England Locks Down; Variant Strain Is in New York: Virus Update

England Locks Down; Variant Strain Is in New York: Virus Update

January 5, 2021

The variant strain of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K.has been found in New York State. Global coronavirus infections climbed above 85 million, after daily cases in the U.S. soared to a record of nearly 300,000 following the New Year holiday.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a national lockdown in England starting from Monday night until mid-February to prevent a surge in coronavirus from overwhelming the National Health Service. Israel said it plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May. Germany is set to extend its lockdown.

Ireland halts non-essential hospital services to preserve capacity. Germany is poised to extend stricter lockdown measures. Israel plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 85.5 million; deaths exceed 1.84 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 13 million shots given worldwide
  • U.S. Hot Spots: Cases inch back toward peak after holiday slump
  • Video: U.S. needsprivate-public vaccine plan, Johns Hopkins says
  • France’s slow vaccine start sparkscrisis for Macron
  • U.S.risks years of higher mortality on Covid’s economic fallout
  • Why the U.K.’s mutated coronavirus is fanning worries:QuickTake

Subscribe to adaily update on the virus fromBloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Texas Sees Surge in Hospitalizations (6:45 a.m. HK)

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas climbed to 20% of capacity on Monday as 12,961 Texans, another record, sought medical care.

Eighteen of the state’s 22 trauma-service areas reported hospital occupancy rates of more than 15%, a threshold set by Governor Greg Abbott for potentially imposing more lockdown measures. Seven of the areas are reporting fewer than 10 available intensive-care beds, with two saying they have none left.

Monday saw 15,978 new virus cases, short of last week’s record of more than 26,000.

New York has case of virus variant (5:15 a.m. HK)

New York State has found its first case of the U.K. variant of coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

A man in his 60s who lives in Saratoga County in upstate New York tested positive for the B117 variant, Cuomo said. The man had not traveled recently, which suggests it was the result of community spread, Cuomo said on a conference call.

The state has done about 5,000 tests looking for the new strain, Cuomo said. The new strain is more transmittable, he said, which could be a problem as the state deals with rising hospitalizations.

Johnson Hits England With Full Lockdown (4:10 a.m. HK)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed athird coronavirus lockdown across England, shutting schools and ordering the public to stay at home, amid dire warnings that the National Health Service is being pushed to breaking point.

The full emergency lockdown will start immediately and last until at least Feb. 15, potentially devastating retail and hospitality businesses and threatening to push the economy into a double-dip recession, as medics try to get a grip on the pandemic.

In a televised address to the nation, the prime minister insisted he had no option but to close down all social activities, education and non-essential travel in the face of a sudden and severe surge in infections.

The U.K. reported an increase of 58,784 new coronavirus cases on Jan. 4, the most on record. The total currently stands at 2.71 million. It also reported 407 deaths, compared with a seven-day average of 604.

EU’s Moderna Decision May Come This Week (3:45 a.m. HK)

The European Union’s drug regulator said a decision on the safety and efficacy of Moderna Inc.’s Covid vaccine would come on Wednesday at the earliest. There had been speculation that a decision would come during a meeting Monday, but a spokesman for the European Medicines Agency said the discussion had not concluded and will continue Wednesday.

Approval would give the EU a second cleared shot, after one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE got the go-ahead in December.

Moderna Lifts Vaccine Output Outlook 20% (3:40 a.m. HK)

Moderna Inc. said it will make at least600 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in 2021, with a goal of finishing the year with as many as 1 billion doses produced. The shares rose.

The announcement increased the bottom end of the company’s production forecast by 100 million doses. Moderna is “continuing to invest and add staff” to produce the two-shot vaccine, according to a statement by the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech company on Monday.

Ireland to Suspend Some Hospital Services (2:45 a.m. HK)

Ireland will start suspending non-essential hospital services, in an effort to preserve capacity to handle surging coronavirus cases. The country reported a record 6,110 new cases Monday, with six deaths.

“This is a really serious situation that demands immediate action,” Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan told reporters in Dublin.

People with flu-like symptoms should now assume they have Covid-19, he said, while the positivity rate is now at about 20%. The government may delay reopening schools until the end of January, state broadcaster RTE reported. Schools are due to open on Jan. 11.

Cuomo Calls for Speedier Vaccinations (1:05 a.m. HK)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the state’s public and private hospitals to administer coronavirus vaccines more quickly, warning of fines of as much as $100,000 for those who don’t comply.

The 194 hospitals in the state have received about 46% of the state’s total vaccine allocation, he said at a briefing Monday. “I need those public officials to step in and manage those systems. You have the allocation; we want it in people’s arms as soon as possible.”

The state health department this week notified providers that if they don’t use the allocations they already have by the end of the week, they will be fined up to $100,000.

NYC Ramps Up Vaccination Program (11:42 p.m. HK)

New York City aims to materially speed up the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, expanding the groups of people it gives the shots to beyond health-care workers to include educators and first responders in the next few weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a briefing Monday.

De Blasio said he expects the city to administer 400,000 vaccinations a week at 250 sites by the end of January. The city has only administered around 100,000 doses since it began vaccinating residents about three weeks ago.

The city will also make new groups eligible beginning Jan. 11, including home-care workers, hospice employees and more nursing home staff. The city will also open up three new vaccine hubs later this week, and will add two new pop-up clinics and five new vaccination sites. “I want to go 24-7, seven days a week,” de Blasio said, noting that it was important to proceed with caution at the beginning of the vaccine rollout. “Getting it right gave confidence; now it’s time to sprint.”

Pfizer Offers Discount to South Africa (11:17 p.m. HK)

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE offered to supply South Africa with their Covid-19 vaccine at adiscounted $10 a dose, yet the president’s office still described the cost as prohibitive. The discount reflects South Africa’s status as a middle-income country and the site of a vaccine trial being conducted by the companies, the person said. The price is about half the cost of a shot in the U.S.

Scotland Moving Into Lockdown (10:20 p.m. HK)

Scotland will implement another lockdown from midnight, including keeping schools closed and ordering people to largely remain at home.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was no choice but to take more drastic action as hospital admissions reached levels not seen since the previous peak of the pandemic in April. School closures will be reviewed in the middle of January.

Israel Surges Ahead With Vaccination (10 p.m. HK)

Israel plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Monday. The inoculation drive, which leads efforts around the world on a per capita basis, has already administered first doses of the Pfizer Inc. shot to about 1.2 million residents, or more than 12% of the population.

“I hope that in several weeks we’ll be ready to report that the majority of the at-risk population got two doses of the vaccine,” he said.

North Korea Requests Vaccine, WSJ Says (7:20 p.m. HK)

North Korea asked for virus vaccines from the main global alliance helping lower-income countries fight the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Gavi, the international vaccine alliance, declined to comment on North Korea’s application, the WSJ said. North Korea has reached out to several European embassies, asking how the country might get vaccines, the newspaper said.

Germany Set to Extend Stricter Lockdown (7 p.m. HK)

Germany is poised toextend stricter lockdown measures beyond Jan. 10 amid criticism over alleged failures in the nation’s vaccination program. Authorities agreed to continue curbs until Jan. 31, Bild newspaper reported.

Germany’s daily tally of virus cases and deaths reached record numbers last week, before falling back over the New Year.

— With assistance by Stacie Sherman, Mark Schoifet, and Keshia Clukey

Source: Read Full Article