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2nd Utah Jazz Player Tests Positive For Covid-19: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.


  • Scott Gottlieb says US can still avoid “Italy-like” outcome
  • UK reports 2 more deaths
  • 2nd Utah Jazz player tests positive
  • 2020 champions league tournament postponed until next year
  • US Major League soccer suspends play
  • Reports claim once again that Merkel is ready to whip out the checkbook
  • EU officials condemned Trump’s travel ban
  • Trump says ‘markets are going to be fine’
  • Spain has approved a €2.8 billion rescue package
  • Olympic torch lit in front of just 100 spectators
  • La Liga suspends season after Real Madrid player tests positive
  • Blackstone advises portfolio companies to draw down revolving credit lines
  • NHL rumored to be planning a league play suspension as playoffs begin
  • Passenger on JetBlue flight from NY to FLA tests positive for virus
  • Spanish cabinet being tested for coronavirus
  • Scandinavia begins shuttering schools
  • Iran reaches out to 3 million Iranians who may have been infected
  • Market participants wary of dissipating bond market liquidity
  • Global deaths pass 4,600

*  *  *

Update (1115ET): As sports-betting operations and sports fans around the world wait to hear whether the NBA playoffs will be suspended or cancelled, it’s been reported that a second Utah Jazz player has tested positive for the virus.

The new patient is star guard Donovan Mitchell, who joins teammate Rudy Gobert.

This would suggest that the virus has been spreading among the teammates.

*  *  *

Update (1105ET): As Democrats and Republicans duke it out on Capitol Hill over the coronavirus emergency fiscal package, Spain has just approved a €2.8 billion package to support social services in its provinces as the country battles the outbreak. Meanwhile, President Trump is telling reporters that ‘markets are going to be fine’ amid the second bone-shaking, trade-halt-provoking selloff this week.

Trump also said he will not use his powers under the Stafford Act to declare a national state of emergency, though he didn’t rule it out in the future.

Italy has also proposed a rescue package of €25 billion, according to reports.

And in the US, it appears the American professional soccer league is following La Liga and the champions league and suspending play, according to Sports illustrated.


*  *  *

Update (1055ET): Weeks after declaring that nothing would stop Euro 2020 champions league tornament, it appears its organizers are ready to throw in the towel.

According to media reports, the European soccer league is planning to postpone the 2020 tournament until next year because of the coronavirus.

BREAKING: According to reports in France, UEFA are set to announce on Tuesday that EURO 2020 will be postponed for a year until 2021 because of the coronavirus.

2020 can officially fuck right off. ????????

— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) March 12, 2020

Earlier, La Liga, the Spanish top-flight football club, announced it would follow the NBA by suspending its season. Now, football fans across Europe are about to be very disappointed.

*  *  *

Update (1045ET): UK public health officials have reported two more deaths Thursday morning after President Trump exempted the country from the travel ban last night, bringing the death toll to 8, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

UPDATE on coronavirus (#COVID19) testing in the UK:

As of 9am 12 March 2020, a total of 29,764 people have been tested:

29,174 negative

590 positive

8 patients who tested positive for coronavirus have sadly died.

The digital dashboard will be updated later today.

— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) March 12, 2020

Meanwhile, UK coronavirus cases have reached 590, an increase of 134 in the last 24 hours.

Different news organizations are reporting different death tolls for the UK. Sky News is saying 10, though only 8 have been confirmed by by the DHSC.

BREAKING: The number of #coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 590 – up 134 in the last 24 hours. Two more patients with COVID-19 have died, bringing the total in the UK to 10.

Read more on this breaking news here:

— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 12, 2020

We also neglected to mention earlier that another lawmaker, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, has closed his Washington DC office because some of his staff were reportedly potentially exposed to the virus.

*  *  *

Update (1030ET): The ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch was held in Olympia (not the one in Washington State) on Thursday and video has been posted on YouTube for anybody who wants to watch.

We’re sharing because nobody except 100 “accredited” spectators were allowed to watch the ceremony. Typically, the event draws as many as 12,000 spectators.

Following rumors they might ask that some of the events be delayed, the Japanese government has said that cancelling the Olympics is impossible, even as sports leagues suspend play.

*  *  *

Update (0906ET): Earlier, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said New Yorkers need to brace for changes like subway shutdowns amid ‘community spread’ of the virus in the city during an appearance on CNN.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says residents need to brace for changes in subway operations and Broadway guidelines, among other things, as the novel coronavirus spreads.

— New Day (@NewDay) March 12, 2020

“Our society is changing by the hour right now. But that does not mean we should anticipate a society with no social activity, no work, no school,” says NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio about the possible measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the city.

— New Day (@NewDay) March 12, 2020

Now, reports claim an NYC student has tested positive, and that school district officials are temporarily shutting down two schools. It’s the first confirmed case in the city’s schools. Gov. Cuomo said yesterday that the city and state had decided to keep schools open.  The city almost never closes schools, because thousands of students depend on free and subsidized lunches for food, and would have nowhere else to go.


Over in Europe, officials in the Netherlands confirmed that the number of cases has climbed to 614 from 503 yesterday.

CNBC viewers this morning probably noticed Jim Cramer’s rant about the federal government’s response.

.@jimcramer of federal #COVID19 response, in a historic refrain: “They. Know. Nothing.”

— Meg Tirrell (@megtirrell) March 12, 2020

*  *  *

Update (0850ET): Former FDA Director Dr. Scott Gottlieb posted another thread of advice about the outbreak before appearing once again on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday morning.  In it, he said the outbreak would last for a few more months, and that the US has the tools to mitigate the impact of the virus on both public health and the economy.

Gottlieb said it’s still possible for the US to avert an “Italy-like” outcome where deaths begin to spiral by improving testing capacity to quickly address the outbreak.

He also recommended the creation of “surge capacity” in hospitals as an influx of Covid-19 patients hammers hospitals that are already busy due to the wintertime flu and infection season.

One more thing: if you don’t want to contract the virus, remember this: “social separation works”.

THREAD: In U.S. we face two alternative but hard outlooks with #COVID19: that we follow a path similar to South Korea or one closer to Italy. We probably lost chance to have an outcome like South Korea. We must do everything to avert the tragic suffering being borne by Italy 1/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

Public health labs have been an outstanding pillar. They’re working around the clock. They’re the nation’s backbone of response. But they aren’t richly funded and are being maxed out against current facilities. Only clinical labs have ability to sharply scale the efforts. 6/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

1. It starts with aggressive screening to get people diagnosed. While testing capacity expands its not evenly distributed to places most needed, we’re far behind current caseloads. To many people still can’t get screened. So we can’t identify clusters and isolate disease 2/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

2. Business is leading the way on mitigation and social distancing, filling a void left by policy makers. But shutting down NBA games is not enough. This must be practiced in places large and small. Small gatherings, parties, all should be postponed for the next month or two 7/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

3. We need to create surge capacity in hospitals. Congress must support the effort. Patients and providers can too. Elective procedures should be postponed for next few months. Hospitals should lower volumes everywhere they can. We need to prepare for an influx of cases. 8/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

4. Social separation works. Every day we delay hard decisions, every day leaders don’t demand collective action, the depth of epidemic will be larger. We must act now. We have narrow window to avert a worse outcome. The virus is firmly rooted in our cities. We’re losing time 9/10

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

We’ll get through this. It’ll end. We have two hard months ahead of us. We need to sacrifice some of the trappings of normal life to reduce the scope and severity of what’s ahead. We must protect the vulnerable. We must act collectively in common interest. We must work together.

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 12, 2020

According to this analysis, Trump’s latest travel ban is a step in the right direction. But much more needs to be done domestically. 

*  *  *

Update (0834ET): Here we go again with this.

24 hours after Angela Merkel warned that up to 70% of Germans might eventually contract the coronavirus, we’re seeing yet another headline about German fiscal stimulus, though it didn’t do much to lift the market’s mood.


Of course, this is Germany, and many remain skeptical about deficit spending (even though there probably isn’t a German alive who remembers the Weimar Republic hyperinflationary era).

But liberals and Merkel have been pushing for some level of expanded spending to boost the economy since late last year. Now, the perfect excuse for more stimulus has fallen in their lap (along with a genuine threat to the economy).

As Bloomberg points out, Merkel’s decision to support additional spending due to the “exceptional” circumstances created by the outbreak represents a “u-turn” for her party, which for years positioned itself as a guardian of fiscal discipline in Germany.

Given the threat of an economic recession from the pandemic, Merkel and her economic team are now willing to accept deficit spending to help finance containment measures, according to people with direct knowledge of the government’s economic policy. The virus-triggered crisis is one of the “exceptional circumstances” under the constitutional debt brake that allows for additional borrowing, said the people, who requested not to be named because the discussions are not public. While Merkel’s government is ready to explore additional spending, no decisions have been made on specific measures or an amount. The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The change in stance amounts to a u-turn for Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc which for years has upheld fiscal discipline as one of its mantras.

Some lawmakers have already said they would oppose any decision to suspend debt limits.

Also remember: During his speech last night, Trump blamed Europe for refusing to close its borders to fight the spread of the virus. His new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.

*  *  *

Update (0822ET): Rumors are flying around (they were mentioned on CNBC earlier, and it looks like BBG just fired off a headline) claiming the NHL might join the NBA in suspending the season just as the playoffs are set to begin. The league is expected to hold a conference call at 11am ET Thursday morning.

In New York, JP Morgan has finally joined a handful of its peers (including Barclays and Morgan Stanley) in telling its NY employees to work from home because of the virus.

*  *  *

Update (0720ET): A passenger on a JetBlue flight from JFK to Palm Peach has been stuck on a runway in Palm Beach for hours after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus, WPTV reports.

Flight 253 from JFk, which carried 114 passengers and crew, was stuck at Palm Beach International Airport for more than three horus after landing at around 9 pm last night.

with 114 passengers and crew aboard, landed at Palm Beach International Airport shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday but remained on the tarmac until just before 11, when the plane finally proceeded to the gate.

“The person across the way from me was taken to the back of the plane. He was wearing masks and gloves. His wife was sitting in the same row as me and mentioned to others that he wasn’t feeling well. She said he had gotten a phone call with his test results right before we had taken off, implying that he had a positive test but not actually saying it,” said passenger Scott Rodman.

State health officials briefed every passenger and crew member aboard the ship, according to an emailed statement to WPTV. Those who sat nearby the Covid-19 patient, who reportedly received a call with his test results just before takeoff, were advised to monitor for symptoms.

“The person across the way from me was taken to the back of the plane. He was wearing masks and gloves. His wife was sitting in the same row as me and mentioned to others that he wasn’t feeling well. She said he had gotten a phone call with his test results right before we had taken off, implying that he had a positive test but not actually saying it,” said passenger Scott Rodman.

Florida’s state health department has since completed its “assessment” of the situation.

Following in the footsteps of the NBA, Spain’s “La Liga” – its top soccer league – has suspended play for at least two weeks. In addition, Real Madrid players have been quarantined after a member of the club’s basketball team tested positive for COVID-19. The soccer and basketball teams train at the same complex and share many of the same equipment, according to local media reports.

Both teams, plus their staff, have gone into quarantine.

*  *  *

Following last night’s Oval Office unveiling of a 30-day travel ban affecting roughly two dozen European countries, though not the UK, which confirmed its 7th death from the outbreak. Notably, the ban will only affect the movement of people (and American citizens are of course exempt) but not trade in goods, as the White House hastily clarified when they saw the market’s initial reaction, and will exempt the UK.

London was notably silent after the surprise announcement, but in Brussels, the bureaucrats running the EU were somewhat less than pleased. EU leaders slammed President Trump’s “unilateral” travel ban and warned the coronavirus pandemic is an international problem that demands coordinated action (like what Christine Lagarde demanded yesterday?). European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen European Council Leader Charles Michel issued a joint statement on Thursday that highlighted European alarm at the US move. “The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” they said, per the FT.

Von der Leyen and Michel

Meeanwhile, Spain’s entire cabinet is being tested for coronavirus, with the results due to be announced on Thursday afternoon, and countries in Scandinavia have begun shutting down schools less than a day after Sweden reported its first virus-related death.

Notably, the ban leaves out all of Asia, stymieing liberals who were ready to pounce on another “racist” Trump travel ban. Though many are still bellyaching about Trump’s decision to leave out the UK, which is run by Trump’s ‘good friend’ Boris Johnson. But as Rencap’s Charlie Robertson pointed out, Trump’s decision to exempt the UK was based on epidemiological evidence.

Trump is right that the EU has a much worse #coronavirus problem than the UK. For every American confirmed case, there are 46 Italians, 23 Danes, 12 Spanish, 9 French, 6 Germans and just 2 Irish or British. But the travel ban has minimal effect. US cases doubling every 2-3 days

— Charlie Robertson (@RencapMan) March 12, 2020

Across the US, private schools appear to be closing under pressure from parents.

#Covid19 #Utah my wife and I decide to pull all of our kids out of our private school. I spoke with the principal and two hours later the decision was made to close school until at least end of March.

— Branden Rosenhan MD (@DocBranden) March 12, 2020

This comes after Seattle became the largest city in the US to close its schools over the virus. We’ve heard rumors that Utah is planning to close its public-college campuses.

But the biggest blow to market confidence last night arrived courtesy of the NBA, which cancelled Wednesday’s matchup between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, then announced that it would suspend the season for the time being after Rudy Gobert, Utah’s star center, tested positive for the virus, becoming the first American professional athlete to test positive for the virus.

A few days ago, Gobert infamously made light of the hysteria by ‘touching’ all the microphones in the press room.

In hindsight, it looks like this might have been a mistake.

Around the same time, actors and husband-wife duo Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed in an Instagram post that they had also tested positive. The response was pandemonium on social media.

Moving on to Thursday morning, futures have been limit-down all night once again, just like we saw Sunday into Monday,

The CDC recommended last night that companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle start implementing mandatory temperature checks for all employees, according to the LA Times.

Bloomberg reported last night that Blackstone had recommended that its portfolio companies had drawn down on their revolving credit facilities, something that the FT’s Robert Smith pointed out would be an “instant capital hit” to banks.

Instant capital hit to banks ????

— Robert Smith (@BondHack) March 11, 2020

Yesterday, Boeing shocked the market by announcing that it would immediately draw down on its $13.825 billion revolving credit facility to ward off any “liquidity issues,” something that we warned soon after would could represent the beginning of a liquidity crisis for banks, whose shares have already been badly beaten thanks to the Fed’s “emergency” 50bp rate cut and record-low Treasury yields. Now, with their clients in full-on panic mode, it’s hardly surprising that companies want to bulk up their balance sheets for the coming economic storm.

The only problem, is that this is essentially the equivalent of a corporate bank run…

…as companies aren’t so much worried about their own future, but the banks’ future, because why else would anyone want to hold cash in their wallet when they can keep it safe and sound in a bank…unless they were worried that it was no longer ‘safe’ to do so.

Moving from one liquidity risk to another, during the opening of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday morning, Andrew Ross Sorkin declared that some of his hedge fund sources had been trading notes and hopping on conference calls to discuss strange trading patterns in the 10-Year Treasury. We highlighted some suspicious activity in a post from yesterday.

Sorkin’s sources are worried about shortages of liquidity that could once again create potentially destabilizing rictions in credit markets.

For more on this, we’d like to remind readers of a post from a few years back that offers a straightforward explanation of this phenomenon).

It seems sell-side analysts have already seized on the issue: Bank of America also warned in a research note about deteriorating Treasury market liquidity.

Looking ahead, will America follow Italy’s lead in the direction of – if not outright national domestic travel bans – but the ‘social distancing’ concept that has been bandied about in recent days. Notably, CNBC was practicing its own ‘social distancing’ with Becky Quick reporting in from New Jersey while Sork and Joe Kernen reported from different locations in NY. Heading into the US trading day, the WHO said 124,519 cases as of Thursday morning. Globally, we’ve seen at least 4,607, with Italy reporting 827 deaths. In the US, the Washington Post counted 1,281 cases, a count that includes as-yet-unconfirmed by the CDC but “presumptively” confirmed in state labs.

Washington Post

In Italy, the country woke up to a national travel ban and mass closures of schools and businesses for the first time. In South Africa, officials reported the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus on Thursday, There are concerns that African health systems could be overwhelmed if local transmission accelerates, which is why reports that surfaced a few minutes ago about a man who just traveled back to the country – after recently visiting New York – apparently tested positive, though it’s not clear if these cases are the same.

#CoronavirusInSA A 43-year old Joburg man who had traveled to New York via Dubai returned to South Africa with the virus on Sunday.

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 12, 2020

South Africa’s Health Ministry said a 32-year-old man contracted the virus after contact with a Chinese businessman at a time when China is claiming that its economy is nearly 100% back online after the crisis, CNBC reported. It also reported that the death toll from the collapse of a makeshift quarantine in China has climbed to 29.

Iran’s health minister said Thursday that a national plan to root out all those who are infected contacted 3.5 million people out of the country’s population of 80 million. Dr Saeed Namaki said 270 patients had been hospitalized after being contacted in accordance with the effort, which began last week.

Meanwhile, on CNBC, Mohamad El-Erian, who has correctly warned investors to stay away from the market since the most recent selloff began, said there’s nothing the world can do now to prevent a recession as more surprises like the NBA suspending its season are inevitably in store.

“We are going into a global recession We are going to see a string of sudden economic stops,” said Mohammad El-Erian, an economist at Allianz and formerly Bill Gross’s No. 2 at PIMCO.

So, instead of the “v”-shaped recovery we were promised, it looks like we’ll be getting the “u” shaped rebound, or possibly even the dreaded “l-shaped” recovery, especially if Trump’s battle over the payroll tax holiday eats up more time before the fiscal stimulus package hits. Others will focus on how long until the NBA restarts the season.

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