News

COVID-19

Reuters | Equities.com |

Blackstone Group Inc is seeking to raise at least $5 billion for its second private equity fund focused on Asia, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

With this new vehicle, Blackstone plans to more than double the size of its first Asia buyout fund, Bloomberg reported (here). The company closed its first Asian private equity fund at about $2.3 billion in 2018.


AP News | Equities.com |

Millions of Americans bought tickets to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving before the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with them not to travel for the holiday.

So what are they doing now? In many cases, they’re still crowding airports and boarding planes. That’s despite relatively lenient cancellation policies that major airlines have implemented since the coronavirus pandemic emerged earlier this year.

“Consumers should feel comfortable changing their plans and canceling their flights if they need to for health reasons,” said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.


AP News | Equities.com |

U.S. health officials Saturday agreed to allow emergency use of a second antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental medicine that President Donald Trump was given when he was sickened last month.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

The drug is given as a one-time treatment through an IV. The FDA allowed its use in adults and children 12 and over who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of age or certain other medical conditions.


AP News | Equities.com |

Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street Friday following another choppy day of trading as worries about the worsening pandemic undercut growing optimism about a coming coronavirus vaccine.

The S&P 500 fell 0.7%, erasing its gains from a day earlier. The benchmark index, which climbed to an all-time high on Monday, posted its first weekly decline after two weeks of gains. The index is still up 8.8% so far this month.

Technology, financial and industrial companies drove much of the selling, which turned volatile in the final hour of regular trading. Treasury yields were mostly lower, a sign of caution in the market. Stock indexes around the world made modest moves.


AP News | Equities.com |

The surging coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears at hand, with the country now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest since the calamitous spring in and around New York City.

The overall death toll has reached about 253,000, by far the highest in the world. Total confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.7 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000.


AP News | Equities.com |

Health officials around the world are clashing over the use of certain drugs for COVID-19, leading to different treatment options for patients depending on where they live.

On Friday, a World Health Organization guidelines panel advised against using the antiviral remdesivir for hospitalized patients, saying there’s no evidence it improves survival or avoids the need for breathing machines.

But in the U.S. and many other countries, the drug has been the standard of care since a major, government-led study found other benefits — it shortened recovery time for hospitalized patients by five days on average, from 15 days to 10.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Pfizer Inc said it will apply to U.S. health regulators on Friday for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine, the first such application in a major step toward providing protection against the new coronavirus.

The application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comes just days after Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE reported final trial results that showed the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no major safety concerns.

Pfizer’s shares rose 1.6% and BioNTech climbed 6% on the news that a vaccine could soon be available, raising hopes for the end of a pandemic that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives in the United States and over 1.3 million worldwide.


AP News | Equities.com |

California is imposing an overnight curfew for nearly all residents as the most populous state tries to head off a surge of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm its health care system, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.

What officials are calling a limited stay-at-home order requires people who are not on essential errands to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday. The order will last until Dec. 21 but could be extended if disease trends don’t improve.

The curfew covers 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents. It’s in place in 41 of the state’s 58 counties that have the most significant increases in virus cases and face the most severe restrictions under California’s four-tier system for reopening the economy.


AP News | Equities.com |

President-elect Joe Biden met Thursday with governors from both parties and criticized President Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to block the peaceful transition of power, saying it was hindering the flow of information about programs to develop a vitally important coronavirus vaccine.

“Unfortunately, my administration hasn’t been able to get everything we need,” Biden said during a video conference with the National Governors Association’s leadership team, which consists of five Republicans and four Democrats.

His remarks highlighted the stakes of the Trump administration’s refusal to begin a formal transfer of power to Biden’s team. Besides being a pillar of American democracy, it is especially important this year since Biden will be inheriting responsibility for managing the worst public health crisis in a century. The president-elect also has been denied access to other critical information, including security briefings.


AP News | Equities.com |

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he will not extend several emergency loan programs set up with the Federal Reserve, an action that could hamper the ability of the incoming Biden administration to gain important economic support from the central bank to deal with the ongoing pandemic.

The decision drew a terse rebuke from the Fed.

The central bank said it “would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy.”