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CDC Employee Tests Positive For Covid-19, House Leaders ‘Indefinitely’ Postpone Return To Washington: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.


  • Australia prepares 2nd stimulus package
  • Canada closes borders to foreign travelers
  • Dutch PM says experts believe ‘most’ citizens will catch virus
  • House leaders postpone return to Washington ‘indefinitely’
  • New Jersey reports 80% jump in cases
  • Italy reports another 3,233 cases, 349 deaths
  • France orders people to stay home for 15 days
  • CDC says employee has tested positive
  • EU finance ministers announce ‘coordinated fiscal response’ worth 1% of GDP
  • White House releases new ‘national guidelines’ to stop virus
  • San Francisco earmarks $10M for those who miss work due to outbreak
  • SF mayor orders residents to shelter in place beginning at midnight
  • 6 Bay Area counties to issue ‘shelter in place’ order
  • Actor Idris Elba tests positive
  • WH conference set for 3:30pmET
  • G-7 releases communique about ‘coordinated’ virus response
  • Trump tells governors to try and get their own respirators
  • Washington State shuts down bars, restaurants for 2 weeks
  • First cases confirmed in Tanzania, Somalia
  • Ohio requests to delay primary until June 2
  • Russia ‘limits’ entry of foreigners
  • UK reports 18 new deaths, asks citizens to avoid all non-essential contact and travel, but avoids public closures
  • Chile tightens borders, bans foreigners from entry
  • Kudlow teases helicopter money; Romney pushes plan to hand every US adult $1,000
  • Cuomo warns US might not succeed in flattening the curve enough
  • Lombardy reports smallest jump in new cases since beginning of outbreak
  • Greenland reports first case
  • Google’s virus website booked up on first day of operation
  • Moscow bans all events with more than 50 people
  • Top Iranian cleric dies
  • Germany closes restaurants, bars, gyms and nightclubs until further notice.
  • EU Commission bars “non-EU citizens” from entering the area, but refuses to cave on internal controls
  • NY, NJ, Conn bar large gatherings
  • Israel mulls national lockdown

*  *  *

Update (1603ET): After the market completely unraveled at the close, we’re getting even more bad news about the second federal compromise bill. The Hill reports that House Democratic leaders have indefinitely postponed their return to Washington as a precautionary measure, as Pelosi continues to haggle with Mnuchin, while the Senate mulls over the possibility of ‘reopening’ the House legislation.

Of course, if the second aid package fails to pass, it will be absolute pandemonium in markets this week, and President Trump could risk losing control of the narrative and the outbreak.

The House was scheduled to return to the Capitol on March 23, but Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told rank-and-file Democrats on a conference call Monday that they will postpone that date.

“Hoyer said for sure not Monday, and he will update them about the rest of the week,” one aide said, noting that potential cancellations of domestic flights may also play a role. “This is all pending domestic travel situation too.”

House leaders are also exploring the possibility of staggering future votes so that all 435 members (most of whom are in the ‘high-risk’ group of the population) won’t need to be on the floor at the same time.

*  *  *

Update (1555ET): The CDC just confirmed that one of its employees has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump just added that the White House is looking into using the Army Engineers “very strongly”, an idea floated by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

*  *  *

Update (1535ET): Trump said the US is currently not considering a nation-wide quarantine akin to what’s happening in Europe and certain parts of the country. He did say he might consider lockdowns in certain “hot spots”, but in most cases, governors and county-level leaders have already ordered locals to shelter in place before the White House told them too.

Per the guidelines, the White House is advising people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Trump added that he’s looking at expanding unemployment benefits, and promised to get back to reporters with exact numbers of critical equipment like ventilators and respirators.

Trump acknowledged that the virus may cause a recession in the US, when asked directly when he think a recession might hit, Trump refused to offer a projection, saying projecting recessions isn’t is responsibility (Trump can only project economic booms), and said he was focusing on getting rid of the problem, and that “once we do that, everything else will fall into place.”

He also insisted the White House would “back the airlines 100%”.

“They were having record seasons before this came out of nowhere,” Trump said.

*  *  *

Update (1530ET): After saying it would follow Spain with a strict lockdown order over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered all of France to stay home for 15 days, with people leaving only for “essential duties”.

“We are in a health war,” Macron said, and added that anybody caught disobeying the order would be punished. He said he was taking steps to limit people’s movements to save the lives of French citizens.

This comes after the G-7 promises it will do “whatever is necessary” to fight the outbreak.

*  *  *

Update (1520ET): During this afternoon’s press conference, the White House task force has released a set of ‘national guidelines’ that it asks all Americans to follow over the next 15 days, including avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and that states with community spread must close bars, gyms, restaurants and other public areas, as well as schools.

Across the Atlantic, EU Finance ministers have reportedly agreed to a ‘coordinated fiscal response’ equivalent to 1% of GDP to stop the economic fallout from the virus. Christine Lagarde must be thrilled. And Mario Draghi probably can’t help but feel a little slighted.

*  *   *

Update (1515ET): As we previewed earlier, San Fran Mayor London Breed has put the city on lockdown until April 7, requiring residents to stay home as of midnight.

Essential stores will remain open.

A total of 6 Bay Area counties will also adopt these same shelter in place measures, as we noted earlier.

Earlier, the mayor introduced a $10 million fund to help workers who pay because of the virus.

*  *  *

Update (1500ET): Earlier this afternoon, the Washington Post managed to get its hands on leaked comments from President Trump’s call with state governors (that the Democratic governors on the call would leak a damaging, out-of-context comment to undermine the president during a national crisis is hardly surprising).

After President Trump repeatedly promised that the ‘private-industry partnerships’ negotiated by the administration would help alleviate shortages of medical supplies across the country, the president reportedly told the governors to try and get ventilators and other equipment on their own if they can.

Instead, states should try to work on obtaining respirators, ventilators and other equipment on their own, according to two officials briefed on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private teleconference.

Trump tweeted on Monday that he had a good call with the governors.

In response to Trump’s alleged ‘request’, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has taken steps to maximize camera time since the outbreak began, holding multiple daily press conferences and appearing on CNN and other news channels, took a swipe at the president, demanding that he ‘do something’.

Meanwhile, after Louisiana delayed its primary, Ohio is now seeking to delay its primary to June 2.

*  *  *

Update (1450ET): The San Francisco Chronicle reports that six San Francisco Bay Area counties are about to declare a “shelter in place” order, asking residents not to leave their homes and stay away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks.

The directive is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and will include San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties – a combined population of more than 6.7 million.

The order falls just short of a full-on lockdown – the order doesn’t explicitly forbid people from leaving their homes without permission – and it’s unclear how it will be enforced, and to what degree.

*  *  *

Update (1435ET): Actor Idris Elba, the “Luther” star once rumored to be the next James Bond, has tested positive for the virus, he revealed in a tweet a few minutes ago.

At this point, the fact that tourist attractions are closing down is hardly a surprise. But on Monday, the National Parks Service announced that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would be closing ‘temporarily’.

In New Jersey, health officials revealed an 80% spike in cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s total confirmed cases to 176. Watch the rest of Murphy’s press conference here.

*  *  *

Update (1422ET): One day after closing its border (and sealed off the state of Bavaria, the epicenter of its outbreak) and just a few hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel closed bars, cinemas, gyms, brothels and other public spaces, Germany has reported another ~1,100 cases, bringing its national total to 6,012. It also reported an additional death, bringing its total to 13.

Washington State just announced that it’s closing bars and restaurants for 2 weeks, the latest state to jump on that bandwagon, while Russia said it would “limit” entry of non-citizens as Moscow scrambles to limit the spread of the virus, which has been surprisingly mild in Russia.

As we noted earlier, as the outbreak in Iran continues to rage out of control, a top Iranian cleric has also died.

*  *  *

Update (1400ET): Just like they did following the lockdown in Wuhan, CNN has flown its trusty camera drone over Northern Italy and captured some chilling footage.

Italy reported another 3,233 cases on Monday, and nearly 350 deaths, even as new cases reported in Lombardy leveled off.

UK officials have reported 18 new deaths, bringing the national total to 53.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, PM Mark Rutte said experts suspect a large portion of the Dutch population will contract the virus.

*  *  *

Update (1345ET): After facing criticism for not doing enough to stop coronavirus-carrying travelers from entering Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is currently running the country from home after his wife contracted the virus, announced Monday that he will be closing Canada’s borders to non-citizens and non-residents due to the coronavirus pandemc.

There will be some exceptions – for instance, travelers from the US can still visit Canada. Trudeau said the “window is closing” to combat the outbreak of the virus.

Air Canada sunk even lower, trading down 30% on the day, off the headline.

In other news, the G-7 has released a statement following Monday’s tele-conference:

We, the Leaders of the Group of Seven, acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy and a global health crisis, which also poses major risks for the world economy.  We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts.  While current challenges may require national emergency measures, we remain committed to the stability of the global economy.  We express our conviction that current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic need a strongly coordinated international approach, based on science and evidence, consistent with our democratic values, and utilizing the strengths of private enterprise.

We are committed to marshalling the full power of our governments to:

Coordinate on necessary public health measures to protect people at risk from COVID-19;

Restore confidence, growth, and protect jobs;

Support global trade and investment;

Encourage science, research, and technology cooperation.

By acting together, we will work to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Accelerate Our Response to COVID-19

We will work hard to protect the health and safety of everyone in our countries.  Stepping up the response to the outbreak remains our foremost priority.  We will coordinate our efforts to delay the spread of the virus, including through appropriate border management measures.

We will enhance our efforts to strengthen health systems in our countries and globally.  We fully support the World Health Organization in its global mandate to lead on disease outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences, leaving no geographical vacuum, and encourage all countries, international organizations, and the private sector to assist global efforts such as the Global Preparedness and Response Plan.

We stress the value of real-time information sharing to ensure access to the best and latest intelligence, improving prevention strategies and mitigation measures.

We will pool epidemiologic and other data to better understand and fight the virus.

We will increase coordinated research efforts, including through voluntary support for the global alliance Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation.  We will support the launch of joint research projects funded by both public and private resources, and the sharing of facilities, towards rapid development, manufacture and distribution of treatments and a vaccine, adhering to the principles of efficacy, safety, and accessibility.

We will make efforts to increase the availability of medical equipment where it is most needed.

We will coordinate with online platforms to maximize public access to the latest correct and relevant official information, in recognition that millions of citizens receive information and news via social media.

To implement these objectives, and adapt measures if necessary, will require efforts across all parts of our governments, and we ask our health ministers to continue to coordinate on a weekly basis.

Forcefully Address the Economic Impact of the Outbreak

We resolve to coordinate measures and do whatever it takes, using all policy tools, to achieve strong growth in the G7 economies, and to safeguard against downside risks.

To this end, we are mobilizing the full range of instruments, including monetary and fiscal measures, as well as targeted actions, to support immediately and as much as necessary the workers, companies, and sectors most affected.  This is particularly important for small and medium businesses and working families. We also ask our central banks to continue to coordinate to provide the necessary monetary measures in order to support economic and financial stability, and to promote recovery and growth.

We ask our finance ministers to coordinate on a weekly basis on the implementation of those measures and to develop further timely and effective actions.

We reinforce the importance of coordination among international organizations even in the face of challenges to business continuity.  We call on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group and other International Organizations to further support countries worldwide as part of a coordinated global response, focused on this specific challenge.  We also ask our finance ministers to work closely with International Organizations to design and implement swiftly the international financial assistance that is appropriate to help countries, including emerging and developing economies, face the health and economic shock of COVID-19.

We will address disturbances to international supply chains and continue our work to facilitate international trade.

Restore and Expand Growth

We will continue to work together with resolve to implement these measures to respond to this global emergency.  In facing the economic challenge, we are determined not only to restore the level of growth anticipated before the COVID-19 pandemic but also to build the foundation for stronger future growth.  We will continue to coordinate through the G7 Presidency including at the G7 Leaders’ Summit and call upon the G20 to support and amplify these efforts.

*  *  *

Update (1235ET): Larry Kudlow’s attempt to jawbone the market higher with promises of sugarplums and helicopter money failed to spark a rally in stocks, as did a report claiming the administration is drafting an aid package for airlines.

With markets still deep in the red into the afternoon, Google’s new virus-screening website that features information about the outbreak and testing, while helping individuals figure out if they qualify for testing, has reportedly been booked up on its first day.

Some tech journos are complaining about Google’s demands that users create an account, potentially giving Google access to a list of people with the virus, or who have been tested.

Meanwhile, in other news, Malaysia has reported 138 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing its national total to 566 cases in total. Portugal has reported its first death.

Finally, UK PM Boris Johnson warned that cases of the virus could double every five days if the government doesn’t take more stringent measures. To prevent this, Johnson asked the public to stop all “non-essential” contact and travel, with Johnson recommending 12 weeks of shielding for those most at risk.

However, the government stopped short of closing schools, though the administration’s chief scientific adviser said they could close schools if they felt it necessary. Hundreds of thousands of children across the country have been staying home.

*  *  *

Update (1140ET): Here’s a quick rundown of everything that has been announced so far during Gov. Cuomo’s daily press conference, courtesy of Fox 5 New York.

NYS has confirmed 950 cases of the virus, along with 7 deaths, 158 hospitalizations, 463 cases in NYC. Outside NYC, Cuomo said NYS schools would be cancelled for two weeks (many schools in the state have closed already). Cases in Nassau have climbed to 101, and in Suffolk, they’ve hit 60.

The state might also cancel all elective surgeries. NY has opened more drive-thru testing sights on Staten Island and Rockland County.

Perhaps most importantly: The state liquor authority said it would allow wineries, distilleries and bars to sell liquor via delivery during the shutdown.

Officials in Moscow, meanwhile, have just announced a ban of all gatherings over 50 people. Moscow has also closed schools for 3 weeks.

*  *  *

Update (1130ET): More bad news: Greenland has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, per the FT.

Greenland has recorded its first case of coronavirus after a person in the capital of the self-governing Arctic nation tested positive. Authorities in Nuuk said the infected person had been placed in self-isolation at home and warned of further potential infection from tourists. However, Greenland, which is part of the kingdom of Denmark, has followed Copenhagen’s lead and barred foreigners from entering the world’s largest island from Monday. 

There goes Trump’s deal…

Meanwhile, the German Finance Ministry has reportedly said it expects its GDP to “shrink this year” thanks to the coronavirus outbreak…hardly surprising. A more formal draft of the budget expected in June will likely take into account the emergency fiscal measures to combat the virus.

*  *  *

Update (1120ET): Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his latest press update at 11:20 on Monday, and opened by warning “I don’t believe we’re going to be able to flatten the curve enough” before calling on the federal government to take drastic steps to expand hospital capacity in places that are being hard hit by the virus.

He complained that states have been forced to take a “hodgepodge” approach to combating the crisis, and called on the federal government to display “more leadership.”

Cuomo reiterated some of his claims from an NYT op-ed published yesterday. While NYC is facing a complete shutdown, the broader tri-state area has banned all large gatherings with more than 50 people.

*  *  *

Update (1057ET): Traders feasted on a morsel of good news Monday morning when health officials in Lombardy reported the smallest jump in newly confirmed cases in a week.

The drop suggests that the spread of the virus in the region is no longer exponential, said Lombardy Regional President Attilio Fontana. Cases in Lombardy climbed by 1,587 on Monday to 13,272, which is lower than the 1,865 reported the prior day.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths reported in the region climbed to 1420 from 1,218 the prior day.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has finally proposed a ban on all “non-essential” travel to the EU (though she continues to oppose plans by members to shut out foreigners and other Europeans). The news isn’t a surprise: the ban was previewed earlier, which we mentioned below.

And Charles Michel said that G-7 leaders have “agreed to work more together” during Monday’s video call. A ‘formal’ teleconference between members of the group is now scheduled for tomorrow.

In Germany, Chancellor Merkel said theaters, museums, restaurants and other public venues must all close until further notice.

*  *  *

Update (1048ET): The White House has denied a CNN report claiming that a ‘national 8 pm curfew’ is being discussed.

*  *  *

Update (1000ET): The UK has report nearly 200 new confirmed cases of the virus on Monday, raising the national total between England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland to 1,543, from 1,372, while the death toll held steady at 35.

Earlier, Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top advisor, said the administration didn’t intend for its policy of targeted quarantines while leaving restaurants, shops and the broader economy open.

According to Reuters, PM Boris Johnson is asking manufacturers like Unipart Group, which supplies parts for jet engines and heavy machinery, to start producing ventilators and other emergency medical gear for Britain’s NHS. Though it wasn’t immediately clear how manufacturers like Rolls Royce, Unipart would accomplish this shift, Johnson is reportedly planning to hold a press conference on Monday to explain everything.

“The prime minister will speak to British manufacturers including Unipart Group to ask them to support production of essential medical equipment for the NHS,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

“He will stress the vital role of Britain’s manufacturers in preparing the country for a significant spread of coronavirus and call on them to step up and support the nationwide effort to fight the virus.”

Britain has taken a “distinctly different” approach to tackling the virus, Reuters said, including shunning widespread lockdowns.

Over in the US, NY, NJ and Connecticut have all decided to ban gatherings of 50 or more people, after the CDC asked that all large gatherings and events be ‘postponed’ until the crisis is over. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has also announced a curfew for all “nonessential” businesses to close by 8 pm.

While the outbreak in Mexico isn’t nearly as large as the outbreaks in Canada and the US, that didn’t stop Mexican President AMLO from greeting supporters on Sunday with handshakes and hugs.

As we mentioned earlier, Hungary PM Viktor Orban announced on Monday that he would close his country’s borders until further notice. Per Reuters, Orban has also temporarily prohibited cultural and sporting events.

Orban added that all shops must be shut except groceries and pharmacies, and asked people over the age of 70 to stay at home. He said all events should be canceled except for family gatherings, and restaurants must close at 3 pm local time.

In South America, Chile has announced plans to close its borders to foreigners beginning on Wednesday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said. There are 155 confirmed cases of the virus in Chile, he said.

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan have increased to 122, with 76 of those among people who were released following a 14-day quarantine in Taftan on the Pakistan-Iran border. A sudden jump in cases raised concerns about a possible quarantine over the weekend.

Somalia, Tanzania and Liberia all reported their first cases of the virus on Monday.

The number of confirmed cases in the Netherlands climbed by 278 to 1,413, the National Institute for Public Health said on Monday, after the country unveiled plans to close schools and bars yesterday, before

Finally, CNN reports that the White House is considering a national curfew that would force all “non-essential” businesses to close by 8 pm. The European-style measure is expected to come up during the president’s phone call with the nation’s governors on Monday, where CNN’s sources said it has been ‘strongly encouraged’ at the state level.

*  *  *

Update (0800ET): The IMF just tried firing a “bazooka” of its own on Monday morning, when Director Kristalina Georgieva revealed that the NGO sees global economic conditions deteriorating “by the hour”

“The case for a coordinated and synchronized global fiscal stimulus is becoming stronger by the hour,” IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva wrote in a recent blog post.

Meanwhile, Sanofi and Regeneron meanwhile are beginning a US-based trial for patients with severe coronavirus symptoms in New York, one of the epicenters of America’s outbreak.

*  *  *

Update (0735ET): European newswires are reporting that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel have agreed on measures to potentially close or tighten the EU border. Those measures will be released in the coming hours.

So Brussels is finally throwing in the towel…

*  *  *

Update (0730ET): US Surgeon General Jerry Adams said Monday that the country will likely need 6-8 weeks for the virus to run its course.

If Europeans have anybody to blame for the continent-wide spread of the novel coronavirus, the European Commission should be pretty high on that list. Since the beginning, Brussels has advised member states to leave their borders open, arguing that closures within the Schengen Area are not the answer.

Unfortunately, the absurdity of this open-borders-at-all-costs philosophy has finally been exposed as Spain and France joined Italy in imposing a national lockdown, and Germany, Austria and Denmark joined the Czech Republic, Hungary (which announced its border closure just minutes ago) and Poland – where populists hold outsize sway – in closing their borders. The Czech Republic has also joined in the mass quarantine movement, sealing off some towns entirely.

In a leaked statement on Monday, Brussels doubled-down on its stance, saying that border closures are not the answer as France mulls shutting its borders after Germany announced its border closures on Sunday.

Italy’s neighbors have mostly shut their borders with the literal ‘sick man of Europe’.

Meanwhile, in China, health officials suspiciously warned on Monday that ‘imported’ cases of the virus are creating ‘uncertainties’ as the outbreak comes to an end.

So get ready for Beijing to blame foreigners for re-starting the epidemic (giving it fodder to reject international calls for Beijing to acknowledge some accountability for the outbreak) as doctors suddenly “discover” another 100,000 ill.

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings insisted that the government’s plan doesn’t rely on building so-called “herd immunity” to an outbreak. The UK is taking a different approach, leaving businesses open while advising any ill persons to immediately stay home in quarantine.

*  *  *

Those who spent their weekend on one last bar crawl may not have noticed that millions of people are waking up to a fundamentally different situation on Monday than they saw on Friday. In the US, more than one million students in NYC schools – including ~100,000 homeless students with no regular access to shelter or hot meals – are waking up to the first of many school-free days. Some of their parents are scrambling to find childcare, others, left at home because of the mass closures of restaurants, gyms (just in LA), concert venues, nightclubs, cafes, plus myriad other closures, are desperately hoping that government check lands soon.

In Italy, Italians are heading into a second week of nationwide lockdown, while citizens in Spain and France are facing these measures for the first time.

In Washington’s King County, Executive Director Dow Constantine said late Sunday night that “it’s time, right now, for people to assume that they and everyone they meet is infected.”

In the Philippines, which acted early to bar visitors from China, infections have repeatedly doubled over the past week, leading the government on Sunday to prepare to lock down the entire island of Luzon, according to the Rappler.

President Duterte said earlier that his ultimate goal with the country’s virus-containment measures is to “save ourselves from ourselves”.

In some places, neighborhoods are banding together to coordinate child care…though in other communities, dangerous levels of hoarding continue.

In China, the government is expanding its crack down on foreign arrivals by threatening to “probe and punish” anyone who violates rules on mandatory 14-day quarantines for foreign travelers arriving in the country, especially “those who plan to lie about whether or not thy are infected,” according to a Bloomberg report.

The global outbreak reached a grim milestone on Sunday: the number of coronavirus cases confirmed outside China has now surpassed the mainland total. Last night, China’s NHC reported 16 new confirmed cases, extending their streak of near-zero infection figures into its second week. Though few ever trusted the Chinese data, there’s now little doubt that the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan is now mostly under control.

Then, in the early hours of Monday morning, Johns Hopkins University reported that the number of deaths outside mainland China had also surpassed the number of deaths (at least the number of officially disclosed deaths) in mainland China.

Nearby in Australia, the conservative government led by PM Scott Morrison is considering a second round of economic stimulus, Reuters reports, as Canberra accelerats efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has now killed five people in the country.

The situation in Australia is especially concerning, because, as Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding reports:

Back in the US, after several governors on the east coast joined in the national emergency, closing schools etc., VP Pence and the rest of the White House coronavirus response team again promised to have testing on-line and paid for by the end of the week, with millions of tests and up to 2,000 labs across the country expected to come online this week, now that the CDC has revised its strict standards that allegedly surrounded the testing process with red tape. After Trump tested negative on Sunday, the media was quick to lash out at him again after he said that the virus is “something we have tremendous control of” during last night’s press conference.

During the press conference, Pence and the team promised to release federal guidelines on ‘social distancing’ some time on Monday.

Five governors have now closed bars and restaurants, including California, and mayors in Nashville and New Orleans announced restrictions in those cities, too, with more cities expected to join in the coming days. In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts and MGM closed their casinos. Casinos in Massachusetts also closed over the weekend. At this point, more than 30 US states have closed schools, with many not set to reopen for at least two weeks, with schools in NYC closed until April 20.

Before we go, here are a few quick updates on the state of the epidemic around the world.


The US:

The Americas:


In Africa, more cases are beginning to crop up as South Africa, which reported its first case last week, begins the process of closing its borders with several neighboring states.

Brazil reports 79 new cases of coronavirus, 200 cases in total, with 136 cases in Sao Paulo alone. Offering another jarring stat, one twitter user pointed out that 50% of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the Netherlands, which has like many other European countries seen cases spike last week, are younger than 50. In Bavaria, the hardest-hit German state, the governor has also closed schools and bars. The government of Ireland has shut pubs across the country (just in time for St. Paddy’s Day).

On Monday, Iran reported 1,053 new cases of coronavirus and 129 new deaths, bringing its total case load to 14,991, and the ‘official’ death toll to 853.

And finally, we’d like to leave off with a bit of levity.

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