Summary:

  • US cases near 12.8 million
  • Deaths hit 262k
  • BoJo delivers speech to UK
  • NY reports most new cases in 7 months
  • Delta launches pilot program for international flights on-site testing
  • Norway sovereign wealth fund head stricken with COVID
  • India outbreak sees marginal day over day rise

* * *

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the US, and as millions of Americans ignore the CDC’s warnings about traveling, AstraZeneca has just announced that it’s likely to conduct another global trial after the data it has released so far has raised more questions than answers – and, to be sure, it also neglected to enroll enough elderly patients.

Yesterday, global COVID-19 cases topped 60 million, while global deaths recently topped 1.4 million. In the US, the confirmed case tally is nearing 12.8 million, while the death toll is at 262,446.

According to remarks from the CEO, the new trial will be launched instead of adding an arm to an ongoing US trial. It will be designed specifically to evaluate the lower “half dose” which was accidentally found to be more effective than a full dose.

“Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” said CEO Pascal Soriot in his first interview since the data were released. It will probably be another “international study, but this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients.”

Although Soriot said he didn’t expect the additional trials to hold up regulatory approvals in Europe and the UK, it’s possible the FDA might take longer to approve the vaccine longer.

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Even though this technically isn’t good news, to the algorithms responsible for much of the trading in today’s markets, any vaccine headline has the potential to spark another rotation into ‘value’.

In other vaccine news, a group of doctors from around the world warned that side effects from COVID-19 vaccine administration could cause patients to miss a day or two of work. Doctors warned that these risks should be advertised so the public so they don’t come as a surprise, and the CDC agreed to develop a plan for hospitals to avoid mass staff outages.

New York, meanwhile, topped yesterday’s multi-month high in new cases Thursday morning when it reported hospitalizations in the state topped 3,000 to their highest level since June 1, and new infections hit 6,933, the highest tally for seven months.

Finally, with the risks tied to travel on everybody’s mind, Delta Air Lines said Thursday it would test passengers for COVID on flights to Rome in a pilot program marking the latest attempt by the airline industry to open up trans-Atlantic travel.

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And in the UK, PM Boris Johnson delivered a speech advising the country that while he is “sorry” about the return to the tiering system in England now that the countrywide lockdown is over (for now, at least), that for every Briton “your tier is not your destiny” and that a strong cooperative effort would make it easier to loosen restrictions around the holidays as planned.

Here’s some more COVID-19 news from Thursday morning and overnight:

Nicolai Tangen, the chief executive officer of Norway’s $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund, tested positive for the coronavirus. The CEO said he took a test on Wednesday afternoon, “after feeling a bit under the weather, but my symptoms are mild” (Source: Bloomberg).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed England’s national lockdown will end next week, to be replaced by a tougher three-tier system of regional restrictions (Source: Bloomberg).

India reports 44,489 new cases in the last 24 hours, marginally up from 44,376 the previous day, bringing the national tally to 9.27 million. The death toll jumped by 524 to 135,223 (Source: Nikkei).


Via Zerohedge

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