(Bloomberg) — Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine was cleared by U.S. regulators, the second vaccine to gain emergency authorization this month as a historic mass immunization effort ramps up across the country.
India’s coronavirus infections crossed the 10-million mark, despite a recent easing in the number of new cases as the country awaits vaccine approvals to tame the world’s second worst outbreak.
Tennis players competing in the Feb. 8 to 21 Australian Open, the first grand slam for 2021, will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine in Victoria, according to an official.
- Global Tracker: Cases pass 75.5 million; deaths top 1.6 million
- December is emerging as the U.S.’s worst month of the pandemic
- Sydney’s Covid hotspot spurs lockdown of Northern Beaches area
- Global vaccine initiative adds to supplies amid access worries
- Can I be required to get vaccinated?: QuickTake
- Los Angeles is now the worst-hit U.S. metro area
- Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID
Australian Airline Crew Restrictions (1:05 p.m. HK)
Health officials in Australia will tighten restrictions next week on foreign international flight crew amid concern that infected airline workers may spread the virus. The changes include weekly Covid testing and accommodating crew in dedicated quarantine hotels with government oversight, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.
“Because we are seeing that significant increase in the numbers of cases around the world, and we’re starting to see airline crew become positive so the risk has increased,” Young told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday. “That’s why we think it’s timely to introduce it.”
India Crosses 10 Million Covid Cases (12:21 p.m. HK)
Coronavirus infections crossed the 10-million mark, despite a recent easing in the number of new cases as the country awaits several emergency vaccine approvals that may help tame the world’s second worst outbreak.
It added 25,152 new cases, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry released on Saturday, much lower than its peak of over 97,000 daily infections in mid-September. The number of deaths stood at 145,136, up 347 from yesterday.
Australian Open to Go Ahead (11:42 a.m. HK)
Tennis players competing in the Feb. 8 to 21 Australian Open, the first grand slam for 2021, will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine in Victoria, said Jaclyn Symes, the state’s Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.
It’s anticipated players will arrive in the city from mid-January ahead of the mandatory quarantine period that will permit them to train for a maximum of 5 hours per day at a secure facility. Players and their support teams will be tested prior to departing for Australia and then a minimum of five times during quarantine. If they test positive, they will be subject to standard isolation arrangements until being cleared by public health officials.
The Australian Open attracts thousands of visitors to Melbourne and in 2020 contributed more than A$380 million ($290 million) to the Victorian economy.
Thailand Reports New Cases Related to Seafood Market Cluster (11:41 a.m. HK)
Thailand reported 13 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases linked to a seafood market. Officials conducted contact tracing on about 4,000 people in the seaside province of Samut Sakhon after a 67-year-old fish merchant tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
The new cases take to 16 the total number of infections tied to the market after three were confirmed earlier Friday.
Moderna Vaccine Cleared in U.S., Boosting Immunization Effort (8:48 a.m. HK)
Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine was cleared by U.S. regulators, the second vaccine to gain emergency authorization this month as a historic mass immunization effort ramps up across the country.
The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant the authorization Friday for the shot’s use among adults means that two of the six vaccine candidates identified by Operation Warp Speed are now available to the public, a feat accomplished in less than one year. Shots from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson that have also received U.S. government support are expected to be submitted for review next year.
Australia’s New South Wales Has 23 Community-Linked Cases (8:28 a.m. HK)
Australia’s New South Wales recorded 23 Covid-19 cases that were acquired in the community in the 24 hours through 8 p.m. Friday, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Of the new cases, 21 are part of a known cluster of cases related to Sydney’s Northern Beaches area that will enter a limited period of lockdown.
Texas Hospitalizations Accelerate (8:19 a.m. HK)
Although new cases declined Friday in Texas, from a an all-time high reached Thursday, hospitalizations continued to rise. Dallas County reported a record for a second time this week.
The region encompassing Dallas, home to some 8 million Texans, is the most-populous of the trauma areas tracked by the state’s health department. Hospitals are at 17% capacity and only 98 intensive care beds remain available.
Third Person in Alaska Suffered ‘Probable’ Vaccine Reaction (7:43 a.m. HK)
A health-care worker in Alaska suffered from a “probable” adverse reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, according to a statement from Foundation Health Partners in Fairbanks. Two other health-care workers in Alaska experienced reactions earlier this week.
Such reactions have been rare — more than 1.1 million people have received the vaccine so far — though the U.K. has warned anyone who has a history of anaphylactic reactions to food, medicine or a vaccine not to get the Pfizer shot.
The statement said the woman “began experiencing traditional anaphylactic symptoms about 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. Symptoms included tongue swelling, hoarse voice, difficulty breathing.” She was treated and discharged six hours later.
Italy, Austria Impose Holiday Lockdowns to Curb Virus Spread (4:49 p.m. NY)
Italy and Austria are leading Europe’s latest round of holiday-season lockdowns as the two neighbors seek to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The Italian cabinet voted late Friday to impose a “stop-and-go” lockdown from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6, with strict restrictions on and around Christmas, New Year’s and the Epiphany holiday on Jan. 6, and slightly looser curbs for Dec. 28-30 and Jan. 4, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at a press conference.
Austria, which alternated between looser and tougher restrictions over the past six weeks, ordered non-essential stores to close again, while restaurants and hotels will remain shut and schools won’t reopen as usual after the Christmas holidays. The measures take effect on Dec. 26 and will lift on Jan. 18.
Florida Cases Return to Summer Peak (4:34 p.m. NY)
Florida reported 13,000 new cases, as infections reach the level of the peak of the state’s outbreak in July. It was the fourth-highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic. Hospitalizations and fatalities are also rising, though both are at about half of the summer peak.
New Jersey to Open Vaccine ‘Mega-Sites’ (3:54 p.m. NY)
New Jersey will open six vaccine mega-sites across the state in early January. It also is working to open 200 satellite sites, including in urgent care centers, chain pharmacies and individual hospitals.
The state expects to begin vaccinations of residents and staff at long-term care facilities on Dec. 28, through a partnership with the CDC, CVS and Walgreens.
Hospitalizations have declined for two straight days, but “two days certainly do not make a trend,” Governor Phil Murphy said on Friday.
Murphy reported 3,975 new cases, for a total of 423,226 since March. There have been 10 new in-school outbreaks over the past week, leading to 40 new cases, he said.
“The vaccines are here at a time when we absolutely need them,” he said.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said she expects about 70% of eligible adult populations in the state — 4.7 million individuals — to be able to get the vaccine within six months.
Michigan Eases Lockdown (3:24 p.m. NY)
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer began relaxing a partial lockdown after the state’s outbreak eased. In-person learning for all grades will resume, as will indoor activities like casinos, movies and bowling though at reduced capacity. Indoor dining, nightclubs and indoor and contact sports are still prohibited.
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of Covid-19,” Whitmer said in a statement.
New infections have fallen from a seven-day peak of 8,344 on Dec. 3 to 4,662 on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Hospitalizations have also begun ticking down, though fatalities, which lag infections, are rising.
North Carolina Breaks Record; Chief Doctor ‘Very Worried’ (3:02 p.m. NY)
North Carolina reported 8,444 new cases, again breaking a record as the outbreak there continues to accelerate. Hospitalizations also hit a new high, at 2,824, with available hospital beds in the state roughly three-quarters full. “I am very worried for our state,” Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said in a tweet. “Everyone must act right now to protect each other.”
Bidens to be Vaccinated Monday After Pence, Pelosi (2:55 p.m.)
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will get their first dose of coronavirus vaccine on Monday. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will get their first shots the following week.
Biden has said he would take the vaccine as soon as was appropriate and that he would do so in public to raise trust and awareness. That will come after Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, were vaccinated earlier Friday, as was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Government officials are among the first to get the shots as part of longstanding plans to protect continuity of government.
President Donald Trump has said he will take the vaccine, but hasn’t said when.
Washington Monument Closed After Bernhardt’s Diagnosis (2:54 p.m. NY)
The Washington Monument is temporarily closed after some employees had to quarantine following a visit this week by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.
Their absence has led to a staffing shortage at the monument. The monument reopened on Oct. 1 after a six-month closure forced by the pandemic. None of the National Park Service employees working at the monument has tested positive for Covid-19 since then.
France Adds 15,674 New Cases (1:51 p.m. NY)
France reported 15,674 new Covid cases on Friday, with the rolling seven-day average of cases rising for a third day to 13,088, the highest in three weeks.
Deaths rose by 610 to 60,229, making France the third European country after Italy and the U.K. to report more than 60,000 fatalities linked to the virus. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid, said in a video message he’s doing fine, even as he described tiredness and said his level of activity is “a little slowed down.”
L.A. County to Vaccinate a Third of Health-Care Workforce (1:30 p.m. NY)
Los Angeles County is aiming to vaccinate 10,000 of its health-care workers by the end of the year. That’s about a third of its health-care workforce, which the county’s health officials say will buy some time in containing the outbreak.
The county is gradually emerging as the new epicenter of the crisis, putting pressure on a health-care system that’s running out of intensive-care unit beds. “The system is in crisis,” said Christina Ghaly, director of the county’s health services.
WHO Says End of Pandemic is ‘In Sight’ (1:15 p.m. NY)
The World Health Organization said it would have delivered enough vaccine doses to protect health and social care workers in all participating countries by mid-2021. A fifth of those countries’ populations would be vaccinated by the end of 2021, with further doses in the following year.
“This is a time for taking comfort that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, calling the vaccine rollout “a milestone in global health.” “With today’s news the light at the end of the tunnel has grown a little bit brighter, but we are not there yet.”
New York City Administers More Vaccines (1:10 p.m. NY)
New York City administered 3,825 vaccines Thursday, for a total of 9,025 as of Friday morning. “This is a small beginning compared to where we’ll be going over the coming week,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who noted the East Coast snowstorm didn’t impact vaccine deliveries.
The daily count of new Covid-19 cases on a seven-day average increased to 2,805 Wednesday, a 66-patient increase over Tuesday. Meanwhile, tests for the virus produced a 6.16% positivity rate, which is above the city’s public health safety threshold of 5%.
Ireland Doctors Sound Alarm (1:05 p.m. NY)
Ireland “cannot cope” with the growth of coronavirus going into the holiday, the nation’s chief medical officer warned, as virus numbers continue to increase. Ireland reported 582 new cases on Friday, the most since November 5, while hospitalizations jumped. “The situation is getting worse more rapidly than we expected,” CMO Tony Holohan said. His comments come a day after the government warned it would bring in new virus restrictions before the end of the year.
Mexico City to Shut Down Nonessential Activity (12:59 p.m. NY)
Mexico City will shut down all non-essential activity starting on Saturday and until January 10 as Covid-19 cases soar in the nation’s capital.
The shutdown extends to the State of Mexico, the nation’s most populous state. The decision comes after the number of people with the virus occupying hospital beds reached a record this month in Mexico City.
N.Y. Daily Covid-19 Cases Top 12,000, Most Since Pandemic Began (11:59 a.m. NY)
New York state reported more than 12,000 new cases, the most since the pandemic began. Even with that record, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is confident the state can slow the spread and avoid a shutdown.
“Shutdowns are very, very harmful,” Cuomo said Friday. “This has been a long year and the last thing anybody wants is a shutdown.”
Of a record 249,385 tests conducted on Thursday, 5.09% were positive, including hot spots, Cuomo said. There were 6,081 hospitalizations and 120 virus-related fatalities.
U.S. States Say They’re Getting Less Covid Vaccine Than Expected (11:21 a.m. NY)
Some U.S. states say the federal government has cut their allocations of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for next week without explanation. Officials from Oregon, Nevada, and Washington state said the federal government cut distributions by roughly 40%.
“To slash allocations for states — without any explanation whatsoever — is disruptive and baffling,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said Thursday in a statement. The state now expects 17,550 doses, compared to 30,255 originally anticipated.