Houston "On The Precipice Of Disaster" As Officials Weigh Reimposing Stay At Home Order Amid Spike In Cases: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Houston weighs reimposing stay at home order
  • Oregon reports new record jump in cases
  • NJ reports latest daily figures
  • WHO issues another warning on Africa as cases top 200k
  • Phoenix Mayor says city is not recovering from the coronavirus
  • Larry Kudlow plays down second wave
  • NY to allow some regions to reopen indoor dining Friday
  • Italy reports latest batch of encouraging numbers
  • NY reports just 36 deaths, down from 53
  • Florida reports another jump in new cases as Miami bans chokeholds
  • Moderna releases latest vaccine update
  • Regeneron starts human testing of antiviral cocktail
  • Scott Gottlieb explains the problem with Texas' response
  • Epidemiologists warn about threat of 'second wave'
  • Mumbai hospitals overwhelmed
  • Russia cases top 500k
  • Latin America death toll tops 80k
  • US projects nearly 200k COVID deaths by October
  • LA County still seeing ~1,300 new cases a day as reopening continues

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Update (1645ET): As Houston vies for LA and Phoenix to succeed NYC as America's biggest COVID-19 hot spot, the Houston Chronicle reports that health officials may reopen a COVID-19 hospital at a football stadium while officials weigh whether to reimpose a stay at home order. Such a move would undoubtedly rattle stocks, even after Thursday's massive dive. One local official described the situation as placing the city "on the precipice of disaster."

The move to reopen a designated COVID-19 hospital comes as hospitalizations due to the virus have reached their highest levels since the outbreak began.

Meanwhile, the number of newly reported infections has also climbed to new highs.

Meanwhile, Oregon just reported a new one day record jump in new cases - 178 to be exact - with 43 of them in Multnomah County, where Portland is located. Both the state- and county-wide figures appear to be one-day records. The figures were released right before Ore. Gov Kate Brown was expected to announce that Multnomah County and Portland could enter the first phase of reopening, joining the rest of the state. Oregon is one of the nearly 2 dozens states where cases have been rising.

Source: BBG

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Update (1315ET): New Jersey just released another batch of largely encouraging daily numbers as Gov Phil Murphy claimed his state had the slowest transmission rate in the country.

NJ also declared 70 new deaths.

With NY, NJ has been one of the worst-hit states in the country.

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Update (1255ET): The Mayor of Phoenix just acknowledged during a roundtable discussion with other mayors hosted by a Washington think tank that her city "opened much too early" and is now facing a serious crisis, per CNN.

During a panel discussion with other mayors across the country hosted by the Center for American Progress, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said that the city and state of Arizona is not recovering from Covid-19.

"We have had so many of the records you don't want to be hitting for Covid-19 from my perspective. We opened too much too early and so our hospitals are really struggling," Gallego said.

She also said that the increase of positive cases is primarily due to the lifting of the stay-at-home order as well as challenges in long-term care facilities. Arizona lifted the stay-at-home order on May 15.

The city's hospitals in particular are "really struggling," per CNN.

Meanwhile, during his latest interview with Fox on Thursday, Larry Kudlow said Thursday had been a "rough day" for markets, but that talk of a second wave of the virus had been seriously overblown.

"Go talk to Deborah Birx about that, she doesn’t seem to think so," Kudlow said of a second wave, before acknowledging that he "isn't a medical expert." Steve Mnuchin said earlier that a second shutdown wouldn't be necessary even if new cases surge.

New York Gov Cuomo announced on Thursday that five regions in central and western NY would resume indoor dining Friday as 'Phase 3' of the state's reopening begins.

The WHO also issued another warning about the spread of the coronavirus in Africa, with total cases reaching 200,000 less than three weeks after reaching 100,000, though the continent still accounts for less than 5% of global cases.

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Update (1200ET): Italy reported another encouraging set of numbers with just 379 new cases and 53 new deaths, bringing the total to 236,142 and total deaths to 34,167. The number of patients in intensive care across Italy has also fallen below 250, according to the latest numbers reported by the Italian press and Civil Protection Service.

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Update (1140ET): As new cases and deaths creep higher in most other regions of the US, New York State just confirmed 36 deaths were reported over the last day (down from 53 the day prior), the lowest number of deaths reported in nearly 3 months. Gov Cuomo claimed that New York isn't among the 21 states where new cases are increasing because "New Yorkers have been smart."

Watch the rest of Cuomo's briefing below:

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Update (1100ET): Police in Miami have become the latest to bar the use of the controversial chokehold (a move that led to the death of Eric Garner) while the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the state has continued to climb on Thursday. New cases climbed by 2.5% day over day (compared with a 7-day average of 2%) bringing Florida's total to just shy of 70k.

Here's more from local TV news station WINK:

As of Thursday at 11 a.m., there have been 69,069 positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Florida. The case count includes 67,456 Florida residents and 1,613 non-Florida residents. There are 2,848 deaths reported and 11,571 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Department of Health.

There have been 1,307,728 tests administered in Florida. A total of 69,069 tests have come back positive, and 1,237,679 tests have come back negative. The remainder are still pending, according to the FDOH website.

Numbers are released by the DOH daily at approximately 11 a.m.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS

Total number of cases: 69,069 (up from 67,371) Deaths: 2,848 (up from 2,801)

1,698 total new cases reported Thursday

47 total new deaths reported Thursday

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA NUMBERS

Total in SWFL: 6,307 (up from 6,140) Deaths: 289 (up from 283)

167 total new cases reported Thursday

6 total new deaths reported Thursday

Lee County: 2,500 (up from 2,422) – 128 deaths (2 new deaths)

Collier County: 2,291 (up from 2,230) – 59 deaths (2 new deaths)

Charlotte County: 515 (up from 505) – 72 deaths

DeSoto County: 304 (up from 299) – 10 deaths (2 new deaths)

Glades County: 107 (up from 104) – 1 death

Hendry County: 590 (up from 580) – 19 deaths

Meanwhile, as Trump imposes sanctions on the ICC, joining China in expressing disdain for its rulings, which can't really be enforced, the editor of the Global Times is weighing in on the situation in the US.

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Update (1035ET): The Army has picked the finalist among a group of more than two dozen vaccine candidates for a research partnership with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Army's top laboratory. Two back ups were also selected according to CNN. The names of the finalists haven't been released, but we reported on a purported list of 5 finalists earlier this month.

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Update (0840ET): With Dow futures pointing to a 1,000-point drop at the open as the Fed's dismal economic projections and Powell's comment that the Fed "isn't even thinking about raising interest rates" weigh on risk appetite and the cyclical stocks that have driven the latest leg of the rally, Moderna has released its latest 'update' on its vaccine trials, which are being run in partnership with the NIH.

According to the announcement, Moderna has "finalized its Stage 3 protocols", according to a brief press release.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, today announced progress on late-stage development of mRNA-1273, the Company’s mRNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19. Moderna has finalized the Phase 3 study protocol based on feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The randomized, 1:1 placebo-controlled trial is expected to include approximately 30,000 participants enrolled in the U.S. and is expected to be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trial’s primary endpoint will be the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease; key secondary endpoints include prevention of severe COVID-19 disease (as defined by the need for hospitalization) and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The primary efficacy analysis will be an event-driven analysis based on the number of participants with symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Based on the results of the Phase 1 study, the 100 μg dose level was chosen as the optimal dose level to maximize the immune response while minimizing adverse reactions. Moderna has completed manufacture of vaccine required to start the Phase 3 study. The Company expects dosing in the Phase 3 study to begin in July.

Regeneron, in other news, is beginning human trials of a new antiviral cocktail.

Meanwhile, one twitter user pointed at a pattern that we have noticed as well.

We wonder what 'Jimmy Chill' thinks about that?

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Update (0720ET): Former FDA Commissioner and perennial "Squawk Box" guest Scott Gottlieb offered some commentary about the situation in Texas, explaining that characterizing this as a 'second wave' might be misleading since 'they never really got over the first'.

Globally, more than 7.3 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed, including at least 416,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US, meanwhile, passed the 2 million-case mark last night, as we reported.

Source: FT

The fact that Texas hasn't traced the rising case numbers, which are overwhelmingly centered in the greater Houston area, to a specific source - like a meatpacking plant or something - worries Gottlieb, because that means the contact tracers in the state have failed at their basic mission: to find the source of any 'super-spreader' incidents quickly before they become 'super-duper spreaders'.

Thanks for the comforting words, doc.

* * *

With futures pointing to a sharp drop at the open for the Dow, it appears investors are finally confronting signs of a second wave that have emerged both in the US, and around the world.

As one scientist who appeared on CNBC's Worldwide Exchange program Thursday morning claimed, signs of a genuine second wave have emerged around the world, including in Sweden and Iran. Fortunately, we haven't seen a sharp move higher in mortality alongside the surge in cases - but that could follow.

Across the northeast and Atlantic Coast, more states are lifting bans on outside graduation ceremonies, with Maryland Gov Larry Hogan announcing late Wednesday evening that he would allow outdoor graduation ceremonies in the state to move forward starting Friday.

Bad news for all you 'influencers' out there: Both Coachella and Stagecoach, two of the largest music festivals held each year in Southern California, have been canceled. Organizers moved both events to October, but have now decided to forgo them until next year (but don't despair influencers, there will be many more protests to use as a backdrop for your selfies between now and the end of the year).

Last night, we reported that Mumbai, India's wealthiest city and financial capital, had surpassed the total number of infections reported in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus. Mumbai is also India's entertainment capital, home to 'Bollywood', the Indian film industry.

The city has reported more than 50k cases, nearly a fifth of India's total, and more than the Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero for the pandemic. The broader Maharashtra state has now confirmed more cases than the whole of China. India has recorded more than 286,000 coronavirus cases, including at least 8,100 deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Although Mumbai is India's wealthiest city, and its most international, public hospitals have been totally overwhelmed by the virus, with doctors collapsing from exhaustion and dehydration.

"We expected that if infection took root, the health system would be overwhelmed," said Rajeev Sadanandan, Kerala's former health secretary and the chief executive of non-profit Health Systems Transformation Platform. "With the kind of population Mumbai has, there is no way that the infrastructure would have been enough."

Russia crossed a grim milestone on Thursday when it reported another 8,779 confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday, bringing the total for the Russian Federation to 502,436, making Russia the third country to pass 500k cases after the US and Brazil. Another 174 deaths were recorded, bringing Russia's deaths to 6,532. However, some observers fear the true total in the country - for deaths and cases - is much higher, since not every patient who tests positive for COVID-19 and then dies is counted as a 'COVID-19 death'.

Earlier this week, Moscow's mayor lifted self-isolation restrictions and the city is expected to reopen by the end of the month.

After the US topped 2 million confirmed cases last night, a set of COVID-19 projections maintained by the University of Washington has just been updated, and is now projecting 170k COVID-19 linked deaths in the US by Oct. 1, that would be a rise of nearly 80% by October.

Source: CDC

IHME, the institute that maintains the model, said it's based on data through June 6. "Large gatherings in some states due to lifting of social distancing restrictions, gatherings on national holidays, and public protests are reflected in the general trend toward increased mobility."

In the US, more than 20 states are seeing a rise in the daily number of new cases, per the NYT.

The flareup in Latin America and the Caribbean also reached a new milestone as deaths in the region surpassed 70k: Brazil, the worst-hit country in the region, has identified more than 772,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Peru and Mexico, which just reported a record daily surge in new cases, are also seeing uncontrolled spread. Mexican paramedics are responding to 911 calls at an alarming rate, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage Mexico City.

Quarantine measures have been extended in Chile, the health ministry said in a statement released Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in LA, more businesses, including gyms and museums, are reopening, even as the county continues to report about 1,300 new cases per day. There are 67,064 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,768 deaths in Los Angeles County as of Thursday morning.