(Bloomberg) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said a recent uptick of Covid-19 cases in neighborhoods of south Brooklyn requires “urgent action.” Missouri’s governor said he has tested positive for the virus.
France imposed new restrictions on bars and public gatherings in several cities as it tries to tamp down a resurgence of the virus. The U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer canceled his planned fall budget and prepared to set out a fresh round of job-support measures, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to work from home to curb an outbreak.
Johnson & Johnson has begun dosing as many as 60,000 volunteers in a study of its Covid-19 vaccine, the first big U.S. trial of an inoculation that may work after just one shot.
Global Tracker: Cases top 31.7 million; deaths exceed 973,000Airlines face desolate future as attempts to reopen crumbleTrump redirects testing, mask funds to boost vaccine effortCovid ski victims sue Austrian government for “chaotic” responseLetting guard down hammers support for former EU virus standoutHow do people catch Covid-19? Here’s what experts say: QuickTake
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Texas Deaths Top 15,000 (5:33 p.m. NY)
Texas deaths from Covid-19 rose by 135 Wednesday, pushing fatalities past 15,000 to 15,129, according to state health data. The Lone Star state is running close to California, with about 15,200 confirmed deaths, for the third-most in the U.S., after New York and New Jersey.
Texas reported 3,045 more cases of the virus, bringing the total to 719,252 confirmed cases. Hospitalizations resumed their decline -- interrupted by two days of increases this week -- falling by 12 to 3,195.
U.K. Weighs Exposing Healthy People for Vaccine (5:29 p.m. NY)
The U.K. government is considering carrying out studies that would deliberately expose healthy people to the coronavirus in a bid to accelerate the development of a vaccine.
The idea of challenge trials has gained momentum as the pathogen has spread around the world, sparking a debate over what kind of sacrifice is acceptable and the benefits the tests could bring. A growing number of volunteers have signed up to take part in such studies should researchers decide to proceed.
“We are working with partners to understand how we might collaborate on the potential development of a Covid-19 vaccine through human-challenge studies,” a government representative said Wednesday in an email. “These discussions are part of our work to research ways of treating, limiting and hopefully preventing the virus so we can end the pandemic sooner.”
Missouri Governor, Wife Test Positive (5:07 p.m. NY)
Missouri Governor Mike Parson, who has resisted calls for a mask mandate in his state, said he and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine.
Teresa Parson was tested today after she started showing symptoms, the Republican governor said in a video posted on Twitter. He has no symptoms but tested positive in a preliminary result that is awaiting confirmation. They both are “fine,” he said.
France Cracks Down on Gatherings, Bars (4:30 p.m. NY)
France introduced new steps to fight the rapid resurgence of the coronavirus, including closing bars earlier in the evening and limiting public gatherings in Paris and several other cities. But the government isn’t considering a new nationwide lockdown.
The latest steps will force bars in the Paris region and other cities to close at 10 p.m. at latest, starting Monday, while gyms will be shut for at least two weeks. The government also reduced crowd-size limits for public events and added new restrictions on private gatherings beginning on Saturday.
“If we don’t take measures rapidly, we risk being in a critical situation in some regions in a few weeks,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a press conference in Paris.
U.S. Cases Rise 0.6% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.91 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 201,319.
Florida reported 690,499 cases, up 0.4% from a day earlier, in line with the average increase in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 13,618, an increase of 1.5%.California reported 3,146 new virus cases, a 0.4% increase and slightly less than the 14-day average of 3,425. Deaths jumped by 133 -- above the daily average of 97 -- to a total of 15,204.North Dakota experienced a 2.6% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 18,981, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
Ireland Outbreak Worsening (1:05 p.m. NY)
The number of new coronavirus cases in Ireland will double every 12 to 14 days at the current rate, the nation’s health ministry said. Ireland reported 234 more cases on Wednesday, with two deaths.
“We are unfortunately seeing continuing increases in all metrics of the disease,” Health Ministry advisor Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, adding it was too early to see the impact of new restrictions imposed on the country last week.
Colorado Governor Announces Furloughs (1 p.m. NY)
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said he is implementing mandatory furlough days for all state employees – himself included – saving between $7 million to $8 million. The move affects about 23,600 workers.
Metropolitan Opera to Cancel Season (12:09 p.m. NY)
The Metropolitan Opera in New York City will cancel the entire 2020-2021 season based on the advice of health officials, according to a statement posted on its website.
U.K.’s Sunak Cancels Fall Budget on Covid (11:24 a.m. NY)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak canceled his planned fall budget and prepared to set out a fresh round of job-support measures as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
Sunak will announce his blueprint to protect jobs from the economic fallout from Covid-19 in a statement to the U.K. Parliament on Thursday, days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed new restrictions on the British public to bring the resurgent virus outbreak under control.
De Blasio Says Brooklyn Clusters Need Action (10:33 a.m. NY)
New York City is investigating big increases in several south Brooklyn communities with large Orthodox Jewish populations. De Blasio said the clusters demand action, including stepped-up testing, education and enforcement.
Since the first week of August, the city has seen a 4.71% increase in Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst; 3.69% in Edgemere-Far Rockaway; 2.24% in Kew Gardens and 2% in Williamsburg.
The four areas make up 20% of all cases reported citywide as of Sept. 19, according to the city health department. Across New York City, fewer than 1% of residents tested positive on Sept. 21.
Banks Lead U.K. Office-Return Reversal (10:15 a.m. NY)
Banks were in the vanguard of a government-led push to return staff to offices in the U.K. They’re now among the most prominent companies reversing or halting those policies after Johnson urged Britons to work from home to contain the coronavirus.
Firms like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. had made concerted efforts to boost London office attendance in recent weeks. They found themselves issuing fresh guidance Tuesday after the government backtracked on its own calls to help revive financial and shopping districts where workers were trickling back.
Netherlands Surpasses 100,000 Cases (8:50 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands reported a record 2,357 new cases, taking the total to 100,597, Dutch news agency ANP said, citing figures from health agency RIVM. Hospital admissions increased by 32 between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, and there were five deaths, the report said.
In neighboring Belgium, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said every person should limit close physical contacts outside his or her household to a maximum of five each month. She also announced a relaxation of mask-wearing obligations outside as of Oct. 1, and shortened the quarantine period for those exposed to the virus to seven days from 14.
German Minister in Quarantine (8:31 a.m. NY)
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas went into quarantine after a member of his security detail was found to be infected with the coronavirus, a spokeswoman said in a statement. An initial test on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top diplomat came out negative. The ministry is working with public health authorities on contact tracing to determine who else may be affected, she said.
Sunak Weighs Program to Replace U.K. Furlough (8:07 a.m. NY)
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is studying proposals for a German-style program of subsidizing workers to stave off a wave of unemployment when his current wage support measures end next month, people familiar with the matter said.
The chancellor is facing urgent calls to come up with a blueprint to support jobs and businesses after the government imposed new restrictions on the public. The Treasury declined to comment on the specific proposals but an official emphasized that Sunak has promised to “act in creative and effective ways” to support jobs.
Scotland Cases Rise by Record (7:42 a.m NY)
Scotland recorded 486 new cases, the biggest daily tally since the outbreak began, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh. The government unveiled restrictions Tuesday to halt a resurgence of the virus. The rules went further than Boris Johnson’s and included a nationwide ban on people visiting each other’s homes.
China Eases Entry Rules for Foreigners (6:56 a.m. NY)
Almost six months after it nearly sealed its borders to limit the spread of the coronavirus, China is easing entry restrictions for some foreigners.
Foreigners holding residence permits for work, personal matters and reunions will be allowed to enter China starting Sept. 28, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website Wednesday. Those whose permits expired can apply for relevant new visas.
Johnson & Johnson Begins Trial (6:45 a.m. NY)
Johnson & Johnson has begun dosing as many as 60,000 volunteers in a giant study of its vaccine. If enrollment goes as expected, the testing could yield results as soon as year-end, allowing the company to seek emergency authorization in early 2021, should it prove effective, Johnson & Johnson Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said Tuesday.
J&J is the fourth vaccine maker to move its candidate into late-stage human studies in the U.S.
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