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Sun Belt’s Summer Outbreak Continues To Ease; Spain Rejects Another National COVID-19 Lockdown: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • Sun Belt outbreak eases
  • Spain rejects lockdown
  • Africa COVID cases near 1.2 million
  • Deaths in England + Wales hit 20-week low
  • Germany to extend benefit program
  • German infections remain close to 4-month high
  • Russia reported 4,696 new cases
  • Usain Bolt tests positive
  • Dr. Fauci warns FDA must thoroughly vet COVID vaccines
  • Dr. Hahn walks back endorsement of FDA-approved plasma treatment

* * *

Update (1800ET): The Sun Belt's summer spike in COVID-19 cases appears to be easing, even as sweltering summer temperatures persist, though the dawn of hurricane season has created new concerns for some of the worst-hit states. Both Florida and California showed notable signs of easing on Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins initial reading for Tuesday showed the US saw cases increase 0.6%,  compared with the same time Monday, to 5.76 million. That's solidly below the 0.8% average over the past week. Deaths slowed, climbing 0.4% to 177,773.

In Europe, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez rejected calls for a new national lockdown as the country re-emerges as the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe.

* * *

President Trump and the RNC placed the GOP president's response to the coronavirus pandemic front-and-center during last night's opening salvo for what's set to be a scaled down version of the quadrenniel Republican Convention, as Trump and his supporters praised Trump's travel restrictions, "Project Warp Speed" and other measures for helping the US fight off the virus.

But on Tuesday morning, the focus shifts back to Europe and Asia, as yet another case of COVID-19 reinfection has been confirmed – this time, in Belgium, making it the first such case in Europe, following yesterday's confirmed case of reinfection documented in Hong Kong.

The disheartening discovery comes as Belgium grapples with one of the Continent's worst active outbreaks.

In the UK, deaths in England and Wales fell to a 21 week-low after reporting just 139 virus-linked fatalities during the week ended Aug. 14. That's jus 1.5% of the region's total fatalities, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.

Germany, which has seen new case numbers climb in recent weeks, will likely extend a state wage-support program, according to Carsten Schneider, a caucus manager for the Social Democratic Party, who made the claim during an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz proposed extending the job-preserving subsidies to 24 months last week, arguing that the measure would cost the government an extra €10 billion euros ($11.8 billion).

Meanwhile, Germany's new coronavirus cases increased at a pace close, but just below, Sunday's 4-month high, while its closely watched infection rate dropped back below 1, indicting that the pandemic has shifted back into "contraction" territory. 

The Robert Koch Institute reported 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, raising its total to 236,122. The daily gain compared with 633 on Monday and 1,737 on Saturday. That marked the highest number since April. One death was also reported, lifting the overall number of deaths to 9,276.

Officials from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, expected to meet later on Tuesday in Berlin, have “always taken the sensible path in the end on labor-market and social policy," he said.

Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder warned Tuesday that Germany risks a return to the peak levels of daily new cases close to 7,000 seen at the end of March and beginning of April, and ruled out easing restrictions on movement and social gatherings.

After the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine project released some more optimistic sounding updates touting the possibility of winning approval for the experimental vaccine by the end of the year, AstraZeneca announced that its first participants have been dosed in a Phase 1 trial of AZD7442, a COVID-19 drug created by combining two monoclonal antibodies harvested from sick patients.

As infection rates fall in Hong Kong…

…the special administrative region said it would allow dining-in until 9 pm, while cinemas, beauty parlors and outdoors sports venues will start reopening Friday, according to Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan.

The government will also allow residents to go maskless in parks and while exercising outdoors. The present suite of social distancing measures will be extended to Aug. 27, per Bloomberg.

Elsewhere, while the outbreak across the world's poorest continent hasn't been nearly as severe as many feared the, Coronavirus outbreak in Africa is closing in on 1.2 million cases and 30,000 deaths ((with nearly 28,000 confirmed so far), according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of infections stands at 1,195,297, including 27,783 fatalities and 921,783 recoveries, according to the latest update. Southern Africa is the continent’s worst-hit regio,  with 652,400 cases and 14,100 deaths, and South Africa is the worst hit country. But even countries that demonstrated a surprisingly robust response, like Uganda, are starting to see problems, according to Al Jazeera.

In sports news, Champion sprinter Usain Bolt tested positive for coronavirus just days after hosting a 'mask-less' 34th birthday bash.

Russia, meanwhile, reported 4,696 new cases on Tuesday, pushing its national total to 966,189, the world's 4th-largest, cementing its lead over South Africa (which currently holds the No. 5 spot). 120 Russians died, pushing the death toll to 16,568.

Finally, while millions of Americans were focused on the RNC last night, FDA Director Stephen Hahn took to twitter to recant a statement he made late Sunday evening, when he parroted President Trump's claim that treatments based on survivor plasma had already proven to reduce mortality by 35%, which Trump used to justify pressuring the FDA for its emergency approval.

Not only did Hahn walk back these claims…

…but Dr. Hahn's decision to acquiesce to Trump's demands has even prompted other national health-care figures, like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Fauci, to issue warnings about the FDA's credibility. Dr. Fauci said the agency must thoroughly vet all vaccine candidates, since a rushed job could risk doing even more damage, and destroying the agency's credibility in the eyes of the public. He told Reuters giving approval to one potential vaccine would make it "difficult, if not impossible for other vaccines to enroll people in their trials."


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