NJ Launches "You'd Look Better In A Mask" Awareness Campaign; Cuomo Claims NY Has Achieved "Excess" Testing Capacity: Virus Updates

Summary:

  • LA County reports another 29 deaths
  • NJ launches "You'd look better in a mask" campaign
  • NY says now has 'overcapacity' of testing
  • Georgia reopening better than expected
  • Beijing moves to suppress latest outbreak
  • India extends lockdown for another 2 weeks
  • India reports another 5k cases
  • Spain reports fewer than 100 deaths
  • Australia responds to China's latest trade threats
  • Brazil reports another massive jump in new cases
  • China implicitly blames Russia for latest outbreak

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Update (1840ET): LA County just reported 29 more deaths and 694 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total case count in the largest county in the US by a wide margin to 37,974.

Here's more, courtesy of Patch.com:

Los Angeles County health officials announced 29 more deaths from COVID-19 and 694 newly confirmed cases Sunday, bringing the county's totals to 1,821 deaths and 37,974 cases.

"To the many people experiencing the profound sadness of losing someone they love to COVID-19, we are deeply sorry," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director.

"Despite the ever-increasing numbers, Ferrer has stressed that the rate of the virus' spread has been slowed by the county's Safer At Home orders mandating face masks, social distancing and asking people to remain home as much as possible.

Ninety-two percent of the people who died had underlying health conditions, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. As of Sunday, 5,816 people - or 16% of positive cases - have been hospitalized, officials said. Of the 1,648 people currently hospitalized, 26% are in intensive care and 19% are on ventilators.

Testing capacity continues to increase in the county, with results available for more than 309,000 individuals and 11% of people testing positive.

Another 29 deaths? Is that enough of an incentive for Barbara Ferrer to announce another extension to the county's 'stay at home' order?

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Update (1750ET): New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy has launched a new campaign urging residents of the Garden State to wear their masks, adopting the unfortunate slogan: "You'd look better in a mask".

Meanwhile, the number of new cases and deaths continued to fall precipitously.

Meanwhile, after weeks of griping about how the federal government wasn't doing enough to expand "testing, testing, testing", New York State is reporting an excess of capacity, and Gov Cuomo again encouraged anyone with suspicious symptoms - really, anyone at all, even if they're kinda, sorta all in your head - to come on down and get tested at any one of the state's 700+ sites.

Meanwhile, Cuomo confirmed 2,185 new cases, and just 198 new deaths.

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Update (1200ET): New York Gov Andrew Cuomo is holding his daily press briefing.

Last night, Propublica published an extensive investigative report about the discrepancy between the number of deaths in NY and Cali - NY saw 10x the number of deaths as the country's most populous state, according to official numbers. Though it's worth keeping in mind that initial 'surveillance' studies suggest a shockingly deep level of penetration. The piece blamed a "childish" "cold war" between NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo for NY's delayed response.

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During our morning rounds this morning, we noticed an interesting pattern in the headlines: Many stories seemed to focus on the "newest" international hotspots - Russia and Brazil - but we found almost nothing about the successes in Georgia which we first reported last week.

While former President Barack Obama regaled the nation's graduates about how they shouldn't always trust the 'people in charge' - a message that, we suspect, was interpreted in wildly different ways by students of different political orientations and feelings about leadership during our present predicament - public health officials in Georgia, along with Brian Kemp, who defied the leader of his own party to move forward with his plan, have now reported three weeks of declines in cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

Even Dr. Fauci expressed dismay over Georgia's plans, and suggested it would lead to a spike in deaths and new cases. So far at least, that hasn't materialized.

The state's reopening has outperformed even the sunniest projections (projections which - remember - were developed by scientists, not politicians).

Yet, the same Democrats who dismissed the threat posed by the virus back in January (while the virus was already very possibly spreading in New York, California and elsewhere) are now demanding even more money to allow Americans to sit at home all through the summer. The politicized nature of this crisis has alarmed opinion columnists. But for most regular Americans, we suspect it came as less of a shock.

As we reported earlier, the CCP is scrambling to contain another outbreak in a remote northeastern province situated along China's border with Russia (all while Beijing implicitly blames Russia for the outbreak by pinning the responsibility on citizens returning from Russia), while also rolling out a mass testing plan in Wuhan that some 'experts' have warned could actually contribute to another outbreak (by forcing millions of people to gather in densely packed lines while they await their turn to be 'swabbed').

But in Beijing, where most of the foreign journalists living in China reside, the government has just told citizens that they can move about outside without their masks. However, at least one CNBC reporter claimed she still didn't feel 'safe enough' to forego the masks.

In India, PM Narendra Modi extended his country's 2-month-old-lockdown - one of the most strict in the world - until May 17. This now fourth extension - which some locals are calling 'lockdown 4' - will inevitably add to the pressures facing the Indian economy. A team of analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients that "the deeper trough in our Q2 forecasts reflects the extremely poor economic data we have received so far for March and April, and the continued lockdown measures, which are among the most stringent across the world."

Among other groups, migrant workers have been hit particularly hard as hundreds of thousands of Indians have been effectively stranded abroad or far from home inside India.

Travel will be closed across India until the end of May, and restaurants, bars, schools and other establishments will also remain closed while the government gradually loosens restrictions, though some shops as well as manufacturing and farming have been allowed to reopen or resume.

The Indian Health Ministry on Sunday reported a record jump of nearly 5,000 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the number of confirmed cases to 90,927, with 2,872 deaths. India was reporting fewer than 500 positive cases and nine deaths when the lockdown was first imposed on 25 March.

As we reported yesterday, Brazil remains the worst affected country outside of the US by daily deaths and cases. It recorded its second-highest daily increase in infections yesterday with 14,919 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to 233,142. Over the last four days alone, Brazil has recorded 55,553 infections.

While the newest batch of hotspots (Brazil, Russia, northeastern China) flare up, Spain reported fewer than 100 deaths over the past 24 hours, marking the first time the country has seen so few deaths since mid-March. Spain's ministry of health said on Sunday that 87 people had died, the lowest tally since March 16 (just 2 days after the Spanish government announced one of Europe's most restrictive lockdowns). That contrasts with the peak daily death toll of 950 on April 2.

As the tensions between Beijing and Australia's conservative government intensify, Canberra warned Sunday that China’s "unpredictable regulatory interventions" in trade are making it more difficult for Australian businesses to invest in the economic "bilateral relationship" that has driven a historic 30-year economic boom in Australia.

After breaking above 4.5 million cases yesterday, the number of 'official' coronavirus cases topped 487k while deaths neared 310k.

Finally, as public furor over the government's new guidelines intensifies, Boris Johnson acknowledged this morning that some people will feel “frustrated” by this lack of clarity as the UK reminds a step or two behind Germany, Spain and even France.