Labs See Test Delay Risk; U.S. Governors on Edge: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged residents to stay home as much as possible, calling it “literally a matter of life or death.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is preparing for possibility of closing city schools again, while the state reported more than 10,000 new cases in two days.


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As U.S. states become the first line of defense against the pandemic, disunity between the governors of Minnesota and South Dakota offered a hint that coordinated action may be a challenge. A trade group representing diagnostic laboratories said there’s a risk of longer wait times for Covid-19 test results.

While cases may be steadying or easing in some European virus hot spots, hospitalizations rose to a record in France and the U.K. reported the most infections yet.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 52.5 million; deaths exceed 1.29 millionWith Covid and Trump both raging, governors face pandemic aloneCovid hot spots show signs Europe’s new wave may be crestingWhite House is leaving stimulus to Congress with Biden entering fraySearches for Hong Kong to Singapore flights triple in hoursPodcast: What to expect from the virus and the vaccine raceVaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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

chart: Second Waves

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Second Waves

Test Surge May Cause Delays, Lab Group Warns (4:55 p.m. NY)

The American Clinical Laboratory Association, which represents large laboratories such as Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings and Quest Diagnostics Inc., warned that surging demand for Covid-19 tests could push some labs to or beyond capacity, delaying test results.

Members labs performed a record 495,000 polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests for Covid-19 on Wednesday and while they’re working to expand capacity, labs have faced challenges obtaining supplies like pipette tips, according to the group.

Georgia Election Official in Quarantine (4:52 p.m. NY)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the man in charge of the state’s presidential-ballot recount, is in quarantine and being tested for Covid-19 after his wife tested positive for the virus, according to his office.

Wisconsin Cases Top 7,000 for Third Day (4:28 p.m. NY)

Wisconsin’s daily cases exceeded 7,000 for a third consecutive day, adding urgency to Governor Tony Evers’s call for residents to curb on social activity and stay home.

“It’s just not safe,” Evers said Wednesday evening. “And it might not be safe for a while yet. So please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers and play dates at your home.”

Evers, a Democrat, didn’t announced legal requirements or further penalties for non-compliance with measures to curb the virus. Republicans have repeatedly challenged his previous orders in court. Hospitalizations in Wisconsin, one of the worst-hit states in the Midwest, are running at double the levels of a month ago.

Biden Adviser Doubts National Lockdown (3:42 p.m. NY)

A member of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force said Thursday she doesn’t view a nationwide lock down as necessary. Céline Gounder’s comments backed away from comments by epidemiologist Michael Osterholm a day earlier.

“With all due respect to Dr. Osterholm, that doesn’t necessarily represent the entire advisory board or what the Biden-Harris transition team is planning to do,” Gounder said on CNN. She said that “perhaps there are some places where you need to be more draconian, but I really don’t think that’s a national policy.”

Osterholm told Yahoo Finance a lockdown lasting four to six weeks combined with a fiscal package to support workers, businesses and local governments could help contain the virus.

Ohio Governor Doesn’t Want Another Shutdown (3:38 p.m. NY)

Ohio is at a record for new infections, total hospitalizations and intensive-care patients, Governor Mike DeWine said as he warned: “We don’t want another shutdown.”

On Wednesday, the Republican governor reissued the state’s mask mandate and tightened other restrictions, warning that bars, restaurants and gyms may be closed if people don’t comply with anti-virus measures. Ohio reported 7,101 new infections on Thursday, another record.

Portugal Extends Restrictions (3:17 p.m. NY)

Video: Coronavirus surge puts strain on hospital staffing (WISN Milwaukee)

Coronavirus surge puts strain on hospital staffing



Portugal is extending restrictions on Monday, adding 70 municipalities to a list where people’s movement are limited, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said. New cases remained at less than a record of 6,640 reported on Saturday and the number of intensive-care patients fell by eight to 383.

North Dakota Nurses Refuse to Work While Infected (3:07 p.m. NY)

North Dakota’s nurses are rejecting an effort by state officials to keep infected health care workers on the job if they don’t exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.

“The health and safety of nurses is paramount as is the health and safety of the patients they care for,” the North Dakota Nurses Association said. “We must remain vigilant with our actions to minimize COVID-19 spread within health care settings and to protect staff and patients.”

New York Cases Spike (2:54 p.m. NY)

New York State saw nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases over two days and Governor Andrew Cuomo urged people to “buckle down.”

Infections increased by 4,797 on Wednesday for a positive-test rate of almost 3%, according to state data. Hospitals are treating 1,677 patients for Covid-19. Another 29 people died of the illness on Wednesday.

The state can keep it under control if residents are vigilant, wear masks and socially distance, particularly as the holidays approach, Cuomo said in a news release. “I know it has been a long time, but these next weeks are going to be key and we really need people to buckle down to fend off the tide,” he said.

Chicago Issues Stay-at-Home Advisory (2:50 p.m. NY)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday issued an advisory urging residents to avoid leaving home except for work, school and other essentials as new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations surge.

“This is literally a matter of life or death,” Lightfoot said. “We all have to step up and do our part.”

If the city continues on the current path at least 1,000 more Chicagoans could die from the virus by the end of the year, Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday. The city advises canceling traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and avoiding travel.

Illinois again reported record daily cases, 12,657, and the most deaths since May.

South Dakota Hits Record Amid Criticism (2:42 p.m. NY)

South Dakota reported a record 2,019 infections, a day after neighboring Minnesota criticized Governor Kristi Noem for failing to institute mask mandates or other anti-virus measures.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, said he wished that Noem, a Republican and Trump ally, had done more to control the spread.

“And this one’s a little bit personal because the governor of South Dakota has taken to traveling to other states and criticizing others,” Walz said.

N.J. Governor Criticizes Anti-Maskers (2:15 p.m. NY)

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, where test positivity has reached 12%, issued some of his harshest criticism to date of those who fail to masks and take other precautions.

“You know what’s really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die,” Murphy, a typically mild-mannered former U.S. ambassador to Germany, said at a Trenton news conference.

“I speak to families almost every single day — some days, multiple families — who’ve lost a loved one. I’d love someone who’s jerking around by not wearing a mask, and making it political, to speak to some of these families I speak to.”

The state reported 18 deaths and its third straight day of 3,500-plus new cases. Murphy has ordered restaurants to stop indoor service at 10 p.m. and serve alcohol only to patrons seated at tables as of Thursday.

Kentucky High Court Upholds Governor’s Covid-19 Orders (2:05 p.m. NY)

A unanimous Kentucky Supreme Court Thursday overruled a lower court opinion that would have eviscerated Governor Andy Beshear’s emergency powers and deleted dozens of orders issued in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic threatens not only the health and lives of Kentuckians but also their own economic interests; the interests of the vast majority take precedence over the individual business interests of any one person or entity,” Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth Hughes wrote in the opinion.

French Hospitalizations Break Record (1:45 p.m. NY)

Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in France reached 32,683, topping the peak reported in April, though some indicators signal that curfew and lockdown measures are starting to slow the virus spread. The positive-test ratio fell for a fifth day to 18.7%, down almost two percentage points from six days ago.

Hospitalizations climbed above the previous April 14 record, after record infections in the past three weeks. New confirmed cases rose by 33,172 to 1.9 million, health authorities said.

It’s “certainly not the moment to loosen the reins,” Prime Minister said in a Le Monde interview.

Michigan Officials Warn of Rising Hospitalizations (1:15 p.m. NY)

Michigan health officials warned that hospitalizations from Covid-19 are doubling every two weeks, and cases are rising “exponentially,” the Detroit Free Press reported. The increase is 40% per week, they said.

“At that pace, we will top our late spring hospitalization peak this month,” Gerry Anderson, a leader of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council, said in a statement with CEOs of five health systems.

NYC Prepares for Possible School Shutdown (12:26 p.m. NY)

New York is preparing for the possibility of closing its schools and going to an all-remote program, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The city recorded a 2.6% seven-day rate of positive tests, approaching the shutdown level of 3%.

“We’re preparing for that possibility,” de Blasio said. “It’s a rule we put out very clearly. If any day we see in the morning indicators come out and they reach that level, then we will move immediately — the next day, schools will be shut down.”

The city reported 870 new cases of Covid-19 virus on a seven-day average as of Nov. 10, which is above the 550 public health warning threshold, and 100 hospital admissions with Covid-19 symptoms, of which 36 were confirmed as testing positive. That level remains within city hospitals’ capacity, the mayor said.

El Paso Outbreak Surpasses Houston’s (12:11 p.m. NY)

Active virus cases in the remote Texas border town of El Paso have surpassed those in Houston’s Harris county, which has almost six times the population.

El Paso county’s active cases rose to 29,492, exceeding Harris County’s 29,145, according to state health department figures. Governor Greg Abbott said additional medical teams have been dispatched to aid local public-health officials in El Paso and other Texas hot spots such as Lubbock.

U.K Breaks Infection Record (11:55 a.m. NY)

The U.K reported 33,470 new cases on Thursday, the most since the pandemic began. The previous high was some 27,000 cases on Oct. 21.

The daily total reported on the government’s dashboard exceeds the seven-day rolling average of 22,524, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The U.K.’s Covid-19 death toll passed 50,000 on Wednesday, the first European to breach that level.

Italy Has Most Deaths in Seven Months (11:35 a.m. NY)

Italy registered 636 deaths related to Covid-19 on Thursday, the most in seven months.

While daily virus cases rose to 37,978 from 32,961 the day before, the rate of increase has slowed since last week, a sign that the curve may be flattening after the latest restrictions.

Restrictions tightened on Monday in six additional Italian regions. Others just approved measures to reduce gatherings.

Fauci Says Covid Won’t Be Pandemic Long (8:55 a.m. NY)

Covid won’t be a pandemic for “a lot longer” thanks to rapid progress in vaccine development, according to Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official. The coronavirus could nonetheless remain endemic for a long time, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said at an event organized by Chatham House, a U.K. think tank.

Fauci spoke after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said this week that the vaccine they’re developing is more than 90% effective, according to preliminary results of a broad study. Findings from the trial of a similar shot, developed by Moderna Inc., are expected soon.

(An earlier version corrected the state of the Minnesota governor’s antagonist in second paragraph.)

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