India cases reach 5m, Trump’s vaccine claim: Virus Update

India cases reach 5m, Trump’s vaccine claim: Virus Update

Community health volunteers check the temperature of a girl at a slum area during a checkup campaign for the Covid-19 disease in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)
Community health volunteers check the temperature of a girl at a slum area during a checkup campaign for the Covid-19 disease in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

India added over 90,000 new coronavirus cases to reach a total of more than 5 million confirmed infections, lagging behind only the US in global tally.

A Pfizer Inc vaccine trial showed promising safety signs after more than 12,000 people received their second of two doses. President Donald Trump said a coronavirus vaccine may be ready within four weeks.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. sent some Manhattan traders home after an employee tested positive, highlighting the challenges of New York City’s reopening.

German cases rise most in eight days

The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 1,792, the most in eight days, as the infection rate hovered around the key threshold of 1.0 for the fifth day.

There were 1,792 new cases in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total to 265,014 according to data from from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 1,485 the previous day, and with daily growth rates of above 1,000 throughout the past week. Fatalities increased by 11 to 9,367. The number of deaths is the highest in almost two weeks.

The reproduction factor of the virus, known as R-naught, fell to 1.04 on Tuesday from 1.18 the day before, according to the latest estimate from the Robert Koch Institute. This means that 100 infected people will probably infect 104 others. Most new infections are happening in the context of family reunions, according to the health institute, and the proportion of travel returnees among the cases is decreasing.

$2.6tn bond binge

The coronavirus pandemic has fuelled a rush to lock in cash, with companies globally selling the most debt ever in 2020. Firms have sold $2.61 trillion of notes so far this year across all currencies, surpassing previous full-year records, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Corporate bond-buying programmes by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks eased access for companies to raise funds in the capital markets.

India cases surge

India’s virus cases reached the 5-million mark with the addition of more than 90,000 new cases.

The virus has been spreading in India at one of the fastest paces in the world. India has the third-highest death toll from Covid-19, trailing the US and Brazil.The real number of infected and dead in India from Covid-19 is likely far higher than the official numbers, due to under-reporting and inadequate testing.

A nationwide serological survey released last week suggested that more than six million people were infected as early as May.India’s strict lockdown, implemented in late March to contain the outbreak, led to the biggest contraction among major economies with gross domestic product shrinking 23.9% in the three months to June from a year earlier.

India’s GDP is projected by the Asian Development Bank to shrink 9% this year, the most among major Asian economies.

Trump: Vaccine may be due in four weeks

President Trump again raised hopes — and concern — about swift US approval for a coronavirus vaccine, saying at a town hall event hosted by ABC News that the shot could be ready within four weeks.

"The previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine, because of the FDA and all the approvals," Mr Trump said. "We’re withing weeks of getting it. You know, could be three weeks, four weeks.”

New Zealand sees longer Impact

New Zealand’s economy will endure a shallower recession than previously expected but the coronavirus pandemic will have a longer impact on the country’s finances, according to government projections. On Wednesday, the government projected larger budget deficits in the near term and higher net debt than forecast in the budget.

Singapore to pay citizens for keeping healthy

Apple Inc and the Singapore government have partnered on a two-year health initiative dubbed LumiHealth, which is built around tracking and rewarding user behaviour through the Apple Watch gadget and an iPhone app.

As part of the plan, Singapore residents will be able to earn as much as S$380 ($280) by completing goals and tasks set within the app. Goals can be accomplished by walking or doing other exercises like swimming or yoga, and the LumiHealth app will offer personalized coaching and reminders for health screenings and immunisations.

FDA releases test data

The US Food and Drug Administration released performance data late Tuesday for a slew of Covid-19 diagnostic tests, in an effort to help doctors, labs and patients evaluate competing products.

There are more than 100 tests on the market for Covid-19. Since the early days of the pandemic, when tests were in short supply in the US, companies have rushed to fill the gap with a range of screening options.

Positivity rates down in US hot spots

US areas that were hard hit by the virus over the summer showed improving test-positivity rates, indicating slower community spread. In California, home of the most American cases, the 14-day average rate of positive tests fell to 3.6%, the lowest in state health data going back to April.

Texas’s positive-test rate dropped for a ninth straight day after an overhaul of the methodology by state health officials. The figure dipped to 6.79%, the lowest since June 9, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The previous day’s number was revised up to 6.87%.

Florida’s new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time rose to 4.2% for Monday, from 3.9% on Sunday. Still, it was under 5% for the fourth straight day.

US minority children die at Greater Rate (6 a.m. HK)

The coronavirus is disproportionately killing minority children in the U.S., especially those with other underlying health conditions, according to a federal report that shows how devastation from Covid-19 among Black and Hispanic adults has carried down to their offspring.

Children are much less likely than adults to contract coronavirus or fall seriously ill because of the infection, health records show, though vulnerability varies based on demographics.

Of around 190,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the US, 121 of those who died by July 31 were under the age of 21, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three out of four were of Hispanic, Black, American Indian or Alaskan descent, the agency said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

US cases rise 0.7%

Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% compared with the same time Monday to 6.59 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 195,275.

Florida reported 668,846 cases, up 0.5% from a day earlier, compared with an average 0.4% increase in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 12,787, an increase of 1.1%, or 145.

California reported 2,235 new virus cases, a 0.3% increase and less than the 14-day average of 3,730. The state reported 66 additional deaths from Covid-19, bringing the total to 14,451.

Alabama experienced a 10% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 153,551, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.

Pfizer trial free of major safety issues so far

Researchers monitoring Pfizer Inc’s giant trial of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine have reported no safety problems even after more than 12,000 people received their second of two doses.

The trial, now targeted at enrolling 44,000 people, has reached its initial goal of 30,000 subjects, Pfizer executives said. The trial is comparing two shots of the vaccine Pfizer is co-developing with Germany’s BioNTech SE to two doses of a placebo.

AstraZeneca resumes vaccine tests in South Africa

AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford have restarted testing an experimental Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, according to a researcher overseeing the trial, but tests remain on hold in the US after studies were halted due to concerns about a participant who became ill.

The trial in South Africa resumed Tuesday, according to Shabir Madhi, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand who is leading the study. The move follows a recommendation in the U.K. to resume tests.

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