U.S. Pushes China on New Study; Italy Limits Astra: Virus Update

0
12

Article content

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed his Chinese counterpart in a phone call Friday to allow a new expert-led study into the origins of Covid-19. But China’s top diplomat called theories that the virus leaked from a Wuhan lab absurd, according to readouts from both sides.

Millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine are set to be cleared for use after a months-long delay due to problems at a manufacturer hired to make the shot, but millions more could end up being thrown away.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce Monday that the lifting of England’s remaining pandemic restrictions won’t take place as planned on June 21 as cases caused by the delta variant accelerate, the Telegraph reported. Italy will ban the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60, health minister Roberto Speranza said.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases exceed 175.1 million; deaths pass 3.7 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 2.3 billion doses administeredWhat the world wants China to disclose in Wuhan lab leak probeNaming the vaccinated: A Covid hot spot works to thwart cheatersHow vaccine nationalism risks prolonging the pandemic: QuickTakeSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.

Advertisement

Article content

Canada to Discard 300,000 Doses of J&J Shot: DJ (7:44 a.m. HK)

Canada said Friday it will discard 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid inoculation, Dow Jones reported. Canada halted distribution of the doses after learning they included a substance produced at a Emergent BioSolutions Inc. plant in Baltimore — a factory that’s had contamination problems — according to Dow Jones. The country’s health department said in April that the doses would undergo a safety assessment before they were released for use, DJ added.

Connecticut Hits Lowest Positive Rate (6:15 a.m. HK)

Connecticut reported a seven-day average positive-test rate of 0.57%, the state’s lowest since the pandemic began and one of the lowest in the U.S. The state has the highest vaccination rate after Vermont and Massachusetts, with almost 65% of the population receiving at least one dose, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. The U.S. average is 52%.

“Vaccines work,” Governor Ned Lamont tweeted Friday. “If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, do the right thing and protect yourself.”

California to Keep Emergency Order (5:13 p.m. NY)

California’s Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said he expects a return “pretty much to normal” when pandemic-restrictions on businesses and social gatherings are lifted on June 15 — even as the state remains under a state of emergency.

“We are continuing to watch the full story unfold,” Ghaly told reporters on Friday.

Advertisement

Article content

Republicans and other critics have decried the continued state of emergency as a power grab. Even as the emergency declaration stays in place, 90% of Governor Gavin Newsom’s other 58 executive orders are scheduled to be rescinded or rolled back into September.

Johnson to Delay England’s Reopening: Telegraph (5:03 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce Monday that the lifting of England’s remaining pandemic restrictions won’t take place as planned on June 21 given the latest data on the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant, the Telegraph reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

Johnson is said to have decided a delay of up to four weeks from the original date is necessary to allow more people to receive a second vaccine dose.

Curfew Lifted for French Open Fans (4:58 p.m. NY)

Paris authorities allowed fans watching the French Open semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to stay courtside, overruling the current curfew regulations that would have forced them to go home.

Shortly after Djokovic won the third set to take a 2-1 lead, a masked official announced that spectators could remain at Roland Garros because the match at such an interesting phase. This prompted the fans to blast out an impromptu rendition of “La Marseillaise.”

Djokovic’s quarterfinal match against Matteo Berrettini was delayed for several minutes at a crucial stage to allow spectators to vacate the stadium.

Advertisement

Article content

San Francisco Passes Vaccine Milestone (4:37 p.m. NY)

Eighty percent of eligible San Francisco residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, with nearly 70% of all San Franciscans fully vaccinated. San Francisco is the first major American city to achieve this milestone, and the city’s vaccination rates are among the highest in the nation and the world. In addition, 90% of all residents 65 and older have received at least one dose.

New-York Presbyterian Mandates Vaccines (3:45 p.m. NY)

New York-Presbyterian, one of the nation’s largest hospital systems, said Friday it was requiring employees to get Covid-19 vaccinations. The system has some 48,000 employees and affiliated physicians. Exceptions may be granted for pregnancy or medical or religious reasons.

“As a leading health care organization, we believe it is essential to require vaccinations to protect our patients and ourselves against the threat of further harm from the pandemic and the possibility of more dangerous mutations,” a letter to employees read.

Health care workers around the nation have shown hesitancy to get vaccinated. Earlier this week, the Houston Methodist hospital system suspended almost 200 employees for not refusing a requirement to get vaccinated. Some employees are suing the hospital over the mandate.

Chicago Lifts Last Restrictions (2:48 p.m. NY)

Chicago fully reopened on Friday after Mayor Lori Lightfoot moved up a planned July 4 target date for lifting capacity limits.

Advertisement

Article content

“Happy reopening day,” Lightfoot said on MSNBC. “It feels great. We’re lifting all restrictions as of today.” Masks will still be required in some settings, including public transit.

City data show 54% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday, compared with a national average of about 52% calculated by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Among major U.S. metro areas with high Covid-19 mortality, Chicago recorded the biggest improvement — a 25% decline in deaths — in the week through Wednesday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Kentucky ‘No Longer in Crisis’ (2:42 p.m. NY)

Capacity restrictions and masking requirements for Kentuckians were lifted Friday by Gov. Andy Beshear who said that his state is “no longer in crisis.”

Beshear’s move to lift his Covid-19 pandemic orders came weeks or months after actions by surrounding states.

Moderna Sees No Link to Heart Risk (1:58 p.m. NY)

Moderna Inc. said that scientific evidence it has reviewed doesn’t suggest that its vaccine was the cause of a heart condition in some people who received it.

The drugmaker said in a statement Friday that after reviewing the available safety data on its shot for cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, it “has not established a causal association with its vaccine.”

U.S. public health advisers plan to meet later this month to discuss a potential link between Covid-19 shots that use messenger RNA technology, which include Moderna’s vaccine and one made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and heart inflammation after hundreds of vaccinated people experienced myocarditis.

Advertisement

Article content

Russia Raises Death Toll by 38% (12:54 p.m. NY)

Russia’s statistics agency raised the number of deaths directly attributed to Covid-19 last year by 38%, showing the pandemic’s toll has been worse than acknowledged.

There were 144,691 deaths last year attributed to the coronavirus, up from 104,826 previously reported, according to a Rosstat report released late Friday. The data did not contain deaths of people who had Covid-19 but were found to have died from other causes.

J&J Doses Released (12:40 p.m. NY)

Millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine are set to be cleared for use after a months-long delay due to problems at a manufacturer hired to make the shot, but millions more could end up being thrown away.

The Food and Drug Administration released 10 million doses of the vaccine that were produced by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. at its troubled manufacturing facility in Baltimore, according to people familiar with the matter.

At the same time, the FDA said it had determined several other batches aren’t suitable for use, while others are still under review. Emergent has said it has made more than 100 million doses worth of the vaccine’s bulk drug substance.

U.S. Presses China on New Origin Study (12:02 p.m. NY)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed his Chinese counterpart in a phone call Friday to allow a new expert-led study into the origins of Covid-19, but China’s top diplomat called theories that the virus leaked from a Wuhan lab an absurd story, according to readouts from both sides.

Advertisement

Article content

In the call with Politburo member Yang Jiechi, Blinken “stressed the importance of cooperation and transparency regarding the origin of the virus, including the need for WHO Phase 2 expert-led studies in China,” the State Department said in a statement. Yang said China supports cooperation but won’t tolerate what he said were attempts to smear China, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

Italy Bans Astra for Under 60s (11:33 a.m. NY)

Italy will ban the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60, health minister Roberto Speranza said in a press conference on Friday. Italians under 60 who have received AstraZeneca vaccine as first shot, will get a different vaccine for the second dose.

“The pandemic situation has changed,” Franco Locatelli, president of the country’s Higher Health Council, said. “The benefits-potential-risks ratio has changed as well.” On Thursday an 18-year-old woman died in Genoa after suffering a blood clot following an AstraZeneca shot on May 25.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg.com

Advertisement

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.