China has begun testing a nasal spray vaccine for the coronavirus in what would have been a world first. Japan and Singapore plan to open a reciprocal green lane for travel next week in an effort to revive business between the two Asian countries, while global cases have surpassed 28 million.
Democrats in the United States Senate blocked a tightly tailored pandemic relief plan proposed by Republicans, arguing that the measure was too small. AstraZeneca Plc said its vaccine could still be ready by the end of the year, while Singapore Airlines cut more than 4,000 jobs.
- Global Tracker: cases exceed 28 million; deaths exceed 908,000
- Europe is trying beat the blazes with a mosaic of strategies
- United States Covid financing of short-term hospitals in black areas
- Volatility in vaccine support highlights the looming Covid challenge
- Etiquette on attending a wedding (or not) during a pandemic
- India’s Health “The time bomb keeps ticking and it’s not Covid-19
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China begins testing Covid-19 nasal spray vaccine (14:10)
The newest Covid-19 vaccine candidate to begin human testing is the first in which volunteers will not receive a painful injection. Instead, they will receive a spray through the nose.
On Wednesday, China approved phase I human tests for the nasal spray vaccine, which was jointly developed by researchers from Xiamen University and Hong Kong University, as well as vaccine manufacturer Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co.
Intranasal spray was previously developed as a flu vaccine and is recommended for use among children and adults who want to avoid the more common needle injection. While not the most frequent choice for delivery, scientists around the world are working to develop sprays as an alternative to muscle shots for all types of vaccines.
New persistent clusters in Singapore dorms (13:55 HK)
Singapore reported its 18th new virus cluster in dormitories for migrant workers in less than three weeks, signaling a setback in the city-state’s strategy to contain the coronavirus outbreak by mass testing them and limiting their movements.
Two new clusters linked to previous cases were identified in the dormitories where 55 of the nation’s last 63 Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Thursday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
Singapore, Japan for Start Business Travel Lane (11:55 HK)
Singapore and Japan will start a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on September 18, according to a joint government press release.
Safeguards will include pre-departure and post-arrival testing as well as a controlled itinerary for the first 14 days in the receiving country.
Philippines seeks other groups for rehearsal (11:30 HK)
The Philippines signed confidentiality agreements with five foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers, including a manufacturer from Taiwan and a second from China, to initiate negotiations for potential Covid-19 vaccine supplies, according to a CNN report in the Philippines.
Australia’s Seqirus Pty Ltd., China’s Sinovac Biotech Co. Ltd., Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, and Taiwan’s Adimmune Corp. may be conducting clinical trials in the country, CNN Philippines said in a Twitter post, citing Jaime Montoya. Executive Director of the Philippine Health Research Council.
Toxic Hand Sanitizers Sold in Mexico After U.S. Ban (9:20 HK)
The deadly hand sanitizers that were banned in the United States are still circulating widely in Mexico, raising concerns among health experts that dozens of people they smear the gel on could slowly poison themselves.
Four people died in the United States and three people partially lost their sight this year after drinking disinfectants, prompting a testing campaign by the Food and Drug Administration that found methanol in Mexican imports. Thirty-seven Mexican companies have been banned from exporting their hand sanitizers to the United States, and nearly half of them have voluntarily withdrawn their product, but only in the United States.
Singapore Air cuts 4,300 jobs (7:45 hk)
Singapore Airlines Ltd. is eliminating some 4,300 jobs, or 20% of its workforce, as the coronavirus outbreak devastates the aviation industry.
The cuts will be made at Singapore Airlines and its SilkAir and Scoot units. Discussions are underway with unions and deals will be finalized as soon as possible, the carrier said in a statement late Thursday evening.
Job losses are the first at Singapore Airlines since the SARS outbreak in 2003.
NYC Business Leaders Urge Mayor to Repair Services (6:45 HK)
Leaders of more than 150 New York City corporations and financial firms have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to pay more attention to a decline in quality of life, as the city struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic that has devastated its economy.
In a letter sent to the mayor Thursday, CEOs of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Blackstone Group Inc. and other major corporations acknowledged the city’s accomplishment in limiting the spread of the virus. But they said they were losing faith in the city as a place that feels safe for people to live and work.
“Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, an unprecedented number of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness or otherwise at risk,” the letter states. “There is widespread anxiety about public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to the deteriorating conditions in the business districts and neighborhoods of the five districts.”
Okay meat packing plant called “miserable” (6:35 HK)
US regulators issued theirs first sanction against a meat packer linked to a deadly Covid-19 epidemic: a $ 13,494 fine against Smithfield Foods Inc. that drew criticism as inadequate from at least one senator, a former security official, and a major national union.
According to inspection documents, nearly 1,300 workers at Smithfield’s Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant tested positive for the virus, 43 were hospitalized and four died between March 22 and June 16. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement that the fine was the maximum allowed by law. Smithfield is owned by the WH Group Ltd. based in Hong Kong.
The meat packaging industry was one of the first epicenter of the coronavirus as the disease quickly spread among its often poorly paid immigrant employees who work closely together. In a tweet, Democratic Senator Cory Booker, one of many who highlighted the toll the pandemic has caused to frontline workers, called the fine “paltry”.
Cases in Brazil increase, deaths slow down (17:57 NY)
Brazil reported 40,557 cases, up from 35,816 the previous day, for a total of 4,238,446, according to the Ministry of Health website. This represented a 1% increase from an average daily increase of 0.7% from the previous week.
Another 983 deaths have been reported in the nation with the third worst outbreak after the United States and India. This is against 1,075 the day before, for a total of 129,522 deaths.
Jets player accused of PPP fraud (17:47 NY)
Former New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy has been indicted for his alleged participation in a $ 24 million salary protection program fraud scheme.
Bellamy is one of 11 defendants, according to a US Department of Justice press release Thursday.
The professional footballer is accused of taking out a $ 1.2 million PPP loan for his company Drip Entertainment LLC. Bellamy is accused of using the funds to purchase jewelry and spend $ 62,774 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, according to the release. In total, the group took out loans of over $ 24 million and received at least $ 17.4 million.
American Express Extends Work From Home (5:40 pm NY)
American Express has decided extend its temporary work from home policy until June 30, 2021, according to a statement by President and CEO Stephen Squeri.
This week, the company began reopening its facilities in London and New York, with around 10% of workers choosing to return to the early stage.
The updated policy covers all colleagues around the world who are able to effectively perform their roles at home and choose not to return to the office once it reopens, until the new deadline of June 2021.
“To date, we have initiated the gradual reopening process in nearly 30 locations where infection rates remain consistently low, especially in Europe and Asia,” Squeri said.
FDA sets upper limit for emergency vaccines (17:04 NY)
Drug manufacturers applying for an emergency clearance for a Covid-19 vaccine will need to comply with a Higher standard of efficacy than would normally be required for such authorization, said the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration office that manages the vaccines.
Typically, an Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, would require a company to demonstrate that their product can be effective. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s biological office, said Thursday that the agency will require more robust data on how a coronavirus vaccine works before granting an emergency waiver – something he called “EUA plus.”
The medical community has raised concerns about allowing a vaccine on the market with emergency clearance, rather than the normal FDA approval process, particularly given President Donald Trump’s push to have a chance by the November 3 election.
US Cases Up 0.7% (4pm NY)
Coronavirus cases in the United States rose 0.7% from the same period on Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths increased 0.8% to 191,444.
- Florida reported 654,731 cases, up 0.4% from the previous day, in line with the average increase over the previous seven days. Deaths reached 12,326, an increase of 1.7%.
- Arizona reported 461 cases, a 0.2% increase to 207,002 which was just below the previous seven-day average increase of 0.3%. The state recorded 22 new deaths, bringing the toll to 5,273.
- Idaho recorded a 4% increase in the number of cases over the same period yesterday, bringing the total to 35,353, according to data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
France hits the most cases since the closure of the bloc (13:40)
France registered nearly 10,000 new cases on Thursday, the most since the country’s lockdown ended four months ago and ahead of a government meeting on Friday to discuss measures to curb the rise in infections.
Cases increased by 9,843, the newest laboratory-confirmed infections since the lockdown ended in mid-May, according to data from the public health agency. The seven-day moving average is 7,680 and has been steadily increasing for more than three weeks.
The virus is actively circulating in major cities, including Marseille and Lyon, and authorities may have to “tighten the bolts a bit, because a lot of laxity occurs in France,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council advising the government he said in an interview on RTL radio.
Democrats Block Senate Republicans’ Stimulus Bill (13:25 NY)
Democrats in the Senate blocked a bespoke pandemic relief plan proposed by Republicans, arguing the measure was too poor a response given the damage Covid-19 continues to wreak on the U.S. economy.
The Senate vote in favor of the bill was less than the 60 needed to advance legislation for the courtroom debate, leaving Congress in a bind just weeks before lawmakers returned home to campaign in the crucial elections. ‘Autumn.
Estimated at around $ 500 billion to $ 700 billion, the package was less than the Republicans’ $ 1 trillion plan starting in July, intended to target the most urgent areas of help – resuscitated supplemental unemployment insurance benefits and extended aid for small businesses, in particular. The bill was a fraction of the $ 2.2 trillion backed by the Democrats.
WHO says Astra Trial Halt is a good wake up call (11:53 a.m. NY)
Stopping the vaccine trial by AstraZeneca Plc after a patient falls ill is a good wake-up call for everyone to recognize that there are ups and downs in clinical research and development, the chief said in a briefing. World Health Organization scientist Soumya Swaminathan. Each clinical trial protocol has an operational procedure for managing side effects.
“This is normal procedure, this is good clinical practice, because safety is the top priority in any clinical trial,” he said. “It’s not always a fast or straight road.”
Separately, the WHO said there is currently no way to predict which vaccines will be effective, but that the data from the Phase 1 and 2 studies have been promising enough for most.
Western Europe overtakes the US for new infections (9:48 NY)
Western Europe has overtook the United States in new daily infections, reemerging as a global hotspot after keeping the pandemic under control in early summer.
On Wednesday, the 27 countries of the European Union plus the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases, compared to 26,015 in the United States, following several weeks of recurrence of infections in Spain, France and other countries on the continent. The comparison is based on data from the World Health Organization for the United States and Bloomberg’s calculations using numbers from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
– With the assistance of David Scanlan and Will Davies