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Trump Touts Treatment; Brazil Tops 5 Million Cases: Virus Update

France and Spain posted record increases in coronavirus cases, underscoring Europe’s struggles to control the pandemic. In Brazil, home of the world’s third-largest outbreak, confirmed infections topped 5 million.

President Donald Trump returned to work at the Oval Office and hailed the antibody treatment he received. Eli Lilly & Co. asked U.S. drug regulators to authorize emergency use of its experimental antibody therapy after data showed it reduced hospitalizations.

Brussels and Bucharest became the latest European capitals to impose restrictions on nightlife, following Berlin, Paris and Madrid. The Czech Republic emerged as the continent’s worst hot spot, with the most cases per capita over the last two weeks.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 36 million; deaths top 1.05 million
  • U.S. Hot Spots: White House cases coincide with brief capital spike
  • A top White House security official contracted Covid-19 in September
  • The pandemic fuels world’s first rise in extreme poverty since 1990s
  • Europe turns screws on nightlife as cities face virus spike
  • Macron says more restrictions coming to stem outbreak in France

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

Covid Cases Spike in Myanmar (8:15 a.m. HK)

Myanmar reports 1,400 new Covid-19 cases and 39 fatalities on Wednesday, the nation’s highest one-day spike in infections, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

White House Official Infected in September (8:00 a.m. HK)

A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with Covid-19 and has been hospitalized since September, according to four people familiar with his condition.

The White House has not publicly disclosed Bailey’s illness. He became sick before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event President Donald Trump held to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that has been connected to more than a dozen cases of the disease.

Trump Calls Infection a ‘Blessing’ (6:30 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said contracting the coronavirus was “a blessing in disguise” because it allowed him to experience firsthand the benefits of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s experimental monoclonal antibody treatment. He said he intends to authorize emergency use of the therapeutic.

“I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday evening. He added that he wanted the treatment to be free. “To me it wasn’t therapeutic, it just made me better, O.K.?” he said. “I call that a cure.”

Trump on Wednesday returned to the Oval Office, where he received briefings despite being under treatment for Covid-19 and remaining potentially contagious to others. His doctor said earlier that he hadn’t experienced any symptoms of the disease in 24 hours.

Wisconsin Activates Care Facility (5:45 p.m. NY)

Wisconsin is activating a Milwaukee-area alternative care facility as the state’s hospitals are increasingly overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 cases.

“We have a pandemic that is out of control in the state of Wisconsin,” Governor Tony Evers said Wednesday.

The facility, funded by the federal CARES Act and located on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, will be able to provide care for up to 50 patients when it opens next week and 530 over the longer term. The move comes as the state’s seven-day daily average of new Covid-19 cases reached 2,346, up from 879 just one month ago, said Andrea Palm, the Department of Health Services secretary-designee.

Brazil Tops 5 Million Cases (5:10 p.m. NY)

Brazil reached 5 million confirmed infections as mishmash quarantine measures continue to fade. The Latin American country reported 31,553 new cases Wednesday, pushing the total to 5,000,694. Deaths rose by 734 to 148,228, according to data from the health ministry. The real toll is likely much higher, according to health experts, due to a widespread shortage of testing.

“I have no doubt that, even without overcoming the first wave, there will be a second wave in Brazil, unless there is government interference or people suddenly become more aware,” said Denise Garrett, epidemiologist and vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Meanwhile, Argentina reported a daily record of 16,447 new Covid-19 cases, for a total of 840,915 cases, according to the government’s evening report.

Texas Allows Bars to Open (5 p.m. NY)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is allowing bars to open at 50% capacity if approved by a county judge. Other businesses, including movie theaters, zoos, theme parks and bowling alleys, can operate at 75% in counties with low virus hospitalizations starting Oct. 14.

The announcement represents the Republican governor’s latest move to revive economic activity in the second-largest U.S. state. Citing receding hospitalization and death rates, Abbott is restoring to local leaders some of the authority he stripped them of in the early days of the outbreak. Hospitalizations in Texas are down 68% from a late July peak, according to state health department data.

California Theme Parks to Stay Shut (4:30 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state’s theme parks have to remain closed for now, a stance that has put him at odds with park owners like Walt Disney Co. and some legislators.

“We don’t anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data,” Newsom said at a press briefing Wednesday.

California, home to the original Disneyland and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios, is among the last the states to reopen its theme parks. Disney said last week that it is laying off 28,000 U.S. employees, a move it said was “exacerbated” by the state’s shutdown.

France Reports Record New Infections (1:50 p.m. NY)

France reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after the pace of infections picked up again since the weekend, following a lull last week.

New infections increased by 18,746, French health authorities reported. The seven-day rolling average of new infections, which smooths out daily variations, rose to 12,853, its highest level yet.

Italy New Cases Spike to Highest Since April (11:45 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 3,678 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, above the previous seven-day average of 2,465 and the highest increase since April 16. Daily tests rose to a record 125,314, with a positivity rate of 2.9%, compared with 1.8% a week ago.

There were 31 Covid-19 related deaths, as patients in intensive care units rose by 18 to 337, still below the peak of about 4,000 in early April. Italy’s cabinet approved a measure decreeing that people must once again wear protective masks outdoors across the country, Ansa news wire reported.

Scotland Shuts Pubs in Two Biggest Cities (10:30 a.m. NY)

Scotland ordered pubs to close in the country’s two biggest cities as part of new measures to arrest a surge in coronavirus cases.

Tougher rules for the hospitality industry will take effect at 6 p.m. on Friday and last until Sunday Oct. 25, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. They are strictest in five regions where the worst outbreaks are taking place, including Greater Glasgow and Lothian, the area around Edinburgh. People there should also avoid public transportation, she said.

Lilly Seeks Emergency Authorization from FDA (8:48 a.m. NY)

Eli Lilly & Co. has approached the U.S. FDA for authorization of the treatment it’s developing with Canadian biotech AbCellera Biologics Inc., according to a statement Wednesday. It would allow high-risk patients recently diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 to receive the therapy.

Antibody therapies from Lilly and Regeneron are coming on the horizon to add to treatments doctors are using to treat the Covid-19, which continues to spread around the world to millions of people. Lilly shares gained as much as 3.1% to $148.63 in early New York trading.

Iran Reports Highest Daily Deaths (6:59 a.m. NY)

Iran reported its deadliest day of the outbreak to date with 239 fatalities in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 27,658. Data show the virus is spreading rapidly in the Middle East’s worst-hit nation. Iran has had an average of 3,803 daily new cases in the past seven days, up significantly from an average of 1,942 cases per day in the first week of September.

WHO Chief Pleads Against Vaccine Nationalism (6:58 a.m. NY)

The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called on governments to ensure that when a vaccine arrives it’s administered to “some in all countries, rather than all people in some countries.”

“It’s natural that governments want to protect their own citizens first,” he said at a global security forum in Bratislava, Slovakia. “But once a vaccine is approved, production will be limited initially and we must decide who to prioritize. Vaccinating older people, those with underlying conditions and essential workers in all countries is the best way to suppress transmission everywhere.”

— With assistance by Brett Miller, Joe Carroll, and Stephen Joyce

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