(Bloomberg) — New York state reported the fewest hospitalizations since the outbreak began even as it recorded the most deaths in a 24-hour period. The top U.S. infectious-disease expert said the final death toll may be lower than earlier estimated.
Spain is poised to extend a nationwide lockdown, a step also being considered by Italy. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken out of intensive care and moved back to the main hospital ward.
Stocks rallied after the Federal Reserve acted to provide as much as $2.3 trillion in aid, even as huge numbers of Americans again applied for jobless benefits.
Global cases top 1.5 million; deaths pass 93,000: Johns HopkinsSpain, Italy to extend lockdowns amid persistent rise in casesCostly CT scans filling virus testing void for U.S. doctorsUBS, Credit Suisse will split payouts for 2019 into two installmentsSouth Korea’s CDC says virus may “reactivate” in cured patients
South Africa Extends Lockdown (3 p.m. NY)
South Africa extended a nationwide lockdown by two weeks to April 30, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised speech. While the nation is at very beginning of a “monumental struggle” against coronavirus, Ramaphosa said evidence shows the lockdown is working. South Africa has 1,934 cases up from 1,845 on Wednesday.
N.J. Expects Peak in 2 to 3 Days (2:30 p.m. NY)
New Jersey expects to reach the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in two to three days, the state’s health commissioner said.
At its high point, the state expects 14,400 residents to be hospitalized from Covid-19 and as many as 1,880 patients in intensive care, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Thursday at a press briefing.
New Jersey has about 7,363 residents hospitalized, and 1,523 in ICU, Governor Phil Murphy reported. He also pointed to signs that social distancing is helping to slow the rate of infection across the state.
Last week, cases in numerous counties were doubling every three days. Murphy on Thursday pointed to a current map showing no counties with that high rate.
Raab Says Too Soon to End U.K. Limits (1:20 p.m. NY)
It’s too soon for the U.K. to relax the lockdown imposed almost three weeks ago that was set to end Monday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a televised briefing.
“Deaths are still rising, and we still haven’t seen the peak of the virus,” he said.
U.K. deaths rose by 881 to bring the total to 7,978. Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned he expects the number of deaths to increase for “a few weeks.”
Raab, in charge of the government while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in critical care with the virus, said the premier is still in intensive care and is making progress: “He’s in good spirits.”
Italy’s Deaths, Cases Rise (12:15 p.m. NY)
Italy reported a higher number of new coronavirus cases and deaths as the government considers extending a national lockdown.
Civil protection authorities reported 4,204 new cases, up from 3,836 a day earlier. Italy registered 610 deaths in the past 24 hours, compared with 542 the day before. Total fatalities reached 18,279.
The country’s decision to ramp up testing is probably behind the recent pickup, as more previously unreported cases are discovered. Italy conducted almost 100,000 in the past two days.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is preparing to extend the national lockdown that ends April 13 for another two weeks, said officials who asked not to be identified discussing a confidential issue.
N.Y. Hospitalizations Drop (12:10 p.m. NY)
New York City reported a record 824 deaths in 24 hours, a grim sign that despite flattening infection curves and lower hospital admissions, the crisis in the largest U.S. city is far from over.
Statewide, the rate worsened with 799 new deaths on Thursday, 779 the previous day and 731 the day before that. The city and state take snapshots at different times during the day, which may account for the discrepancy in reporting.
At his daily briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported only 200 net new hospitalizations over 24 hours, the lowest number since the crisis broke out. That number had been as high as 1,400. But Cuomo is urging people to keep social distancing practices in place and keep the progress going.
Turkey Aids Israel With Medical Gear (11:30 a.m. NY)
Turkey approved the sale of medical equipment on humanitarian grounds to Israel, including face masks, protective overalls and sterile gloves. Israel is expected to allow a similar shipment of Turkish aid to reach Palestinian authorities without delay, according to a senior Turkish official in Ankara.
Three planes from Israel are expected Thursday at an air base near Incirlik to pick the cargo, said the official, who asked not to be named discussing the sensitive issue. Turkey will donate medical aid for the Palestinians within the next few days, the official said.
Israeli authorities weren’t immediately available for comment on Thursday, which is a public holiday in the country.
Africa Has Chance to Contain Outbreak: WHO (10:40 a.m. NY)
Much of the African continent still has a chance to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said at its weekly Africa briefing. While a few African countries are experiencing a rapid increase in local transmissions, more than 30 nations can still prevent a larger outbreak by testing, contact tracing and isolating patients, the WHO said.
Merkel Says Tighter Measures Likely Unnecessary (9:56 a.m. NY)
Tighter measures to contain the coronavirus in Germany probably won’t be necessary as the slowing spread of the disease gives grounds for “cautious hope,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.
GE Sees Cash Flow Keeping Pace Despite Hit to Earnings (9:28 a.m. NY)
General Electric Co. said its first-quarter cash flow will be in line with expectations even as the outbreak brings profit “materially below” its prior projection. GE withdrew its forecast for the full year.
Canada’s Curve May Be Flattening (9:17 a.m. NY)
Three weeks after the governments of Canada’s three most populous provinces told their 28.4 million residents to stay home, the measures appear to be working. The provinces, which have three-quarters of Canada’s people, have recorded just 1.2 deaths from Covid-19 per 100,000 residents. That compares with 32 for New York, 10 for Michigan and 6 for Washington.
Canada’s coronavirus case count has been increasing slower than most countries, said Theresa Tam, the nation’s chief public health officer. The number doubles every three to five days. The government expects between 22,580 to 31,850 cases by April 16, which could mean 500 to 700 total deaths, Tam said.
Morgan Stanley’s CEO Says He Had Virus, Now Recovered (9:10 a.m. NY)
Gorman told staff he contracted coronavirus and has since recovered. He had flu-like symptoms last month and tested positive, he said in a message to the bank’s employees. Gorman was never hospitalized, self-isolated in his home and has been cleared by his doctor.
Fed Announces Plan for Muni, Business Aid; Jobless Claims (8:43 a.m. NY)
The steps announced include starting programs to aid small and mid-sized businesses, as well as state and local governments.
A total of 6.61 million Americans filed jobless claims in the week ended April 4, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. That exceeded a median forecast of 5.5 million.
Deaths in Sweden Increase Amid Relatively Relaxed Stance (8:41 a.m. NY)
Sweden reported 106 more virus-related deaths on Thursday, taking the total to 793, on par with the daily gains reported in the past week. The Nordic country is under scrutiny as it continues to experiment with a laxer policy response compared with the rest of Europe. Restaurants, shopping centers and primary schools all remain open in Scandinavia’s biggest economy. Deaths in Sweden continue to outpace its Nordic neighbors, which implemented stricter measures to curb the spread early on, and are now discussing how to lift them.
U.S. Virus Fatalities Looking More Like 60,000, Fauci Says (8:10 a.m. NY)
“I believe we are going to see a downturn” and projections look “more like the 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000,” National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Anthony Fauci said in response to an NBC interview question about virus fatality models. Fauci said he thinks the U.S. is starting to see a flattening of the curve in New York. “I don’t want to jump the gun on that but I think that is the case,” he said.
Pfizer to Develop Vaccine by Year-End (8 a.m. NY)
Pfizer and BioNTech said they will jointly develop a vaccine for Covid-19, potentially supplying millions of doses by the end of 2020. The two companies plan to jointly conduct the first clinical trials as early as the end of April, assuming regulatory clearance. Clinical trials for the vaccine candidates will initially be in the U.S. and Europe across multiple sites.
Earlier, IBio jumped 25% in pre-market trading after reaching an agreement with the Infectious Disease Research Institute to support development of a vaccine for Covid-19. And Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding got an FDA “may proceed” letter to begin a Phase 2 trial of intranasal vazegepant to treat lung inflammation after COVID-19 infection.
U.K. PM Johnson Continues to Improve (7:58 a.m. NY)
“The prime minister had a good night and continues to improve in intensive care in St Thomas’ Hospital,” Boris Johnson’s spokesman James Slack told reporters. Johnson is “receiving standard oxygen treatment,” Slack said. U.K. officials are drawing up plans to extend the lockdown and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee at 3:30 p.m.
World Hunger Could Double (7:56 a.m. NY)
The number of people going hungry around the world could double in just a few months as the pandemic wreaks havoc on food supplies and hurts incomes, according to a group of major food companies, industry bodies and academics. The number of those suffering from chronic hunger may surge from about 800 million.
Charity group Oxfam had earlier warned the economic hit from coronavirus threatens to put more than half a billion people into poverty unless countries take action to cushion the blow.
Netherlands Reports Slowest Hospital Intake (7:50 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands recorded 237 new hospital intakes, a 3% increase and marking the lowest daily gain since the outbreak began. Confirmed cases rose 6% to 21,762, while fatalities advanced 7% to a total of 2,396.
London Delays Pollution Controls for Trucks (7:40 a.m. NY)
London delayed the start of stricter pollution controls for trucks in the capital, because the pandemic has put too much pressure on supply chains. New minimum standards for freight are due to come into force in October with fines of as much as 550 pounds ($683) per day. Enforcement will be delayed for at least four months, Transport for London said. It’s already suspended other pollution and congestion charges for cars and van, to ensure deliveries can take place and for key workers to travel.
Irish Unemployment Soars (7:20 a.m. NY)
Irish unemployment may have risen to its highest level since 1988, in the latest sign of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. Unemployment rose to 16.5% last month if it is adjusted to include people receiving government support because of the coronavirus crisis, the Central Statistics Office said in a statement. The adjusted rate “should be considered as the upper bound for the true rate of unemployment,” it said.
U.S. Poised to Pass Italy With Deadliest Outbreak (7:07 a.m. NY)
The U.S. is on track for a grim milestone in the coming days — passing Italy as the world’s epicenter of Covid-19 mortality. Deaths from the virus were at about 14,800 in the U.S. as of Thursday morning and still accelerating, while Italy had more than 17,600 fatalities and the pace was beginning to slow, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The U.S. has logged about 2,000 deaths each of the past two days, while in Italy, the number has hovered around 550 daily deaths.
German Study Finds Virus in 15% of Hard-Hit Town (6 a.m. NY)
The coronavirus probably infected 15% of people in Gangelt, a small town in the hard-hit rural German region of Heinsberg, researchers said in preliminary results after using antibody tests to sample a random portion of the population. On that basis, the case mortality rate in the town so far would be 0.37%, less than one-fifth of the mortality rate based on confirmed positive tests in Germany as a whole, the researchers said.
The difference is because the antibody test picked up mild cases of the virus that had previously gone unnoticed. The researchers didn’t disclose how many lab-confirmed cases of the virus had previously been found in the 12,500-person town. In the Heinsberg region as a whole, less than 1% of the population has tested positive for the virus, and 44 patients have died, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
Infections and Deaths in Spain Slow (6 a.m. NY)
Spain reported fewer coronavirus deaths and new cases on Thursday in Europe’s second-most deadly outbreak of the disease. There were 5,756 new infections in the 24 hours through Thursday, pushing the total above 150,000, according to Health Ministry data. The death toll rose by 683 to 15,238, a smaller gain than Wednesday’s 757.
Iran also reported a decline in cases and fatalities. The health ministry reported 1,634 new cases, down from 1,997, and 117 deaths, down from 121. That brings the country’s total to 66,220 cases and 4,110 fatalities.
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