A coronavirus vaccine may be two years away, if one is ever found, and low levels of infection may become a part of life, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer warned.
New infections in Tokyo exceeded 200 for a third day, though fell short of Friday’s record, Kyodo reported. Masked fans returned to baseball in Japan, making the country among the first to restart major sport with spectators. Germany’s infection rate stayed below a key level that’s crucial to preventing a second wave.
In the U.S., Texas hospitalizations topped 10,000 for the first time and California suffered its second-highest day of deaths. Florida’s biggest county had a record number of patients in intensive care.
Global Tracker: Cases top 12.4 million; deaths surpass 560,000Wuhan shows the world how economies may recover‘Back to the nightmare’ as virus shuts Hong Kong schoolsTesting bottlenecks are hindering U.S. statesBillionaire’s empire unexpectedly thrives in BrazilMasked fans return to baseball in Japan
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German Infection Rate Rises Slightly (2:28 p.m. HK)
Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 331 while the death rate held steady, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths increased by 6 to 9,063, a smaller increase than most days since the beginning of March.
The reproduction factor — or R value — rose slightly to 0.80, according to the latest estimate by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s health body. That’s under the key threshold of 1.0, seen as crucial to preventing a second wave of infections.
Tokyo Finds 206 New Cases: Kyodo (2:02 p.m. HK)
Tokyo confirmed 206 new cases of coronavirus, Kyodo reported Saturday, citing unidentified people. The number of new cases exceeded 200 for the third straight day, but fell short of Friday’s daily record of 243.
Hong Kong Adds at Least 20 Cases: SCMP (1:53 p.m. HK)
Hong Kong confirmed at least 20 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a medical source. It’s not yet known how many of Saturday’s cases were locally transmitted, the SCMP said. On Thursday, the city recorded 34 locally transmitted infections, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.
In response, the government reintroduced social restrictions that cap restaurant capacity at 60% and limit eight people to a table.
Australia Warns of Two-Year Vaccine Wait (1:21 p.m. HK)
Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said a vaccine may not be available for between 18 and 24 months and the country must be able to keep the virus under control at low levels. “We need to prepare for a world without a vaccine,” he said at a media conference Saturday.
Mask-wearing will be critical to reopening Australia’s second-most populous state as it seeks to curb a second wave of infections, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier.
Two million masks will be ordered and distributed to “priority groups,” he said Saturday. The state recorded 216 new cases and one death in the past 24 hours, and he urged Victorians to stay home this weekend as much as possible.
Emirates to Cut 9,000 Jobs, BBC Reports (11:08 a.m. HK)
Emirates Airlines plans to cut 9,000 jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, BBC reported, citing airline President Tim Clark.
The company had 60,000 employees before the pandemic, the BBC said. The airline plans to increase job cuts to as much as 15% of its workforce, having already reduced employee numbers by 10%, Clark told the news service.
South Korea New Cases Fall (9:29 a.m. HK)
South Korea reported 35 more cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,373. There no additional deaths, leaving the total at 288, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said.
The country reported 45 new cases of infection on July 10 and one additional death.
Japan’s Contact-Tracing App Fails (8:49 a.m. HK)
Japan’s health ministry suspended the registration of positive cases on its contact-tracing smartphone app Cocoa as it worked to fix an error that left some people unable to enter their information.
The ministry aims to get the feature running again next week, according to a statement. The ministry encouraged users to keep using the app, which had 6.5 million downloads across iOS and Android phones as of Friday evening.
Texas Hits Milestone (5:35 p.m. NY)
More than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas Friday, the first time the state has reached that benchmark. Cases there jumped by 9,765, an increase of 4.2% compared with the seven-day average of 3.9%. The state has added close to 10,000 cases for each of the last four days, and deaths have begun to spike in tandem, with another 98 fatalities exceeding the seven-day average.
Governor Greg Abbott stepped up efforts to encourage people to wear masks, making the rounds of local television stations to warn that deaths are likely to rise in coming days.
California to Release Prisoners (4:30 p.m. NY)
California plans to release about 7% of its prison population, roughly 8,000 non-violent offenders, to relieve pressure on a chronically overcrowded correctional system that’s now struggling with a spike in coronavirus cases.
The move will enable prisons to maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation and quarantine efforts, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. It estimated that about 8,000 currently incarcerated people could be eligible for release by the end of August.
U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (3:55 p.m. NY)
U.S. cases rose by 59,782 from a day earlier to 3.14 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.9% jump matched the average daily increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 133,677.
California Has Second-Deadliest Day (2:21 p.m. NY)
California reported 140 new virus deaths, second only to the 149 reported Thursday as the most yet for the pandemic. The 14-day average is 75, according to state health data.
Total confirmed cases rose by 7,798, or 2.6%, pushing California’s total infections to 304,297. While the gain was less than the 3% average over the past seven days, the state’s outbreak has been accelerating: Infections have exceeded 300,000 just two weeks after crossing the 200,000 milestone.
Gilead’s Remdesivir Linked to Death Reduction (9:36 a.m. NY)
Gilead Sciences Inc. said its remdesivir virus treatment is associated with a 62% reduction in the risk of death compared with the standard of care. The death rate with remdesivir was 7.6% at Day 14 versus 12.5% among those not taking remdesivir.
The finding is based on an analysis that combines results from a Phase 3 trial and a “real-world” retrospective cohort of patients with severe disease, the company said, noting that it requires confirmation in prospective clinical trials.
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