(Bloomberg) — Johnson & Johnson halted its Covid-19 vaccine study due to the unexplained illness of a participant, noting that adverse events are expected in any clinical study. The World Health Organization urged countries not to pursue “herd immunity.”
President Donald Trump held a rally after testing negative for Covid-19, even as top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the events could spread the virus. A study showed that the proportion of Americans dying from the coronavirus is the highest in the developed world.
Singapore’s central bank warned the city’s economy faces “deep scarring” from the pandemic, and the city eased quarantine rules for travelers from Hong Kong while tightening rules for some other places. Malaysia is set to impose curbs on movement in the capital Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere.
Global Tracker: cases pass 37.6 million; deaths top 1.07 millionJ&J vaccine study paused due to unexplained illnessU.S. Hot Spots: Covid-19 soars in red states as Trump returns to trailTop U.K. medic warns hot spot curbs aren’t enough to stop virusTrump rallies raise concern about spread, Fauci saysA second bout of Covid infection may be far worse, study shows
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South Korea Adds 102 more cases; One person dies (9:37 a.m. H.K.)
South Korea added 102 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, versus 97 a day earlier, according to data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Some 69 were locally infected. One person died, bringing the death toll to 434.
Corona Struck Nevada Man Worse the Second Time (9:09 a.m. H.K.)
The first study to probe the case of a person in the U.S. who contracted Covid-19 twice found re-infection can occur swiftly and the second bout of illness can be more severe.
A 25-year-old man in Nevada became infected with two different genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in less than two months, with negative tests in between. The second bout led to his hospitalization.
“Our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection,” said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead author of the study. “The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine.”
J&J Vaccine Study Paused Due to Illness (8:56 a.m. H.K.)
J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine study has been paused due to the “unexplained illness” of a participant, it said, confirming a report by STAT, noting adverse events are expected in clinical studies.
Earlier this month, J&J joined the short list of vaccine makers that have moved an experimental coronavirus shot into late-stage human studies in the U.S. It has since begun dosing up to 60,000 volunteers, marking the first big trial of an Covid-19 inoculation that may work after just one shot.
STAT reported that a document sent to outside researchers running the trial said that a “pausing rule” has been met, that the online system used to enroll participants in the study has been closed, and that the data and safety monitoring board would be convened.
Trump Tells Rally He Wants to ‘Kiss Everyone’ (7:55 a.m. H.K.)
President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday night, boasting at a rally in Florida that he felt “so powerful” after his recovery from Covid-19 that he wanted to walk into the audience and “kiss everyone.”
“I am so energized by your prayers and humbled by your support,” Trump said at the outdoor rally at the Orlando Sanford International Airport, where there was little social distancing though some spectators wore masks.
Earlier, Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, warned the rallies could spread the virus.
“Look at it purely in the context of public health,” Fauci said on CNN. “We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregant settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.”
Singapore Eases Quarantine Rules for Hong Kong (7:52 a.m. H.K.)
Travelers to Singapore from Hong Kong will have their quarantine requirement cut from 14 days to a seven day stay-home notice, as Hong Kong joins the list of places where the virus is deemed to be “well under control and the risk of importation is low.”
Travelers entering Singapore from the Malaysian state of Sabah will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, the city said, also detailing rules for those from other areas, including non-citizens coming from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Malaysia to Impose Curbs on Movement (7:36 a.m. HK)
Malaysia is set to impose curbs on movement in the capital Kuala Lumpur, the administrative capital Putrajaya, and in the states of Selangor and Sabah. The restrictions on sports and recreational activities as well as social, religious and cultural events will last for two weeks starting Oct. 14, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Monday. Schools and universities will remain closed.
Singapore Economy Faces Deep Scarring: MAS (7:22 a.m. HK)
Singapore’s central bank chief said as much as 20% of the city-state’s economy faces “deep scarring” from the pandemic. Aviation and tourism are a worry, especially with an expected slow recovery in travel, Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said at a virtual event hosted by the Institute of International Finance on Monday. About 10% to 20% of the economy faces scarring from the virus, he said.
“What is going to happen to that industry when the planes haven’t flown, the pilots haven’t flown for months on a stretch?” said Menon. “It’s not like picking up after taking two months off. When you take two years off, it’s very different.”
Trump Tests Negative, Doctor Says (5:28 p.m. NY)
President Donald Trump has tested negative for Covid-19 on consecutive days, a week after being released from the hospital for treatment of the disease, White House doctor Sean Conley said.
“This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others,” Conley said in a memo.
Cuomo Touts N.Y. Infection Rate (5:02 p.m. NY)
New York’s 1.1% positive test rate for Covid-19 remains among the lowest in the U.S., as the state increased the number of tests to a record 834,342 last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo contrasted New York’s commitment to increased testing with states that have reduced diagnostic testing, such as Florida, where he said the positive-test rate was 11.7%, and Texas, with a 7.6% rate.
“There are some states that have taken the politics of denial and turned it into science fiction. If you test less you will find fewer cases, that’s a laughable concept,” Cuomo said in a briefing Monday afternoon.
Pandemic’s U.S. Cost Seen at $16 Trillion (4:30 p.m. NY)
The Covid-19 pandemic will exact a $16 trillion toll on the U.S.. about four times the cost of the Great Recession, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and fellow Harvard University economist David Cutler wrote in an essay published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
About half of that amount is related to lost gross domestic product as a result of economic shutdowns and the ongoing spread of the virus, while the other half comes from health losses including premature death and mental and long-term health impairments, Cutler and Summers said.
An empty Times Square area in New York City, June 2020.
Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg
The $16 trillion amount is equal to about 90% of annual U.S. GDP; it’s also more than twice as much as the U.S. has spent on wars since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the essay.
Czech Republic Shuts Schools, Restaurants (4:25 p.m. NY)
The Czech government tightened social distancing rules and closed down schools, restaurants and bars through early November. It also banned public alcohol consumption and limited outdoor gatherings to six people.
The country of 10.7 million is suffering the most acute epidemic among EU states. New infections reached a record of 8,618 cases on Friday, leapfrogging Spain as the bloc’s top hot spot based on the two-week cumulative number of cases per capita, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
California Studying Theme Park Openings (4:20 p.m. NY)
California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is sending a team to visit reopened theme parks in other states, as his administration argues with the industry over guidelines for welcoming visitors back to still-shut attractions such as Disneyland.
In an update with reporters on Monday, Newsom said he wanted first-hand accounts of how well safety measures seem to be working in theme parks elsewhere that have been allowed to reopen. The governor also said the state may set different guidelines for large-scale amusement parks and smaller attractions such as civic piers or Ferris wheels, saying they faced different risks.
WHO Says 180 Nations in Vaccine Push (1:35 p.m. NY)
China’s joining of a global push to make coronavirus vaccines accessible for developing nations brings to 180 the number countries participating in the World Health Organization-backed initiative — representing 90% of the global population, Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said Monday. While the U.S. hasn’t joined the $18 billion effort, called Covax, the breadth of participants is encouraging, Swaminathan said.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries not to pursue “herd immunity.” The vast majority of people haven’t yet been infected and questions remain about how long immunity lasts and the long-term effects of Covid-19, he said.
“Herd immunities are achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It’s scientifically and ethically problematic.”
Texas Deploys Medical Teams to El Paso (1:16 pm NY)
Texas dispatched 75 nurses, respiratory specialists and other medical personnel to El Paso in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases, Governor Greg Abbott said on Monday. Masks and other personal protective equipment are also being delivered.
“This surge in medical personnel and PPE will help support El Paso’s hospitals and first responders as we mitigate the spread of this virus,” Abbott said in a statement.
The El Paso region has a higher percentage of hospital beds occupied by virus patients than anywhere else in Texas, according to state health department figures. The border town is seeing cases climb at a similar rate to Houston, which has almost five times El Paso’s population.
Boris Johnson Shuts Pubs in U.K. Hot Spots (12 p.m. NY)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions to control the surge in coronavirus, with bars and pubs closing in the worst-hit parts of the England from Wednesday.
Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual briefing outlining new Covid-19 rules, on Oct. 12.
Photographer: Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Johnson set out his plan for a three-tier system of Covid alert levels, set at medium, high, and very high, to simplify the imposition of lockdown measures.
The toughest measures will be brought into force from Wednesday in the Liverpool city region of northwest England, where the outbreak is spreading fastest, the prime minister told Parliament on Monday.
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