CORONAVIRUS ALERT 06/22/2020
The Atlantic Council’s Coronavirus Alert is a regular summary of policy, economic, and business events around the emergency. To stay updated, sign up to the Coronavirus Alert here.
In top stories today:
- Brazil, India, and the United States contributed to a global record one-day increase in coronavirus cases, now approaching nine million worldwide, while South Korea said that it’s contending with a second wave of the virus. Overdue talks between China and the European Union (EU) may be frosty in tone after relations deteriorated.
- The statistics say… there are now approaching nine million cases worldwide in 188 countries and territories; almost 470,000 people have died.
- Brazil, India, and the United States led the biggest global one-day increase in coronavirus cases on June 21, with more than 183,000 cases worldwide, CNBC said, citing the World Health Organization (WHO). Brazil’s 55,000 cases that day were partly due to a lag in reporting from Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo states, followed by 36,000 in the United States and 15,000 in India, CNBC added. The R rate, referring to the number of people an infected person goes on to infect, jumped to 2.88 in Germany following localized outbreaks including at an abattoir, CNBC reported.
- Scores of people in India have been denied critical care, dying in the back of ambulances or in the streets as the country’s underfunded health system starts to buckle during the coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reported. Hospitals are turning away people in dire need, especially in New Delhi, the newspaper said.
- QUOTE: “Could a rise in new infections force advanced economies to re-impose lockdowns that are so harsh and widespread that they would shatter confidence and disrupt the nascent economic rebound?” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, said in a June 22 note, CNBC reported. “Four months after the virus started to hit Europe badly, that remains the key risk to watch for the economic outlook as well as for financial markets.”
- South Korea is contending with a second wave of coronavirus cases around the capital Seoul, health officials there said for the first time on June 22, Reuters reported. That’s led by small but persistent outbreaks of the virus following a holiday in May, the newswire added.
- QUOTE: “In the metropolitan area, we believe that the first wave was from March to April as well as February to March,” said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reported. “Then we see that the second wave which was triggered by the May holiday has been going on.”
- Talks between China and senior EU leaders first scheduled for March and delayed by coronavirus will be “touched by frost” on June 22, with no joint statement expected from the likely tense discussion, the Financial Times reported. Relations have worsened, damping hopes of much progress especially on economic relations, the newspaper said.
- China suspended imports of poultry from a US plant hit by coronavirus in Springdale, Arkansas owned by meat processor Tyson, CNBC reported. China stopped importing pork products last week from a Toennies abattoir in Germany following an outbreak among hundreds of workers there, CNBC added.
- French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to the Netherlands on June 23 to try to win support from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the EU 750 billion euro coronavirus aid program, Reuters reported. Macron wants to see the package approved at an EU summit in July, Reuters said. Rutte and others have opposed a plan whereby the EU raises debt and transfers money to the member countries whose economies have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, the newswire added.
- Lower-income UK households are twice as likely to have taken on debt than their better-off counterparts during the coronavirus crisis—and most commonly by using expensive credit cards, Bloomberg reported, citing a June 22 report by the Resolution Foundation think tank. Those working in shut-down sectors of the economy had an average of £1,900 savings compared with £4,700 held by those able to work from home during the pandemic, the newswire said.
- The eastern wing of the EU performed better than its western neighbors in containing coronavirus but the economic impact will prove harder to avoid, Bloomberg reported. Eastern Europe faces the worst recession since the fall of communism, the newswire added.
- QUOTE: “We are filling the stockpile [of medical equipment] in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall,” Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, told CNN, The New York Times reported. “We’re doing everything we can.”
- Covering industrial production, manufacturing and services, consumer confidence, and unemployment, CNBC publishes four charts showing the effect of coronavirus on India’s economy. India is among the worst-hit countries, with more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus reported since January, CNBC said.
DASH FOR CASH
- Coronavirus has prompted several firms to sell big stakes in other companies as they prioritized cash generation, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from Dealogic. Examples include PNC Financial Services selling a stake of more than $13 billion in BlackRock, while Sanofi disposed of its whole one-fifth holding in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, generating $11.7 billion, the newspaper said.
- QUOTE: “The Covid crisis has required strong and prompt action by central banks consistent with their mandates,” Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, wrote on Bloomberg. “But the financial system mustn’t become reliant on these extraordinary levels of reserves.”
- READ MORE: Now the World Trade Organization may be confronting a true existential threat brought on by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration, even at a moment when COVID-19 has severely limited its activities and its Director General Roberto Azevedo announced his departure a year before the end of his term, writes the Atlantic Council’s Mark Linscott.
- Scientists in Thailand gave a second dose of an experimental vaccine to thirteen monkeys on June 22, looking for another positive response that will allow human trials as soon as October, Reuters reported. It’s one of at least one hundred contender vaccines worldwide as the world reels from the pandemic’s impact, the newswire said.
- Sri Trang Gloves, owned by Bangkok- and Singapore-listed Sri Trang Group, aims to sell shares to investors and raise $484 million to capitalize on increasing demand for its products because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Financial Times reported.
- Three prominent medical journals withdrew papers in the space of one week in June over data concerns, showing the dangers of rushing to publish in response to coronavirus, the Financial Times reported. The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet retracted reports on trials of hydroxychloroquine while Annals of Internal Medicine withdrew a study into face masks, the newspaper said.
PINT IN PERIL?
- “Sidling up to the bar for a pint may be history.” That’s how The Washington Post describes efforts by UK pubs to reinvent themselves and stay in business. The article focuses on London’s The Eagle, a once dark Victorian tavern that became a bustling so-called gastropub, but landlord Michael Belben fears The Eagle, and a very British tradition, may face extinction, the Post added.
- Cases of coronavirus are accelerating in South Sudan, an African nation with more military generals than doctors, where civil war and corruption have hollowed out the health system, The Associated Press reported. There’s no way of knowing if the country’s 1,900 cases, including in excess of fifty medical workers, and more than thirty deaths is an accurate tally, the United Nations said, the news service added.
- READ MORE: African nations urgently need “fiscal space” so they can cope with the enormous economic demands unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said during an Atlantic Council Front Page event on June 18.
- QUOTE: “I barely have anything to eat at home,” said Clara Arango, a single mother of two who lost her job as a janitor when her employer closed his shopping mall in Lima’s wealthiest neighborhood because of the coronavirus shutdown, The Associated Press reported. Now, she has participated in a recent Peruvian phenomenon and has joined with neighbors to feed others every day. “Here I have a community pot and I can pool my resources with my neighbors and we can support each other and work together.”
- Croatian tennis player Borna Coric became the second player to test positive for coronavirus after taking part in an exhibition event in Croatia, The Associated Press reported. Coric was among dozens of people tested after Grigor Dimitrov, his opponent in a June 20 match, announced he had tested positive for the virus, the news service said. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who was scheduled to play in the final, flew to Belgrade to get tested, The Associated Press reported.
- Johns Hopkins University interactive web-based dashboard to visualize and track reported cases in real-time.
- CDC provides frequent updates and background information on coronavirus and interim guidance on company policies.
- The World Health Organization daily situation reports.