U.K. Premier in Hospital; Hotspot Deaths Slowing: Virus Update

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hospitalized with persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive.

In a possible respite after days of sobering developments, the daily toll in some of the world’s coronavirus epicenters was lower Sunday. New York State fatalities fell for the first time. Italy had the fewest deaths in more than two weeks. France reported the lowest number in five days. Spain’s tally fell for three days in a row.

Currency markets opened mixed in Asia.

33,264 in U.S.Most new cases today

-26% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​138 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23


Key Developments:

  • Global cases pass 1.25 million; deaths top 69,000: Johns Hopkins
  • U.S. cases reach 1 in 1,000
  • U.K. to tighten lockdown if needed
  • Biden suggests virtual convention
  • India bans exports of “game changer” virus drug
  • Religious gatherings move online
  • The fast spread pits treating patients against finding a cure

Boeing Extends Plant Closing (5:20 p.m. NY)

Boeing Co. said its Seattle-area commercial manufacturing hub will remain closed indefinitely as health officials work to contain the Covid-19 outbreak and suppliers show signs of stress.

The factories, including a hulking plant where wide-body jets are built, had been scheduled to reopen late Tuesday following an earlier two-week closure. The health and safety of employees and recommendations of government health authorities were among the considerations, the Chicago-based planemaker said in a statement.

Washington State Returns Ventilators (5:30 p.m. NY)

Washington State, which continues to see fewer new infections than once feared, said it will return more than 400 ventilators to the national stockpile for use by states that have greater need. That represents the majority of the machines the state received from the federal government.

Washington separately bought 750 ventilators that are set to arrive over the next few weeks, when the state might need them, said Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “These ventilators are going to New York and others states hardest hit by this virus,” Inslee said. “I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together.”

U.S. Troops to Wear Face Coverings (5 p.m. NY)

U.S. military personnel will wear face coverings when they are unable to stay six feet away from others, the Pentagon said a week after health officials recommended the use of such coverings.

The policy, signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, also applies to contractors and others on Defense Department installations and facilities.

“We want to take every measure to protect our troops,” Esper said on ABC’s “This Week.”

U.K. Premier Sent to Hospital (4:15 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday night after having “persistent symptoms” 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19, a spokesperson said.

“This is a precautionary step,” the official said.

Johnson had been in isolation with a high temperature which had not abated. Two days ago, he posted a video on Twitter about his condition.

He remains in charge of the government, and is in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials.

NYC Welcomes Added Medical Staff (4 p.m. NY)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 291 medical staff have arrived to work in the besieged hospital system, but said as many as 1,450 are needed. The first wave includes 74 nurses, 104 doctors and 12 respirator therapists.

The city has a supply of breathing machines for about 48 to 72 hours, which he said was an improvement since officials had feared the ventilator supply would be exhausted by Sunday.

“I see a few signs that are a little hopeful, for sure,” de Blasio said. “I think it’s early to be able to declare” a corner has been turned.

Boston Mayor Imposes Curfew (3:45 p.m. NY)

Boston imposed new measures including an overnight curfew for non-essential activities and encouraging the use of face coverings. Starting Monday, non-essential trips to businesses, restaurants and other locations are banned from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mayor Martin Walsh said. The city encourages the use of delivery services for items needed after 9 p.m. City parks, including sports courts and fields, will close. Walking and jogging paths remain open.

Ackman ‘Optimistic’ After Seeing Data (3:30 p.m. NY)

Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman is “beginning to get optimistic” as cases appear to be peaking in New York, the billionaire said in a series of tweets.

Ackman, who has repeatedly called for a complete shutdown of the U.S., said hydroxychloriquine and antibiotics appear to help, and he envisions a time in the next few months where everyone is tested and all but the most vulnerable return to more normal life.

The activist investor has previously invested a portion of his personal wealth to help manufacture antibody test kids made by Covaxx, a new subsidiary of closely held United Biomedical Inc..

French Deaths Lowest in 5 Days (2:10 p.m. NY)

France reported the lowest daily coronavirus deaths in five days in a possible sign that three weeks of confinement are starting to help contain the outbreak. The country had 518 fatalities on Sunday, the fewest since last Tuesday, according to figures published by French health authorities. New cases dropped to 1,873, the fewest since March 21.

Irish Premier Will Help as Doctor (2:15 p.m. NY)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a doctor by training, has re-registered as a medical professional seven years after leaving the field to pursue politics, the Irish Times reported. Once a week, Varadkar will help carry out assessments by phone for people fearing they may have been exposed to the virus, the newspaper said.

Ireland reported 21 new deaths and 390 new cases on Sunday—bringing the total cases nationwide to almost 5,000.

N.J. Deaths Fall Sharply (1:50 p.m. NY)

New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of U.S. cases, reported a slowdown in the death rate: Fatalities rose by 71 compared with 200 the day before.

The state also reported fewer new cases, 3,381, for a total of 37,505. Total deaths are 917.

Austria Readies Lockdown Exit Plan (1 p.m. NY)

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed to chart a step-by-step way out of the lockdown on Monday, as the number of active coronavirus patients dropped for the first time this weekend. Recoveries outnumbered new positive tests on Saturday and Sunday. Fatalities are still rising about 10% per day.

Total infections rose 270 to 12,051 and 18 more deaths for a total of 204.

Italy’s Deaths Fewest Since March 19 (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy reported the lowest figure for single-day coronavirus deaths in 2 1/2 weeks, even as the region around Milan announced tougher containment measures.

Fatalities fell to 525, the fewest since March 19, bringing the total since the beginning of the outbreak in Italy to 15,887. New confirmed cases totaled 4,316, down from 4,805 the day before. Italy now has 128,948 cases, slightly fewer than Spain.

Hard-hit Lombardy is requiring that citizens shield their mouths and noses with masks or other coverings when they leave their homes, and insisted residents stay inside for all but essential activities, after seeing a spike in people venturing outside in defiance of the quarantine.

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U.S. Sends Military Doctors to NYC (12:10 p.m. NY)

The U.S. military will deploy 1,000 Air Force and Navy medical staff to New York City in the next three days, the Pentagon said in a statement. About 300 will be assigned to the Javits Center, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital. The rest will deploy to other area locations, the U.S. Northern Command said in a statement.

N.Y. Deaths, Hospitalizations Fall (11:30 a.m. NY)

New York reported 594 new coronavirus deaths, fewer than the 630 it reported on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. He said it’s too soon to draw conclusions. The state has 4,159 fatalities so far.

There are 122,031 positive cases in total. New hospitalizations also dropped, to 574 from 1,095, Cuomo reported.

The governor said while the coronavirus has hurt the economy, it led to a drop in the crime rate and fewer trauma cases unrelated to the outbreak being taken to hospitals.

Biden Suggests Virtual Convention (10:15 a.m. NY)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the party should consider a virtual nominating convention this summer because the coronavirus has led to limits on public gatherings.

“We’re going to have to do a convention, we may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary. But we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.”

U.K. Coronavirus Cases Rise (9:25 a.m. NY)

Cases rose to 47,806 from 41,903 on Saturday. Total deaths were 4,934 versus 4,313, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, rising at a slower pace than those reported on Saturday.

The U.K. will tighten a nationwide lockdown if needed to halt the spread, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, even as pressure builds on the government to explain how it will eventually ease economically devastating measures.

As many as 4,000 low-risk prisoners will be freed in England and Wales as cases inside prisons climb. Selected inmates with less than two months to serve will be released and monitored with electronic devices, the Ministry of Justice said.

Denmark May Ease Restrictions (7:56 a.m. NY)

Denmark may announce a loosening of restrictive measures aimed at curbing the outbreak as soon as Monday, local media reported.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is seeking to present some watering down of the measures at a press conference in coming days, Berlingske and TV2 reported, without saying where they got the information. The country’s confirmed cases of the virus rose to 4,369 on Sunday, with 179 deaths.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, John Follain, Jerrold Colten, Mikael Holter, Rieka Rahadiana, Macarena Munoz Montijano, Arsalan Shahla, Hugo Miller, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Christoph Rauwald, James Regan, Stuart Biggs, Dina Bass, and Julie Johnsson

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