Bloomberg Evening Briefing, June 17, 2020
Texas reported a record number of hospitalizations and Arizona hospitals may become overwhelmed as coronavirus cases surge in two states where governors reopened earlier than experts said was wise. New cases in Florida and Oregon also rose to the highest level since the pandemic began. States that were eager to reopen despite the risk of more American dead now face increasing pressure to close down again, something critics note would not have been necessary had they followed the lead of New York, the hardest hit state. Once the global epicenter of Covid-19 deaths, New York City is on track to ease restrictions even more on Monday: Restaurants will be able to serve diners outdoors and hair salons can resume operations.
Lowndes County, Alabama, exemplifies the kind of place where the coronavirus continues to spread unchecked: It’s among the nation’s poorest counties, is majority Black, rife with preexisting illnesses and starved for health-care resources. It doesn’t even have a hospital. Its sole doctor, George Thomas, is now battling an infection rate that rivals the worst-off zip code in New York City at its pandemic peak.
Sweden, which has been widely assailed for allowing schools, shops and restaurants to stay open in the hope of achieving herd immunity, has made less progress than it expected. The nation also still has one of the worst Covid-19 death rates in the world. New Zealand, which succeeded in eradicating the virus with fast, strict measures, announced two new cases in an apparent failure of its quarantine system. There have been over 8.2 million confirmed cases and 445,500 deaths worldwide. Here’s the latest.