Trump Defends Remarks; Global Deaths Top 900,000: Virus Update

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Global deaths from Covid-19 topped 900,000. Interviews from a new book revealed President Donald Trump deliberately minimized the danger of the coronavirus, a move he defended as intended to limit panic.

South Korea’s new confirmed infections remained below 200 for an eighth day, and the country said it plans a fourth extra budget to help businesses. Indonesia’s capital is bringing back restrictions on offices and restaurants as cases rise.

AstraZeneca Plc’s paused vaccine trial was linked to a spinal cord problem in a patient. BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. reached a provisional agreement to supply at least 200 million doses of any successful vaccine to the European Union.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 27.7 million; deaths exceed 900,000
  • AstraZeneca must explain spinal ailment to resume vaccine trial
  • NYC restaurants will be allowed to open indoors at limited capacity
  • NIH says there’s no way to know when a safe vaccine will be ready
  • JPMorgan finds some workers improperly pocketed Covid relief funds
  • The keys to speed in race for vaccine, and its perils: QuickTake

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.

89,706 in IndiaMost new cases today

-1% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​047 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

5.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), Aug.

Indonesian Stocks Fall on Restrictions (10:14 a.m. HK)

Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell more than 4% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

Jakarta is bringing back restrictions on offices and restaurants, with employees of non-essential industries required to work from home and limit the use of public transportation starting Sept. 14. Entertainment sites and places of worship will be shut.

U. of Wisconsin Pauses In-Person Class (9:48 a.m. HK)

The University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus in Madison will pause in-person instruction for two weeks, from Sept. 10 to 25, and shift to remote instruction starting Sept. 14 for at least two weeks.

Wisconsin is one of several major state universities that have tried to go ahead with in-person instruction amid the pandemic while managing risks, rather than adopt a virtual classroom model. The school is part of the Big Ten Conference that postponed fall athletics including football.

Sinopharm Vaccine Shows No Side Effects (9:40 a.m. HK)

China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group, said its two coronavirus shots in development haven’t elicited obvious adverse reaction or infections under an emergency use program.

The shots are likely to offer protection against Covid-19 for 1-3 years, the company said. Antibody levels remained stable among those who took the vaccine 5-6 months ago.

China Airshow to Go Ahead (8:59 a.m. HK)

China’s biggest airshow, which takes place every two years in the southern city of Zhuhai, rescinded a comment that the event was being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition is due to take place from Nov. 10-15 and feature industry giants including Boeing Co.

Mexico Adds Cases at Slower Pace (8:13 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Argentina reported a record of 12,259 new cases for a national tally of 512,293. Peru’s new cases rose by 6,586 for total of 702,776, and the country’s confirmed fatalities from Covid-19 have declined since the first week of August.

L.A. County Backtracks on Halloween Ban (7:43 a.m. HK)

Los Angeles County officials softened their stance on trick-or-treating during the pandemic, saying the annual Halloween tradition they’d prohibited Tuesday was now just not recommended.

The county, home to 10 million people, maintained its ban on Halloween parties with non-family guests and suggested residents hold online events, car parades or just decorate their yards.

British Public Told to Socialize Less (7:01 a.m. HK)

Boris Johnson told the British public to limit social contact as much as possible as coronavirus infection rates rise across the country, threatening its fragile economic recovery.

The prime minister confirmed plans to ban gatherings of more than six people in England, and urged compliance to slow the spread of the disease and avoid a repeat of earlier restrictions which shuttered businesses, closed schools and plunged the U.K. into recession into its deepest recession in at least a century.

Tokyo to Lower Virus Alert (7 a.m. HK)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to lower its coronavirus alert by one notch from the highest of four levels, Asahi reported, citing an unidentified official.

The second-highest alert is considered a level in which “caution is needed for re-expansion of infections.” Tokyo is also planning to end its request of shorter hours at bars and restaurants next week.

Trump Defends Remarks Downplaying Virus (4:50 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump defended telling journalist Bob Woodward that he intentionally downplayed the severity of the coronavirus in public, saying he didn’t want to cause panic or price spikes.

“We don’t want to instill panic, we don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody,” Trump told reporters at the White House, after announcing a list of potential Supreme Court appointees.

South Dakota Biker Rally Linked to Cases (4:30 p.m. NY)

A rally last month in Sturgis, South Dakota, that attracted hundreds of thousands of largely unmasked motorcycle riders may be linked to soaring cases across the U.S.

More than 460 counties nationwide where bikers originated from and Covid-19 cases were trending downward before the rally have shown increases in the virus, a Bloomberg Industry Group data analysis shows.

More than two dozen counties in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Texas flipped in such a manner, while significant numbers of counties in states as far away from the Dakotas as North Carolina, California, and Louisiana also made the list.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.2% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

  • Florida reported 652,148 cases, up 0.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.4% in the previous seven days. The state posted 200 new Covid-19 deaths, the largest single-day increase in the three weeks, bringing the total to 12,115.
  • California reported 1,616 new virus infections, the lowest daily total since May 19, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Arizona reported 496 new virus cases, a day after recording just 81, which was the lowest daily tally since March. The 0.2% increase on Wednesday, to 206,541, was just below the prior seven-day average of 0.3%.
  • Texas’s new cases increased by 4,285 to bring the cumulative total to 645,791. Houston extended its ban on parades, festivals, 5K runs and similar group events through the end of the year but will permit football tailgating parties and symphony concerts, albeit with limited capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

NYC Indoor Dining Returns on Sept. 30 (1:25 p.m. NY)

New York City restaurants can reopen for indoor dining at one quarter of their usual capacity on Sept. 30, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference in Manhattan. He said the city will field 400 inspectors to police them, and called on citizens to speak up about violations.

Vaccine Trial Halted After Spinal-Cord Issue: NIH (1:15 p.m. NY)

U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told a Senate committee Wednesday that AstraZeneca Plc’s closely watched Covid-19 vaccine trial had been halted due to a “spinal cord problem.”

The vaccine front-runner and its partner, the University of Oxford, stopped giving experimental shots after a person participating in one of their studies got sick, triggering a review of safety data.

Spanish Infections Near Four-Month High (1 p.m. NY)

Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks.

There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data. That was near Friday’s increase of 4,503 but still well below the levels of around 8,000 seen at the height of the crisis in the spring.

Trump Admits to Downplaying Virus (1 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump admitted to author Bob Woodward that he deliberately minimized the danger of the novel coronavirus earlier this year, even though he knew at the time that the pathogen was deadly. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said, according to excerpts from Woodward’s new book reported by the Washington Post.

— With assistance by Mark Schoifet, Kara Wetzel, and Christopher Palmeri

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