Texas Daily Cases Soar; Australia in Vaccine Pacts: Virus Update

European nations are imposing more measures to battle the resurgent coronavirus, with Greece nearing a lockdown and Italy enactingcurbs in Milan and Turin. Belgium reported record hospital admissions, Austrian infections hit a daily high and France has the most intensive-care usage since April.

Denmark said it found anew strain of Covid-19 that might hamper efforts to develop a vaccine. A U.K. official said the government isstruggling to stock up on supplies of a shot being developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University.

The virus continued its surge across America. Wisconsin reported record infections and a top health official said hospitals are nearing capacity. New Jersey’s new cases reached a five-month high, while Texas had the most daily infections since August.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 47.9 million; deaths top 1.22 million
  • Caution arises on rapid tests inasymptomatic people
  • Johnson wins lockdownapproval after warning of soaring U.K. deaths
  • New lockdown probably meansBOE unanimity on QE extension
  • Vaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart in hopeful sign

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

91,530 in U.S.Most new cases today

+0% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​9629 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

4.​7% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), Sept.


Australia Signs Vaccine Pacts (5:43 p.m. NY)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government has reached agreements for Novavax Inc. to supply 40 million vaccine doses and a Pfizer/BioNTech partnership to provide 10 million vaccine doses.

The agreements mean that Australia has now secured access to four Covid-19 vaccines and more than 134 million doses, with total investment of A$3.2 billion ($2.3 billion).

Texas Cases Surge by Most in Three Months (5:15 pm ET)

Texas recorded more than 9,000 new cases in a 24-hour period, the steepest daily increase since Aug. 4, according to state health department figures. The jump pushed the cumulative total to 926,400. More than 18,000 Texans have perished from the virus.

Statewide, hospitalizations hovered just below 6,000 -- an 84% surge in the past month, the data showed. The strain on medical centers and emergency field hospitals continues to worsen in the hotspots of El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo and Laredo.

Wisconsin in ‘Crisis’ as Hospitals Fill (5 p.m. NY)

Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly across the U.S. Midwest, resulting in rising infection rates and increased stress on medical services.

Wisconsin recorded a record 5,935 new cases on Wednesday. Neighboring Illinois reported 7,538 infections within the last 24 hours. And Iowa reported the fourth-highest number of cases per 100,000 residents in the last week, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

“Hospitals are at or near capacity and their options are limited when it comes to the need for more beds and admissions,” Andrea Palm, secretary designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, told reporters on Wednesday. “We are in a crisis in this state.”

Italy Targets Milan, Turin in Clampdown (4 p.m. NY)

Italy targeted the financial capital of Milan and key industrial hubs in the north with a set of tough new restrictions. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that the northern region of Lombardy around Milan, as well as Piedmont and its capital Turin, fall into the country’s highest-risk zones. That will trigger measures restricting people to the cities and towns where they live starting Friday.

Unlike last spring’s national lockdown, industrial operations will remain open even in the worst-hit zones in an attempt to shield the economy. The new decree runs from Friday to Dec. 3, with the toughest restrictions imposed for a period of at least 15 days.

French ICU Use at Highest Since April (3:20 p.m. NY)

France reported a an additional 385 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, while the use rate of intensive-care unit beds reached the highest level since late April.

Confirmed infections increased by 40,558 to 1.54 million, French health authorities reported. The seven-day average of new cases, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, rose to 44,027.

Colorado Warns Residents on Holiday Plans (2:52 p.m. NY)

Colorado is on course to exceed intensive-care unit bed capacity at Christmas time, state health officials said Wednesday, warning residents to tone down holiday plans. “Don’t travel,” Jon Samet, dean of the Colorado School School of Public Health, said during a news briefing.

Hospitalizations are projected to set a record in several days with Denver and neighboring Adams County one level below “stay at home” restrictions and transmission rates rising across all age groups statewide.

Colorado’s current case count is the highest since the start of the pandemic, said Rachael Herlihy, state epidemiologist. She urged residents to “double down” on social distancing.

Greece Heads Toward Lockdown (2 p.m. NY)

Greece is heading to a national lockdown after reporting Wednesday 2,646 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a second-straight daily record increase. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with medical advisers Wednesday and will make announcements Thursday on national TV on confronting the virus.

Experts advised the government to impose a national lockdown for 30 days and the premier will “take health experts’ proposals into account,” Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias said in an interview with ANT1 TV. Greece also reported 18 more deaths in the past 24 hours, while the occupancy rate of intensive-care units stands at 63%.

N.J. Cases Reach Five-Month High (1:30 p.m. NY)

New Jersey reported almost 2,500 new cases, the most in five months. Hospitalizations also jumped, to 1,213, the most since June 23.

Essex County, which includes hard-hit Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, reported the most new cases, 356. Two other counties had more than 200.

Governor Phil Murphy has held off on reopening more of the economy, including indoor dining, amid a resurgence of cases in recent weeks.

NYC Hospitalizations ‘Cause for Concern’ (12:01 p.m. NY)

New York City’s total of people admitted to hospitals with Covid-like symptoms jumped to 114 as of Nov. 2, a 37% increase over the previous day, causing increased concern, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Although only 26% of those hospitalizations that day have so far been confirmed to be infected with the virus, the seven-day average of newly diagnosed cases also increased, to 628 from 605 the previous day.

The increased hospitalizations and new cases “worries me; we’re keeping a close eye on that,” de Blasio said. The city’s 1.74% seven-day average of positive test results indicated stabilization in that data, which has hovered between 1.5% and 2%. He described that level as “something we can handle for now but not for the long term.”

U.K. Records Almost 500 New Deaths (11:15 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported 492 additional deaths from coronavirus within 28 days of a positive test on Wednesday, the highest daily increase since its second surge in the disease.

MPs on Wednesday approved new measures to control the spread of the disease in England, but Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said those restrictions will take some time to have an impact.

“Sadly we know that the trend in deaths will continue to rise over the next few weeks,” Doyle said in an emailed statement.

Bulgarian Premier Cites Own Illness in Rejecting Lockdown (11:18 a.m. NY)

Bulgaria’s prime minister isn’t planning a nationwide lockdown despite a record numbers of new coronavirus cases, saying his own experience with the disease shows it can be beaten.

Boyko Borissov, who is at home after catching the virus last month, kept social-distancing restrictions to a minimum until two weeks ago despite a resurgence in the virus across Europe.

“The country won’t be closed, quite the opposite -- now I feel more certain as a leader than ever,” Borissov said in a video on Facebook Wednesday. “I’m strong, I feel confident enough to convince the people to overcome the virus.”

Kenya Suspends Political Rallies (10:52 a.m. NY)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended political rallies as part of measures to curb the coronavirus, after a surge in cases followed easing of restrictions in September.

The decision to ban big political gatherings for 60 days comes as leaders jostle to mobilize supporters for a potential referendum next year, in which Kenya’s government could be restructured.

The East African nation has 58,587 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,051 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry. Of those, about 15,000 new infections and 300 deaths were recorded in the past month alone.

Denmark Finds New Strain in Minks (10:47 a.m. NY)

Denmark has found anew strain of Covid-19 after an outbreak in the country’s mink population led to a mutation of the virus that might hamper efforts to develop a vaccine.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said “there is a risk that the effect of a future vaccine will be weakened or, in a worst case scenario, be undermined,” during a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.

Her government has passed on the information to the World Health Organization, and now plans to cull Denmark’s entire mink population. According to Kopenhagen Fur, an auction house owned by Denmark’s mink breeders, 16 million animals are raised each year.

Ukraine Nears Limit of Treatment Capacity (8:51 a.m. NY)

Ukraine reported 9,524 new cases on Wednesday, along with 199 new deaths. That breached the benchmark of 9,000 daily infections for the first time, the level that Unicef previously estimated would stretch the country’s hospital capacity to the maximum.

“The situation is quickly changing from difficult to catastrophic,” Health Minister Maksym Stepanov told lawmakers in Kyiv this week. “It is impossible to pass the next wave lightly. No matter how quickly we add hospital beds, the coronavirus spreads faster.”

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel, Stephen Joyce, and Joe Carroll

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