Deaths decline for 5th day
Japan extends state of emergency
Spanish opposition threatens to torpedo vote to extend lockdown
Cali gov says businesses can begin “limited” reopening as soon as Thursday
European clinical trial “Project Discovery” results to be released May 14
NY reports uptick in deaths, still lower than last week’s average
UK reports drop in new cases, deaths
Macron warns European borders may remain closed until September
Florida becomes latest state to reopen much of economy on Monday
Italy, Spain and other European and Asian economies are also reopening
Iran to allow Friday prayers
UK defense secretary says China owes the world ‘an explanation’
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Update (1530ET): Monday’s coronavirus data out of the UK was pretty solid.
As of 9am 4 May, there have been 1,291,591 tests, with 85,186 tests on 3 May.
945,299 people have been tested of which 190,584 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 3 May, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 28,734 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/5KhmQy9k9W
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 4, 2020
Here are the highlights.
Good news from the UK:
– Number of new cases down
– Number of new deaths down
– Number of new people tested up
— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) May 4, 2020
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Update (1530ET): Apparently, the NYT’s fearmongering efforts (which we mentioned below and also wrote about here) haven’t dissuaded the progressive governor of California, who will allow some retail businesses to begin a “limited” reopening as soon as Thursday.
- CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR SAYS SOME RETAIL BUSINESSES MAY BEGIN LIMITED REOPENING AS EARLY AS THURSDAY
That’s quite the 180 from last week, when he refused to even give an expected date for when limited reopenings might begin. The difference? Some counties are starting to consider flouting state-wide rules and moving ahead on their own. And then there’s the federal bailout money.
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Update (1520ET): California Gov. Gavin Newsom has started his daily press briefing by announcing a new testing record for his state of 30,000 tests run in a single day.
TUNE IN NOW. https://t.co/NyM7l2DOXS
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 4, 2020
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Update (1205ET): As expected, Andrew Cuomo said during his press briefing on Monday that areas of the state with few cases of the virus and even fewer deaths should start preparing “now” for what’s expected to be a May 15 reopening.
- CUOMO: URGES N.Y. REGIONS TO START PREPARING NOW FOR MAY 15
- CUOMO: STARTING MAY 15 REGIONS CAN DO OWN REOPENING ANALYSIS
This, as the NYT publishes “internal projections” from the CDC calling for average daily US deaths to accelerate to 3,000 a day by June 1. However, most of the hardest hit states are seeing cases and deaths decline, while some states are seeing a slight acceleration. Overall US mortality has plateaued. According to the CDC’s own coronavirus weekly summary, “nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) declined again this week. They have been below the national baseline for two weeks but remain elevated in the northeastern and northwestern part of the country. Levels of laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 activity remained similar or decreased compared to last week.”
The NYT reported that the White House continues to expect up to 3,000 deaths a day in June while Trump continues to ‘press’ for states to reopen.
The report also claimed the projections “confirm” public health experts “primary fear” that a premature reopening will instigate a rebound putting us right back where we were in March.
As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, nearly double from the current level of about 1,750.
The projections, based on modeling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pulled together in chart form by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases now.
The numbers underscore a sobering reality: While the United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks, not much has changed. And the reopening to the economy will make matters worse.
“There remains a large number of counties whose burden continues to grow,” the C.D.C. warned.
The projections confirm the primary fear of public health experts: that a reopening of the economy will put the nation right back where it was in mid-March, when cases were rising so rapidly in some parts of the country that patients were dying on gurneys in hospital hallways as the health care system grew overloaded.
But even states that have pressed ahead with reopening aren’t seeing anywhere near the activity they saw as recently as mid-March, just as the stay-at-home orders and lockdowns were beginning.
Trump smartly stopped egging on protesters and pushing states to reopen before federal guidelines say it’s acceptable. But at this point, the notion that these projections represent anything more than a “worst case” scenario for the CDC seems far-fetched.
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Update (1140ET): Andrew Cuomo is beginning is daily press briefing by announcing a slight uptick in the daily death toll (off its lowest level in more than a month) and a continued drop in hospitalizations.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 4, 2020
The pace of deaths in New York State climbed 1.2% yesterday (according to the data released Monday); that’s compared with an average jump of 1.3% last week.
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Update (1055ET): French President Emmanuel Macron just announced that the results of “Project Discovery”, a massive pan-European trial to try to find a coronavirus cure, will be released in a couple of weeks. He also said he believes the borders of the Schengen area will be shut until September.
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Update (1030ET): As WSJ reports, Florida joined the ranks of US states easing restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak, while Italy allowed factories to reopen along with more stores while allowing Italians to visit relatives.
The first phase of Florida’s reopening plan calls for restaurants and shops in most parts of the state – with the notable exception of a few counties in South Florida – to operate at 25% of their indoor capacity starting Monday. Schools, bars, gyms and salons will remain closed.
Even in parts of the US where restrictions likely won’t start to be lifted for a couple more weeks or longer, local officials are starting to draw up plans to move even faster than their governors might ideally like. As WSJ points out, two California counties, Sutter and Yuba, have said some businesses including salons, spas and tattoo parlors can open Monday under “modified” guidelines.
As we mentioned earlier, most Italians were allowed to see family members for the first time in almost two months on Monday. They were also allowed to restart exercising in parks, while also being permitted to enter restaurants to pick up takeout (like they say, it’s the little things that count).
After allowing children to play outside for the first time last week, Spain permitted hairdressers, beauty salons and small shops to open by appointment only on Monday.
Greece, Belgium, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand also lifted some restrictions, allowing certain businesses and government offices to reopen after weeks of closure. German students in their final year of school were allowed to return to their classrooms.
France, which is being extremely cautious and slow with lifting its lockdown, is stretching that out even further. The country’s Labor Minister said people who can should work from home until at least mid-summer.
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As most of the US and most of Europe start yet another week under lockdown, the FT reports that the rate of global coronavirus deaths slowed for the fifth straight day: The worldwide single-day total of deaths reported yesterday (typically, those deaths occurred during the prior 24 hour period) hit 3,481, falling for the fifth day in a row.
Sunday’s total represents the smallest daily increase in deaths since the end of March, reflecting trends seen in New York, the UK, Italy and elsewhere on Sunday.
Globally, the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed by 82,260 yesterday, the biggest spike on a Sunday since the pandemic began. It brought the total number of ‘confirmed’ infections to 3.4 million, with hundreds of thousands more potentially left uncounted.
The US suffered an additional 1,158 deaths to push the total there to 61,760. This is the lowest daily figure since April 6, though the US still accounts for a third of all daily fatalities.
Meanwhile, in Japan, PM Shinzo Abe has made it official.
As was widely expected, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe officially extended Japan’s nationwide state of emergency – which had been due to expire on Wednesday – through May 31.
While Japan has escaped the massive death tolls seen in Europe and the US, the number of confirmed cases has exploded over the last month, a sign that the world’s third-largest economy is still struggling with the first wave of the virus, which has now burrowed deep into Japanese society, according to Nikkei.
While Tokyo hasn’t been devastated by the virus on the level of NYC or Wuhan, the spike in infections has left hospital systems strained around the country.
“Nearly one more month is needed to improve the medical system, which has been stretched thin,” Abe told reporters at a news conference on Monday evening. “The reduction of new infections has still not attained the necessary level.”
Abe promised that a panel would examine the effectiveness of the state of emergency, and if allowable, would order it to be lifted before the May 31 deadline if enough progress has been made.
While Japan ramps up its restrictions, Spain is heading for a political confrontation over its lockdown – possibly the most restrictive in Europe – as the death toll lingers near its lowest point since the outbreak began.
It had been taken as a given that PM Pedro Sanchez would manage to win the votes for a planned two-week extension of the lockdown. However, the main leader of the opposition in the Spanish Parliament – a lawmaker named Pablo Casado – claims his People’s Party (a center-right party) plans to vote against the extension, which gives Sanchez extraordinary power to rule by decree.
Sanchez argues that the lockdown must be lifted gradually to guarantee that the progress the country has made will be protected: According to health ministry figures released on Monday, the daily death toll remained at 164 for the second consecutive day, the lowest level since March 18, when the lockdown was just 3 days old.
Iran is set to hold Friday prayers this week and has re-opened mosques in a handful of towns believed to pose a low risk to public health after about two months of closure. Though the reopenings come with rules: Worshippers can spend a maximum of half an hour in mosques and have to wear face masks and gloves.
Iran’s death toll reached 6,277 on Monday, up from 6,203 a day before. A total of 98,647 individuals have now tested positive.
Last night, a US intel leak appeared to confirm what many China hawks had already suspected: That China withheld information – like the confirmation of human-to-human transmission – and used the time to hoard PPE and other medical supplies, which would explain the inexplicable global shortage that seemed to already be in place by the time American buyers started finding that warehouses had already been mysteriously emptied.
Now, as the UK reconsiders its decision to allow telelcoms components manufactured by Huawei to be used as part of its 5G network, the British Defense Minister said Monday that China has some explaining to do about the US report cited above – though he added that there would be time for an inquiry after all of this is over.