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India Speeds Up Testing; Sanofi Starts Human Trial: Virus Update
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India performed a record 1.17 million daily tests after the government faced criticism that is wasn’t doing enough to map the outbreak’s true extent in the country that accounts for the third-biggest number of cases.
Sanofiadministered the first patients with its experimental Covid-19 vaccines in preparation for late-stage trials before year-end. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine to be ready by Nov. 1.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s governmentunveiled its 100 billion-euro ($118 billion) stimulus plan for an economy that was among the worst-hit by lockdowns in Europe.
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83,883 in IndiaMost new cases today
+4% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-1.072 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
5.4% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), July
Myanmar Sees Surge in Cases After Slow Start (4:24 p.m. HK)
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Myanmar topped 1,000 after a surge in recent weeks. The virus now threatens to spread in one of southeast Asia’s poorest countries after months in which it averaged less than 10 new infections a day.
State Counselor and Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi,said the country plans to strictly enforce rules and directives, especially for large public gatherings. Meanwhile, the country’s Union Election Commission said general elections would go ahead on Nov. 8 as the overall number of cases still remains low.
India Accelerates Testing After Criticism (3:39 p.m. HK)
India conducted a record 1.17 million tests in the past 24 hours, the government said in a statement Thursday, taking the total number to more than 45.5 million so far. The increase follows longstanding criticism that India was not testing enough to map the true extent of the outbreak.
India is battling the third-largest outbreak in the world as the virus spreads deeper into its rural hinterland. New cases topped 80,000.
Finland Infection Rates Remain Stable (3:32 p.m. HK)
Finland’sinfection rates were stable last month and the epidemic remains subdued, health authorities said.
The incidence of new cases in the two-week period of August 17–30 was 5.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. That compares with 6.0 per 100,000 in the preceding two weeks, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said in a statement.
Finland has had a total of under 8,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 335 related casualties to date.
South Korea Ramps Up Testing (2:25 p.m. HK)
South Korea conducted about 19,000 daily virus tests between Aug. 21 and Sept. 3, more than double the pace of the previous two weeks, according to the deputy director of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the past three days, the country has carried out more than 20,000 tests a day, Kwon Jun-wook said at a briefing. Kwon said tighter social distancing rules have “clearly” helped bring down the pace of new infections, a trend that’s likely to continue after the coming weekend.
Sanofi Starts Human Trials for Vaccine (1 p.m. HK)
Sanofi launched human studies for its Covid-19 vaccine at 11 sites across the U.S. The phase 1/2 trial — which compresses the early and middle stages of clinical tests — will assess 440 healthy patients in two age groups: 18 to 49, and over 50. It aims to have results by December and then accelerate into late-stage trials.
The vaccine candidate relies on technology Sanofi uses to make influenza shots and Glaxo’s adjuvants, which enhance the body’s immune response. Sanofi also has a messenger RNA vaccine in development.
India’s Virus Cases Soar Again (12:50 p.m. HK)
India reported 83,883 new cases Thursday, pushing the total tally to 3.85 million as the world’s second-most populous nation becomes the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s on course to overtake Brazil -- and likely the U.S. -- to emerge the worst outbreak globally, despite enforcing a strict nationwidelockdown at the end of March.
The novel pathogen has now penetrated the vast rural hinterland where the bulk of its 1.3 billion population lives and where health care facilities are more sparse, after racing through its dense mega-cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.
U.K. Concerned About France, Spain: FT (11:45 a.m. HK)
The U.K. government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Timesreported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Hancock is concerned that the outbreaks in other European countries could herald a more serious Covid-19 situation in Britain, according to the FT. One worry is that younger people, many of whom are asymptomatic, could pass the virus on to older, more vulnerable family members, the report said.
Australia’s Victoria States Warns Against Early Reopening (9:45 a.m. HK)
Australia’s Victoria state premier, Daniel Andrews, told reporters that while the restrictions were tough, moving too fast would see the state lose its hard-won gains.
His warning came even as the state reported 113 new virus cases in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of 687 on Aug. 4.
South Korea Cases Hit Three-Week Low (8:45 a.m. HK)
The country recorded 195 new infections for the past day, the least since Aug. 14, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Among the cases, 188 were locally infected, including 69 in Seoul.
U.K. to Invest $665 Million for Test Trials (7:38 a.m. HK)
The U.K. governmentcommitted 500 million pounds ($665 million) for the carrying out of Covid-19 test trials and capacity expansion, the Health and Social Care Secretary announced.
Texas Hospitalizations Hover Near 10-Week Low (5:09 p.m. NY)
Texas hospitals counted 4,149 virus patients as of late Tuesday, little changed from a day earlier when they dipped to the lowest since June 23, according to state health department data. There were 4,157 new cases, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 621,667.
The state reported 189 additional deaths, bringing the cumulative tally to 12,870. Earlier Wednesday, Dallas said it is relaxing some restrictions for the first time since May as the virus threat level is lowered.
Preakness Horse Race to Be Held Without Fans (4:30 p.m. NY)
The Preakness Stakes, part of U.S. horse racing’s Triple Crown, will be held in Maryland without fans on Oct. 3, the organizers said in a statement. Only essential racing personnel and horsemen will be allowed on site.
The Kentucky Derby is being held this weekend, also without fans. The other Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes, was run in June.
U.S. Cases Rise 0.5% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.5% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.09 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.7% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.4% to 184,803.
Florida reported 633,442 cases, up 0.4% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 0.6% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 11,501, an increase of 127, or 1.1%.
Arizona reported 519 new virus cases, a 0.3% increase to 202,861 that marked a slight increase from the prior seven-day average of 0.2%. The state recorded 21 new deaths, bringing the total to 5,065.
Montana experienced a 2.4% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 7,691, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg News and Johns Hopkins.
CDC to States: Get Ready for Vaccine (4 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hastold states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine to be ready by Nov. 1 and asked them to remove obstacles that would prevent distribution sites from opening.
The CDC in early August told states to assume for planning that “limited doses” of a vaccine could be available in fall. The new Aug. 27 letter, first reported by the news organization McClatchy, sets the stage for a broader rollout. A CDC spokesman confirmed the contents of the letter.
The date suggests the federal government is preparing for a vaccine to become available just days before President Donald Trump stands for re-election Nov. 3, an aggressive goal that would depend on shots being tested and reviewed by then. Trump’s political future hinges on the response to the virus that has killed almost 185,000 Americans.
French New Cases Surging (2:10 p.m. NY)
France reported 7,017 Coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.
French authorities have taken extra steps to try to contain the acceleration in recent weeks, such as making mask-wearing obligatory in public in many towns, including Paris. The country has also increased testing, with over a million carried out in the last week. Between Aug. 24 and Aug. 30, 4.3% of tests were positive.
The number of hospitalizations related to Covid has risen slightly over the last week to 4,632. Another 57 people suffering from the virus were admitted to intensive care in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 446 -- the highest since July 21.
— With assistance by Andre Janse Van Vuuren, Bhuma Shrivastava, and Philip Heijmans