- Italian PM says "EU could fail" if bailout package isn't handled
- Russia, Tokyo report record jumps
- Russian case total passes 10k
- Over the past 24 hours, the US reported 32,176 new cases
- US moves to try and stop the IMF from approving Iran's request for a $5 billion bailout
- Some Americans could see stimulus checks as soon as Thursday
- Italy reports sudden jump in deaths, cases overnight
- South Korea warns risk of virus "reactivating" in cured patients
- Trump approves disaster declarations for Idaho, Alaska
- Penn., Mo. join growing list of states to cancel school for the rest of the academic year
- Sweden reports jump in deaths for second day in a row
- France reports more than 1,300 deaths in a single day
- Germany weighing plan to financially reward doctors and nurses for work during outbreak
- NJ deaths near 2k as total cases top 50k
- NY reports another record jump in deaths
- 332,000 people have recovered globally so far
- Number of patients who have recovered from the virus passes 350k
- India reports 809 new cases, 46 new deaths
- Dr. Fauci says US deaths might be "closer to 60k"
- South Africa extends lockdown as State Department prepares to evacuate Americans
- Oxfam warns outbreak could push 500M ppl into poverty
- UK-US trade talks suspended indefinitely
- Boris Johnson released from ICU
- Merkel opposes coronabonds
- White House floats dubious rumor about "second" coronavirus task force to focus on the economy
- 19 Syrians have tested positive as health orgs alarmed by outbreak
- President Trump says US could reopen in phases "ahead of schedule"
- Spain has confirmed 153,222 cases of the virus
- EU pressures Netherlands to drop opposition to bailout plan
- Support for 'Unity Government' surges in the UK
- Italian PM says lockdown might start to lift at end of April
- Spain government celebrates lockdown achievements as opposition suspects cases are undercounted
* * *
Update (1945ET): Now that a handful of passengers have died aboard - or died after being infected aboard - cruises amid outbreaks of COVID-19, the CDC has extended a "no sail" order that will stop cruises from departing in the US.
NEW: There have been numerous #COVID19 outbreaks on recent cruise ship voyages. @CDCDirector has extended the previous No Sail Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among crew onboard. https://t.co/OTWJgCN8wQ pic.twitter.com/sbHX4p907F— CDC (@CDCgov) April 9, 2020
The order will stay in place until either the CDC rescinds it or HHS Secretary Alex Azar drops one of his public health warnings regarding COVID-19.
* * *
Update (1930ET): Pennsylvania and Missouri announced on Thursday that they would cancel school for the rest of the academic year, joining a growing list of states who have decided to keep students out of school despite a growing body of research showing school cancellations don't help suppress the virus.
Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said closing schools was vital to fighting the coronavirus.
“We must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus during this national crisis,” Wolf said.
"This was not an easy decision but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees and families."
Closing schools saddles parents who are still working outside of the home (ie all 'essential' workers) with the added burden of arranging child care.
Still, Oregon, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State have all ordered schools closed already, and most expect few students will return to classrooms before the end of the school year, not just in the US, but in Europe as well.
In other news, Trump has also approved national disaster orders for Alaska and Idaho, bringing the total who have seen their orders approved to 49 states.
* * *
Update (1620ET): On Thursday, Indian health officials reported 809 new cases of the virus and 46 new deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases to 6,725, and deaths to 227, as the country continues a strictly enforced lockdown.
Meanwhile, the number of patients who have recovered worldwide just surpassed 350k.
* * *
Update (1520ET): Top Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said during an interview on Fox Business Thursday afternoon that the economy will be reopened on a "rolling basis," with the beginning coming in the next month or two.
"What we're looking at here, I hope, will be a two month gap interference, if you will. March, end of April. The next month or two, we should be able to restart, at least on a rolling basis."
But Kudlow added: "Everybody who wants one is going to be able to get one. That is our goal. That’s the essential message: we want to keep you in business, we know just how difficult this is. We know the hardships are enormous."
* * *
Update (1440ET): The UK just confirmed the numbers shared by Dominic Raab an hour ago: With 4,344 new cases and 881 new deaths, the UK reached a total of 65,077 cases and 7,978 deaths.
As of 9am 9 April, 298,169 tests have concluded, with 16,095 tests on 8 April.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 9, 2020
243,421 people have been tested of which 65,077
As of 5pm on 8 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who
tested positive for coronavirus, 7,978 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/wMfUJKodOL
Both deaths and new cases declined slightly from yesterday, but not by much. And as deaths decelerate more slowly than cases, the mortality rate hit a new record high of 12.3%.
Back in New Jersey, Gov. Murphy said the state expects to reach its peak for the outbreak in 2 or 3 days. Notably, at its high point, the state expected 14,400 residents to be hospitalized and as many as 1,880 patients in the ICU, said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli at a press briefing. NJ has about 7,363 residents hospitalized, and 1,523 in the ICU right now, Governor Phil Murphy reported. Last week, the number of new cases and deaths were doubling every 2-3 days in the state: fortunately, they've slowed from that pace.
As the US embassy in South Africa prepares to start evacuating 900 Americans, the South African government has extended its lockdown until the end of Germany. SA Reported 96 new cases and five new deaths on Thursday, bringing the country's total to 1,845, along with 18 deaths. As we mentioned earlier, Spain has officially extended its lockdown until April 26.
* * *
Update (1440ET): UK PM Boris Johnson has been released from the ICU, though he still has a long road to recovery. His team said he's in "good spirits". Meamwhile, UK-US trade talks have reportedly been suspended indefinitely.
* * *
Update (1335ET): Rounding out what has been a mostly disappointing day for Europe and its new numbers of cases and deaths, France and the UK also reported accelerations in the pace of new cases and deaths.
France reported 1,341 new deaths over the last day, including deaths not only in hospitals but also in nursing homes and other group settings where the virus is known to spread like wildfire.
In the UK, Dominic Raab announced 881 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 7,978. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 65,077, an increase of 4,344.
Over the past three weeks Washington DC, 8 members of the United States Capitol Police have told superiors that they have tested positive, meanwhile in New York, nearly 20% of the NYPD is still out sick, many because of the virus. On Thursday, more than 7,000 officers were out sick.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who recently was given untrammeled power to direct the government during the response, which some have complained elevated him to the status of 'dictator', Orban announced that current restrictions on movement will be extended “indefinitely" a Hungary battles the virus.
"We will reconsider the restrictions on a weekly basis,” Orban said on Thursday.
In the US, 416 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, roughly 10% of the ship's crew, have ave now tested positive for COVID-19, and the numbers are rising daily.
Detroit health officials reported 249 new Covid-19 cases in the city Thursday, a slight decline from days prior, according to the city's health website. There were 525 cases reported in the city on April 4, the highest for a single day there so far. Since then, daily reported cases have showed a steady but slow decline, Detroit's health department curve shows.
Sweden has reported a rise in the daily death rate for the second day in a row, with the virus now killing at least 100 people for two days in a row, the country said, raising the total number of dead to 792. The total number of cases across the country has increased to 9,141 with 719 in intensive care. Stockholm, the capital, is the epicenter of the outbreak.
Circling back to the US, health officials in Detroit reported 249 new cases of the virus in the city Thursday, a slight decline from the last few days. Daily reported cases in the city have been declining since April 4, when it reported 525 cases in the city.
* * *
Update (1315ET): New Jersey just released another pretty dire report that suggests little deceleration in the spread of the virus, or the rate at which its killing the state's residents.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday afternoon that the state reported 198 new deaths, bringing the state's total to 1700, while the total number of new cases crossed over 50k. He added that social distancing measures appear to be slowing the rate of spread.
Sadly, we lost an additional 198 New Jerseyans yesterday, bringing our statewide total of losses to 1,700.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 9, 2020
This number is the worst of all to report to you. It does not ever get any easier on us.
This aren’t numbers, these are people. They are our fellow New Jerseyans. pic.twitter.com/3LcVlJfpMV
Nearby PA also reported numbers of Thursday, with more than 2,000 more PA residents testing positive as of Thursday afternoon, bringing the statewide total past 18,000, the state Department of Health announced. Pennsylvania has counted 338 deaths and 18,228 cases statewide, while more than 87,000 patients have tested negative. PA also extended school closing for the rest of the academic year, one of the only states to have declared it already, though few believe students will be returning to classrooms any time soon.
And the latest indication over how flawed the rollout of the 'PPP' program for small businesses has been, the first lawsuit over the program was filed in federal court Wednesday by Strip Club in Michigan. It's the first of what could end up being a series of protracted legal battles over which businesses qualify for the hastily-conceived $349 billion relief effort, according to NBC News.
The CDC on Wednesday published new guidelines detailing how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed to people infected by the coronavirus, provided they do not feel sick and follow certain precautions.
In Germany, lawmakers are weighing a plan to financially reward doctors and nurses for their hard work during the crisis.
Across Europe, states from Poland to Portugal have institute strict prohibitions on movement as the Christian world prepares to celebrate Easter, the religion's second-most important holiday, in isolation.
* * *
Update (1240ET): Italy's Civil Protection Agency just announced that new cases and deaths jumped over the last day across Italy. The country reported 4,204 new cases of coronavirus and 610 new deaths over the last day, bringing countrywide totals to 143,626 cases and 18,279 deaths. Among the 18k+ dead, Italian officials said, includes 100 doctors, who have succumbed to the virus while fighting it on the front lines.
Interestingly enough, after blaming the US for inventing the coronavirus, Beijing is now seeding conspiracy theories that Italy may be responsible.
The Chinese regime first accused the U.S., then Italy for the origin of the #CCPvirus, but “Patient Zero” in at least 19 countries, including the U.S., Italy, South Korea, France, Germany, were all found to have close ties to #Wuhan, China’s #CCPvirus epicenter. pic.twitter.com/VCenpaiD6y— China in Focus - NTD (@ChinaInFocusNTD) April 9, 2020
While those numbers out of Italy were lower than totals reported a week ago, they were up modestly from yesterday's numbers. Yet, US investors don't seem to care, and everybody in Europe is already bracing for what's likely to be a lonely holiday.
Italy's update:— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) April 9, 2020
- Number of new cases up by 10%
- Number of new deaths up by 13%
- Fatality rate at all-time high 12.7%
- Number of new people tested down
- Number of newly recovered people down
Meanwhile, a senior trade unionist source has reportedly told Italian newspapers that the government is planning on extending the lockdown on May 3.
Outside of Italy, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has recovered from COVID-19 after falling ill, and news about Boris Johnson sitting up in bed and feeling modestly better appears to have swamped headlines in the UK.
Earlier, the New York Times reported that it was mostly European travelers who brought COVID-19 to New York, not travelers from China and Asia, according to a study awaiting peer review.
"The majority is clearly European," said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.
More importantly, the study found that the virus was likely circulating in New York by mid-February, weeks before the first case was confirmed. Another team of researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine across town arrived at similar conclusions, despite studying a different batch of patients.
In other words: Trump really should have barred flights from Europe when he barred flights from China.
* * *
Update (1150ET): Moving into the back-end of his daily briefing, Governor Cuomo said that the jump in deaths seen in recent days is to be expected, and that the key figure to focus on is the drop in ICU capacity, as the state remains moderately shy of its limits on hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators. If this indeed is the worst of it as far as deaths and hospitalizations go, the state won't need any more assistance or outside equipment.
Meanwhile, data shared by Cuomo on Thursday exposed what may have been the reason for failing to report ICU admissions yesterday.
With deaths soaring in NYC, Cuomo said he had to bring in outside funeral directors into the city to help families plan COVID-19 related burials. As the bodies pile up, Cuomo said that the outbreak is almost worse than 9/11 in certain ways. He added that 9/11 was supposed to be the city's greatest challenge for a generation - but the outbreak is also a problem.
Looking ahead, as discussion about how to reopen the economy continues, Cuomo said that "rapid testing" would be critical to determine who can and can't go back to work.
He also warned that even once this first wave is over, there could be more successive waves in the future, noting that the Spanish Flu of 1918 came in three waves.
"Remember, the 1918 Spanish flu came in three waves. Well [with Covid] we’re on the first wave," Cuomo said.
* * *
Update (1110ET): New York State just reported a record number of deaths in a 24 hour period for the second day in a row, after reporting about 790 deaths state-wide yesterday, it reported more than 800 deaths on Thursday.
- NYC REPORTS RECORD 824 DEATHS FROM VIRUS IN LAST 24 HOURS
- NYC CONFIRMED VIRUS CASES RISE BY MORE THAN 6,400, TO 84,373
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has heralded the flat-ish growth in new cases in the state as a sign of a "plateau" in the state, while also touting the spike in hospital vacancies that has occurred as deaths have jumped (an unintended consequence).
* * *
Update (1100ET): As economists in the US warn that Thursday's unemployment claims numbers suggest that the US unemployment rate is already around 13%, its highest level since the Great Depression, and worse than the depths of the financial crisis, the Nairobi-based charity Oxfam published a report on Thursday claiming 500 million people around the world would be pushed into poverty because of the virus, per Reuters.
This would cause global poverty rates to fall for the first time since the early 1990s, when the collapse of Communism and ensuing privatizations sowed chaos in formerly Communist society.
* * *
Update (1040ET): After returning to the Chancellory from isolation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being celebrated by the public for her government's decisive steps to contain the outbreak. Germany is testing more than 50k a day, and its robust testing program has been said to be responsible for the country's strikingly low mortality rate (under 1%).
But while her actions have helped unite Germans during this crisis, her decision to oppose the controversial "coronabonds" proposal has frustrated some of her European partners. Reuters reported Thursday that Merkel would oppose the bonds.
“I spoke today with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for a long time and we agree that there is an urgent need for solidarity in Europe, which is going through one of its most difficult hours, if not the most difficult,” Merkel said.
"And Germany is ready for this solidarity and committed to it. Germany’s wellbeing depends on Europe being well. Now, which instruments are fit for this purpose, here there are different views. You know that I don’t believe we should have common debt because of the situation of our political union and that’s why we reject this,” she added during a news conference.
"But there are so many ways to show solidarity and I believe we will find a good solution."
Merkel has already uncorked 'limitless' credit within Germany as part of Berlin's $1 trillion-plus rescue package. Rome is going to need to figure this one out in a way that won't force the Germans to dip their hands into their wallets again.
With markets set to clock one of their best weekly rallies since 2009, the White House is whipping the horse again with dubious BBG headlines, this time claiming that it will create a second task force focused on the economy with...the half of people on the main task force who are focusing on the economy. Core members would include Mnuchin and Kudlow. Of course, this isnt' the first time we've seen this rumor.
* * *
Update (0800ET): Offering some more surprisingly optimistic comments, Dr. Fauci said in what have become routine morning comments in the press that he now expects US fatalities due to the virus to be "closer to 60k" than the 100k-200k previously anticipated. Trump once said that as many as 240k might die.
"The real data are telling us it is highly likely we are having a definite positive effect by the mitigation things that we’re doing, this physical separation,” said Dr. Fauci during a Thursday morning interview with NBC.
"I believe we are going to see a downturn in that, and it looks more like the 60,000, than the 100,000 to 200,000" projected fatalities, he said.
Futs have been somewhat volatile this morning, but as it stands, it looks like the Dow will open lower by less than 1%.
However, the trickle of optimistic headlines garners a lot of attention, even more concerning signs that recovered patients might still be vulnerable to the virus have emerged. The coronavirus may be "reactivating" in people who had appeared to be cured of the illness, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adding to the optimism, as of Thursday, more than 332,000 people have recovered from coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
* * *
As Holy Week draws to a close and the long Holiday Weekend begins, the optimism that helped inspire the biggest bounce since the 'rona rout appears to have faded, and Dow futs are back to being three figures in the red Thursday morning, pointing to a lower open as traders realize the 'plateaus' supposedly reached in Italy, Spain and New York didn't really mean anything. And while the Germans truly do seem to be on top of things, other hotspots in Europe are already cropping up, as China tightens its borders as experts warn about a 'second wave'.
Over the past 24 hours, the US reported 32,176 new cases of coronavirus and 1,901 new deaths, raising its totals to 432,727 cases and 14,768 dead, with the most widely followed projections suggesting that the US will pass half a million confirmed cases before Easter Sunday. Yesterday, NY reported its biggest one-day jump in deaths yet, and the pace of spread appeared to accelerate across Europe.
Now, we wake of Thursday morning to find that officials in Tokyo and Moscow have reported record numbers of new cases (that, and Russia recorded its biggest daily jump in deaths).
Meanwhile, as the US moves to try and stop the IMF from approving Iran's request for a $5 billion bailout, the Ayatollah has once again chosen to retaliate in the only venue Trump truly understands: Twitter.
#CoronaVirus is a major problem for mankind. But we won't forget that in Vietnam, Iraq, etc. hundreds of thousands of ppl were killed by the US. Even now, millions suffer from the tyranny of the US & its allies in Yemen, Palestine, etc.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2020
Mankind has worse problems than Corona.
Experts in Europe insist that the lockdowns, social distancing and other measures taken to combat the spread of the virus, and that may be true, but what about places like Iran, Afghanistan or other battered, broken countries that simply don't have the resources to combat the virus. To be fair, Iran, despite the sanctions, still has money and resources, relative to places like Syria, which is struggling with an outbreak that has alarmed international aid agencies.
Despite the continuing civil war, a war seemingly without end as it nears the 10-year mark, enough tests have been run on Syrian citizens that 19 have been confirmed, and two deaths have been confirmed. Testing, however, is "virtually non-existent" throughout the country, and many fear that the camps of impoverished, displaced peoples in the country will be rapid breeding grounds for the virus.
However, since the west and Iran have their hands full, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is going to need to rely on whatever he receives from Russia to combat the virus. And on Thursday, Russia reported 1,459 new cases of coronavirus and 13 new deaths, the biggest daily increase to date, bringing its total case load past 10k. In total, 76 Russians have died.
As the race for treatments continues, Pfizer reportedly expects to be able to test a new antiviral medication for coronavirus in humans by August or September, accelerating the clinical trial timeline as the US drug giant expands its work in the battle against the virus. On the political front, Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary, has suggested the public should prepare for an extension of the current three-week coronavirus lockdown that ends on Monday. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for Mr Johnson while the prime minister is in intensive care, will chair a virtual meeting of the government’s emergency planning committee (Cobra) on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, polls show support for a national unity government - as it gradually becomes clear that, after spending his third night in the ICU, the PM might need another week or two to recover.
As the numbers of new cases continue to fall, Spain’s government is hailing "encouraging" progress, a sign that the strict lockdown imposed by PM Pedro Sanchez last month, is working. However, members of the opposition have accused the government of deliberately undercounting cases, and since testing is uneven across the country, it's extremely likely that the true number of cases is at least modestly higher than the total recorded.
According to official figures published on Thursday, so far 15,447 people with coronavirus have died, 655 of them in the last 24 hours, compared with 757 the previous day and a peak of 950 a week ago. Overall, Spain has now confirmed 153,222 cases of the virus as of Thursday morning, an increase of 4% over Wednesday's count. This is roughly the same rate of increase that has been observed throughout this week, and is below the 25%-30% growth rates seen in the very recent past.
And apparently, even an unprecedented pandemic isn't enough to inspire comity among the member states of the fractious EU. As we noted last night, the ECB's Christine Lagarde urged them in a letter published in several European dailies to set their differences aside and agree on a multilateral plan that will be strong enough to help revive Europe's recession-bound economy. EU governments ratcheted up the pressure on the Netherlands on Thursday to unblock half-a-trillion euros of economic support ahead of a meeting of finance ministers, as the country has emerged as a key antagonist to Italy in the negotiations to help support Europe's most damaged economies. The Scandinavian countries like Netherlands have seen the virus spread, but mortality rates have remained low.
Still, the optimistic numbers seen this week are apparently inspiring the Italian government toward some dangerous thinking: Italy may start lifting some restrictions by the end of April provided that the slowing trend continues, PM Giuseppe Conte said during an interview with the BBC. That doesn't seem like responsible talk for a country with roughly 20k deaths and a health-care system that was completely overwhelmed just weeks ago. Conte also warned that the "EU could fail" if members don't step up and do what's right. Using language that has been employed by Angela Merkel and others, Conte warned that the outbreak is the biggest challenge facing Europe since WWII. The BBC noted it was Conte's first interview with the English-language press since the outbreak exploded in Italy 7 weeks ago.
As the first European countries start to plan their course back to normal, President Trump is doing the same in the US, critics be damned. He said last night that he had a plan to reopen the country in phases that might help get the economy back up and humming "ahead of schedule."
Conte added that if member states don't agree to an "adequate" fiscal package for the states hurt the worst by the outbreak (a group that includes Italy) the project could collapse.
But even as the outbreak finally appears to be heading down the back slope in Italy and Spain, other European nations, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, etc., are rising up to take their place.