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Bill Cassidy Becomes 2nd Senator To Test Positive For COVID-19: Live Updates

Bill Cassidy Becomes 2nd Senator To Test Positive For COVID-19: Live Updates



Bill Cassidy Becomes 2nd Senator To Test Positive For COVID-19: Live Updates Tyler Durden Thu, 08/20/2020 - 14:46


  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Ga.) tests positive; 2nd Sen after Rand Paul
  • JNJ starts Phase 3 with 60,000 patients, biggest ever trial
  • Indian surveillance testing finds 30% of New Delhi has had virus
  • Italy reported 845 new cases
  • Merkel says Europe wants to avoid lockdowns
  • Arizona, Florida see cases continue to fall
  • Macron rejects nationwide lockdown, prefers "localized" efforts
  • Germany sees most new cases since April
  • Chinese media defends Wuhan "pool partiers"
  • Brazil says outbreak finally past its peak

* * *

Update (1440ET): CNN just reported that Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Thursday. He plans to quarantine for 14 days. He's only the second Senator, after Republican Rand Paul, to test positive, though roughly a dozen House members have tested positive, while dozens more have been forced to quarantine for a number of reasons.

At least two governors, the governors of Oklahoma and Ohio, have tested positive as well.

* * *

Update (1400ET): Johnson & Johnson is planning to test its anti-COVID-19 vaccine on 60,000 people worldwide, the largest vaccine trial anywhere to date.

In what was no doubt welcome news for the market, the Phase 3 trials, which are set to begin by September, are double the size of other vaccine tests. Dow Jones quoted a J&J spokesman as saying it wanted "to enroll a robust number of participants who are representative of those populations affected by COVID-19."

The trials will run in 28 US states with high transmission rates, and eight hard-hit nations (including Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa and of course the US0.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making it easier for New Yorkers to submit absentee ballots to encourage people to vote who are afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus.

The new law was inspired by Trump's "undermining" of the Post Office.

"The federal administration has ordered an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Postal Service and with COVID-19 threatening our ability to have safe, in-person voting, these measures are critical to ensuring a successful and fair election at one of the most important moments in our nation’s history," he said in a statement.

The new law allows people who fear infection to request an absentee ballot, and outlines rules for counting votes by when they are postmarked or received.

Virus cases in England increased by more than a quarter in the week through Aug. 12, underscoring the risks facing BoJo's government as it tries to boost economic activity without triggering a new peak in the pandemic.

As India continues its surveillance efforts, a study found that nearly 30% of residents of New Delhi have had the virus.

* * *

Update (1220ET): Italy reported 845 new cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump yet, compared with 642 yesterday. ICU numbers, meanwhile, are up from 66 to 68.  The 845 number is the biggest number since May 16, when 875 cases were reported. Italy left its lockdown on May 18, when 'Phase 2' officially began. Of the new cases, 59 were reported in the Tuscan region. 17 were reportedly tied to travel. The average age of the new cases is 34.

Deaths, meanwhile, increased by 6, down from 7 the prior day.

Italy's tally continues the European trend, however, at least Spain saw cases decline DoD on Thursday. More than 77,000 tests were administered. Total cases equaled 256,118, while total deaths equaled 35,418.

The country only has roughly 16,000 currently active cases.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Elsewhere in Europe, Angela Merkel reiterated on Thursday that Europe is hoping to avoid any new lockdowns, just days after proclaiming that Germany wouldn't revert to a lockdown, though she did pause the reopening process.

Florida reported 588,602 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up 0.8% from a day earlier, in line with the average increase in the previous seven days, as the new daily rate of people testing positive continues to slow. The state's positivity rate fell to 6.8% on Wednesday, the lowest since June 14. The state has reported 31,465 new cases in the past seven days, the fewest in a week since late June.

Arizona on Thursday reported 723 new virus cases, a 0.4% increase to 196,280, which matched the average over the prior week, and Arizona's Department of Health Services also reported 50 new deaths from the virus, down from 105 the day before, bringing the total to 4,684.

* * *

Coronavirus news out of Europe and Asia on Thursday further cemented the narrative that while outbreaks in the US, India and Brazil appear to have finally reached their peaks in terms of both infections, and deaths, the virus is making a comeback elsewhere. As the worst-hit countries finally see some relief, clusters reported across Europe and Asia have continued to fester, while more continue to be discovered.

On Thursday, Germany once again reported its largest single-day COVID-19 case total since the Spring, with 1,707 new cases in the past 24 hours.

According to the Robert Koch Institute data, Thursday's numbers brought the total number of infections to 228,621.

While the uptick in cases seen since Germany started reopening schools and its economy have alarmed elected officials, cases remain well below daily records seen in early April, when Germany reported just over 6,000 cases in a day. Ten new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 9,253.

Germany isn't alone. Spain, France, the UK, Greece and a handful of other European states have seen a rise in cases recently. After France reported its highest single-day case tally in months, President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview published by Paris Match last night that French people don't need to fear another national lockdown, though he left the door open for local lockdowns, like those that have been re-imposed in Paris and Toulouse.

"We can not put the country at a standstill, because the collateral damage of confinement is considerable," Macron said. "Zero risk never exists in a company. We must respond to this anxiety without falling into the doctrine of zero risk."

However, a "targeted re-containment" of certain areas should not be ruled out "if the situation requires it," Macron said, insisting that he would prefer "very localized strategies."

Over in Latin America, Brazilian public health officials proclaimed on Thursday that the outbreak might finally be slowing, as data collected since the end of July shows that a peak in both deaths and cases occurred in late July, according to Brazil's Health Ministry.

The number of cases confirmed last week declined to 304,684 compared with a peak of 319,653 in the week ending July 25.

The number of deaths reported on a weekly basis has also fallen to 6,755 from a peak of 7,677 reported during the last week in July.

What's more, an analysis of the data by Imperial College London shows Brazil's transmission rate has fallen below one, a definitive sign that the outbreak is in fact slowing, as each infected patient is now expected to pass the virus to less than one person.

Finally, in China, state media are coming to the defence of a theme park in Wuhan which hosted a massive music festival and pool party over the weekend, raising concerns about potential COVID-19 transmission as the photos zinged across the global internet.

While Beijing defends partiers, officials in the state of Connecticut are punishing several students who attended a "packed dorm party", photos of which incensed the Internet, according to the Hartford Courant.

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Stock Market Today: Stocks turn lower as Treasury yield rise mutes earnings gains

A mixed set of big tech earnings, alongside modestly higher Treasury yields, has stocks moving lower into the start of the Wednesday session.



Updated at 10:07 am EDT U.S. turned lower Wednesday, while Treasury yields crept higher and the dollar building gains against its global peers as investors reacted to the first wave of mega-cap tech earnings while continuing to track movements in the bond market. Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report and Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report kicked-off this week's run of earnings from the so-called 'magnificent seven' late Tuesday with a mixed set of September quarter results, reflecting both the power for AI technologies to boost near-term profits and the impact of surging interest rates on corporate spending. Microsoft's revenue growth in cloud computing, driven in part by its early investments in AI, lifted shares in the tech giant firmly higher in pre-market trading as it looks to add around 85 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the opening bell. Google, meanwhile, slumped 6.6% following a mixed set of third quarter earnings that showed slowing cloud computing growth overshadowing record ad revenues of $59.65 billion. Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report posts its third quarter earnings after the bell later today, with magnificent seven stalwart Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report following on Thursday. In the bond market, a muted auction of $51 billion in 2-year notes yesterday, which drew softer demand from both foreign and domestic investors, drew a line under the recent Treasury market rally, which was also tested by a faster-than-expected reading for business activity by S&P Global over the month of October. Benchmark 10-year notes yields were last marked 5 basis points higher in the early New York trading at 4.901% while 2-year notes were pegged at 5.091%, 3 basis points higher than yesterday's auction levels, ahead of a $52 billion sale of 5-year notes later in the session. The U.S. dollar index, meanwhile, was marked 0.14% higher against a basket of six global currency peers and trading at 106.41 heading into the morning session. In other markets, global oil prices drifted modestly higher in early New York trading ahead of Energy Department data on domestic stockpiles and international exports later this morning. Brent crude contracts for December delivery were marked 23 cents higher at $88.31 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month edged 13 cents higher to $83.87 per barrel. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was marked 42 points lower, or 0.99%, in the opening hour of trading while the Dow was down 133 points despite the impact of Microsoft's advance. The tech-focused Nasdaq, meanwhile, was down 186 points, or 1.43%, as the slump in Google shares offset a smaller gain for Microsoft. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.28% higher in late-day Frankfurt trading amid another busy earnings session while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.02% lower in London. Overnight in Asia, reports of a new trillion-yuan bond sale from the Chinese government, worth around $137 billion in U.S. dollar terms and aimed at adding further stimulus to the moribund economy, boosted sentiment and helped regional stocks eek out a modest 0.09% gain heading into the close of trading.
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People in Europe ate seaweed for thousands of years before it largely disappeared from their diets – we wonder why?

The decline of seaweed as part of the staple diet in Europe remains a mystery.



Seaweed isn’t something that generally features today in European recipe books, even though it is widely eaten in Asia. But our team has discovered molecular evidence that shows this wasn’t always the case. People in Europe ate seaweed and freshwater aquatic plants from the Stone Age right up until the Middle Ages before it disappeared from our plates. Our evidence came from skeletal remains, namely the calculus (hardened dental plaque) that built up around the teeth of these people when they were alive. Many centuries later, this calculus still contains molecules that record the food that people ingested. We analysed the calculus from 74 skeletal remains from 28 archaeological sites across Europe. The sites span a period of several thousand years starting in the Mesolithic, when people hunted and gathered their food, through to the earliest farming societies (a stage called the Neolithic) all the way up to the Middle Ages. Our results suggest that seaweed was a habitual part of the diet for the time periods we studied, and became a marginal food only relatively recently. Unsurprisingly, most of the sites where we detected the consumption of seaweed are coastal. But we also found evidence from inland sites that people were ingesting freshwater aquatic plants, including lilies and pondweed. We also found an example of people consuming sea kale.

How are we sure people ate seaweed?

We identified several types of molecules in the dental calculus that collectively are characteristic of seaweed. We refer to these as “biomarkers”. They include a set of chemical compounds called alkylpyrroles. When we detect these compounds together in calculus, we can be fairly sure where they came from. The same goes for other compounds characteristic of seaweed and freshwater plants. To have become embedded in dental calculus, the seaweed and freshwater plants had to have been in the mouth and most probably chewed. Biomarkers do not survive in all our samples, but where they do, they’re found consistently across many individuals we analysed from different places. This suggests seaweed was probably a routine part of the diet.

Perceptions of seaweed

Today, seaweed is often seen as the scourge of beaches. It accumulates at the high-water mark where it can create a slippery and sometimes smelly barrier to the sea. But it is a wondrous world of its own. There are over 10,000 species of seaweed worldwide living in the intertidal zone (where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides) and the subtidal zone (a region below the intertidal zone that is continuously covered by water). Around 145 of these species are eaten today and in parts of Asia it is commonplace. Seaweed is edible, nutritious, sometimes medicinal, abundant and local. Although overconsumption can cause iodine toxicity, there are no poisonous intertidal species in Europe. It is also available all year round, which would have been particularly useful in the past, when food supplies were less reliable.

Reconstructing ancient diets

Reconstructing ancient diets is challenging and is generally more difficult as you go back in time. This helps explain why we’ve only just realised how much seaweed was being eaten by ancient Europeans. In archaeology, evidence for ancient diets often comes from physical remains: animal bones, fish bones and the hard parts of shellfish. Evidence for plants as part of the diet before farming, however, is rare. Techniques to study molecules from archaeological remains have been around for some time. A key method is known as carbon/nitrogen (C and N) stable isotope analysis. This is widely used to reconstruct ancient human and animal diets based on the relative proportions of these elements in bone collagen. But the presence of plants has been difficult to identify, due to their low nitrogen content. Their presence is masked by an overwhelming signal for animals and fish.

Hiding in plain sight

The evidence for seaweed had been present all along, but unrecognised. Our discovery provides a perfect example of how perceptions of what we regard as food influence interpretations of ancient practices. Seaweed was detected in chunks that had been chewed (and presumably spat out) at the 12,000-year-old site of Monte Verde, Chile. But when it is found at archaeological sites, it is more commonly interpreted as having been used for things other than food, such as fuel and food wrappings. In European archaeology, there is a longstanding perception that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers ate lots of seafood, but that when people started farming, they focused on food sourced from land, such as their livestock. Our findings hammer another nail into the coffin of this theory. Today, only a few traditional recipes remain, such as laverbread made from the seaweed species Porphyra umbilicalis in Wales. It’s still not clear why seaweed declined as a staple source of food in Europe after the Middle Ages.

What are the implications?

Our unexpected discovery changes the way we understand past people. It also alters our perceptions of how they understood the landscape and how they exploited local resources. It suggests, not for the first time, that we vastly underestimate ancient people. They had a knowledge, particularly about the natural world, that is difficult for us to imagine today. The finding also reminds us that archaeological remains are minute windows into the past, reinforcing the care required when developing theories based on limited evidence. The consumption of plants, upon which our world depends, has been habitually left out of dietary theories from our pre-agrarian past. Rigid theories have sometimes forgotten that humans were behind these archaeological cultures – and that they were probably similar to us in their curiosity and needs. Today seaweed sits, largely unused as food, on our doorstep. Making the edible species a bigger component of our diets could even contribute to making our food supplies more sustainable. The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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EUR/AUD bearish breakdown supported by additional China fiscal stimulus and AU inflation

Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent…



  • Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent bearish sentiment loop in EUR/AUD.
  • Watch the key short-term resistance at 1.6700 for EUR/AUD.
  • A break below 1.6250 key medium-term support on the EUR/AUD may trigger a multi-week bearish impulsive down move.

The Euro (EUR) tumbled overnight throughout the US session as it erased its prior gains against the US dollar recorded on Monday, 23 October; the EUR/USD shed -104 pips from yesterday’s intraday high of 1.0695 to close the US session at 1.0591, its weakest performance in the past seven sessions.

Yesterday’s resurgence of the USD dollar strength has been attributed to a robust set of October flash manufacturing and services PMI data from the US in contrast with weak readings seen in the UK and Eurozone that represented stagflation risks.

Interestingly, the Aussie dollar (AUD) has outperformed the US dollar where the AUD/USD managed to squeeze out a minor daily gain of 21 pips by the close of yesterday’s US session. The resilient movement of the AUD/USD has been impacted by positive news flow out from China, Australia’s key trading partner.

China’s national legislature has just approved a budgetary plan to raise the fiscal deficit ratio for 2023 to around 3.8% of its GDP which was above the initial 3% set in March and set to issue additional sovereign debt worth 1 trillion yuan in Q4. This latest round of additional fiscal stimulus suggests that China’s top policymakers are expanding their initial targeted measures to address the ongoing severe liquidity crunch in the domestic property market as well as to reverse the persistent weak sentiment inherent in the stock market.

In addition, the latest set of Australia’s inflation data surpassed expectations has also reinforced another layer of positive feedback loop in the Aussie dollar which in turn may put Australia’s central bank, RBA on a “hawkish guard” against cutting its policy cash rate too soon.

The less lagging monthly CPI Indicator has risen to an annualized rate of 5.6% in September, above consensus estimates of 5.4%, and surpassed August’s reading of 5.2% which has translated into a second consecutive month of uptick in inflationary growth.

In the lens of technical analysis, a potential bearish configuration setup has emerged in the EUR/AUD cross pair from a short to medium-term perspective.

Major uptrend phase of EUR/AUD is weakening


Fig 1: EUR/AUD medium-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

Even though the price actions of the EUR/AUD have been oscillating within a major ascending channel since its 25 August 2023 low of 1.4285 and traded above the key 200-day moving average so far, the momentum of this up movement is showing signs of bullish exhaustion.

Yesterday (24 October) price action ended with a daily bearish reversal “Marubozu” candlestick coupled with the daily RSI momentum indicator that retreated right at a significant parallel resistance in place since March 2023 at the 65 level which suggests a revival of medium-term bearish momentum.

EUR/AUD bears are now attacking the minor ascending support

Fig 2: EUR/AUD minor short-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

The EUR/AUD has now staged a bearish price action follow-through via the breakdown of its minor ascending support from its 29 September 2023 low after a momentum bearish breakdown that was flashed earlier yesterday (24 October) during the European session as seen from the 4-hour RSI momentum indicator.

Watch the 1.6700 key short-term pivotal resistance (also the 50-day moving average) for a further potential slide toward the intermediate supports of 1.6460 and 1.6320 in the first step.

On the other hand, a clearance above 1.6700 invalidates the bearish tone to see the next intermediate resistance coming in at 1.6890.

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