August 3, 2020

Coronavirus latest: Italian and Spanish economies show signs of recovery

Refiner Marathon sinks to loss as US fuel demand dries up

Derek Brower and Myles McCormick

Marathon Petroleum Corp, the US’s biggest independent refiner, reported an adjusted loss of $868m in the first quarter, down from a $1.2bn profit a year ago, as demand for fuel in the world’s largest market remained depressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which on Sunday announced its plan to sell its Speedway retail unit to Seven & i in a $21bn all-cash deal, also reiterated its intention to “indefinitely idle” its Gallup and Martinez refineries and potentially convert one of them to renewable diesel.

“Our second-quarter results reflect a full three months of the challenges Covid has created for our business,” said Michael Hennigan, Marathon’s chief executive. “We began April with demand at historic lows. Despite seeing some recovery during the quarter, demand for our products and services continues to be significantly depressed.”

Before adjustments, second-quarter income came in at $9m, including a net pre-tax benefit of $1.4bn, Marathon said. It added that it was on track to meet a target to reduce capital spending this year by $1.4bn and cut operating costs by $950m.

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WHO says no ‘silver bullet’ to coronavirus and ‘there might never be’

A man checks a mainboard at an assembly line to produce ventilators amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Vsmart factorty of Vingroup outside Hanoi, Vietnam August 3, 2020.

Kham | Reuters

The World Health Organization said Monday there may never be a “silver bullet” for the coronavirus even as scientists and drugmakers across the globe race to find a safe and effective vaccine.

Scientists have made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most severe forms of Covid-19, and a number of vaccines are in late-stage trials, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “However, there is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.”

There are no-FDA approved drugs for the coronavirus, which has infected more than 18 million people worldwide and killed at least 689,625, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

In May, the FDA granted antiviral drug remdesivir an emergency use authorization, allowing hospitals and doctors to use the drug on patients hospitalized with the disease even though the drug has not been formally approved by the agency. The FDA has also said it is looking at dexamethasone,

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