- Trump and states battle over who decides on reopening
- European cases (Germany, Spain) continued to slide
- G7 calls for debt standstill for poor countries
- Russia reports another record jump in new cases
- NY coronavirus cases pass 200k
- Airlines accept bailout grants, Mnuchin says
- Cuomo reports 778 new NY deaths
- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown lays out her plan
- France reports largest jump in deaths in 4 days
- Italy reports smallest jump in new cases in more than a month
- Cuomo says he would disobey Trump order to reopen economy if it endangered his state
- China reports another 89 new infections
- US Dept. of Ag prepares to unveil coronavirus farm bailout
- Amazon warehouse worker dies of COVID-19
- NYC adds nearly 4k as death toll blows past 4k due to the city adding a bunch of posthumous diagnoses
- Trump says US will have 'fewer than 100k' deaths
- IMF calls for global economy to contract 3% in 2020
- Florida surgeon general says social distancing should continue until a vaccine is released
- Cali pastors sue state to reopen churches
- Newsom lays out 6 conditions for reopening economy
- Iran plans to divest 10% of Shasta as selloff of state assets begins
- Sweden deaths cross 1k
- UK department of health reports 778 new deaths
- NATO warns supply chains of important medical supplies should be moved out of 'non-member' states
* * *
Update (1845ET): Just hours after Amazon reportedly fired several more warehouse workers for speaking up about the purportedly unsafe and at times downright hostile working conditions in its 'fulfillment centers', which have become critical nodes in the American supply chain as millions more now rely on e-commerce, a spokesperson for the company just confirmed that the first warehouse employee has died of COVID-19.
The worker, a manager at a warehouse in California, was last on-site on March 6. He took a vacation the next week, and reported feeling ill when he returned. Given the timing of his symptoms onset, he wasn't gone long enough to rule out the workplace as the source of his illness.
That doesn't look good considering the disdain that some executives have expressed in private toward workers who speak out about the conditions at the company's warehouses.
* * *
Update (1655ET): Additionally, as Republicans continue to fight for more money for the 'PPP', Mnuchin has just confirmed that practically all of the US major carriers had agreed to accept the billions of dollars in 'PPP' grants.
Meanwhile, the SBA just confirmed that more than 1 million bailout loans.
* * *
Update (1640ET): Thanks largely to NYC's disclosure of thousands of previously uncounted deaths, and a daily record in New Jersey, the US reported 2,082 deaths on Tuesday, a single-day record, bringing the countrywide total to 25,700, according to a Reuters tally.
* * *
Update (1615ET): In a series of tweets sent on Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown joined neighbor Gavin Newsom in laying out her plan to reopen her state, promising that it was based on a "science-driven process" with only three prerequisites (compared to Newsom's six).
They include: Slowed growth of virus cases, adequate personal protective equipment for health-care workers and first responders and increased testing, contact tracing and isolation.
"It will not be easy," Brown wrote. "It will take longer than we want."
In the early days of this pandemic, I had to take swift action to protect the health & safety of Oregonians from this deadly disease. Now, as we see that these efforts are successfully flattening the curve, we're analyzing how & when to reopen each part of our society & economy.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
Here's my framework for restarting public life and business in our state, and how I plan to approach the incredible challenge of reopening segments of our society while maintaining healthy Oregon communities:— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
My framework recognizes a science-driven process. The prerequisites are:— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
1) Slowed growth: fewer cases of COVID-19
2) Adequate PPE to protect health care workers & first responders
3) A robust public health framework: increased testing, contact tracing & effective isolation
It will not be easy. It will take longer than we want.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
These are the prerequisites necessary for “when” we can reopen. Then there’s the “how” we reopen Oregon, and keep it open. I want to work collaboratively to do that, and we will look at specific sectors of the economy.
I will continue to make decisions based on science and facts, in consultation with public health experts, my Medical Advisory Panel, and working with our neighbors in California and Washington, @GovInslee and @GavinNewsom.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
We are all in this together.
As we prepare in the months ahead to get Oregon back to work, we must remember the importance of doing so in a smart, deliberate way.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 14, 2020
This is going to move much slower than any of us want, but that is the only way to protect the health and safety of Oregonians.
The takeaway: It's going to be a while before things go back to normal on the West Coast.
We reported earlier that NYC's death toll soared past 10k earlier amid the largest jump in newly reported deaths by far. Offering an explanation, the NYT reported Tuesday that the increase was driven by the inclusion of a bunch of posthumous confirmations. The corpses weren't tested, but if their symptoms were close enough, they were added to the count.
In one shot, the more than 3,700 people added to the rolls of the dead increased the US nationwide death toll by 17% to more than 26k.
The decision follows a report in the NYT that said deaths were being dramatically undercounted in NYC - which is a global epicenter of the outbreak - and in other cities and towns across the US.
With the new deaths, far more New Yorkers have died per capita now than in Italy.
Mayor de Blasio decided over the weekend to release the presumptive cases, according to the NYT, which cited 'private' sources close to the mayor. Most of the added deaths took place in hospitals, according to the data. Others occurred in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and in residences.
* * *
Update (1530ET): Newsom laid out 6 essential conditions that must be met before businesses in California can be reopen...and by the sound of it, Cali probably won't be the first state to open...if it ever manages to bring its economy back online.
Considering that Gov. Cuomo just warned that the states are nowhere near being able to implement mass testing and tracking, Newsom's demand that public health authorities posses the ability to test people and track contacts of new cases is condition no. 1. Condition no. 2 is taking more steps to protect the vulnerable and the elderly. No. 3 is bolster state hospital systems and build up supplies of PPE. Condition no. 4 is "engage researchers and universities" to work toward treatments. No. 5 is re-drawing floor plans in businesses, parks etc. to accommodate distancing. And finally, the ability to switch the 'stay at home' order back on if the second wave begins to overwhelm.
There are many things wrong with this list, but the one that jumps out at us is redrawing of floor plans. California's tedious environmental regs have made it the most expensive state to build housing and commercial real estate, while doing little to actually protect the state's natural resources and environment (kind of like the state's land-management policies).
Here are the six conditions according to Newsom's office:
- The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed.
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19.
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges.
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand.
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing.
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
* * *
If Newsom really believes restaurants in his state will be able to operate profitably at 50% capacity, he's in for a rude awakening. Given rental costs per square foot, the economics likely will never make sense.
Do people really think social distancing requirements will become the 'new normal' after this? Even once we have a vaccine mass-produced?
We don't really get it.
Newsom seems content with keeping the state's economy shuttered indefinitely: and if you were hoping to make up for everything on the festival circuit this summer, well, Newsom said the state probably won't allow large gatherings before the end of the summer. Or even before the end of next summer: Newsom said a vaccine or 'herd immunity' would be necessary before mass gatherings can be allowed.
Here's Newsom again, in his own words:
When it comes to re-opening, SCIENCE -- not politics -- must be California's guide.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 14, 2020
CA has developed 6 indicators that will help guide how and when we decide to re-open our economy. This isn’t about an on/off switch. This will be a thoughtful process -- led by public health...
1) Ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 14, 2020
2) Ability to prevent infection in people who are at high risk
3) Ability of hospitals and health systems to handle surges
4) Ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 14, 2020
5) Ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing
6) Ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
And now, readers, we bring you all a timely message from Global Times editor Hu Xijin:
Every country will suffer economically this year. But I believe the fall of Chinese economy will be slower than that of the US, not just because China is the earliest to contain the virus spread, it is also more capable of balancing restarting its economy and fighting COVID-19.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) April 14, 2020
* * *
Update (1500ET): California Gov. Gavin Newsom has kicked off his daily press briefing, outlining what needs to happen before the state starts the process of easing its stay-at-home order.
* * *
Update (1340ET): As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to fall in Europe and the US, New Jersey just reported an additional 365 deaths from the coronavirus in one day - a record for the Garden State, which is the most densely populated state in the US (at 1,210 ppl/sq mile), despite its mostly suburban landscape.
Gov. Phil Murphy reported 4,059 new cases across the state over the past 24 hours for a total of 68,824. Meanwhile, the new deaths brought the state's death toll to north of 2,400. Murphy said he would sign a new bill into law on Tuesday allowing any New Jersey resident forced to care for family members because of the virus to collect 12 weeks of paid leave over 24 months.
France also reported a jump in deaths with 762 over the last 24 hours, the highest in four days.
* * *
Update (1245ET): New York State has just released its latest figures on new cases, as it typically does at the end of Gov. Cuomo's daily briefings. Over the past 24 hours, the total case count passed a new milestone of 200k, becoming the only state to officially pass that threshold after the US as a whole. New York still has more cases than Italy and Spain individually.
Speaking to reporters, President Trump said Tuesday that he has seen projections showing the US won't top 100k deaths, and added that Gilead's remdesivir has shown "great promise," even as China recently shuttered one branch of a global study of remdesivir's effectiveness.
* * *
Update (1200ET): Italy's Civil Protection Service released the latest figures, and it appears that Italy's new confirmed cases have slowed since yesterday, with only 2,972 over the last 24 hours, its lowest increase in more than a month. While new cases slowed, deaths accelerated slightly.
The news of the drop, the latest promising sign that the outbreak is truly abating in what was briefly the global epicenter, pushed US stocks higher by a tick.
Meanwhile, the number of newly reported deaths climbed to 602 vs. 566 a day earlier. It brings the totals to 162,488 cases and 21,067 deaths.
* * *
Update (1140ET): During Tuesday's press briefing, Cuomo announed 778 new deaths from COVID-19 in New York State over the past 24 hours, pretty much unchanged from the prior day, adding further support for the theory that NY has reached 'the peak'.
That brings the state's total death toll to 10,834. Cuomo said he and the state government are keeping a close eye on the rest of the state as they try to stop the virus from spreading to the surrounding area. He also said that he's closely watching the number of deaths from nursing homes because that is "the vulnerable population in the vulnerable place."
In an attempt to end the pissing match, Cuomo made clear that he wouldn't fight with President Trump, saying "this is no time for division". He added that Trump "will find no fight with me" about reopening the government. However, Trump's statement that he has total authority "couldn't go uncorrected" Cuomo said.
He also added that he could use more aid from the federal government, claiming that his state is now "broke", with a $10 billion budget deficit, thanks to coronavirus.
While hospital admissions have been falling for days, net admissions have ticked into the negative on Tuesday for the first time, as admissions were "basically flat", Cuomo said.
First net decline in total hospitalizations for New York State today. pic.twitter.com/XLCTf2ZhPb— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 14, 2020
As the world watched in horror while the city buried bodies in public parks and sped up the dumping of unclaimed bodies on Harts Island, the state just reported that over 400 homeless people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 26 have died, most or all of them likely ended up in the unmarked mass graves. To try and reduce density in shelters, the city has been paying $200 a night to house individual homeless in 'luxury' hotels.
* * *
Update (1015ET): In a series of tweets sent Tuesday morning, President Trump bashed Democrats for refusing to agree to a deal to replenish the small business loan program, and also slammed Andrew Cuomo for seeming to want "independence" from the federal government, with Trump claiming "that won't happen!".
The Democrats don’t want to approve more money for our great workers under the incredibly successful “Paycheck” plan. Replenish Account Now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
The pissing contest started with Cuomo's claim, broadcast on CNN, that he would sue the administration if its orders endangered the public.
This morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo explicitly threatened legal action against the administration if Trump "ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health" of New Yorkers https://t.co/4NOowsLgjr pic.twitter.com/wNOJhtwtTr— POLITICO (@politico) April 14, 2020
And really, even before that, when President Trump said the authority to reopen the economy rested with him.
Cuomo responded by taking a much more aggressive tack during an appearance on MSNBC. During that appearance, he mocked Trump and said there's "no value" in watching his pres briefings.
"A governor should not watch that. There’s no value in it. It is infuriating and offensive and frankly ignorant of the facts," Cuomo said. Cuomo also mocked Trump for standing up and repudiating the Republicans' longstanding preference for 'States' Rights'.
"You know, the president stood up and said, 'Forget the Constitution of the United States, forget the concept of federalism,'" Cuomo said.
"To hear a Republican stand up there, by the way, and argue big government and total authority of the federal government is somewhat amusing. You know, if it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny, all of this. It could be a comedy skit."
Watch that clip below:
With Mike Brzezinski asking the questions, Cuomo accused the president of "declaring himself 'King Trump'" and added that "the governors are in charge because the president put them in charge...he could have closed the economy, but he didn't want to."
He also warned that Trump is risking causing "the worst Constitutional crisis we've seen in decades" if states started defying the feds.
Though, of course, it's a little more complicated than that.
More good news from the Continent: The Netherlands just reported that the number of occupied ICU beds has fallen for the third straight day as more seriously ill patients have died, while some more have recovered.
Meanwhile, as the IMF slashes its global growth forecast, as we mentioned below, to -3% for 2020 (compared with the +3% forecast from January), its economists are warning that the downturn ahead will be "worse than the Great Recession" and likely become the world's worst since the Great Depression, per the SCMP, which cited the IMF's "World Economic Outlook" report.
Although China has pulled out all the stops to get its economy up and running at full steam, the IMF said it doesn't expect the world's second largest economy to make a full recovery, with projected 2020 GDP growth of just 1.2%. The economies of Italy and Spain, two of the most vulnerable in Europe, will contract by 9.1% and 8%, the IMF believes.
* * *
Update (0940ET): As expected, the G7 has just released a communique calling for a debt standstill for the poorest sovereign borrowers, if the G20 agrees. Rumors about the plan emerged yesterday. In the communique, the G-7 said creditor countries will work out arrangements using the IMF and World Bank as intermediaries to provide a large degree of temporary debt relief to the hardest-hit emerging nations.
In other news, Iran reported its first daily death toll below 100 in more than a month. The UK Department of Health announced 778 new deaths on Tuesday, along with 5,252 new cases.
As of 9am 14 April, 382,650 tests have concluded, with 14,982 tests on 13 April.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 14, 2020
302,599 people have been tested of which 93,873 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 13 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 12,107 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/xK3AdMiVZC
Sweden, the biggest economy in Scandinavia, just reported a handful of new deaths bringing its national total to 1,033 - breaking above the critical 1k death milestone, as more critics urge the government to consider lockdowns and other more strict measures to combat the outbreak. Per BBG, 22 academics wrote an op-ed urging the government to alter its course. "The approach must be changed radically and swiftly," they wrote in an opinion piece published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
And it's quickly outpacing its Scandi neighbors.
* * *
Update (0800ET): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was back on CNN Tuesday morning (the network where his brother Chris works as an anchor) to rebut the president's claims that the true authority about when to reopen the country rests with the White House. During the governor's spot, he insisted he would sue the federal government and - if it comes down to it - simply resist Trump's order if it "endangered" New Yorkers.
"We don't have a king, we have a president...and that was a big decision," Cuomo said. Yesterday, he said that his state doesn't have enough tests to conduct mass testing before reopening the economy. He suggested that if this is what the federal government wants, it will need to provide the tests and money to run them.
Cuomo, who is always shown great deference by CNN's servile reporting staff, added that although Trump did the right thing by stopping travel from China, he did not issue the order to shut the US economy - that was done in a piecemeal way by the states, beginning with California.
Cuomo, on CNN, says he would sue the fed govt if Trump ordered N.Y. to reopen before the state wants to— David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) April 14, 2020
"We would have a constitutional challenge between the state + the federal govt, and that would go into the courts," he says
And that would be bad for the country, he says pic.twitter.com/ZyJ0mNYGfa
We suspect this pissing contest will consume a surprisingly large amount of this week's news cycle.
* * *
As states on the West and East coasts of the US promised to work together to develop plans for regional reopenings of economy - plans that could be released as soon as Tuesday, according to Cali Gov. Gavin Newsom - President Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that the decision of when to reopen the economy rests with him alone.
The issue of when to reopen the economy, and the battle between the states and Trump, appears to be the big issue looming over the US this week, now that it's become clear that the urgent shortage of supplies that certain Democratic governors had warned of actually wasn't a problem after all.
Last night, we shared a detailed timeline developed by Morgan Stanley illustrating how the bank's analysts expect the reopening will unfold.
Tensions between the President and the press reached a new breaking point last night, as Trump jousted with a CBS News reporter and insisted that "everything we did was perfect" and that he had "total authority" over when to reopen the economy, which he said would happen "ahead of schedule." Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci insisted he didn't mean to imply that the administration should have ordered a lockdown in mid- or late-February, a time when even Dr. Fauci was cautioning the public that the most strict measures weren't necessary - at least not yet.
All the while, US deaths are nearing 25,000, as the total number of confirmed cases in the country near 600k.
Meanwhile, over in Europe, Italy and Spain are beginning to let more workers return to their shops and worksites while French President Emmanuel Macron last night warned that France still had a long way to go, before extending the French lockdown until mid-May while acknowledging that "we weren't prepared".
This week's Bank of America fund manager survey discovered that fund managers are sitting on more cash right now than at any time since 9/11.
As millions of Americans clamor for bringing more of the medical supply chain back under the control of the US, now that the world has seen what relying too heavily on China-based supply chains can lead to, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that there would be a meeting of alliance members to discuss moving more production of critical medical supplies out of "non-member" countries.
"We have to look into issues like supplies of medical equipment, protective suits, medicines…and also ask questions about whether we are too dependent on production coming from outside, whether we need to produce more of this equipment from our own countries," he told reporters on Tuesday.
In the UK, the FT reported that more deaths were recorded in England and Wales during the week ending on April 3 than in any week since comparable estimates started 15 years ago, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.
Global cases of the virus increased by 71,572 yesterday, the 4th day in a row that the number of newly infected around the world has fallen. Still, the pace of increases brought the total number north of 1.9 million.
Meanwhile, with the IMF and World Bank annual meetings slated to begin later this week, the IMF has said it would supply grants to some of the poorest nations in Africa and Asia.
Vladimir Putin now officially has reason to panic as Russia records 2,774 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a third consecutive record daily increase. Russia now has 21,102 cases of the virus, and 170 people have died from the disease. Russia's outbreak has soared over the past 2 weeks, as numbers have doubled roughly every 4 days. China, meanwhile, reported 89 new cases, a slight drop from yesterday, with almost all of the being classified as 'foreign' cases.
Following warnings that first emerged late last week, Iran is set to kick off its privatization push to save its economy from the coronavirus: To accomplish this, Iran will sell off 10% of Shasta, the investment arm of the Social Security Organization of Iran - which is one of the state's crown-jewel assets.
As cases in Europe continued to slow, Germany reported 2,082 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest number in more than three weeks, and an increase of under 2%. Germany has confirmed 125,098 cases so far, according to official data from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. Spain also reported a less-than-2% (1.8%) jump in new cases, its slowest rate since the beginning of the outbreak, according to the Washington Post.
In the US, the US Department of Ag will reportedly unveil as much as $15.5 billion as part of the first phase of coronavirus aid to the farming industry on Tuesday. Meanwhile, late yesterday, Florida's surgeon general reportedly said that social distancing should continue until a vaccine has been developed. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has requested a roughly 3-month delay on all US census field operations. The administration also asked Congress to postpone the deadline for delivering key data that will affect redistricting.
As millions of religious Americans continue to skip worship-related gatherings like Church, several pastors in California are suing the state and local officials over their stay-at-home edicts prohibiting in-person services, claiming these rules violate the 1st Amendment. And finally, more than 2,100 US cities are bracing for serious budget shortfalls.