Coronavirus death toll in Italy surpasses China
Confirmed cases in the US double in two days
Mnuchin says wants to get checks in Americans' hands within 3 weeks
CA Governor issues state-wide 'stay at home' order
UK nears 3k cases
BoE cuts rates, launches QE after 'emergency' meeting
Confirmed cases in the US climbs ~50% as testing ramps up
Carnival confirms it will lend government ships for virus response
Connecticut reports 2nd death as US death toll hits 137
Cuomo reports nearly 2k new cases, bringing NY total north of 4k
Covid-19 'cluster' confirmed in South Brooklyn
Republican Senators introduce $1 trillion aid package
Minnesota designates grocery workers as 'essential employees', giving them access to child care
Total number of Covid-19 cases passes 10k
Cuomo signs NY unemployment-benefit expansion benefit package, warns of 'astronomical jump' in cases
China reports zero new cases in Wuhan for first time in months.
Treasury weighing 50- and 25-year bonds to finance stimulus package
South Africa case total passes 150
India halts incoming international flights for a week
Hong Kong doctors find virus inside 2nd dog
Spain total cases climb 28% overnight
Italian death toll expected to pass China's on Thursday
Pentagon says 2,000 nat'l guardsman deployed around the country
NY implements 90-day delay on mortgage payments due to hardship
FedEx says drop in deliveries in China was smaller than expected
Trump and Xi reportedly agree to deepen medical research ties
State Department advises Americans not to travel abroad
UK gov't denies plans for London lockdown
Amazon closes warehouse for 'deep clean' after worker tests positive
2 Lakers players test positive
Germany death toll climbs to 43
Treatment trial in Wuhan yields disappointing results
Australia confirms 3 passengers, 1 crew test positive aboard Ruby Princess cruise ship
Germany's Bafin bans short selling
Russia reports first death
SPR to buy 30 million barrels immediately, will eventually buy 70 million
Wuhan police erase record of 'admonition' delivered to Dr. Li Wenliang
German gov plans to suspend debt brake on Monday
Netherlands reports another jump in cases after unveiling stimulus package outline
Switzerland warns situation rapidly deteriorating along the Italian border
Tiffany closes all US stores
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Update (2300ET): If you're starting to lose track of which cruise ship has been transformed into a floating Covid-19 outbreak, well, we can't blame you. But be aware: Another disaster is just beginning in Australia.
The country's health ministry announced that three passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, along with one member of the crew, have tested positive. At least one of the infected passengers is said to be in serious condition in a Sydney hospital, and all passengers have been quarantined in isolation for 14 days as officials await the highly probable cluster of cases to be confirmed.
The sick crew member is still on board the ship.
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Update (2145ET): After the number of confirmed cases in the US doubled in the span of two days, California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a state-wide "stay at home" order amid the virus outbreak - the strongest and most restrictive measure passed by a governor yet.
On Tuesday, there were roughly 5,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US. But the total broke above 11,500 on Thursday, and Gov. Cuomo and dozens of others warned that the number will likely skyrocket in the coming days, as more test results come in, and access to testing is expanded.
The announcement comes after San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area issued 'shelter in place' orders after a surge of deaths and confirmations in the state.
" This means Californians should stay home, but can leave for essential work and necessary errands."
"...let's do what is necessary to bend the curve..."
Additionally, Newsom estimated 56% of the state’s population, about 25.5 million people, will become infected.
Governor Gavin Newsom makes a major announcement on California’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. https://t.co/VlQM38OkYK— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) March 20, 2020
Newsom says it's not a law enforcement mandate.
"We will have social pressure that will encourage people to do the right thing," he says.
During a press conference in Sacramento, Newsom urged every Californian to remember one thing: This too shall pass - and the residents of California will be better off for it.
"This is not a permanent state, this a moment in time," Newsom said during a press conference on Thursday. "And we will look back at these moments as a critical decision."
"This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,":Newsom said, before revealing that the state has stockpiled 1 million medical facemask.
At this point, we expect more states will follow with curfews and increasingly restrictive containment measures - justified by ever-more-dire predictions - as every governor in the country tries to out-do Newsom and Cuomo and increase their face-time on CNN & MSNBC.
In a concurrent announcement, LA County joined a growing number of counties by ordering residents to stay inside their homes and limit "nonessential" activities. With more than 10 million residents, the county, which includes the city of Los Angeles, is the most populous in the US.
"We know this will have an impact on the social fabric of our communities. We still encourage individuals to stay connected to their community and their loved ones in creative ways, and to spend much-needed time outdoors," L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. "We won’t have to maintain these restrictions forever, and they will have an invaluable long-term impact."
The decision comes as two NBA Lakers players were confirmed positive.
"This is not a request. This is an order," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In other news, down in Washington, Senate Republicans introduced a $1 trillion fiscal package entitled "the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act". The bill includes sending direct cash payments to many Americans in need. On Thursday, the State Department warned Americans not to travel abroad, and recommended that all Americans who are abroad return to the US, or make arrangements to 'shelter in place.'
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Update (1455ET): The UK has just reported another 676 cases, bringing its total to 2,626 cases...
BREAKING: The number of confirmed cases of #COVID19 in the UK has risen by 676 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 2,626.— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 18, 2020
To read more about the #coronavirus outbreak, click here: https://t.co/9yHzh2vMYQ pic.twitter.com/w5YlEOm0Ug
In other news, it looks like Trump wasn't joking when he said the cruise companies would help with the government's response. Carnival, the world's largest cruise company, has offered its ships to the US government as temporary hospitals to use as temporary hospitals, the company said.
As Johnson scrambles to make up for lost time, his government is reportedly in talks with vacation parks and hotels across the country to house hospital staff.
The latest celebrity to catch the virus is South Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim, who tested positive in LA.
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Update (1355ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio just released the latest figures on infections in NYC.
- NYC REPORTS 3,615 POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES AND 22 FATALITIES
- BROOKLYN HAS MOST CASES AMONG NYC BOROUGHS WITH 1,030 REPORTED
By the looks of it, the rumored cluster in Borough Park, an ultraorthodox neighborhood, is real. A report published by Gothamist claimed that more than 100 members of the ultraorthodox community in Borough Park and Williamsburg have tested positive at a clinic in the area.
The CEO of the testing facility, which caters to the ultraorthodox community, confirmed the report.
John Lieberman, the CEO of Asisa Urgent Care, confirmed in a statement that the facility, which caters to Brooklyn's Hasidic population, had identified more than 100 infections as of Tuesday.
"We are working on educating the Jewish community in particular to advise them how crucial it is to quarantine themselves, stay away from people, stay home and do not congregate," he said. "We are hopeful the community will continue to understand the importance of this issue."
The cases were first reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Asked about the possible cluster during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio denied any knowledge of the new development. "If we had a cluster, I assure you, we would tell you," he said. "I asked this very day, we do not have any clusters in New York City."
We suspect the city will soon change their tune and acknowledge that clusters have emerged within the community.
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Update (1315ET): Italy just published updated coronavirus case data for the last 24 hours, and just as expected, the death toll from the outbreak in the Italy, with a population of just 60.5 million, has surpassed the death toll from the outbreak in China, a country whose population is more than 20x Italy's.
- ITALY DEATH TOLL FROM CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK RISES 427 TO 3,405, OVERTAKING CHINESE DEATH TOLL - OFFICIAL TOTAL
- NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN ITALY RISES TO 41,035 FROM 35,713 ON WEDNESDAY - OFFICIAL
The number of confirmed cases in Italy is roughly half that of China, which reported zero new cases in Wuhan - the epicenter of the global pandemic - yesterday.
So far, one in every twelve people to be infected in Italy are health workers.
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Update (1208ET): A stunning video that has been making the rounds on social media - and has now been picked up by the BBC - shows the Italian Army helping to move coffins to cemeteries and morgues as Italy's death toll is on track to pass China's.
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Update (1100ET): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported yet another round of new case data on Thursday as he held his daily press briefing following an earlier interview on "the TODAY Show".
As NY emerges as the countrywide leader in testing, Cuomo announced that the state tested ~7,500 people on Wednesday night alone. The state confirmed 1,769 new cases last night, bringing the total to 4,152. 21 New Yorkers have died so far, along with 7 additional deaths in Conn (2) and NJ (5), bringing the tri-state area death toll to 28.
The new cases announced by Cuomo brought the total number confirmed in the US to more than 10,000.
He also instituted a 90-day relief period allowing New Yorkers to delay mortgage payments during the period, but only due to financial hardship (not just because they feel like it). The state has already postponed any foreclosures, banned negative credit reporting and waiving overdraft, debit card and credit card fees.
Remember: We know that as more people are tested we will find more cases.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 19, 2020
Last night we tested over 7,500 New Yorkers and found 1,769 new positive cases.
We will keep increasing testing to help #StopTheSpread. pic.twitter.com/Ai6NTzVnFZ
Watch his press conference below:
Cuomo also said he has no plans for a 'shelter in place' order.
After ordering businesses earlier this week to let at least half of their employees stay home on any given workday, Cuomo said the state would now require 75% of "non-essential" workers to stay home.
Germany's latest batch of new cases raised its national total to 13,944, up from 12,307, and an additional 14 deaths, bringing the total to 43.
The Pentagon just confirmed that 2,000 national guard soldiers are deployed across the country as more governors have called up the national guard to assist with the virus response effort. According to the Military Times, governors across 23 states have mobilized components of the Army and Air National Guard to assist in their state’s response to the pandemic.
The states where guardsmen have been mobilized include California...
Governor JB Pritzker has activated about 60 Illinois National Guard service members to assist with COVID-19 response. These include 43 Airmen from the Peoria-based 182nd Airlift Wing's Medical Group and 17 planners and liaison officers from both Army and Air National Guard units.— IL National Guard (@IL_Natl_Guard) March 17, 2020
...and Maryland, among other states.
At the direction of Major General Timothy Gowen, as of Monday, 1,000 @MDNG soldiers and airmen are fully activated and another 1,200 guardsmen are currently in a state of enhanced readiness.— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 16, 2020
Additionally, the Navy is dispatching two hospital ships, plus millions of pieces of vital medical equipment.
The State Department advised Americans not to travel, and told those still abroad to either 'come home, or shelter in place'.
Meanwhile, President Trump and the White House task force are preparing for today's briefing, where President Trump is expected to unveil measures to get experimental treatments into the hands of patients, despite some resistance from the FDA.
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Update: In keeping with the coordinated central bank response via Europe, the BoE held an emergency meeting on Thursday and has announced some unprecedented stimulus measures, including launching a £645 billion bond-buying program of government and corporate bonds "as soon as operationally possible."
Meanwhile, the cut the target from a record low of 0.25% to a new record low of 0.1%
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Update (0930ET): Just before the US open, health officials in the Netherlands reported a jump in cases to 2,460.
The Dutch government has announced a rescue package designed to shield companies from the impact of the coronavirus that Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said is unlimited but will likely cost tens of billions of euros. The government is working on eight measures, including a fund that makes it easier for firms to request compensation for lost revenues and helps them pay wages, Hoekstra said Tuesday at a news conference.
Swiss authorities warned Thursday that the situation in the southern canton of Ticino is rapidly unraveling as the government scrambles to secure more hospital beds. Ticino is situated along the Swiss border with Italy, and is the worst-hit region of the small Alpine nation.
Meanwhile, Tiffany said it would temporarily close all stores in the US.
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(0920ET): With oil price benchmarks around the world sliding below $30 a barrel, the US, the strategic petroleum reserve will immediately buy 30 million barrels of oil, and eventually buy as much as 70 million.
In China, police in Wuhan on Thursday officially revoked the government admonition issued to Dr. Li Wenliang, the martyred doctor who was censored for trying to warn the government and the people about the outbreak.
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Update (0835ET): It's shaping up to be another busy day on Thursday as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his goal is to get checks into the hands of Americans within three weeks, up from two yesterday.
Some updates from Europe: the Swiss press is reporting that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 3,888.
Back in New York State, Cuomo reported another ~600 case jump to 2959 cases. The death toll in the state has climbed to 21, with at least 11 of those in NYC, as Gov. Cuomo warns that
After signing a paid sick leave law to guarantee pay for those under mandatory or precautionary quarantine into law, Cuomo appeared on "the Today Show" to discuss his response to the crisis, which has won him accolades from practically everyone, including President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and other conservatives like Candace Owens.
We are seeing the enemy on the horizon and they are approaching very quickly.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 18, 2020
What we do between now and then matters gravely.
Do everything you can. Do everything you can to flatten the curve.
It's up to all of us. pic.twitter.com/puhB4g99sC
The NY governor repeated his claim that the 'hysteria' surrounding the outbreak is more damaging and dangerous than the virus itself during a Thursday appearance on the "Today Show."
It's a claim he's made several times during press briefings and television appearances.
"We know what we have to do on the virus. It's going to be hard, it's going to be disruptive but we know what we have to do there. The fear and the panic can actually get out of control more than the virus can,” he said in an interview on “TODAY” with Savannah Guthrie.
While he warned against increasing fear and panic, Cuomo said, “This is a war, Savannah. We have to treat it like a war.”
Cuomo appeared on the show one day after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. When asked about his spat with de Blasio over the 'shelter in place' order, Cuomo again rejected the idea, saying it would be unnecessary thanks to NY's proactive efforts to quarantine clusters like New Rochelle.
"States don't fight wars...they need the federal government...equipment, equipment, equipment is going to be key...the federal government has recognized and is acting that responsibility..." Cuomo said, referring to the Defense Production Act invocation and the Army's plan to send 2 Navy Hospital ships and millions of pieces of medical equipment across the US. Even Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to use his powers this morning.
New Yorkers should prepare to see an "astronomical" jump in cases as testing ramps up, Cuomo said. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: the more cases exposed, the more quickly the government can act to stop the spread.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the country's health minister declared that the government of PM Pedro Sanchez will pass a €210 billion stimulus package to help alleviate the crisis as the total number of cases in Spain has climbed 28% to 17,147. 169 new deaths were reported, raising the country's death toll to 767, as we noted earlier.
At the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin and his staff are reportedly considering issuing a 50-year bond and 25-year bond to finance the $1.3 trillion stimulus, despite telling Congress during testimony earlier this year that demand for the 50-year bond was tepid.
As the number of cases explodes in India, PM Modi has halted arrivals of international flights for at least a week beginning on Sunday.
And as the virus spreads in Africa, South Africa said its total cases confirmed climbed to 158 on Thursday after reporting its first case of human-to-human transmission within the country.
In Hong Kong, researchers have apparently found samples of the novel coronavirus inside another dog, the second time the pet of a Covid-19 patient was also found to be carrying the virus.
However, pet owners needn't worry - at least not yet. As CNBC's Eunice Yoon reports, there's no evidence that these dogs can be the source of the virus for humans.
Please don’t panic. So far #HongKong officials found no evidence that pet animals can be a source of the virus for humans- or that the virus can cause the disease in dogs. They advise to maintain good hygiene and “under no circumstances” feel the need to abandon your pet. 👌 https://t.co/kwnNQsQTdT— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) March 19, 2020
As more countries ramp up stimulus spending to calm shaky markets and nervous people, the German government is planning to eliminate the debt brake on Monday.
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Following a barrage of easing measures by global central banks overnight, and more talk of German fiscal stimulus Thursday morning, stock futures have sunk back into the red as promising gains from overnight fizzled.
It seems the world is finally waking up to some disappointing realities: In many places around the US, and around the world, millions of people simply aren't heeding advisories - and, in some cases, emergency declarations - pertaining to avoiding.
In California, the backlash against Elon Musk and Tesla has intensified as the billionaire openly beckoned employees of his Fremont, Calif. factory back to work despite a 'shelter in place' order requiring everyone to stay home to avoid the virus. Now that testing is finally ramping up around the country, with New York State taking the lead with its aggressive drive-thru push, the total number of cases confirmed in the US climbed to 9,415 (according to Johns Hopkins data), an increase of roughly 50% overnight.
It's becoming increasingly clear that President Trump's decision to stop travel from China, although prescient, was clearly not enough to stop the virus's spread in the US. Officials squandered the entire month of February, and the Trump Administration is finally beginning to realize just how far it has fallen behind.
The biggest news overnight was out of Italy, which has been reporting record numbers of newly confirmed cases and deaths, as well as a surprising number of young and healthy people hospitalized in serious condition. Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said Thursday that the government would extend the nation-wide lockdown beyond April 3 because too many Italians are disregarding the orders. The extension comes as Italy faces an alarming milestone: On Thursday, Italy is very likely to officially overtake China as the country with the largest number of deaths from the virus. 475 people lost their lives on Wednesday, the largest daily jump yet, taking the total in Italy to 2978. Officially, China's death toll is 3,231, according to the WHO, though many suspect the real death toll is much, much higher.
As of Thursday morning in New York, Italy has recorded 35,713 cases, along with 2,978 deaths.
After pleading with Schengen Zone members to keep their borders open, the EU has closed its external borders to non-EU citizens as a growing number of countries close their borders. In the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, members of the British Commonwealth, have barred non-resident, non-citizens from entry. The closures will take effect on Friday, local time.
China again tightened its restrictions on foreign nationals traveling to the country by requiring airlines to "reduce" international flights.
In other news, Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, announced on twitter Thursday that he had tested positive.
I would like to inform you that I have tested positive for #COVID19. I am doing well and in good spirits. I am following all the necessary instructions, as is my team.— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) March 19, 2020
For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together.
By now, we've heard dozens of dire predictions from Wall Street banks about the economic fallout from the crisis. At this point, a recession is virtually assured, and an all-out global depression - the likes of which haven't been seen for nearly a century in the developed world - could arrive by the second quarter, according to JPM Morgan and Mohammed El-Erian.
Now, Germany's Ifo Institute forecast a 1.5% contraction in the German economy after one of its preliminary gauges released on Monday showed a sharp drop in sentiment.
Yesterday, we saw some rumblings about Russian disinformation campaigns targeting the West, as Vladimir Putin seizes the opportunity to destabilize the West after taking steps to fortify Russia from the onslaught (by being one of the first major countries to close its border with China, among other measures).
A document sent to European lawmakers Monday by EU officials asserted that Russia is carrying out a "significant disinformation campaign" in an effort to sow discord and panic in Western nations over the coronavirus, according to a Reuters report. Reuters apparently got its hands on the 9-page memo, and now a handful of left-wing media organizations like Axios and the Daily Beast are spreading the news.
How much longer until the West blames the severity of the "Chinese Virus" outbreak on Vladimir Putin? At any rate, despite Russia's lockdown measures, the country recorded its first virus-related death on Thursday. A 79-year-old woman died in a Moscow hospital, the country's pandemic response agency said on Thursday.
Yesterday, we shared a report published by the Telegraph claiming that PM Boris Johnson had asked his cabinet heads to draw up plans for a total lockdown in London, with hefty criminal penalties for all those who disobey. Dozens of reports across social media showed how millions of Londoners appear to be ignoring the government's advice, prompting the NHS to prepare to be overwhelmed by cases. Some have warned that tens of thousands could die in the UK thanks to Johnson's perhaps misguided hope that he could shield the British economy from the worst of the fallout by simply focusing on containing the sick. Unfortunately, one of the themes of this outbreak has been millions of people putting their own petty wants and desires above protecting the public health.
Good morning to everyone who isn’t actively interfering with the public health effort.— Wash Your Hands Charley Grant (@CGrantWSJ) March 19, 2020
Florida and Texas have finally shut down most of the beaches where thousands of undaunted spring breakers have continued to party.
It's likely this crisis won't truly be over until a vaccine is mass-produced. And looking forward, headlines pertaining to drug trials for treatments and vaccines might be some of the only positive news investors get. Unfortunately, the opposite happened on Thursday, when the first scientifically controlled clinical trial of existing antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19 has delivered disappointing results.
As the FT reminds us, the next important controlled clinical trial result to look out for involves remdesivir, a drug originally developed by Gilead Sciences of the US to treat Ebola. That trial is also taking place in Wuhan. Meanwhile, in the US, a vaccine trial is underway in the Pacific Northwest.
Though the trials are continuing in Wuhan, the epicenter of the crisis, which has been struggling against the virus since it first emerged in early December, finally saw a day where no new coronavirus cases were reported. While it's important to take this news with a grain of salt, the city has pretty much reopened for business.
A few days ago, the NYT ran a story praising India's response to Covid-19, which had kept the number of confirmed cases down. Unfortunately, the good times couldn't last forever, and the Indian people are finally getting a taste of the hoarding and panic that has come to dominate life in the US. After Prime Minister Modi announced plans to deliver a televised address on Thursday, which prompted Indians to scramble to stock up on essentials as they feared a national lockdown order could be delivered during that speech.
In the US, Amazon announced that it had closed one of its warehouses in New York for deep cleaning after a worker tested positive for coronavirus.This is a major threat to the US, since Amazon has emerged as a last lifeline for US consumers. If its warehouses are sidelined by the virus, the gears of consumption could truly come to a screeching halt, per Bloomberg.
Bafin, the German financial regulator, joined Italy's Consob and a handful of other European regulators by imposing restrictions on short-selling. Though the West has been reluctant to adopt the heavy handed measures imposed on China's population, when it comes to markets, China style crackdowns on shortsellers are apparently more palatable. Handelsblatt reported Thursday morning that Germany could move ahead with suspending its constitutional 'debt brake' as soon as Monday.
After UK PM Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that he would close UK schools for all except the children of essential workers and those who wouldn't have access to food otherwise, Gavin Williamson, his education secretary, said there are "certainly no plans" at this stage to force the closures of bars and restaurants, even as speculation about a possible London lockdown continues to grow. Another government spokesperson said Thursday that there is a "zero chance" of a London lockdown.
A few minutes ago, Spain reported another alarming jump in deaths and confirmed cases that was on par with the figures coming out of Italy. Spanish Covid-19 cases rose to 17,147 (prev. 13,716) and deaths climbed to 767 (prev. 558):
Back in the US, the state of Connecticut on Thursday confirmed its second virus-linked death as the US death toll nears 140, with 137 deaths confirmed so far.
Meanwhile, as millions of young people brush off the risks to their personal health due to the virus, Bloomberg has some disappointing news: New evidence from Europe and the US suggests that younger adults aren’t as impervious to the virus as they would like to think.
Before we go, we'd like to leave readers with a rare bit of positive corporate news, courtesy of last night's FedEx earnings report:
Is China a leading indicator for the rest of the world as COVID-19 runs its course?— Jeffrey Kleintop (@JeffreyKleintop) March 18, 2020
*FEDEX SAYS CHINA DEMAND HAS REBOUNDED MORE THAN EXPECTED
*FEDEX SAYS 90-95% OF LARGE CHINESE MANUFACTURERS BACK OPERATING
*FEDEX SAYS 65-70% OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN CHINA OPERATING AGAIN pic.twitter.com/8l8Fdk9N3B