Europe Resuming Astra Shot Review; Japan Stimulus: Virus Update

European regulators are set to start an accelerated review of a Covid-19 vaccine front-runner from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, even as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reported to have widened its investigation into a trial participant who fell ill.

Researchers in India say a relative handful of super-spreaders are linked to an explosion of virus cases in the nation. Talks in Washington over another economic stimulus package were extended for another day.

Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, even as a Bank of Japan survey found sentiment at large manufacturers had improved, signaling the worst of the economic impact may be over.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 33.8 million; deaths exceed 1 million
  • European regulators are said to speed review of AstraZeneca shot, U.S. widens probe
  • Covid-19 pounds Wisconsin ahead of Trump rally in Green Bay
  • U.K. ventilators sit in storage, watchdog says in report

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.

AstraZeneca’s Europe Vaccine Review Resuming, U.S. Widens Probe (8:15 a.m. HK)

European regulators are set to start an accelerated review of a Covid-19 vaccine front-runner from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, according to a person familiar, which could be key step forward for the shot after trials were halted earlier this month due to concerns about a trial participant who fell ill.

However Reuters also reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had widened its investigation of the incident that led to the trial halt. U.S. authorities have yet to approve the restart of the trial there.

Japan May Expand Virus Stimulus as Sentiment Improve (8:10 a.m. HK)

Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, and will compile another extra budget if needed, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party told the Nikkei in an interview.

The comments come as a the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey found sentiment at large manufacturers picked up from its lowest point since the global financial crisis, helping cement the view that the worst economic impact from the pandemic is over

American Airlines Moves Ahead With 19,000 Layoffs (7:59 a.m. HK)

American Airlines Group Inc. will start laying off 19,000 workers on Thursday as originally scheduled, spurning an appeal from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he negotiates with Congress about extending payroll support for U.S. carriers.

The cuts are the latest among tens of thousands of job losses announced by blue-chip companies in a 24-hour period, after Walt Disney Co. said late Tuesday that it’s slashing 28,000 workers in its slumping U.S. resort business. On Wednesday, Allstate Corp., the fourth-largest car insurer in the U.S., said it will cut 3,800 jobs, roughly 8% of its workforce.

Texas Hospitalizations Surge Most in 3 Weeks (7:16 p.m. HK)

Texas virus hospitalizations jumped almost 3% for the biggest one-day increase in more than three weeks, according to state health department data.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in he Lone Star state rose by 93 to 3,344, an 8.5% increase since the caseload bottomed out 10 days ago.

Although hospitalizations have risen in seven of the past 10 days, they still remain well below the peak of almost 11,000 recorded on July 22.

Mnuchin, Pelosi Extend Stimulus Talks (6:30 a.m. HK)

U.S. House leaders postponed a vote on a Democrat-only stimulus bill to give Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi one more day to negotiate a compromise pandemic relief package.

Mnuchin and Pelosi met for about 90 minutes Wednesday without striking a deal. But both said afterward they made progress and planned to continue discussions. Time is running short for a new stimulus measure to get through the House and Senate before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We still have more work to do,” Mnuchin told reporters, adding, “We’ve made progress in a lot of areas.”

Goldman Job Cuts End Pause for Virus (4:45 a.m. HK)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is resuming job cuts as the coronavirus pandemic outlasts the financial industry’s resolve to offer jittery employees stability through the economic downturn.

The firm is embarking on a plan to eliminate about 1% of its workforce, or roughly 400 positions, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The move comes even as the firm’s core trading and dealmaking businesses are booming.

Persistent outbreaks in the U.S. are forcing the nation’s biggest banks to re-examine plans to wait out the turmoil as initially hoped. Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. were among the first to restart cuts.

Mississippi lifts mask mandate (4:20 a.m. HK)

Mississippi is ending its statewide mask mandate and easing some social-distancing rules after cutting new coronavirus infections in half and Covid-19-related hospitalizations by two-thirds, Governor Tate Reeve, a Republican, announced at a news conference.

Masks still will be required in schools and for certain workers, such as salon and barbershop employees. Attendance at school extracurricular events such as football games will increase to 50% of capacity. Gatherings are limited to 100 people outdoors and 20 people indoors.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.6% (4 a.m. HK)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 7.21 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose to 206,494.

Spain Pushes for More Curbs (3:05 a.m. HK)

The Spanish government said it will order extra restrictions on movement and gatherings in Madrid and possibly elsewhere to curb the spread of the coronavirus, setting up a potential showdown with regional authorities.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said a majority of Spain’s 17 regions agreed to the new rules though Spanish media reported that regional officials in some of the most affected areas had rejected the proposal. The curbs will limit shops and public services to 50% of capacity and operating hours to 10 p.m., with certain exceptions.

The measures will target areas with more than 500 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks and where more than 35% of intensive-care hospital beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. That includes the capital and nine other cities in the Madrid region, Illa said.

U.K. Hospitalizations, Deaths Rise (2:10 a.m. HK)

The U.K.’s coronavirus outbreak is not under control as hospitalization and death rates rise, Boris Johnson’s chief scientist said.

“Numbers of cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, ICUs are going up, and unfortunately, very sadly so are deaths,” Government Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said. “We don’t have this under control at the moment.”

The bleak assessment from Vallance came as the prime minister warned he’ll impose tighter national restrictions if needed. The U.K. on Wednesday recorded more than 7,000 cases of Covid-19 for the second day running: the two highest daily tallies since the start of the pandemic.

Titans-Steelers Game Postponed (11:55 p.m. HK)

The NFL has its first postponement due to Covid-19, a troubling milestone for a league with scant capacity for scheduling changes. The Tennessee Titans were scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 4, but after eight Titans players and staff tested positive, the team was forced to shut down its facility Tuesday.

NYC Hot-Spot Cases Continue Rise (11 p.m. HK)

New York City’s seven-day rolling average of positive coronavirus tests rose to 1.46% as cases continued to climb in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The city’s daily indicators showed 87 hospital admissions with suspected Covid-19 symptoms, compared with 71 yesterday; and new cases increased to 354 from 338. The one-day citywide positivity rate decreased to 0.94% with stepped-up testing, after climbing to more than 3% for the first time in months.

Nine ZIP codes account for 25% of all cases citywide over the past two weeks, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

India Surge Driven by Super-Spreaders (10:30 p.m. HK)

Coronavirus super-spreaders were behind the explosion of Covid-19 in India, the country with the most cases after the U.S., researchers said. One in 15 Indians have been exposed and more than 6.2 million cases have been recorded.

About 8% of India’s confirmed cases led to almost two-thirds of the infections, according to researchers who traced more than 3 million contacts in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The report, which appeared in the journal Science, is the first major study of transmission in a developing country.

Most research on the pandemic has come from China, Europe and North America, but cases are burgeoning in India and other developing countries. Barriers to health care are greater in these nations, and the risk of getting severely ill and dying from Covid is higher, they said.

— With assistance by Dan Reichl

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