ECONOMY

NYC Aims to Reopen in July; Argentina Hits Record: Virus Update

New York City is moving to fully reopen on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, though Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants it to happen sooner. Chicago is broadly easing restrictions to allow for higher capacity at restaurants, bars and large indoor venues. Michigan will tie reopening to hitting vaccination benchmarks.

A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population, with steep rises in case rates among the young — an indication that the U.S. may struggle with distinct outbreaks for months to come.

Brazil recorded more Covid-19 deaths in the first four months of the year than in all of 2020, breaching the 400,000 mark as it grapples with a shortage of shots. Argentina reported record fatalities.

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 149.9 million; deaths exceed 3.15 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.1 billion doses have been given
  • U.S. Spotlight: A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population
  • Covid shots come in bulk. The world needs single servings
  • How India’s vaccine drive crumbled and left a country in chaos
  • Study shows a little extra weight raises the risk of severe Covid-19

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

Argentina Hits Record Deaths (5:30 p.m. NY)

Argentina reported a record 561 deaths, for a total of 63,508, according to the country’s evening report. Another 26,053 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 2,954,943.

Ontario Outbreak Cresting (5:22 p.m. NY)

Ontario’s latest Covid-19 wave appears to be peaking, albeit at a very high level, as sweeping restrictions introduced earlier this month start to have an impact, along with efforts to vaccinate more people in virus hot spots.

Officials cautioned, however, that because of an earlier swell in infections, intensive care units are still seeing fresh records in the number of virus patients.

Brazil Passes 400,000 Deaths (5:15 p.m. NY)

Brazil recorded more Covid-19 deaths in the first four months of the year than in all of 2020, breaching the 400,000 mark as it grapples with a shortage of shots that’s threatening mass vaccinations.

The Health Ministry reported 3,001 deaths on Thursday, pushing the total to 401,186 since the pandemic started a little over a year ago. It’s the second highest tally globally, trailing only the U.S. Cases rose by 69,389 in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll to 14.6 million, behind India and the U.S.

Portugal Continues Easing (4:48 p.m. NY)

Portugal will continue to gradually ease confinement measures as planned, with restaurants and stores allowed to have customers until later in the evening. From Saturday, shops can stay open until 7 p.m. on weekends and 9 p.m. on weekdays, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference in Lisbon on Thursday night. Controls on the land border with Spain will be lifted.

The number of daily infections in Portugal eased in February and March after the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks in January.

Utah Says No ‘Excuses’ to Skip Vaccine (4:39 p.m. NY)

Utah Governor Spencer Cox said that “any type of organization,” from employers to churches to community groups, can request a mobile clinic to administer vaccines. Vaccine supply is outstripping demand in Utah, as is in the case in many places around the U.S.

“We want to make it as easy as possible,” the Republican governor said at a press briefing on Thursday. “We want to take away any excuses to not get the vaccine.”

About 39% of Utahans have received at least one dose, compared with an average of 43% nationally, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. No one signed up for 4,000 appointments offered by the health department last week in Utah county, the state’s second-most populous, the Salt Lake Tribute reported, quoting a local health official.

Millions of J&J Doses Await Approval (3:04 p.m. NY)

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has produced more than 115 million doses worth of drug substance used in the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter, 60 million doses of which are in vials and ready to deploy at U.S. regulators’ discretion.

The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based contract manufacturer has been producing the J&J single-shot vaccine since the fourth quarter of 2020, said the person. The size of the stockpile, which isn’t yet cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for release, hasn’t been previously reported.

Colleges Urged to Mandate Vaccines (2:42 p.m. NY)

Colleges and universities should require all on-campus students to be vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus this fall, the American College Health Association said.

“Comprehensive Covid-19 vaccination is the most effective way for institutions of higher education to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience for students in fall semester 2021,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

Dozens of colleges, including Rutgers and Duke University, have already said that they’ll make vaccinations mandatory for students to return to campus, with some exemptions.

U.S. Diplomatic Families Can Leave India (2:30 p.m. NY)

The State Department said it’s allowing families of staffers at U.S. missions in India to leave the country due to record levels of Covid-19 cases. U.S. embassies and consulates in India will remain open, the department said in a notice on its website.

The State Department has advised against travel to India, its most severe advisory level.

Italy Sets Vaccine Target (2:30 p.m. NY)

Italy is targeting to reach herd immunity by the end of September, when about 80% of its population will have received a full vaccine, General Francesco Figliuolo, who’s heading the country’s vaccination campaign, said in remarks quoted by Ansa. Figliuolo said that Italy seeks to vaccinate about 60% of people by mid-July and that the nation can potentially administer 600,000 to 700,000 shots a day.

Oregon Surges, Pandemic Not Over (1:35 p.m. NY)

A surge in Oregon is sweeping through a partially vaccinated population, with steep rises in case rates among the young — an indication that the U.S. may struggle with distinct outbreaks for months to come.

The state reported 888 confirmed and presumed cases on Tuesday and a 6.5% test positivity rate, bringing the seven-day average to 832, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Governor Kate Brown has elevated more than a dozen counties to the most extreme risk category.

The spike is the latest indication that the pandemic is far from over. A surge in Michigan and an all-out crisis in India is reminding health officials how delicate the path to recovery can be.

Ireland to Start Reopening (1:30 p.m. NY)

Ireland will reopen swathes of its economy next month, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said, as the country’s four-month lockdown comes to an end.

Hair dressers and so-called click-and-collect retail will reopen on May 10, with non-essential stores to open fully a week later. The government will also ease restrictions on household gatherings and religious services, while some sporting activities can resume.

“We now believe it is safe to continue moving forward” with reopening, Martin said.

NYC Plans Full Reopening on July 1 (12:58 p.m. NY)

New York City is moving to fully reopen by July 1 with arenas, gyms, stores, restaurants and hair salons returning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“This is going to be the summer of New York City,” de Blasio said Thursday during a press briefing. “We’re all going to get to enjoy this city again, and people are going to flock here from all over the country.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has ultimate reopening authority, said he hopes the city can fully reopen before de Blasio’s July 1 target, but isn’t going to make projections. “I don’t want to wait that long,” he said.

NYC Aims to Reopen in July; Argentina Hits Record: Virus Update

India Strain Spreads Abroad (12:39 p.m. NY)

China has detected new Covid-19 variants circulating in India among its imported cases, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a briefing in Beijing.

In Israel, the Health Ministry reported 41 cases of the strain, more than half of whom were people returning from abroad. Uganda also detected the strain, with the health ministry saying it was a “wake up call” for people to step up precautions.

Outbreaks Rise in Colorado Schools (12:15 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 outbreaks are rising in Colorado’s elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools as the state endures a fourth wave of infections, The Denver Post reported. As of Wednesday, state data showed 210 active outbreaks in schools, the highest since the beginning of December, the newspaper said.

Chicago Relaxes Restrictions (12:04 p.m. NY)

Chicago is broadly easing restrictions across industries to allow for higher capacity at restaurants, bars and large indoor venues as Covid-19 vaccinations increase, city officials said Thursday.

“It’s time for the Pier and the city to be open,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday at Navy Pier, an entertainment complex with shops, restaurants and parks on Lake Michigan. “We are able to broadly loosen capacity restrictions across industries starting today.”

Michigan Ties Easing to Vaccinations (10:43 a.m. NY)

Michigan health officials will peel back the state’s remaining pandemic health orders as residents hit vaccination benchmarks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.

Roughly 49% of Michiganders ages 16 and older are vaccinated. At 70%, she said all social distancing, occupancy and mask orders will be lifted. Further easing on rules for remote work begins at 55%, a goal she said could be reached as early as the end of next week.

“Vaccines are our best chance of putting this pandemic behind us and returning to normal,” the Democratic governor said at a press briefing. “If we work together we can get this done.”

U.K. Reports Clot Cases From Astra (10:09 a.m. NY)

The U.K. regulator received 209 reports of major blood clot cases following a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, almost a fifth of whom died.

The cases, which occurred in 120 women and 89 men aged from 18 to 93 years, were recorded up to April 21 under the U.K.’s Yellow Card side effects scheme. The latest tally marks a 24% increase on the number of cases in the last week, with the proportion of deaths remaining stable at 19%.

U.S. Weighs Local Vaccine Production (9:40 a.m. NY)

The U.S. focus on increasing supply of Covid-19 vaccines for other countries may mean boosting manufacturing at American facilities rather than waiving intellectual-property protections for doses, the White House said.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has yet to make a recommendation to the White House on the waiver proposal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview with CNN Thursday. President Joe Biden and his Covid-19 team will then make the ultimate decision on the U.S. waiver position, she said.

NYC Aims to Reopen in July; Argentina Hits Record: Virus Update

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