N.J. Sees Peak in Three Days; Johnson Out of ICU: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
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N.J. Sees Peak in Three Days; Johnson Out of ICU: Virus Update
N.J. Sees Peak in Three Days; Johnson Out of ICU: Virus Update

(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.

Key Developments:

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

Rhode Island Surge; Michigan Deaths Top 1,000 (4:21 p.m. NY)

A surge in Rhode Island helped push U.S. coronavirus cases higher Thursday, with infections growing by double-digit percentages in a dozen states.

U.S. cases rose 7.5% to 451,491, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s below the average 10% daily increase over the week.

In New York -- the hardest-hit state -- deaths reached a new high while hospitalizations fell to their lowest level since the crisis started. It reported 799 dead and 200 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours. New cases in the state rose 7.1% to 159,937, eclipsing the numbers in Italy and Spain.

New Jersey cases rose 7.6% to 51,027, the fifth-straight day of increases of 10% or less. The state, which has the second-highest number of infections, expects to reach the peak of the outbreak in two to three days.

Elsewhere:

Rhode Island had the biggest daily increase, with cases rising 41%, to 1,727California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had a decrease in the number of people with the virus in intensive care units -- 1,132, a 1.9% drop from Wednesday. Newsom asked residents not to interpret the positive news as a trend.Michigan, the state with the third-highest number of cases, hit a grim milestone, with deaths jumping more than 100 to surpass 1,000 in total. Cases increased 5.7% to 21,504.

French President Meets Malaria Drug Backer (4:21 p.m. NY)

French President Emmanuel Macron flew to Marseille to meet with Didier Raoult, the doctor and researcher who put hydroxychloroquine on the map as a Covid-19 treatment. He stayed at the hospital Raoult heads for more than three hours and was shown the team’s latest research.

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.

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