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Tokyo Boosts Testing Sixfold, U.S. Battles Surge: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Tokyo is boosting its testing capacity sixfold as flu season begins, while the U.S. is seeing a jump in coronavirus cases in its early deadly centers of New York and New Jersey and a record surge in the Midwest. Mexico is battling to contain a mass outbreak in its Congress, where two lawmakers have died. The Tokyo government is set to increase the daily capacity to about 60,000 tests from 10,200, deploying antigen and PCR tests to lift its readiness by year end, NHK reported. New York reported the most cases since May, while New Jersey’s positive test rate and hospitalizations reached a five-month high. Illinois, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota hit records. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease doctor, predicted it could take until the end of 2021 at least for social life in the U.S. to return to normal even with an effective vaccine. Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases exceed 44.8 million; deaths near 1.18 millionPelosi says she’s awaiting Mnuchin answers to resume aid talksOperation Warp Speed could shape up to be an $18 billion bargainConcerns about virus on food imports are real, experts saySwaths of Mexico lawmakers hit by outbreakVaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart, providing hopeSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.U.S. Landlords Denied Injunction Against Evictions (8:00 a.m. HK)A U.S. federal judge ruled against landlord groups who were seeking to block the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s national moratorium on evictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee in Atlanta on Thursday rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction brought by a nonprofit called the New Civil Liberties Alliance on behalf of a Virginia landlord. The group was joined by the National Apartment Association, which represents some 85,000 landlords responsible for 10 million rental units.Colorado Town Imposes Overnight Curfew (7:36 a.m. HK)Fighting a surge, Pueblo, Colorado, population 112,000, imposed a two-week overnight curfew as the city’s largest hospital grapples with a three-fold increase in Covid-19 patients. No one will be permitted on city streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. starting Friday, Mayor Nick Gradisar said at a news conference. Violators will face penalties up to one-year in jail and a $1,000 fine. “This is a fight for our lives and our livelihoods,” the mayor said. A citywide lockdown could be imposed if the situation doesn’t improve, Gradisar said.Tokyo to Boost Testing Capacity Six Times, NHK Says (6:59 a.m. HK)The Tokyo government is set to boost the daily coronavirus testing capacity to about 60,000 tests from current 10,200 as the flu season begins, NHK reported.The government will deploy antigen tests in addition to PCR tests to boost the capacity by year end.U.K. Hosts Call on Virus Measures (6:25 a.m. HK)U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak hosted a call with the finance ministers of “Five Eyes” nations, which include Australia, Canada and the U.S., Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.The ministers discussed national economic coronavirus support measures and the steps taken to protect and create jobs. The ministers also shared updates on policy responses in place.Merkel Tells EU They Should Have Acted Sooner (4:27 p.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a wake-up call to fellow leaders in the 27-nation European Union by saying they all failed to step in to control the pandemic, according to officials familiar with her comments.Speaking by video conference, Merkel said that political realities stopped them from imposing restrictions earlier, and that they would have to draw lessons from the current situation and act faster in the future, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the meeting is private.Countries in the EU, where more than 210,000 people have died from the disease and nearly 6.5 million have been infected, have begun to impose new lockdowns in an effort to stem the crisis. Germany, the EU’s largest economy, will impose a one-month partial shutdown starting Monday, while France will enter a nationwide lockdown from Friday.South Dakota Breaks Fatality Record (3:55 p.m. NY)South Dakota, one of the states hardest hit as Covid-19 moved to the Midwest, reported 19 deaths, its most since the beginning of the pandemic. New York, with a population of 19.5 million, also reported 19 deaths on Thursday. South Dakota’s population is just under 900,000. The state added another 1,000 cases, for a total 43,000.North Dakota also set a record number of cases, 1,223, since the start of the outbreak, as the capital of Bismarck was beginning its first mask mandate, having followed the cities of Fargo and Minot. The state does not mandate masks or enforce other social distancing rules.New York Nears 2,500 Daily Cases (3:20 p.m. NY)The number of daily positive coronavirus cases in New York continues to rise, nearing the 2,500-mark on Thursday, despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crackdown and optimism.Of the more than 168,000 tests conducted statewide on Wednesday, 1.48%, or 2,499 were positive, the highest it’s been since mid-May. The statewide testing positivity rate was 1.25% without hot spot areas.The number of positive tests in the hotspot areas was 3.24%, including parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and Rockland and Orange Counties. The state also is monitoring increases near the state’s border with Pennsylvania.Daily death totals are also on the rise, with 19 deaths on Wednesday, the highest since June. There were 1,085 hospitalizations.New Jersey Positivity, Hospitalizations at 5-Month Highs (1:54 p.m.)New Jersey’s Covid-19 testing positivity rate and hospitalizations hit their highest since May as Governor Phil Murphy pleaded with residents to help “beat back the second wave.”About 33,000 tests are performed each day in the state. On Sunday, the positivity rate hit 6.54%, highest since May 19, according to the latest state data.“That has become very concerning,” Murphy said. On Wednesday, 1,072 patients were hospitalized, the most since May 30.Death Rate Higher in Wealthy Countries, Study Shows (1:25 p.m. NY)The death rate for Covid-19 is higher in high-income countries, which tend to have older populations, an Imperial College London research team found in a study.Wealthy countries had an estimated infection fatality rate of 1.15%, compared with 0.23% for low-income countries, the team found. The study analyzed 10 surveys of antibody levels within populations, an indicator of the prevalence of the virus.Return to Normal Will Take At Least A Year, Fauci Says (1:16 p.m. NY)Even with an effective vaccine, it could take until the end of 2021 at least for social life in the U.S. to return to normal, Fauci said on a Facebook live event.The earliest a vaccine might be available is the end of December or early January, he said. “I can foresee that even with a really good vaccine mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Midwest Surge at Record (1:11 p.m. NY)The Covid-19 surge in the Midwest rose to a record, led by new highs in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota as the region’s outbreak spread toward both coasts. Iowa joins Wisconsin among Midwest states with bad outbreaks that could be pivotal on Election Day.Surging U.K. Cases Above Average (12:46 p.m. NY)The U.K. reported an above-average number of new deaths and cases, indicating the country’s second surge of the virus continues to rise.The U.K. has so far attempted to control the virus through localized restrictions, but as cases continue to rise some scientists and politicians are calling for national measures, including a two-to-three-week “circuit breaker” lockdown. On Thursday, U.K. moved some areas, including Oxford City, from “medium,” the lowest level of restriction, to “high,” which curbs socializing.Some 280 new deaths within 28 days of a virus test were reported, along with another 23,065 cases.The U.K.’s policy response to coronavirus isn’t succeeding in controlling the disease’s spread, scientists warned, adding pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce another national lockdown.Italy Hits Record Again (12:24 p.m. NY)Italy’s coronavirus cases reached a another daily record on Thursday with new 26,831 cases. More than 200,000 tests were carried out, and 217 deaths related to Covid-19 were reported, bringing the total to 38,122.Patients in intensive care units rose to 1,651. Hospitalizations reached 17,615, compared with the April peak of 29,000.Italy may introduce new restrictions on movement, and create a number of specific red zones in the country as virus cases surge.New Projection Shows Higher U.S. Death Toll (11:59 a.m. NY)The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an influential modeling group, is projecting a higher U.S. death toll amid a surge in virus cases and hospitalizations. The group now projects about 405,000 Covid-19 deaths by Feb. 1, representing a nearly 20,000 increase from a previous projection of about 386,000 deaths.“Europe is seeing a surge right now and Europe is ahead about a month from the United States. So basically we are watching what would unfold here in the United States,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences with IHME, said Thursday morning in a briefing held by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The full data are set to be released later Thursday, he said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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