(Bloomberg) — The pandemic could remove four years of growth from the global economy and push 130 million to extreme poverty, a U.N. study said. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy faces unprecedented risks that could do lasting damage. New York City took a first step toward opening schools in September by sending pre-school invitations out to parents.
The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Americans will probably get its Covid-19 vaccine before the rest of the world if it can successfully deliver one. Abbott’s rapid test, used at the White House and other prominent locations, may miss as many as half of positive cases, according to an NYU report. The company disputed the findings.
China is sealing off cities in a province that borders North Korea amid a growing cluster of cases. Hong Kong’s 23-day streak without a case of local transmission ended, and Germany aims to fully reopen borders with European nations by June 15.
Virus Tracker: Cases top 4.3 million; deaths exceed 295,000Telsa plant that reopened days ago gets nod to open next weekRepublicans debate if Fauci is hero or villain of the virusBolsonaro contends with crisis as Brazil’s death toll risesRestaurants with carryout are beginning to reboundNew Normal for U.S. economy looks awful, long and perilousExperts want to know why the virus hasn’t killed more Russians
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Goldman Sachs Sees Gloomier U.S. Jobs Outlook (4:38 p.m. NY)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists revised their forecasts to reflect a gloomier outlook for the U.S. labor market, though also the potential for a faster recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Analysts David Mericle and Ronnie Walker estimate that the unemployment rate will peak at 25%, up from a previous forecast of 15%, as “more workers will lose their jobs and a larger share of them will be classiﬁed as unemployed,” according to a research note late Tuesday. The rate would then remain near 10% at year-end, near the highs of the last recession, they wrote.
U.S. Cases Rise 1.6% (4 p.m. NY)
U.S. cases rose 1.6% from the day before to 1.38 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was higher than Tuesday’s growth rate of 1.4%, but below the average increase of 1.9% over the past week. Deaths rose 1.8% to 83,249.
Florida reported 42,402 cases on Wednesday, up 1.1% from a day earlier, according to the state’s health department. That was under the 1.6% average increase of the past week. Deaths rose 2.7% to 1,827.New York reported 166 deaths, keeping daily fatalities under 200 for a third day, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The state also added 2,176 cases, for a total of 340,661.California cases rose 2.5% to 71,141 while deaths increased 3.1% to 2,934, according to the state’s website.Texas cases climbed 3.3%, above the 3% average of the past week, to a total of 42,403.
Ex-Glaxo Official, General to Lead Vaccine Hunt (3:52 p.m. NY)
President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.
Slaoui, 60, and Perna will oversee the initiative known as Operation Warp Speed, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement expected later Wednesday. Slaoui will work on a volunteer basis. The Trump administration project seeks to produce 300 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, hastening development by simultaneously testing many different candidates and beginning production before they’ve completed clinical trials.
Italy Approves $60 Billion Stimulus Package (2:58 p.m. NY)
Italy’s government approved a much-delayed 55 billion-euro ($60 billion) stimulus package to rescue an economy crippled by a two-month nationwide lockdown, promising a boost in liquidity for businesses and aid for families in need.
The new spending includes emergency income measures, extra funding for companies and tax cuts for some 4 billion euros. Non-reimbursable grants for small and medium-sized companies will also be available.
French Deaths at Slowest Pace in Three Days (2:45 p.m. NY)
French virus deaths rose at the slowest pace in three days on Wednesday, with fewer than 100 deaths for the third time in five days at 83. New cases were little changed over the day at 213,664. Hospitalizations fell by 524 to 21,071, the lowest since March 30. Patients in intensive care because of the virus, which health officials consider a key indicator of the pressure on France’s health-care system, fell by 114 to 2,428, about a third of the peak in April.
France has started easing lockdown measures that helped slow the coronavirus outbreak, with many stores reopening after almost eight weeks. The number of people in France who had been infected was estimated to be 2.8 million as of May 11, or 4.4% of the population, according to a study based on modeling published in Science magazine on Wednesday.
“The epidemic remains active and the virus is still circulating,” the ministry said. “We must remain cautious.”
U.K. Aid Claims Top $416 Million on First Day (2:25 p.m. NY)
The U.K. government’s coronavirus aid program for self-employed people received more than 340 million pounds ($416 million) of claims in its first morning of operation. Some 110,000 people had applied for the cash grants by noon on Wednesday, Jim Harra, chief executive officer of the U.K. tax authority, told Sky News in an interview.
“They are all eligible claimants” who should receive payments by May 25, he said. The program, announced in March, allows self-employed workers to claim a one-time grant equivalent to 80% of their average monthly profit for three months.
N.J. Revenue Plunges Ahead of Reopening (2:04 p.m NY)
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the first steps for reopening the state as it saw April revenue plummet 60% from a year ago, a reminder of the financial toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Retail businesses will be allowed to offer curbside pickup starting May 18, and restrictions will lift on non-essential construction work, Murphy said Wednesday at a news briefing. Customers won’t be permitted inside non-essential stores. “They will have to continue placing orders in advance,” Murphy said.
New Jersey lost an unprecedented $3.5 billion of revenue in April. The data, from state officials, are the first full monthly tally since Murphy closed businesses, workplaces and government services on March 21.
N.Y. Probes Illness in Kids (1:40 p.m. NY)
New York state is investigating 102 reported cases of an inflammatory disease in young children that’s thought to be related to the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, after a 5 year-old boy in New York City, a 7 year-old boy in Westchester County, and an 18 year-old girl in Suffolk County died.
The disease causes inflammation of the blood vessels and can affect the heart, he said. Of the cases being investigated, the children showed symptoms of an inflammatory disease like the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome, he said. At the request of the CDC, the state is helping to develop the criteria for identifying and responding to the illness; 14 other states and five European countries have reported cases.
About 60% of the children displaying the symptoms tested positive for Covid-19 and 40% tested positive for antibodies. Of those, 71% have resulted in ICU admissions, 19% in intubations, and 43% remain hospitalized, Cuomo said.
The state reported its first rise in new cases in five days after ramping up testing to 33,794 people from 20,463 the day before.
Vaccine Just One Step In Stopping Virus, WHO Warns (1:15 p.m. NY)
The “massive moonshot” of finding a Covid-19 vaccine will be only the first step toward eradicating the disease, a World Health Organization official warned, saying that access must be ensured around the world.
“Science can come up with the vaccine, but someone has got to make it, and we’ve got to make enough of it that everyone can get a dose of it, and we have got to be able to deliver that, and people have got to want to take that vaccine,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. “Every single one of those steps is fraught with challenges.”
It’s impossible to make promises now about when the virus could be eradicated, Ryan said, noting that resistance to vaccine use has contributed to the spread of diseases, such as measles.
U.S. House Republicans Urge WHO, China Probes (12:50 p.m. NY)
Republicans want a new congressional panel created to monitor coronavirus dollars to also investigate “the actions and inactions” of the World Health Organization, China and the U.S. House of Representatives itself in the early stages of the outbreak.
The demands are included in a list of rules the GOP wants the Democratic-led committee to adopt as safeguards against “partisan political ends,” in a letter delivered just hours before the panel is holds its first hearing Wednesday on how to safely reopen the U.S. economy.
London Subway Trips Slowly Rise (12:48 p.m. NY)
London Underground ridership was up 7.3% from the same time last week, equating to about 5,700 extra journeys, according to transit operators Transport for London, as most people stayed at home or found alternative routes to work after the government recommended avoiding public transport. That was broadly in line with increases in recent weeks, TfL said in an email.
London’s financial district is preparing for office workers to return by proposing to temporarily close some main roads and add one-way pedestrian walkways to give people more space for walking and cycling to avoid trains and buses. Some 520,000 people work in the area, knowns as the City of London.
Italy New Cases Fall (12:07 p.m. NY)
Italy registered the fewest new coronavirus cases in two days on Wednesday, as the government prepared to approve a much-postponed 55 billion-euro ($60 billion) stimulus package for an economy blighted by a nationwide lockdown.
Civil protection authorities reported 888 cases — the least since Monday — compared with 1,402 a day earlier, taking confirmed cases to 222,104. Daily fatalities rose to 195 from 172 on Tuesday, with a total of 31,106 reported since the start of the pandemic in late February.
DC Extends Stay-at-Home Order (11:55 a.m. NY)
Washington DC is extending its stay-at-home order until June 8, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday. She’s said she wants to see a continuous two-week decline in cases before moving forward with re-opening the nation’s capitol.
“Obviously we are not there yet,” Bowser said during a press conference.
The order had been scheduled to expire Friday. The city has had 6,584 confirmed cases of the virus and 350 deaths, according to city data.
EU Working on Economic Recovery Plan (11:45 a.m. NY)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that she’s working on an “ambitious” plan to help economies recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. which would sit alongside the bloc’s regular budget and be funded in part by borrowing on financial markets.
The recovery instrument proposal is still being revised by EU officials, with member states fighting over how it should be funded. Any plan will have to be endorsed by the parliament and national governments.
The plan would see most of the funds spent on public investments and reforms in the countries most deeply affected by the coronovirus lockdown. Von der Leyen stressed that funding would be given only for projects “aligned with European policy” such as on measures to fight climate change and boost digitalization.
Abbott Test May Miss Many Cases (11:26 a.m. NY)
The coronavirus test from Abbott Laboratories used at the White House and other prominent locations to get rapid answers on whether someone is infected may miss as many as half of positive cases, according to a report from New York University. The findings have yet to be confirmed.
An analysis of Abbott’s ID NOW found it missed at least one-third of positive cases detected with a rival test and as many as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs.
Colombia Militarizes Brazil Border (11:20 a.m. NY)
Colombia is increasing its military presence along the border with Brazil to head off the spread of new coronavirus cases as infections and deaths rise in Amazonas province, President Ivan Duque announced.
Leticia, the capital of Amazonas, and which lies close to the border with Brazil and Peru has seen the number of confirmed cases increase including an outbreak in a prison. Brazil is fast emerging as the new global hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, trailing only the U.S. in daily death tolls during some days.
Air Travel to Lag for Years (11:02 a.m. NY)
Demand for air travel will lag behind pre-virus forecasts by about 10% for at least five more years, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Traffic next year will be down between a third and two-fifths from projections made prior to the pandemic, according to IATA, which doesn’t see travel recovering to last year’s levels until 2023 at the earliest. Brian Pearce, the trade group’s chief economist, said he expected a rebound in demand to come about two years after an upturn in GDP, partly due to the increased inconvenience of travel.
Russian Wealth Fund Says Favipiravir Trial ‘Promising’ (9:47 a.m. NY)
Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said clinical trials for an antiviral medicine it backs show it has potential to treat coronavirus patients.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund’s joint venture with ChemRar group has been testing favipiravir at 18 clinics in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Smolensk. Preliminary results are “promising,” indicating that 60% of people who receive the treatment test negative for Covid-19 on the fifth day, Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev said Wednesday.
The fund is seeking to fast-track the drug’s approval in Russia. The country passed Spain with the second-most cases in the world Tuesday, and has averaged over 10,000 new diagnoses a day for the past 11 days. Confirmed cases rose by 10,028 over the past day to 242,271, but the pace of increase slowed to 4.3%.
On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman became the latest top official to test positive for the virus.
U.S. to Get Sanofi Covid Vaccine First: CEO (9:11 a.m. NY)
The U.S. was first in line to fund Sanofi’s vaccine research, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said in an interview with Bloomberg News. He warned that Europe risks falling behind unless it steps up efforts to seek protection against the pandemic.
“The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Hudson said. The U.S., which expanded a vaccine partnership with the company in February, expects “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first.”
Powell Says Virus Poses Lasting Harm (9 a.m. NY)
“The recovery may take some time to gather momentum, and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems,” Powell said Wednesday in remarks prepared for a virtual event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.”
Powell pushed back against the prospect the central bank would deploy negative interest rates in the U.S., but didn’t fully rule out the option as a potential tool in the future.
U.S. Sees Rapid Virus Growth in Tanzania (8:41 a.m. NY)
The U.S. warned the virus is spreading rapidly in Tanzania, which has paused the release of official infection data, while Zambia closed its border to the country that serves as a key route for copper exports.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli earlier this month questioned the reliability of test results from the national health laboratory and ordered an investigation, saying the outbreak isn’t as bad as the results suggest. The government hasn’t released an update since April 29.
Vatican Braces for Belt-Tightening (8:36 a.m. NY)
The Vatican is not at risk of default, but faces “difficult years” as the coronavirus dries up donations and other contributions, said the head of its Secretariat for the Economy, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves.
Revenue is expected to fall between 25% and 45% this year, Guerrero told official website Vatican News on Wednesday. In recent years, the Vatican has run a deficit of 60 million euros to 70 million euros as spending outran the roughly 270 million euros it receives from individual Catholics and national churches around the world, he said.
Mexico to Start Reopening Economy on May 18 (8:32 a.m. NY)
Mexico’s auto production, construction and mining will resume activities on May 18, Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said during a press conference on Wednesday. Marquez said close to 300 municipalities that have no virus cases will reopen starting on that date, and those with higher cases will restart at the start of June.
Belgium to Permit Wedding Guests (8:15 a.m. NY)
Belgium will gradually lift restrictions over the coming weeks, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Wednesday after a meeting of the Belgian National Security Council. In Phase 2, starting Monday, museums and some other cultural institutions will be allowed to open, if they restrict access via an online or phone-ticketing service.
Hairdressers and similar services can resume if certain rules are respected. From the same date, up to 30 guests will be allowed to attend a wedding or funeral.
Belgium reported 202 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, down from 330 the prior day and the fewest since mid-March. An additional 82 fatalities brought the death toll in the country of 11.4 million to 8,843.
U.K. Easing Plans May Raise Risks for Chronic Patients (8:11 a.m. NY)
Plans to get people back to work may put about 2.7 million young and middle-aged U.K. adults at higher risk of dying from Covid-19 because of common chronic conditions, according to a study.
More people under the age of 70 with underlying diseases are likely to die, but how many of them do depends on the extent of society’s reopening, according to the study published in the Lancet journal. U.K. deaths above the expected baseline could be from about 18,000 to a worst case of almost 600,000 in a single year, depending on the rate of spread and the virus’s impact on health and care, according to researchers from University College London.
Coronavirus in Kids Is Not Benign, Gottlieb Says (7:35 a.m. NY)
“This condition that kids seem to be getting seems very concerning,” former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NBC. “There was a perception that coronavirus was a largely benign affair in children. That’s not the case.”
He said he was “surprised” CDC isn’t putting out more information about the virus in the U.S. Several states have said Gottlieb was helping to advise them on their approach to reopening and Gottlieb was named by President Donald Trump in April as someone providing guidance on economic revival to the White House.
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