CORONAVIRUS ALERT 08/07/2020
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Coronavirus cases exceeded two million in India, where community volunteers quit, saying they can’t respond to infections in rural areas. Signs emerged that the spread of the virus may be slowing in the United States, while Latin America’s economy faces a long recovery from the pandemic.
In top stories today:
- The statistics say… there are now more than 19.1 million cases worldwide in 188 countries and territories; in excess of 715,000 people have died.
- Coronavirus cases topped two million in India and the death toll now surpasses 41,000, CNBC reported. The country, the world’s second-most populous, has launched two of the eighteen or so vaccine contenders worldwide into human trials, CNBC said. Zydus Cadila said on August 6 that it had completed phase one trials of its DNA-based vaccine, the news outlet added. Community health volunteers went on strike, saying they’re poorly equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas, The Associated Press reported.
- The US death toll from coronavirus exceeded 160,000, as signs emerged that the spread of the virus is slowing in parts of the country, The Wall Street Journal reported. Almost 300,000 Americans could be dead from the disease by December 1, but 70,000 of those lives could be spared if people adhere closely to requirements on wearing masks, health experts at the University of Washington forecast on August 6, Reuters reported.
- QUOTE: “Our ICUs have been full for weeks,” LouAnn Woodward, a vice chancellor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said on August 6, The Washington Post reported. “It’s a very acute issue we’re facing here.”
- The statistics say… The seven-day average of new cases has risen faster in seven states than the two-week average as of August 5—compared with thirty-eight states a month earlier, reflecting a decline in new cases in large areas of the United States—The Wall Street Journal reported.
- “Muddy Virus Data Causes Some U.S. States to Undercount Cases” reads a Bloomberg headline. California, Florida and Texas have hit snags in their virus reporting efforts, the newswire said.
- QUOTE: “We’re trying to walk this tightrope of keeping as much business open as possible without letting this thing explode,” said Carl Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Bloomberg reported. “We need data that’s both accurate and timely.”
- Talks in Washington, DC about a renewal of coronavirus economic stimulus measures were on the verge of collapse despite a marathon night-time meeting between the two sides in the Capitol, The Associated Press reported. Points of disagreement include aid to states and local governments and the renewal of extra unemployment benefits, the news service cited Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying.
- The Philippines defended its handling of the coronavirus outbreak there as it overtook Indonesia to record the most cases in Southeast Asia, Reuters reported, citing presidential spokesman Harry Roque. Meanwhile Hong Kong will offer free testing to all residents, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, as the financial hub tries to contain a reemergence of the virus in the past month, the newswire also reported.
- The Bank of England’s August 6 assessment of the UK economy’s prospects in coming months? Analysts and investors say it’s surprisingly upbeat, Bloomberg reported. The analysts see mounting risks that will lead to another round of stimulus measures, due to more coronavirus cases, a messy Brexit, and the central bank’s own prediction of a lengthy recovery after an initial bounce, as the newswire puts it.
- UK finance minister Rishi Sunak faces fresh pressure to avoid a wave of job losses in the fall as he visits Scotland, the Financial Times reported. But extending the furlough program, which still supports 3.5 million workers from its peak of 7.5 million, would give some people false hope that they would have a job to return to after the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters cited Sunak as saying on BBC Radio Scotland.
- US payrolls increased by 1.76 million in July, compared with economists’ estimates of a 1.48 million gain, a sign that the nation’s economic rebound is still gaining ground despite a spike in new infections, Bloomberg reported.
- Hopes for a speedy economic recovery in Germany held as industrial output increased by 8.9 percent in June, following figures on August 6 showing that factory orders are rising, Bloomberg reported. That suggests Europe’s biggest economy may rebound more quickly than its neighbors after a record slump in the second quarter caused by coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions, the newswire said.
- QUOTE: “Having been led initially by domestic consumer spending on goods, the recovery is gradually broadening out to early stages of production and from domestic to foreign demand,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, Bloomberg reported. “In the absence of a major accident, Germany can recoup at least half the second-quarter drop in GDP in the third quarter already.”
- Chinese exports rose by 7.2 percent in July compared with the year-earlier period, a sign that the global economy may be reviving, the BBC reported. Economists surveyed by newswires Reuters and Bloomberg had expected a slight decline, the broadcaster added. That was the second month exports increased, with the July figures buoyed by personal protective equipment and electronic products to meet work-from-home demand, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- With fewer places and opportunities to see and be seen amid coronavirus restrictions, the luxury goods industry is suffering, CNBC reported. The global industry will contract by 35 percent this year compared with 2019, according to a forecast by consultancy firm McKinsey, CNBC added.
- QUOTE: “Dressing up, buying new clothes, and following fashions is incredibly dependent on social activities such as going to work, going out, having parties, and simply being seen by others,” Vicky Bullen, CEO of branding consultancy Coley Porter Bell, said by email, CNBC reported. “If you’re not seeing anyone, what’s the point?”
- US brands, Nike and Tesla among them, have suffered little fallout from consumers in China despite rising political tensions between Washington and Beijing, The Wall Street Journal reported. The rebound in consumer demand in China helped companies including sneaker company Sketchers USA salvage what was otherwise a tough three months through June, the Journal said.
- Sales at ride-hailing business Uber fell 29 percent to $2.2 billion in the second quarter as people stayed home more during the pandemic, The New York Times reported. But its Uber Eats food-delivery service fared better, with sales more than doubling to $1.2 billion from a year ago, the Times added. Delivery represents “a very high-potential opportunity,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, told investors on an August 6 call, it reported.
- “COVID-19 Derails Latin America’s Bid for Middle-Class Prosperity” reads a Wall Street Journal headline. Economists predict that it will take the region until about 2023 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the slowest rebound of any emerging-market region, the newspaper said.
- QUOTE: “We’ve had absolutely no income,” said Jhon Castañeda, age twenty-nine, who employed ten people in his furniture-making business in a neighborhood of Lima, Peru, that’s become a manufacturing hub helping thousands escape poverty, the Journal reported. The business is now on the verge of closing. “We’ve had to survive on our savings, and now that money is gone.”
- It’s possible that the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine before the November 3 election, President Donald J. Trump said on August 6, in what’s a more optimistic timeline than his White House health experts, Reuters reported. Meanwhile the US government will pay Johnson & Johnson more than $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential vaccine, the newswire said separately. And Japan will soon reach a deal for more than 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca, Reuters cited Kyodo news agency as saying on August 7.
- France’s contact-tracing app will not be included in a coordinated approach across the European Union to share information about infections, the Financial Times reported. While most European nations have adopted a standard that Apple and Google have created, Paris snubbed it, the newspaper said.
- “Russia’s race for virus vaccine raises concerns in the West” That’s an Associated Press headline. Concerns range from a lack of published scientific evidence to the prospect that Russian scientists are cutting corners with a lack of rigorous testing, the news service said, citing public health experts and scientists. A vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute in Moscow may be approved in days, according to Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund that financed the effort, The Associated Press reported.
- UK finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government will not hesitate to add further countries to the country’s quarantine list, as infections in France increased by more than 1,600 for a second day, Sky News reported. The United Kingdom said on August 6 that arrivals from Belgium, Andorra, and the Bahamas arriving after 4 am on August 8 need to self-quarantine for fourteen days, Sky added. The government also advised against non-essential travel to those destinations, the news service said.
- South Korea will allow travelers from Hubei province in China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, to enter the country from August 10, a first since February, the BBC reported.
- The US State Department warned citizens against travel to neighboring Mexico despite easing a global ban on travel, citing the rapid spread of coronavirus, as well as rampant crime and kidnapping, Reuters reported.
- About 250,000 people from across the United States are expected to converge on Sturgis, a community of about 7,000 in South Dakota, on August 7 for one of the world’s biggest motorcycle rallies, The Washington Post reported. The mayor of Sturgis said on CNN that they can’t stop people from coming, only encourage personal responsibility, set up sanitation stations and give out masks, although wearing one won’t be compulsory, the Post added.
- READ MORE: “Belarusians go to the polls in a presidential vote that is being billed as the biggest challenge to President Lukashenko for twenty-six years,” writes Nicolai Khalezin, the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Belarus Free Theatre and Co-Director of the Creative Politics Hub. “Will the international community back the country’s democratic opposition?”
- READ MORE: Avoiding its ninth default, Argentina has reached a key debt deal amid the COVID-19 downturn, opening avenues for renewed confidence in the government’s ability to continue to safeguard the economy while establishing a necessary long-term macroeconomic plan for Argentina. Read the reactions of Atlantic Council experts here.
- 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.