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India Deaths May Double; Seychelles Cases Surge: Virus Update

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Bloomberg News
·9-min read
India Deaths May Double; Seychelles Cases Surge: Virus Update
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(Bloomberg) -- Deaths from Covid-19 in India may double from current levels, new research suggests. Meanwhile, the country was criticized for a “lack of leadership” as its prime minister resists pressure to lock down. Indian cricket regulators suspended the Premier League after players tested positive.

President Joe Biden set a new target of 70% of U.S. adults receiving at least one vaccine shot by July 4. Rural hospitals and clinics will get almost $1 billion to ramp up testing and vaccinations, the Health and Human Services secretary said.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country is on course to scrap lockdown rules, and Denmark will ease curbs this week. Singapore is cracking down in response to a flareup linked to the variant first identified in India, a setback for one of the most successful virus-containment regimes.

Key Developments

Global Tracker: Cases top 153.8 million; deaths exceed 3.22 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 1.19 billion doses have been givenThai Rate Likely on Hold, Virus Wave in Focus: Decision GuideIt’s not just India. New virus waves deluge developing countriesBank bosses want a return to office. Underlings aren’t so sureWhat are vaccine passports and how would they work?: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

India Deaths May Double, Researchers Say (2:33 p.m. NY)

The coronavirus wave that plunged India into the world’s biggest health crisis has the potential to worsen in the coming weeks, with some research models projecting the death toll could more than double from current levels.

A team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore used a mathematical model to predict about 404,000 deaths will occur by June 11 if current trends continue. A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecast 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July.

The forecasts reflect the urgent need for India to step up public health measures like testing and social distancing. Even if the worst estimates are avoided, India could suffer the world’s biggest Covid-19 death toll. The U.S currently has the largest number of fatalities at around 578,000.

Cases Surge in World’s Most Vaccinated Nation (2:23 p.m. NY)

Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated more of its population than any other country, has closed schools and canceled sporting activities for two weeks as infections surge.

The measures, which include bans on the intermingling of households and the early closure of bars, come even as the country has fully vaccinated more than 60% of its adult population with two doses of coronavirus vaccines. The curbs are similar to those last imposed at the end of 2020.

“Despite of all the exceptional efforts we are making, the Covid-19 situation in our country is critical right now with many daily cases reported last week,” Peggy Vidot, the nation’s health minister, said at a press conference Monday.

LA, San Francisco Move to Lowest Tier (5:08 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles and San Francisco entered California’s least-restrictive tier for economic reopenings, increasing capacity for a wide range of businesses and private gatherings.

Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can expand to 50% of their regular occupancy. Bars will be able to open at 25% capacity indoors. Stadiums and other outdoor events may expand to as much as 67% of capacity. The new health orders will go into effect Thursday.

“This new tier matches the sunny optimism of the season,” Los Angeles County’s board of supervisors said in a statement Tuesday.

Rural America to Get $1 Billion for Testing (4:45 p.m. NY)

Rural clinics and hospitals in the U.S. will receive almost $1 billion from the Health and Human Services Department to improve Covid-19 testing and get more people vaccinated, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.

“Rural health providers are vital to ensure equity in Covid-19 testing, vaccinations and in making sure rural residents have the information about vaccine safety, especially for populations who are at an increased risk for Covid-19 infection or severe illness due to systemic health and social inequities and geographic isolation,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Biden Sees 70% Adults Getting Shots by July (4:35 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden set a target of 70% of U.S. adults receiving at least one vaccine dose by July 4 and said the government will “wind down” mass vaccination sites, as his administration seeks to stem a dropoff in inoculations.

He said if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine for use in children as young as 12, as anticipated, 20,000 pharmacies across the country are prepared to give them shots.

As of now, 56% of U.S. adults, or 145 million, have received at least one dose and almost 41%, or about 105 million, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illinois Offers Free Target Rounds for Vaccines (3:55 p.m. NY)

Illinois will offer 100 free target rounds for trap, skeet or sporting clays to those who receive a Covid-19 vaccine at its newest mobile vaccination site, the downstate Worldwide Shooting and Recreation complex.

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday that the WSRC mobile site in Sparta, Illinois, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south of Chicago, will be operated by the Illinois National Guard, with assistance from the Randolph County Health Department, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.

“These vaccines are incredibly effective and protective for the person who gets them, but just as important, they make the whole community safer,” Pritzker said in an emailed statement.

The move is the latest creative effort by a state to address vaccine hesitancy as the pace of inoculations slows nationwide. New Jersey is offering free beer.

White House to Reallocate Vaccine Doses (1:20 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden’s administration told governors Tuesday that it would begin reallocating vaccines that go unclaimed by states -- essentially clawing back unwanted doses from places where the pace of shots is lagging in order to steer them elsewhere, three people familiar with the call said.

The White House told governors about the switch during a weekly call with the state leaders. Biden is due to speak Tuesday afternoon at the White House about the Covid response.

Chicago Auto Show to Return in July (11:10 a.m. NY)

The Chicago Auto Show will be held at McCormick Place in July, marking the first large convention to be held in the city and the state of Illinois since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, officials said Tuesday.

The reopening of the convention center “is a critical step toward our state’s economic recovery,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said during a press conference at the site on Tuesday. The auto show, on the biggest in the U.S., will be held from July 15 to 19 with safety measures in place, such as limiting crowd size.

CVS Boosts Forecast on Covid Shots (10:20 a.m. NY)

CVS Health Corp. raised its full-year forecast as Covid-19 vaccines and testing helped boost first-quarter results and offset a weak cold and flu season.

The health-care company gave 17 million Covid shots at long-term care facilities and at its pharmacies through April. CVS is now immunizing in about 8,300 locations in 49 states, Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch said Tuesday on a call with analysts.

Leading Nations Set to Back Vaccine Passports (8:28 a.m. NY)

The world’s 20 major economies threw their weight behind efforts to introduce so-called vaccine passports to boost travel and tourism, stressing that a resumption is crucial for a global economic recovery, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg.

Tourism ministers from the Group of 20 nations, who met on Tuesday, said the outlook for a sector devastated by lockdowns remains “highly uncertain,” according to the draft, which is subject to change.

U.K. Has No Plan to Speed Lockdown Easing (7:56 a.m. NY)

“We’ve got no plans to deviate form the earliest dates set out in the roadmap” for unlocking the economy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.

UAE Extends Suspension of India Flights (7:46 a.m. NY)

The United Arab Emirates extended the suspension of flights from India. The UAE, home to Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, had halted the flights until May 14. A new end date hasn’t yet been announced.

Singapore Tightens Rules (6:57 a.m. NY)

Singapore is limiting social gatherings and tightening border curbs as it reacts aggressively to a flareup linked to the new variant first identified in India.

From May 8 to May 30, group gatherings must be cut from a maximum of eight to five, while daily visitors per household will be similarly capped, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. At workplaces, no more than 50% of staff who are able to work from home can return to offices.

Pfizer Boosts Vaccine Revenue Forecast (6:46 a.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc. boosted its full-year forecast for sales of its vaccine produced with BioNTech SE to approximately $26 billion, from about $15 billion previously. The guidance includes 1.6 billion doses expected to be delivered this year under contracts that have been signed through mid-April, and it may be adjusted as additional contracts are executed, Pfizer said in its release.

“We also are in ongoing discussions with multiple countries around the world about their needs, and we expect these discussions to lead to additional supply agreements,” CEO Albert Bourla said in prepared remarks.

Moderna Tests Lower-Dose Vaccines (6:02 a.m. NY)

Moderna Inc. is testing vaccines with lower doses to try to boost supply, and it may also need to expand work on boosters to cover for more variants, Chairman Noubar Afeyan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. He said he expects the coronavirus may become endemic like seasonal flu, and that vaccinating children seems like a good approach given Covid’s after-effects.

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