July 28, 2021

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Lockdowns Avert Millions of Cases; Indonesia Eases: Virus Update

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(Bloomberg) — Lockdowns and other public-health measures may have prevented about a half-billion coronavirus infections in six countries, including China and the U.S., according to the first peer-reviewed analysis of the impact of health policies on the pandemic.

Indonesia will allow airlines to carry more passengers in a rule that further eases restrictions in the aviation industry, as the country moves toward reopening its economy. Abu Dhabi extended its ban on movements by one week.

The World Health Organization said transmission of the virus by people who aren’t showing symptoms is “rare.” The genetic-testing company 23andMe found that blood type may play a role in who is susceptible.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases pass 7.1 million; deaths exceed 406,000A million volunteers help Thailand curb virusHow the outbreak upended India’s finance hubChina wants it both ways on coronavirus recoveryWhere are we in the quest for a vaccine?: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

Abu Dhabi extends movement ban one week (12:27 a.m. HK)

Abu Dhabi extended its movement ban by one week, the Government Media Office said. Movement in and out of the capital as well as between regions will remain suspended.

South Africa’s plan to halt virus flounders (12:13 p.m. HK)

South Africa in March unveiled plans to test 30,000 people a day, only weeks after the first infection was diagnosed.

Today, with more than 940,000 tests completed and 12 million people screened, its program is by far the most comprehensive on the continent. But some 80,000 tests haven’t been processed and results can take between five to 14 days, making it impossible to isolate those who are infected and trace their contacts.

25,000 U.S. Stores May Close in 2020 (12:10 p.m. HK)

As many as 25,000 U.S. stores could close permanently this year after the coronavirus pandemic devastated an industry where many mall-based retailers were already struggling.

The number would shatter the record set in 2019, when more than 9,800 stores closed their doors for good, according to a report from retail and tech data firm Coresight Research.

U.S. Test Shows 60% of Carrier Crews Have Antibodies (12:07 p.m. HK)

A U.S. Navy investigation into the spread of the coronavirus aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier found that about 60% of sailors tested had antibodies, Reuters reported, citing two U.S. officials.

Cathay Said to Mull Fundraising, Rights Issue (11:20 a.m. HK)

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is weighing options to raise capital as the company weather an unprecedented slump in the aviation industry because of the coronavirus and associated travel curbs, according to people familiar with the matter.

Indonesia Eases Restrictions on Airlines (10:10 a.m. HK)

Indonesia will allow airlines to carry more passengers in a rule that further eases restrictions in the aviation industry, as the country moves toward reopening its economy.

The Transport Ministry is scrapping a 50% limit in seating capacity and requires airlines to implement physical distancing, according to a new regulation signed on June 8.

South Korea Confirms 38 More Cases (9:30 a.m. HK)

South Korea reported 38 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 11,852, data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention show. Deaths rose by one, to 274.

Wuhan Finds No Live Virus in Asymptomatic Cases (8:30 a.m. HK)

Viral cultivation results were negative for all 300 asymptomatic cases found from the earlier mass tests in Wuhan, according to the Municipal Health Commission. Almost 1,200 close contacts of the 300 also tested negative.

Japan Wages Drop First Time in Four Months (7:42 a.m. HK)

Japanese wages fell in April for the first time in four months as businesses shut and millions of workers were forced on leave amid a nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus. Cash earnings slipped 0.6% from a year earlier, labor ministry data showed. Economists had predicted a 1% drop.

Trump to Resume Rallies Despite Virus (5:37 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump plans to resume campaign rallies this month, reviving the raucous events at a time when he is lagging Democrat Joe Biden in the polls.

Trump’s campaign is looking to restart his signature events in June, campaign officials say. The campaign hasn’t determined where the first rally since the country locked down over the coronavirus will be held, said the officials, who asked not to be named discussing internal deliberations.

U.S. Virus Cases Rise 1.2% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.2% as compared to the same time Sunday, to 1.95 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s higher than Sunday’s 1% rate but matched the average over the past seven days. Deaths rose 0.7% to 110,771.

Asymptomatic Transmission ‘Very Rare’: WHO (3:23 p.m. NY)

Transmission of the coronavirus by people who aren’t showing symptoms is “very rare,” the World Health Organization said Monday, contradicting speculation by public health officials and researchers that the disease was being spread by people who weren’t showing signs of illness.

“It still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a briefing in Geneva. She said her comment is based on detailed reports of contact tracing from various countries.

Earlier research sparked concern that the virus would be difficult to contain because of asymptomatic transmission. The New England Journal of Medicine, in an article dated May 28, warned that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by seemingly healthy people is “the Achilles’ heel of Covid-19 pandemic control.”

Blood Type May Play Role, 23andMe Says (2:18 p.m. NY)

Research from genetic-testing giant 23andMe Inc. found differences in a gene that influences a person’s blood type can affect a person’s susceptibility to Covid-19.

Preliminary results from more than 750,000 participants suggests type O blood is especially protective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, the company said on Monday. The findings echo other research that has indicated a link between variations in the ABO gene and Covid-19.

Scientists have been looking at genetic factors to try to determine why some people who contract the new coronavirus experience no symptoms, while others become gravely ill. In April, 23andMe launched a study that sought to use the millions of profiles in its DNA database to shed light on the role genetics play in the disease.

N.Y. Infection Rate Hits Record Low (11:55 a.m. NY)

The infection rate in New York state fell to 1.2% on Sunday, the lowest since the pandemic began in March, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The state performed more than 58,000 tests, he said. The rate in New York City, which began the first phase of reopening Monday, was 2%, down from almost 60% nine weeks ago at the height of the outbreak.

Lockdowns May Have Helped Prevent Half a Billion Cases (9:20 a.m. NY)

Lockdowns and other public-health measures may have prevented about half a billion coronavirus infections in six countries, including China and the U.S.

The virus has now caused some 7 million reported cases of Covid-19, with more than 400,000 fatalities. Published Monday in the journal Nature, the first peer-reviewed analysis of the impact of health policies suggests that the toll would have been vastly worse without lockdowns, social distancing, travel restrictions and other interventions. Many coronavirus infections are relatively mild, and most of the roughly 500 million averted cases would have gone undetected, according to the study.

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