FDA Approves Regeneron Cocktail; California Record: Virus Update

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. for Covid-19 treatment. California reported record infections for the second consecutive day as total U.S. cases surpassed 12 million.

Australia’s Victoria state announced a further easing of restrictions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention escalated its warning against traveling on cruise ships to the highest level. Cases and deaths slowed in the U.K. and Italy, while New Jersey broke a record.

President Donald Trump stayed quiet on sharing U.S.-made vaccines as leaders of the world’s richest countries pushed for equality in the race to vaccinate people against the coronavirus.

  • Global Tracker: Cases reach 58 million; deaths 1.4 million
  • Regeneron gets emergency U.S. clearancefor Covid-19 therapy
  • Virus surge threatens newfound U.S. corporate profit optimism
  • Mass Covid vaccination gets a dry run in a Louisiana parking lot
  • Pfizer’s Covid vaccine still faces hurdles after FDA filing Friday
  • One in five U.S. hospitals face staffing crisis within a week
  • Vaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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U.S. Added 177,552 Cases on Saturday (1:30 p.m. HK)

The U.S. saw 177,552 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from sources including Johns Hopkins University. That compares to a figure of 195,690 new infections on Friday as California and Ohio were among states to post new highs.

More than 12 million people in the U.S. have now been infected.

More Curbs Expected in Los Angeles (11:55 a.m. HK)

More curbs are expected in the Greater Los Angeles Area after the number of infections there increased by 4,522, bringing the total number of new cases over the last four days to 17,769. Outdoor dining may be restricted if the five-day average for cases exceeds 4,000, or hospitalizations of more than 1,750 a day, the county’s health department said. When the case average is more than 4,500 or hospitalizations surpass 2,000, a stay-home order will be imposed for three weeks, it added.

Japan to Soon Announce Details on Travel Campaign Suspension (10:20 a.m. HK)

Japan will finalize details over the coming few days on how it will partially suspend a campaign designed to spur domestic traveling, the economy minister said.

“We will set a direction in a matter of a few days, and then act in coordination” with municipal governments, Yasutoshi Nishimura said on a NHK talk show. “We can’t afford to wait for a week or two.”

FDA Approves Regeneron Antibody Cocktail (9:30 a.m. HK)

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s antibody cocktail received an emergency use authorization from U.S. drug regulators for treatment of early Covid-19 symptoms, adding to the expanding arsenal of therapies available to physicians.

The treatment, administered to President Donald Trump after he contracted the coronavirus in October, consists of two monoclonal antibodies that target the spike protein used by the virus to enter cells. Trump was treated with the drug based on a compassionate-use request by his doctors.

“In a clinical trial of patients with Covid-19, casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together, were shown to reduce Covid-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo,” the FDA said.

Regeneron said on Twitter an initial supply to treat about 300,000 patients would be allocated by the U.S. government.

Australian States Ease Restrictions (9:00 a.m. HK )

The Australian state that’s been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic announced a further easing of restrictions after recording no new infections for 23 consecutive days.

It will no longer be compulsory for people in Victoria to wear masks when outdoors, though it remains mandatory in public indoor venues. The state’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new rules that will apply from Monday, just over two weeks after removing a strict three-month lockdown on Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

South Korea Confirms 330 Cases (8:30 a.m. HK)

South Korea confirmed 330 more coronavirus cases bringing the total number to 30,733.

China Reports Three New Local Cases (8:20 a.m. HK)

China reported three new local coronavirus cases on Saturday, one in Shanghai and two in Inner Mongolia. Shanghai city reported one local case on Saturday, after testing 15,416 people following two new ones on Friday. Local authorities said at a press conference Saturday that the two local cases are a married couple – the husband is an airport cargo security inspector and the wife is a nurse.

Brazil Cases, Deaths Rebound for Second Week (7:31 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 32,622 new cases, at the end of the second straight week of rising infections and fatalities, according to the Health Ministry website. The virus’s spread in Brazil, which has the most cases after the U.S. and India, had been weakening for roughly two months. The nation has more than 6 million cases and almost 170,000 deaths with 376 more reported on Saturday.

President Jair Bolsonaro said at the virtual G-20 summit on Saturday that it was up to each individual to decide whether to be vaccinated, and that the pandemic should not justify any attacks on personal freedom.

Oregon Breaks Record for Second Straight Day (7:12 a.m. HK)

Oregon reported 1,509 new infections, breaking a record for the second consecutive day. A two-week “freeze” ordered by Governor Kate Brown went into effect Wednesday, limiting social gatherings, restricting restaurants to takeout and closing gyms, museums and other indoor facilities.

England Set for Tougher Virus Tiers When Lockdown Ends (5:36 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm the end of the national lockdown in England on Dec. 2 and reintroduction of the tier system when he announces the U.K.’s Covid winter plan in Parliament on Monday.

The plan is set to be discussed and signed off by his Cabinet on Sunday, according to an emailed statement from the prime minister’s press office. It will include guidelines for family visits over Christmas, “despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period.”

The rate of growth in infections in the U.K. is slowing, according to latest data. Still, more than 2,800 people have died in the past week and total cases are approaching 1.5 million after surging 50% this month.

CDC Advises Against Cruise Ship Travel (5:08 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has escalated its warning for cruise travel to the highest level and continued to recommend avoiding any trips on cruise ships worldwide.

The agency raised its warning to Level 4 from Level 3, citing “very high” risk of Covid-19 on cruise ships. Passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of Covid-19 and should get tested and stay home for at least seven days after travel, according to its website.

New York Daily Cases Approach 6,000 (4:47 p.m. NY)

New York reported 5,972 cases, the fifth straight day over 5,000 and the most since April, when the state was the nation’s early epicenter of the virus. While cases have risen rapidly in the last several weeks, the state’s overall positive test rate is 2.9%. That is among the lowest in the nation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set restrictions on a growing list of “micro-clusters” around New York City and upstate, with positive rates as high as 10%. Overall positivity of those clusters is 4.3%, he said in a press release.

California Reports Record Cases Again (4:05 p.m. NY)

California added 15,442 new coronavirus cases, hitting a new high as the state’s nighttime curfew kicks in Saturday night.

The new cases topped Friday’s record of 13,005 infections, bringing the total to almost 1.1 million. The number of deaths increased by 86 to 18,643, state data showed. The increased patient load left California’s hospitals with just 1,921 intensive-case unit beds available, near the low in July.

A 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will be imposed in most counties for a month to ease the rate of infection.

Portugal to Limit Travel Over Next Two Weeks (2:49 p.m. NY)

Portugal will limit movement between municipalities on Nov. 28-Dec. 1 and Dec. 5-8, two periods that include weekends and national holidays on each following Tuesday.

The number of daily new infections continues to be “worrying,” even if the pace of growth has decelerated, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference in Lisbon.

France’s Pace of New Cases Lowest in Month (2:44 p.m. NY)

France’s virus cases rose by 17,881 to 2.13 million on Saturday, with the pace of new infections continuing the slowdown of the past two weeks. The seven-day average of new cases fell to 24,636 cases, the lowest in a month and less than half the pace two weeks ago.

Trump Stays Mum on Sharing Vaccines (1:14 p.m. NY)

Leaders of the world’s richest countries pushed for equality in the race to vaccinate people against the coronavirus, while Trump stayed quiet on sharing U.S.-made vaccines with other nations.

The battle to counter the pandemic dominated the first day of a virtual summit of Group of 20 nations on Saturday, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

NYC Still Above Rate for Closed Schools (1:01 p.m. NY)

New York City’s positive Covid-19 test rate remains above the 3% threshold that led to a shutdown of in-person schools on Nov. 19.

The latest seven-day average is 3.11%. The city reported a seven-day average of 1,345 new cases, the highest since May. At the height of the city’s outbreak earlier this year, more than 6,300 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in one day.

Schools are shut for at least two weeks. Indoor dining and other nonessential, “high-risk” businesses may be shut in early December if the city’s positivity continues to increase, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Nov. 20.

New Jersey Hits Record, Passes 300,000 Cases (12:51 p.m. NY)

New Jersey reported a record 4,679 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to more than 300,000 since the start of the outbreak in March.

The state has reported more than 60,000 cases this month amid a resurgence. Hospitalizations have more than doubled since Nov. 1, to 2,552 as of Nov. 20. New Jersey has 486 patients in intensive care, up from 212 on Nov. 1.

Greece Reports Death Record for Second Day (12:40 p.m. NY)

Greece reported 108 more deaths, a second straight record increase, and intensive-care units in Greek hospitals are 82% occupied. Plans to begin a gradual lifting of nation-wide lockdown restrictions on Dec. 1 are no longer realistic, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Friday.

New U.K. Cases Below 20,000 (11:23 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported fewer than 20,000 new cases for the second time this week. Another 19,875 infections were reported on Saturday, below the average of 22,287 over the previous seven days. Cases have risen 50% this month to almost 1.5 million. The 341 deaths compare with the daily average of 426 this week.

Italy Cases, Deaths Slow (11:12 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 34,767 new cases Saturday, down from 37,242 a day earlier. Daily deaths fell to 692 from 699 on Friday.

Spain to Start Vaccinations in January (9:10 a.m. NY)

Spain’s campaign to vaccinate its population against Covid-19 will begin in January and will be voluntary, El Confidencial reported, citing Health Minister Salvador Illa.

Spain expects to vaccinate about half its people by May, Illa said. The government plans to reveal further details of its vaccination strategy on Nov. 24.

U.S. Death Rate Continues to Rise (8:21 a.m. NY)

The U.S. reported 1,870 fatalities on Friday, in a week in which the death rate rapidly rose, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The daily average over the last week is now 1,440, compared with 1,177 the week before. That’s the highest level since last spring, when the outbreak in New York and the northeast pushed fatalities to a daily peak of more than 2,600 in late April.

Poland Reopens Malls, Keeps Schools Shut (6:30 a.m. NY)

Poland will allow shopping malls to reopen, while keeping restaurants, cinemas and schools closed as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked for patience until a vaccine arrives.

Poland introduced a near-full lockdown earlier this month after infections surged in October, with daily deaths climbing to a record 637 earlier this week. Schools will remain closed until at least mid-January, while gyms, cinemas, theaters and restaurants won’t reopen before Dec. 27.

Hungary Posts Record Deaths as Infections Plateau (4:50 p.m. HK)

Hungary reported a record 121 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, though the number of hospitalized patients and new infections showed signs of leveling off. Hungarian authorities have been bracing for a further deterioration in the pandemic through mid-December.

Germany Adds 23,000 New Cases as Infections Top 900,000 (3:40 p.m. HK)

Germany added nearly 23,000 new coronavirus infections as of Saturday morning, lifting the total above 900,000.

The regions of Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony have posted the highest infection rates recently and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has “risen sharply” since mid-October, the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute said. Germany is already in a partial lockdown that may be extended well into next month, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

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