Facebook, Twitter Block Trump Comments on Children: Virus Update

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. blocked posts by Donald Trump and his reelection campaign of a video in which the U.S. president said children are “virtually immune” to the coronavirus. The networks cited policies against virus misinformation.

California reported its second-deadliest day from the virus and Florida’s case count topping 500,000. New infections in Australia’s Victoria state may peak at more than 1,000 a day, the Australian reported, citing government modeling. A key Japanese minister warned a major viruswave is coming. Scotland reimposed lockdown restrictions in Aberdeen, the country’s oil hub, after a spike in cases.

Johnson & Johnson will supply100 million doses of its experimental vaccine to the U.S., whileModerna Inc. said it has received $400 million of deposits for its potential shot.

Key Developments

  • Global Tracker: Global cases top 18.6 million; deaths pass 703,000
  • Thedrugs and vaccines that might end the coronavirus pandemic
  • Wrap:fiscal, monetary action to tackle the virus’s economic impact
  • Fauci saystesting too slow while Trump says it’s ‘best ever’
  • Chicago, third-largest U.S. school system, to begin year withremote learning
  • Biden to accept Democraticnomination remotely rather than risk travel
  • Ireland’s pubs face “devastating” blow with reopeningpostponed

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57,540 in U.S.Most new cases today

-2% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​195 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

4.​4% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), June

Japan’s Abe Doesn’t See Need for Emergency Declaration Now (9:55 a.m. H.K.)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the current Covid-19 spread doesn’t call for an emergency declaration at this point and his government will take steps to avoid strains on the health-care system.

Abe told a news conference in Hiroshima that he wants those who travel for the Obon period that starts next week to take thorough precautions so that the elderly are not infected.

L.A. Threatens to Punish Party-Throwers by Cutting Off Power (9:55 a.m. HK)

Los Angeles has a new tool to dissuade large parties that double as virus super-spreader events: shutting off offending properties’ electricity and water.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s authorized the city to cut water and power in “egregious cases” of houses, businesses and other venues hosting large gatherings, effective Friday night.

The order follows a gathering this week that reportedly attracted hundreds of people at a mansion on Mulholland Drive and ended in gunfire. The event and others have raised concern that infections will accelerate in the epicenter of California’s Covid-19 outbreak.

Twitter Blocks Trump Campaign Account Over Covid Misinformation (9:02 a.m. HK)

Twitter Inc.briefly blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign account, @teamtrump, from posting on its social network for violating the company’s policy on coronavirus misinformation.

Trump’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, had retweeted a post of a video that included an interview Trump did Wednesday with Fox News where he said children are “virtually immune” from getting the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Twitter said the @teamtrump account was prohibited from posting until the clip was removed. No action was taken on the president’s own account. The @teamtrump account resumed posting Wednesday evening and the video clip appeared to have been taken down.

Kim Jong Un Orders Special Aid for Kaesong City (7:08 a.m. HK)

North Korea’s Kaesong city, which is completely locked down because of the coronavirus, will get a special supply of foods and funds to stabilize living conditions for citizens, Korean Central News Agency reported.

The decision was made at a meeting of the executive policy council of North Korea’s Workers’ Party attended by leader Kim Jong Un on Aug. 5.

Facebook Pulls Trump Video for Misinformation (7:04 a.m. HK)

Facebook Inc. removed a post from President Donald Trump’s page on its social network for violating the company’s policy on coronavirus misinformation.

The video posted included an interview Trump did Wednesday with Fox News in which he said children are “virtually immune” to the virus.

Facebook for months has said it will prioritize removing Covid-19 misinformation that could cause people harm. “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.

Supreme Court Lifts Order Tied to Jails (6:58 a.m. HK)

The U.S. Supreme Courtlifted a lower court order that required specific steps to curb Covid-19 at four southern California jail facilities that have seen more than 400 cases since the outbreak began.

Voting 5-4 along ideological lines, the high court granted a request from officials at the Orange County Jail, as the facilities are collectively known. The officials said a federal trial judge had overstepped his authority by ordering spacing, cleaning protocols and inmate testing.

Cases Seen Topping 1,000 Daily in Victoria (6:09 a.m. HK)

New coronavirus cases in Victoria state will continue to climb before peaking at an average daily increase of 1,100 by the end of next week, the Australian newspaper reported, citing government modeling.

The average number of daily infections will stay above 1,000 for eight days, even as Victoria enters a statewide lockdown and Melbourne residents endure a nighttime curfew, according to the report. The daily tally will remain above 300 through to mid-September when Australia’s tightest pandemic restrictions yet are scheduled to end, the newspaper said.

While Australia enjoyed early success in flattening the curve of infections, Victoria is at the center of a renewed outbreak after initial lockdown measures imposed in March and April were eased. The state, which accounts for almost a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, reported a record 725 new cases on Wednesday.

Texas Positivity Rate Jumps (5:19 a.m. HK)

Texas’s positive-test rate climbed for a fourth straight day, reaching 15.58%, the highest in almost three weeks, according to state health department data.

There were 8,706 new cases detected, bringing the Lone Star state’s total to 459,887, the data showed. Fatalities rose by 235 to 7,497, though it was not immediately disclosed how many of those were from previous days or weeks.

In Houston, hospitalizations have dropped to the lowest since June 28 and are on track to continue declining through at least Aug. 18, the Texas Medical Center said.

North Carolina Extends Reopening Pause (4:27 a.m. HK)

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of its reopening plan for another five weeks, Governor Roy Cooper said in atweet. The order keeps businesses including bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys closed, while limiting gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outside.

“Other states that lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher,” said Cooper, a Democrat. “We won’t make that mistake in North Carolina.”

U.S. Cases Rise 1.1% (4 a.m. HK)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.1% as compared to the same time yesterday to 4.79 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was below the past week’s average daily increase of 1.3%. Deaths rose 0.8% to 157,416.

  • Arizona reported 1,698 new cases, an increase of 0.9% from the day before. The seven-day average of new cases eased to 1.1%. The state Department of Health Services also reported 87 deaths, bringing the total to 3,932.
  • Florida recorded 502,739 cases, up 1.1% from a day earlier, compared with the past week’s average increase of 1.7%. Deaths reached 7,627, an increase of 225, or 3%.
  • Hawaii experienced a 5.8% increase in cases, bringing the total to 2,591, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.

California Has Second-Deadliest Day (3:25 a.m. HK)

California reported 202 new virus deaths, marking its second-deadliest day of the pandemic. The state has had 9,703 Covid fatalities.

Confirmed cases rose by 1%, or 5,295, to a total of 524,722. That was less than the 14-day average of 7,939 daily new infections, extending what Governor Gavin Newsom described earlier this week as an “encouraging” trend. Still, the data may be incomplete. The state has found some discrepancies in its health systems that have led to cases being underreported, Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said in a briefing Tuesday.

The data problems may also have affected the test positivity rate, which on Wednesday fell to 6.4% on a 14-day basis, the lowest in a month. But there are more concrete signs of improvement in California’s outbreak: Hospitalizations, unaffected by the reporting issues, have dropped 14% from a peak two weeks ago.

NCAA Says Athletes Must Have Choice (2:30 a.m. HK)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors required U.S. schools and conferences to allow student-athletes toopt out of participating because of concerns about contracting the coronavirus if they want to conduct fall sports amid the pandemic.

If an athlete does so, his or her athletics scholarship must be honored by the school, the NCAA said Wednesday in a statement. Divisions must decide by Aug. 21 if their fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year, according to the board.

“Student-athletes should never feel pressured into playing their sport if they do not believe it is safe to do so,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the statement. “These policies ensure they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about playing this fall.”

CDC Warns Against Drinking Hand Sanitizer (1:05 a.m. HK)

A rash ofpoisonings and four deaths in May and June were tied to drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol in Arizona and New Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The incidents happened after President Donald Trump mused on ingesting disinfectants to treat the novel coronavirus.

The agency detailed 15 cases of methanol poisoning in its weekly report, including four patients who remain hospitalized and three who were released with permanent visual impairment. Just four of the 15 fully recovered, the agency said Wednesday.

The CDC’s report focused on products that contain methanol, which isn’t considered an acceptable ingredient in hand sanitizer because of its risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified 67 alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain methanol and are now being recalled. Both agencies advise consumers to check products to ensure they don’t include methanol.

Biden to Skip Milwaukee for Convention (12:45 a.m. HK)

Joe Biden won’t travel toMilwaukee this month to accept the Democratic nomination for president at the party’s convention due to concerns about the coronavirus and will deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware, where he’s done most of his campaigning since mid-March.

The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that no speakers will travel to Milwaukee for the convention on the advice of health officials. Biden had been expected to attend the convention in person and deliver his acceptance speech on Aug. 20, the last night.

Most of the speeches were already slated to be virtual and Biden would have been one of the only people to deliver an in-person speech. Delegates to the convention had already been told not to travel, and the official party business was moved online.

Chicago Schools Go Online (11:25 p.m. HK)

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school system in the U.S., will begin the 2020-2021 academic year with full remote learning amid an increase in the city’s coronavirus cases. The district will work with the Chicago Department of Public Health to assess whether it’s safe to open to hybrid learning in the second quarter on Nov. 9.

The decision is based on public health data and survey results from parents that indicate a large portion are “not yet comfortable sending their children to school,” according to an emailed statement from the city Wednesday. Classes are set to start Sept. 8.

NYC Checkpoints to Enforce Travel Rules (10:45 p.m. HK)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said travelers who have visited 35 states or territories with high Covid-19 transmission rates are required to complete the state’s traveler form as they pass through checkpoints at key entry points into the city.

The travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, will operate registration checkpoints at major bridge and tunnel crossings into New York City to ensure people coming from these states complete health forms to support contact-tracing efforts.

Rapid Vaccine Advances Aren’t a Safety Threat: Fauci (10:30 p.m. HK)

The rapid speed at which researchers are developing coronavirus vaccines doesn’t mean that safety is being sacrificed, said Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert.

“The rapidity with which we are moving relates more to technological advances with how you can make a vaccine even before you start testing it,” Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the top U.S. health officials, said on Wednesday in aninterview with Bloomberg Television.

The Trump administration is spearheading the vaccine push out of a program it created called Operation Warp Speed, a name Fauci has criticized for giving the impression that development is being rushed. The Food and Drug Administration has said a vaccine must work in at least 50% of patients before it will approve the shot.

Big Events Won’t Be Back Soon: WHO (8 p.m. HK)

Large sporting matches and music festivals pose special dangers due to the crowds involved and only countries that have the virus under control should allow them, but they need to do so gradually and limit the number of spectators, said Mike Ryan, head of theWorld Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program.

“We all want sport back, we all want our festivals back,” he said Wednesday. “But it’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to see large gatherings like that this year.”

— With assistance by Reinie Booysen

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