South Africa Moves to Restart J&J; U.S. Cases Rise: Virus Update

Bloomberg News

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Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) —

Covid-19 deaths worldwide exceeded 3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The burden is being increasingly borne by developing nations, including Brazil, Mexico and Peru.

South Africa’s health regulator asked the government to lift the pause on administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines provided certain conditions are met. New Delhi reached a record number of new cases amid increasing strain on the health-care system.

The U.S. recorded the highest number of new infections in a week as cases continue to surge, particularly in the Midwest. Canada reported its second case of clotting after an AstraZeneca dose.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases pass 140.3 million; deaths exceed 3 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 884 million shots given worldwideCovid will leave deep scars in world economy even after recovery Covid survivors may require just one shot of a two-dose vaccineRelapse concerns stunt air travel reopeningCovid is much deadlier in Brazil than India and no one knows why

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

Wembley Welcomes Fans in Test (7:32 a.m. HK)


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London’s Wembley Stadium welcomes back soccer fans for the first time in over a year on Sunday, part of trials the U.K. government hopes will enable the restart of mass events that were banned during the pandemic.Four thousand spectators will be allowed to watch the FA Cup semifinal between Leicester City and Southampton — a fraction of the stadium’s 90,000 capacity — to allow scientists to begin examining the risk of virus transmission. It’s one of a series of pilot events over the coming weeks to test how best to reopen larger venues safely.

Brazil Weekly Deaths Slow (7:28 a.m. HK)

New deaths in Brazil fell for the first week since mid-February, with almost 800 fewer fatalities compared with the week before, according to Health Ministry data.

Local governments are easing restrictions on commerce and movement as intensive care admissions have slowed in the two largest cities. On Friday, the vice governor of Sao Paulo, one the hardest-hit states, announced non-essential businesses and services would be allowed resume in the coming days.

Still, another 2,929 fatalities were reported on Saturday, ending a week with 20,344 deaths, almost three times higher than the peak of last summer’s surge. A total of 371,678 people have died in Brazil since the start of the pandemic, the highest toll after the U.S.

In a further sign that the fight with Covid is far from over, the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro announced Saturday it would allocate an additional $268 million to help fight the pandemic, with the majority of the funds dedicated to expanding intensive care centers across the country.


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Philippine Billionaire Hospitalized (6:57 a.m. HK)

Philippine billionaire Lucio Tan has been hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus, his daughter Vivienne Tan said.

The 86-year-old owner of Philippine Airlines Inc. and Philippine National Bank is “in stable condition, responding well and recovering,” his daughter said in a statement.

South Africa Moves to Restart J&J (4:41 p.m. NY)

South Africa’s health regulator asked the government to lift the pause on administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines provided certain conditions are met.

“These conditions include, but are not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder,” the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said in a statement.

South Africa halted J&J vaccines after health agencies on Tuesday called for their suspension in the U.S. The J&J shot is a key element to South Africa’s vaccination plan and has already been used to inoculate health workers, with no reported adverse effects.

Ontario Police Balk at Anti-Covid Rules (3:38 p.m. NY)

Canadian police forces say they will not randomly stop motorists to enforce the province of Ontario’s stay-at-home campaign. On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he had no choice but to impose tough restrictions to curb a sharp rise in infections, including extraordinary powers to stop vehicles and individuals to ask why they aren’t at home.


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But police in Toronto, Waterloo and other cities quickly issued statements saying they won’t do random checks.

Ottawa police said they would be involved with setting up checkpoints on bridges between Ontario and neighboring Quebec to enforce new constraints on travelers from other provinces. People will still be allowed to cross the provincial boundary for work.

California Hospitalizations Dip (2:08 p.m. NY)

The number of people hospitalized in California due to confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases dropped by 41 yesterday to 2,145, according to the health department’s website. There were 453 ICU patients, 23 fewer than the previous day. The state’s seven-day positive test rate was 1.6%, a down from 1.7% a week ago.

Still, deaths climbed by 103 to 59,690, and 2,763 new cases were reported yesterday. California, with a population of around 40 million people, has administered more than 25.1 million Covid vaccines to date.

France Adds Over 36,000 Cases (2 p.m. NY)

France recorded 35,861 new coronavirus cases and 189 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll since the start of the pandemic to 100,593. The country, currently in its third national lockdown, earlier this week surpassed the threshold of 100,000 deaths, a humbling moment for President Emmanuel Macron, who had refused to lock down the country for a third time in January.

France also said Saturday it administered 298,247 vaccine shots in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of shots to almost 17 million, 12.5 million of which are first doses.


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Macron, who is up for re-election next year, is walking a thin line after he pledged to start reopening some cultural venues, open-air restaurants and bars in mid May. Gabriel Attal, the French government spokesman, said Friday the country will stick to a target of reopening schools progressively at the end of April.

Bowdoin Joins Colleges Requiring Vaccination (1:18 p.m. NY)

Bowdoin College in Maine has become the latest U.S. institute of higher education to require a vaccination to return to campus in the fall. “These vaccinations are essential for returning to normal, allowing us to protect ourselves and one another,” college president Clayton Rose wrote in a statement Friday, saying both students and staff would be required to be vaccinated.

Earlier this week Georgetown and American universities, both in Washington, D.C., also announced mandatory vaccinations. They are among more than 30 U.S. colleges and universitities to do so, according to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Canada Reports Second Clot After Astra Shot (12:21 p.m. NY)

The Canadian province of Alberta reported a case of blood clotting after an AstraZeneca vaccine. It is the second clot case in Canada out of total of 700,000 AstraZeneca doses administered, Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer, said in a statement Saturday.

The patient, a male in his 60s, is recovering from treatment, she said.

“I continue to recommend AstraZeneca for anyone who is 55 and older, and to recommend that all Albertans get vaccinated as soon as they are able,” she said. “It is the best way to protect your health and the health of those around you.”


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Hospitalizations Drop for Florida Seniors (12:05 p.m. NY)

Florida’s Covid-19 hospitalizations have dropped significantly among its large elderly population, evidence that vaccinations are taking hold, the Sun Sentinel reported. Admissions among those 70 and older have fallen by 46% since mid-February, the paper reported. At same time, the hospitalization rate for younger people is rising, the paper said.

Florida’s trend is reflected nationally. Those 65 and older made up over half of Covid hospitalizations as vaccinations began in the U.S. in mid-December, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They now make up 30% of hospitalizations, data through April 10 show. Admissions for people between 18 and 49 have risen in that period from 22% of the total to almost 35%.

Pfizer Open to More Japan Doses (9:56 a.m. NY)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla agreed in a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to discuss supplying the country with additional vaccine doses, Kyodo News said Saturday. Suga called Bourla during a visit to the U.S., after becoming the first foreign leader to meet President Joe Biden.

Delhi Hits Record, Hospitals Strained (9:36 a.m. NY)

India’s capital, New Delhi, already the worst-hit city in the South Asian nation, reported a record-high 24,000 new infections Saturday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a daily press briefing. The city is running out of critical health infrastructure, including hospital beds and oxygen as well as supplies of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients, he said.


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India is battling a ferocious second wave, with new cases now topping 200,000 for three consecutive days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet top ministers and government officials to discuss the situation later Saturday.

U.S. Cases Highest in a Week (8 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added just over 80,000 new cases on Friday, the most in a week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The seven-day average has risen for five consecutive weeks; it’s at its highest point since mid-February as infections, particularly in the Midwest, continue to surge. Another 932 people died, the data show.

Covid Claims 3 Million Lives (4:45 a.m. NY)

More than 3 million lives have been lost as a result of the novel coronavirus that emerged in 2019, with the latest 1 million recorded deaths coming even faster than the first two. The relentless pace of death from the global Covid-19 pandemic is continuing unabated despite global vaccination efforts, and is now being increasingly borne by the poorest places in the world.

The real death toll from Covid-19 is likely far higher than 3 million, due to under and patchy reporting around the world.

The latest milestone was reached only about three months since crossing the 2 million mark on Jan. 15. The shortening interval, coupled with the increasing number of new cases worldwide, is dealing a blow to hopes that the end of the pandemic is in sight with the widespread deployment of vaccines.


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Poland’s Third Wave Waning (4:40 a.m. NY)

The third wave of the pandemic is waning in Poland. The country reported 15,763 new cases on Saturday, a 37% decline from the week earlier. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals fell by more than 2,000 from a week ago to 32,073 and is the lowest since April 4.

Total deaths rose to 61,825, with 8,772 deaths reported so far April; 616 were reported today, compared with 749 last Saturday

Australia Links Death to AstraZeneca (12:15 a.m. NY)

The death of a 48-year-old woman in New South Wales was “likely linked” to the AstraZeneca vaccine, though the case was “complicated” by underlying conditions, Australian health officials said Saturday.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt expressed condolences to family of the woman, whose death is the third in Australia as a result of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. She received the inoculation before the government’s April 8 announcement that the Pfizer dose was preferred for people under the age of 50.

“Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe, recommended and effective,” Hunt said in a press conference Saturday, adding that they remain under continuous review by the immunizations task force.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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