Summary:

  • Trump vetos vaccine restrictions
  • China says mass vaccinations to take up to 2 years
  • France introduces more curbs
  • Israel lockdown intensifies
  • FDA delivers emergency authorization
  • Moscow reports 1,050 new cases
  • Indonesia suffers 2nd straight record

* * *

While the US marches toward the 7 million mark, France announced new restrictions on Wednesday calling for bars and restaurants to be shuttered in the ‘hot spot’ of Marseille, and Germany added 11 regions to its list of COVID hotspots, as the second wave of COVID-19 infection spreads across Europe.

China has been pressing ahead with its vaccination projects, with multiple efforts already well into ‘Phase 3’ testing. But if China’s COVID-19 infection rates are really so low as to be virtuallly nonexistent, as Chinese official data, and state-controlled media reports, have suggested, then why is the Communist Party of China attaching such a high priority to the country’s domestic mass-vaccination efforts?

A top government scientist told the local press that it’ll take China up to two years to finish vaccinations on a mass scale, said infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan, who was speaking at an “industry event”, according to China’s Changjiang Daily.

One could argue that another outbreak is just around the corner, but after months of Beijing’s heavy handed “wartime footing” approach, people in Wuhan are partying like its 2019, and even a handful of domestic cases can trigger ‘localized’ lockdowns that can seal off cities from their surrounding province.

Circling back to the US, President Trump threatened to veto any attempt to tighten rules related to emergency clearance of a vaccine, a statement that will inevitably trigger another round of accusations about Trump meddling with government scientists and applying undue political pressure that could compromise the safety, and credibility, of the eventually-approved vaccine.

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Still, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield told Congress during yesterday’s hearing that they “wouldn’t hesitate” to get a vaccine if one was offered.

One day after JNJ became the fourth US vaccine project to enter ‘Phase 3’ testing, AstraZeneca said it is still waiting for a decision from the FDA on whether it can resume tests in the country after halting global trials due to concerns about a participant who became ill in the UK.

Though case numbers across Sweden remain well below their springtime peak, a recent surge in cases in and around Stockholm has prompted the country’s top health officials to consider imposing new localized restrictions to prevent a broader resurgence. Swedish PM Lofven said the country “would not hesitate” to take further action to limit the spread.

After separately announcing new measures earlier in the week, Spain, France, the UK and Germany are leading European nations in combating a second wave that continues to rise. With Europeans opposed to a lockdown return, all of these countries are relying on ‘localized’ restrictions – particularly on bars and restaurants, and large gatherings and weddings – as their front-line of defense, with leaders (notably Johnson) warning that the restrictions could remain in place for up to six months.

The biggest numbers out of the US yesterday came from Texas, which followed California to become the 4th state to see its death toll top 15,000.

Here’s a rundown of important numbers from yesterday, accurate as of 0630ET: 

31,914,770: confirmed cases worldwide

977,109: confirmed deaths worldwide

37,330: New US cases recorded yesterday

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6,935,415: Total cases confirmed in the US

1,098: deaths in the US recorded yesterday

201,920: total U.S. deaths

97,459,742: tests conducted in the U.S.

Cases have fallen from a five-week high reached earlier in the week…

…while the US saw the highest number of deaths in a week yesterday.

Here’s other important news from overnight:

US FDA delivered emergency authorization for the first serology/antibody point-of-care COVID test (Newswires).

China’s Sinovac Biotech hopes to supply its experimental vaccine across Latin America as quickly as possible by outsourcing some manufacturing procedures to a partner in Brazil. Sinovac plans to provide semi-finished products to its partner Instituto Butantan, which will complete the rest of the process and supply finished items to other South American countries, Chairman Yin Weidong said at a news conference, part of China’s effort to ‘atone’ for unleashing SARS-CoV-2 on the world (Source: Nikkei).

Indonesia reports a daily record high for the second consecutive day with 4,634 new infections, and 128 deaths. The country has now a total of 262,022 coronavirus cases, with the death toll crossing the 10,000 mark for the first time to 10,105 (Source: Nikkei).

The Philippines reports 2,180 new infections and 36 additional deaths. Total confirmed cases rose to 296,755, still the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths reached 5,127, nearly half of which were recorded in the past 30 days (Source: Nikkei).

SoftBank Group starts offering PCR coronavirus testing with saliva that will cost 2,000 yen ($19) per person, excluding delivery fees, for corporate customers. In Japan, PCR testing is typically priced from 20,000 to 40,000 yen. The Japanese tech investor aims to expand the testing market by making tests available to people without symptoms at a reasonable price through its unit. It also plans to offer the service to individuals this winter (Source: Nikkei).

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China reports seven new coronavirus cases for Thursday, down from 10 reported a day earlier. All new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 20 from 18 a day earlier (Source: Nikkei).

Moscow registered 1,050 new cases in the last day, the first time that the Russian capital diagnosed over a thousand infections since June. New daily cases in Moscow have grown by two-thirds since Sept. 1, when schools opened nationwide. The number of infections is rising throughout Russia, with 6,595 new cases in the last day. There have been 1,128,836 reported infections, the fourth highest in the world, after the U.S., India and Brazil (Source: Bloomberg).

The Israeli government tightened lockdown restrictions for the next two weeks to try and fight a coronavirus outbreak that’s spun out of control. Just last week, the government imposed its second lockdown since the pandemic began. With daily new infections surging dramatically, the government voted early Thursday to clamp down further during a season of major Jewish holidays by almost totally idling the private sector, allowing only essential employees to work (Source: Bloomberg).

Russia is preparing to supply 17 more countries with its Avifavir COVID-19 treatment (Newswires).

Via Zerohedge