U.S. Surpasses Grim Milestone of 100,000 Deaths: Virus Update

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The U.S. reached the grim milestone of 100,000deaths from the coronavirus, the highest official toll in the world.

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said there’s a “good chance” a vaccine may be deployable by November or December. Japan had fewer overalldeaths in the first quarter even with the virus, andexperts there say masks have made a difference. China reported twoimported cases.

The European Union isproposing a fiscal package worth more than $800 billion, while in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to the U.K. to “move on” from thecontroversy over claims his top adviser broke lockdown rules.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 5.6 million; deaths over 354,000
  • Disney’s Florida theme parks expected toreopen in July
  • India lockdown seen pushing millions into extremepoverty
  • Salariesget chopped for many Americans who manage to keep jobs
  • German drugmaker Merck KGaA entersvaccine race
  • Virus seenhastening demise of many oil refineries

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, clickhere.

18,611 in U.S.Most new cases today

-11% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​042 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-4.​8% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), April

Disney Taking ‘Baby Steps’ to Reopen Parks (7:35 a.m. HK)

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek is planning to be morecautious than other theme-park operators in reopening attractions, saying he wants to take extra time to build trust with customers.

The company aims to begin admitting guests back in its parks in Florida in mid-July. Meanwhile, rivals such as Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. plan to begin reopening their parks in the state early next month.

Merchant Sailors Trapped at Sea (7:25 a.m. HK)

Even as countries try returning to some semblance of pre-pandemic life, ongoing restrictions are wearing thin a crucial human link in the global supply chain.

More than 200,000 seafarers stuck on merchant ships carrying everything from medical supplies to grain and oil are at increasing risk of mental and physical fatigue as port restrictions and canceled flights snarl the ability of vessels to change crews, according to the International Chamber of Shipping.

U.S. Deaths Top 100,000 (6 a.m. HK)

The U.S. surpassed 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The milestone comes 126 days since the first case and 87 days since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the country’s first fatality, on Feb. 29 in Washington state.

CDC Issues Guidelines for Office Buildings (4:10 p.m. NY)

Employers could bring workers back to office buildings more safely with steps including improving office ventilation, spacing workers apart and reducing shared objects like communal coffee pots, according to guidance from the CDC.

Therecommendations issued Wednesday show how office life may change. Pre-packaged, single-serving beverages may replace water coolers. Open-plan offices could see staff coming in shifts and breaks staggered to minimize gatherings. Employees will likely wear masks and bosses may be much more involved in their workers’ health as daily health checks may be required to screen for illness.

The advice focuses heavily on office ventilation, recommending open windows and doors, HVAC units that use more outdoor air, increased air filtration and exhaust fans in restrooms. They’re phrased as suggestions rather than requirements and how many changes are made may depend on external factors, such as whether windows can even be opened.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.2%, Below Past Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.2% as compared to the same time yesterday, to 1.69 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was below the average daily increase of 1.4% over the past week. Deaths approached 100,000.

  • New York cases rose 0.3% to 364,965, compared with an average 0.4% in the past seven days,according to data from the state’s health department.
  • Florida reported 52,634 cases, up 0.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.5% in the previous seven days, according to the state’s health department. Deaths reached 2,319, an increase of 2.7%.
  • California cases rose 2.3% to 98,980 while deaths increased 1.8% to 3,884,according to the state’s website.

N.J. ‘Well Past the Peak,’ Governor Says (1:40 p.m. NY)

New Jersey is “now well past the peak” of the outbreak, Governor Phil Murphy said Wednesday, even though there are still “many, many people” in hospitals being treated for Covid-19.

Of 2,761 patients hospitalized over the past 24 hours, 768 were in intensive-care units and 583 were on ventilators. In all, 164 coronavirus patients were discharged, but 241 were admitted. Deaths in the state reached 11,339, with virus cases totaling 156,628.

Cuomo Blasts Congress for Delaying Funds (1:20 p.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo again lobbied forfederal funding for state and local governments coping with economic fallout from the pandemic. Speaking in Washington after meeting with President Donald Trump, the Democratic governor singled out Republican senators for calling any aid package a “blue state bailout.” Such a response is ugly and un-American, the governor said.

“There is no nation without the states,” Cuomo said. “They tend to forget that in this town.”

There can’t be a national economic recovery if state governments aren’t funded, especially New York, the nation’s financial capital, he said. New York pays more to the federal government than it takes in -- $29 billion a year, he said.

NYC Faces $9 Billion Budget Hole (11:51 a.m. NY)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says his city’s fiscal crisis has worsened, with revenue projected to be $9 billion less than expected through 2021. “That leads us to a horrible place” where city services will be cut and workers will be laid off and furloughed unless the federal government enacts a fiscal stimulus package for state and local governments, he said.

He called on the state legislature to permit the city to cover operating expenses through borrowing if the federal legislation isn’t enacted. The revenue-loss estimate is worse than the $7.4 billion that city budget officials predicted last month, a reflection of the coronavirus’s deep economic impact upon the city, he said. State law requires that the $89.3 billion budget be balanced and approved by June 30.

D.C. to Lift Stay-at-Home Order Friday (11:45 a.m. NY)

The District of Columbia will lift its stay-at-home order Friday, making the nation’s capital one of the last areas in the U.S. to start reopening. Prohibitions on groups of 10 or more and other restrictions will remain in place, said Mayor Muriel Bowser, who urged city residents to remain cautious. “This virus is still in our city, still in our region and still in our country,” Bowser said at a news briefing Wednesday.

Ireland Reassures Investors on Slow Reopening (11:04 p.m. NY)

Ireland’s relatively cautious approach to reopening the economy will be worth the “prize” of reassuring the public that it’s safe to return to stores and cafes, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told investors on Wednesday. The government is taking a slower approach to reopening than nations such as Germany and France, with a full return to normality not due until the middle of August. Where other nations have moved quicker, consumers have been wary of resuming previous spending patterns as concerns around the virus linger, Donohoe told investors in a call on Wednesday.

Norway Allows Full Classrooms (10:30 a.m. NY)

Norway continued to ease restrictions, saying on Wednesday that it would now allow entire classes to gather in kindergartens and schools rather than in smaller groups. The government will also lift a ban on visits to nursing homes and hospitals. The Nordic country was one of the first in Europe to start lifting restrictions last month. It’s so far had fewer than 8,400 confirmed cases and 235 deaths, with no deaths reported since last week.

Fauci: ‘Good Chance’ of Vaccine By November or December (9:42 a.m. NY)

“I still think that we have a good chance, if all of the things fall into the right place, that we might have a vaccine that will be deployable by the end of the year, by December or November,” Fauci told CNN. He also said that recent instances of social crowding -- such as a pool party in Missouri -- are “very troubling,” and that a second wave of Covid-19 isn’t “inevitable” if people are prudent.

U.S. testing capability is getting “better and better,” Fauci said.

Switzerland to Ease Limits on Restaurants, Events (9:21 a.m. NY)

Switzerland will permit events attended by up to 300 people and allow restaurants to serve tables with more than four guests as of June 6, the government said. Mountain railways, casinos, amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens, campsites, swimming pools and tourist attractions will be allowed to open from that date. Restaurants and nightclubs will need to close by midnight.

Separately, the Swiss National Bank isintervening more heavily in the foreign exchange market to weaken the franc and can further cut interest rates, if a cost-benefit analysis warrants such a step, President Thomas Jordan said.

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel

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