- Trump says coronavirus restrictions will be lifted "soon, a lot sooner than three or four months."
- Japan PM Abe says world "not ready" to hold Olympics
- Fla. Gov. DeSantis signs order requiring 14-day quarantine for all travelers from NY & NJ
- Angela Merkel tests negative for COVID-19
- Australia and Canada pull athletes from the games
- UK issues stay at home order
- Japan agrees with IOC to delay Olympics for 1 year
- NY case total tops 20k
- Italy sees encouraging slowdown suggesting outbreak might be peaking
- Greece announces lockdown after reporting largest daily jump in deaths
- UK PM Johnson to address the country as deaths hit 335
- Hong Kong bars all foreigners for 14 days
- Boeing shuts Puget Sound operations for 2 weeks
- Spain reports 26% jump in deaths on Sunday
- State Department says 13,500 stranded Americans abroad are trying to get home
- New Jersey reports nearly 1,000 case jump
- UK preparing to close "non-essential" shops
- Dems hold stimulus bill hostage with last-minute demands
- First coronavirus deaths confirmed in Zimbabwe, Gambia, and Nigeria.
- Cuomo tourst Javits Center
- India ban on international flights begins
- 1.7 billion ppl in 50 countries asked to stay home, AFP says
- Largest 2-day jump in global cases reported over the weekend
- France announces more restrictive measures
- 8 states have postponed primaries
- Ireland reports largest daily jump in new cases
- Nigeria closes borders, suspends international flights
- Myanmar reports first cases
- Canada reports jump in cases
- Michigan, Indiana & Mass join stay at home states
- Spain follows Italy by extending quarantine
- 1 in 3 Americans begin Monday under lockdown
- White House correspondent rumored to test positive for COVID-19
- India shutters domestic transit even as 'official' cases remain low
- Trump sends National Guard troops to New York, California & Washington
- Fed delivers latest bazooka blast with another massive monetary stimulus
- Senate holds second stimulus vote
- Amazon doubles workers overtime pay
* * *
Update (2015ET): Perhaps realizing that facing down a second great depression if the US economy is halted indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic would not improve his re-election chances, President Trump struck a defiant tone at Monday's coronavirus press briefing when he said that the American economy can’t remain slowed for too long to fight the coronavirus, declaring that the country "was not built to be shut down."
As a result, the president predicted that social distancing restrictions will be lifted "fairly soon" and that the U.S. has learned enough lessons to re-open the economy despite the ongoing pandemic.
“I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now. We’re going to be opening up our country,” Trump said. “Can’t keep it closed for the next, you know, for years. This is going away.”
“America will again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said. “A lot sooner than three or four months.”
Following a Sunday night tweet by former Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein which said that "crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work"...
Extreme measures to flatten the virus “curve” is sensible-for a time-to stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 23, 2020
... Trump and some of his economic advisers appeared to be losing patience with public health experts who believe that easing restrictions and returning to normal life before "flattening the curve" could overwhelm the health system.
Earlier on Monday, the president of the St. Louis Federal, James Bullard, said Monday that the government should consider shutting down much of the economy for three months to combat the outbreak. This is one day after the same individual said that the worst case from a lengthy shutdown would be a 50% GDP drop and a 30% surge in unemployment. It wasn't clear if Bullard believes that a depression would serve the economy and public better than taking the risk with a shorter shutdown.
While Trump didn’t mention Bullard, but said: “We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.”
Effectively Trump is planning on doing what China did, which after locking out a third of the country, then proceeded to forcefully restart the economy (as the Chinese economy is reliant entirely on its massive workforce). However, to do that, Beijing had to engage in some major rigging of coronavirus cases which it claimed had plateaued even though there is clear evidence China is openly manipulating the data. The question, of course, is whether the CDC will allow the US to pursue similar "data doctoring" as China engaged in.
Otherwise, Trump may find it difficult to push the economy to restart in a week or two if the number of new cases is still soaring. And with the "resistance" press eager to do everything in its power to force a depression, leading to a Trump loss in November, it is certain that the situation as represented by the mainstream liberal media will only get more dire with time.
In any case, the following soundbites indicate that Trump appears to have made up his mind:
- "This is a medical problem. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem.”
- "You look at automobile accidents. Which are far greater than any numbers we're talking about. That doesn't mean we're going to tell everybody no more driving of cars."
- "If it were up to the doctors, they may say let's keep it shut down — let's shut down the entire world."
- "You can't do that with a country — especially the No. 1 economy anywhere in the world, by far. ... You can't do that. It causes bigger problems than the original."
- "I will be listening to ... experts. We have a lot of people who are very good at this. It's a balancing act. You know the expression, we can do two things at one time."
Trump also said that if the economy is forced into a deep enough recession by social distancing measures, there could be deaths from suicides and other causes in excess of those caused by the coronavirus, and that parts of the nation might be able to resume economic activity even as others fight outbreaks.
“You’re talking about massive depression, massive numbers of suicide,” he said. “They had a fantastic job and now they have no idea what’s going on.”
“We can start thinking about, as an example, parts of our country are very lightly affected,” he said.
The State Department physician who advises Vice President Mike Pence on the government’s response to the outbreak, Deborah Birx, said she did not think that Trump’s optimism about soon relaxing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines against large gatherings and eating at restaurants would discourage people from following the recommendations.
“What we’re asking every American to do is to make those personal sacrifices for this next week, and now, so we can evaluate the impact of that sacrifice,” she said at the same news conference. Trump’s musing about easing the restrictions, she said, “strengthens the willpower” of Americans to conclude “yes, I can do this.”
She declined to say how she would recommend that Trump proceed, saying the government was still gathering “data” on the outbreak. The number of U.S. cases grew to more than 43,000 on Monday, and the country exceeded 500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Asked if he would follow the advice of Birx and Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director who also serves on Trump’s coronavirus task force, Trump said only that he would listen to them. “I’ll be listening to them and others we have who are doing a good job,” he said.
“He doesn’t not agree with me,” Trump declared using a double negative, asked if Dr. Fauci agrees with him that the time is nearing to reopen things.
REPORTER: Does [Anthony Fauci] agree with you about the need to reopen the economy soon?— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) March 23, 2020
TRUMP: Well he doesn’t not agree.pic.twitter.com/iX5OsnP4KO
* * *
Update (1850ET): Japan is reportedly "in agreement" with the IOC to delay the Tokyo Games for up to a year.
Germany reported 4,183 new cases of coronavirus and 29 new deaths on Monday, bringing its total to 29,056 cases and 123 deaths.
Meanwhile, in the US, President Trump doubled down on warnings that the lockdown shouldn't totally dismantle the economy, while AG Barr warned that price gouging of cleaning products and other scarce items is a federal crime, and Dr. Birx noted that 'self-swab' tests for the virus would be available to the public by the end of the week.
Here's more of Trump saying "we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself":
TRUMP: “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. ... At the end of the 15-day period, we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go, where we want to go, the timing, and essentially we’re referring to the timing of the opening … of our country." pic.twitter.com/wq4hG3PrBz— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) March 23, 2020
Dr. Birx also warned during Monday night's press conference that the viral "attack rate" in New York appears to be significantly higher than the rest of the nation.
* * *
Update (1720ET): Now that Boris Johnson has over-delivered by ordering all of Britain to undergo a strict national lockdown requiring all Britons, but especially the vulnerable, to remain inside for 3 weeks (except for certain essential shopping trips, solitary exercise and seeking medical help).
Those who defy the new restrictions will face fines, a practice that has become commonplace in the Middle East, as well as Italy, France and Spain. US officials including Gov. Cuomo have warned about 'consequences' for those who violate his orders.
Everyone in the U.K. "must stay at home," Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday.— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2020
Residents can only leave home to shop for basic necessities, for one form of exercise per day, for medical needs, and to travel to and from work when necessary. https://t.co/GWUXgrw4rr pic.twitter.com/jKHXfxlAF9
The move should be enough to quiet critics of Johnson's heretofore hands-off approach, which experts say did too little to slow the spread of the outbreak.
And in the US on Monday evening, Fla. Gov Ron DeSantis ordered that all travelers to his state from New York and New Jersey, two hot spots of the US outbreak, self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival, though it's not clear how he will enforce this. DeSantis said visitors to Florida from other states, including New York, are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in his state.
South Africa reports 128 new cases of coronavirus, bringing its national total to 402 cases as it prepares for a 21-day lockdown to begin on Thursday. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Africa, the first coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in Zimbabwe, Gambia, and Nigeria.
AFP, the French newswire, reported Monday evening that 1.7 billion people - nearly 2/7th of the Earth's population - have now been asked to stay home in more than 50 countries and territories due to the coronavirus outbreak.
* * *
Update (1645ET): During a visit to FEMA on Monday, Vice President Pence echoed President Trump's suggestion that the federal government will 'reevaluate' the lockdown measures and its social-distancing recommendations for all Americans at the end of March.
look at its social-distancing recommendations for all Americans at the end of March.
"We thought it was important for every American to take action as tens of millions are to help us slow the spread,” Pence told reporters at FEMA. “But at the end of this 15 days, we're going to get with our health experts, we're going to evaluate ways in which we might be able to adjust that guidance for the American people."
The 15-day period is set to expire March 30.
Earlier, health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead expert guiding the US response, have responded by saying it's too early for these kinds of economic considerations, and that the US needs to see how the first few weeks go before making any determinations.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said in the tweet late Sunday, while Lloyd Blankfein echoed those sentiments as well, as we noted earlier.
* * *
Update (1630ET): Following earlier reports that the UK would order all non-essential businesses to close, it looks like PM Boris Johnson has taken things one step further, and unveiled a lockdown that will see all Britons ordered to stay home at all times, except for certain 'essential' tasks like buying food and medicine, or visiting the doctor.
The lockdown will begin on Tuesday and last for at least three weeks.
Your only reasons to leave home, @BorisJohnson tells the #UK: Infrequent essential shopping, one form of exercise per day, any medical need and traveling to/from work when absolutely necessary. pic.twitter.com/LAEDka7ERM— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) March 23, 2020
Invoking language similar to that used by German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, Johnson insisted the outbreak was the biggest threat the UK had faced in decades.
“We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together. And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives."
In the US, the city of Denver just issued a 'stay at home' order, joining the growing number of cities and states telling residents to just stay home.
Earlier on Monday, Greece has also announced a lockdown following its largest daily jump in deaths. According to Reuters, Greece confirmed 94 new cases on Sunday, its largest single-day jump, taking its total to 624, with 15 deaths, up by 2.
* * *
Update (1615ET): As we mentioned earlier, France has tightened its lockdown, raising the fines for people who go out without a legal reason, limiting outdoor exercise even further, and closing all open-air markets.
"The return to normal life is not happening anytime soon," PM Edouard Philippe said in an interview on LCI news channel. "This life of confinement will last a few more weeks." The new fines will start at €135 but can increase to €1,500 for repeat offenders. People are only allowed to play sport, walk or jog if they do so alone, no more than once a day, and within 1 kilometer of home. Local mayors can allow some open-air markets to stay open only if they are critical to a town's food supply.
Even more galling, for many, is the announcement that the funerals of COVID-19 victims will be limited to 20 people.
Ireland, meanwhile, reported its largest daily increase in cases yet as deputy premier Simon Coveney said he tested negative for the coronavirus. Coveney took the test after he was contacted by a health service tracing team "to say I had been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19." On Twitter he said he "followed all protocols & tested negative.” The deaths of two men brought the number of fatalities in Ireland to six, in addition to two in Northern Ireland, while on Monday afternoon Dublin reported a record 219 new infections, bringing Ireland's total to 1,125.
Additionally, anonymously sourced reports claimed the UK government would throw its support behind two ventilator models.
* * *
Update (1611ET): The UK has confirmed more deaths on Monday, bringing the national death toll to 335. Johnson led an emergency Cobra committee meeting earlier and is expected to order all shops except supermarkets, food stores and pharmacies to close.
According to the Telegraph, Johnson's emergency legislation to respond to the coronavirus outbreak has cleared its first hurdle in the Commons, with MPs giving the Coronavirus Bill an unopposed second reading.
* * *
Update (1520ET): As we near the end of the trading day, we've seen Michigan join the ranks of US states that have issued "shelter in place orders", with Michigan's requiring nonessential workers and businesses to stay inside or stay closed until April 13. That's effective Monday night at midnight. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after being criticized for Trump 2 weeks back for not doing enough, has issued the order, which will close the state for three weeks.
Michigan joins Indiana, which issued a similar order earlier. Both join the growing number of states ordering or strongly encouraging citizens to shelter in place. Meanwhile, as we mentioned earlier, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, meanwhile, announced a stay-at-home "advisory" for the state’s nearly seven million residents.
Now, 14 US states have ordered residents or issued advisories calling for residents except essential workers to stay at home.
Meanwhile, the State Department said it's monitoring approximately 13,500 US citizens abroad who are seeking assistance in being repatriated, a senior State Department official said Monday.
As of noon on Monday, eight US states had postponed primaries.
8 states and 1 U.S. territory have already postponed their primary elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 23, 2020
— Puerto Rico
— Rhode Island https://t.co/rYAm4YLGvb
In Africa, where more countries are closing borders and restricting travel, Nigeria announced that it's closing its land borders for four weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari said via a spokesperson on Monday. additionally, Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority has already banned all international flights except essential or emergency flights.
As state and local officials search for more creative solutions to house coronavirus patients, the city of Chicago has partnered with five hotels to house some quarantined people and isolated coronavirus patients, as well as others who need assistance.
Canada reported a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, especially in its largest provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
Most recent data collected from each province indicates at least 2,000 cases with 23 deaths. On Monday alone, new cases spiked by nearly a third. Health officials in Ottawa said they have now tested more than 100,000 people and will be able to test as many as 10,000 people per day. As Italy reports a drop in cases, giving the country cause for optimism as the outbreak appears to be peaking, the Netherlands has banned all public gatherings until June 1.
Italy and German curve continuing going down for the second day. Thanx God. Hope they reach the peak and start to slow down pic.twitter.com/ssyJ3CQuLF— Mohamed Thabat (@MohamedThabat) March 23, 2020
Though Italy isn't the only European country reporting a decline in new cases. After a jump across the board over the last week, Spain, France and the UK have all reported a slowdown in new cases.
As the country tries to understand how the federal effort to aid the states will be rolled out, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that the Army can't provide help to every state at once. Esper made the comment after speaking with 10 governors.
"I’ve spoken with 7, 8, 9, 10 governors so far each one of them has had requests for field hospitals, those who have been along the coastline have talked about the need for ships so we clearly can’t meet everybody’s needs with what we have in our inventory so we rely on FEMA to do the assessment, validation and then the prioritization," he said.
Instead, the military will be used as a "front-line" aid for states, helping them during the early days of an outbreak before withdrawing and moving elsewhere as more buildings are retrofitted into hospitals for the ill. President Trump and state governors have already called up more than 6,000 national guardsmen across more than 40 states; Andrew Cuomo is scouting locations for the Army Corp of Engineers to start their renovations.
Boeing, meanwhile, has shuttered its Puget Sound operations for two weeks.
In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced new restrictions Monday night while warning the French people that the lockdown could last for weeks as too many have disobeyed.
Nearly 370,000 people around the world have been confirmed positive with the virus. Notably, Myanmar announced its first 2 cases of the virus on Monday.
* * *
Update (1415ET): As more cases are confirmed in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly touring the Javits Center in Manhattan, where the Army Corp of Engineers might be converting the space into an overflow hospital.
Cuomo is also looking at the Westchester Convention Center and two university campuses.
* * *
Update (1300ET): As more state's update their confirmed case tallies, CNN Health is reporting that the number of confirmed cases across the US had climbed to 40,069 cases as of 1pmET. This comes as Sen. Schumer's claim that "we are very close to a deal" has lifted stocks off their lows.
As researchers continue to pursue treatment options for COVID-19, the WHO on Monday warned against using "untested drugs" to treat patients. This after two patients in Nigeria reportedly suffered chloroquine poisoning after President Trump praised the anti-malaria drug as a treatment for the novel coronavirus.
Health officials are warning Nigerians against self-medicating after demand for the drug surged in Lagos.
Maryland has just shuttered all nonessential businesses, though Gov. Larry Hogan hasn't yet issued a 'stay at home' order, he strongly recommended that residents of his state remain home.
As Germany closes its borders to all foreigners except asylum seekers, the EU has announced that it will provide more than $20 million in "humanitarian aid" to Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries, as critics blame US sanctions for the country's failure to contain the outbreak.
In Mexico, which still has a relatively low number of cases, the government is handing over control of hospitals to the military to prepare for them to be overrun.
Meanwhile, Italy's Lombardy region reported a drop in hospital patients on Monday, while the region and Milan, its largest city, reported another drop in newly confirmed cases, as Italy prepares to revise its death toll lower. Across the country, the number of new deaths reported on Monday dropped to 601, down from 651 the day before.
And as the Army Corp of Engineers prepares to start renovating buildings into emergency hospitals, one general has offered more details on that.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Chief of the @USACEHQ, provides a 'simple' solution to the complicated problem of building temporary medical facilities to assist states with responding to #COVID19. This clip is from a press conference by Army senior leader on March 20, 2020. pic.twitter.com/HrASBfRSjz— U.S. Army (@USArmy) March 21, 2020
* * *
Update (1250ET): Indiana's governor has issued a stay at home order, as leaked reports had suggested.
The state's lockdown won't begin officially until Tuesday, with the governor emphasizing that the next two weeks are 'critical'.
Today I delivered a statewide address & ordered that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, & for health & safety. The order is in effect from March 25 to April 7. #COVID19— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
The next two weeks are critical if we are to slow the spread of #COVID19, and we must slow the spread. You must be part of the solution, not the problem.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
➡️ Beginning Tuesday, all state government offices will be closed to in-person public activity until at least April 7. This includes the Government Center complex in Indianapolis and other offices throughout the state, including @INBMV branches.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
State employees will work remotely whenever possible and continue to provide core functions online and by phone. All public safety functions will continue.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
➡️In conjunction with the closures, I ordered an automatic extension of all state-issued licenses and will advise law enforcement to refrain from issuing citations for a driver’s license or registration that expires during this emergency.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
Today I signed four executive orders:— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
➡️EO 20-08. Stay at Home
Provides for essential and non-essential business and operations, infrastructure, government services, travel, and activities outside of one’s home.
➡️EO 20-09. Continuity of State Operations— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
Provides for the continuing operation of state government from 5 p.m. ET today through 8 a.m. ET April 7 with restricted access to government buildings and services.
➡️EO 20-10. Enforcement Directive Regarding Prohibition of In-Person Dining.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
Directs that state and local boards of health and the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission take all available administrative and enforcement actions against establishments that continue to offer 1/3
in-house dining services, in violation of the governor’s executive order of March 16.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
Health departments will deliver letters ordering restaurants that continue to provide in-person dining to cease such operations. If they do not comply, fines will be levied. For restaurants 2/3
w/ alcohol permits that continue to offer in-person dining, the ATC will issue an order in writing for the establishment to cease such operations. If continued, the ATC will suspend the entity’s liquor license & will consider the non-compliance at the time of permit renewal. 3/3— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
➡️EO 20-11. Provisions for carryout consumption of alcohol.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
Relaxes the sale of carryout alcoholic beverages for dining establishments. This includes establishments that allow for on-premises consumption & those permitted carryout permits dependent on a % of on-premises sales.
Links to all executive orders may be found here: https://t.co/PQqVIpSmXO— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) March 23, 2020
The complete text of Gov. Holcomb’s address may be found here: https://t.co/koUahFsa6b
Link to the Stay-At-Home Order FAQ may be found here: https://t.co/UimP9Y3m54
We suspect he won't be the last.
* * *
Update 1220ET): As Chuck Schumer promises that Senate Democrats are 'close' to striking a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the stimulus bill, the UK just reported another 14 deaths, with the total climbing to 303, up from 289 earlier.
* * *
Update (1200ET): heading into the lunchtime hours, as thousands of traders get up from their couch to go fix themselves a sandwich, there's some more breaking news about the growing number of lockdown orders.
First, rumor has it that South Africa is preparing to announce a 21-day lockdown. In the US, reports claim Indiana and Massachusetts are joining the list of states who have declared mandatory lockdowns. That would add13.6 million more Americans to the lockdown total.
New Jersey health officials just released their latest update on the number of positive tests, and the total has increased by nearly 1,000 overnight, to 2,844 from 1,914. The number of deaths in the state has climbed to 27.
A joint statement released by the Bank of England and British banks said the country's banks are in a strong financial position heading into the crisis and that "banks are here to help the public."
* * *
Update (1130ET): After heading into isolation over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly tested negative for VOID-19, sparing Europe's largest economy from the challenge of confronting the outbreak without the country's its longtime leader.
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the latest update on confirmed cases in the state Monday morning, revealing that the number of confirmed cases in the state had climbed to 20,875 cases, up from 5,707 compared with the day before, and 157 deaths, up from 99 in NYC alone as of last night. In the city, Mayor de Blasio confirmed 12,305 positive cases, an increase of 3,260 from Sunday. Across the state, 24% of all cases requiring hospitalization were in the ICU.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is jockeying with Elizabeth "slush fund" Warren for the VP nomination, revealed Monday that her husband has tested positive for the virus, but that she herself won't get tested because she doesn't spend much time around him.
And here's Rabobank's Michael Every with his take on the situation in Europe, the US and Asia.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are holding the administration's rescue package hostage, and demanding unprecedented bargaining power for unions, hiking fuel emissions standards for airlines (at a time when governments around the world are trying to save that industry from collapse) and the expansion of tax credits for wind and solar, or they will refuse to vote for the bill, ensuring that it will take longer to pass, at the very least.
Before the group's latest "emergency" meeting could even begin, the G-20 was dashing hopes for coordinated action. And despite the unprecedented steps taken by monetary policy officials around the world in the last few weeks, central bankers in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France have called on eurozone finance ministers to embrace coordinated action to launch a rescue package.
As shortages of hand sanitizer leave nursing homes and private care facilities around the country in a bind, forcing New York state to enlist its prison population to making the stuff, yet another alcoholic beverage maker has offered to donate alcohol to companies producing the stuff. That company is Diageo, which promised 2 million liters of alcohol, joining Pernod Ricard and LVMH.
Per the FT, distillers use 96 proof alcohol as the base for alcoholic beverages such as gin and vodka but as their factories are not equipped to make gels, some are opting to make liquid sprays, while others (including Pernod and Diageo) are seeking to supply ingredients.
* * *
Update (0955ET): As CNBC just pointed out, financial services employees are exempt from New York's stay at home order. Still, Monday marked the first day of all-electronic trading, and though it's been a pretty interesting ride so far, the fact that we're not down 1,000+ points on the Dow after another 'unprecedented' Fed intervention (just when the whole world thought they were out of ammo...) is making Monday feel...almost normal?
In the UK, the Telegraph just reported that Boris Johnson's government is preparing to close all non-essential shops, leaving just grocery stores, pharmacies and others open as the public continues to largely ignore the PM's 'social distancing' recommendations, as many ventured outside in groups during what was a sunny mother's day on Sunday in the UK.
Johnson is expected to deliver the latest shutdown order shortly, although enforcement measures will need to wait for new powers in the Coronavirus Bill likely to become law on Tuesday.
According to Sky News, Britain could be locked down to force people into self-isolation "very soon", as the prime minister considers racing new laws through the Commons in a day. The laws would expand his powers to enforce a national 'stay at home' order.
MPs are returning to parliament on Monday to debate the government's Coronavirus Bill and pass it through all the necessary stages (the legislation is expected to pass the Commons thanks to the Conservatives' majority), before it goes to the House of Lords, where it's also expected to pass and become law by end of the week.
Circling back to the US, after Lloyd Blankfein audaciously brought up the possibility that the economic fallout might be more punishing than the virus outbreak itself, President Trump has resorted to tweeting in all caps as he waits for a second Senate vote.
THIS IS WHY WE NEED BORDERS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
This comes as the US shunts aside Spain to become the country with the third-largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 35k, leaving it on track to surpass both Italy and China by next week.
Sadly, the numbers now suggest the U.S. is poised to take the lead in #coronavirus cases. It’s reasonable to plan for the US to top the list of countries with the most cases in approximately 1 week. This does NOT make social intervention futile. It makes it imperative!— Thomas P. Bossert (@TomBossert) March 23, 2020
In other news, sorry, rich people: India's ban on incoming international flights will also include private planes.
* * *
For millions of Americans, the full weight of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and its ensuing crisis, finally became apparent over the weekend as governors from New York, to Ohio, to Delaware warned that all "non-essential" employees will soon be required to shelter in place.
Additionally, though hundreds of thousands of cases around the world likely remain undiagnosed, global health authorities revealed on Monday that the acceleration in new cases over the last 48 hours was the fastest on record, according to the FT's calculations: According to the paper, the total number of confirmed cases around the world increased by a record magnitude this weekend as the situation worsened, particularly in the US.
Health authorities reported an additional 61,872 cases over the 48-hour period, while the number of fatalities increased by 3,260 to 14,748, the largest two-day jump in new cases on record.
The US was the hardest hit on Sunday, adding 9,339 cases, nearly 4,000 more than the 5,560 new cases that Italy added. For the first time in nearly 2 weeks, Italy saw a slowdown over the weekend. In Spain, meanwhile, the situation has been the opposite: 450 people have died in Spain over the past 24 hours after contracting the coronavirus, while there has been a surge in intensive care patients.
The ministry of health in Madrid said on Monday that 2,172 have died, a 26% increase on Sunday’s total of 1,720. Spain, with more than 33,000 infected, is the worst-hit European country after Italy.
Across the US, the scale of the crisis was finally laid bare when the total number of confirmed cases surged to almost 30,000 and New York emerged as an international hotspot. As of Monday morning, the total number of cases around the world had climbed to 349,211, per Johns Hopkins.
During a press conference on Sunday, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that he expected up to 80% of the state’s population to ultimately contract the virus, and told residents to brace for disruptions to daily life that could last for as long as nine months.
As more governors ordered their citizens to stay home beginning on Monday, Reuters counted that roughly one in three Americans is now under orders to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware became the latest states to enact broad restrictions, along with the city of Philadelphia, according to Reuters.
We reported last night that Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware are now the latest states to enact broad restrictions (along with the city of Philadelphia), joining New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey, home to 101 million Americans combined.
Ohio’s order will go into effect at midnight EDT on Monday and stay in effect until April 6. Louisiana’s order goes into effect at 5 pm CDT on Monday and lasts through April 12. Delaware’s order begins at 8 am on Tuesday.
Texas's Dallas County, home to more than 2.5 million people, and Philadelphia, with 1.6 million residents, told non-essential businesses on Sunday to close and residents to stay home.
In Kentucky, non-essential businesses must close by 8pm on Monday, but authorities stopped short of ordering residents to stay home.
The orders come as the US cracks 35k cases, leaving it on track to surpass other developed countries given the scope of its outbreak.
To be more exact, as of the market open, there were 35,225 cases in the US, and 447 cases according to Johns Hopkins official data base, though numbers varied slightly between sources.
As the Empire State ramps up testing faster than many of its peers, thanks largely to the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York now comprises almost half of all diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the US.
While confirming to the public that he had tested negative for the virus, Vice President Mike Pence said 254,000 Americans had been tested for the coronavirus as of Sunday, and that 10% were positive.
More news from the US: As more Americans prepare to rely on e-commerce to buy goods as traveling to the grocery store becomes taboo, Amazon is doubling overtime pay as the outbreak worsens, while other companies focus on mass layoffs. Although the Fed's latest monetary bazooka blast has pushed futures back into the green, easing the pressure on lawmakers, another vote for the Senate's $1 trillion-plus rescue package - the third bill to confront the outbreak.
In Asia, Hong Kong, which reported its largest jump in daily cases yet last week, imposed a controversial 14-day ban on foreign travelers entering the city state. Per the FT, Hong Kong will ban the arrival of all non-residents arriving by plane for a fortnight and all connecting flights will be cancelled from Wednesday, in the latest move by a government to tighten borders in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Arrivals from Macau and Taiwan will also have to undergo compulsory quarantine measures like all other foreign arrivals, chief executive Carrie Lam said on Monday. Residents returning from the UK, the US and Europe will be required to undergo virus testing even if asymptomatic.
Lam's government is planning to propose legislation to ban restaurants and bars from selling alcohol and order all recreational facilities to close, including changing rooms and gyms.
Last week, the New York Times reported that the virus total in India was surprisingly low, especially when factoring in the country's endemic poverty and massive population. But as the country suspends public transit on Monday, hampering medical workers in their quest to get to work, many are beginning to wonder: If the situation in India is so optimistic, why is the government bothering with all of thee closures.
After a total suspension of services on Sunday, city buses began running again on Monday, but are only operating infrequent skeletal services.
"How are staff supposed to attend the hospital with no public transport," said one doctor at a 595-bed private hospital in New Delhi.
"Hospitals are not run by doctors alone. Doctors all reached because they have their cars. But the electrician couldn’t reach because he didn’t have a scooter. All the staff nurses were calling saying, there is no bus how do we come?"
"Where was the planning for this?” the doctor asked.
It's certainly curious...considering the country is also shutting down domestic air travel on Monday.
India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has only 425 “confirmed cases” of CV-19 and a handful of reported deaths.— Ben Hunt (@EpsilonTheory) March 23, 2020
But today they are shutting down domestic air travel.
All gov’ts are liars. Some lie more.#DontTestDontTell https://t.co/UcalVt1w50
In other news, Australia joined Canada in withdrawing its athletes from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, placing further pressure on the IOC to cancel the games. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that the Tokyo Games "cannot be held" under the current circumstances.
Tokyo Olympic organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said he supports the IOC's decision to review plans to hold the Olympics.
"If I'm asked whether we can hold the Olympics at this point in time, I would have to say that the world is not in such a condition," Abe told a parliamentary session, adding he hopes to hold talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach over the issue.
"It's important that not only our country but also all the other participating countries can take part in the games fully prepared," Abe said, according to Kyodo News.
Spain will become the next country to expand its lockdown for 15 days as deaths and confirmed cases in the country continue to soar, while the British government on Monday ordered 1.5 million people with serious health problems to self-quarantine at home for the next 3 months, the length of time during which PM Boris Johnson believes the UK can quash the virus is enough people follow the government's guidelines.