The number of global confirmed contagions of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 6 million on Monday, after a weekend dominated by protests across the U.S. at the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.
Scenes of protests in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit, among other cities, featured prominently in TV news programs and on social media, after the death of George Floyd was captured on video by bystanders. Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, pleading repeatedly that he could not breathe. The officer has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.
There was broad international support for the protests, with demonstrators gathering in London, Berlin, Vancouver, Paris, Dublin and other cities to call for an end to police brutality against black people.
Some images raised concerns that protesters could inadvertently spread the illness, as many were not wearing face coverings or few observed social distancing.
“The large crowds of demonstrators ... raise the risk of spreading coronavirus,” said Charles Campbell, managing director and trading-desk specialist at MKM, in a Monday note.
The protests are taking place as all 50 U.S. states push ahead with their reopenings and lift restrictions on movement, including states that are still showing increasing numbers of infections, against the advice of public health experts.
A Washington Post–ABC News poll published Monday found nearly 6 in 10 Americans have taken an economic hit from COVID-19, but most still say containing the spread is more important than trying to restart the economy. About three in four black Americans, who have suffered far more deaths from the virus than white Americans, say it’s more important to contain the disease than to reopen the economy.
President Donald Trump is planning to meet via videoconference with governors on Monday to discuss “keeping American communities safe.” The White House said Trump is planning the meeting with governors, law-enforcement and national-security officials, following a separate one-on-one meeting with Attorney General William Barr.
There had been speculation the president would address the nation on Sunday, but that did not materialize. Trump tweeted that he would designate anti-fascism activists as a terrorist organization.
As the New York Times reported, his declaration against antifa, which he sought to blame for those protests that turned violent, lacked clear legal authority. The antifa movement does not have a leader or a central structure, as the Times and others noted.
At the time of this writing, Trump was addressing U.S. state governors on a conference call in a manner that was described by some as alarming.
There are now 6.19 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 372,479 people have died, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.6 million people have recovered.
The U.S. has the highest case toll in the world at 1.79 million and the highest death toll at 104,383.
Brazil’s case tally climbed above 500,000 over the weekend with more than 16,000 new cases reported, according to the Guardian. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been widely criticized for his failed approach to the crisis, rode a horse to a rally on Sunday, calling on the country’s supreme court to be shut down to end an investigation of him, the Guardian reported.
Brazil now has 514,849 cases after another spike overnight, and 29,314 fatalities.
Russia has 414,878 cases and 4,855 fatalities. The U.K. has 276,156 cases and 38,571 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and second highest in the world after the U.S.
Spain has 239,479 cases and 27,127 deaths, while Italy has 232,997 cases and 33,415 deaths. India has passed France and Germany by case numbers at 191,041 and 5,143 deaths.
France has 189,010 cases and 28,805 deaths, while Germany has 183,508 cases and 8,546 deaths.
Peru is next with 164,476 cases and 4,506 fatalities, followed by Turkey with 163,942 cases and 4,540 deaths.
Iran has 154,445 cases and 7,878 deaths, followed by Chile with 99,688 cases and 1,054 deaths.
Canada has 92,479 cases and 7,374 deaths, followed by Mexico with 90,664 cases and 9,930 fatalities.
Saudia Arabia moved above China, where the illness was first reported late last year, in case numbers. Saudi Arabia has 85,261 cases and 525 fatalities. China has 84,150 cases and 4,638 deaths.
What’s the latest medical news?
Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD, -2.80% released findings from a late-stage clinical trial testing its remdesivir in moderately ill COVID-19 patients. Gilead previously released data from a similarly run open-label Phase 3 trial evaluating remdesivir in severely ill COVID-19 patients, as well as another Phase 3 trial run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that found the drug could reduce the time to recovery in severely ill patients. That study’s findings led to an emergency-use authorization for remdesivir last month.
In case you missed it:FDA grants Gilead’s remdesivir emergency authorization for COVID-19 treatment
The latest trial showed that moderately ill patients taking a five-day regimen of the drug were 65% more likely to demonstrate clinical improvement, compared to those receiving the standard of care. Patients taking the 10-day regimen did not report a statistically significant improvement.
“We need more data,” said Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat, who noted that hospital discharge data were not disclosed, nor was time from symptoms to first dose.
Abiomed Inc. ABMD, +0.77% received an emergency-use authorization for its Impella RP heart pump to be used in certain COVID-19 patients, including those with heart failure. The medical device received FDA approval in 2017 to be marketed in the treatment of right ventricular failure.
“Acute pulmonary embolism is clearly being recognized as a life-threatening manifestation of COVID-19,” Dr. Amir Kaki, director of mechanical circulatory support at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, said in the Abiomed release.
Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, +0.29% said it has started a Phase 1 trial for its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment. The therapy, LY-CoV555, was developed by Lilly, AbCellera and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from a blood sample from one of the first people to recover from COVID-19 in the U.S.
The placebo-controlled trial will test the antibody treatment in patients hospitalized with COVID-19; Lilly said it expects to release data from the trial by the end of this month.
“Antibody therapies such as LY-CoV555 may have potential for both prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and may be particularly important for groups hardest hit by the disease such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems,” Lilly’s chief scientific officer, Daniel Skovronsky, said in a news release.
Looking ahead, Lilly said it plans to test the therapy in COVID-19 patients who have not been hospitalized and as a preventative tool if the Phase 1 trial demonstrates the drug is safe.
What are companies saying?
Company news from the weekend also led with the protests about the death of George Floyd, with executives offering support, contributing to social-justice organizations and tweeting in solidarity with protesters.
Twitter Inc. TWTR, +2.29% changed its profile bio to read simply “#BlackLivesMatter,” while Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL, -0.13% GOOG, -0.02% Google said on its main search page: “We stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.”
Google’s YouTube said it would donate $1 million “in support of efforts to address social injustice.”
Major streaming services — such as Netflix Inc. NFLX, +0.88%, Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN, +1.10% Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.–controlled DIS, +1.60% Hulu and AT&T’s T, +0.71% HBO Max, as well as Quibi and Amazon’s Twitch — tweeted that they stand in solidarity with protesters, with Netflix saying: “To be silent is to be complicit.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, -1.03%, said the company would donate $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and the Center for Policing Equity.
Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.20% Chief Executive Tim Cook said it was not a time to stand on the sidelines.
“This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice,” Cook said in an internal note to employees obtained by Bloomberg News. “As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege.”
Adidas ADDYY, +1.70% ADS, early Saturday amplified an antiracism tweet by athletic-gear archrival Nike NKE, +0.70%.
Elsewhere, companies continued to raise capital through equity or bond offerings and to offer updates on the reopening of stores, factories and offices.
Here are the latest things companies have said about COVID-19:
• U.S. cannabis company Acreage Holdings Inc. ACRGF, -5.00% has entered two funding agreements to raise up to $60 million. The first is a standby equity distribution agreement with an unnamed institutional investor for up to $60 million of its Class A subordinate voting shares, and the second is a private placement in which it issued $11 million in principal amount under a secured convertible debenture for gross proceeds of $10 million. Proceeds of both deals will be used for general corporate purposes and working capital. New York City-based Acreage has an option agreement with Canadian cannabis market leader Canopy Growth Corp. CGC, -3.94% , WEED, -7.06% under which Canopy will take over the company as soon as the federal ban on cannabis has been lifted.
• Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC ADAP, +7.40% is planning a public offering of 12.5 million shares. That represents about 9.6% of the shares outstanding. The company also plans to grant the underwriters of the offering options to buy additional shares to cover overallotments. Cowen and SVB Leerink are the joint book-running managers.
• Agilent Technologies Inc. A, +1.60% is offering a series of senior notes in a shelf registration with plans to use any proceeds for general corporate purposes, including to pay down debt. The company did not offer any detail on size or maturities. BofA Securities, Mizuho Securities USA LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting as joint book-running managers.
• Apple Inc. has temporarily closed most of its U.S. retail stores, 9to5 Mac reported Sunday, after a number of stores became targets of looters during weekend protests. “With the health and safety of our teams in mind, we’ve made the decision to keep a number of our stores in the U.S. closed on Sunday,” Apple reportedly told 9to5 Mac. Apple Stores in Minneapolis; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; and Scottsdale, Ariz., were among those vandalized or looted over the weekend. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a number of Apple Store locations say “temporarily closed” on their websites, while one in San Francisco’s Union Square, which was damaged Saturday night, said it would reopen Tuesday. Apple started reopening its U.S. retail stores, which had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in late May. 9to5 Mac said about 140 of 271 U.S. locations had already been reopened.
• Cooper Tire & Rubber Co’s CTB, +0.03% tire-manufacturing plant in El Salto, Mexico, will restart production, on a limited basis. The company had reopened its Mexico plant on April 13, only to have to shut it back down on April 28 after the Mexico government determined it was a nonessential business. The tire maker said its plants in China, the U.S. and Serbia have all reopened.
• Coty Inc. COTY, +17.49% agreed to sell a majority interest in its retail hair business, which includes Wella and Clairol, to KKR & Co. Inc. KKR, +2.23% in a deal that values the businesses at $4.3 billion. KKR will own 60% of the separately managed businesses. Coty will receive a $1 billion direct investment and $2.5 billion in net cash proceeds. Separately, Coty Chairman Peter Harf will assume the additional role of chief executive officer. The company will create a three-person executive committee, which includes Harf, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Andre Terisse and Gordon von Bretten, who joined Coty last week from KKR Capstone as chief transformation officer.
• Southwest Airlines Co. LUV, +5.81% received $651.8 million as the second tranche of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Payroll Support Program. In turn, the air carrier has increased the note it provided to the Treasury by $195.6 million and provided a warrant to buy 536,197 common shares. In total, Southwest has received $2.28 billion, or 70% of the expected payroll support amount, and provided Treasury with a note totaling $654.4 million and warrants to buy 1,794,429 shares, which would represent about 0.3% of the shares outstanding.
• Walt Disney Co. will temporarily be pausing any new theme park ticket sales or hotel reservations in order to “focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.” Disney had previously announced that guests will need to reserve a day to visit the theme parks if they wish to gain admission, in addition to purchasing a ticket. The company is limiting the capacity in its theme parks to reduce crowding. “Existing ticket holders and annual pass holders will be able to make a theme-park reservation before new tickets are sold; we will be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details,” Disney said. “We will resume new sales of tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations after that period.” Additionally, Disney has canceled all existing reservations at restaurants. Typically, visitors can book meals at hotel and theme park restaurants up to 180 days in advance. Disney made the choice to cancel existing reservations since the capacity inside restaurants will be reduced to prevent spread of the coronavirus.