prognosis U.K. Defends G-7 Barbecue; U.S. Toll Nears 600,000: Virus Update Updated on
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British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended the government’s arrangements for the Group of Seven summit after photos emerged of leaders crowding together Saturday night for a barbecue on the beach.
The Covid-19 pandemic’s U.S. death toll approached 600,000, even as cases and fatalities slowed. New York state is nearing President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose by July 4.
South Africa won’t allow some Johnson & Johnson vaccines to be used following a U.S. ruling that ingredients for the country’s doses may have been contaminated during production in a Baltimore plant.
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- Vaccine Tracker: More than 2.33 billion doses administered
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- Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.
U.K. Defends G-7 Beach Barbecue in Pandemic (5:20 p.m. HK)
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended the government’s arrangements for the G-7 summit after photos emerged of leaders crowding together Saturday night for a beach barbecue. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Monday a delay in the lifting of final lockdown measures as virus cases rise again.
Raab said he expected people would understand that the “serious business” that G-7 leaders are engaging in at the summit exempts them from social distancing guidelines. Weekly cases in the U.K. increased by 53% to 47,868, the government said Saturday.
Mauritius Cases Surge on Foreign Worker Infections (5:05 p.m. HK)
Active Covid-19 cases in Mauritius rose by 77 to 368 overnight, with 40 of the new cases being foreign workers at a tuna processing factory, the health ministry said in a statement.
Five dormitories in the Indian Ocean island nation were classified as red zones a day prior.
According to the Port Louis-based Princes Tuna Mauritius, 97% of the foreign employees and 43% of Mauritian workers at the plant have completed their vaccination requirements.
South Africa Urges G-7 to Bridge Virus Funds Gap (4:45 p.m. HK)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged Group of Seven leaders to help “address the substantial financing gap” for testing, treatment and vaccination against Covid-19.
G-7 countries that together account for more than half of global output should contribute to close the $16.8 billion funding gap for the World Health Organization’s Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator for this year, Ramaphosa said, according to a copy of remarks published on the presidency website.
South Africa Won’t Use All Batches of J&J Vaccine (3:21 p.m. HK)
South Africa won’t allow some Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to be used following a U.S. ruling that ingredients for the country’s doses may have been contaminated during production in a plant in Baltimore.
The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that some batches of the J&J version weren’t fit to use, while others still are under review. South African authorities have reviewed data provided by the FDA and “made a decision not to release vaccine produced using the drug substance batches that were not suitable,” the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said Sunday in a statement.
South Africa is heavily reliant on the J&J vaccine to meet a target of inoculating two-thirds of its 60 million people this year.
India Cases at April Low (2:22 p.m. HK)
New infections in India fell to 80,834, the lowest level since the start of April.
Daily recoveries from Covid-19 have outnumbered new infections for 31 consecutive days, the health ministry said in an update.
Vietnam Company Could Make Shots (1:21 p.m. HK)
Vietnam’s health ministry said a local company is expected to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines after negotiating a technology transfer deal with an unidentified U.S. producer.
The vaccine will be mRNA-based, the health ministry said. It initially identified the company as Vingroup JSC before updating a statement to remove the reference. Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. use mRNA technology in their vaccines. Vietnam has approved Pfizer’s vaccine.
Bangkok to Allow More Businesses to Reopen (10:11 a.m. HK)
Thailand’s outbreak epicenter, Bangkok, will allow some aesthetics-related businesses to open back up now that its worst wave of cases has improved and more people have been vaccinated.
Beauty clinics, foot massage services, nail salons and tattoo parlors can resume operations from Monday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said late Saturday. People will also regain access to parks, botanical gardens and museums in the city.
U.S. Death Toll Nears 600,000 (8:18 a.m. HK)
The U.S. is approaching 600,000 deaths from Covid, even as new fatalities, infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet nationwide. The vaccination drive has slowed significantly but the results are clear: Masks are disappearing, the country is largely reopening. And daily deaths have fallen from a peak of more than 5,000 in February to an average of about 300 over the last week.
It took just over one month for fatalities to hit the half a million mark on Feb. 22 from 400,000, as the coronavirus inflicted its worst. Now, almost four months have passed, the slowest pace of death in the pandemic.
The U.S. has administered over 308 million vaccines, with almost 87% of people 65 and older receiving at least one dose and 76% fully vaccinated. The ratio of death among the elderly compared with people aged 18-49 has dropped 66%, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths among the vaccinated are exceedingly rare. A total of 603 among the 139 million fully inoculated in the U.S. died in the past six months, compared with a similar number on a single day this month.
Brazil Adds 78,700 New Cases (6:30 a.m. HK)
Brazil reported 78,700 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, with total cases at 17.4 million, according to Health Ministry data. The country’s coronavirus death toll rose by 2,037 to 486,272.
Brazil President Fined for Not Wearing a Mask (5:17 p.m. NY)
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil was fined for not wearing a mask on Saturday as he rode a motorcycle along with supporters through the streets of the capital of Sao Paulo, the Associated Press reported. Bolsonaro, who has faced widespread protests for his handling of the pandemic, repeated his opposition to mask mandates for those who are vaccinated.
The fine is about $110. Bolsonaro was also fined last month for failing to wear a mask at another rally in the northeastern state of Maranhao.
N.Y. Nears Biden’s Vaccine Goal (3:52 p.m. NY)
New York state is nearing President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose by July 4. More than a dozen other states have already reached that number.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday reported two numbers: a state number of 67.2% receiving at least one dose and 69.5% he said is used by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. The latter number includes federally administered doses “and other minor differences,” according to the statement.
Zambia Hits Records (2:37 p.m. NY)
Zambia will receive a further 120,000 doses of vaccines under the Covax facility in August, adding to the 108,000 doses the country is expecting on June 21, the southern African nation’s Health Ministry said Saturday in a statement. The announcement came as the country recorded its highest number of new cases and hospital admissions since the pandemic began.
The country reported 2,358 new cases on Saturday, with a 20% positive test rate, bringing the total cumulative number of infections to 110,332, with 1,365 deaths.
Study Shows Emergency Care Rare Among Vaccinated (1:04 p.m. NY)
Emergency care or hospitalization is “exceedingly rare” among fully vaccinated people who contract Covid-19, according to a study of “breakthrough infections” by doctors at Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health-care system. In cases of breakthrough Covid-19, if emergency treatment is required, “elderly patients with significant co-morbidities remain at high risk for severe outcomes regardless of vaccination status,” the study found.
The study of almost 12,000 people between December and April showed that fully vaccinated people who contracted Covid-19 were 96% less likely to require emergency care or hospitalization than those who were unvaccinated. The study, posted Friday on MedRxiv has not been peer reviewed.
France Passes Vaccine Milestone (12:15 p.m. NY)
The target of 30 million first vaccine shots was reached on Saturday, three days ahead of the official deadline of June 15, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said in a tweet, as the country is enjoying its first weekend with a later curfew and lower restrictions.
Specific vaccination campaigns targeting the regions most affected by the delta variant first found in India were being conducted over the weekend, notably in the east. At least a fifth of the French population has been fully vaccinated, according to data released late Friday by the French health agency Sante Publique France.
— With assistance by Michael Tighe, Kitty Donaldson, Prinesha Naidoo, and Kamlesh Bhuckory