Total Covid-19 cases in the US topped 8 million, Johns Hopkins University data showed. There were 63,330 cases reported on Thursday, the most in more than two months. Cases nationwide have been rising since mid-September, after a summertime peak as the virus spread through the Sun Belt. The trailing seven-day average of cases rose by almost 9 percent this week compared to the previous week, illustrating the upward curve faced by the US in less than three weeks before the general election. Read more here.
Let’s look at the global statistics:
Total Confirmed Cases: 39,339,962
Change Over Yesterday: 421,328
Total Deaths: 1,104,515
Total Recovered: 27,093,131
Nations hit with most cases: US (8,050,140), India (7,432,680), Brazil (5,200,300), Russia (1,361,317) and Argentina (965,609)
Pfizer to seek FDA approval for Covid -19 vaccine in November: Pfizer will apply for emergency US approval of the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech in the third week of November, the pharma group said, assuming it receives positive results from its current trial. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said in an open letter that he wanted to “provide greater clarity around the development timelines” of the vaccine, which is being tested on some 38,000 people worldwide. Read more here.
Pandemic drives US budget deficit to record: The US budget shortfall ballooned to more than $3.1 trillion in the government’s fiscal year ended in September, Treasury Department data showed Friday. The deficit as a share of the economy surged to 16 percent, the largest since 1945, based on second-quarter GDP. At the end of the financial crisis in 2009, the ratio was close to 10 percent before slowly narrowing through 2015. Read more here.
Europe cracks down on virus surge with curbs in London and Paris: As cases reach records across Europe, the UK and France are avoiding nationwide restrictions. Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, while people in Paris and eight other French cities will be confined to home between 9 pm and 6 am for four weeks. Italy’s Lombardy region, which includes Milan, reined in alcohol consumption and gambling. Read more here.
Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to reopen financial hub links: Singapore and Hong Kong will open their borders to one another for the first time in almost seven months, exempting people in both cities from compulsory quarantine. Compulsory quarantine will be replaced by coronavirus testing. Read more here.
WHO to revise guidance on Remdesivir in coming weeks: The World Health Organization will revise its guidance on the use of Remdesivir in coming weeks following the results of the Solidarity trial in which it was found not to reduce the risk of death. The agency will only give recommendations on vaccines once it has Phase 3 data about them. Read more here.
Are lockdowns the answer to rising Covid-19 infection rates?
Prof Raj Bhopal, of Edinburgh Medical School, says while lockdowns protect older people & those at risk, for the young it could do more harm than good. Sweden has been an outlier with much more lenient restrictions than elsewhere and an emphasis on living with the disease long term. While there’s disagreement about the best policy for societies to cope with the virus, many agree that we'll be living with it for years. Why? Because Covid-19 spreads faster and more easily than many other known diseases. Read more here.
What company leaders said this week about US stimulus talks: The US is stuck on passing a $1.8 billion stimulus package, which is a tapered down version. But talks are moving slow due to the elections. “The medium to longer term is still highly uncertain in particular as it relates to future stimulus. And so we remain heavily weighted to our downside scenarios,” said Jennifer Piepszak, the chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase. Read comments from chief executives of Wells Fargo, PNC Financial Services, Citigroup and Walmart here.
Big Four’s audit income jumps as firms raise prices: Audit income at the Big Four accounting firms rose at a multiyear-record rate last year, far outpacing their smaller rivals, as the groups raised prices to counter an increasingly harsh regulatory environment. Total fees at the UK audit divisions of PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY increased 7 percent to almost £2.3bn in 2019, according to the latest annual review of the market by the Financial Reporting Council, the industry watchdog. It said the rise was far larger than a 1.7 per cent increase in audit fee income at the Big Four firms in the previous year. PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY have raised their fees and abandoned risky clients in the past two years in the face of closer scrutiny of their work from regulators. Read more here.
For 3 filmmakers, now is the best time for a coronavirus documentary
As the coronavirus raged out of control this spring, Alex Gibney, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who has released two other movies this year, embarked on a secret project: a film that would “tell the origin story” of the pandemic that has cost more than 215,000 Americans their lives. He wanted to know if the carnage could have been prevented. The resulting documentary, available now to rent through services like Amazon and Apple, lays bare what Gibney calls “a story of staggering incompetence.” It contrasts the response in South Korea, where fewer than 450 people have died, to that of the United States, where, in January, President Trump declared the outbreak “totally under control,” the phrase from which the film takes its title. Read more here.