Global Coronavirus Cases Top 4 Million, Deaths Top 275k: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Global coronavirus cases top 4 mil, deaths top 275k
  • Russia reports another 10,699 cases as total doubles in a week
  • Fewer stroke patients coming to US hospitals
  • UK reports 626 new deaths
  • Google says employees won't return to office until 2021
  • NY reports 216 more deaths
  • Italy passes 30k COVID-19 deaths
  • Spanish gov't rejects Madrid's request to reopen
  • Larry Kudlow says 3/4ths of job losses will be 'temporary'
  • NYC announces 'test and trace corps'
  • Architect of Sweden's lockdown response defends strategy
  • Editor of Global Times says China needs more nukes
  • Global COVID-19 cases near 4mil, deaths near 2,75k
  • UK warns don't expect reopening to start next week
  • South Korea warns of new 'super spreader'
  • Australia PM says next phase of reopening begins today, releases 3-step plan

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Update (1803ET): At least one closely-followed tally of coronavirus cases and deaths has topped both 4 million cases and 275,000 deaths worldwide. The updated figures were reported by worldometers just minutes ago.

Here's a chart...

...and another.

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Update (1620ET): The Times of London is reporting that the UK is cranking up its travel restrictions as Boris Johnson prepares to release his plans for reopening the economy.

  • UK TO ASK ALL ARRIVALS TO SELF ISOLATE FOR 14 DAYS: TIMES

NY has released the rest of its numbers for Friday, reporting 2,938 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 330,407, and 21,045 deaths.

In other news, fewer stroke patients are visiting US hospitals, an ominous sign reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday as a letter to the editor.The number of patients in the US undergoing imaging for stroke evaluation has decreased by 39% since before the pandemic, the letter claims, according to CNN.

"These are stroke patients who need to be treated," said Dr. Greg Albers, director of the Stanford Stroke Center and professor of neurology at Stanford University, who was an author of the letter.

Phase one of North Carolina's reopening efforts will start at 5 p.m. today, Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Furthermore, everyone who de-planed Air Force 2 on Friday has tested negative for the coronavirus.

Russia reported another 10,699 new cases of coronavirus and 98 new deaths on Friday, for a total of 187,859 cases and 1,723 deaths, with cases doubling in a week once again.

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Update (1425ET): California's numbers are in. Some businesses have started to reopen for the first time on Friday.

  • CALIFORNIA REPORTS 1,898 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES, A 3.1% INCREASE

Gov Newsom is speaking at 1500ET (Noon PT):

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Update (1400ET): The UK has just confirmed the 626 deaths we reported earlier during the PM's briefing, along with 4,649 new positive cases.

Here's more on the UK numbers.

Singapore reports 768 new cases, almost all of which (758) involve migrant workers or other foreigners.

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Update (1255ET): Just minutes ago, Dr. Deborah Birx of the (now semi-permanent) White House coronavirus task force said that she would personally oversee the delivery of Gilead's remdesivir after reported "dysfunction" resulted in batches of the drug being sent to the wrong places.

The drug is currently the subject of an internationally coordinated trial regime to try and determine if it's substantially effective at treating COVID-19. Data so far have been optimistic but still mixed.

Notably, this afternoon's announcement - made minutes ago - by the Eurogroup is an important development that signals the death of the 'coronabonds' idea, but still offers something to Europe's worst hit nations.

With Europe generally a step ahead (with the exception of hotspots like Madrid) of the US in terms of the timeline for reopening, Bank of America has published a comprehensive 'reopening calendar' which includes all of the important dates, as they stand right now.

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Update (1150ET): Italy on Friday became just the third country to pass 30k coronavirus deaths (after the US and the UK) after reporting 243 fatalities Friday (data are reported with a 24-hour delay), bringing the country's death toll to 30,291. Newly confirmed cases fell slightly to 1,327, down from 1,401 on Thursday, taking the total # of confirmed cases since the epidemic began to 217,185, the third-highest tally behind the US and Spain.

The number of patients currently carrying the virus in Italy fell to 87,961 from 89,624 the day before, while the long-running trend of falling hospitalizations and patients moved to the ICU continued, with just 1,168 people moved to the ICU on Friday, compared with the 1,311 added on Thursday.

A Eurogroup press conference is expected to get underway in an hour as finance ministers from around the bloc update the world on the latest breakthrough. France's finance minister told reporters that the group has decided on a €240 billion Treasury line to finance relief efforts in the worst-hit countries (including Italy).

Cuomo's latest press briefing is about to start at 12pmET>

New York coronavirus total deaths fall to 216 versus 231 yesterday, up 1.1% DoD, vs. yesterday's rise of 1.2%. 45 of those deaths involved nursing home patients.

  • Hospitalizations: 8,196 for a change of -469 (was 8665 yesterday)
  • Intubations:  -130 on the day, versus -108 yesterday 
  • Total deaths: 216 versus 231 yesterday and 232 the day before
  • (three-day rolling average of new hospitalizations hits 604, versus 607 yesterday)

Additionally, Florida reported 39,199, up 1%, while deaths climbed 4.3% to 1,669.

In the UK, the PM announced at the beginning of his briefing that 626 new deaths were recorded on Friday. That's actually down from 739 last Friday, and 1,005 two Fridays ago. The death toll in the UK climbed to 31,241. It retains the highest mortality rate in Europe.

Additionally, Google will reportedly tell employees that it doesn't expect them to return to the office until 2021.

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Update (1115ET): After repeatedly delaying its plans for lifting its nationwide lockdown, one of the most stringent in Europe, Spain's socialist government has rejected Madrid's request to move on with the next phase of the reopening plan, which would have allowed more shops and businesses to reopen, El Pais reports.

Officials told El Pais earlier that "it is obvious" Madrid, the national epicenter of Spain's outbreak, is not ready to scale back its lockdown measures any further, in line with other hard-hit regions such as Catalonia and Castilla y León. Official figures show 70,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Madrid and more than 15,000 deaths, compared with the national tally of 221,447 infections and 26,070 deaths.

Figures from the Spanish Health Ministry released on Friday showed 229 coronavirus deaths over the last day, up slightly from the 213 reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, in the US, Pennsylvania, California and a handful of other states are beginning the process of reopening on Friday. Spain began the process late last month when it allowed children to leave the house (though they had to be accompanied by an adult).

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Update (1035ET): During this morning's press briefing, de Blasio was confronted about the vast discrepancy in 'social distancing violation' summonses, which featured far more black and Latino suspects than white people.

In other news, during an interview with Fox Friday morning, Larry Kudlow said White House data suggest 3/4ths of the 20.5 million jobs destroyed by the coronavirus will be 'temporary'.

  • KUDLOW SAYS EXPECTS THREE-QUARTERS OF JOB LOSSES IN APRIL TO BE TEMPORARY -FOX NEWS

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Update (1000ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday he would be launching a "test and trace corps" to assist with the coronavirus containment efforts as New York State prepares to begin the process of reopening its economy.

Interestingly, the NYT slammed the mayor over the decision, saying he stripped control of virus tracing from NYC's health department.

New York City will soon assemble an army of more than 1,000 disease detectives to trace the contacts of every person who tests positive for the coronavirus, an approach seen as crucial to quelling the outbreak and paving the way to reopen the hobbled city.

But that effort will not be led by the city’s renowned Health Department, which for decades has conducted contact tracing for diseases such as tuberculosis, H.I.V. and Ebola, city officials said on Thursday.

Instead, in a sharp departure from current and past practice, the city is going to put the vast new public health apparatus in the hands of its public hospital system, Health and Hospitals, city officials acknowledged after being approached by The New York Times about the changes.

Sounds like a great plan, Bill.

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Update (0940ET): Earlier this week, French authorities discovered what they believe might be Europe's earliest-known COVID-19 patient, who was sickened by the virus in early December.

Here's more on that.

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On an otherwise quiet Friday morning, President Trump has announced that he will be interviewed on Fox & Friends beginning at 8amET, setting the president up to react to one of the most important data releases of the past decade in real-time.

Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, appeared to welcome news that the US and China would act to preserve the 'Phase 1' trade deal by suggesting that Beijing increase China's supply of nuclear weapons to improve China's 'deterrent' against the US.

On what was a relatively quiet morning for virus news, the global case count moved closer to the 4mil mark (JHU reported 3,862,174 at 8amET), while the death toll neared 275k (269,881 at last count).

The biggest news overnight was published in the FT, which interviewed Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden's coronavirus response strategy (which famously avoided the lockdowns seen elsewhere), and the country's top epidemiologist. Tegnell defended Sweden's unique strategy, which some have blamed for the country's slightly higher mortality rate. He estimated that 40% of people in Stockholm would be immune to the virus by the end of May, giving the country an advantage against a virus that "we’re going to have to live with for a very long time." Though, to be sure, scientists are still unsure whether infection and the presence of COVID-19 antibodies will lead to lifelong immunity, and there have been many cases of patients being reinfected, or seeing their infections seemingly 'reactivate' after testing negative.

Tegnell argued that Sweden would be much better prepared than the rest of the world fot he "second wave" of the virus that's expected this fall, arguing that the number of cases and casualties will be "much smaller" in Sweden thanks to the widespread presence of antibodies in the public (of course, we're not even sure whether long-term 'herd immunity' is even possible, as Tegnell pointed out).

"In the autumn there will be a second wave. Sweden will have a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low," Tegnell told the FT. "But Finland will have a very low level of immunity. Will Finland have to go into a complete lockdown again?"

Some believe Sweden and Tegnell, which are under the global spotlight as their response to the pandemic has made Sweden a global outlier, have already won the debate on what the ideal coronavirus response would look like.

Primary and secondary schools, restaurants, cafés and shops are mostly open and operating as normal in Sweden, with health authorities relying on voluntary social distancing and people opting to work from home. Schools for over-16s and universities are closed and gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, but it is still the most relaxed approach of any EU country. However, as Goldman analysts recently explained, there are several idiosyncratic qualities about Sweden and the Swedish people that could make the country's strategy difficult to replicate across the EU and the US.

To be sure, Sweden’s virus-linked death toll reached 3,040 on Thursday, significantly higher than Denmark, Norway and Finland, which confirmed fewer than 1,000 deaths between all three countries.

In the UK, as HMG prepares the British public for the unveiling, expected Sunday, of Johnson's exit strategy, Oliver Dowden, UK culture secretary, has warned the public not to expect "big changes" to certain social distancing measures, including most of the restrictions on movement, to come into effect next week. As we've noted in recent days, many European countries are beginning the process of reopening, with several - including Belgium and Denmark - on track to make big strides before the end of the month.

According to another leak about the government plan published, this one published by the Telegraph, Johnson could ease aspects of the lockdown every two weeks, according to plans currently being discussed by ministers.  Other reports suggest that Britain will remain in lockdown until next month at the earliest.

Yesterday, South Korean government officials warned about a 29-year-old who was diagnosed with the virus after partying in one of Seoul's glitzy nightlife districts. On Friday, officials confirmed 13 more cases associated with the 'clubber' - technically qualifying them as a 'super-spreader' - though the situation appears to be well in hand. The partyer now appears to have infected 14 other people.

As Australia and New Zealand move ahead with reopening their economies, Aussie PM Scott Morrison announced Friday that his cabinet had agreed with the leaders of Australia's state governments on a 3-step plan to make Australia safe from COVID-19 by July while saving 850k jobs. Under the plan, retail outlets small cafes and restaurants would reopen. Gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed. In step 2, gatherings of up to 20 would be allowed, while step 3 would allow gatherings of up to 100 people.