Fauci Says "No Doubt" Crowds Could Spread Virus; High Blood Pressure Raises COVID Mortality Risk By 2x: Live Updates

Update (1440ET): California reported a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases Friday.

  • CALIFORNIA COVID-19 CASES RISE 2.6% VS. 7-DAY AVG. 2.4%

We'll be keeping a close eye on this to see if it becomes a trend.

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Update (1300ET): It has been weeks since the last White House virus task force, and the coronavirus outbreak, which was supposed to mark the beginning of "a new normal", has abated enough that most Americans are already moving on. Which is why Friday's CNBC interview with Dr. Fauci mostly confirmed that the states that opened early and aggressively have so far avoided any seriously negative repercussions. The good doctor said that a second wave isn't "inevitable"

Dr. Fauci also warned that the crowds of people crammed together without masks or following any social distancing measures will almost certainly lead to a spike in cases, he says he has "no doubt" about that.

"When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask that increases the risk of their being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that,” he said during an interview Friday on CNBC's "Halftime Report." "When we see that not happening, there is a concern that that may actually propagate the further spread of infection."

After marveling at the admission by Sweden's top epidemiologist that his country didn't do enough to contain the virus (he later clarified that he had no plan to change tack), the country has decided to lift restrictions on travel on June 13, a week from Saturday.

Italy reported another batch of strong data...

...while a medical journal in Europe warned that patients with high blood pressure face twice the risk of dying from the virus.

All the while, the Chinese press are seizing on the US appearing to lower its guard.

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Now that the jobs recovery is officially underway thanks to the latest monthly jobs report from the BLS (a dead cat bounce? unpossible) it seems nobody really cares about COVID-19 anymore. At least not in the US.

After all, NYC, the most visible hot spot in the US, reported zero confirmed fatalities yesterday for the first time since March (though three deaths from untested patients may be attributable to the virus).

However, investors who turn a blind eye to data do so at their own peril. There are now three countries whose outbreaks are now widely seen as out of control, and one of those countries lies just south of the border: Mexico reported a record jump in new cases - 4,422 in a single day - as the countrywide total hit 105,680. Many have accused the government of deliberately undercounting.

Last night, Brazil surpassed Italy as the country with the third most deaths in the world. Although the outbreaks have eased in some countries, the virus continues to spread at a more or less steady rate, with about 100,000 new cases being reported every day as new hot spots emerge. The World Health Organization said on Friday that some countries have seen "upticks" in COVID-19 cases as lockdowns ease.

"On upticks, yes we have seen in countries around the world - I'm not talking specifically about Europe - when the lockdowns ease, when the social distancing measures ease, people sometimes interpret this as 'OK, it's over',"  WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN briefing in Geneva.

"It's not over. It's not over until there is no virus anywhere in the world," she said, adding that US protesters must also take precautions when gathering.

Along with Mexico, South Africa reported 3,267 new cases of the virus, the country's largest jump by far, bringing its total to 40,792.

Even as South Africa eases its coronavirus lockdown, infection numbers have started to rise quickly and President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he is particularly concerned about the province around Cape Town, known as Western Cape, one of the country's leading tourist destinations. The country also recorded 651 out of the the country's total of 848 deaths.

As UK PM BoJo faces a torrent of criticism over his plan to slowly unwind the country's lockdown, Ireland said it would accelerate its plan to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the coming days, according to PM Leo Varadkar.

"Today I can confirm that it is safe to move to phase two of the plan to reopen our country starting on Monday," Varadkar said. "I'm also announcing an acceleration of the roadmap."     

Meanwhile, the UK has become the second country after the US to surpass 40k deaths. Exactly 40,261 people have died since the beginning of the outbreak, up 357 from Thursday. The US, by comparison, has recorded 108,000 deaths.

In Europe, the UK is behind only Sweden in deaths per capita.

To be sure, true global comparisons may not be possible for months, according to experts who spoke with the BBC.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday walked back a decision to impose a new, 2-day weekend curfew in 15 of the country's provinces, as well as cancelling a weekend lockdown in a country that has one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in Western Asia.

Source: BBC

Another day has passed, along with another study by the University of Oxford that found Hydroxychloroquine had little impact on seriously ill patients. Keep in mind, doctors have said the antiviral, which has been used for decades to treat malaria, would likely work best on early-stage patients, particularly those who are at high-risk of seeing symptoms advance.

The biggest takeaway: the number of new cases has been steadily rising by a rate of 100,000 a day as new hotspots emerge while the hotspots of yesterday - in Europe and in the US - see infections wane.

India's COVID-19 fatalities have passed 6,000 after recording 260 deaths in the last 24 hours. The country registered 9,304 new cases in yet another record single-day spike in infections, bringing its total to 216,919 cases with 6,075 deaths, the health ministry reported on Thursday.

Around the world, ~6.6 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed, according to JHU. More than 389,000 people have died, including some 108,000 in the United States. More than 2.8 million people have recovered from the disease.