Biden Set for Covid Work; Best and Worst Places: Virus Update

U.S. President-elect Joe Bidensaid his transition team will not be “so far behind the curve” now that the Trump administration has begun cooperating on the fight against the coronavirus. Officials from New York to California warned of a worsening virus surge, while Texas broke its daily case record.

The foreign ministers of China and Japan agreed to lift some virus-relatedtravel restrictions by the end of the month. French President Emmanuel Macron said he will graduallylift a nationwide lockdown, and the U.K. willrelax gathering rules for Christmas.

As the one-year anniversary of the emergence of the virus approaches with global cases near 60 million, Bloomberg has launched its Covid Resilience Ranking. Using a variety of metrics, it shows thebest and worst places to be in the Covid-19 era.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 59.5 million; deaths 1.4 million
  • U.S. working on guidance to shorten Covidquarantine period
  • Astra vaccine’s highest efficacy came inyounger group
  • Thebest and the worst places to be in the coronavirus era
  • Putin can’t take Russia’s ‘safe’ vaccine, Kremlinsays
  • Why making a Covid vaccine is only thefirst hurdle: QuickTake

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

Japan, China Agree to Restart Two-way Travel (7:43 a.m. HK)

The foreign ministers of China and Japan agreed at a meeting in Tokyo to lift some virus-relatedtravel restrictions by the end of the month.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi is the first senior Chinese official to visit Japan since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office in September. At the meeting, Wang and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, agreed to restart some travel for businesspeople and residents before the end of November.

Panel Says Japan Hospitals May Be Strained: Jiji (7:21 a.m. HK)

An expert panel that advises Japan’s Health Ministry said the nation’s medical services will come under “incredible” strain if the coronavirus outbreak continues, putting lives that could be saved under normal circumstances in danger, Jiji reported late Tuesday. The panel said marked increases of Covid cases in Hokkaido and the Tokyo and Kansai areas were already making it difficult for doctors to address emergencies or scheduled surgeries.

Biden Transition Cooperating With Trump on Covid (7:19 a.m. HK)

President-elect Joe Biden said his transition team will not be “so far behind the curve” now that the Trump administration has begun cooperating on the fight against the coronavirus.

“We’re already working out meeting with the Covid team in the White House,” Biden said in an interview on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” to air Tuesday. “And how to not only distribute, but get from a vaccine being distributed, to a person being able to get vaccinated. So I think we’re going to not be so far behind the curve, as we thought we might be in the past,” he said.

Texas Sets New Infection Record (5:49 p.m. NY)

Texas recorded 13,998 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, setting a daily record, figures from the Department of State Health Services show. Almost 10 percent of the new infections came from El Paso County, one of the hardest-hit in the state.

A Covid-19 antibody-infusion site has been established at a state-run treatment center in El Paso, Governor Greg Abbott said Tuesday. Federal officials stocked the outpatient site with 1,000 doses of bamlanivimab, anantibody therapy made by Eli Lilly & Co. that was approved by the U.S. for emergency use this month. Viewed as a treatment to prevent hospitalizations, the doses are being reserved for people who tested positive and have an increased risk of developing severe symptoms.

Covid-19 has infected 81,511 people and claimed 980 lives in El Paso County since March, state figures show.

California Warns of Soaring Fatalities (4:54 p.m. NY)

California’s top public health official warned that the daily number of Covid-19 deaths in the state could top previous highs by Christmas, as a third wave of infections gathers momentum.

The number of Californians hospitalized with the virus has more than doubled since the start of November, jumping from 2,537 to 5,844, said Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary. Infections have been accelerating, with a near-record 15,329 new cases reported Tuesday, and about 12% of newly infected people will likely be hospitalized in the next two to three weeks, he said. Deaths, which briefly topped 200 per day in late July, could rise to new highs, Ghaly said.

The most-populous state has recorded more than 18,700 deaths, behind only New York and Texas.

Merkel Proposes Tougher Restrictions (4:47 p.m. NY)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is proposing a further tightening of the country’s coronavirus restrictions, setting the stage for another tense round of discussions with the country’s 16 state leaders who have called for more lenient measures.

Merkel will talk to regional premiers on Wednesday to agree on an extension of the country’s partial shutdown until at least Dec. 20. In a briefing paper from the Chancellery obtained by Bloomberg, she suggests to further restrict the number of customers allowed into shops and for additional measures in schools located in infection hotspots.

Macron Plans Gradual Easing of Lockdown (4:20 p.m. NY)

French President Emmanuel Macron said he will gradually lift a nationwide lockdown from Saturday an outbreak eases. Small stores will be permitted to open from Nov. 28 with extra rules, after weeks of shopkeepers criticizing and mocking the government’s decision to ban retail it deemed non-essential. Restaurants will remain closed, however, until at least Jan. 20, depriving the sector of the income from one of the busiest periods of the year.

“We have put the brake on the circulation of the virus,” Macron said in a televised address Tuesday. “But a few weeks are still needed to reach our targets” of 5,000 cases a day and up to 3,000 people in intensive care.

The number of French virus patients in intensive-care units fell by 165 to 4,289 on Tuesday, the biggest daily drop since May 12. Overall hospitalizations continued to decline and are now back to the level of more than two weeks ago.

Colorado Says Deaths May Double (4:15 p.m. NY)

The number of Covid-19 deaths in Colorado could more than double to 6,600 by the end of the year unless the current outbreak is contained, state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said at a news conference in Denver. An estimated 1-in-41 state residents are contagious, the most since tracking began, Governor Jared Polis said.

Separately, 551 of 993 inmates at a major Colorado prison, the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, are infected, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

U.S. May Shorten Quarantine Recommendation (3:36 p.m. NY)

Federal health officials are working on new guidance that would shorten the recommended 14-day quarantine period following a potential exposure to the coronavirus, the top U.S. virus-testing official said on Tuesday.

Officials are beginning to see a preponderance of evidence that people could spend less time in quarantine if they also test negative for Covid-19, said Admiral Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, on a call with reporters.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finalizing recommendations for a new quarantine period of seven and 10 days, and which would include a negative test.

Ireland Has Fewest Cases in 2 Months (1:05 p.m. NY)

Ireland reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in two months, ahead of a easing of current restrictions. There were 226 newly diagnosed cases on Tuesday, the health ministry said, the least since Sept. 21.

The government is expected to decide on loosening the current lockdown later this week, with restrictions due to expire on Dec. 1. Ireland also formally introduced fines for breaches of coronavirus rules Tuesday, including for not wearing masks and for hosting or attending house parties.

N.Y.’s Cuomo Warns of Major Surge (11:55 a.m. NY)

New York state is headed toward a major surge in coronavirus cases, at least a 20% increase over the holiday season, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

At the low end, experts say the state could see a 20% increase in cases between now and January, with the positive test rate reaching 12.46%, Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Long Island.The testing positivity rate statewide was 2.93% on Monda

If the state sees more, emergency hospital beds would be needed, he said. “That’s a problem,” Cuomo said, urging New Yorkers to “be smart” and keep guests to a maximum of 10 people this Thanksgiving. “It’s hard, but sometimes hard is smart.”

In nearby New Jersey, there were 48 deaths linked to the virus, the highest such figure since June 5.

“We are in the thick of the Covid second wave,” Governor Phil Murphy said during a bill-signing. He pleaded with New Jerseyans to limit Thursday’s Thanksgiving guests to immediate family and to exclude the most vulnerable: “This is not the year to have grandma and grandpa over.”

Italy Deaths Jump as New Cases Slow (11:45 a.m. NY)

Italy reported the highest number of coronavirus fatalities since the height of the pandemic in the spring, even as data on new contagions hinted that the outbreak is slowing down. Daily deaths climbed to 853 Tuesday, the most since March 28 and up from 630 a day earlier.

New cases fell 28% from a week earlier to 23,232, with a test positivity rate falling to 12.3%, the lowest in a month.

“There is an initial but clear decline in positivity,” said Franco Locatelli, head of Italy’s public health institute, at a press conference. Deaths will only start declining later, he added. Hospitalized patients fell for the first time in two months, dropping by 114 to 38,393.

U.K. Has Fewest New Cases Since Oct. 2 (11:35 a.m. NY)

The U.K. recorded its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in nearly two months on Tuesday, the latest indication that infections are steadily declining.

Restrictions in England are due to be eased next week to make way for a regional approach that will allow many businesses to reopen, and some socializing.

A further 11,299 new cases were reported, the fewest since Oct. 2 and down from a peak of more than 33,000 on Nov. 12.

Some 608 new deaths from coronavirus were reported, which is about level week on week, but it is also the highest daily increase since cases spiked for the second time.

NYC Plans Travel Checkpoints (11:05 a.m. NY)

New York City will have vehicle checkpoints at key bridges and crossings, and will strictly enforce the travel quarantine, Sheriff Joseph Fucito said.

The sheriff’s office will conduct spot checks when out-of-state buses drop riders off at the curb. Test and tracing teams will be on the ground to direct individuals to testing sites and provide education on quarantine, Fucito said.

The 14-day quarantine mandates that travelers quarantine or test out. Violations of self-quarantine will be enforced and may carry fines of $1,000 to $2,000, according to the mayor’s office.

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel

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