Vaccine Trial Setback; England to Limit Gatherings: Virus Update

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Frontrunners in the race for a Covid-19 vaccinepledged to avoid shortcuts on science as they face pressure to rush a shot to market. AstraZeneca Plcpaused its late-stage study after a person participating in the trial became ill.

Europe’s fears of a virus resurgenceare becoming reality, with France’s health minister calling the surge in infections “worrisome.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson is banning social gatherings of more than six people in England, while Ireland reported the most new cases since May.

U.S. states hit hard by a summer surge in cases showed improving trends, with Texas, Arizona, Florida and California reporting the fewest daily infections in months.

75,809 in IndiaMost new cases today

-2% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​063 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

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

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 27.4 million; deaths exceed 894,000
  • Modernatumbles after pledge by vaccine makers
  • A $5 million prize spurs competition for rapid Covidtest
  • Fauci downplays virus shot beforeelection, countering Trump
  • Salmon may harbor coronavirus for a week, China study shows
  • Dear Wall Street: Your boss wants you to comeback to the office

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.

Biden Campaign Questions Trump Vaccine Process (6:49 a.m. HK)

The Biden campaign worked to sowdoubt about the Trump administration’s ability to keep politics out of a coronavirus vaccine rollout, saying the president routinely overstates progress and likes to punish political opponents.

“The concern they have is that Donald Trump could end up moving this process in a way that undermines the credibility of the vaccine and that will set our country back,” Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to the campaign, said on a call with reporters about the concerns of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.

Campaign advisers asked the administration to release the criteria that will be used to ensure a Covid-19 vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and efficacy, who will assure that decisions are driven by science and not politics and what the plan will be to allocate and distribute the vaccine “cost-free, safely, equitably and without politics.”

Texas Case Growth at Three-Month Low (6:29 a.m. HK)

Texas added 1,416 new virus cases, the lowest one-day raw figure increase since June 15, according to the state health department data.

The state recorded 61 additional fatalities, through such daily numbers have typically been inflated by data lags of weeks of months. For example, Houston reported 13 “new” deaths for the two-day period ended Monday night; those fatalities included one from as far back as mid June.-The most recent of them happened on Sept. 2, according to the city’s health department.

Confusion over the severity and trajectory of Texas’s outbreak deepened as most of the Lone Star state’s 5.5 million public school students began a new academic year on Tuesday -- some in-person and some online.

AstraZeneca Pauses Vaccine Trial After Illness (6:15 a.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc said that it had paused research on its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person who was participating in a clinical trial became ill.

“This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” AstraZeneca spokesperson Michele Meixell said in a statement.

Meixell said that the company was working to expedite its review of the incident in order to keep the trial moving along. Shares of the British drugmaker fell more than 8% in late New York trading.

U.K.’s Johnson Bans Gatherings of More Than Six (5:30 pm. NY)

All social gatherings of more than six people will bebanned in England, under new limits to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, as coronavirus cases grow.

At a press conference, the premier will confirm that police will have new powers to disperse and fine any group larger than six people meeting indoors or outdoors from Sept. 14. That marks a significant tightening of the current rules, under which police can break up gatherings of more than 30.

There will be exceptions for people grouping for work, weddings and funerals, and for organized sports, but parties in pubs and restaurants, and gatherings in public spaces will all be hit by the new limits.

California Has Fewest New Cases Since June (5 p.m. NY)

California reported 2,676 new coronavirus cases, the lowest single-day tally since mid-June, and well below the 14-day average of 4,630. The data may partly reflect delays in laboratory reporting over the long holiday weekend.

Still, there were other signs of improvement in California, home of the most U.S. cases. The average rate of positive tests over the past 14 days reached 4.3%, a three-month low. There were 3,311 virus hospitalizations as of yesterday, down more than 50% from a July peak.

Governor Gavin Newsom said “a lot of progress” has been made in the outbreak, while warning that gatherings on Labor Day weekend may cause a setback. “Three-day holiday weekends have not been advantageous in terms of the mitigation and spread of this virus,” Newsom said at a news briefing.

The state is easing restrictions on more areas as trends improve, with Orange, Placer, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Amador counties having some limits lifted.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.4% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.4% as compared with the same time Monday to 6.32 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 0.2% to 189,456.

  • Florida reported 650,092 cases, up 0.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average 0.6% increase in the previous seven days. That’s a daily change of 1,823 new cases, the fewest since June 15. Deaths reached 11,915, an increase of 44, or 0.4%.
  • Arizona reported 81 new virus cases, the smallest single-day tally since March. The state reported just two new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to 5,221.
  • Rhode Island experienced a 1.6% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 22,592, according to the Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News data.

French Cases ‘Worrisome,’ Health Minister Says (2:10 p.m. NY)

Francereported more than 6,000 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday as the pace of laboratory-confirmed cases picked up again after a post-weekend lull.

Laboratory-confirmed cases rose by 6,544 to 335,524, compared with an increase of 4,203 on Monday. The seven-day rolling average of cases has been steadily climbing for more than three weeks and recently rose above 7,000 for the first time since the start of the outbreak. The figure currently stands at 7,074.

The situation in France is “worrisome,” and hospitalizations and intensive-care admissions will increase in coming days as a result of the pandemic, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on France Inter radio on Tuesday. Infections are also rising in Germany and the U.K. following a summer of lax containment.

Madrid Fuels Spike in Spain as Schools Reopen (1:20 p.m. NY)

Spain’s daily infections rose from Monday but were still below the four-month high seen at the end of last week. There were 3,168 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Madrid continued to account for the greatest share of cases, recording 980 new infections in the past day as authorities struggle to control new outbreaks. The government of Madrid on Monday imposed an order to limit social gatherings -- in public and private spaces -- to no more than 10 people.

While still below levels from the height of the crisis, when 8,000 people a day caught the disease, children are returning to schools across Spain, fueling concern that numbers could again approach peak levels. Despite the latest trends, the situation is very different compared with March and April, when hundreds died a day, intensive care units operated at full capacity and as many as 16 makeshift hospitals were built to deal with the pandemic.

Ireland Cases Rise (12:45 p.m. NY)

Ireland reported the most new coronavirus cases since May 14, amid warnings about the virus spreading in Dublin. The capital accounted for 182 of the 307 new cases on Tuesday, a day after health authorities said they were especially concerned about the city. Ireland also reported one more death.

Moderna Tumbles After Pledge (11:05 a.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.fell as much as 13% on Tuesday after regulators and top drugmakers promised the Covid-19 vaccine approval process would be immune from political pressure and the biotech company drew its first sell rating since going public in 2018.

With Moderna’s shot one of three leading candidates for an emergency use authorization near-term, the combination of pledges from the Food and Drug Administration and industry leaders has cast a pall over the prospects of a vaccine being approved before the U.S. election.

India to Start Third-Phase Trial on Vaccine (9:10 a.m. NY)

India will begin a third phase trial of a Covid-19 vaccine from the University of Oxford next week. The vaccine is already in early-stage human trials in Australia.

The South Asian nation -- which now has the world’s second-highest virus tally -- will conduct the trial on 1,600 Indian candidates, theMinistry of Health said at a briefing Tuesday. The Oxford vaccine will be manufactured by Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, which has the capacity to produce up to 100 million doses monthly.

— With assistance by Mark Schoifet

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