U.S., China Plan Big Spending to Bolster Economies: Virus Update

U.S., China Plan Big Spending to Bolster Economies: Virus Update
U.S., China Plan Big Spending to Bolster Economies: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Global cases surpassed 8 million as Beijing shut some areas to contain a virus cluster. Data scientists predicted India’s numbers may surge after it abandoned a lockdown and New Zealand reported its first new cases since May 22.

China will sell 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of sovereign bonds to combat the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In the U.S., President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to spur the world’s largest economy back to life.

Harvard College will temporarily drop standardized testing for applicants, joining Ivy League peers Yale University, Columbia University and Dartmouth College. Meanwhile, Singapore became the first country to officially rule out contact-tracing technology jointly developed by Apple Inc. and Google.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: global cases surpass 8 million, deaths exceed 434,000
  • U.S. cases continue to rise, undermining reopening push
  • Shortage of safety supplies adds to U.S. reopening risks
  • A Tokyo survey showed a mere 0.1% of people have antibodies
  • Second U.K. vaccine to begin human testing
  • New York’s Chinatown is starting over, and it’s painful

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

Trump Team Weighs $1 Trillion for Infrastructure to Spur Economy (11:52 a.m. HK)

The Trump administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as part of its push to spur the world’s largest economy back to life, according to people familiar with the plan.

A preliminary version being prepared by the Department of Transportation would reserve most of the money for traditional infrastructure work, like roads and bridges, but would also set aside funds for 5G wireless infrastructure and rural broadband, the people said.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to discuss rural broadband access at a White House event on Thursday.

China Plans to Sell $140 Billion of Virus Bonds by End-July (10:29 a.m. HK)

China will sell 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of special sovereign bonds by the end of July, with the proceeds used to combat the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government will sell 700 billion yuan worth of 10-year bonds, 200 billion yuan of five-year notes and 100 billion yuan of seven-year debt, said the people, who asked not to be named as the matter is private. The sale will be on top of the sale of regular sovereign debt over the period.

The Ministry of Finance held an online meeting to set a schedule for selling the special on Monday afternoon, they added.

Singapore Rules Out Apple, Google’s Contact-Tracing System (10:15 a.m. HK)

Singapore said it won’t use a contact-tracing system jointly developed by Apple Inc. and Google to fight the coronavirus, opting instead for its own domestic technology.

The city-state becomes one of the first countries to officially rule out the Apple-Google software called Exposure Notification, which the Silicon Valley rivals unveiled in April in a rare collaboration. The system, which runs on iPhones and Android smartphones, enables users who test positive for Covid-19 to flag that data so others who they came into contact with over the previous few days can be notified.

After studying the technology, Singapore officials decided that they wanted a contact-tracing system with more detailed information and greater capability to sort through infection histories.

Only 0.1% of Tokyo Residents Have Virus Antibodies, Survey Shows (10:12 a.m. HK)

Only 0.1% of people in Tokyo tested positive for antibodies against the coronavirus, a survey conducted by Japan’s Health Ministry found, indicating the spread of the virus in the capital remains limited.

The survey of 1,971 participants suggests there are around 14,000 cases in Tokyo, compared to the more than 5,000 cases identified so far. The antibody results, which indicate exposure to the virus, are far lower than those seen in Western cities that became hot spots in the global pandemic.

A surveillance study carried out for the U.K. suggested 17% of Londoners had Covid-19 antibodies, based on results announced May 22, while on the same day in New York City, antibody tests found 20% of the population were positive.

Harvard Drops SAT, ACT Requirement for Next Year (10:10 a.m. HK)

Harvard College will temporarily drop the requirement for standardized testing for applicants, as the pandemic has restricted access to the SAT and ACT, it said in a statement Monday.

Ivy League peers Yale University, Columbia University and Dartmouth College are among other U.S. schools that have temporarily dropped the test requirements. A tally of higher-education testing policies shows that more than half of all four-year colleges won’t require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores for fall 2021 admission, according research released Monday by FairTest, a nonprofit that has led the “test optional” movement for 30 years.

Abandoning Lockdown, India’s Cases May Reach 800,000 in a Month (9:58 a.m. HK)

After giving up on a costly lockdown, India’s coronavirus outbreak is projected to nearly triple by July 15 to over 800,000 cases as its leaders tell citizens to ‘learn to live with the virus’, according to a forecast from a team of data scientists at the University of Michigan.

That would put India just below Brazil, the world’s second worst-hit country at present, and on track to surpass the Latin American country given its massive population of 1.3 billion people and the ongoing relaxation of containment measures.

New Zealand Reports Two New Cases of Covid-19, Both Imported (9:37 a.m. HK)

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said two new connected cases of Covid-19 resulted from recent travel from the U.K.

Moderna Expects Vaccine Efficacy Data by Thanksgiving (7:46 a.m. HK)

Efficacy data for Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine could be available by Thanksgiving in a best-case scenario, Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said. Thanksgiving is on Nov. 26 in the U.S.

Moderna’s vaccine is in second-stage trials, with final-stage trials set to begin next month on 30,000 people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration “might decide to give us emergency use approval for people at very high risk,” while the agency more carefully reviews the data before granting approval for a broader population, Bancel said.

Beijing Locks Down Seven Central Compounds (7:26 a.m. HK)

The lockdown in residential compounds in central Xicheng district, close to a market where a coronavirus case had been found, started 2 a.m. Tuesday, the district government said in a statement.

The infection in the Tiantao Honglian market is linked to a cluster of cases believed to have originated in Xinfadi market in Fengtai district.

United Airlines to Ban Passengers Who Refuse to Wear Masks (7:03 a.m. HK)

United Airlines said it it will strengthen mandatory mask policies by placing passengers who fail to comply on an internal travel restriction list.

Customers on the list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review. The mandatory mask policy is expected to remain in place for at least next 60 days.

One in Five People Seen at Risk of Severe Covid (6:47 a.m. HK)

One in five people worldwide have an underlying health condition that puts them at risk for a severe Covid-19 illness if they contract the virus, scientists found.

An estimated 1.7 billion people suffer from conditions ranging from type 2 diabetes to heart disease, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health. About 349 million of them would probably need to go to the hospital for treatment if they were infected, Andrew Clark, an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues found.

The researchers took risk factors highlighted in official guidelines, including heart disease and diabetes, and used broad epidemiology data such as the Global Burden of Diseases study to arrive at their estimates. Not everyone with an underlying condition would go on to develop severe symptoms, they said.

Texas Hospitalizations at Record; New Cases Slow (6 a.m. HK)

Texas set its fourth-consecutive record for people hospitalized with the virus, with the number rising to 2,326. New cases of the virus jumped by 1,254 to 89,108, the lowest increase in a week.

Tension between the state’s major cities and the governor’s office continues to grow as the outbreak gains momentum and local officials strive to slow down the reopening schedule pushed by Governor Greg Abbott. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced there would be no public Fourth of July celebration. Instead, the city will hold a virtual symphony concert, and a 15-minute fireworks display near the city center.

Miami-Area Mayors Won’t Restart Lockdowns (5:45 a.m. HK)

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he was watching indicators of a recent uptick in cases, but he doesn’t plan to reinstate lockdowns or otherwise roll back reopenings of Florida’s biggest county.

His remarks follow those made earlier Monday by the Miami and Miami Beach mayors who also aren’t planning to reverse their reopenings. Both cities are in Gimenez’s county.

Second U.K. Vaccine to Begin Human Testing (5 a.m. HK)

A second experimental Covid-19 vaccine from the U.K. is starting tests in humans this week, relying on cutting-edge technology that scientists hope will allow hundreds of millions of doses to be produced quickly.

Imperial College London’s vaccine is backed by 41 million pounds ($52 million) in U.K. funding along with another 5 million pounds of donations, including contributions from the public, the government said on Monday. The work is based on technology called self-amplifying RNA. If the vaccine yields a promising immune response, larger trials would begin later in the year with about 6,000 volunteers.

California Governor Says Trends Remain Stable (4:50 a.m. HK)

As confirmed infections continue to climb in California, the hospitalization, ICU and positive test rates remain stable, suggesting that reopenings can proceed even as the state is “by no stretch of the imagination out of the woods,” Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press briefing.

“There was some sense that the hospitalization numbers would begin to increase,” Newsom said, discussing the increased socialization upon the state’s initial reopening on May 8 and Memorial Day weekend. “The trend line remains remarkably stable.”

San Francisco, which has had some of the state’s tightest restrictions, said Monday it would initiate another phase of its reopening, allowing indoor retail with restrictions for malls, small outdoor gatherings and professional sports with no in-person spectators.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.9% (4 a.m. HK)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 19,244 from the same time Sunday to 2.1 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 0.9% increase was lower than the average daily increase of 1.1% over past seven days. Deaths rose 0.3% to 115,896.

  • Cases in Arizona, where concern is rising about a new wave, rose 2.8% to 36,719, according to the data.
  • Florida reported 77,326 cases, up 2.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.4% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 2,938, an increase of 0.2%.
  • New Jersey’s death toll rose by 52 to 12,676, while new cases increased by 274 to 167,103, a 0.1% rise that was less than the 0.2% increase of the prior seven-day average.
  • California cases rose 1.7% to 151,452, compared with an average increase of 2.1% in the past seven days, according to the state’s website. Deaths rose 0.5% to 5,089.
  • Texas cases climbed 1.4%, less than the seven-day average of a 2.3% increase.

Toronto Under Lockdown as Ontario Reopens (4 a.m. HK)

Canada’s financial capital will remain under partial lockdown as Ontario gradually reopens other regions of its province after months of Covid-19 restrictions.

Niagara and Hamilton are among areas that will be allowed to reopen businesses ranging from hair salons to shopping malls, swimming pools and outdoor dining on patios as of Friday, Premier Doug Ford said Monday.

With new infections still too high, Toronto, Peel and the city of Windsor, just across the border from Detroit, are not part of the second phase in the province’s three-stage restart.

Ten Nations Account for Most New Cases: WHO (1 a.m. HK)

In the past two weeks, countries have reported more than 100,000 new cases almost every day, and 75% are coming from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said at a briefing in Geneva. That means every day there’s more cases reported than during the first two months of the outbreak. There are many hot spots in Latin America, and cases are also increasing in Africa, the Mideast and Central Europe.

A cluster of cases in Beijing is a concern because the city had gone 50 days without reporting any infections, said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. The WHO expects China to share genome sequencing data on that outbreak soon, as it has with other data, Ryan said. Covid-19 technical leader Maria Van Kerkhove said she is making a plea for all countries to share more genome sequence data.

N.Y. Cases Declining as State Reopens (12:44 a.m. HK)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday called on local governments to enforce social-distancing guidelines as the state reopens. If numbers start to go up again in certain areas of the state, those regions will have to take a step back, he said at his daily briefing.

Hospitalizations in the state declined by nearly 50 to 1,608 as of Sunday, and there were 25 virus-related fatalities on Sunday, according to state data. At one point, the daily number of deaths was almost 800.

The state is adjusting reopening guidelines, allowing regions in phase 3 to have gatherings of up to 25 people instead of just 10, because the number of positive cases remains so low, Cuomo said. Western New York will start phase three of reopening on Tuesday, and the capital region will do so on Wednesday.