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Sept. 28, 2020, 2:29 p.m. EDT

Coronavirus update: Global death toll inches toward 1 million as hot spots emerge in India, Europe, South America and Israel

U.S. confirmed cases top 7 million as President Trump gears up for update on testing strategy; CDC head says new task force member is spreading misinformation, NBC reports

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By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch

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• England is introducing fines of up to 10,000 pounds (or $12,852) for citizens who refuse to self-isolate when instructed to do so, the BBC reported. Anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus, or is told they have come into contact with someone who has, are now legally obliged to quarantine. The move comes after a government study found that just 18% of people with symptoms actually go into isolation. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the fines were “a clear sign that we will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would “not hesitate” to take more drastic action if needed. The U.K. has the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe at 42,090 and the fifth-highest in the world.

• Ukraine is emerging as a hot spot as infections climb and health officials have tracked it to summer holiday spots where holidaymakers abandoned public safety measures, the Washington Post reported. Odessa has borne the brunt of the spike thanks to its beaches and nighttime parties, which have led to more than 12,000 cases in that region alone. Ukraine is averaging more than 3,800 cases a day, surpassing its early record of 1,109 new cases in a single day in June. Ukraine has 206,579 confirmed cases and 4,082 people have died.

Latest tallies

There are now 33.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 999,202 people have died, the Johns Hopkins data shows. At least 22.9 million people have recovered.

Brazil has the second-highest death toll after the U.S. at 141,741, but third-highest case tally at 4.7 million.

India is second to the U.S. by case tally at 6.1 million, and has third-highest death toll at 95,542.

Mexico is fourth with 76,430 deaths and seventh with 730,317 cases.

China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has 90,493 cases and 4,739 deaths, according to its official figures.

Read: Everything you need to know about what it would take for the FDA to approve a COVID-19 vaccine

What’s the latest medical news?

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202993817/composite INO -3.62% tumbled 29%, after the company said the Phase 2/3 clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was in a “partial clinical hold” while it answered additional questions from the Food and Drug Administration.

The hold is not due to an adverse event, which is what paused the Phase 3 study for AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +0.77%   /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +1.76%  and the University of Oxford’s experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Inovio said in a news release that it is working on answering the regulator’s questions, it plans to respond to the FDA in October, and then the agency has 30 days to issue its decision about whether the trial can move forward. The Phase 1 trial is still under way.

Read also: There are four coronavirus vaccines in late-stage studies — here’s how they differ

Hologic Inc. shares /zigman2/quotes/201671131/composite HOLX +1.77% were up 3.6% after the company said it had received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a diagnostic test specifically aimed at people with asymptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Hologic is the first company to offer a test screening asymptomatic individuals. This test, which is also authorized to test symptomatic people for COVID-19 infections, originally received authorization in March.

What are companies saying?

• Caesars Entertainment Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205281174/composite CZR +0.97% has commenced an offering of 30 million shares in a syndicated deal, joining the many companies issuing record levels of debt and equity during the pandemic. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including potentially the previously announced possible cash offer for William Hill PLC. Caesars said earlier that it is in advanced talks over a possible 2.9 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) cash offer for the U.K. betting company. Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan are underwriting the share offering.

• Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201864009/composite CALM -1.52% posted a smaller-than-expected loss for its fiscal first quarter and sales that topped estimates. “Our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 reflect continued challenging market conditions as we proactively monitor and manage our operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Executive Dolph Baker said in a statement. Total dozens of eggs sold rose 3.8% in the period, he said, due to continued strong retail demand as consumers are still eating more at home. While demand from food service customers is improving as more restaurants reopen, food service demand is still far below pre-quarantine levels, weighing on egg prices. “Market prices for eggs remained volatile over the first quarter and decreased overall compared to prices at the end of fiscal 2020, which reflected increased consumer purchases due to the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal demand due to Easter falling in the fourth quarter,” said Baker. The company will not pay a dividend for the quarter.

• CarMax Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204412041/composite KMX +0.34%  said Monday it has resumed its share buyback program after suspending it in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer of new and used cars said in a regulatory filing that it has $1.51 billion left in its share buyback authorization.

/zigman2/quotes/202993817/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 11.97
-0.45 -3.62%
Volume: 8.82M
Dec. 2, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$2.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
$21,196
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 53.39
+0.41 +0.77%
Volume: 4.95M
Dec. 2, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
55.74
Dividend Yield
2.57%
Market Cap
$136.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$346,812
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
7,937.00 p
+137.00 +1.76%
Volume: 1.73M
Dec. 2, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
53.04
Dividend Yield
2.72%
Market Cap
£102.36 billion
Rev. per Employee
£270,731
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201671131/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 70.86
+1.23 +1.77%
Volume: 1.47M
Dec. 2, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
16.85
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$17.90 billion
Rev. per Employee
$649,536
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205281174/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 68.50
+0.66 +0.97%
Volume: 1.97M
Dec. 2, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$14.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$163,113
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201864009/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 38.99
-0.60 -1.52%
Volume: 174,325
Dec. 2, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
42.42
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$1.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
$371,730
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204412041/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 96.47
+0.33 +0.34%
Volume: 1.41M
Dec. 2, 2020 7:00p
P/E Ratio
23.20
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$15.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$714,405
loading...

Ciara Linnane is MarketWatch's investing- and corporate-news editor. She is based in New York.

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