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Trump Bans All Travel From Europe For 30 Days; Tom Hanks Infected; NBA Suspends Season: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • WHO declares Covid-19 is a pandemic
  • President Trump declares a travel ban from all European countries (not UK)
  • Tom Hanks, wife announce they have the Coronavirus
  • NBA suspends all games until further notice
  • Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • LA confirms first death
  • Seattle schools close for two weeks
  • Italy closes stores
  • MGM says guest at Vegas’s ‘The Mirage’ tested positive
  • Denmark closes schools, will send ‘non-critical’ public employees home to work
  • New Jersey case total climbs to 23
  • Juve player Daniele Rugani
  • DC Mayor declares public health emergency
  • Congressional doctor says up to
  • Cuomo confirms 39 new cases in NY, raising total to 212
  • First death in Indonesia
  • Confirmed cases in France top 2,000
  • Washington State to ban events over 200
  • Details of cruiseline industry’s ‘health and safety proposal’ leak
  • ‘Waffle House’ employee in Atlanta confirmed
  • UK reports 7th death
  • 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
  • Utah reportedly planning to shut public college and university campuses
  • Dr. Fauci warns virus 10x more deadly than flu and could infect millions if not handled early
  • Australia passes A$18 billion stimulus package
  • Seoul says 99 cases tied to call center
  • 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
  • Connecticut declares state of emergency
  • 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

*  *  *

Update (2130ET): Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for the coronavirus during a trip to Australia, he said in a Wednesday Instagram post.

Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.

Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?

We’ll keep the world posted and updated.

Take care of yourselves!






Hanx!

In separate news, Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus; “sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.” The NBA’s reaction was instant: the game Gobert was playing in was canceled, and both the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder teams and lockerrooms are currently quarantined. Nobody has left Chesapeake Arena.

Moments later the NBA announced it would suspend the season until further notice.

* * *

Update (2110ET): President Trump has ordered a complete travel ban from European nations for the next 30 days (beginning at midnight on Friday). The ban does not include the United Kingdom. Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump called the coronavirus a “horrible infection” and said he was addressing the nation to talk about the “unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak.”

While Trump initially announced that the ban would also include “trade and cargo”, a subsequent clarification from the White House, perhaps upon seeing the market’s reaction, made it clear that Trump misspoke, and the ban does not apply to goods and trade.

Additionally, Trump laid out his plans for taking emergency action to provide relief for those suffering financial hardship due to the virus.

The President also said health insurance companies had agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments and extend insurance coverage to cover coronavirus treatments.

*  *  *

Update (1950ET): As states around the country mull whether to follow Seattle and shutter their schools, we’ve received a reader tip claiming that Utah Gov Gary Herbert will announce on Thursday at 9 am MT that the state is shutting down all its public campuses of higher education. A press release will follow. The official date and duration is not know at this time.

Again, that’s according to an as-yet-unconfirmed tip, so treat it accordingly.

Of course, if this is accurate, that’s just another ~20,000 college kids about to go on an extended, cut-rate spring break.

*  *  *

Update (1937ET): Seoul has just confirmed that 99 cases have now been tied to an outbreak at a call center in Seoul’s Guro district, one of the busiest and most crowded parts of town. Low paid workers commuting from far away helped pass the infection along their route, creating another outbreak just as South Korea was getting the outbreak in the city of Daegu under contol.

The worry now is that a new outbreak could take root in the more heavily populated area in and around Seoul.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon made the announcement early Thursday in Seoul. It’s unclear whether these constitute new, or already counted cases.

Australia just announced a A$17.7 billion stimulus package to bolster its economy against the fallout from the virus, joining what’s becoming a growing list of developed countries that have acted more quickly than the White House to address that aspect of the crisis.

To be sure, the Trump administration deserves credit for swiftly working out a compromise with Democrats to pass an $8.3 billion spending package that increases funding for the CDC, FDA and the other agencies within DHHS, dole out money to the states, buy vaccines when they’re available and $1.25 billion for “international activities.”

*  *  *

Update (1820ET): Juventus, a football club based in Turin, a city in Piedmont situated just outside Italy’s initial exclusion zone, just confirmed that center-back Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the coronavirus, though it’s not yet clear who.

This is the first time a Serie A football club has confirmed that one of its top players has been infected.

And suddenly, it seems clear that Italian soccer’s plan to ban fans at league contests is truly inadequate.

Immediately, most fans thoughts probably turned to Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s star player.

Earlier in the US, Texas reported that a toddler was among its latest batch of confirmed cases for Covid-19. Another characteristic that differentiates Covid-19 from the flu is that young children are also at risk.

*   *  *

Update (1650ET): Italy has confirmed that it will order all stores in the country that sell items other than medicine and food to close. Factories can continue working, but all restaurants and bars must close as well. The prime minister stressed that there is “no need for a run on supermarkets.”

Watch Conte’s address live:

*  *  *

Update (1635ET): NJ Governor and former Goldmanite Phil Murphy just announced 8 more cases in the state, bringing its total to 23. The state has also confirmed its first case of “community spread”.



Watch the rest of the press conference below courtesy of 10 Philly:



In other news, the NCAA’s annual “March Madness” basketball tournament games in Ohio will be played in front of empty crowds, with only essential staff present and “limited family attendance,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement:

Effectively cancelling dozens of live basketball games is just one ore huge blow to consumption at a very testy time. Though we suspect millions will still tune in from home.

Sports games are being cancelled around the globe: Italian soccer made a similar determination earlier.

*  *  *

Update (1625ET): Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a public health emergency in order to access emergency funds to help her city combat the crisis.

Watch the rest of today’s live update below:

*  *  *

Update (1535ET): MGM Resorts said a female guest at the Mirage, one of its Las Vegas casinos, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The woman, who visited the city for an event featuring many bold-faced names recently, is from New York. The news comes after the company announced plans to shut down its buffets at seven of its resorts in Las Vegas.

The company said it’s tracing contacts that the patient might have had, and is in the process of doing a “deep clean” of the room.

*  *  *

Update (1522ET): LA County health officials announced on Wednesday that one of their patients had succumbed to the virus, marking the second death in California from the virus and the first in LA County, a local TV station reports. They also announced another 6 confirmed cases, bringing the county total to 27.

County health officials announced the unfortunate news during a press update:

The victim was a woman over the age of 60 who died after contracting the virus, according to County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was visiting Los Angeles County and had underlying health conditions.

As one observer noted about Ferrer during the press conference…


Meanwhile, the CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier is delivering her daily update:

In a first for major cities, the Seattle Times just reported that all Seattle schools will close on Friday for “a minimum of two weeks” to thwart the virus’s spread. The reporters cited a copy of an email sent to school administrators.

The decision was reportedly made after “conferring” with county and school officials. Inslee earlier urged all schools in the state to prepare for having students finish their studies for the year online.

On Wednesday, two schools in Seattle were already closed due to virus exposure fears.

The email instructs principals to treat the closure as if they were going on spring break, and lists some guidance for going forward.

“We know you do not have time to do everything and we trust that you will do your best given the circumstances,” the email said.

The announcement comes after the district’s early move to stay open in an effort to make sure children don’t suddenly see a loss in services.

NY Gov. Cuomo said earlier that the state would do everything it could to avoid shutting NYC schools (NYC schools rarely close, due to the fact that many students who are on subsidized lunch wouldn’t eat without school).

Further north in Denmark, officials announced that all schools and universities in the country would be closed until further notice.

And additionally, one twitter user just tallied up a breakdown of all the cases confirmed in Italy:

*  *  *

Update (1445ET): The UK has just reported its 7th death, another elderly patient, according to media reports.

In other news, the House Oversight Committee meeting where Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield were answering questions won’t resume until tomorrow.

*  *  *

Update (1430ET): France has just announced roughly 500 new coronavirus infections, and more than a dozen more deaths, bringing the total above 2,000.

  • FRANCE CONFIRMS 2281 CORONAVIRUS CASES, 48 DEATHS AS OF WED.

*  *  *

Update (1410ET): During his Wednesday press conference, Cuomo confirmed that the state had succeeded in contracting with 28 private labs to speed up coronavirus tests. He also confirmed 39 new cases in NY, bringing the state total to 212, adding that “numbers will continue to go up dramatically.”


Meanwhile, CNBC’s Eamon Javers reported that President Trump is considering an emergency declaration for all of the US under the “Stafford Act”, which would open up more federal money via FEMA

This would put FEMA “fully in the fight” against the virus.

In other news, just a few days after confirming that it had reopened nearly all of its stores on mainland China, Apple said Wednesday that all stores in Italy would be closed “until further notice.”

Boeing employees saw more bad news on Wednesday as the troubled aerospace maker said Wednesday that it would halt hiring until further notice.

Meanwhile, in Senegal, officials reported their 5th case of the virus as it continues its creep across Latin America and Africa.

*  *  *

Update (1350ET): As we previewed earlier, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has announced plans to ban gatherings with 250 people or more in the counties worst affected by the virus in his state, CNBC reports. The counties include: King, Snohomish and Pierce.

In addition, he’s asking all school districts to prepare for online instruction, and closures that might last “longer than initially thought”.

Just minutes after Inslee’s announcement, San Francisco health officials announced they would ban public and private events with 1,000 people or more to slow the spread of the new coronavirus there.

“We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health.” She said she spoke with the Warriors NBA team and “they are in support of our efforts.”

Washington State is the hardest-hit in the country, with more than 267 confirmed cases across the state with 258 of those concentrated between the three counties, according to the state health commission.

Even more alarming: Seattle-area officials announced late Tuesday that residents or employees of 10 long-term care facilities have been infected.

Last month, Inslee declared a state of emergency to free up funding for communities combating the outbreak.

*  *  *

Update (1330ET): Politico reports that President Trump is looking into making an Oval Office address, presumably to share the details from his stimulus “plan”.

Meanwhile, USAToday has published the details from a proposal delivered to the White House about how they can update health and safety measures to stop employees from getting infected. Stocks dropped on news of the details from the plan, which hadn’t been previously disclosed since the industry delivered the proposal to the White House after a meeting yesterday.

  • CRUISE LINE INDUSTRY PROPOSES PLAN TO WHITE HOUSE THAT WOULD BAR PEOPLE AGE 70 AND OLDER FROM BOARDING SHIPS WITHOUT A DOCTOR’S NOTE

The proposal reportedly includes barring entry to anyone over the age of 70, or with an underlying condition, unless a doctor’s note is supplied.

*  *  *

Update (1315ET): One day after recording its largest increase in deaths on record, Italy has reported yet another 30%+ increase in deaths, bringing its death toll to 827 from 631. They also reported a record-breaking 2,000+ new cases on Wednesday.

  • ITALY DEATH TOLL FROM CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK RISES TO 827 FROM 631 ON TUESDAY – OFFICIAL
  • ITALY CORONAVIRUS DEATHS JUMP 31% TO 827
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN ITALY RISES TO 12,462 FROM 10,149 ON TUESDAY – OFFICIAL

Though the jump in deaths reported yesterday (168) was larger in terms of percentage (36% vs. 31%), today’s increase is larger by the numbers.

In other news, Norway bans indoor events with more than 500 people. Russia earlier said it would ban most flights between Russia and Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Meanwhile, Washington State has confirmed plans to ban large events.

*  *  *

Update (1350ET): Follow the WHO’s major admission just a few minutes ago, which took the air out of a modest market rally as stocks moved off their session lows, we suspect that Wednesday will be remembered as a critical day in the development of the outbreak outside Asia.

We’ve heard no shortage of alarming predictions today – remember earlier when Merkel said up to 70% of Germans might catch the virus, or Dr. Fauci’s warning that “millions” of Americans could contract it if the US doesn’t act quickly – and Axios has just brought us one more: It reports, citing two sources briefing on the meeting, that Congress’ in-house doctor told Capitol Hill staffers at a close-door meeting this week that he expects 75-150 million people in the US,  roughly one-third of the country, to contract the coronavirus.

And here’s Axios telling us “why it matters”:

Why it matters: That estimate, which is in line with other projections from health experts, underscores the potential seriousness of this outbreak even as the White House has been downplaying its severity in an attempt to keep public panic at bay.

Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of the U.S. Congress, told Senate chiefs of staff, staff directors, administrative managers and chief clerks from both parties on Tuesday that they should prepare for the worst, and offered advice on how to remain healthy.

He added that 80% of people who contract the virus will ultimately be fine.

As Axios also reminds us, statistical modeling from Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, have said that somewhere between 20% and 60% of adults worldwide might catch the virus.

During an interview with CNBC following the declaration from the WHO,

“The epidemic is always further ahead than what you perceive at the moment,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.

It’s possible that we have thousands of cases here possibly tens of thousands,” Dr. Gottlieb said.

In other news, Reuters reports that the White House is weighing travel bans against Italians and other Europeans.

*  *  *

Update (1230ET): With WHO’s major funding partner China perhaps having turned the corner, WHO Chief Tedros has finally decided to declare Covid-19 a Pandemic…

Full Tedros Transcript:

In the past two weeks, the number of cases of #COVID19 outside ???????? has increased 13-fold & the number of affected countries has tripled.

There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, & 4,291 people have lost their lives.

Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of #COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher

WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction

We have therefore made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do”

We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.

WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases.

We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action.

We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear

As I said on Monday, just looking at the number of COVID19 cases and the number of countries affected does not tell the full story

Of the 118,000 COVID19 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those have significantly declining epidemics

81 countries have not reported any COVID19 cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less.

We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic”

If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of COVID19 cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission

Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this coronavirus.

Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.

The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large COVID19 clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same – it’s whether they will.

Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.

We are grateful for the measures being taken in Iran, Italy and South Korea to slow the virus and control their COVID19 epidemics.

We know that these measures are taking a heavy toll on societies and economies, just as they did in China.

All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic & social disruption & respecting human rights

WHO’s mandate is public health. But we’re working with many partners across all sectors to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this COVID19 pandemic

This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight

I have said from the beginning that countries must take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact

Let me summarize it in 4 key areas.

  1. Prepare and be ready.

  2. Detect, protect and treat.

  3. Reduce transmission.

  4. Innovate and learn”

I remind all countries that we are calling on you to (1):

  • activate & scale up your emergency response mechanisms

  • communicate with your people about the risks & how they can protect themselves

  • find, isolate, test & treat every #COVID19 case & trace every contact”

I remind all countries that we are calling on you to (2):

  • ready your hospitals

  • protect and train your #healthworkers

  • let’s all look out for each other”

There’s been so much attention on one word.

Let me give you some other words that matter much more, & that are much more actionable:

Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership.

And most of all, People”

“We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable”

And just like that – $425 million dollars worth of pandemic bonds all got trggered.

*  *  *

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.

*  *  *

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.

*  *  *

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.

Last night, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont declares a state of emergency, joining a growing list of other states to do the same.

*  *  *

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.

*  *  *

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.

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.

Remember to wash your hands, folks.

*  *  *

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.

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.

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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