The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 climbed above 215,000 on Tuesday, after President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail with a rally in Florida late Monday, at which he again claimed to be “immune” to the virus.
Trump said he was fully recovered from the coronavirus, after his doctor Sean Conley said he tested negative on two consecutive days, based on a rapid test that health experts say is not intended for that purpose.
Dr. Vin Gupta, affiliate assistant professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington,told MSNBC it’s “absolutely likely” that Trump was shedding virus on the stage at the rally, where his supporters had gathered closely, the majority without wearing face masks.
Gupta criticized Trump’s staff and advisers for “not actually leveling with us and giving us the right information on the right type of test.”
“They know, they know what the right type of test is. The Abbott test is not the right type of test, absolutely (not). He should be adhering to guidelines and they are trying to concoct a narrative to justify why he’s out there, and it’s wrong,” Gupta said in an interview.
From the archives (July 3):Masks optional, no social distancing on agenda for Trump fireworks event at Mount Rushmore
Trump also promised a vaccine would be distributed very soon, even though none has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and companies developing vaccines are still conducting Phase 3 trials, which are not expected to produce conclusive data for weeks.
The U.S. counted 45,929 new cases on Monday and at least 351 deaths, according to a New York Times tracker. In the past week, there have been average of 50,493 new cases a day, up 19% from the average two weeks ago.
A full 17 states — Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – set records for new cases, according to a Washington Post analysis.
With 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. has 7.8 million cases, or about 20% of the global tally of 37.8 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. death toll now stands at 215,086, more than 20% of the global death toll of 1.08 million.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the man deemed one of the leading experts on the pandemic, had warned ahead of Monday’s rally that it was “asking for trouble” given the rise in cases across so many states.
In an interview with CNN, Fauci said Americans need to be more cautious now that cold weather is arriving, and should be “doubling down” on safety measures, instead of ignoring them.
In other news:
• People of color should be over-represented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, as they are most affected by the deadly illness, Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency room physician who studies racism and sexism in medicine, told MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee. In the latest of MarketWatch’s series, “A Word from the Experts,” Choo cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show that Native Americans are 2.8 times more likely to contract the virus and 5.3 more times likely to be hospitalized; Black Americans are 4.7 more times likely to be hospitalized and 2.1 times more likely to die; and Hispanic people in the U.S. are 2.8 times more likely to contract the virus and 4.6 times more likely to end up in the hospital. “Balanced representation should be disproportionate representation of black and brown people, because they’re more affected by the disease,” she said. “Investors should be really asking them, what are your plans so that this is as widely disseminated as possible.”
• Johnson & Johnson has paused clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate after an unexplained illness by a participant, MarketWatch’s Mike Murphy reported. The drug maker announced Monday night that the 60,000-patient, late-stage trials have been put on hold and enrollment has been halted, citing “an unexplained illness in a study participant.” J&J noted that such pauses “are not uncommon in clinical trials,” and said there would be “a careful review of all of the medical information before deciding whether to restart the study.” Rival AstraZeneca AZN, -0.72% paused the late-stage trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in early September after an unexplained illness by a participant in the U.K. Regulators in the U.K., Brazil, India and South Africa have since allowed AstraZeneca’s trials to resume, though it remains on hold in the U.S. as the Food and Drug Administration has widened its investigation.
•. A Nevada man has become the first published case of COVID-19 reinfection in the U.S., according to a paper in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggesting that immunity from the illness does not last long. The 25-year old was first infected in mid-April, and then again in early June. Both strains of the virus are genetically distinct, making it unlikely the man had just suffered from a prolonged bout, as others have. The paper said the patient’s second case of COVID-19 was more severe than his first, and he was admitted to hospital and given supplemental oxygen. Previous cases of reinfection have been reported from Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Belgium.
• Hospitals in Paris could see up to 90% of their intensive care unit beds full of COVID-19 patients as soon as next week, according to the Parisien newspaper. ‘It’s inevitable,” Martin Hirsch, who heads 39 hospitals in Paris and the surrounding region, told the paper. “By around October 24, there will be a minimum of 800 to 1,000 Covid patients in intensive care, representing 70 to 90 percent of our current capacity,” he said.
Johns Hopkins data shows that 26.3 million people have recovered from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak.
Brazil has the second highest death toll at 150,689 and is third by cases at 5.1 million. India is second in cases with 7.2 million, but third in deaths at 109,856.
Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 83,945 and ninth highest case tally at 821,045. The U.K has 42,965 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world, and 620,471 cases.
China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has had 90,838 cases and 4,739 fatalities, according to its official numbers.
What are companies saying?
• AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
shares slid after the movie theater operator warned that given the reduced fourth-quarter movie slate during the pandemic, its cash resources will be depleted by the end of 2020, or early 2021, unless it raises a “material” amount of liquidity or attendance levels increase. The company continues to explore potential sources of liquidity, including additional debt and equity financing, renegotiations with landlords regarding lease payments and potential asset sales. “There is a significant risk that these potential sources of liquidity will not be realized or that they will be insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that would be required until the company is able to achieve more normalized levels of operating revenues,” AMC disclosed in an SEC filing. AMC has resumed operations at 494 of its 598 U.S. theaters, but at capacities of between 20% and 40%. The company said major movie releases that were scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter have either been rescheduled for 2021 or will be released directly through streaming, “leaving a reduced slate of movie releases for the remainder of the year, and release dates may continue to move.” That trend may be exacerbated as certain competitors have temporarily reclosed their theaters.
• Citigroup Inc.
reported third-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, helped by strength in the institutional clients (IC) business and as credit costs stabilized. IC revenue rose 5% to $10.35 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $9.89 billion, as equity markets revenue grew 15% to $875 million and fixed-income markets revenue increased 18% to $3.79 billion. Global consumer banking revenue fell 13% to $7.17 billion to fall shy of expectations of $7.23 billion. Creditcosts were $2.26 billion, up 8% from a year ago but down 71% from the sequential second quarter, as reserve build was $314 million versus $5.60 billion the previous quarter. “The backbone of our global network, Treasury and Trade Solutions experienced strong client engagement in the face of low interest rates,” said Chief Executive Michael Corbat. “Although Global Consumer Banking revenues remained lower as a result of the pandemic, we did see higher activity in our mortgage and wealth management products.”
• Johnson & Johnson
beat expectations for third-quarter earnings, buoyed by its pharmaceuticals business, which reported $11.4 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up from $10.8 billion in the same quarter last year. Its medical device business, which has been hurt by delayed or canceled medical procedures and surgeries as a result of the -19 pandemic, had $6.1 billion in revenue for the quarter, down from $6.4 billion in the same quarter a year ago. J&J raised its sales outlook for the year to $81.2 billion to $82.0 billion, with adjusted EPS of $7.95 to $8.05. It had previously said its 2020 adjusted EPS would be in the range of $7.75 to $7.95.
• JP Morgan Chase & Co.
posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings, buoyed by strong investment banking fees amid record capital raising during the pandemic. “JPMorgan Chase earned $9.4 billion of net income on nearly $30 billion of revenue and we maintained our credit reserves at $34 billion given significant economic uncertainty and a broad range of potential outcomes,” Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement. “We further strengthened our capital and liquidity position, increasing CET1 capital to $198 billion (13.0% CET1 ratio, up 60 basis points after paying the dividend) and liquidity sources to $1.3 trillion.” Global investment banking fees rose 9% to $2.2 billion. Total markets revenue rose 30% to $6.6 billion, as fixed-income markets revenue rose 29% and equity markets revenue rose 32%. Net interest income fell 9% to $13.1 billion, while noninterest revenue rose 7% to $16.8 billion. The bank set aside $611 million in provisions for loan losses, down $903 million from the year-earlier period. Net charge-offs of $1.2 billion were down $191 million.
• Royal Caribbean Group’s
Royal Caribbean International cruise line has decided to suspend all sailing departing from Australia and New Zealand through Dec. 31. Separately, the company’s Celebrity Cruises line will be suspending its full 2020/2021 Winter program in Australia and Asia, while the Azamara line will be suspending its 2020/2021 Winter sailings throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America. As a result, the company said it has repatriated over 44,000 employees to their home countries. Meanwhile, the Singapore government has approved pilot cruises to start in December. The company’s 2021 bookings have continued to improve over the last two months, although they are still below pre-COVID-19 levels, while pricing for 2021 bookings is relatively flat. Separately, the company said it has not been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of any intention to extend the current “no sail” order, which was recently extended to Oct. 31. Earlier, the cruise line unveiled a $500 million stock offering and $500 million convertible debt offering.