Illinois, Utah & Montana Break COVID-19 Records As US Death Toll Nears 240k: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Illinois, Utah and Montana break COVID records
  • Illinois fifth state to top 500k cases
  • Maryland enters "red zone" COVID restrictions
  • Spain daily cases jump 30%
  • Dr. Fauci says Pfizer vaccine EUA one week away
  • Italy reports 35k+ new cases
  • US cases top 100k for 6th day
  • Hospitalizations match April records
  • Pfizer vaccine to be offered at below-market rates
  • Global cases near 51 million
  • New study shows COVID patients could be at higher risk of mental-health issues
  • Denmark warns of mink farms' threat to human health

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Update (1930ET): Utah, Illinois and Montana all broke records on Tuesday as the US topped 10.2 million cases and deaths exceeded 239,000. Illinois reported its highest number of daily cases with 12,623 infections, along with 79 more deaths. It has also become the fifth state to surpass 500,000 cases, per JHU, with 511,183 confirmed. Of course, as we noted earlier, with case numbers soaring, some are arguing that the state might already be well on its way toward herd immunity.

Montana announced 1,101 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, a new record high for the state, meanwhile, Utah, which imposed new emergency measures over the weekend, recorded a new high for its 7-day average.

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Update (1700ET): Maryland Gov Larry Hogan has just confirmed that the state has returned to 'red zone' status - the strictest COVID-19 settings available - as the state's 'case rate'  (the number of infections per 100k) has climbed.

The state has confirmed just over 150k total cases, but its positivity rate, which is supposed to show whether higher case numbers are due to virus spread instead of just more testing, is now 5.24%.

Watch Hogan's live update below:

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Update (1255ET): Following in the footsteps of Italy, Spain just recorded 7,552 virus cases over the last day, up significantly from 4,441 on Monday, enough to send a surge of anxiety through the Spanish government, which has so far been relatively happy with the results from the country's most recent lockdown.

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Update (1215ET): After the US reported a new record number of daily cases yesterday, squeaking above Saturday's record as new cases remain stubbornly above 100k a day earlier, Italy on Tuesday reported another 35k+ new COVID-19 cases, just days after the government tightened COVID-19 restrictions by elevating six regions to code "orange", among other restrictions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci, speaking with the press, said that he expects the emergency use approval from the FDA for Pfizer's vaccine to arrive "in a week or so". At this point in the process, the good doctor anticipates few problems. He also confirmed that he attended a recent White House coronavirus task force meeting.

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The trajectory, and potential, of COVID-19 vaccine projects remained the biggest COVID-19 story of the day on Tuesday following Monday morning's blockbuster Pfizer announcement (which was scooped by WSJ) about its vaccine candidate being 90% effective, as hopes for improved COVID-19 treatments were stoked again last night by news of the FDA's emergency-use approval for Eli Lilly's antibody therapy, Bamlanivimab.

The rush of optimistic news post-election, combined with the jubilant media reaction, prompted President Trump to speculate about the timing of the rollout.

But circling back to the numbers, the situation in the US is growing even more dire. Bloomberg reported Tuesday morning that the US appears on track to hit a record number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, thanks largely to Texas - particularly the border city of El Paso - and the Midwest.

El Paso alone has more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than 29 US states, according to local officials. After the latest increase, the present nationwide number for hospitalizations was 56,768, a number that is presently rising at about 1,321 cases a day over the past week.

That pace puts the US on track to top its April 15 record of 59,940.

Source: mSightly

Positivity rates, that is, the percentage of those tested daily who come back positive, has been climbing across the country, but the numbers across the Midwest have really soared over the past couple of weeks.

Source: mSightly

Bloomberg has produced a helpful chart showing the breakdown of COVID-19 hospitalizations that clearly illustrates the trends in Texas, the Midwest and elsewhere.

Source: Bloomberg

Measuring by hospitalizations per million residents, South Dakota and Illinois take the lead.

To be sure, Bloomberg pointed out that the situation still isn't as dire as the springtime outbreak in New York and New Jersey. Back in April, hospitalization data wasn't yet available for every state so it can be difficult to compare. But health-care officials stressed that hospitalizations are indeed worse than at any time since April.

Out of Brazil, we got some less-than-welcome news for China's leading vaccine, throwing the Chinese effort into stark relief with the western projects.

Speaking on CNBC Tuesday morning, Alex Azar, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the White House task force is "absolutely" in discussions to potentially deploy field hospitals and other resources to the Midwest and Texas, in areas where the hospital system truly is at risk of being strained.

Meanwhile, in the US, the number of new cases has topped 100k per day for the last six days, while in Europe, deaths are following case numbers higher, a trend that is currently vexing national authorities.

Source: JPM

Here's some more news from Tuesday morning and overnight:

US cases +105,142 (prev. +93,811) and deaths +490 (prev. +1,072), while hospitalizations rose to nearly 59k patients (Source: newswires).

BioNTech Chief Strategy Officer says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will likely be priced well below typical market rates, with different prices for different locations. Italy will get 13.6% of the first 200mln doses of the  vaccine made available to Europe, possible by January. Germany looks to sign a final agreement shortly for up to 100mn doses. (Newswires).

UK Health Minister Hancock says it will take some time for a vaccine to be rolled out; central expectation for the bulk of the deployment of a vaccine is H1-2021; does not know when we will hear on the Oxford University/AstraZeneca.

New study shows that COVID-19 patients more likely to suffer long-term psychiatric issues (Source: Bloomberg).

Mink farms threaten human health and will likely continue to do so in the pandemic, according to Denmark's top epidemiologist, who said the industry represents "far too high" a risk to human health and safety (Source: Bloomberg).