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Global Coronavirus Cases On The Cusp Of 2 Million; Critics Outraged As Trump Prints Name On Stimulus Checks: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

In a decision that is angering virtually all of his political opponents and even many of his supporters, who are bristling at the notion of a White House deliberately delaying badly needed checks, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell report last night when it revealed that the Treasury Department has ordered President Trump’s name to be printed on stimulus checks as the IRS scrambles to send checks to every American who doesn’t have direct deposit already enabled.

It will be the first time a president’s name has been printed on checks sent from the IRS, and officials disputed claims that the payments to 70 million Americans would be delayed so that Trump’s name could be printed on the checks. Trump had been pushing Steven Mnuchin to substitute Trump’s signature on the check, but there were some legal roadblocks. Instead, the president’s name will appear on the left side of the check below a heading that reads “Economic Stimulus Check”. The White House claimed that this batch of checks will be released more quickly than the stimulus checks ordered by President George W Bush after the financial crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that 80 million Americans will have their stimulus checks in-hand by next Wednesday.

Over in Europe, as Spain and Italy start the process of sending more workers back to work, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said EU countries should use a “gradual tailor-made approach” to lifting lockdown restrictions. EU countries must make sure they meet three important preconditions before re-opening can proceed:

  • Significant decrease in the spread of the coronavirus
  • Sufficient health system capacity
  • Adequate surveillance and monitoring capacity

Meanwhile, Spain, which has the highest death toll per capita in Europe, reported the biggest increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in six days. The more than 5k new cases brought Spain’s confirmed total to 177,633, according to the Health Ministry. The number of fatalities rose by 523 to 18,579, compared to Tuesday’s increase of 637.  

As socialist PM Pedro Sanchez touts data showing that the virus’s spread has slowed thanks to social distancing and the lockdown policies put in place by his government, members of the opposition confronted his government during a Parliamentary exchange on Wednesday where they accused Sanchez of undercounting the number of deaths linked to the virus across Spain.

“Nobody trusts you anymore,” one member of the opposition exclaimed. This is because Spain, like many other countries, only counts patients who have tested positive among the official figures. Yesterday, after criticisms published in the NYT, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered health officials to count all deaths suspected of being caused by COVID-19, even if they hadn’t been officially diagnosed.

That prompted a nearly 4k surge in NYC’s official death toll, driving the citywide total north of 10k, and driving total US casualties north of 25k (per JHU, the US had 26,059 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday morning).

And as Trump’s critics in the press continue to hammer the administration’s response to the virus (the NYT followed up WaPo’s big hit piece from last week with one of its own this week to keep the conversation alive), ignoring the fact that few governments were truly prepared for the virus, and that the Trump Administration did more during the early days of the outbreak to stanch the spread than most of its peers abroad, the FT reports that the European Commission is holding a “donation drive” this week to try and raise funds for virus research.

After acknowledging a few weeks back that it neglected to count ‘asymptomatic’ patients in its total coronavirus patient tallies, China for the first time released a cumulative count of asymptomatic coronavirus cases. The number? 6,764 – which instinctively seems well below the total number of cases that were excluded from China’ national count.

The German government is set to extend its COVID-19 restrictions until May 3rd, according to Handelsblatt, though details of the Interior Ministry’s plan to reopen the German economy have already leaked.

As the number of confirmed cases in Japan nears 10k, the government has released a dire sounding warning claiming that some 850,000 Japanese could be seriously sickened by the coronavirus, with almost half of them in danger of dying if harsher steps aren’t taken by the Japanese government – which has already declared a state of emergency – to implement more social distancing requirements.

South Koreans headed to the polls on Wednesday after the government decided not to delay a legislative election set for Wednesday.

Before we go, with half the global population facing some level of lockdown or movement restrictions, animals are beginning to venture out into abandoned human territory. In parts of Wales, goats can be seen walking the streets of the town.

“The goats absolutely love it,” said Andrew Stuart, a resident of Llandudno, Wales…”They’re taking the town back. It’s now theirs. Nothing is stopping them,” he said.


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