Coronavirus update: German infection rate rises after reopening, teaches US governors a lesson

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US governors pushing to reopen states after COVID-19 blockages may want to turn to Germany on Tuesday, where early attempt to lift traffic restrictions resulted in increased rate of coronavirus infection .

Robert Koch director of the German Institute for Infectious Diseases, Lothar Wieler, said the virus’s reproduction rate has returned to 1.0, which means that each person infected infects at least one other person on average. The reproduction rate fell to 0.7 at the height of blockages and orders for home stays.

Germany is one of the countries that is trying to gradually reopen after its numerous tests and contact tracing have helped it achieve one of the lowest virus death rates in the world, and a death toll much lower than that of other European countries.
“If possible, stay at home, stay in reduced contact,” Wieler told reporters at a press conference, Reuters reported.

The news comes as President Donald Trump urges states to “seriously consider” reopening public schools before the end of the academic year, the Associated Press reported, even though many have already determined it would be dangerous to do it. Trump made the comments in a call Monday with the governors to discuss the steps needed to reopen the economies. None of the governors of the appeal responded to the suggestion, according to the AP.
See also:Trump suggests US shouldn’t bail out Democrat-led states
Some states have announced plans to reopen, with Georgia saying it will allow movie theaters to reopen on Monday and restaurants will have limited restaurant service after barbershops, gymnasiums, bowling alleys and salons were allowed to reopen Friday. Oklahoma also authorized the reopening of hair and nail salons, pet care and spas starting Friday. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the stay-at-home executive expiring this week “has done its job.” Some other states are easing shutdown orders to allow certain companies to reopen this week.
See now: States begin to reopen, ending blockages of coronaviruses: restaurants and cinemas open doors in Georgia; Texas tunes for May 1

Last case count

There are now 3.06 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and at least 212,221 people have died, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. At least 906,358 people have recovered.
The United States has the highest number of cases with 988,490 and the highest number of deaths with 56,256. New York remains the American epicenter with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases and nearly 25,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
See: Business reopening in New York will be gradual and the schedule will vary from state to state.
As well:New York accelerates tracing and introduces “self-swab tests”
Spain has the highest number of cases in Europe with 232,128 and 23,822 deaths. Italy has 199,414 cases and 26,977 deaths, the highest number in Europe.
France has 166,036 cases and 23,327 deaths, while Germany has 158,758 cases and only 6,136 deaths.
The United Kingdom has 158,353 cases and 21,158 deaths. Turkey has 112,261 cases and 2,900 deaths, while Russia has surpassed Iran in number of cases. Russia has 93,558 cases and 867 deaths, while Iran has 92,584 cases and 5,877 deaths. China, where the disease was first reported at the end of last year, has 83,938 cases and 4,637 deaths.
New Zealand and Australia are other countries that appear to be in control and are reopening temporarily. New Zealand ended its strictest lockout phase at midnight and is now operating at level 3, allowing some companies to reopen. Prime Minister Jacinta Adern said residents can now go to work, spend more time outside and order takeout, as reported by the Guardian.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, allows up to two adults to visit any home from Friday, the newspaper said.

What are the latest medical developments?

A disappointing set of data from a Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
REGN,
-1.98%

and Sanofi
SAN,
-1.29%

A mid-term clinical trial testing Kevzara for rheumatoid arthritis as a COVID-19 treatment highlights the traditional ups and downs of drug development that have been intensified by the global pandemic, as reported by Jaimy Lee of MarketWatch.
The drug was first proposed as a potential treatment after researchers in China released data from a single-arm trial with 21 patients who found
ROG,
+ 0.93%

Actemra, also an IL-6 inhibitor, reduced fevers and the need for additional oxygen in COVID-19 patients. Regeneron and Sanofi are moving forward with a more limited phase 3 trial that will only include patients deemed critical and will involve a higher dose of the drug.
Analysts said the data was disappointing but also noted the limitations of the business opportunity that would arise if the drug were successful in the trials. The data is not “relevant for the REGN assessment because [it is a] small business opportunity, “wrote Josh Schimmer of Evercore ISI on Monday.
Quest Diagnostics Inc.
DGX,
-1.49%

said it developed a COVID-19 antibody test program for consumers when the test request is approved by a doctor. People can request the test online, a doctor will review the order, and they can go to a patient service center to have their blood taken.
See:Oxford University scientists reveal chronology of coronavirus vaccine at start of human trial
An antibody test is expected to show if a person has ever been infected with COVID-19, even if they were asymptomatic at the time of infection; however, it is not clear whether the antibodies promise immunity to future COVID-19 infections or if they do, how long this immunity lasts.
Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
+ 1.88%

On Monday, a request for a new drug for its vaccine candidate was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will be evaluated in a further study if the initial data looks promising. The phase 2 study is scheduled to start in the second trimester and will assess the safety and possible side effects and immune responses of two mRNA-1273 vaccinations given 28 days apart, the company said.
The plan is to enroll 600 healthy adults and older adults in two cohorts. Participants will be followed for 12 months after the second vaccination. A third phase could start in the fall of 2020, the company said.
See also:Here is the latest information on the Fed bailout programs to maintain credit during the coronavirus pandemic

What are companies saying?

Earnings season started Tuesday with figures from Dow Jones Industrial Average components Pfizer Inc.
PFE,
+ 0.02%,
Merck & Co. Inc.
MRK,
-2.40%,
Caterpillar Inc.
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+ 0.58%

and manufacturer of Post-it 3M Co.
MMM,
+ 2.07%,
among others. Pfizer exceeded estimates due to global sales of hospital products, some of which are used to intubate and support patients on mechanical ventilators. It was also helped by a 29% increase in sales of its anticoagulant Eliquis, which was due to purchases from wholesalers linked to COVID-19.
Rival Merck has also exceeded estimates and the pandemic has had an intangible impact on first quarter results, even though it plans to reach annual sales of $ 2.1 billion. Merck reduces its 2020 outlook for adjusted EPS from $ 5.17 to $ 5.37 – the FactSet consensus was $ 5.59 – and for revenues from $ 46.1 billion to $ 48.1 billion, in below expectations of $ 48.8 billion.
Caterpillar made more profit than expected, as many of its facilities around the world were deemed essential during the crisis. although some facilities have been temporarily closed due to supply chain issues, weak customer demand and government regulations. In mid-April, about 75% of its production facilities were still in operation and some that were closed reopened.
Meanwhile, 3M benefited from the demand for personal protective equipment.

IBM,
+ 1.31%

IBM increased its quarterly dividend by a penny and said it would not allow the crisis to end a series of 25-year dividend hikes.
Here’s What Companies Are Saying About COVID-19:
• 3M announced better-than-expected first-quarter profits and revenues, but said it was withdrawing its outlook for the year due to uncertainties caused by the pandemic. “In the first quarter, we saw strong growth in personal security, as well as in other areas of our portfolio experiencing high demand due to the pandemic,” said CEO Mike Roman. “At the same time, we have seen weak demand in several end markets that have been most severely affected by the measures taken worldwide to slow the pandemic.”
• Caterpillar has taken steps to cut costs, cut discretionary spending and suspend 2020 base salary increases and short-term incentive compensation plans for many employees and all executives. Caterpillar’s ​​operations in the first quarter were deemed essential by many governments during the pandemic, although some facilities were temporarily closed due to supply chain problems, weak customer demand and government regulations. In mid-April, about 75% of its production facilities were still in operation and some that were closed reopened. The company does not offer forecasts for 2020. It posted better-than-expected profit for its last quarter, but revenues are lower than expected.
• Chico’s FAS Inc.
CHS,
+ 19.04%

announced plans to begin reopening stores on May 4. Chico’s portfolio includes the namesake chain, White House Black Market and Soma. The reopening will take place in three phases: first, the company will use its stores to respond to online orders, then buy the online stores using contactless pickup and finally, will make purchases by appointment for all of its brands. “We believe we will have significant benefits in the coming months as the majority of our stores are less than 3,500 square feet and are located in easily accessible shopping malls,” said general manager Bonnie Brooks. Chico’s has experienced double-digit numerical growth in the past six weeks, driven by certain categories, including physical activity and sleep. As of April 27, Chico’s had approximately $ 103 million in cash and cash equivalents. Borrowing on an asset-backed credit facility and mobilizing its own real estate could generate $ 100 million in additional liquidity. The company also has a one-time liquidity benefit of $ 95 million under the CARES law.
• Ecolab Inc.
ECL,
+ 4.35%

exceeded first-quarter profit expectations as growth in the company’s healthcare and life sciences sectors offset weak upstream energy. “We have companies with increased demand (including food and beverage, healthcare, food retail, life sciences) and those with much less short-term demand (including institutional activities and pest control), “said CEO Douglas Baker in a statement. “We expect that the main impacts of COVID-19 will be felt in the coming quarters and will be clearly unfavorable for both our top and bottom results for the year.” The company’s corporate operations experienced strong demand for sales of cleaning and sanitation products, offset by weak demand from customers for restaurants, housing and entertainment due to the pandemic. The company offers no guidance for the second quarter or the full year.
• Harley-Davidson Inc.
PORK,
+ 13.09%

Lack of profit forecasts for the first quarter but announced “aggressive cost management efforts” in the middle of the pandemic. Motorcycle retail sales in the United States increased 6.6% “until the pandemic sets in in the United States in mid-March” and fell 15.5% for the full quarter . International retail sales were down 20.7%. The board of directors approved a dividend of 2 cents per share for the second quarter, compared to 38 cents in the first quarter. The company is undergoing “aggressive cost management efforts,” including recalculating product launches and temporarily cutting wages as part of the crisis.
• Hawaiian Holdings, parent company of Hawaiian Airlines Inc.
HA,
+ 12.13%

received the first payment from the CARES Payroll Support Program under the CARES Act of $ 146 million. This represents half of the planned total of $ 292.5 million. Under the terms of the PSP, Hawaiian has agreed not to take involuntary leave or to reduce employee wages or benefits until September 30, to limit executive compensation until March 24, 2022 and to suspend payments from dividends and share repurchases until September 30, 2021. Hawaiian also agreed to issue the US government warrants to purchase a total of 488,477 common shares, or approximately 1.1% of the outstanding shares, at an exercise price of $ 11.82 per share.
• Merck reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and sales, but provided optimistic prospects for the entire year. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on results was “soft”, but annual revenues are expected to be reduced by $ 2.1 billion, including $ 1.7 billion in the pharmaceutical sector and $ 400 million in animal health. Merck reduces its 2020 outlook for adjusted EPS from $ 5.17 to $ 5.37 – the FactSet consensus is $ 5.59 – and for revenues from $ 46.1 billion to $ 48.1 billion, in below expectations of $ 48.8 billion
• Southwest Airlines Co.
LUV,
+ 1.30%

announced a public offering of 55 million shares and $ 1 billion in convertible debt. The share offering represented 10.8% of the shares outstanding as of April 24. Based on the closing share price of $ 29.11 on Monday, the offer would be valued at approximately $ 1.6 billion. The company said it plans to use the proceeds from the share and debt offering for general purposes. Earlier, Southwest released its first quarter results showing a smaller than expected loss but a shortfall.
• Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-2.86%

The Fremont, California plant will not reopen shortly after authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area have extended regional orders for on-site shelters until the end of May. The news came after Tesla ended Monday’s regular session, up 10%, according to a report that the plant, Tesla’s only auto plant in the United States, was poised to resume operations. because the Bay Area closure orders were due to expire next week. Tesla and local authorities quarreled over the plant, which was not considered essential and closed in late March.
• Universal Health Services Inc.
UHS,
+ 1.94%

profit and sales expectations were missed for the first quarter as hospitals and other facilities saw fewer patients in the midst of the pandemic. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant adverse effect on our operations and financial results,” said the company. “Patient volumes in our acute care hospitals and behavioral health care facilities were significantly reduced in the second half of March as various COVID-19 policies were implemented by our facilities and the federal governments and states, “he said. Due to uncertainty about the epidemic, the company has withdrawn its guidelines.
• United Parcel Service Inc.
UPS,
-4.61%

said first-quarter profit that fell short of expectations even though revenues were down, and said it was unable to provide financial guidance due to uncertainty about the impact of the pandemic. UPS said it has experienced “significant headwinds” of the pandemic on its customers, associated with higher charges for self-insurance. UPS expects 2010 capital spending to be $ 1 billion lower than previously estimated and will suspend share repurchases for the year.
• VF Corp.
VFC,
+ 3.36%

will increase the salaries of distribution center employees in the United States and Canada until July. The company is also extending compensation and benefits to retail workers in closed stores in North America and Mexico until May 30. The brand portfolio of VF Corp. includes Vans and The North Face.

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