Virus Outbreak: News and Analysis From Aug. 31

Virus Outbreak: News and Analysis From Aug. 31


The Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas, Nevada wears a mask on Aug. 29.

Photographer: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

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Covid-19 infections worldwide surpassed 25 million, as India set a global record for daily cases and the U.S. tally approached the 6 million mark amid outbreaks on college campuses.

Indonesia saw infections spike over the weekend, while an outbreak in South Korea showed signs of easing. The U.K. added the most cases since early June amid slumping approval ratings for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

New Zealand’s largest city exited lockdown after the government said the outbreak there has been brought under control. Hong Kong has embarked on the world’s biggest experiment in voluntary testing, with more than 300,000 people already signed up for the free tests.

Key Developments:

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U.S. vs. Europe Cases

Korea Has 248 More Cases, Smallest Gain in 2 Weeks (8:40 a.m. HK)

South Korea added 248 more coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, down from 299 a day earlier and the fewest daily infections in two weeks. South Korea is seeing cases ease after a recent spike raises worries of another wave that could undermine the country’s ability to manage the pandemic. The government last week announced stricter social distancing measures for Seoul.

Jobless Surge in Australia Hotspot Sparks Tensions (7:59 a.m. HK)

The coronavirus lockdown in Australia’s Victoria state caused an immediate slump in consumer spending and a surge in job losses this month, prompting the federal government to call for the leader of the second-most populous state to announce a plan to reopen the economy.

“This has to be the biggest public policy failure by a state government in living memory,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

South Korea Preparing Steps to Help Economy: Maeil (7:48 a.m. HK)

South Korea’s finance ministry is preparing extra steps to help small businesses including restaurants and coffee shops that have been impacted by strengthened social distancing measures amid the coronavirus resurgence, Maeil Business Newspaper reported, citing the ministry. The government is likely to release measures worth 2 trillion to 3 trillion won ($1.7 billion to $2.5 billion) by early or mid-September, the report said.

Auckland Exits Lockdown as N.Z. Controls Outbreak (7:29 a.m. HK)

New Zealand’s largest city has exited lockdown after the government said a Covid-19 outbreak there has been brought under control and it remains on track to again eliminate the virus from the community.

Auckland schools and customer-facing businesses re-opened on Monday and a ban on traveling out of the city was lifted, almost three weeks after the outbreak prompted the reintroduction of restrictions. Social distancing requirements remain in place for the whole country under level 2 restrictions and everyone from the age of 12 is now required to wear a mask on public transport.

Brazil’s New Cases Decline (6:45 a.m. HK)

Brazil recorded 16,158 new cases, the fourth consecutive decline in daily numbers, according to the Health Ministry. Cumulative cases rose to 3,862,311, though the weekly total has declined for the last two weeks.

Deaths increased 366 in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total to 120,828.

Texas Cases Rise by 0.6% (4:15 p.m. NY)

Cases in Texas climbed 0.6% to 610,354, the Department of State Health Services said on its website. The state reported 90 additional deaths, raising the toll to 12,510.

While the rolling seven-day average of positive Covid-19 tests was little changed at 12.2%, the number of patients hospitalized for the infection declined for a 12th consecutive day, according to the state data.

California Has Most Cases in a Week (2:05 p.m. NY)

California reported 6,070 new virus cases on Sunday, the most in a week and more than the 14-day average of 5,596. There have been 699,909 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, according to the health department’s website. The number of deaths climbed by 71 to 12,905.

Florida Cases Slow, Deaths Rise (1 p.m. NY)

Florida reported 621,586 cumulative cases on Sunday, a 0.4% rise compared with an average daily increase of 0.5% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 11,119, an increase of 162, more than the 148 reported the previous day, according to the state health department report, which includes data through Saturday.

FDA Head Pledges Transparent Vaccine Review (12:35 p.m. NY)

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration promised that the review of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. will be transparent to the public, with any clearance by the agency driven by data alone.

“We’ve said all along we’re not going to pre-judge what mechanism we’re going to use to authorize or approve a vaccine,” Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in an interview. “We’re going to let the data dictate that.”

Hahn apologized last week for overstating the benefits of blood plasma-based therapy during a news conference with President Donald Trump.

New York Outbreaks Hit Buffalo, SUNY (12:30 p.m. NY)

Western New York state is seeing an outbreak of Covid-19 cases. Buffalo, a city of about 250,000 on the Canadian border, reported an infection rate of 5.5% yesterday, compared with the statewide rate of 0.69%, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on a call with reporters on Sunday.

The State University of New York’s Oneonta campus is suspending in-person instruction for two weeks after several large parties led to an outbreak. As of Sunday morning, 105 people are confirmed positive, representing about 3% of student and faculty on the campus, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said.

New York state new cases rose 0.2% yesterday, slightly above seven-day average of 0.1%.

Arizona Cases, Deaths Slow (11:55 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 374 cases Sunday, a 0.2% rise compared with the average 0.3% daily increase of the previous seven days. Total cases are now 201,661.

The state’s overall improvement from the Sun Belt’s summer spike was also reflected in the number of fatalities, with 23 reported on Sunday, down from 29 the previous day and the fourth day below 50. Total deaths are now 5,030.

Russian Cases Rise the Most in Two Weeks (11:15 NY)

Russia reported 4,980 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, of which 695 were in Moscow. That was the biggest daily rise in about two weeks. There were 68 new deaths.

U.K. Cases Highest Since June (11 a.m. NY)

Cases in the U.K. rose by 1,715, the most since June 4 and well above the previous seven-day average of 1,164. That brings the total to 334,467. Just one person died from the virus, according to government figures reported Sunday.

German Anti-Virus Protests Continue (10:10 a.m. NY)

Protests against the German government’s coronavirus policies continued on Sunday, a day after demonstrations ended in clashes with the police. Leading German politicians expressed shock at far-right protesters breaking through fences and broke through to the stairs leading up to the Reichstag building in Berlin, which hosts the federal parliament.

Colleges Told to Keep Students on Campus (9 a.m. NY)

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