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NYT Slams De Blasio As NYC Mayor Launches “Test And Trace Corps”: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • NYC announces 'test and trace corps'
  • Architect of Sweden's lockdown response defends strategy
  • Editor of Global Times says China needs more nukes
  • Global COVID-19 cases near 4mil, deaths near 2,75k
  • UK warns don't expect reopening to start next week
  • South Korea warns of new 'super spreader'
  • Australia PM says next phase of reopening begins today, releases 3-step plan

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Update (1000ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday he would be launching a "test and trace corps" to assist with the coronavirus containment efforts as New York State prepares to begin the process of reopening its economy.

Interestingly, the NYT slammed the mayor over the decision, saying he stripped control of virus tracing from NYC's health department.

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Update (0940ET): Earlier this week, French authorities discovered what they believe might be Europe's earliest-known COVID-19 patient, who was sickened by the virus in early December.

Here's more on that.

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On an otherwise quiet Friday morning, President Trump has announced that he will be interviewed on Fox & Friends beginning at 8amET, setting the president up to react to one of the most important data releases of the past decade in real-time.

Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, appeared to welcome news that the US and China would act to preserve the 'Phase 1' trade deal by suggesting that Beijing increase China's supply of nuclear weapons to improve China's 'deterrent' against the US.

On what was a relatively quiet morning for virus news, the global case count moved closer to the 4mil mark (JHU reported 3,862,174 at 8amET), while the death toll neared 275k (269,881 at last count).

The biggest news overnight was published in the FT, which interviewed Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden's coronavirus response strategy (which famously avoided the lockdowns seen elsewhere), and the country's top epidemiologist. Tegnell defended Sweden's unique strategy, which some have blamed for the country's slightly higher mortality rate. He estimated that 40% of people in Stockholm would be immune to the virus by the end of May, giving the country an advantage against a virus that "we’re going to have to live with for a very long time." Though, to be sure, scientists are still unsure whether infection and the presence of COVID-19 antibodies will lead to lifelong immunity, and there have been many cases of patients being reinfected, or seeing their infections seemingly 'reactivate' after testing negative.

Tegnell argued that Sweden would be much better prepared than the rest of the world fot he "second wave" of the virus that's expected this fall, arguing that the number of cases and casualties will be "much smaller" in Sweden thanks to the widespread presence of antibodies in the public (of course, we're not even sure whether long-term 'herd immunity' is even possible, as Tegnell pointed out).

"In the autumn there will be a second wave. Sweden will have a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low," Tegnell told the FT. "But Finland will have a very low level of immunity. Will Finland have to go into a complete lockdown again?"

Some believe Sweden and Tegnell, which are under the global spotlight as their response to the pandemic has made Sweden a global outlier, have already won the debate on what the ideal coronavirus response would look like.

Primary and secondary schools, restaurants, cafés and shops are mostly open and operating as normal in Sweden, with health authorities relying on voluntary social distancing and people opting to work from home. Schools for over-16s and universities are closed and gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, but it is still the most relaxed approach of any EU country. However, as Goldman analysts recently explained, there are several idiosyncratic qualities about Sweden and the Swedish people that could make the country's strategy difficult to replicate across the EU and the US.

To be sure, Sweden’s virus-linked death toll reached 3,040 on Thursday, significantly higher than Denmark, Norway and Finland, which confirmed fewer than 1,000 deaths between all three countries.

In the UK, as HMG prepares the British public for the unveiling, expected Sunday, of Johnson's exit strategy, Oliver Dowden, UK culture secretary, has warned the public not to expect "big changes" to certain social distancing measures, including most of the restrictions on movement, to come into effect next week. As we've noted in recent days, many European countries are beginning the process of reopening, with several – including Belgium and Denmark – on track to make big strides before the end of the month.

According to another leak about the government plan published, this one published by the Telegraph, Johnson could ease aspects of the lockdown every two weeks, according to plans currently being discussed by ministers.  Other reports suggest that Britain will remain in lockdown until next month at the earliest.

Yesterday, South Korean government officials warned about a 29-year-old who was diagnosed with the virus after partying in one of Seoul's glitzy nightlife districts. On Friday, officials confirmed 13 more cases associated with the 'clubber' – technically qualifying them as a 'super-spreader' – though the situation appears to be well in hand. The partyer now appears to have infected 14 other people.

As Australia and New Zealand move ahead with reopening their economies, Aussie PM Scott Morrison announced Friday that his cabinet had agreed with the leaders of Australia's state governments on a 3-step plan to make Australia safe from COVID-19 by July while saving 850k jobs. Under the plan, retail outlets small cafes and restaurants would reopen. Gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed. In step 2, gatherings of up to 20 would be allowed, while step 3 would allow gatherings of up to 100 people.


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