Chicago, Denver Tighten Limits; French Deaths Soar: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Germany is looking at closing restaurants and prohibiting large events as governments across Europe seek to tackle rising infections and fatalities while avoiding full-scale lockdowns. Italy reported a record number of new cases, while deaths in France were the highest since April.

In the U.S., Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen at least 10% in the past week in 32 states and the nation’s capital as the month-old viral surge increasingly weighs on America’s health-care system. Chicago and Denver tightened restrictions in an attempt to stem outbreaks.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company may know by the end of October whether or not its vaccine is effective. Cadila Healthcare Ltd., one of two Indian companies trying to develop a vaccine, is in talks with potential partners to ramp up production.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 43.4 million; deaths exceed 1.15 millionSlow Covid recovery stalks health industry as new cases surgeAll-in push for vaccine in U.S. raises risk virus will lingerEuropean governments running out of options to avoid lockdownsVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope

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.



chart, histogram: Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again


© Bloomberg
Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again

El Paso Hospitals Fill With Virus Patients (5:30 p.m. NY)

More than 40% of the hospital beds in El Paso, Texas, are occupied by virus patients as the worsening outbreak in the state’s biggest hot spot tested the region’s health-care infrastructure.

Just a week ago, the Covid-19 census in El Paso-area facilities was under 25%, state health department figures showed. Federal and state agencies have opened field hospitals and deployed 1,000 nurses and other personnel to aid locals. Outbreaks are also accelerating in Lubbock and Amarillo, where more than 20% of hospital beds are taken by virus victims.

Statewide, hospitalizations have risen in seven of the past eight days and are now at levels not seen since late August. Texas hospitals housed 5,512 virus patients as of Tuesday, a 65% increase since the start of the month.

California’s Theme Parks Staying Closed (5 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is hesitant to allow theme parks, including Disneyland, to reopen as coronavirus cases surge again across the world.

Walt Disney Co. and other theme park operators have been pushing the state for permission to resume operations, particularly after Florida parks started operating again in June. But Newsom said Tuesday that other states and countries that have been more permissive about letting businesses reopen are now enduring another wave of infections.

“Self-evidently, we should be concerned about opening up a large theme park, where by definition people mix from every conceivable walk of life,” he said during an update with reporters.

Illinois Suspends Indoor Dining in Chicago (4:36 p.m. NY)

Illinois will suspend indoor restaurant and bar service in Chicago starting Friday amid a surge in cases, according to Governor J.B. Pritzker. The region that

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In hot spots around the country, hospitals are reaching their limits.

With the coronavirus spreading out of control in many parts of the United States and daily case counts once again setting records, health experts have warned that it is only a matter of time before the pressure on hospitals mounts to the breaking point.

In some places it’s already happening, with more than 41,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the United States, a 40 percent rise in the past month.

Hospital administrators in Utah have sent a grim warning to Gov. Gary Herbert that they will soon be forced to ration access to their rapidly filling intensive-care units, and requested approval for criteria to decide which patients should get priority, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“We told him, ‘It looks like we’re going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues,’ and we see no reason why it won’t,” the paper quoted Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, as saying.

In Tennessee, the Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia suspended all elective procedures requiring an overnight stay on Saturday to make room for an influx of Covid-19 patients. Most of the facility’s 26 I.C.U. beds are already filled.

Hospitals in El Paso, Texas, are preparing to airlift some critical care patients to other medical facilities in the state after a record surge of Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to a statement from the University Medical Center of El Paso. Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the federal government to authorize the use of a military hospital at Fort Bliss, outside El Paso, to treat civilian non-coronavirus patients, his office said in a statement on Friday.

The island of Lanai, Hawaii, which has gone from zero to 65 confirmed cases in the space of a week, is so worried about its limited medical resources becoming overwhelmed that it has decided to airlift any critical Covid-19 patient off the island, though so far no patients have needed hospitalization, The Maui News reported on Saturday. County officials are expected to issue a stay-at-home order and restrict travel to the island starting Tuesday, the paper said.

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Colorado limits more gatherings as COVID cases spike

DENVER (AP) — Citing a steady increase in Colorado’s coronavirus hospitalization caseload, state health officials announced new limits Friday on personal gatherings of people from different households in more than two dozen counties.

An amended state health order affecting 29 of the state’s counties limits personal gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households. Gatherings of up to 25 people were previously permitted in those counties, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Personal gatherings in 30 other Colorado counties were already restricted to 10 people. No new limits were imposed for five counties with lesser caseloads.


The Department of Public Health and Environment said it took the action after investigators determined that COVID-19 cases associated with social gatherings and community exposure had been more common since July.

“We need to keep gatherings smaller and with people from fewer households — we are asking everyone to ‘shrink their bubble’ to reduce the spread,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the department’s executive director.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis appealed to residents to help stem what he called an alarming acceleration of new cases and hospitalizations. Upward trends in new confirmed cases and hospitalizations could strain hospital intensive-care capacity in December, the Democratic governor said.

There are roughly 1,800 intensive-care beds statewide for all health emergencies. More than three-quarters of those beds were occupied for all reasons over the week leading up to Monday, the state health department said.

The state reported 458 virus hospitalizations Friday. Health officials reported there were nearly 20 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents Friday, one of the highest, if not the highest, recorded rates of the pandemic.

More than 2,000 people have died of the virus in Colorado, which has reported more than 85,000 positive cases. The number of cases is probably higher because of a lack of testing and other reasons.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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