New York Cases Spike; Minnesota Deaths Hit Record: Virus Update

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Infections in New York state, the early epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, topped 8,000 for the first time since April. Minnesota reached a record number of fatalities. Black Friday crowds were sparse in the U.S. as the virus accelerated the shopping day’s move online. Total U.S. infections passed 13 million.

Ireland, the first western European country to reimpose a lockdown, will begin to ease coronavirus curbs. Italy will alsoease restrictions in the financial hub of Milan and four other areas. Britain’s estimatedtransmission rate is signaling the virus is no longer spreading exponentially.

AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additionalglobal trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty around favorable results in its current study.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 61.2 million; deaths top 1.4 million
  • Black Friday getsbusted by Covid in sign of retail’s future
  • Thanksgivingtesting crunch foreshadows strain in December
  • Hospitals race to setvaccine priorities for health-care workers
  • How Covid-19 has turned the spotlight back onobesity: QuickTake
  • Workers stick to office during U.K.’s second lockdowns: Chart

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.

Connecticut Warns of Fake Virus Tests (5:01 p.m. NY)

Connecticut officials warned residents on Friday about fraudulent Covid-19 testing sites, urging people to go through established channels like the state’s testing locator to ensure their personal health information is safeguarded.

The state has in recent weeks “seen scammers set up fake Covid-19 testing sites trying to cash in on this pandemic,” Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz said in a Friday release.

The state has heard a small number of reports about pop-up operations claiming to work with government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health clinics, according to the release. The city of Bridgeport, for instance, tweeted last week that such an operation had been taking place near a local supermarket, and told those who had used the site to contact the state’s department of public health.

Texas Cases Slow Over Holiday (4:45 p.m. NY)

The 2,473 new Covid-19 cases reported in Texas Friday during the extended Thanksgiving holiday represented an 83% drop from the record number of cases reported Wednesday, figures from the Department of State Health Services show.

New cases dropped from the 14,648 reported Wednesday, figures show. El Paso County has the most active cases in the state at 37,476 and has reported an additional 4,392 cases since Nov. 21, more than 5% of the state’s new cases in that time period, figures show.

The number of coronavirus cases in Texas now stands above 1.1 million with 21,207 deaths, figures show.

New York State Cases Spike (4:12 p.m. NY)

New York state reported more than 8,000 Covid-19 cases for the first time since April.

Of a record 219,442 tests reported Thursday, 8,176 were positive, or 3.72% of the total, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter. The average positivity two weeks ago was 2.86%.

“We’re seeing an increase with the numbers across the country and within our own state,” Cuomo said in a press release. “It started with the fall, and it’s going to continue and probably worsen in the winter.”

Hospitalizations climbed by 47 to 3,103, while 38 New Yorkers died Thursday, bringing the total to 26,588.

Of the 8,176 cases, 2,558 were reported in New York City. Among the five boroughs, Staten Island is seeing the greatest surge, and has a seven-day positivity average of 4.07%.

New York was the early epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. At the height of the first wave, in April, it reported more than 11,000 daily cases.

For more than 30 days during August and September, the state’s positivity rate was less than 1%

New York City now comprises less than a third of the state’s total cases. During the first wave, it comprised more than half. The state is seeing its highest positivity this wave in western New York and the Finger Lakes.

Minnesota Hits Record Deaths, Many in Long-Term Care (3:24 p.m. NY)

Minnesota reported 101 deaths, a record since the start of the pandemic. “For weeks we have been sounding the alarm about the dramatic growth in Covid-19 cases.” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement Friday. “We know that more cases lead to more hospitalizations and deaths, and today’s news reinforces that tragic pattern.” Among the deaths, 64 were in long-term care or assisted living facilities, the Star Tribunereported. A total of 3,535 people have died in the state.

North Dakota Spread Slows (2:47 p.m. NY)

North Dakota’s outbreak is showing signs of easing, as it reported its fifth consecutive drop in active cases and a slight overall dip in patients in an overwhelmed hospital system. Active cases fell to 8,225, down almost 2,000 from Nov. 13, the Department of Health reported. Another 797 new infections were reported, in a week with four days over 1,000. Seven people died.

North Dakota, one of the hardest-hit states in the Midwest, adopted a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 14 as well as some restrictions on businesses.

France’s Pace of New Covid Cases Falls to 7-Week Low (2:02 p.m. NY)

France reported 12,459 new cases on Friday for a total of 2.2 million, while the seven-day average of infections fell 11% from a day earlier to 12,421, the lowest since Oct. 6. That’s as the rate of positive tests has dropped to 11.7%, almost 9 percentage points lower than in the first week of November.

Hospitalizations and the number of Covid patients in intensive care continued to decline from a peak 11 days ago. Deaths linked to the coronavirus increased by 957 to 51,914, while the seven-day average continued a week-long decline.

France’s overall mortality appears to have peaked on Nov. 7, when deaths from all causes numbered 2,281, statistics office Insee reported. That’s lower than during the first wave of the pandemic, when the country registered 2,810 deaths on April 1.

Belgium May Not Ease Virus Restrictions Until Mid-January (1:35 p.m. NY)

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned against immediately easing the virus restrictions which took effect almost 4 weeks ago. He said the latest epidemiological models suggest Belgium may not start relaxing curbs before mid-January.

While non-essential retailers are allowed to reopen with crowd limits on Dec. 1, the Belgian authorities will maintain restrictions during the holiday period: families are allowed a single guest on Christmas eve and the evening curfew will be maintained on Dec. 31.

Ireland Begins Lifting National Lockdown (1:25 p.m. NY)

Ireland moved to roll back its nationwide lockdown after six weeks, in a bid to allow a relatively normal Christmas period. Stores, gyms and churches will reopen from December 1, while restaurants and pubs serving food will reopen shortly after. Pubs not serving food will remain closed.

Travel restrictions will be eased from December 18 until January 6, while more households will be allowed to mix over the holiday. “The efforts and sacrifices that each of us have made are working,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address. Ireland reported 206 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the lowest number in more than two months.

European Virus Reports Draw WHO Attention (1:13 p.m. NY)

Officials from the World Health Organization are looking into reports that cases of Covid-19 emerged in Europe in the fall of 2019, well before the pandemic erupted in China last December, though their focus remains on the first human cases in Wuhan, said WHO official Michael Ryan.

No one knows the origin of the virus, which appears to thrive in certain families of bats, or what occurred before the events in Wuhan. The agency is conducting studies with Chinese scientists because the first clusters of human cases were there. It would be “highly speculative” to say the disease didn’t emerge in China, Ryan said. Still, the agency is examining multiple reports of cases from France, Spain and Italy that emerged in September and October, WHO officials said.

The agency is also asking for additional data on the coronavirus vaccine trial results, saying all they have thus far are sparse details from press releases. It’s possible that the initial immunizations spur generalized innate immunity, a response that may not offer lasting protection to the specific pathogen, officials said. More data from longer periods is needed, they said.

Italy to Ease Restrictions (12:53 p.m. NY)

Italy’s government willease restrictions for financial capital Milan and for industrial hub Turin starting on November 29, following a steady reduction in the number of coronavirus cases.

Health minister Roberto Speranza signed a new order Friday which will allow more movement and economic activities in five Italian regions, according to a statement.

Italy has avoided a second full nationwide lockdown, arguing its fragile economy must be shielded from another body blow following a strict three-month shutdown last spring.

New Jersey Nears 17,000 Covid-19 Fatalities (12:12 p.m. NY)

New Jersey is nearing 17,000 lab-confirmed and probable novel coronavirus-related deaths as the ranks of the sickest grow. So far this week the most densely populated U.S. state has reported 143 deaths and 20,611 cases.

The state’s 71 acute-care hospitals on Thursday night reported 2,496 in-patients, or 12% more than on Nov. 19. The 559 people in intensive-care units represented a 25% increase, and the 279 people on ventilators were 18% more. In all three areas, the state had a slight drop from Wednesday to Thursday, but health officials anticipate soaring numbers ahead, the potential result of Thanksgiving celebrations that didn’t adhere to distancing and masking advisories.

Crowds Thin on a Black Friday Reshaped by Covid-19 (11:46 a.m. NY)

Crowds were sparse on Black Friday, as the virus accelerated the shopping day’s move online.

On New York’s Fifth Avenue, the line outside the Philippine Consulate was longer than the tiny queue to get into Zara. At Macy’s Herald Square, the biggest department store in the U.S., it looked more like a normal day than the busiest shopping event of the year.

At International Plaza and Bay Street mall in Tampa, Florida, a half-full parking lot still allowed shoppers to easily find a spot shortly after the stores opened at 9 a.m. Lindsay Grinstead, marketing and sponsorship director at the mall, said new safety measures have helped the mall gain shoppers’ trust: It provided the stores with a virtual-line app that allows customers to scan a QR code and save their spot in the queue without having to physically stand in line. The mall also doubled the curbside pick-up capacity to more than 100 parking spaces. Masks are required inside the mall as well as in the stores, with some, like Hollister and Forever 21, even providing masks at their entrances.

Italy Cases, Deaths Steady (11:30 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 827 virus deaths and 28,352 new daily cases, in line with the previous day. The number of patients in intensive care units across the country continued to fall for the second day, while total number of hospitalized patients fell for the fourth day. New infections declined 24% from week ago.

NYC Daily Cases Rise Above 1,500 for First Time in Six Months (10:51 a.m. NY)

New York City’s daily Covid-19 cases increased to more than 1,500 for the first time since May, based on a seven-day average.

The seven-day average positive-test rate is 3.33%, the highest in recent weeks. The figure has been above 3% since it reach that level earlier this month, prompting a shutdown of city schools.

While cases and the positivity rate have been causes for concern for de Blasio, the hospitalizations have not approached an unmanageable level. There were 114 admissions on Nov. 25 for Covid-like illnesses, of which 45% were positive for the virus.

Spain Plans Three-Phase Vaccine Roll-Out (9:49 a.m. NY)

There’ll be three phases in Spain’s vaccine treatment, starting in January and running through the European summer, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Friday. During the first phase, residents and workers in nursing homes, front-line health workers and other health-care workers will be treated. Spain will get 140 millions doses to treat 80 million people.

U.K. Outbreak Stops Spreading Exponentially (8:47 a.m. NY)

Government scientists estimate Britain’s nationwidetransmission rate for the outbreak, or ‘R’ number, has fallen to 0.9-1.0. The measure is below 1 for first time since Sept. 4, which would mean the virus is no longer spreading exponentially.

“The estimated growth rate means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day,” the government said in a statement.

Cyprus Sets Nightime Curfew Starting Dec. 1 (6:30 a.m. NY)

Cyprus imposed a national nighttime curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The measure, along with other restrictions, will apply Dec. 1-14. If the situation doesn’t improve, then the government will need to take further protective measures, Health Minister Konstantinos Ioannou said in a televised statement.

AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial (8:02 a.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showed in a portion of an existing trial, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriotsaid. It’s favoring that option rather than adding an arm to a separate study that’s already underway in the U.S.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Rob Verdonck, Marton Eder, Dara Doyle, Henry Meyer, Ravil Shirodkar, Sotiris Nikas, Piotr Bujnicki, Boris Groendahl, Carla Canivete, Todd White, Rodrigo Orihuela, Stacie Sherman, Rudy Ruitenberg, Maria Ermakova, Kim Bhasin, Carolina Gonzalez, Tara Patel, Chiara Albanese, Michelle Fay Cortez, Peter Flanagan, John Martens, Jeffrey Bair, and Emma Court

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