U.S. Poised for Vaccine, Outbreak Set to Worsen: Virus Update

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All Americans who want a Covid-19 vaccination should be able to get one by the second quarter of next year, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azarsaid. Rudy Giuliani has tested positive, President Donald Trumptweeted. Records broke Sunday in California, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Even as vaccines roll out — with the first shots possible Friday — the U.S. outbreak is expected to worsen, potentially reaching 400,000 fatalities by the end of January, said Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a Pfizer Inc. board member.

In the U.K., shots will begin on Tuesday. Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip will both reportedly get shots within weeks, partly to encourage others to have the injections. The government also said that a no-deal Brexit won’t affect supplies.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 66.9 million; deaths top 1.53 million
  • Tracking the coronavirus vaccines that will end the pandemic
  • Trump, McConnell are“on board” with relief bill, senator Says
  • HBO Max will carry blockbusters from day of release as virus shakes up movie industry
  • U.K. readies to begin vaccinations
  • The coronavirus is a key issue inRomania’s election
  • Germany’s vaccination program may cost as much as $7.3 billion
  • Subscribe to adaily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID

Los Angeles County Tops 10,000 New Cases for First Time (5:36 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles County, which has the most number of cases and deaths in the U.S., added a record 10,528 new cases, hitting a high for a fourth straight day.

That brings the total number of infections to 449,851. The area of 10 million also reported 23 new deaths, with the total at 7,909. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday the number of cases could rise to half a million by the end of the year and fatalities could exceed 11,000 at the current pace.

The number of patients hospitalized also climbed to a new high of 2,855 — with an estimated one in four in intensive care, adding stress to the health-care system.

West Virginia Hits Record for Second Day (4:12 p.m. NY)

West Virginia reported 1,425 new cases, the second consecutive day of record infections. As cases have surged, the number of people in the hospital and in intensive-care wards has roughly doubled in the last month. Nine more people died, amid a surge in fatalities.

New York State Cases Slow (3:47 p.m. NY)

New York state reported 9,702 cases, the second consecutive day the number of infections has fallen. The statewide positive-test rate has also fallen for a second straight day, to 4.7%, though in two areas of Westchester county, just north of the city, positivity rounds off to 11%.

Hospitalizations rose to 4,442, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Another 56 people died.

Giuliani Tests Positive, Trump Tweets (3:29 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump said his attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 general election, has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Trump wished the 76-year-old former New York mayor well in a tweet on Sunday, saying “we will carry on!!!”

Last Words of Warning from Alabama State Senator (3:24 p.m. NY)

Larry Dixon, a retired and prominent state senator in Alabama, left some last words of warning before he died last week from Covid-19 at age 78. Dixon for years headed the state board that oversaw the medical profession.

“We messed up,” Dixon, a Republican,was quoted saying as by Al.com, citing a friend who is a medical doctor. “We just let our guard down. Please tell everybody to take this thing seriously and get help as soon as you get the virus.”

Alabama last week hit a record number of almost 4,000 daily cases.

California Adds Record Cases as ICU Availability Slumps (2:26 p.m. NY)

California added a record 30,075 cases for a total of 1.3 million. New infections are almost twice the 14-day average of 17,119, also a new high.

The state reported 85 deaths, bringing its fatality count to 19,876. The positive-test rate rose to 8.1%, one of the highest levels since the April peak. The new patients are starting to put a strain on its medical facilities, where its available intensive-care unit beds decreased by 61 to 1,567, its lowest since the start of the outbreak.

France’s Pace of Infections Rises for Second Day (1:24 p.m. NY)

France reported 11,022 new cases, as the seven-day average increased for a second day to 10,573. Deaths rose by 174 to 55,155, the smallest increase in six weeks, while the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care continued to decline from a mid-November peak.

North Carolina Breaks Record Again (1:18 p.m. NY)

North Carolina reported 6,438 new cases, breaking a record for the third time in the last four days, state data show. The number of people in the hospital rose to new highs for the fourth straight day, to a total of 2,191.

Governor Roy Cooper tweeted after the record set Saturday that “we’re examining what action may be needed to protect North Carolinians but we need everyone to wear masks and follow safety measures. Our actions right now are life and death.”

Virginia Hits Record for Second Straight Day (12:56 p.m. NY)

Virginia reported 3,880 new cases, breaking a record for the second consecutive day. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is running at double the level of a month ago amid spikes in neighboring Maryland and Washington, D.C. Hospitalizations have also surged, to about 1,800. Governor Ralph Northam said on Twitter Friday that “our hospitals currently have capacity — but let’s not test that.”

U.S. Outbreak Has Not Peaked Yet, Gottlieb Says (12:29 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 numbers are expected to get worse over the next four to six weeks, Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a Pfizer Inc. board member, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Infections are not likely to peak until the end of December or into January while deaths probably will peak in the middle of January, he said.

By year end, Covid-19 deaths may reach 300,000 and by the end of January may be pushing 400,000, he said. Daily deaths consistently may be around 2,000 and could reach between 3,000 and 4,000 heading into the peak in January, he said.

Chicago Mayor Cites Gains in Curbing Outbreak With Worries Ahead (12:13 p.m. NY)

Chicago’s stay-at-home advisory is helping bring down the numbers but the city is “still nervously watching” in case a post-Thanksgiving surge shows up, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Daily cases, which have declined to around 1,300 from over 2,000, are not the level the city wants but are a “significant improvement,” she said.

Chicago’s 30-day stay-at-home advisory went into effect Nov. 16. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker a few days later followed up with statewide restrictions that banned activities including indoor dining and has not set an end date.

The number of cases in Black and Latino communities is still a concern given health disparities, and the city plans to work with local leaders to educate residents whose confidence in vaccinations may be low, she said.

U.K. Cases Highest in 10 Days (12:07 p.m. NY)

U.K. infections rose by 17,272 on Sunday, the highest since Nov. 26 and 20% above the seven-day average of 14,400.

Images circulating online of busy shopping streets in the run-up to Christmas and a period of looser restrictions during the festive season have sparked concerns that infections could surge again toward the end of the year. Another 231 deaths were reported, down from 397 on Saturday.

Bavaria Tightens Lockdown (11:53 a.m. NY)

The German state of Bavaria istightening its coronavirus lockdown regime, mostly banning people from leaving their homes starting from Dec. 9 and formally declaring a “disaster situation.”

Previous and existing measures haven’t sufficiently brought down infections in the region, the Bavarian government said in a statement on Sunday. Under the new rules, people will only be allowed to leave their homes if they have a valid reason.

New Jersey Hits Record (11:47 a.m. NY)

New Jersey reported a record 6,046 new cases as infections continue a steady acceleration. Total hospitalizations were 3,241, a slight decrease from the previous day. The latest positive-test rate posted on the state Covid-19 website was 11.65%, a decrease from several days ago. Another 16 people died, for a total of 15,485.

Italy’s Outbreak Slows (11:24 a.m. NY)

Italy’s outbreak continued to slow on Sunday as the government prepares to ramp up restrictions ahead of the Christmas holiday season. The country reported 18,887 new infections compared 20,648 a week ago, and hospital and intensive therapy occupation also declined. The positivity rate rose to 11.6% amid lower-than-usual testing at Sunday. Deaths fell to 564 compared 662 on Saturday.

NYC Reports Increase in New Cases, Hospitalizations (10:59 a.m. NY)

New York City’s outbreak continues to spread: Mayor Bill de Blasio reported 2,264 new infections and 165 new hospitalizations, both increases over the previous day. The city’s positive-test rate ticked up slightly to 5.1%.

HHS Chief Sees Vaccine for All Americans by Second Quarter (10:38 a.m. NY)

All Americans who want to get a Covid-19 vaccine should be able to do so by the second quarter of next year, Health and Human Services Alex Azarsaid.

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to decide as early as Thursday on emergency authorization for a shot developed byPfizer Inc. andBioNTech SE, Azar and Moncef Slaoui, the head of the government’s program to accelerate a vaccine, expressed confidence that the FDA would clear the way.

“I’ve not heard of any red flags,but I’ll have to leave that to the career scientists at the FDA who were digging through all the data,” Azar said on “Fox News Sunday.”

U.S. Suffers Fourth Day of 200,000-Plus Cases (8:00 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added 213,877 new cases on Saturday, the fourth consecutive day of infections above 200,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The number was below the record set the day before of 228,419 — and weekend reporting is often lower. The seven-day average of cases is now more than 191,300, a 16% increase over the previous week.

Another 2,301 people died, the fifth consecutive day above 2,000. A record of 2,867 fatalities was reached on Thursday.

U.K. Readies for Possible No-Deal Brexit (6:23 p.m. HK)

Supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine won’t be disrupted by a no-deal Brexit, U.K. Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” show.

“We’ve got many contingency plans in place,” he said. “There won’t be any effect on the deployment of this vaccine from a no-deal Brexit.”

Queen Elizabeth II to Receive Vaccine (4:42 p.m. HK)

Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband, Prince Philip, 99, will likely receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine within weeks, theMailOnline reported Sunday. The royal couple will then make their vaccination public, a move health officials believe could help combat anti-vaccine conspiracy theories that have left some Britons skeptical about taking the jab, the paper said. In 1957, the Queen let it be known that Prince Charles and Princess Anne had received polio vaccines, helping build public support, the paper said.

Celebrities such as Monty Python founder Michael Palin, Bob Geldof and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood have all signaled they will get the vaccine, the Mirror reported.

The U.K. has bought 40 million vaccine doses, enough to inoculate 20 million people on the two-dose regimen. The shots will be given in order of priority, with the first going to those in care homes, including workers, and people over 80 years old.

Russia Sets New Record for Cases (4:21 p.m. HK)

Russia reported a record 29,039 new Covid-19 cases in the past day, according to data from the government’s virus-response center. That exceeded the previous high of 28,782 set a day earlier and brings the total infected to 2,460,770, the fourth-most worldwide.

Widespread vaccination of front-line workers and other high-risk people started on Saturday in Moscow.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Rudy Ruitenberg, Susan Decker, Alessandro Speciale, Shruti Singh, Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, Linus Chua, Andrew Atkinson, and Scott Rose

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