Gov. Cuomo Quietly Makes It a Felony For N.Y. Officials to Share Illegal Alien Driver Info With ICE

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Shocking amendment to Green Light Law slipped into budget bill during virus crisis

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New York State officials who provide information about illegal alien drivers to federal immigration enforcement agencies can now face felony charges.

An amendment to the highly controversial ‘Green Light Law,’ which went into effect in December and cleared illegal aliens to apply for New York State driver’s licenses, was slipped into the state’s 2020 budget bill and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

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It is now a Class E felony for state officials, such as law enforcement officers, to disclose DMV records with agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“Border Patrol for example, working the highway in the middle of the night and pulls over a vehicle, they can’t run the plates to determine who owns that vehicle,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York J.P. Kennedy told WKBW. “I think it’s legislating obstruction and it’s very concerning to me.”

“We’ve seen how important communication and coordination in coming up with a response to the pandemic and sort of causing people to work in isolation it’s a recipe for disaster,” Kennedy continued. “I’m very concerned about this and I think it’s very unfortunate and makes me really question the motives of the individuals that enacted this law, if their professed interest in public safety and public health is really as important as they say they are.”

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns says the new budget bill “basically criminalize[s]” police work.

“This is shocking. This is unheard of — and especially during a pandemic — that someone, the governor, who is under so much pressure, thought about that to put that in there.”

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CONTACT TRACING GROUP FUNDED BY SOROS AND GATES, HAS CHELSEA CLINTON ON BOARD

Contact Tracing Group Funded By Soros and Gates, Has Chelsea Clinton on Board

What do these investigators really want?

By Patrick Howley – May 13, 2020

Partners in Health was recently selected by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker to conduct Coronavirus “contact tracing,” a process that involves teams of investigators finding out who infected people have come into contact with.

The group is already “training and deploying hundreds of contact tracers.” Some citizens fear the potential for mass surveillance posed by contact tracing, especially in light of a Democrat-introduced bill in Congress to authorize contact tracing “at individuals’ residences.” Partners In Health’s involvement will not assuage many fears, considering the group has received funding from George Soros and Bill Gates organizations and counts Chelsea Clinton on its board of trustees.

Partners in Health lists George Soros’ Open Society Foundations as an official partner, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Partners In Health lists Open Society Foundations on its 2015 annual report as a supporter to the tune of $1 million or above, along with the Gates Foundation. Chelsea Clinton serves on Partners in Health’s Board of Trustees, according to its 2019 annual report. 

Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer’s achievement.org bio notes: “Farmer’s work attracted the support of philanthropists, including George Soros and Bill and Melinda Gates. In 2002, PIH received a $13 million grant from the Global Fund for improvements in the Cange complex. In 2005 the William J. Clinton Foundation funded a Partners in Health AIDS program in Rwanda.” Farmer and Chelsea Clinton did a Clinton Foundation podcast together in 2019.

In response to a 2007 tuberculosis outbreak in Africa, NBC News reported: “Soros’ Open Society Institute announced a $3 million grant to the non-profit organization Partners in Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The donation will be used to design a model project of community-based XDR-TB treatment in Lesotho. Once treatment guidelines are developed, experts hope the program will be adopted in other poor countries.”

Soros personally announced the grant and said he hoped it would spark a larger project. For this initiative, Partners In Health was cited by name in the propaganda book The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies.

In 2011, International Women’s Health Coalition noted, “YP Foundation Founder to Join Paul Farmer, George Soros, at IWHC Gala.” Farmer was honored at the gala, which Guest of a Guest noted had David Rockefeller in attendance.

In 2014, Partners In Health co-founder Paul Farmer secured multi-million dollar Soros financing for a coalition project in Africa. Farmer was featured in an October 2014 video interview on Soros’ Open Society Foundations website, which stated, “In between trips to Liberia, Paul Farmer of Partners In Health visited Open Society’s offices to discuss his work on Ebola. Paul talked about the need to ensure sustainable health systems for people in nations where the virus has spread.” Farmer blasted “fear and conspiracy theories around fatal illnesses” in the video and talked about how to “attack” conspiracy theories with activism.

Forbes reported in September 2014: “There’s never been a connection between Ebola and first-rate medical care,” says Paul Farmer, the renowned co-founder of Partners in Health, before pointing out that none of the health care workers flown back to the U.S. for treatment have died. Could the answer to the outbreak lie in the care regiment for those afflicted?

We’ll soon find out. Farmer landed in Liberia this morning, at the center of a coalition quietly formed to specifically – and quickly – test that thesis. In the next few weeks, the Farmer group will open a top-notch treatment facility in one of Liberia’s most rural provinces, along with strategies designed to maximize its effectiveness.

“This has been coming together for years,” Farmer tells Forbes, a few hours before departing on the trip. “The Ebola crisis pushed it over the edge.”

The impetus for this coalition began with a meeting two weeks ago, convened by Farmer’s co-founder at Partners in Health, Jim Kim, who is now president of the World Bank. Attendees included Director-General Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization, Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute for Health. Dismayed by the global response – Kim told the group that the outbreak already ranks among the worst health crises in world history — Kim tabbed Farmer as the World Bank’s special Ebola advisor and also enlisted another attendee at the meeting, Raj Panjabi, who runs Last Mile Health in Liberia. (Full disclosure: Panjabi was mentored at last year’s Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy and I now chair the advisory board for Last Mile Health, which hires, trains and manages front-line health care workers in remote villages.)

George Soros’ Open Society Foundations quickly provided $4 million to fund this project. “The coalition got us a proposal the next day, they answered all our questions the day after, and we got them the funds they needed before the week was out,” says Chris Stone, the organization’s president. The project was appealing to Soros’ team because it features a local group familiar with the turf, an entrepreneurial mentality and the ability to scale.”

Forbes passage ends

Meanwhile…

Prospective Coronavirus contact tracers in New York City are required to understand “institutional and structural racism” and to support immigrants and the LGBTQ community. The government is employing contact tracers to investigate who infected persons come into contact with, leading to civilian concerns that privacy is being attacked.

job posting on Columbia University School of General Studies states: “The Fund for Public Health in New York City (FPHNYC), in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), is seeking contact tracers to perform case interviews and contact tracing to support the citywide COVID-19 response. using a trauma-informed, culturally respectful approach that builds trust and facilitates the free sharing of information.” The job includes “Conducting in-person investigations into congregate settings and selected cases and contacts.”

Listed requirements include: “Ability to understand the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities” and “Have a demonstrated commitment to supporting communities who have experienced systemic oppression and bias (e.g. people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, justice involved persons, etc.)”

Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush has introduced a bill in Congress to authorize the federal government to grant approved entities the right to conduct contact tracing for Coronavirus at “individuals’ residences.” Contact tracing involves investigators tracing every interaction that infected people have.

Rep. Rush introduced HR 6666, “COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act” on May 1, 2020 and it has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill has 45 co-sponsors. According to the text of the bill: “To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, and related activities such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.”

People are concerned that the government might be angling to use contact tracing to remove people from their homes and place them in quarantine, after a Ventura County, California health official suggested doing just that (and later walked it back, though it’s unclear what his proposed policy actually is at this time).

Former Democrat president Bill Clinton extensively discussed contact tracing recently in video interviews with Democrat leaders including governors Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom:

 

Report: New York Nursing Home Let Coronavirus-infected Staff Treat Residents

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH30: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo holds his daily briefing on coronavirus update at the Javits Center also known as the Jacob Javits Medical Center powered by the New York State Guard on March 30, 2020 in New York City. Credit: mpi43/MediaPunch /IPX

By Joel B. Pollak – 4/30/2020

New York State officials allowed nursing home employees infected with coronavirus to continue to work and to treat residents at the Hornell Gardens facility in rural Steuben County, according to a New York Post report.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under increasing scrutiny for a March 25 directive ordering nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. The text of the directive stated (original emphasis): “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo has since said that nursing homes could tell the state Department of Public Health they could not accept such patients, or transfer them to other facilities. However, some homes have said that the state was unresponsive when they reached out, and that they felt intense pressure to accept the patients — despite the unique risk coronavirus generally poses to elderly people.

The Post reported Thursday:

The state Health Department allowed nurses and other staff who tested positive for the coronavirus to continue treating COVID-19 patients at an upstate nursing home, The Post has learned.

State officials signed off on the move during an April 10 conference call that excluded local officials from Steuben County, who protested the move, according to a document provided by the county government’s top administrator, Jack Wheeler.

At least 15 people have died at the Hornell Gardens nursing home in the tiny town of Hornell since the outbreak, according to county tallies. State records show just seven deaths across the county and include no data about this home.

Roughly one third of the staff and residents at the home have contracted the virus, the Post added.

Last week, Steuben County reported that 73% of its 33 coronavirus deaths at the time had been linked to nursing homes.

Store owners boarding up buildings across Manhattan

by Luke Funk – 4/4/2020

A growing scene for those who venture out into the streets of Manhattan these days is boarded up storefronts.  From luxury retailers to small bars, establishments that have no idea when they are going to be allowed to reopen are putting up protection over their glass doors and windows.

The businesses have taken the unsightly measure in an effort to defend against the potential for civil unrest caused by the coronavirus and a lack of officers on the streets.

Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered bars and restaurants closed except for takeout service in mid-March.  Most stores were also ordered to shut down.

Now, from Lower Manhattan to the Upper East Side, outlets are boarded up.  At least a few have offered makeshift messages of hope.

Posted on a pub at 28th and Park the message “let us go forward together” is painted on some of the plywood.  Another message is painted next to it saying, “if you’re going through hell keep going.”

Typically bustling Soho sidewalks are marred by boarded-up windows at designer brand stores, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Coach, and Dolce & Gabbana.

The NYPD has reported that crime in the city has actually dropped since the coronavirus outbreak has limited people on the streets.

As the number of NYPD officers are added to the sick list or test positive to coronavirus, there are questions on the ability to effectively fight crime.

On Thursday, 6,498 uniformed members of the NYPD were on the sick report which accounts for 18% of the Department’s uniformed workforce.  1,354 uniformed members and 169 civilian members have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Empire State will do “whatever we have to do” in response to a growing number of city police officers who have called out sick.

Cuomo Orders “100%” Of New Yorkers To Stay Home, Italy Confirms Another 600 Deaths As ‘Martial Law’ Declared: Live Updates

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Summary:

  • Hong Kong reports largest daily jump in cases on record as travelers revive outbreak

  • NY rolls out restrictive new measures

  • NY case total tops 7k

  • Italy says Army will help enforce lockdown, effectively declaring martial law; might extend lockdown through early May

  • Spain death toll cracks 1,000

  • Italy reports another 627 deaths

  • Confirmed cases in US pass 14k

  • Drive thru testing site in NJ’s Bergen County has a line that’s over 1,000+ cars long

  • Switzerland bars all gatherings of more than 5 people

  • Trump says no plans for national lockdown

  • Germany to pass ‘shadow’ budget on Monday

  • EU suspends budget rules

  • Bavaria becomes first German state to impose ‘lockdown’

  • Johnson says UK can defeat virus in 12 weeks if ‘we work together’

  • Treasury now moving back both filing & payment deadlines for 2019

  • Novartis will donate up to 130 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to support global response

  • NBC News employee succumbs to virus

  • Dr. Fauci says social distancing should continue for several weeks

  • MTA confirms it has 23 sick workers

  • US, Mexico agree to shut southern border

  • China makes first purchase under ‘Phase 1’ trade deal

  • Altria chairman & CEO tests positive

  • Military confirms 35 American troops infected in Europe

Update (1320ET): As Italy’s worst outbreak spirals further and further out of control, Italy is reporting 5,986 new cases of coronavirus and 627 new deaths on Friday, raising the countrywide total to 47,021 cases and 4,032 dead, as the total number of cases in Europe surpasses the total ‘officially’ confirmed in China.

If you’re curious about how things are looking on the ground in Italy, this Channel 4 report is chilling.

*  *  *

Update (1240ET): In an alarming video that shows just how huge demand is for COVID-19 tests, a drive-thru testing site in Bergen County has a line that’s “several thousand cars long”.

*  *  *

Update (1220ET): As President Trump and the White House task force (with Dr. Fauci making an appearance today) update the country on the federal government’s efforts, Sec. of State Pompeo said that the US and Mexico had agreed to shut the southern border with Mexico..

In other news, drug company Novartis will donate up to 130 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to support the global virus response, according to a statement.

Trump also said that he probably won’t ever institute a national lockdown, feeling that decisions like that are better left up to the states. Across the Atlantic, the EU on Friday confirmed that it would expand its budget rules to open the floodgates to fiscal stimulus, as expected.

*  *  *

Update (1120ET): The morning after California laid out the most restrictive measures to combat the virus in the US, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday laid out new measures for New York State to combat the coronavirus outbreak, imposing new restrictions like ordering “100% of the workforce” to stay home.

During this time, Cuomo is order all businesses in the state that aren’t deemed “essential” to close, and added that though public transit will remain open for people who need it to travel to their ‘essential’ jobs, and to get to places like hospitals and doctors offices and grocery stores and pharmacies, he urged New Yorkers to only take the trains if absolutely necessary. Cuomo also clarified that bank ATMs are an ‘essential’ service.

All non-essential businesses must close, Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio have said that the state will find better ways to accommodate essential employees who need childcare or other things. But Cuomo threatened to fine businesses and individuals caught breaking the rules.

“These are not helpful hints…they will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health, that’s where we are. There is a social compact that we have…we must make society safe for everyone,” Cuomo said about the executive action that he’s preparing to sign.

New York reported 2,950 new cases on Friday, bringing the state-wide total to 7,102 cases, with 4,408 cases in NYC.

As he chided the public for not taking the outbreak seriously enough, Cuomo declared that young people saying they can’t get the virus is “simply wrong,” claiming that 25% of cases are people ages 20-44.

When it comes to exercise, though gyms will be closed, Cuomo said New Yorkers can engage in ‘solitary’ activities like jogging, but said games of pickup basketball and team sports like that won’t be permitted.

During the press conference, Cuomo confirmed that the state had reached the capacity to test 10,000 New Yorkers a day, becoming perhaps the only state in the country to overshoot on its daily testing target of 6k tests. Along with these new ‘dramatic actions’, Cuomo announced more confirmed cases and deaths.

Cuomo told a story about how the city governments of St. Louis and Philadelphia during the Spanish Flu epidemic dramatically impacted the outcomes for their local populations, and that Cuomo was trying to follow the better example, before bringing up the issue of mental health and the fact that his daughter was forced to isolate for 2 weeks.

At any rate, looking at the case curve, the number of cases expected could triple the state’s capacity of beds and ventilators needed to save the lives of the sickest of patients.

The governor, who urged New Yorkers to “blame me” if things go badly with these measures, claiming that this decision was his after careful consideration and consultation with experts. “I did everything we could do…this is about saving lives…if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy,” Cuomo said.

Moving on, Cuomo declared that he was banning evictions during the crisis, building on measures prohibiting banks from engaging in foreclosure, another unprecedented step.

In keeping with Cuomo’s coordination with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, Cuomo said he would be speaking with Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont, the governors of NJ & CT, later in the day to discuss his measures and whatever can be done to continue coordinating their states’ responses. Rumors have circulated in recent days that a similar lockdown might be declared in CT.

Asked by reporters how long to expect these circumstances to remain in place, Cuomo declared that “this could go on for months”, one day after saying researchers projected that the outbreak would peak in 45 days.

Watch the rest of the press conference here:

CAP

From the sound of it, Cuomo’s actions are still being well-received by New Yorkers and the country.

CAP

Elsewhere, in Switzerland, public health officials barred all gatherings of more than 5, possibly the most strict gathering ban instituted anywhere around the world.

*  *  *

Update (1055ET): Meanwhile, in London…

CAP

Boris Johnson‘s government has continued to deny reports about an impending ‘lockdown’ of London. But with 10k troops on standby, we suspect that Italy might soon have some company in the ‘martial law’ department.

*  *  *

Update (1015ET): The Treasury has officially moved back ‘Tax Day’, by postponing both the payment deadline (which it announced earlier) and the filing deadline (which it just announced Friday morning).

In other news, an NBC News employee has died from COVID-19.

As an update: Confirmed cases in the US passed 14,000 Friday morning, while the number of confirmed deaths hit 160.

*  *  *

Update (0950ET): The market didn’t seem to care all that much, but Handelsblatt reported Friday that the German government is planning to pass a planned €200 billion budget to combat the crisis, as Berlin continues to facilitate mass testing and triaging that has kept its mortality rate among the lowest in Europe.

This comes after Germany car companies said they would close more factories.

Barely a day has gone by over the past two new weeks that there hasn’t been some report about Germany suspending its ‘debt brake’ due to the crisis and boost fiscal spending, as Christine Lagarde and the ECB have called on them to do. Even before the outbreak, reports about Germany passing a ‘shadow budget’ to boost tepid economic growth date back to at least the fall.

Germany’s outbreak began in the state of Bavaria, still its worst-hit region. And as governments around the world tighten restrictions on movement, Bavaria on Friday imposed new “fundamental restrictions” on public life to aid the fight against COVID-19, DW reports. The move, of course, comes less than 12 hours after the governor of California imposed similar measures.

“We’re shutting down public life almost completely,” Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder said.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for necessary purposes, such as going to work or the doctor and buying groceries or medicine.

“It’s not easy to take these decisions,” Söder said. “We take these decisions according to the best of our knowledge and conscience. There will be a Bavaria after corona, but it will be a stronger one if we don’t look away.”

The measures will go into effect for two weeks starting Friday evening.

In other news, the German state of Saarland wants to shut down restaurants and restrict people from going out in public, moves that are similar, though somewhat less restrictive, than Bavaria. Saarland State Premier Tobias Hans will recommend the move to his cabinet this afternoon, the state chancellery confirmed.

*  *  *

Update (0945ET): Six weeks ago, many branded us ‘alarmists’ for publishing warnings by credible epidemiologists and virologists about the infectious potential of the novel coronavirus.

CAP

If you still believe those warnings were ‘alarmist’, we wish you the best of luck during the coming weeks. You’re going to need it.

*  *  *

Update (0928ET): The US military just confirmed that 35 American troops in Europe have tested positive.

Meanwhile, the FCA in the UK warned banks to ease up on repossessions and the like, issuing a statement claiming that “no responsible lender should be considering repossession as an ‘appropriate measure’ at this time. This comes after BoE Governor Bailey warned that banks should suspend foreclosures and repossessions.

Though it’s faded into the background, tensions over whether China would be able to keep up with its ‘Phase 1’ trade deal commitments have slackened somewhat now that Beijing has made its first expected purchase of US agricultural goods.

  • CHINA BUYS 756,000 METRIC TONS OF U.S. CORN, FIRST MAJOR PURCHASE UNDER PHASE ONE TRADE DEAL

*  *  *

Update (0850ET): Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte blamed the Italian people earlier this week when he said he would extend Italy’s nationwide lockdown until April 3, claiming that too many were still violating the lockdown despite stiff penalties.

As the country’s death toll passes the death toll from mainland China (or the ‘official’ death toll at least), whispers about even restrictive measures appear to have just been validated: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday effectively declared martial law Friday morning in Italy’s worst-hit region of Lombardy, claiming that he will now be bringing in the Army to enforce the lockdown, something that the region’s governor swiftly confirmed.

As many members of the Italian public continue to act with no respect for protecting the public health and the massive effort underway to contain the outbreak, for the first time, many are about to learn the meaning of discipline.

According to media reports, Conte is considering extending the lockdown until at least early May.

  • ITALY’S LOMBARDY REGIONAL HEAD SAYS GOVERNMENT HAS AGREED TO USE ARMY TO IMPOSE LOCKDOWN IN HIS REGION

Ultimately, whether the government decides to extend the lockdown will depend on factors like the continuing spread of the virus, as well as the public’s response, and whether Italians finally start taking this seriously.

At this point, many expect that schools will not reopen before the summer break, the that the further tightening may not only include a ban on outdoor, but might also prohibit Italians from the cherished “passeggiate,” leisurely strolls around town that allow one time to think and digest.

While the Italian outbreak still has no end in sight, over in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday morning that social distancing in the US should continue for ‘several’ more weeks, as officials scramble to try and discern exactly how far the virus has penetrated, as hundreds of thousands of tests arrive at labs. Last night, during an appearance on Facebook live, Dr. Fauci confirmed that more tests are being shipped as private partnerships with firms like Thermo Fisher.

Reports claimed Friday that the Italian Treasury now expects the country’s economy to contract by 3% this year, largely because of the lockdown.

Soldiers have already been deployed in some places to help enforce the lockdown and help with the crisis response.

New York’s MTA on Thursday announced that 23 workers have tested positive for the virus, this is up from just 1 worker as of early Thursday. The workers didn’t display symptoms at work and were described as being of low risk to riders.

In other central bank news, the SNB has announced more measures, while Sweden has expanded a loan guarantee program.

Meanwhile, as Boris Johnson’s government facilitates a policy u-turn to fight the virus, his former Chancellor is chiding the public on twitter.

CAP

At this point, it’s almost like the more you yell at them to stop, the more panicked they become.

*  *  *

When historians look back at this time, we suspect that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s landmark decision to order more than 40 million Californians to remain at home on Thursday night will be remembered as an important demarcation point – the beginning of a more heavy handed response as it becomes increasingly clear that too many Americans are simply ignoring the government.

So far, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Trump have insisted that they have no plans to issue lockdown orders. But with the number of confirmed cases expected to soar in the coming days and over the weekend, the situation is certainly evolving rapidly, and rumors about other states considering preemptive lockdowns (remember, the whole point is to stay “ahead of the curve”) continue to circulate.

Over the past week, central bankers around the world have slashed rates, stepped up bond buying programs, promised to expand their back-stopping of credit markets and – most importantly – urged the politicians in charge to do their part and pass massive fiscal stimulus. Late last night, the Senate unveiled a $1 trillion package that will feature direct transfers to many Americans.

In the US, futures are pointing higher amid mounting hopes for a second straight close in the green. The improved sentiment is ostensibly due to the latest wave of central bank interventions. But that didn’t stop a team of economists at Bank of America from releasing a new note calling for a global recession, with GDP growth dropping to 0% for the year in 2020. Explaining the shift in their thinking, the team wrote: “Our first piece on the virus shock was titled ‘Bad or worse’; now we amend that to ‘Really bad or much worse.'”

The World breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night when China reported no new domestically-transmitted cases of the coronavirus for a second straight day. Meanwhile, Reuters just reported that the foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan have held a video conference on Friday to discuss cooperation on the coronavirus pandemic as concerns grow about the number of infected people arriving in their countries from overseas, threatening to set off a second wave of infection. The State Department is doing its part: It issued a ‘Level 4’ travel warning last night advising Americans not to travel abroad, and for any Americans still outside of the country to either come home, or ‘shelter in place’.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last night that the UK could quash the virus in 12 weeks if Britons simply cooperate with the government’s new efforts.

Unfortunately, it appears the dreaded ‘second wave’ of infections is already looming over Hong Kong.

After reporting 14 new cases in a single day earlier this week, a surprisingly large jump for a city that was widely praised for its swift and heavy handed response to the outbreak (proving that the city had retained the hard-learned lessons of SARS), Hong Kong on Friday reported a record jump in new cases as the city-state braces for a wave of new illnesses, many involving travelers from abroad and the HK residents they’ve infected.

Friday’s surge of 48 cases is the largest daily jump since the outbreak began; it’s equivalent to roughly a quarter of all cases confirmed in the city previously, according to the SCMP.

Even as the virus swept through parts of China and elsewhere in the region, Hong Kong managed to largely control its outbreak. Now, as life in the financial center had begun to return somewhat to normal, the wave of new cases is worrying experts who say it could lead to widespread community transmission. The city now has more than 250 confirmed infections.

The new confirmed cases take the city’s total number to 256, and a top microbiologist said Hong Kong might be on the edge of an all-out “war” against an explosion in infections.

The Centre for Health Protection said 36 of the latest round of infected people, aged between four and 69, had a travel history. One of the local cases is a taxi driver who had picked up passengers from the airport.

When asked whether the government should ban non-locals from entering the city, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the centre’s communicable disease branch, said all the fresh infections were residents, except one – an Australian who had been to the United States and Portugal. He was transiting at the airport and sent to hospital after feeling unwell.

As SCMP explained, 1,000s of people returned to the city this week, with new asymptomatic spreaders evading checks and spreading the virus inside the city. The spike in new cases prompted the city’s government to announce new quarantine measures requiring anyone arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days, measures that have also been implemented by China. Also in China, the People’s Daily reports that catering halls and shopping malls are reopening in Beijing.

Whether you trust the Chinese numbers or not, there’s no question that the CCP leadership has reason to be cautious, now that it appears President Xi has evaded a historic embarrassment. According to Johns Hopkins, the number of confirmed cases ROW is now 2x the number from mainland China. Mandatory quarantines and outright bans for foreigners probably aren’t bad ideas.

Meanwhile, Spanish authorities announced Friday morning that the death toll in the country has broken above 1,000 as citizens near the end of their first full week under an enforced lockdown.

The country reported 1,903 new cases, and 169 new deaths, raising its total to 19,980 cases and 1,002 dead.

Meanwhile, on social media, snippets of video have circulated offering glimpses into the life on lockdown in Madrid and elsewhere around Spain.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the US, there has been no shortage of bitterly ironic headlines during this outbreak (remember when Rudy Gobert licked all those microphones?). But overnight, Altria Group – one of the largest tobacco companies in the world (it was better known as Phillip Morris before it rebranded a few years back) – said Howard A. Willard III, its Chairman and CEO, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Let’s hope he’s not a smoker.

“This Is A War”: 2,000 National Guardsmen Mobilized To Help Battle Coronavirus: Live Updates

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Summary:

  • Mnuchin says wants to get checks in Americans’ hands within 3 weeks

  • BoE cuts rates, launches QE after ’emergency’ meeting

  • Confirmed cases in the US climbs ~50% as testing ramps up

  • Connecticut reports 2nd death as US death toll hits 137

  • NY reports ~600 new cases, bringing total to 2,959; death toll hits 21

  • Cuomo signs NY unemployment-benefit expansion benefit package, warns of ‘astronomical jump’ in cases

  • China reports zero new cases in Wuhan for first time in months.

  • Treasury weighing 50- and 25-year bonds to finance stimulus package

  • South Africa case total passes 150

  • India halts incoming international flights for a week

  • Hong Kong doctors find virus inside 2nd dog

  • Spain total cases climb 28% overnight

  • Italian death toll expected to pass China’s on Thursday

  • Pentagon says 2,000 nat’l guardsman deployed around the country

  • NY implements 90-day delay on mortgage payments due to hardship

  • FedEx says drop in deliveries in China was smaller than expected

  • Trump and Xi reportedly agree to deepen medical research ties

  • UK gov’t denies plans for London lockdown

  • Amazon closes warehouse for ‘deep clean’ after worker tests positive

  • Germany death toll climbs to 43

  • Treatment trial in Wuhan yields disappointing results

  • Germany’s Bafin bans short selling

  • Russia reports first death

  • SPR to buy 30 million barrels immediately, will eventually buy 70 million

  • Wuhan police erase record of ‘admonition’ delivered to Dr. Li Wenliang

  • German gov plans to suspend debt brake on Monday

  • Netherlands reports another jump in cases after unveiling stimulus package outline

  • Switzerland warns situation rapidly deteriorating along the Italian border

  • Tiffany closes all US stores

*  *  *

Update (1100ET): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported yet another round of new case data on Thursday as he held his daily press briefing following an earlier interview on “the TODAY Show”.

As NY emerges as the countrywide leader in testing, Cuomo announced that the state tested ~7,500 people on Wednesday night alone. The state confirmed 1,769 new cases last night, bringing the total to 4,152. 21 New Yorkers have died so far, along with 7 additional deaths in Conn (2) and NJ (5), bringing the tri-state area death toll to 28.

He also instituted a 90-day relief period allowing New Yorkers to delay mortgage payments during the period, but only due to financial hardship (not just because they feel like it). The state has already postponed any foreclosures, banned negative credit reporting and waiving overdraft, debit card and credit card fees.

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Watch his press conference below:CAP

Cuomo also said he has no plans for a ‘shelter in place’ order.

After ordering businesses earlier this week to let at least half of their employees stay home on any given workday, Cuomo said the state would now require 75% of “non-essential” workers to stay home.

Germany’s latest batch of new cases raised its national total to 13,944, up from 12,307, and an additional 14 deaths, bringing the total to 43.

The Pentagon just confirmed that 2,000 national guard soldiers are deployed across the country as more governors have called up the national guard to assist with the virus response effort. According to the Military Times, governors across 23 states have mobilized components of the Army and Air National Guard to assist in their state’s response to the pandemic.

The states where guardsmen have been mobilized include California…

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…Illinois…

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…and Maryland, among other states.

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Additionally, the Navy is dispatching two hospital ships, plus millions of pieces of vital medical equipment.

Meanwhile, President Trump and the White House task force are preparing for today’s briefing, where President Trump is expected to unveil measures to get experimental treatments into the hands of patients, despite some resistance from the FDA.

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Update: In keeping with the coordinated central bank response via Europe, the BoE held an emergency meeting on Thursday and has announced some unprecedented stimulus measures, including launching a £645 billion bond-buying program of government and corporate bonds “as soon as operationally possible.”

Meanwhile, the cut the target from a record low of 0.25% to a new record low of 0.1%

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Update (0930ET): Just before the US open, health officials in the Netherlands reported a jump in cases to 2,460.

The Dutch government has announced a rescue package designed to shield companies from the impact of the coronavirus that Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said is unlimited but will likely cost tens of billions of euros. The government is working on eight measures, including a fund that makes it easier for firms to request compensation for lost revenues and helps them pay wages, Hoekstra said Tuesday at a news conference.

Swiss authorities warned Thursday that the situation in the southern canton of Ticino is rapidly unraveling as the government scrambles to secure more hospital beds. Ticino is situated along the Swiss border with Italy, and is the worst-hit region of the small Alpine nation.

Meanwhile, Tiffany said it would temporarily close all stores in the US.

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(0920ET): With oil price benchmarks around the world sliding below $30 a barrel, the US, the strategic petroleum reserve will immediately buy 30 million barrels of oil, and eventually buy as much as 70 million.

In China, police in Wuhan on Thursday officially revoked the government admonition issued to Dr. Li Wenliang, the martyred doctor who was censored for trying to warn the government and the people about the outbreak.

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Update (0835ET): It’s shaping up to be another busy day on Thursday as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his goal is to get checks into the hands of Americans within three weeks, up from two yesterday.

Some updates from Europe: the Swiss press is reporting that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 3,888.

Back in New York State, Cuomo reported another ~600 case jump to 2959 cases. The death toll in the state has climbed to 21, with at least 11 of those in NYC, as Gov. Cuomo warns that

After signing a paid sick leave law to guarantee pay for those under mandatory or precautionary quarantine into law, Cuomo appeared on “the Today Show” to discuss his response to the crisis, which has won him accolades from practically everyone, including President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and other conservatives like Candace Owens.

The NY governor repeated his claim that the ‘hysteria’ surrounding the outbreak is more damaging and dangerous than the virus itself during a Thursday appearance on the “Today Show.”

It’s a claim he’s made several times during press briefings and television appearances.

“We know what we have to do on the virus. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be disruptive but we know what we have to do there. The fear and the panic can actually get out of control more than the virus can,” he said in an interview on “TODAY” with Savannah Guthrie.

While he warned against increasing fear and panic, Cuomo said, “This is a war, Savannah. We have to treat it like a war.”

Cuomo appeared on the show one day after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. When asked about his spat with de Blasio over the ‘shelter in place’ order, Cuomo again rejected the idea, saying it would be unnecessary thanks to NY’s proactive efforts to quarantine clusters like New Rochelle.

“States don’t fight wars…they need the federal government…equipment, equipment, equipment is going to be key…the federal government has recognized and is acting  that responsibility…” Cuomo said, referring to the Defense Production Act invocation and the Army’s plan to send 2 Navy Hospital ships and millions of pieces of medical equipment across the US. Even Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to use his powers this morning.

New Yorkers should prepare to see an “astronomical” jump in cases as testing ramps up, Cuomo said. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: the more cases exposed, the more quickly the government can act to stop the spread.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the country’s health minister declared that the government of PM Pedro Sanchez will pass a €210 billion stimulus package to help alleviate the crisis as the total number of cases in Spain has climbed 28% to 17,147. 169 new deaths were reported, raising the country’s death toll to 767, as we noted earlier.

At the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin and his staff are reportedly considering issuing a 50-year bond and 25-year bond to finance the $1.3 trillion stimulus, despite telling Congress during testimony earlier this year that demand for the 50-year bond was tepid.

As the number of cases explodes in India, PM Modi has halted arrivals of international flights for at least a week beginning on Sunday.

And as the virus spreads in Africa, South Africa said its total cases confirmed climbed to 158 on Thursday after reporting its first case of human-to-human transmission within the country.

In Hong Kong, researchers have apparently found samples of the novel coronavirus inside another dog, the second time the pet of a Covid-19 patient was also found to be carrying the virus.

However, pet owners needn’t worry – at least not yet. As CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reports, there’s no evidence that these dogs can be the source of the virus for humans.

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As more countries ramp up stimulus spending to calm shaky markets and nervous people, the German government is planning to eliminate the debt brake on Monday.

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Following a barrage of easing measures by global central banks overnight, and more talk of German fiscal stimulus Thursday morning, stock futures have sunk back into the red as promising gains from overnight fizzled.

It seems the world is finally waking up to some disappointing realities: In many places around the US, and around the world, millions of people simply aren’t heeding advisories – and, in some cases, emergency declarations – pertaining to avoiding.

In California, the backlash against Elon Musk and Tesla has intensified as the billionaire openly beckoned employees of his Fremont, Calif. factory back to work despite a ‘shelter in place’ order requiring everyone to stay home to avoid the virus. Now that testing is finally ramping up around the country, with New York State taking the lead with its aggressive drive-thru push, the total number of cases confirmed in the US climbed to 9,415 (according to Johns Hopkins data), an increase of roughly 50% overnight.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that President Trump’s decision to stop travel from China, although prescient, was clearly not enough to stop the virus’s spread in the US. Officials squandered the entire month of February, and the Trump Administration is finally beginning to realize just how far it has fallen behind.

The biggest news overnight was out of Italy, which has been reporting record numbers of newly confirmed cases and deaths, as well as a surprising number of young and healthy people hospitalized in serious condition. Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said Thursday that the government would extend the nation-wide lockdown beyond April 3 because too many Italians are disregarding the orders. The extension comes as Italy faces an alarming milestone: On Thursday, Italy is very likely to officially overtake China as the country with the largest number of deaths from the virus. 475 people lost their lives on Wednesday, the largest daily jump yet, taking the total in Italy to 2978. Officially, China’s death toll is 3,231, according to the WHO, though many suspect the real death toll is much, much higher.

As of Thursday morning in New York, Italy has recorded 35,713 cases, along with 2,978 deaths.

After pleading with Schengen Zone members to keep their borders open, the EU has closed its external borders to non-EU citizens as a growing number of countries close their borders. In the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, members of the British Commonwealth, have barred non-resident, non-citizens from entry. The closures will take effect on Friday, local time.

China again tightened its restrictions on foreign nationals traveling to the country by requiring airlines to “reduce” international flights.

In other news, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, announced on twitter Thursday that he had tested positive.

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By now, we’ve heard dozens of dire predictions from Wall Street banks about the economic fallout from the crisis. At this point, a recession is virtually assured, and an all-out global depression – the likes of which haven’t been seen for nearly a century in the developed world – could arrive by the second quarter, according to JPM Morgan and Mohammed El-Erian.

Now, Germany’s Ifo Institute forecast a 1.5% contraction in the German economy after one of its preliminary gauges released on Monday showed a sharp drop in sentiment.

Yesterday, we saw some rumblings about Russian disinformation campaigns targeting the West, as Vladimir Putin seizes the opportunity to destabilize the West after taking steps to fortify Russia from the onslaught (by being one of the first major countries to close its border with China, among other measures).

A document sent to European lawmakers Monday by EU officials asserted that Russia is carrying out a “significant disinformation campaign” in an effort to sow discord and panic in Western nations over the coronavirus, according to a Reuters report. Reuters apparently got its hands on the 9-page memo, and now a handful of left-wing media organizations like Axios and the Daily Beast are spreading the news.

How much longer until the West blames the severity of the “Chinese Virus” outbreak on Vladimir Putin? At any rate, despite Russia’s lockdown measures, the country recorded its first virus-related death on Thursday. A 79-year-old woman died in a Moscow hospital, the country’s pandemic response agency said on Thursday.

Yesterday, we shared a report published by the Telegraph claiming that PM Boris Johnson had asked his cabinet heads to draw up plans for a total lockdown in London, with hefty criminal penalties for all those who disobey. Dozens of reports across social media showed how millions of Londoners appear to be ignoring the government’s advice, prompting the NHS to prepare to be overwhelmed by cases. Some have warned that tens of thousands could die in the UK thanks to Johnson’s perhaps misguided hope that he could shield the British economy from the worst of the fallout by simply focusing on containing the sick. Unfortunately, one of the themes of this outbreak has been millions of people putting their own petty wants and desires above protecting the public health.

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Florida and Texas have finally shut down most of the beaches where thousands of undaunted spring breakers have continued to party.

It’s likely this crisis won’t truly be over until a vaccine is mass-produced. And looking forward, headlines pertaining to drug trials for treatments and vaccines might be some of the only positive news investors get. Unfortunately, the opposite happened on Thursday, when the first scientifically controlled clinical trial of existing antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19 has delivered disappointing results.

As the FT reminds us, the next important controlled clinical trial result to look out for involves remdesivir, a drug originally developed by Gilead Sciences of the US to treat Ebola. That trial is also taking place in Wuhan. Meanwhile, in the US, a vaccine trial is underway in the Pacific Northwest.

Though the trials are continuing in Wuhan, the epicenter of the crisis, which has been struggling against the virus since it first emerged in early December, finally saw a day where no new coronavirus cases were reported. While it’s important to take this news with a grain of salt, the city has pretty much reopened for business.

A few days ago, the NYT ran a story praising India’s response to Covid-19, which had kept the number of confirmed cases down. Unfortunately, the good times couldn’t last forever, and the Indian people are finally getting a taste of the hoarding and panic that has come to dominate life in the US. After Prime Minister Modi announced plans to deliver a televised address on Thursday, which prompted Indians to scramble to stock up on essentials as they feared a national lockdown order could be delivered during that speech.

In the US, Amazon announced that it had closed one of its warehouses in New York for deep cleaning after a worker tested positive for coronavirus.This is a major threat to the US, since Amazon has emerged as a last lifeline for US consumers. If its warehouses are sidelined by the virus, the gears of consumption could truly come to a screeching halt, per Bloomberg.

Bafin, the German financial regulator, joined Italy’s Consob and a handful of other European regulators by imposing restrictions on short-selling. Though the West has been reluctant to adopt the heavy handed measures imposed on China’s population, when it comes to markets, China style crackdowns on shortsellers are apparently more palatable. Handelsblatt reported Thursday morning that Germany could move ahead with suspending its constitutional ‘debt brake’ as soon as Monday.

After UK PM Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that he would close UK schools for all except the children of essential workers and those who wouldn’t have access to food otherwise, Gavin Williamson, his education secretary, said there are “certainly no plans” at this stage to force the closures of bars and restaurants, even as speculation about a possible London lockdown continues to grow. Another government spokesperson said Thursday that there is a “zero chance” of a London lockdown.

A few minutes ago, Spain reported another alarming jump in deaths and confirmed cases that was on par with the figures coming out of Italy. Spanish Covid-19 cases rose to 17,147 (prev. 13,716) and deaths climbed to 767 (prev. 558):

Back in the US, the state of Connecticut on Thursday confirmed its second virus-linked death as the US death toll nears 140, with 137 deaths confirmed so far.

Meanwhile, as millions of young people brush off the risks to their personal health due to the virus, Bloomberg has some disappointing news: New evidence from Europe and the US suggests that younger adults aren’t as impervious to the virus as they would like to think.

Before we go, we’d like to leave readers with a rare bit of positive corporate news, courtesy of last night’s FedEx earnings report:

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Dr. Fauci Warns “Worst Is Yet To Come”: Coronavirus Is “10x More Lethal Than The Flu,” Could Infect “Millions” Of Americans

See the source image

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

Summary:

  • First death in Indonesia

  • Washington State to ban events over 200

  • ‘Waffle House’ employee in Atlanta confirmed

  • Chicago cancels St. Paddy’s Day parade

  • NY sends in National Guard

  • IADB cancels meeting in Colombia as virus spreads across Latin America

  • Mnuchin says first part of virus stimulus plan will be ready in 2 days

  • Dr. Fauci warns virus 10x more deadly than flu and could infect millions if not handled early

  • FEMA evacuates Atlanta office over coronavirus scare

  • 3 Boeing workers test positie

  • Washington DC advises cancellation or postponement of all gatherings with more than 1,000 people

  • Harvard to prorate room and board for students

  • US cases surpass 1,000

  • UK Health Minister catches virus

  • Ireland, Bulgaria, Sweden report first deaths

  • UK total hits 456 following largest daily jump on record (83 new cases)

  • Global cases pass 120,000

  • South Korea reports new outbreak in call center

  • Japan reportedly planning to declare state of emergency

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Update (1220ET): Three Boeing workers have tested positive for the virus, the company said. Though Boeing offered few details, we suspect the employees are probably based in Washington State, where Boeing builds its planes.

In Washington DC, authorities are recommending the cancellation or postponement of all “non-essential” gatherings over 1,000.

As students leave campuses around the country either heading back home or hunkering down finish their classes on line, Harvard just announced that it would “pro-rate” students’ room and board.

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Update (1220ET): With the committee in charge of the Tokyo Olympic Games reportedly planning to suggest that the games be delayed, more images of the coronavirus fears’ impact on international travel are circulating online. Check out this.

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Update (1200ET): The CDC has released its latest batch of “confirmed” US figures: 29 deaths, 987 cases and cases confirmed in 39 states as of 10 pm last night.

  • U.S. CDC – 39 STATES HAVE REPORTED CASES AS OF MARCH 10 AT 4 PM ET VS PREVIOUS REPORT OF 36 STATES

  • U.S. CDC – 29 TOTAL DEATHS DUE TO NEW CORONAVIRUS AS OF MARCH 10 AT 4 PM ET VS 25 DEATHS AS OF PREVIOUS REPORT

  • U.S. CDC REPORTS ITS COUNT OF 987 CASES OF NEW CORONAVIRUS AS OF MARCH 10 AT 4 PM ET, VS PREVIOUS REPORT OF 696 CASES

Around the world, the virus has produced many “isn’t it ironic?” moments, and we just got another in the US when FEMA announced that it would close its Atlanta office after an employee was exposed to the virus.

  • FEMA ATLANTA OFFICE CLOSED AFTER EMPLOYEE EXPOSED TO VIRUS

Over in the UK, a total of 456 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Wednesday, up from 373 at the same point on Tuesday, the Department of Health said. The jump of 83 new cases is the largest daily jump yet, following the previous ‘largest daily increase’ by only a few days.

Six have died in the UK and tested positive for the virus. Over in Ireland, authorities reported their first death on Wednesday. A 66-year-old Bulgarian woman also succumbed to the virus in the Balkan state, marking the first death there as well.

After the UK Health Minister Nadine Dorries tested positive for the virus, and started showing symptoms on Thursday, the same day she attended an event with the prime minister. Though the UK has elected to keep parliament open, Dorries and a Labour lawmaker who may have been exposed via a meeting with Dorries have decided to self-quarantine.

UK Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood stressed that “we are still in the containment phase” despite an increased number of Covid-19 cases.

She said: “We have identified the first case of community transmission in Scotland which is unrelated to contact or travel. This was identified through our enhanced surveillance scheme.

Sweden has reported its first death from the coronavirus today, with a hospital in Stockholm saying an elderly patient had died in intensive care. Belgium has reported its first three deaths, with 314 cases of coronavirus. Ivory Coast has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a 45-year-old Ivorian man who had recently travelled to Italy, the health ministry said in a statement. Denmark confirmed a batch of new cases, raising its total to 442.

While Washington State is apparently planning to ban all events with over 250 people, Washington DC has advised citizens to avoid such gatherings.

While

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Update (1150ET): Rencap’s Charlie Robertson points out that it took 5 days since the first indication of human-to-human transmission happening at a wide scale in the US, and if our numbers track Germany’s, we should have 3,000 cases confirmed by Friday, and 6,000 by Monday.

Though that rate could double if many new clusters are discovered.

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Update (1100ET): With another day of non-stop breaking news headlines about the outbreak as it spreads across the US, Europe and Latin America, we’ve been having troubled keeping up.

Switzerland reported 148 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, with 645 cases in total, 58 cases in Zürich and 78 cases in Geneva.

Indonesia, an Asian nation that didn’t report its first case until more than a month after the global outbreak began reported its first death linked to the virus on Wednesday as well.

National Guard troops have been deployed to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle. Chicago has followed San Francisco and cancelled its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In NYC, schools will not close, but parent-teacher conferences will be held via phone.

An employee at a ‘Waffle House’ in Metro Atlanta (Cherokee County) has tested positive for the virus, raising fears about a mass outbreak in Georgia. The store has been closed and 12 employees are quarantining and will continue for a few more days.

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The Inter-American Development Bank postponed its annual meeting in Colombia, which had been scheduled for next week, over coronavirus fears as the virus spreads across Latin America. The Washington-based bank, the top development institution dedicated to Latin America and the Caribbean, announced the decision with Colombian President Ivan Duque on Tuesday evening.

With transports and financials leading equities lower on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who testified to Congress on Wednesday tried to offer some reassuring details about the White House plan, which remains very much in the ‘brainstorm’ phase. Still, Mnuchin insisted that Trump is standing by the payroll tax holiday to put more money in the hands of workers. The Treasury is also hoping to delay tax payments and leave $200 billion of “temporary liquidity” in the hands of Americans.

Mnuchin said the White House hopes to strike a deal on the first part of the virus stimulus plan within the next 48 hours. His testimony follows rumors about the administration offering a potential ‘bailout’ to the American shale energy industry. Other stimulus actions will take “a week or two” he added.

Importantly, the Treasury Secretary also insisted that no market interventions are being planned (so no PPT?).

In remarks on Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that America had lost valuable time tracking the virus; some regions now can merely try to cope with its spread rather than stop it. And during testimony on Wednesday, Dr. Fauci said that when it comes to the outbreak in the US, “the worst is yet to come” because the virus is “10x more lethal than the seasonal flu”.

If the US doesn’t handle the virus outbreak correctly, “many, many millions of people” will get the virus, he said.

The global coronavirus outbreak has hit a new milestone: It surpassed 120,000 cases overnight. For anybody who’s still bothering to keep track, that’s 15x the number of cases from the SARS outbreak, which continued for nearly a year before it finally petered out.

In the US, the coronavirus outbreak has reached a grim new milestone. Thanks to the administration’s scramble to bring dozens of private and public labs on-line for testing across the country, the CDC has managed to confirm more than 1,000 cases of the virus. In the Westchester County town of New Rochelle, the epicenter of the outbreak in New York State, and the largest on the east coast, woke up to a 1-mile exclusion zone and national guard soldiers in the streets.

The town now looks like a “ghost town” according to several reports.

As the number of cases topped 1,000, the number of deaths has also climbed: Officially, there are 31 deaths and 1,039 confirmed cases, according to the Washington Post, which is significantly more than the number confirmed by Dr. Anthony Fauci during last night’s press conference.

Across the US, Washington State’s King County remains the epicenter of America’s worst outbreak, with 273 cases . New York is No. 2 with 176 (13 additional cases have just been announced). After hinting about ‘mandatory measures’ last night that set tongues wagging about the possibility of Italy-style travel restrictions, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is reportedly planning to announce a plan to…ban all events with more than 250 people, according to MyNorthwest.

At a press conference scheduled for Wednesday at 10:15 a.m., it is expected that Gov. Jay Inslee along with regional leaders and city mayors could announce a ban on large gatherings and events of 250 people or more in at least three counties. Any ban would affect upcoming sporting events in the area, including a home game for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons on Sunday.

Inslee has been hinting at this for the past week as a possible preemptive move to curb the spread of coronavirus. Over the weekend, he stated that his office was considering enacting “mandatory measures” in the days ahead.

Monday night on MSBNC, the Washington governor spoke to Rachel Maddow, admitting that soon, the state was “going to have to make some hard decisions.”

He further elaborated on that point during a Tuesday press conference, when he cited the need to “look forward ahead of the curve in Washington state.”

“We need to look at what is coming, not just what is here today,” he detailed, estimating that given limits on testing capacity, experts have told him there could be at least 1,000 untested coronavirus cases across the state.

So much for ‘hard decisions’….

This immense build up, only to announce restrictions that are only ‘slightly’ more comprehensive than the milquetoast event bans embraced by Germany, France, Switzerland and others, brings to mind a tweet we noticed earlier highlighting the sometimes unintended consequences that half-measures can create.

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On the east coast, the State of New York is asking businesses to voluntarily consider having employees work two shifts as well as allowing telework, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with CNN, the network that employs his brother, where he has been making near-daily appearances in addition to his daily press conferences.

Gov. Inslee

“This is about reducing the density,” Cuomo said. “The spread is not going to stop on its own.”

He also announced 20 new cases of virus, bringing total in state to about 193, with most of the new cases diagnosed in New Rochelle, where the virus has clearly been circulating for weeks.

There have been reports that Democrats are pushing for a national emergency declaration which would trigger  tens of billions of dollars in funding from FEMA to help with the containment effort, and possibly to help grappled with the economic fallout from the outbreak.

Despite a few notable screwups lately (including a collapsed ad hoc quarantine that left roughly one dozen dead and many trapped in the rubble for days, Beijing continues to insist that it is winning the war against the virus, and while the true scope of China’s outbreak might never be known for sure (some have estimated 1 million cases throughout China), officials did report a slight rise in cases on Wednesday which they blamed on ‘imports from abroad.’

Officials reported 24 additional cases of coronavirus and 22 additional deaths on March 10, compared with 19 additional cases and 17 additional deaths on March 9, bringing the total number of cases in mainland China to 80,778 and death toll at 3,158. China’s Hubei province said it will mandate a return to work according to different levels of risk in an orderly manner, adding that key areas of the Wuhan economy will be allowed to return.

After 11 days of falling case numbers, South Korea reported 242 additional coronavirus cases early Wednesday, bringing its total to 7,555, and 6 additional deaths, increasing the death toll to 60, reversing a streak of declines that had convinced many that Korea’s outbreak had ended.

The South has made remarkable progress in fighting the outbreak, however, a new mass infection incident has popped up that is jeopardizing the government’s widely praised response. Earlier, South Korean authorities told Reuters that they had tested hundreds of staff at a Seoul call center where the disease broke out this week. 13 of the infected workers at the Seoul call center used public transportation to commute, leading to at least 90 other people who had close contact with them being infected. Of the 90 cases mentioned earlier, 62 were in Seoul, and all were located near a public transportation hub connecting Seoul with Incheon and other major cities, via which the virus spread.

The spread has even made it into the armed forces, raising new fears about an outbreak in tightly packed barracks

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Elsewhere, Japan is reportedly planning to declare a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak after the number of domestic cases rose by the largest daily number yet, with 59 new cases bringing the total to 1,278, while the total death toll has climbed to 19 and there were 427 discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

Italy’s total coronavirus cases rose to 10,149, from 9172, and the death toll increased to 631 yesterday from 463 in its largest daily jump yet.

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