- Florida reports record jump for third day in a row
- 23 states across US seeing case numbers rise
- Latin America and US vie for global coronavirus leader
- Beijing reimposes lockdowns in some areas after cluster discovered
- Russia reported another 8k+ jump in cases
- EU signs vaccine deal with AstraZeneca
- Gilead strikes deal to distribute remdesivir in Europe
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Update (1130ET): Minutes after publishing this post, we’re already adding the day’s first withering stat: Florida has reported yet another record jump in newly confirmed cases, reporting a 3.6% jump statewide, compared with the 7-day average of 2.1%.
For those who haven’t been closely following the situation, this is the third day in a row that Florida has reported a record jump in cases, and Saturday’s number (remember, they’re reported with a 24 hour delay, so these are cases confirmed on Friday), at 2,581, blows away the last daily record (which, again, was reported yesterday).
Saturday marks the 10th day out of the past 11 that Florida has confirmed more than 1,000 new cases, a phenomenon blamed on the loosening social distancing restrictions across the state. Most of the cases are coming from the southern part of the state, with Miami-Dade County being one of the standouts.
Florida now has 73,552 confirmed cases and 2,925 deaths linked to COVID-19, according to the latest numbers released by the health department on Saturday. In addition, the state confirmed 38 coronavirus-related deaths over the past day, including 13 in Miami-Dade County, seven in Broward and nine in Palm Beach County, Local10 reports.
Gov Ron DeSantis said that even though there are more cases, fewer people are going to the hospital, including in Miami-Dade. Asked Thursday if the state’s reopening plans could be rolled back because of the numbers, the governor pointed to the increase of testing and blamed it for the majority of the jump.
“As you’re testing more you’re going to find more cases and most of the cases are subclinical cases,” DeSantis said. “And we expected that from the beginning. We’re doing 30,000-plus tests a day in terms of results on average…As people have been getting back to work, I think employers have told folks you should get tested, so we’re starting to see at our test sites a much younger demographic. So you do see 98% test negative but you do see some cases…usually no clinical consequence.”
Statewide, Florida reports having completed over 1.3 million tests for COVID-19, with 5.4% coming back positive.
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No matter how many times Larry Kudlow insists the US won’t resort to another round of lockdowns under any circumstances, Investors will inevitably pay close attention to the infection and hospitalization numbers out of the country’s second class of ‘hot spots’: California, Florida, Texas, Arkansas and the roughly 20 other states where infection rates are climbing.
Granted, some of these states are arguing that the increase in testing rates is the primary driver of the higher confirmed infection numbers In Portland, where Gov. Kate Brown – who once threatened to take away a small business owner’s children if they dared defy the lockdown – has announced a one-week “pause” in the state’s reopening plans...even as she insists the increase in testing is mostly responsible for the spike.
At this point, the inconsistent messaging coming from Democratic governors supports critics allegations that decisions to reimpose lockdowns, or delay the process of reopening, appear to be politically motivated. Though in Houston, it appears officials’ concerns about the city being “on the precipice” of another serious outbreak are (somewhat) justified.
As “CBS This Morning” reported Saturday, “there are disturbing signs that the grip of the deadly coronavirus pandemic is tightening in some parts of the US as at least a dozen states see an uptick in COVID-19 cases. New virus hotspots are emerging in the South and Southwest, and some states like Texas, Arkansas, Arizona and California are in some areas seeing their largest daily infection numbers yet. Florida and Arkansas have been criticized for reopening some beaches and parks, and failing to enforce social distancing.
Some experts argue that this is the consequence of reopening too early; others dismiss the numbers as merely a short-term rebound that we had already anticipated; and finally, others argue that it’s more complicated than all that, given that Georgia, one of the first states to start aggressively reopening, hasn’t reported the increase seen among several of its neighboring states.
Yesterday, the CDC raised the prospect of another round of lockdowns, even as the White House has categorically dismissed the possibility; meanwhile, a new forecast is projecting 140,000 deaths in the US from COVID-19 by July 4. That’s compared with roughly 112,000 as of Saturday.
The warning isn’t exactly a surprise. During the past week, South Carolina and Florida showed their highest daily number of coronavirus cases yet. Arizona’s average daily cases nearly tripled over the past two weeks. And Texas saw four of its worst days so far in terms of hospitalizations.
In Houston, there is a warning: “People should not take things lightly. Or assume that the virus is under control,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Texas businesses and restaurants – among the first to reopen – could become the first to shut down again.
“I want the reopening to be successful. I want the economy to be resilient,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “But I’m growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice – the precipice of a disaster.”
Arizona is reporting more than 1,000 new cases per day, up from fewer than 400 a day in mid-May when stay-at-home orders started to ease.
“I think the question of did we open too soon is a valid one,” said Frank Lovecchio, an emergency medicine doctor in the Phoenix area. He reports seeing a surge of severe cases requiring intubation.
On Friday, North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper implored his citizens to try and help stop the spread after the state reported a record number of new cases in a single day…
“The numbers show that the disease is spreading and that more people need hospital care. This has to be taken seriously,” he said. Utah and Oregon have delayed their reopenings by a week…
“As I’ve said a zillion times: the virus makes the timelines. We don’t make the timelines,” Gov Brown said.
…while in New Jersey, Governors Murphy and Cuomo are celebrating the fact that their states have the lowest rate of spread in the country.
According to the NYT, 23 states are still seeing daily case reports climb.
Worldwide, the number of coronavirus cases reported daily has once again started to climb as Russia and Latin American have emerged as the newest hotspots as the outbreaks in the Europe and at least part of the US have subsided. At last count, the world had nearly 7.7 million confirmed cases, and 426,000 confirmed kills.
In Europe, EU bureaucrats are already taking steps to secure supplies of still-untested vaccine prototypes as the global scramble to find a vaccine takes on an added urgency as thousands of politicians – including President Trump – find themselves making lofty promises about vaccine supplies that they might not be able to keep.
Bloomberg reports that the EU has signed a deal with AstraZeneca for the pharma giant to supply Europe with as many as 400 million doses of Oxford University’s experimental vaccine candidate – the subject of one of the most closely watched trials in the world – at no profit.
In other vaccine news, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead to manufacture and sell its star experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir in 127 countries, including India, even though the verdict on its effectiveness remains elusive.
News of the deal comes as Germany reports 572 new coronavirus cases Saturday morning, its highest daily tally in weeks, bringing the German total to 187,263. That compares with 169 the previous day and almost 7,000 at the peak of the pandemic in late March.
Meanwhile, Russia reported 8,706 new confirmed infections, +1.7%, according to data from the government’s virus response center. Deaths rose by 114 to 6,829. Moscow accounted for 17% of new cases, and 34% of all new cases were asymptomatic. The country has more than 520k confirmed cases.
As we reported earlier, Beijing is locking down a large swath of the southwestern part of the capital city after an outbreak reportedly stemming from a major seafood market and wholesaler.