Latest coronavirus: US states hint at tighter social restrictions as death toll surpasses 300,000

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New York faces the prospect of another ‘complete shutdown’ due to a increasing level coronavirus infections, warned Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have to recognize that it can happen and we have to prepare for it now,” he told CNN on Monday, saying employees should avoid desks and work from home whenever possible.
U.S. stocks slipped for the fourth day in a row on Monday as investors waited to be briefed on whether policymakers in Washington would come to an agreement on a $ 908 billion stimulus package. The S&P 500 slipped 0.4%, with more than 70% of benchmark companies falling earlier in the week. Energy and bank stocks were among the hardest hit.
Vaccine-related issues remain the biggest risk for markets next year, according to a Deutsche Bank survey of 984 market professionals, with 38% of respondents saying a viral mutation dodge the vaccine – which was first administered in the United States on Monday – poses the greatest risk to the markets.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government had identified a new rapid release variant of coronavirus as it has confirmed that Greater London, South and West Essex and South Hertfordshire would fall under the strictest category of restrictions. The “exponential increase” in cases in these regions had meant that the NHS was under immense pressure, he said.

CureVac researcher Philipp Hoffmann works on the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in a lab in Tübingen, Germany

German biotech company CureVac has launched a large-scale final trial for its Covid-19 vaccine, which will eventually involve 35,000 participants in Europe and Latin America. The company uses an mRNA platform similar to vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer and its US rival Moderna.
AstraZeneca shares fell nearly 6% as investors worried about the $ 39 billion acquisition of Alexion by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, the the biggest pharmaceutical business since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some shareholders are skeptical of the tie-up, which values ​​Alexion at $ 175 a share, a 45% premium over the US biotech company’s previous closing price.
Hollywood Bowl’s annual profits were almost completely wiped out by Covid-19 after the pandemic closed its more than 60 sites between March and August. Revenues for the UK’s largest bowling operator fell almost two-fifths to £ 79.5million for the year ending September 30, with pre-tax profits of £ 1.2million in 96% decrease from the previous year.
Polypipe, the British pipe manufacturer, improved its profit forecast for the second time, November sales being 8% higher than the previous year due to particularly strong demand from the residential sector, underlying higher operating profit expectations by now at the end of the year to around £ 40million, up from £ 35million. at £ 37m.

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