NYC Schools Won’t Close; Austria to Test Everyone: Virus Update

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New York City’s schools willremain open on Monday. U.S. infections rose by more than 100,000 for the 10th consecutive day while states tighten rules to stem Covid-19. Elon Musksaid he “most likely” has a moderate case of Covid-19.

Austria will take a cue from neighboring Slovakia’s mass-testing of the entire population for the coronavirus, slating the program for December, its chancellor said.

Germany must live with “considerable restrictions” against the spread of Covid-19 for at least the next four to five months, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. European Union antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager is in quarantine. The co-developer of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine candidate said 50% of transmissions may be avoided with a successful shot.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 54 million; deaths 1.3 million
  • Covid’s rampage meansno medical cavalry coming to the rescue
  • Trump calls for “big and focused’virus relief bill
  • Thedeath toll from the latest spate of U.S. cases is poised to get worse
  • Bloomberg ismapping coronavirus cases across the U.S.
  • NYC’sprivate schools brace for lockdown with Covid rate spike
  • Vaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

New York City Schools Will Remain Open Monday, Mayor Says (10:06 a.m. NY)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that New York City’s schools will remain open on Monday because Covid-19 positive tests haven’t risen above the threshold for closing down.

“Thankfully, schools will remain open on Monday, but we have to keep fighting back with everything we’ve got,” de Blasio tweeted.

The mayor has set a threshold of 3% positivity for closing the city’s public schools. He tweeted Sunday that number was at 2.57%, with 937 new cases.

Vaccine Developer Sees 50% Cut in Transmission (8:15 a.m. NY)

Normal life will return by next winter, according to one of the creators of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE of Germany.

BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin said he was “very confident that transmission between people will be reduced by such a highly effective vaccine — maybe not 90% but maybe 50%.” It’s essential that all immunization programs are finished before the autumn, he said Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Austria Plans Slovakia-Style Mass Testing (6:30 a.m. NY)

Austria plans to take a cue from neighboring Slovakia’s mass-testing of the entire population in December, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in an interview. One period for such tests for the nation of almost nine million people would be before the new lockdown ends on Dec. 6, and another one just before the Christmas holiday. Kurz said details of the plan could be presented next week. One group that could be targeted first are teachers, he said.

Iran’s New Caseload Sets Fifth Record This Month (6:44 p.m. HK)

Iran reported a record 12,543 new cases, up 12% in a day and its fifth record set in November. The death toll increased by 459 in the past 24 hours, up from 452 a day earlier. The country now has 762,068 known infections and 41,493 fatalities.

EU Commissioner Vestager in Quarantine (6:37 p.m. HK)

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s antitrust commissioner, said she’s been told that a “working relation” tested positive for coronavirus, according to a post on her Twitter account. Vestager has herself been tested, is in quarantine and will work from home in the coming week, she said in the post.

Kuala Lumpur Leads Malaysian Infections (6:32 p.m. HK)

Malaysia recorded an 8.4% increase in new cases to 1,208. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur topped the list with 469 infections, overtaking the top post from Sabah state. There were three new deaths. Malaysia has been struggling to contain a new wave of cases that emerged in late September. The government has recently tightened movement controls in all almost the states in the country. New cases have topped 1,000 since Friday.

Greece Limits Gatherings Before Annual Celebration (6:20 p.m. HK)

Greek police said public gatherings of four or more people are banned until Wednesday at 9 p.m. due to the Covid-19 pandemic, severely limiting the annual festivities at this time to commemorate the anti-military junta demonstrations of 1973. Two parliamentary groups, the Greek Communist Party and MeRA25, opposed the restriction.

Hong Kong Sees Re-Emergence of Cases (4:48 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong reported five new locally transmitted coronavirus cases Sunday, one from an unknown origin. It also saw nine more imported cases. “As the virus is showing signs of re-emerging in Hong Kong, social distancing measures have been tightened again,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan wrote in hisblog. “If the situation persists, it will put pressure on the economy again.”

Russia Posts Its Second-Highest Tally of Cases (4:21 p.m. HK)

Russia reported its second-highest total of new daily Covid-19 infections, 22,572. Those in Moscow, the pandemic’s epicenter in Russia, held above 6,000 for a second day. At 1.9 million, Russia has the fifth-highest caseload worldwide.

Belgium Reduces Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Beds (4 p.m. HK)

Hospitalizations dropped by 258 to 6,504 on Sunday in Belgium. That’s down from a peak of 7,489 on Nov. 3 and comes two weeks after the country imposed a lockdown to avert a health-care system collapse. The number of people in intensive care fell to 1,423, down 34. The 14-day virus incidence rate has now dropped to 969 per 100,000. The country reported 197 more deaths, bringing the total to 14,303.

Germany Says Months of ‘Considerable Restrictions’ Ahead (3:05 p.m. HK)

Germany will have to live with “considerable restrictions” against the spread of the coronavirus for at least the next four to five months, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview. The number of infections was still far too high and he currently saw “little leeway” for opening restaurants and cinemas.

Germany can’t afford a “yo-yo shutdown” with the economy constantly opening and closing, the minister, a confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel, told the newspaper.

U.S. Surpasses 100,000 Cases Again (1:42 p.m. HK)

The U.S. added 160,788 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the 10th consecutive day with more than 100,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

A record 190,059 cases were counted on Friday.

China City Says Virus Found on Some Frozen Food (1:21 p.m. HK)

Authorities in the Chinese city of Jinan said Saturday that the novel coronavirus had been found on frozen beef and tripe from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand — and on the products’ packaging. China has vowed to disinfect all overseas shipments of cold-chain products to try and avoid any potential transmission of the virus.

Separately, the virus was found on packaging of a sample of frozen pork from Argentina, the local government of Xi’an city in north China said in the day on Sunday.

Washington State to Announce New Measures (10:01 a.m. HK)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce a ban on indoor social gatherings and indoor restaurant dining Sunday morning, the Seattle Times reported, citing industry officials who were briefed on the new restrictions.

The governor’s orders, aimed at combating a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, will also include a ban on indoor bar service and would limit the number of retail customers allowed in a store at one time, including at groceries and convenience stores, to 25% of occupancy. The order is expected to extend for four weeks, the Times said.

Mexico Cases Cross 1 Million (9:46 a.m. HK)

Mexico’s cases crossed the 1 million mark, and the country recorded 5,860 new infections. Mexico becomes the fourth Latin American nation — after Brazil, Argentina and Colombia — to reach that milestone.

Brazil recorded the most weekly cases since early September, according to data on the Health Ministry’s website Saturday. Almost 259,000 infections were confirmed during the latest week, bringing the total to 5.85 million. Deaths increased by 4,552, the most in six weeks.

Pfizer Success May Boost Acceptance: Fauci (8:50 a.m. HK)

The success of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine trial could encourage more people to get inoculated, said top U.S. infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech SE, has “an extraordinarily high degree of efficacy — more than 90%, close to 95%,” Faucisaid in an interview.

South Korea’s Daily Stats Rise to 2-Month High (8:50 a.m. HK)

South Korea recorded 208 new coronavirus cases for the last 24 hours on Sunday, the country’s biggest daily gain since Sept. 1. The tally includes 176 local infections, with 81 new cases in Seoul. South Korea is among the countries battling new infections, after it had initial success containing Covid-19.

Musk Says He ‘Most Likely’ Has the Virus (8 a.m. HK)

Billionaire Elon Musk tweeted that he “most likely” has a moderate case of the coronavirus, saying his symptoms were “that of a minor cold.” But the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. continued to cast doubt on testing accuracy, citing “wildly different results from different labs.”

He didn’t mention any results from a PCR test — more accurate than rapid tests.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Todd White, Colin Keatinge, Piotr Skolimowski, Aoife White, Jasmina Kuzmanovic, Sara Marley, Jessica Sui, Heejin Kim, Jinshan Hong, Karen Leigh, Yantoultra Ngui, David Goodman, and James Amott

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