California Gov Threatens 'Lockdown Crackdown' As Thousands Crowd SoCal Beaches: Live Updates

Summary:

  • White House economic advisor says Q2 GDP will be 'largest negative # since depression'
  • Global total tops 3 million
  • Ohio releases plan to reopen economy
  • NYSBOE cancels Democratic Primary
  • Cali Gov vows to tighten restrictions as citizens violate lockdown
  • San Francisco Marathon postponed
  • White House briefing is back on for Monday
  • Cuomo starts Monday briefing
  • New York deaths drop for 3rd straight day
  • New Zealand to lift lockdown at midnight
  • Several of Australia's provinces unveil plans to gradually reopen
  • PM Abe says Japan will approve remdesivir for coronavirus treatment
  • Singapore now home to third-worst outbreak in Asia
  • Dr. Birx says some social distancing measures will likely remain in effect until end of summer
  • Boris Johnson returns to work
  • Norway extends ban on gatherings of 500+ until September
  • Monday WH briefing cancelled
  • CDC releases 6 new 'official' COVID-19 symptoms
  • India plans to finally repatriate citizens stranded abroad
  • Trump denies reports about firing Alex Azar
  • French Grand Prix latest Formula One racing event to be cancelled
  • Spain records second-lowest daily death toll in a month
  • Nearly 20 US states begin reopening push

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Update (1520ET): Californians are about to learn the true meaning of what the Dead Kennedys were singing about in their classic punk anthem, "California, Uber Alles."

After thousands of Californians in Orange and Ventura Counties violated the 'stay at home' order and flocked to the beach to seek solace from a brutal heat wave that baked SoCal. Images of the beaches drew widespread criticism in the state, and Newsom said during his Monday briefing that it's "not what should have happened."

In a sign of just how desperate people are to get outside, residents said the crowd packed on the beach is something typically seen on July 4. Visitors cruised around seaside neighborhoods searching for parking, bringing them into contact with furious locals.

Even Huntington Beach saw big gatherings, despite the closure of beach parking lots and other parking closures nearby.

Newsom praised the residents of other counties, who managed to get outside without flagrantly flouting the state's social distancing rules, specifically calling out those in San Diego and in San Mateo County, because "we had strong guidelines that were abided by."

Watch the rest of Newsom's briefing below:

And before we go: NPR has just confirmed that the White House plans to release new guidance of coronavirus testing during Monday's briefing.

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Update (1400ET): After an hours-long delay, the UK has finally released its latest round of data, showing 4,310 new cases and 360 deaths, a sign that the slowdown in the virus's spread has also led to a decline in daily deaths.

In the US, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced plans to reopen his state on May 1 - which is this Friday. On that date, non-essential health-care visits and surgeries that don't require an overnight stay will be allowed. On May 4 - the following Monday - manufacturing and general offices can reopen.

On May 12, retail shops will be allowed to reopen. However, DeWine's plan will require staff at stores to wear masks "at all times", unlike a plan that was approved by Republican House members earlier. The Ohio plan will "strongly encourage" customers to do the same, while continuing to practice other social distancing measures indoors.

The governor shared more rules on his twitter account.

As one local paper noted, with state Department of Health orders set to expire at the end of the week and many of his constituents anxious to get back to work, DeWine has been under intense pressure to release a plan.

"My heart aches for the businessmen and women who are not able to work," DeWine said during Monday's press conference.

Even after offices reopen, DeWine urged all who can work from home to continue to do so.

The state hasn't decided when it will allow retaurants, barber shops, hair salons and day care centers to reopen. And school buildings already have been ordered to stay closed for the remainder of the academic year.

DeWine said these last measures will be tied to the state's ability to improve access to testing. The state is projecting as many as 133,650 tests will be available per week by the end of May, and the state's ability to track the spread of the virus is contingent on testing, DeWIne said. To achieve that, the state will need to more than double its public-health workforce to 685 to about 1,750 by June 1.

As of Monday, the state had reported 16,325 cases, 753 deaths and 3,232 hospitalizations related to the virus.

Meanwhile, the White House said earlier that the US has enough capacity to test 2% of the population, which would seem to rule out 'mass surveillance testing' anytime soon.

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Update (1340ET): Just in case you still care, China reported yesterday that the number of active coronavirus cases in Wuhan's hospitals has finally been reduced to zero. And Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, just came up with another twitter 'burn' on the US.

President Xi visited Wuhan a month and a half ago for propaganda purposes. Visiting the city any earlier would not have been possible.

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Update (1330ET): Washington reporters might have celebrated too loudly at the news Trump's Monday briefing would be cancelled. A White House spokesperson just said Trump will hold a briefing to discuss 'testing guidelines' - by which we assume he means trying to explain once again that the governors don't need universal testing to begin unraveling their lockdowns, as Dr. Fauci said.

We expect Trump will also spend a not-insignificant amount of time denying that the shortages of test kits in some US states is his fault.

Those who won a bid to run in the San Francisco Marathon will need to wait until November, the city said Monday.

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Update (1220ET): In an unprecedented move, New York's state board of elections has decided to cancel its June 23 Democratic Primary. They argued that, since Sanders has stopped campaigning, it would be wiser to cancel the primary rather than have people risk infection to write in Sanders' name.

The decision was expected, as the board had called Monday's meeting to discuss whether to cancel the vote. WSJ reported yesterday that Sanders and his supporters had urged the board not to cancel the primary, since Sanders' locus of support is in Brooklyn, and many people working on his campaign probably often forget that there's a country outside of their favorite borough.

A state budget provision adopted earlier in April allows the Democratic commissioners on the BOE, Douglas Kellner and Andy Spano, to remove presidential candidates from the ballot who have made public statements suspending their campaigns.

Now, legions of Sanders supporters are about to find themselves in an uncomfortable position: demanding that they have a constitutional right to vote for Bernie in the primary, while continuing to ridicule everybody demanding that they have a constitutional right to leave their homes.

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Update (1200ET): Just before Gov Cuomo's press conference began, Mayor de Blasio announced that he would close 40 miles of streets to cars over the next few weeks, hoping to achieve a goal of "100 miles of open streets". He also said the city would hire 1,000 'contact tracers' to try and suppress what is undoubtedly the worst outbreak in the country.

We wouldn't be surprised to learn that de Blasio made the announcement deliberately to try and confuse the public into thinking his arch-rival Gov. Cuomo was the one who ordered the street closures, which have seriously angered many commuters and New Yorkers with disabilities who rely on cars.

Liberal NYers have been demanding that de Blasio open more streets to pedestrians (and close them to cars) to take more pressure off NYC's crowded public spaces and subways. Cuomo has urged de Blasio to open up more streets for pedestrian use.

As the state weighs whether to finally start rolling back Cuomo's "PAUSE" initiative - the "unPAUSE", as Cuomo is half-seriously calling it - in some counties, Cuomo said that the state would launch its own coronavirus isolation units, using hotels or other places that can house large numbers of the infected with at least some privacy.

He also revealed the results of the state's second random antibody screening of a few thousand New Yorkers. The data were mostly in line with the first test, though they caused the overall numbers to fluctuate a little bit: The new figures brought the statewide detection rate to 14.9%, up by nearly a full percentage point, while the new data for NYC drove the detection rate to a whopping 25%, up from 21% last week.  So far, 7,500 have been tested between the two samples.

One again, there were glaring variations by region, with samples in New York City, the nation's epicenter, showing much higher positivity rates than upstate samples.

Now, what impact will this have on 'herd immunity'?

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Update (1150ET): Courtesy of the BBC, here's a visual breakdown of infections, deaths and recoveries.

Source: BBC

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Update (1130ET): The notion that we ever compared SARS-CoV-2 to the original now seems almost quaint as the number of confirmed cases of the virus around the world surpasses the 3 million mark.

According to WorldoMeters, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has surpassed the 3 million mark. An official count from Johns Hopkins, another widely-followed source for data on the outbreak, lists the confirmed total at between 2,990,000 and 3 million.

We hit the 2 million mark on April 15, meaning it only took 12 days - less than 2 weeks - for 1 million new cases to be confirmed, with hundreds of thousands - if not millions - more likely unaccounted for.

The total passed the 1 million mark on April 3, meaning the time it took for the outbreak to go from 1-2 million and from 2-3 million was roughly the same, which at least suggests that the outbreak has slowed.

Gov Andrew Cuomo has kicked off Monday's briefing where he's expected to release more information about the state's reopening, which he said yesterday could begin as soon as May 15, when his "Pause" regulations might begin to lift in some parts of the state.

New York reported 337 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, down from 367 yesterday, falling for third day in a row.

It brought the state's death toll to 17,303.

 

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Update (1100ET): Last night, the CDC released a list of new coronavirus symptoms reflecting reports that loss of taste and sense of smell have emerged as a surprisingly common thread among patients on different continents.

The new symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, along with the loss of taste and smell mentioned above. The original set of symptoms released by the CDC included fever, cough and shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing.

"People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness," the CDC says on its website. It also warns that symptoms might appear 2-14 days after exposure, though the delayed onset of symptoms, or total lack thereof, is a major issue for many patients who never seek medical care, but spread the virus to many of those around them.

In other news, Monday night's White House press briefing has been canceled. That faint sound you hear is every reporter in Washington screaming for joy.

Trump tweeted over the weekend that he planned to cancel the increasingly acrimonious briefings - which ignited a firestorm Thursday when Trump publicly mused about using light or ingesting cleaning products - though Sunday's briefing proceeded as normal.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has delayed the publication of Monday's virus figures...

...as deaths have been on the decline, and the government is preparing to release more details about the UK's plan to reopen its economy.

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Update (0930ET): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a break from hyping up his favorite potential coronavirus treatment - a drug called Avigan - to announce that Japan will start using remdesivir, the ebola drug developed by Gilead Sciences that hasn't yet finished clinical trials (though recent data accidentally published by the WHO showed the drug appears to be ineffective in treating the condition.

According to Kyodo News, Japan will approve remdesivir as early as next month to treat patients with COVID-19.

"The pharmaceutical approval (of remdesivir) will be possible shortly," Abe told parliament.

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Update (0850ET): White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett offered a surprisingly harsh take on the economic outlook, differing markedly in tone from other senior economic advisors like Larry Kudlow. He told a gathering of reporters that he expects Q2 GDP to be the "biggest negative number since the Great Depression," adding that it could print a contraction between 20% and 30%. 

"I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible," Hassett told reporters. "You're going to see numbers as bad as anything we've ever seen before."

But the rebound should arrive by Q3, when Hassett expects to see a sizable QoQ jump.

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The great international experiment of coronavirus lockdowns, a movement that at its peak left more than half of the world's population facing at least some legal restrictions on freedom of movement, has officially entered what many hope will be its final stage: Dozens of countries are beginning the process of lifting some restrictions, even if others remain in place, or are being made more stringent - such as new rules governing the wearing of facemasks in public.

New Zealand will become the first developed country to end the lockdown entirely now that the virus has been effectively eradicated from the tiny island nation, according to its health officials. NZ's lockdown will end at midnight local time.  In neighboring Australia, officials in Sydney recently opted to seal off three recently reopened beaches due to local noncompliance. And while Australia's reopening process is set to be much more gradual than New Zealand's, several states plan to start the process this week, according to Australia's Nine Network.

To be sure, many social distancing restrictions will remain in effect in New Zealand, even as 400,000 people return to work. Kiwis will be allowed to go fishing, surfing, hunting and hiking this week for the first time in more than a month as the country's alert level shifts down a notch at midnight. Many shops and most dine-in restaurants will remain closed.

Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria are all on track to start easing within the coming weeks, according to Nine, while New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT haven't released any updates.

Moving on to Asia, Singapore has continued to struggle with a brutal outbreak among its population of migrant workers who live in tightly-packed dorms on the island city-state. Singapore reported a fresh daily rise of 799 cases over the last 24 hours, launching Singapore past Japan to become the third-worst outbreak in all of Asia. Migrants account for ~3/4ths of Singapore's 14,423 cases. That leaves it in third place in Asia, behind China and India.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, health officials have further eased restrictions as hospitals have confirmed only one case of locally-transmitted COVID-19 for an entire week.

Speaking of India, the ministry of external affairs said on Monday that it is finally planning a large-scale rescue mission to bring the thousands of Indians stranded abroad back home. On March 18, New Delhi moved to abruptly and swiftly impose aggressive travel bans that barred even its own citizens from returning home, one of the few countries in the world to take such strict action to avert a surge in coronavirus cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work on Monday after more than three weeks off to battle the coronavirus. In a speech, Johnson - arguably the world's most famous coronavirus patient aside from Tom Hanks - said Britain was slowly winning the fight against the virus, but added that it was "too early" to totally relax restrictions. He pleaded with the British public to hang on "just a little bit longer" after six weeks of lockdown.

"This is the biggest single challenge this country has faced since the war, and I no way minimize the continuing problems we face,” Johnson said during his speech.

Last night in the US, President Trump pushed back against reports that he was on the brink of firing HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

During Sunday's press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx said some form of social distancing will probably remain in place through the summer, even as nearly 2 dozen states prepare to start reopening their economies this week and next. Dr. Birx was slammed by far-left journalists overnight for having the audacity to tell the press not to focus so much on President Trump's extemporaneous musings about cleaning products and 'sunlight'.

Yesterday, we provided a rundown of the roughly 20 states that are starting the reopening process, which is being led by Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and a handful of other states. Here's more on that from Reuters.

More U.S. states prepare to ease coronavirus restrictions this week despite continued warnings from health experts that there is still too little diagnostic testing.

Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee were set to join several other states in reopening businesses without the means to screen systematically for infected people who may be contagious but asymptomatic, and to trace their contacts with others they might have exposed.

Many merchants are worried about returning to work - but are doing so anyway because they need the money.

“I would stay home if the government encouraged that, but they’re not. They’re saying, ‘Hey, the best thing to do is go back to work, even though it might be risky,’” Royal Rose, 39, owner of a tattoo studio in Greeley, Colorado, said.

Yesterday, we reported that after unveiling the lowest single-day death toll in a month, NY Gov. Cuomo said that the state could begin reopening on May 15.

Norway announced last night that it would expand its ban on gatherings of more than 500 people until September, the longest end date in place for ending social distancing practices. Meanwhile, as France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and others start the process of easing their lockdowns, Formula 1 Racing announced on Monday that the French Grand Prix will no longer go ahead this year, becoming the tenth race of the delayed Formula One season to be cancelled or postponed.

Finally, in one of the most promising trends across Europe, Spain has reported its second lowest number of single-day deaths in over a month, second only to yesterday's reading. Although today's number is a little bit higher day over day, the trend of fewer cases and even fewer deaths remains firmly intact across the Spanish Republic.

Spain's Ministry of Health said Monday that 331 people had succumbed to the virus over the last day. This compares with Sunday’s toll of 288 people, the lowest total since March 20. However, it is below all the other daily totals recorded for the past five weeks. The cumulative death toll is 23,521 people. Meanwhile, another 100k Spaniards have officially recovered from the virus. Spain also reported 9,570 new cases, bringing the countrywide total to 226,629.