U.S. Infections Rise 1.9%, Budweiser Posts Loss: Virus Update

President Donald Trump backtracked on disbanding his coronavirustask force and said he’d soon announce new members to focus on reopening. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again criticized China’shandling of the pandemic, while easing off of claims the virus escaped from a laboratory there.

California reported its biggest one-day jump in cases, and Texas had the most new deaths in a week. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that his state’s improving data isobscuring a worsening U.S. outbreak.

China’s leaders are considering the option of not setting a numerical target for economic growth this year given the uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

Key Developments

  • Virus Tracker: cases pass 3.7 million; deaths top 263,000
  • WHO says infecting subjects may speedvaccine studies
  • China considering dropping numericalGDP growth target
  • BlackRock’s Fink warns of grimoutlook for corporate America
  • More than half of U.S. small businesses expect toclose
  • Layoffs start turningpermanent across the U.S.

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. See this QuickTake onunanswered questions about the virus.

23,976 in U.S.Most new cases today

-17% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​052 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-4.​8% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), April

Budweiser APAC Posts Loss (7:15 a.m. HK)

The Asia-Pacific beer unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV posted a loss for the March quarter compared with a profit in the same period a year ago as strict lockdown measures kept restaurants and bars shut through February and March in China. Business, however, has been improving since mid-March, driven by a recovery in China and South Korea.

To read the full story, clickhere.

U.S. Meatpacking Plants Seen Reopening Soon (5:40 p.m. NY)

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, said he expects meatpacking plants to fully resume operations within a week to 10 days. Slaughterhouses and processing facilities have been hit hard by outbreaks of the virus, leading some to shut down and sparking supply shortages.

Trump said the U.S. has “plenty of supply” of meat. “Within a week and a half, we’ll be in great shape. Maybe sooner,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office.

Peloton Gets Boost From Stay-at-Home Workouts (5:20 p.m. NY)

Peloton Interactive Inc., the maker of stationary exercise bikes and treadmills, said quarterly revenue soared and paid digital subscribers jumped 64% after the pandemic spurred people to work out at home. The company also raised forecasts, sending the shares rallying in extended trading.

Infecting Subjects May Speed Vaccine Studies: WHO (4:40 p.m. NY)

Deliberately infecting healthy volunteers with the virus that causes Covid-19 may speed studies of vaccines against the deadly pathogen, the World Health Organization said.

Such studies, which pose significant potential dangers to subjects, may be considered in dire situations and with certain disclosures and protections, according to a report from the United Nations health agency.

Researchers around the world are racing to develop vaccines to protect against the deadly coronavirus and allow countries to rebuild teetering economies. So-called challenge studies, where treatments or preventatives are tested directly against the infection in informed volunteers, might speed the path of vaccines to the public.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose 1.9% as compared to the same time yesterday, to 1.22 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. It was a second day with an increase of 1.9%, below the average daily increase of 2.5% over the past week. Deaths rose 2.8% to 72,233.

  • New York reported 2,786 new cases taking its total to 323,978. Deaths rose by 232, 25 of which were in nursing homes, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
  • Florida reported 38,002 cases, up 1.5% from a day earlier, according to the state’s health department. Deaths increased 4.6% to 1,539.
  • Deaths in Texas rose 4.6% to 948, its biggest daily jump in fatalities in a week, according to state health department data. Total cases increased 3.2% to 34,422.
  • California reported 2,603 new infections, its biggest one-day increase in cases,according to the state’s website. The number of daily deaths spiked to 95 from 63 the previous day.
  • Kentucky had the biggest daily increase in cases, which rose 11% to 5,822.

California Cases Jump (2:45 p.m. NY)

California reported 2,603 new infections, its biggest one-day increase in cases. The number of daily deaths spiked to 95 from 63 the previous day.

The jumps come as Governor Gavin Newsom takes steps to slowly restart the economy. He has said he’ll issue guidelines Thursday for some businesses to reopen as soon as this week, such as retailers for curbside pickup. But he’s also said that a lifting of restrictions depends on data showing a sustained improvement in the outbreak.

French Deaths Slow (2:25 p.m. NY)

Deaths in France linked to the coronavirus rose at the slowest pace in three days on Wednesday, falling below 300 fatalities. Hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care continued their decline, falling to 23,983 and 3,147, respectively. That’s the biggest decrease yet in four weeks.

The number of deaths rose by 278 to 25,809, France’s public health agency said in an e-mailed statement. The number of total cases stood at 208,698, up 4,039 from the number of infections reported a day earlier after additional laboratory results were included.

N.J. Reviewing Nursing Homes (1:52 p.m. NY)

New Jersey is hiring two experts on long-term health care to conduct a two- to three-week review of nursing homes, where half of the state’s 8,549 coronavirus fatalities have occurred, Governor Phil Murphy said.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, whose office is already investigating nursing homes with unusually high fatalities, this week asked anyone with firsthand knowledge of misconduct to submit information to covid19.nj.gov/LTC.

On Wednesday, the governor said at a news conference that of the 5,221 virus patients in New Jersey hospitals, 1,146 were on ventilators.

Dutch Shutdown Further Eased (1:45 p.m. NY)

The Netherlands will allow hairdressers, nail salons and beauty parlors to start work again on May 11, accelerating its plan to reopen more of the economy by at least a week amid signs the coronavirus outbreak is under control.

Restaurants, bars and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen starting June 1, with restrictions to comply with the “1.5 meter society” which will remain in place for the foreseeable future, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters at a televised briefing in The Hague on Wednesday. Prostitution, which is legal in the Netherlands, is allowed restart on Sept. 1, according to the current timeline.

U.S. Outbreak Worsening, Cuomo Says (1:22 p.m. NY)

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak is clearly seen to be worsening if New York is excluded from the data, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, makes up about one-fourth of cases and one-third of deaths nationwide. As New York data show a decline in the spread of the disease, the situation in other states is still worsening even as they encourage commerce to restart, Cuomo said Wednesday at a press briefing.

U.S. fatalities from Covid-19 have climbed 61% in two weeks, to 65,307 as of May 5. Excluding New York, deaths have jumped 78%.

Texas Deaths Rise 4.6% (1:20 p.m. NY)

Texas recorded its biggest daily jump in fatalities in a week as the death toll rose 4.6% to 948, according to state health department data. Total cases increased by 3.2% to 34,422.

The surge in deaths comes as Governor Greg Abbott’s reopening of the state’s economy accelerated and he criticized a Dallas judge for jailing a nail salon owner for seven days as punishment for opening before the statewide prohibition on some businesses.

N.Y. Forms Reimagine Commission (12:40 p.m. NY)

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has agreed to serve as chair of a 15-member commission to help reimagine New York. Schmidt, in a short appearance during Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing spoke of the need to use technology to make systems better. “These moments are a chance to revisit things that aren’t getting enough attention,” he said.

Cuomo asked Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, to lead an effort to help New York learn public-health lessons from Covid-19. Dowling served in New York State government for 12 years, including seven years as state director of health, education and human services.

The state reported 2,786 new cases and 232 deaths, 25 from nursing homes.

WHO May Seek Coronavirus Source (12:22 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization is considering sending a mission to China, with an academic focus on finding the zoologic source of the coronavirus.

“Without knowing where the animal origin is, it’s hard to prevent it from happening again,” Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Putin Cautions on Easing Lockdown (12:18 p.m. NY)

Russian President Vladimir Putin told regional governors not to rush to ease the coronavirus lockdown even as his top government ministers warned that pressure on the economy is intensifying.

Economic activity contracted by a third since lockdowns were enforced across most of the country at the end of March, Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikovsaid at the meeting. Tax collection declined by 30% in April, while a quarter of Russian companies are in industries affected by the pandemic and will need support, Federal Tax Service chief Daniil Egorov said.

IRS Asks for Money Back from Dead, Jailed (12:15 p.m. NY)

The Internal Revenue Service said Americans who got a $1,200 stimulus payment intended for someone who’s deceased or incarcerated should return the money but left open the question of how the agency would enforce that.

Instructions posted to the IRS’s website Wednesday said recipients of what the Treasury Department calls “inadvertent” payments should write void on paper checks and mail them back.

U.K. Cases Top 200,000 (12:11 p.m. NY)

A further 649 people were reported to have died from coronavirus in the U.K., bringing the country’s death toll to 30,076. It’s the first European nation to top 30,000.

Some 6,111 more people were diagnosed with the virus, the figures announced at the government’s daily press briefing show. This takes the country’s total number of confirmed cases past 200,000, only the fourth country in the world to report that many confirmed cases.

Denmark Considers Further Reopening (11:10 a.m. NY)

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said restaurants, shopping malls and big retailers may reopen as early as Monday after seeing positive results from its early response to the pandemic.

Frederiksen spoke to media ahead of a debate among party leaders on the next phase of the containment measures. The current restrictions are set to expire Sunday.

— With assistance by Anand Krishnamoorthy

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