- Brazil reports 3rd record jump in new cases in a week
- Trump to reportedly stop taking HQX
- California reports most coronavirus deaths in a month
- Italy, Spain, UK report latest figures
- NY snaps 3 day slowdown in deaths
- All 50 states have started reopening
- Brazil recommends chloroquine to all COVID-19 patients
- Russia outbreak tops 300k cases
- Brazil reports 17k+ cases in latest record jump
- Global COVID-19 case total nears 5 million
- Rolls Royce cuts 9,000 jobs, largest layoffs in 30+ years
- Afghanistan passes 8k cases
- UN claims Africa largely 'spared' by coronavirus
- Germany's largest state reopens polls
- German government bars foreign takeovers of German health-care firms
- Spain makes mask wearing in enclosed spaces "compulsory"
- UK still working out quarantine guidelines for travelers
- Head of Japan's virus advisory committee says 2nd wave possible before winter
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Update (1803ET): Hours after VP Mike Pence seconded President Trump's warning about the US imposing a travel ban on Brazil - a decision that's looking likelier by the day - the country's Health Ministry reported another record jump in new cases. This is at least the third record number in the last week, following numbers reported before and after the weekend.
- BRAZIL REPORTS 19,951 COVID-19 NEW CASES, NEW DAILY RECORD
- BRAZIL HAS 18,589 COVID-19 DEATHS VS. 17,971 ON MAY 19: MIN.
The government of President Jair Bolsonaro has come under increasing pressure from his neighbors as Brazil's official case count nears 290k, pushing Brazil finally past the UK and into third place globally.
Brazil's latest report is also notable in that it outpaces the number of new cases confirmed in the US, which was 18,785 on Tuesday (remember, case data and death data are reported with a 24 hour lag). The peak number of new cases reported in the US was 36k back in April.
The global depth chart is now...
- US (1,548,646)
- Russia (308,705)
- Brazil (271,628)
There was one silver lining, however: The number of deaths reported dropped to 618 from 1,118, as the country's death toll climbed to 18,589.
In other news, President Trump has reportedly decided to stop taking hydroxychloroquine, according to Axios. He will stop when this regimen finishes "in a day or two."
NEW: Trump said he plans to stop taking hydroxychloroquine when his regimen finishes "in a day or two."https://t.co/KCY9PyeCgI— Axios (@axios) May 20, 2020
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Update (1440ET): California just reported 132 coronavirus-linked deaths on Wednesday, the state's highest daily total in a month (remember, these data are reported with a 24-day lag). The number of deaths marked a 2.8% rise in the statewide total, conspicuously higher than the 7-day average of 2.3%, according to the LA Times.
Previously, the single-day death record was 117, reached in late April, right around the peak of the outbreak in the US. Tuesday's jump, which comes on a day when data from the previous weekend is typically released, pushed the state's death toll past 3,400. The number of confirmed cases in California has climbed to 83,844, according to LA Times data.
Of course, most metrics show California has made significant progress in its battle against COVID-19, so much so that certain notorious local officials have conceded that the time to reopen had arrived.
The number of newly identified coronavirus cases declined last week from the prior week, and hospitalizations have fallen more than 15% from the late-April peak.
Meanwhile, here's a map showing which countries are reporting the most deaths (note: this map shows total COVID-19-linked deaths, not deaths per capita)
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Update (1157ET): At least one count of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has passed the 5 million threshold, meaning 5 million patients have officially tested positive for COVID-19, though millions more may have gone undetected.
Italy, meanwhile, reported just a 0.3% jump in cases and 0.5% increase in deaths on Wednesday...
#ItalyCoronavirus daily update:— John Mc Dermott (@noddysseus) May 20, 2020
62,752 (-2,377 -3.6%) people currently infected
32,330 (+161, +0.5%) people dead
132,282 (+2,881, +2.2%) people cured
Overall daily change: +665 (+0.3%)
Current Mortality Rate: 14.22% (32,330 dead, 227,364 total cases)#coronavirus #Italy
...as its outbreak continues to peter out (today's data are not yet reflected in these charts0.
The UK just released its latest numbers during the daily press briefing.
In Spain, 110 new deaths were reported while the number of confirmed cases hit 232,555, while the death toll hit 27,888.
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Update (1145ET): After New York reported its first DoD increase in deaths, snapping a 3-day streak of declines, Gov Cuomo said Wednesday that religious gatherings in the state would be permitted starting Friday under new COVID-19 guidelines.
Watch the rest of his daily briefing below:
Earlier, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans to ramp up testing and staffing at nursing homes, including a "blitz testing" spree aiming to test every resident of these facilities in the city. Meanwhile, 10 "outbreak response" teams will be ready to tackle any new hot spots.
New deaths over the last 24 hours climbed to 112 (30 of the 112 were from nursing homes).
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Update (0955ET): Just in time for MDW...
Though the definition of what constitutes an official "reopening" is somewhat squishy, CNBC has decided to declare Wednesday "the first day that all states have reopened for business" as Connecticut and Massachusetts, two of the last states to start rolling back emergency measures, have allowed salons and some other non-essential businesses to reopen.
According to a map from the NYT, the only state that is still officially "shut" is Illinois. However, while Gov Pritzker extended his stay at home order until May 31, the extension classified more businesses as "essential" and allowed non-essential businesses to reopen for curbside pickup. Here's more on that from the Chicago Tribune.
This subsequent burst of optimism as people gear up for a long Memorial Day weekend has apparently inspired this moring's ramp in the main US benchmarks.
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Update (0834ET): As he desperately tries to curb what now appears to be the world's worst outbreak, Brazil's Health Ministry has signed an order recommending chloroquine to be used to treat patients from their first day of infection.
- BRAZIL SAYS CHLOROQUINE TO BE USED IN ALL COVID-19 PATIENTS
Medications can be used in cases with mild symptoms, according to the document, and patients need to sign a consent form before the drugs can be administered. They still must be prescribed by a doctor before a patient can take them.
Though Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine with zinc as a prophylactic, there's little evidence that the drug works well - just like there's little evidence that treatments like remdesivir actually work well. More research is needed on all COVID-19 therapies.
Here's more on the history of chloroquine via Epoch Times:
Hydroxychloroquine and the closely related chloroquine have been used for decades to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In March, the FDA authorized the off-label use of such anti-malarial drugs for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and said patients and their doctors should make such decisions. In April, the agency then warned against the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine outside of hospitals or clinical trials.
However, many doctors have indicated that a three-drug regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin (also known as Z-Pak), and zinc has proven largely successful in treating high-risk patients.
Trump suggested his decision to take the drugs was informed partly by a doctor in upstate New York who sent Trump a letter on April 7 outlining the results for the patients he had treated with Z-Pak. At the time, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko had treated 383 patients, all of whom recovered without complications or side effects. The cost of the drugs per patient, he said, was about $20.
Zelenko urged a prophylactic regimen for high-risk individuals such as those in nursing homes, as well as for front-line health workers and police officers.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons said on April 28 that hydroxychloroquine has about a 90 percent chance of helping COVID-19 patients.
A clinical study in 2005 determined that chloroquine is a “potent inhibitor” of the related SARS coronavirus, both as a treatment and as a prophylactic.
The MSM has latched onto a recent study showing some patients had negative reactions to taking HQX, including cardiac issues. Other research, as we noted above, has showed that the drug when taken in combination with zinc or a Z-pak has proven helpful for high-risk patients.
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For much of the last week, our coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has focused on two countries that have rapidly climbed the international rankings over the last 10 days, landing them in the top 5 worst-hit nations. They are: Russia and Brazil. After reporting ~15k cases for three straight days, Brazilian public health officials on Wednesday morning reported a staggering 17,408 new cases (case numbers are typically reported with a 24-hour delay, and don't always reflect the true number of infections). The country has reported just below 300k cases, though some suspect the true number of infections might be as much as 4x the official number. The country has confirmed ~17,000 deaths as well.
Brazil's outbreak has been exacerbated by President Jair Bolsonaro's insistence that the virus is just "a little flu", and that the only sensible approach is to simply let the disease run its course, Bolsonaro has said. Over the past 6 weeks, the Brazilian government has seen 2 health ministers resign. Meanwhile, across the country, businesses continue to reopen even as health-care systems in more-remote Amazonian states have been completely overwhelmed. Its Neighbors have closed their borders, fearing Brazilians might carry the illness across the border.
And last night, President Trump said the White House would consider banning all travelers from Brazil, after a visiting delegation from the country that included Bolsonaro nearly infected Trump and VP Pence with the virus.
"I don’t want people coming in here and infecting our people. I don't want people over there sick either...Brazil is having some trouble, no question about it.”— Bloomberg (@business) May 20, 2020
Donald Trump says he’s considering a ban on Brazilians traveling to the U.S. https://t.co/K1nRQ0P323 pic.twitter.com/scfgh5PL8T
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in Russia passed 300,000 as 8,764 new novel coronavirus infections were reported on Wednesday, taking the nationwide total to 308,705. Amazingly, this was the smallest jump in new cases in 3 weeks.
A Russian woman wears a mask
However, Russia's leaders believe that their lockdowns and other measures are starting to work, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin - who took 3 weeks off to battle the virus after being infected himself - advised that restrictions should be lifted carefully in the 17 regions where lockdowns have been imposed over the coming weeks.
Dr Melita Vujnovich, the WHO’s Russia representative, claimed the outbreak in Russia had entered a "stabilization phase." Others fear the outbreak is much larger than counted given the country's surprisingly low death toll, which edged up to 2,972 on Wednesday, with 135 new fatalities reported in the past 24 hours.
As of ~7amET, Johns Hopkins University had counted more than 4.9 million cases of COVID-19, and more than 323,000 deaths. More than 1.7 million people have recovered.
The number of new cases reported on the day has moved higher recently thanks to Russia and Brazil, which combined now account for ~25% of new cases.
In corporate news, Rolls-Royce is cutting 1/5th of its workforce as it braces for the aviation industry disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic to endure for several years.
The aircraft engine maker said it would cut at least 9,000 of its 52,000 jobs in what would be its largest headcount reduction in 30 years.
As the US and Europe continue to reopen with minimal blowback, internationally, the focus has shifted toward the developing world - particularly countries in the Middle East and South America.
For example, the Guardian reported Wednesday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Afghanistan had passed 8,000, as roughly 50% of tests done in a day come back positive for the 2nd straight day. The total numbers are: 8,145 cases and a death toll of 187.
So far 25,700 suspected patients have been tested. The country received 250 RNA extraction kits from the WHO on Tuesday. The northern province of Balkh exceeded Kabul in number of deaths, with three of the latest Covid-19 deaths reported in the province. Balkh has so far recorded 27 deaths and 622 cases. Four of the new deaths were reported in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The western province of Herat recorded 59 new confirmed cases. Afghanistan’s first case was recorded in Herat, where migrants from Iran are believed to have introduced the virus.
Fortunately, in Africa, the utter devastation that experts feared would hammer Africa as the world's poorest governments confronted the virus has yet to emerge (sorry, Bill). This low (speaking relatively) case number has "raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as he praised the "swift" response of African governments.
As Germany continues to reopen, open-air swimming pools have reopened Wednesday as virologists say they are confident chlorine in the water could kill the virus. Authorities in North-Rhine Westphalia - Germany's largest state by population - have granted the 340 lidos in the region permission to reopen - so long as they abide by the new hygiene rules. In Berlin, swimming pools won't reopen until next week, while other regions won't allow them to reopen until June.
In other news, the German government gave itself new powers to block hostile foreign takeover bids for prized German health-care and pharmaceutical companies, a measure intended to protect the country's supplies of essential health-care equipment and drugs.
After reporting fewer than 100 deaths yesterday, the Spanish government has published new compulsory guidelines on mask-wearing making the wearing of a mask while in an "enclosed space" mandatory for all people over the age of six. It also calls for masks to be worn outdoors anywhere the 2-meter social distancing protocols can't be followed.
The decree states: "Using masks will be compulsory on the street, in open spaces and any closed place of public use, when it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of at least two metres (6.5ft)."
The British government, meanwhile, is still working on the details of how it will implement quarantine measures for people arriving in the country, according to Interior Minister Priti Patel.
"We are still developing measures, so we are not in the position to say 'this is how it's going to work'," Patel said during an interview with LBC radio. "In terms of how this will work, we will be announcing this shortly," she said, confirming only that the duration of quarantine would be 14 days.
While China continues to carry out mass testing and reimposed lockdowns in Wuhan and the northeastern province of Jilin, Indonesia on Wednesday reported 693 new cases, its largest daily jump yet, bringing its total to 19,189 - though Indonesia's outbreak is suspected of being much larger due to the government's initial refusal to acknowledge it. 21 additional deaths reported, taking the total to 1,242, while 4,575 people have recovered.
In Japan, infection levels have returned to their lows from late March, but the deputy head of the Japanese government’s advisory panel on the coronavirus, Shigeru Omi, warned a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that it is still possible to see a new wave of infections before winter comes.