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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Third surge in the US threatens to be the worst

Netflix falls short on new users, UK budget deficit hits $271 bn, Amazon to allow WFH through June 2021, and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Lockdown

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

A third surge has taken root in the US: The latest wave — which is raging most acutely in the Midwest and the West, but is also spreading in various areas around the country — threatens to be the worst of the pandemic yet. Its arrival comes as cooler weather is forcing people indoors, setting up a grueling winter that will test the discipline of many Americans who have grown weary of wearing masks and turning down invitations to see family and friends. Over the last week, the country has averaged about 59,000 new cases a day, the most since the beginning of August. The high case count — which has so far not translated to soaring deaths — in part reflects increased testing. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 40,795,980

Change Over Yesterday: 384,794

Total Deaths: 1,124,952

Total Recovered: 27,912,958

Nations hit with most cases: US (8,274,797), India (7,651,107), Brazil (5,273,954), Russia (1,422,775) and Argentina (1,018,999)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Netflix falls short on new subscribers as pandemic boost fizzles: Netflix Inc on Tuesday posted the weakest subscriber gains in four years as streaming competition increased, pandemic restrictions eased and live sports returned to television. It added 2.2 million paid subscribers globally during the quarter that ended September 30, short of Wall Street’s and its own forecast of 3.4 million. Netflix had warned investors that a sudden surge in new sign-ups would fade in the latter half of the year as Covid-19 restrictions eased. Read more here

Texas Instruments gives strong forecast on automotive demand: Texas Instruments has more than 100,000 customers ranging from makers of consumer electronics to space hardware. That breadth of reach makes its earnings and forecasts a proxy for demand across the economy. It revenue in the current quarter topped analysts’ estimates, indicating demand for chips used in cars and personal electronics is rebounding. Read more here

UK budget deficit hits $271 billion amid calls for more aid: The UK budget deficit climbed to an unprecedented 208.5 billion pounds ($271 billion) in the first six months of the months of the fiscal year, highlighting the cost of supporting the economy through the pandemic as calls mount for fresh aid. Borrowing in September alone was 36.1 billion pounds. Read more here

Amazon to let employees work from home through June 2021: The Seattle-based company had previously said workers could stay home until early 2021. Uncertainty around school re-openings -- and abrupt closures tied to outbreaks -- has complicated the return to work for parents of school-aged children. Google announced several months ago that it will continue letting employees work from home until July 2021. Facebook, Twitter and Square are among the technology companies that have told some staff members they may move to remote work permanently if they choose. Read more here

Half of UK firms less prepared for Brexit due to virus impact: survey: Some 46 percent of businesses say they are in a worse position due to the virus, which has depleted financial reserves and stockpiles, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, which questioned 557 UK supply chain managers between 23 September and 5 October. And 16 percent of companies say stocks will run low this winter because of the impact of Covid-19. Read more here

ALSO READ: India Coronavirus Dispatch: Co-morbidities take toll in National Capital

Logitech shares surge as Covid-19 boosts home-working: Logitech International shares led Europe's gainers on Tuesday as the computer peripherals maker reported a big jump in second-quarter profit and again hiked its guidance amid a work-from-home boom. It’s stock gained 18 percent on Tuesday as it forecast, in an earnings presentation, that it expected annual sales to increase between 35 percent and 40 percent, up from its previous view for a 10 percent to 13 percent increase. Read more here


The Post-Covid trading floor is here — with buffet lunches, no masks

On the trading floor at Bank of Communications Co.’s $164 billion wealth management unit in Shanghai, traces of the worst pandemic in a century are hard to find. All of the firm’s traders have commuted to work on a recent Friday morning, sitting about two feet from each other in an open-plan office. Not one of them wears a mask. At noon, with Chinese exchanges shut for lunch, the group heads downstairs to the bank’s canteen for a buffet-style meal. Similar scenes are playing out across Shanghai, the world’s first major financial hub to grapple with Covid-19 and the only one so far to tame the virus (it has reported zero new local cases since June). While the city’s early outbreak was far less severe than those that continue to torment London and New York, Shanghai’s return to something approaching a pre-Covid normal offers a counterpoint to those who predict the pandemic will forever change the way the financial industry works. Read more here

Singapore and rest of aging Asia scurry to avoid Covid baby bust

Starting this month, Singapore is offering a grant of 3,000 Singapore dollars ($2,200) for each new baby born over the next two years, through September 2022. The government also eased social distancing rules on weddings, allowing a maximum of 100 people -- including the couple -- to attend. Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea, likewise, have a renewed sense of urgency to address their own troubling demographics, as the global health and economic crisis proves to be a romance killer.

"Some couples have indicated that they will postpone their life plans in order to focus on their financial stability and employment prospects," Singapore's prime minister's office said in a statement, citing a survey in which about 3 in 10 respondents said they would put off marriage or children because of COVID-19. The city-state is one of the many economies severely affected by the virus, with jobless rates rising and the government expecting gross domestic product to contract 5 percent to 7 percent this year. Read more here

5 ways families can prepare as coronavirus cases surge:

“The big concern, of course, is what’s going to happen in the winter,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, the vice chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases. “There is some reason for hope that it won’t be horrible. But I think we don’t really know.”

While the onset of another surge may sound frightening, experts say there are things parents can do right now to start preparing. Here are five ways to help protect your family’s physical and mental health. Read here

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First Published: Wed, October 21 2020. 15:02 IST