(Bloomberg) -- Colorado and Arkansas became the latest U.S. states to require masks. Florida posted a record number of 156 virus deaths, and the Republican presidential convention scheduled to take place there will be scaled back.
The U.K. accused Russian state intelligence of trying to steal vaccine research. Maryland’s Republican governor criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the virus, saying it “bungled” testing. New York banned walk-up bar service as part of stricter penalties on bars and restaurants.
The European Central Bank kept its pandemic bond-buying program at $1.5 trillion, maintaining the flood of liquidity that has so far calmed markets. Johnson & Johnson is in discussions about how much of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will be needed.
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Arkansas Governor Issues Mask Mandate (2:47 p.m. NY)
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson orderered people to wear face masks in public, reversing course during a surge in coronavirus cases, the Associated Press reported. The Republican governor had resisted a statewide mask mandate and opposed issuing a stay-at-home order earlier in the pandemic, the wire service said.
California Deaths Climb (2:45 p.m. NY)
California reported another 8,544 new coronavirus cases, as the pandemic continued its rebound in the state. Although increased testing -- with more than 122,000 people tested Wednesday alone -- accounts for some of the rise in cases, deaths from the virus are also climbing. State officials recorded 118 deaths Wednesday, well above the 14-day rolling average of 84. The virus has now claimed 7,345 lives in the state.
In one hopeful sign, the number of Californians hospitalized with Covid-19 dropped by nine patients, after setting fresh records every previous day this week. Statewide, 6,777 people are hospitalized with the disease, including 1,897 people in intensive care.
Colorado to Issue Mask Mandate: Denver Post (2:20 p.m. NY)
Colorado Governor Jared Polis is expected to issue a statewide mask mandate Thursday afternoon, after days of pressure from his fellow Democrats, the Denver Post reported. The Post cited several unidentified sources with knowledge of the governor’s decision-making. Nearly 40 cities and counties in Colorado have already issued mask mandates, the newspaper said.
Covid Depression Hits U.S. Cities (12:40 p.m. NY)
The majority of Americans in the largest metro areas felt down, depressed or hopeless last week, according to Bloomberg calculations from a new U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, which collects data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the sunniest cities were the saddest, with high levels of depression reported in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Miami.
Russia Denies Vaccine Hacking (12:35 p.m. NY)
A Russian official denied accusations by the U.S., U.K. and Canada that state intelligence is hacking international research centers working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
“This whole story is an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Russian vaccine by some of the people who are scared of its success,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, which is involved in research into a vaccine. “Because the Russian vaccine could potentially be the first to the market and it could potentially be the most effective vaccine out there.”
N.Y. Bans Walk-Up Bar Service (12:07 p.m. NY)
Walk-up bar service will be banned statewide in New York as part of additional restrictions and tougher penalties for violations in bars and restaurants, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The new restrictions apply mostly to New York City: Any establishment that receives three violations will be closed for business, he said. “Egregious” violations can result in an immediately loss of a liquor license.
While New York City is on track to enter Phase 4 of reopening on Monday, there will be no additional indoor activity in the city because of compliance issues, the governor said.
Johnson & Johnson Discussing Vaccine Supply (11:55 a.m. NY)
Johnson & Johnson is in discussions with multiple countries and a charitable foundation to determine how much of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will be needed.
Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said they are in talks with the European Union, Japan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We’re still trying to determine the volumes,” he said in an interview.
U.K. Deaths Fall, Cases Rise (11:35 a.m. NY)
Daily deaths from the coronavirus in the U.K. fell on Thursday to 66, from 85 a day earlier, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.
However, the number of new confirmed cases rose from 538 a day earlier to 642, the highest total reported since July 9.
Arizona Virus Cases Rise 2.5%(11:30 a.m. NY)
Arizona reported 3,259 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, a 2.5% increase to 134,613 that was below the prior seven-day average of 2.8%. The state Department of Health Services reported 58 new virus deaths, bringing the total to 2,492. The statewide positivity rate rose to 24.5%, compared with 23.4% on Wednesday.
Pennsylvania Clamps Down Again (10:55 a.m. NY)
New restrictions were imposed in Pennsylvania after Governor Tom Wolf declared an “alarming escalation” in virus cases. The new rules, which come two months after the state began reopening, will shut down nightclubs, limit indoor seating at bars and restaurants to 25% capacity and curb indoor gatherings.
Florida Reports Record Fatalities (10:40 a.m. NY)
Florida posted a record 156 new Covid-19 deaths among residents, pushing the cumulative total to 4,677, according to a report Thursday.
Florida reported 315,775 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, up 4.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 4.4% in the previous seven days, according to the report from the state’s Department of Health, which includes data through Wednesday.
The new rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 12.9% for Wednesday, from 13.6% on Tuesday.
Maryland Governor Criticizes Trump on Testing (10:20 a.m. NY)
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, criticized the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, saying it “bungled” coordinated nationwide testing by leaving it to unprepared states.
“The president was all over the place,” Hogan wrote in the Washington Post. “He avowed, falsely, that ‘anybody’ could get a test, even as my fellow governors were desperately pleading for help on testing. Then he shifted from boasting to blame.”
Florida Outbreak Forces Smaller Republican Convention (10:13 a.m. NY)
The Republican National Committee is scaling back its convention next month in Jacksonville, Florida, as cases of the coronavirus spike in the state and some officials said they would not be going out of concern for their safety.
For the first three days of the event, only party delegates will be allowed to attend. On the final day of the four-day event, when Donald Trump accepts the party’s nomination for president, the RNC will allow delegates, their guests and alternate delegates to attend, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a letter Thursday to members.
Germany Moves to Thwart Outbreaks From Travelers (9:22 a.m. NY)
Germany tightened travel rules to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus as the summer vacation season gets under way. Federal and state officials agreed to more stringent restrictions, but stopped short of a complete ban on travel to and from domestic hot spots.
U.K. Says Russians Are Trying to Steal Vaccine Research (9 a.m. NY)
The U.K. accused Russian state intelligence of hacking international pharmaceutical and academic research in a bid to win the race to secure a vaccine against Covid-19. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said vaccine and therapeutic sectors in multiple countries have been targeted, declining to list the names and number of institutions affected on security grounds.
Britain named the group responsible for the hacking as APT29, saying it is “almost certainly” part of Russian state intelligence. The group also goes by the name of Cozy Bear or The Dukes and has targeted U.K., U.S. and Canadian vaccine research and development organizations.
China’s Sinopharm Begins Mass Testing of Vaccine in UAE (9 a.m. NY)
Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm Group began the first mass trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm G42 will carry out the trial. The company will test 15,000 people as part of the Phase 3 trial, a milestone in the vaccine testing process that is normally followed by mass production, officials said.
Chinese companies have had to look for places with active virus outbreaks to complete the final stage of human testing.
U.S. Jobless Claims Post Smallest Decline Since March (8:33 a.m. NY)
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits posted the smallest weekly decline since March after coronavirus cases surged and reopenings paused or reversed across the South and West.
Initial jobless claims in regular state programs totaled 1.3 million in the week ended July 11, down 10,000 from the prior period, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast a larger drop, to 1.25 million initial claims.
Separately, U.S. retail sales exceeded forecasts in June for a second straight month as more businesses reopened and expanded jobless benefits padded the wallets of the unemployed, according to Commerce Department data.
Israel Headed Toward Weekend Lockdown (8:13 a.m NY)
Top Israeli ministers decided to impose a full lockdown for weekends in order to stem a rise in Covid-19 cases, according to a Channel 12 report.
The plan is to shut malls and beaches, and restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeout food, the report said, adding the restrictions would be in place from Friday to Sunday mornings. Some schools would also be closed should the government pass these measures, according to the report.
ECB Keeps Pandemic Stimulus Steady (7:47 a.m. NY)
The European Central Bank kept its emergency monetary stimulus unchanged as the region’s political leaders prepared to haggle over a plan to drag the economy out of the worst slump in living memory.
ECB President Christine Lagarde and her colleagues held their pandemic bond-buying program at 1.35 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion) and interest rates at -0.5% on Thursday, maintaining the flood of liquidity that has so far calmed markets and kept borrowing costs low.
Morgan Stanley Joins Gold Rush With Record Profit (7:35 a.m. NY)
Morgan Stanley wrapped up a week of wins for Wall Street trading desks, capitalizing on the Federal Reserve’s extraordinary rescue measures with record profit.
Fixed-income trading revenue almost tripled, driving a 73% jump in total trading that surged past expectations. That spurred firmwide revenue and earnings to an all-time high amid wild market swings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost Nine of Every 10 Wuhan Cases Undetected (7:30 a.m. NY)
As many as 87% of Covid-19 cases in Wuhan, China, went undetected between January and March, according to a modelling study published in the journal Nature. People with no or mild symptoms probably played a major role in the coronavirus’s rapid spread because they are difficult to detect and isolate, the scientists said.
BofA Sets Aside Billions for Soured Loans (7:09 a.m. NY)
Bank of America Corp.’s profit slid 52% as it joined rivals in preparing for an onslaught of consumer defaults spurred by the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Profit at the consumer-banking unit plunged 98% as the coronavirus shuttered much of the U.S. economy and caused tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs.
Nissan Plans 30% Global Production Cut (6:44 a.m. NY)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is planning a 30% year-on-year cut in global vehicle production through December, Reuters reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter.
The automaker targets to produce around 2.6 million vehicles between April and December, down from 3.7 million during the same period in 2019.
AstraZeneca Pressure Mounts Over Vaccine (6:10 a.m. NY)
Pressure is growing on AstraZeneca Plc to deliver positive results from early tests evaluating the coronavirus vaccine it’s developing with University of Oxford researchers as investors await data expected on Monday.
The U.K. pharma company is staying quiet after British media reports said results of phase 1 tests to be published in The Lancet medical journal were promising, driving the shares up late Wednesday. A paper is undergoing final editing and preparation and is due to be published on July 20.
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