U.S. Cases Rise 4.5%; U.K. Premier Returns to Work: Virus Update

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U.S. cases rose 4.5%, more than the average of the past week, as the global death toll from the coronavirus passed 200,000. Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York is on a steady retreat from the deadly peaks that pushed the state to 10% of the world’s infections.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sidelined by the virus this month, will return to work on Monday. Spain is ready to take further steps to ease lockdown measures next week.

The U.S. is helping livestock and poultry producers hurt by the closure of meatpacking plants during outbreak.

36,188 in U.S.Most new cases today

-17% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​132 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​5% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), March

Key Developments

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 2.8 million; deaths exceed 202,000
  • Meat shortages in U.S. may be near as processors shut
  • U.S. retailers may be running out of time to survive
  • WHO says ‘no evidence’ people recovered from disease are safe
  • U.S. military gets new supply chain mission
  • The world’s highest death rate is in Europe’s capital

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

U.K.’s Johnson Returns to Work (5:30 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday and will take charge of the nation’s response to the pandemic, a month after he was struck down by the coronavirus.

The government has been without a leader since Johnson went to the hospital on April 5. Since his release, he’s been slowly easing his way back, holding daily video calls with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his team, and speaking to medical advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.

The U.K. is the fifth country with more than 20,000 casualties as the death toll rose by 813 in the latest 24-hour period.

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Potbelly Returns U.S. Loan (5:15 p.m. NY)

Sandwich shop operator Potbelly Corp. said it’s returning the payroll protection loan it received as part of the federal program, amid criticism that national chains won the aid at the expense of mom-and-pop firms.

The Chicago-based company said it was “surprised and disappointed” when the fund was quickly exhausted, shutting out many companies. It will seek alternative means to support its furloughed staff, the company said in a statement Saturday.

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Spain Sets Next Step to Ease Rules (4:30 p.m. NY)

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he expects to approve more steps easing confinement measures at a Tuesday cabinet meeting. One step will allow outdoor exercise and walks starting May 2, but only if infections move in a favorable direction, he said.

His announcement in a televised address is the second move in a week to relax one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. On Sunday, children up to 14 years old will be able to leave their homes once a day for an hour, accompanied by an adult.

U.S. Cases Rose 4.5% in 24 Hours (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased 4.5% from the same time Friday, to 926,442, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The rise was above the average daily increase of 3.5% over the past week.

  • New York’s new cases rose 10,553 compared with 8,130 on Friday, for a statewide total of 282,143, about 10% of all reported cases worldwide. The number of new deaths was 437, up from the 422 on Friday and the first increase after three days of decline, the health department reported.
  • New Jersey reported 3,457 new cases, for a total of 105,523. Cases have risen by less than 10% for 19 days.
  • Massachusetts had 174 deaths, raising its total to 2,730, with another 2,379 cases, bringing total infections to 53,348, the state Department of Public Health said.
  • Pennsylvania reported 1,397 new cases, for a statewide total of 40,049. The state reported 1,537 deaths, up from 1,492 fatalities reported Friday.
  • Florida’s fatalities reached 1,055, up from 1,012 a day earlier, and total cases climbed to 30,839 from 20,174 on Friday, the state Department of Health.
  • Ohio reported 21 new deaths, bringing its total to 711, with 418 new cases, for a total of 15,587.

Trudeau Warns on Canada Reopening (3:30 p.m. NY)

Canada shouldn’t reopen its economy until there is enough personal protective equipment for businesses to fight the coronavirus and stop the spread, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

“Plane loads” of PPE supplies will be landing next week from abroad and domestic supplies are ramping up, Trudeau said at a news briefing in Ottawa.

Canada had 44,364 cases as of Saturday morning and 2,350 deaths.

N.J. Signs Are in ‘Right Direction’ (2:55 p.m. NY)

New Jersey hospitalizations are “keeping moving in the right direction,” Governor Phil Murphy said, as the number of new cases continues to flatten. The state has a “staggering” 5,863 deaths, Murphy said, more than the state’s losses from World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. The state had 3,457 new cases, for a total of 105,523.

The governor said he is not ready to lift his ban on using state and county parks. New Jersey’s second most populous municipality, Jersey City, said Saturday it’s reopening its five major parks.

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Ontario Boosts Front-Line Pay (2:45 p.m. NY)

Ontario will boost the hourly pay of workers fighting the outbreak at hospitals, long-term care centers, emergency shelters, prisons and other provincial facilities by C$4 ($2.84), Premier Doug Ford said Saturday. Employees working more than 100 hours per month will also get lump-sum payments of C$250 monthly for next 16 weeks.

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France Reports Fewest Deaths in Almost a Month (12:45 p.m. NY)

France reported the fewest deaths in almost a month while occupancy of intensive care units were at the lowest level since the end of March.

Deaths rose by 369 to 22,614, according to figures provided by the Health Ministry on Saturday, the smallest daily increase since March 29, and slowing for a third day. New cases rose by 2,906 to 190,614.

Italy Has Fewest Deaths in 6 Weeks (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy posted the fewest deaths in almost six weeks as the government paved the way for a new stimulus package to revive an economy stalled by containment measures.

Civil defense authorities reported 415 deaths for the 24-hour period -- the lowest since March 17 -- down from 420 a day earlier. A total of 26,384 have died from the outbreak. There were 2,357 new cases, down from 3,021 a day earlier. That left total cases at 105,847.

Boeing Ends Embraer Deal as Travel Collapses (12:12 p.m. NY)

Boeing Co. scrapped a proposed $4.2 billion combination with Embraer SA’s commercial-aircraft business as the planemakers brace for a far smaller jetliner market after the pandemic sharply cut travel. Embraer said it would seek damages.

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun warned employees the company needs to adjust to a “new reality” as demand vanishes because of the virus and airlines prepare for a slow recovery.

Kenya Extends Lockdown (12:10 p.m. NY)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta extended a nationwide night-time curfew by 21 days and said people won’t be able to enter or exit the capital and some coastal areas for a similar period. The East African nation has 343 confirmed cases.

The government decided to allow some restaurants and eateries to reopen after mapping out economic sectors and activities on the basis of infection risk, he said. Kenyatta also assented to tax law amendments designed to cushion businesses and households from the impact of the pandemic, according to a statement.

N.Y. Deaths Rise Slightly (11:45 a.m. NY)

New York’s daily death toll from the coronavirus rose to 437 on Saturday, up from 422 the previous day, Cuomo said in his daily press briefing.

All signs suggest the state is “on the decline” with the virus, Cuomo said, but after three days of registering fewer new deaths, the slight rise is “terrible, terrible horrific news.”

Total hospitalizations declined, down to April 1 levels.

U.S. Provides $12 Billion for Airlines (10 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Treasury sent $9.5 billion to airlines, including another eight major carriers and 29 smaller companies, since April 20 under federal payroll support and loan programs. The total so far is $12.4 billion in initial payments to 93 air carriers, with additional disbursement on a rolling basis, the Treasury said in a statement.

Malaysia Loses $550 Million a Day (10:30 a.m. NY)

Malaysia’s restrictions on movement is costing about 2.4 billion ringgit ($550 million) of losses daily as businesses remain shut. The government has unveiled 260 billion ringgit of stimulus with a focus on preventing job losses and ensuring small companies can continue to be viable, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised interview on state news channels.

Malaysia extended nationwide limits on people’s activities until May 12 while easing restrictions slightly to allow some travel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Rudy Ruitenberg, Paula Sambo, Stacie Sherman, Helen Nyambura, Alberto Brambilla, David Scanlan, Daniele Lepido, Kit Rees, and Rainer Buergin

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