on Humanitarian Aid: JoongAng (08:09 a.m. HK)
U.S. has proposed talks with North Korea through the Asian country’s UN representative to discuss humanitarian aid, JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing unidentified person familiar with U.S.-North Korea negotiations.
The offer comes as North Korea has been hit by the virus spread and floods, it said. There’s speculation that a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader’s sister Kim Yo Jong may be held before the U.S. presidential election in November.
New Zealand Economy Shrinks The Most Since Great Depression (07:33 a.m. HK)
New Zealand suffered its worst economic slump since the Great Depression in the second quarter as a strict nationwide lockdown brought the country to a standstill.
Gross domestic product plunged 12.2% from the first quarter, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday in Wellington. That’s the biggest three-month contraction since quarterly records began in 1977. Economists forecast a 12.5% decline. From a year earlier, the economy shrank 12.4%, the most recorded in comparable official data dating back to 1955.
New Zealand is going through a sharper but shorter economic shock than it experienced during the depression, when GDP fell 5.3% in 1931 and a further 7.1% in 1932, according to academic research. Nor is the Covid slump as bad as initially feared. The South Pacific nation succeeded in eliminating community spread of the virus, allowing it to emerge early from lockdown, and indicators suggest growth surged in the third quarter as consumers went on a spending spree.
HHS Steered Money From CDC for Vaccine Program (6:45 a.m. HK)
Trump administration officials pulled $700 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key health agency involved in protecting the public from infection, to fund the Operation Warp Speed effort to develop drugs and vaccines, according to people familiar with the matter.
The money came from funds Congress appropriated to the CDC in stimulus legislation earlier this year, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public. The CDC received about $7.5 billion in stimulus funds this year to respond to Covid-19, on top of its annual appropriation.
Trump Rebuts Doctors, Sees Vaccine in October (6:25 a.m. HK)
A vaccine could be distributed widely to the public as early as October, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, contradicting statements by some of his top health officials that ranged between the end of March and the end of 2021.
“What we’ve done with the streamlining” has “been incredible,” Trump said during a news conference.
The president said earlier comments by Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that disbursement of the vaccine some time in late spring or summer of next year were “a mistake.”
“I think he misunderstood the questions,” Trump said.
Five Top Brazil Officials Test Positive (6:20 a.m. HK)
The swearing-in ceremony of Brazil’s chief justice last week is emerging as a potential new cluster of infections. Lower house Speaker Rodrigo Maia was diagnosed Wednesday, becoming the fifth senior government official to test positive for Covid-19 after attending the event.
Maia attended the Sept. 10 swearing-in ceremony of Supreme Court Chief Justice Luiz Fux, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. Another three high ranking federal judges were infected.
Texas Hospitalizations at Lowest Since June (6:15 a.m. HK)
Texas hospitals reported an almost 2% drop in virus hospitalizations in a 24-hour period, state health department data showed. The tally declined to 3,249, the lowest since late June and 70% below the July 22 peak.
The Lone Star state added 3,409 new cases, bringing the cumulative total to 674,772, the data showed. Another 2,617 newly discovered old cases were disclosed but excluded from the daily count. Fatalities increased by 135 to 14,478.
Houston Fire Department EMS medics load a possible Covid-19 patient into an ambulance in Aug. 2020.
Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images
U.S. Cases Rise 0.4%; California ‘Turning the Corner’ (4:28 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.4% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.61 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was below the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 196,349.
Florida reported 671,201 cases, up 0.4% from a day earlier, in line with the average increase in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 12,939, an increase of 1.2%, or 152.Arizona reported 209,907 cases, a 0.3% increase that was above the 0.2% average from the prior seven-day period. Deaths reached 5,371 after the state recorded 27 new Covid-19 deaths.Montana experienced a 2% increase in the number of cases from the same time a day earlier, bringing the total to 9,431.Governor Gavin Newsom said California is “turning the corner” in suppressing the coronavirus after a surge in summer infections. The state added 2,950 cases yesterday, compared with a seven-day average of 3,348 that is down substantially, he said at a briefing. The rate of positive tests is stable at an “encouraging” level of 3.6%, he said.New Jersey health officials warned of the novel coronavirus spreading among younger residents, citing a climbing rate of positive tests among those ages 14-24 and a massive gathering this week outside the home where MTV’s “Jersey Shore” was filmed. Positivity among 14-to-18-year-olds has more than doubled, to 7% from 3% in August. The increase was even greater among the 19-to-24 set, to 7.1% from 2.7%. Governor Phil Murphy said the latest figures are roughly three times higher than for the general population statewide.
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