U.S. Cases Rise 1%; Trump Defends Malaria Drug: Virus Update

Flare-ups in virus cases from Hong Kong to Europe are proving difficult for policy makers towrangle. The U.S. neared 150,000 deaths from Covid-19, even as daily infections slowed in some hard-hit states.

Philippine health authoritieswarned that hospitals and infirmaries risk getting overwhelmed. The U.K. isconsidering ways to loosen its quarantine rules after a backlash over restrictions on trips to Spain. Greece and Madrid implemented new mask rules.

The Miami Marlins season waspaused until at least next week after a team outbreak, extending turmoil for Major League Baseball. The American Federation of Teachersauthorized its members to strike if schools reopen without proper safety measures.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 16.6 million; deaths pass 657,000
  • Trump claims warnings against anti-malaria drug werepolitical
  • Modernavaccine protected monkeys from virus in trial
  • Pfizer says Covid couldendure, with long-term need for shot
  • Kodak triples on loan to make virus drugingredients
  • Pakistan warned of fresh virus threat as millionstravel for Eid

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.

Trump Says Warnings on Anti-Malarial Drug Were Political (6:57 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said the medical community’s widespread warnings against using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients were politically motivated to damage him.

“I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages,” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House. “And I don’t think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn’t seem to be too popular. You know why? Because I recommend it. When I recommend something, they like to say ‘don’t use it.’”

Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine even though a number of studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for Covid-19, and can have serious side effects, such as heart rhythm problems and kidney and liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month pulled an order that allowed the drug to be used as an emergency treatment.

Kodak Triples on Loan to Make Virus Drug Ingredients (6 a.m. HK)

Eastman Kodak Co. shares more than tripled Tuesday on a $765 million U.S. government loan to help produce ingredients used in key generic medicines to fight the coronavirus.

The development bank loan is the first of its kind under the Defense Production Act in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense. It’s intended to speed production of drugs in short supply and those considered critical to treat Covid-19, which may include hydroxychloroquine, the controversial antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump.

Trump, speaking Tuesday afternoon in a news conference at the White House, said the deal was “a breakthrough in bringing pharmaceutical production back to the United States.” About 10% of the national generic drug supply is manufactured in the country. Kodak shares, after closing the regular trading session with a 203% gain, rose another 40% in extended trading after the president’s remarks.

Texas Reports 164 New Deaths (5:24 p.m. NY)

Texas said it counted 164 new virus deaths that brought the total to 5,877, according to preliminary data from the state health department.

The figures are difficult to compare to historical trends because Texasrevised how it tallies Covid-19 fatalities on Monday, basing them on death certificates rather than numbers collected by local officials. The revamp discovered almost 700 previously uncounted deaths.

The positive-test rate dropped to 12.83%, the lowest since June 25, the data showed. New cases rose by 8,341 to 394,265.

Moderna Vaccine Protected Monkeys From Virus (4:36 p.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.’s vaccine candidate protected against the coronavirus in a trial that inoculated 16 monkeys, the company said infindings published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The primates didn’t show any sign of creating enhanced disease, a problem that has occasionally been associated with vaccines.

While the data is encouraging, a far bigger test is under way for Moderna, involving 30,000 humans. The phase 3 trial to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine will begin producing data in November or December.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that Moderna is pitching its vaccine at $50 to $60 per course in the U.S. and other high-income countries. The company had initially asked certain buyers, including the European Union, for a price of at least high double-digit dollars per course, the FT said.

Marlins Seasons Suspended as Outbreak Roils Baseball (4:15 p.m. NY)

The Miami Marlins season has been paused until at least next week after Covid-19 infected players and staff, escalating troubles for Major League Baseball just days into the new season.

Marlins games against the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals had already been postponed, according to reports. And because the Marlins played the Phillies over the weekend — potentially exposing them — a Philadelphia series against the New York Yankees has been pushed back as well.

The Yankees will now play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Major League Baseball.

U.S. Cases Rise 1% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed 1% as compared with the same time Monday to 4.31 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was below the average 1.7% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 148,298.

  • Arizona reported 2,107 new cases Tuesday, an increase of 1.3% that brings the total to 165,934, still below the 1.7% prior seven-day average. The state also reported 104 new fatalities, lifting the toll to 3,408.
  • Florida reported 441,977 cases, up 2.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.6% in the previous seven days. The state reported a record 186 new deaths, bringing the total to 6,117.
  • Alaska cases rose 3.9% to 2,623, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg.

California New Cases at Lowest in 3 Weeks (3:20 p.m. NY)

California reported 6,000 new virus cases, the lowest daily tally since July 5, according to the state health department and data compiled by Bloomberg. The state had 73 additional deaths, compared with a 14-day average of 99.

Hospitalizations from Covid-19, which reached a record last week, decreased 0.6% to 6,896 people, while the number of intensive-care patients fell 1.8%. The average rate of positive tests over the past two weeks was stable for the fifth straight day at 7.5%.

Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said in a briefing that Tuesday’s relatively low figure likely reflects a delay in test reporting from the weekend. He pointed to the state’s seven-day average of 9,397 daily cases, a 2.3% increase, as a better measure.

Twitter Suspends Trump Jr. Account Over Virus Video (2:05 p.m. NY)

Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was temporarilysuspended for sharing misinformation about Covid-19. The president’s eldest son posted a video of people touting the drug hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment. The Food and Drug Administration last month revoked emergency-use authorization for the anti-malaria drug as a Covid-19 treatment after determining it may have deadly side effects. The World Health Organization also said it would discontinue its own tests of hydroxychloroquine.

Nike Closing Arizona Plant, Citing Covid (2 p.m. NY)

Nike Inc. iswinding down operations at a facility in Goodyear, Arizona, marking an abrupt turnabout for a project meant to become a state-of-the-art plant for its Nike Air shoe line.

The company acquired the property in 2019 and set about turning it into the third so-called Air Manufacturing Innovation facility in the U.S. The $184 million investment was expected to generate more than 500 full-time jobs, the sportswear giant said in July of last year.

“We are experiencing unprecedented times and due to the Covid-19 impact we will no longer be investing in our Goodyear facility,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “We are repositioning our resources to further invest against our biggest opportunities and Air MI will continue to be an important part of Nike’s growth strategy.”

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel, and Enda Curran

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