Fauci Warns Outbreak Could Overwhelm US Health-Care System

Summary:

  • LAX screener tests positive
  • New York has reported another 5 case, raising the total to 11.
  • Dr. Fauci says up to 20% of Covid-19 cases could require hospitalization
  • Trump confirms he’ll sign emergency virus package
  • Cali reports 1st death, bringing US toll to 11
  • South Korea reports 438 new cases, deaths climb to 35
  • Pence says US death toll has climbed to 10
  • The US House has passed an $8.3 billion to fight the virus.
  • Italy finally confirms school closure
  • Italy will ban public events, and close cinemas and theaters even though the government denied an earlier ANSA report that the country would also close schools & universities momentarily
  • Fla reports 4th case
  • CDC investigating cruise ship ‘Grand Princess’ linked to cluster of cases in NorCal
  • Italy urges elderly people to stay indoors if possible
  • Iraq confirms 3rd death
  • Slovenia confirms 1st case
  • Brazil records 3rd case
  • Ecuador confirms 3 new cases, raising total to 10
  • Pence confirms after meeting airline execs that travelers from Italy & SK would be tested multiple times
  • German finance minister declares outbreak “a global pandemic”
  • Cali joins Washington & Florida in declaring state of emergency
  • Russia blames “enemies” for spreading fake news about outbreak
  • Israel urges people to stop shaking hands, will quarantine travelers from most of Europe
  • EU reports a second coronavirus case at its headquarters in Brussels
  • France has reported 28 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 285
  • UK cases surge by 34 to a total of 85 – a 66% surge.
  • China reported 119 additional coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths
  • South Korea reported 809 additional coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths; has carried out 136,000 tests
  • Israel quarantines group of soccer fans
  • “Official” Iranian death toll hits 92
  • Saudi suspends Umra pilgrimage
  • Japan confirms 3 more cases from Osaka

* * *
Update (2040ET): Yonhap reports that South Korea has reported 438 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the national total to 5,766. Most of the new cases were identified in the southeastern Daegu, a city of 2.5 million and the epicenter of the outbreak.

As of Thursday morning in Seoul, the death toll had climbed to 35, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses.

So far, roughly 60% of SK cases have been linked to a branch of the Shincheonji church in Daegu.

* * *

Update (1930ET): China reported another drop in cases on Wednesday: 139 additional cases of coronavirus and 31 additional deaths on March 4 compared to the day prior, when the gov’t reported 119 additional cases and 38 additional deaths. The total number of cases in mainland China has risen to 80,409, and the death toll has hit 3,012

* * *

Update (1915ET): Cali Gov. Gavin Newsom has followed the lead of the governors of Florida and Washington State by declaring a state-wide ‘State of Emergency’. He also promised that the state would “monitor” price gouging.

Watch the rest of his briefing with state officials here:

Oh and three new cases reported in Santa Clara:

  • SANTA CLARA COUNTY CA REPORTS 3 NEW CASES OF COVID-19 TOTAL NOW 14 IN THE COUNTY – KTVU

* * *

Update (1850ET): Now that the latest White House task force press conference is over, we’d like to highlight one comment that seems to have attracted a lot of attention this evening: Dr. Fauci’s “estimate” that “15-20%” of those infected with the virus will require hospitalization.

That’s much higher than the hospitalization rate for the flu, which, according to the CDC is a tiny fraction of a percentage point (though, of course, there’s a vaccine for the flu).

As Ted Lieu notes above, just think of all the hospital resources that this could consume.

Also, check out the mainstream press’s latest stunt to make the administration look bad (Trump already said they’re working on a plan to make sure cost isn’t an obstacle to people getting tested).

As we wait for the Senate to pass the $8.3 billion emergency spending bill, President Trump has confirmed that he plans to sign it.

Which is good, because we’lre going to need that money to slap together a few hospitals once the symptoms really start hitting.

* * *

Update (1740ET): In his latest press conference, VP Pence revealed that there are at least 100 active coronavirus cases, but that the risk to the American public remains low. The official total is actually 154 if we count the 48 evacuees.

In the middle of the task force update, NBC News dropped a bombshell: A CDC contractor who screened arriving passengers for the virus at LAX just tested positive.

The worker reportedly wore the appropriate protective gear while screening passengers — it was not immediately clear whether they contracted the virus through contact with an infected passenger, or if it was a case of community transmission.

According to DHS, the health worker is self-quarantining at home under “medical supervision.” They are experiencing only mild symptoms, similar to a cold. The worker’s family members are also under home quarantine.

The emailed statement also said these screeners are predominantly assigned to the CDC in-transit lounge and a few support jetway screening on direct flights from China.”

The agency added that the “highly trained” individual began experiencing symptoms on Saturday.

Here’s the statement:

“Late last night, DHS headquarters was alerted to a situation where one of our contracted medical professionals conducting screenings at LAX international airport had tested positive for COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. This individual is currently under self-quarantine at home with mild symptoms and under medical supervision. Their immediate family is also under home quarantine.”

“DHS is happy to report that this individual was highly trained and did everything right both on the job and when they began to feel sick. We are told the individual wore all the correct protective equipment and took necessary protections on the job. Additionally, as soon as the individual began to feel sick, they self-quarantined, saw a physician, and reported to the appropriate authorities and officials.”

* * *

Update (1650ET)The House passed a roughly $8.3 billion emergency spending package for combating the coronavirus outbreak, sending the legislation to the Senate as lawmakers raced to respond to the quickly spreading disease.

As The Wasll Street Journal reports, the bill provides more than $3 billion for developing treatments for the disease and allocates $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the disease, among other measures. Under the legislation, which the Senate will also likely pass this week, more than $1 billion will go overseas, while $20 million will be made available to fund administrative expenses for loans to U.S. small businesses.

The final deal includes $300 million for the government to purchase the vaccine and other therapeutics and make them available to the public.

It calls on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to use currently available authority to ensure the price is “affordable in the commercial market,” while additionally stating that he shouldn’t delay the drug’s development.

The legislation, crafted by top Republicans and Democrats, caps less than two weeks of negotiations that began when the White House said it planned to spend roughly $2.5 billion on fighting the disease, an amount lawmakers said was too low. President Trump has subsequently said he would sign whatever package Congress approves.

* * *

Update (1615ET): Slovenia has joined Hungary in confirming its first case of coronavirus.

The Balkan nation is best-known to Americans as the birth country of First Lady Melania Trump.

Meanwhile, here’s a smattering of other corona-related news:

  • STUDENT IN DUBAI INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS: ARABIYA
  • UNITED AIRLINES TO REDUCE FLIGHTS, FREEZE HIRING ON CORONAVIRUS
  • AIRBUS IS SAID TO WEIGH A330 OUTPUT CUT AS VIRUS HITS CUSTOMERS
  • CORONAVIRUS CAUSING RECONSIDERATION OF AIR TRAVEL: DOT’S SZABAT
  • GLOBAL AIR PASSENGERS MAY FALL 6%, SZABAT SAYS CITING ANALYSTS
  • ABOUT 15K AIR PASSENGERS CAME FROM CHINA/DAY BEFORE VIRUS: DOT
  • FEWER THAN 1K AIR PASSENGERS TO U.S. FROM CHINA PER DAY: DOT
  • CDC’S ESTIMATED COVID-19 FATALITY RATE IS .05%-1.0%, REDD SAYS
  • CORONAVIRUS CAN SURVIVE ON SURFACES FOR UP TO 1 DAY: CDC’S REDD
  • APPLE HAS RE-OPENED 38 OF 42 RETAIL STORES IN MAINLAND CHINA

* * *

Update (1545ET): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed 5 more cases in Westchester, raising the state’s total to 11, during his third press conference on the outbreak in less than 24 hours.

Last time we checked, the family members of infected Westchester lawyer Lawrence Garbuz had also all tested positive. Now, it appears a friend of Garbuz, and that friend’s whole family, have also tested positive. This second infected family is also situated in Westchester County.

* * *

Update (1535ET): Brazil reports a third case, a 46-year-old Colombian national.

* * *

Update (1530ET): Health officials in Baghdad have reported their second death in the capital city; it marks the first death in Iraq as a whole (a death was also reported in the town of Sulaimanyah).

As readers can see, the number of cases in the country has more than doubled in recent days as the virus seeps across the border…

* * *

Update (1440ET): Italy has ordered sporting events to continue without fans until April 3, the AP reports.

As we head toward the Euro 2020, get ready to see more of this.

And the UAE just barred people from attending soccer games.

And now that Japan has started the conversation about a possible delay of the Olympics…it’s looking increasingly likely that it will be delayed, if not cancelled outright.

Back in Seattle, NYT has more information about the latest rash of cases:

A high school in the Seattle suburbs was closed on Wednesday through the end of the week, after a student tested positive for the virus. The Renton School District said it had learned of the test result for a student at Hazen High School late on Tuesday and had closed the school on the advice of county health officials.

The student was at home recovering, the district said. County health officials were tracing all those who had come into contact with the student in recent days.

Also on Tuesday, Amazon emailed its staff in the Seattle area saying that it had learned that an employee in one of its buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood had tested positive. The employee had not been to work since Feb. 25, the email said.

US lawmakers have reportedly reached a deal on $8.3 billion in emergency coronavirus spending bill, which includes nearly $8 billion in funding for agencies fighting the virus, and $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer tele-health services better suited to the elderly.

Racing to confront a growing public health threat, key lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a deal on Wednesday to provide $8.3 billion in emergency aid to combat the novel coronavirus, and the House planned a vote later Wednesday to approve it, according to three officials familiar with the negotiations.

The bipartisan package, which includes nearly $7.8 billion for agencies dealing with the virus and came together after days of rapid negotiations, is substantially larger than what the White House initially proposed in late February.

It also authorizes roughly $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer tele-health services so that more elderly patients, who are at greater risk from the virus, can receive care at home, according to two of the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a formal announcement.

Meanwhile, some more information about Cali’s first death: The elderly patient had tested positive Tuesday and was in “critically ill” condition at Kaiser Permanente in Roseville.

* * *

Update (1425ET): Minutes after Washington confirmed US death No. 10, California has reported its first coronavirus-linked death, the 11th in the country.

The death was reported in Placer County, which had reported two cases, including an older adult who was “critically ill” late Tuesday.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Placer County reported that the critically ill patient was in isolation at a local hospital, becoming that county’s second reported case of the virus, while Contra Costa Health Services said it confirmed the first locally originating case of COVID-19 involving a resident of the East Bay Area county. Both were “presumptive” positives as of last night.

Placer County officials said the critically ill patient was likely exposed to the virus while on a Grand Princess cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between Feb. 11 and Feb. 22. Another case linked to the cruise ship was reported by Sonoma County health officials earlier.

So, it’s possible that Cali’s first virus-linked death caught the virus aboard the Grand Princess.

Meanwhile, up in Washington, the number of cases in the two counties in suburban Seattle that have reported all of Washington State’s cases has risen to 39, along with 10 deaths, up from 27 and 9 deaths.

* * *

Update (1420ET): The New York Times reports that roughly 100 households in and around New Rochelle, a small city in New York’s Westchester County, are under self-quarantine after five of the state’s six confirmed cases involved a local family.

* * *

Update (1400ET): Washington State officials have reported another death, though it’s unclear if this is the same death that VP Pence was referring to when he said earlier that the US death toll had climbed to 10.

Algeria has reported nine new cases, according to the health ministry.

* * *

Update (1340ET): France reports another 28 cases, raising its national total to 285. Deaths remained steady at 8.

Officials in Iraq are reporting a death in Baghdad; it’s unclear if this is the same case from earlier, or a different case.

* * *

Update (1325ET): The US CDC has investigated “small clusters” of coronavirus cases linked to previous journey of the Grand Princess cruise ship. The cruise ship is skipping a planned stop in Mexico and will return to SF on Thursday. All passengers who have been aboard the ship since Feb. 21 have been asked to stay in their rooms.

The small cluster of cases in NorCal has been linked to ship.

Here’s the statement from the company to guests:

Dear Princess Guest:

I wish to advise you that today we have been notified by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that they are investigating a small cluster of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in Northern California connected to our previous Grand Princess voyage that sailed roundtrip San Francisco from February 11 to February 21. We are working closely with our CDC partners and are following their recommendations.

For those guests who sailed with us on our previous voyage and may have been exposed, in an abundance of caution, the CDC requires you to remain in your stateroom until you have been contacted and cleared by our medical staff. A member of our medical team will be calling you between the hours of 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM this morning. You may order room service while you wait for the medical screening to be completed, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Here we go again…

* * *

Update (1300ET): As the White House coronavirus meeting in front of a bevy of TV cameras continues, VP Pence has just confirmed that the death toll in the US has climbed to the US, though he didn’t say where the new death has been counted.

The latest total case count in the US is 137, according to BNO. Of those, 48 were repatriated during the evacuations of Wuhan and the Diamond Princess. Only 89 were diagnosed in the US.

This would suggest a mortality rate of roughly 10% if you only count the domestic cases. Since the WHO yesterday confirmed that the latest data would put the rate at 3.4%, this would suggest that thousands of cases haven’t yet been identified in the US.

Over in Europe, Hungary has just confirmed its first case of the virus, becoming the latest country to confirm the virus. Meanwhile, here’s the latest breakdown for Italy.

In South Korea, government officials have carried out 136,000 tests.

* * *

Update (1240ET): Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis has confirmed that a fourth person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in his state.

* * *

Update (1220ET): Italian public health officials have confirmed plans to keep schools closed until March 15.

Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, is reportedly preparing to take restrictions to the next level and close all schools and universities in the country for at least two weeks. This comes as the total case count has climbed above 3k, while the death toll has climbed to 107, according to health officials.

Over in the US, reports from Capitol Hill claim the bill to approve emergency coronavirus funding might be ready for a vote Wednesday evening. Reports yesterday claimed the vote wouldn’t come until next week.

* * *

Update (1140ET): During a press conference that they announced last night, LA County public health officials have reported another rash of cases, and declared a local emergency, according to media reports. Meanwhile, the CDC said 40 cases are under investigation.

Watch live below:

LA County declared its first case back in January, but that case has since recovered. With the six new cases, the total in the county has risen to seven. One person is hospitalized, but the other six are being isolated and closely monitored at home.

Here’s more on the announcement, courtesy of ABC 7:

Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday declared a state of emergency as they confirmed six new cases of novel coronavirus in the county.

The county Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health made the announcement alongside L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and public health officials from Long Beach and Pasadena, which both have their own public health department.

County Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council are both expected to hear reports during their Wednesday meetings about the status of the illness locally.

The county’s second case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Tuesday by Kaiser Permanente who is overseeing the care of the patient, currently in self-isolation and being treated as an outpatient, a spokesperson said. Additional details regarding the case were not available.

In Orange County, two people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, though the diagnoses were described as “presumptive positive,” pending final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County health officer Dr. Nichole Quick said the county recently improved its ability to perform COVID-19 testing and therefore “we expect to see more cases here in Orange County.”

None of the new cases are of unknown origin: Three of the six recently returned from northern Italy, two were exposed to infected family members in a different county, and another worked in an environment that brought him into contact with travelers.

Over in Washington, a damning insider report from Stat News, it appears that researchers in Washington State have managed to start uncovering the true extent of the outbreak until local officials found a way to get around the CDC.

As the Trump-Pence-CDC presser continues, Trump hinted at a possible quarantine by saying the US might “close up” areas that become a “problem.” Trump also said that airlines hadn’t yet asked for any financial aid.

  • TRUMP: AS CERTAIN AREAS BECOME A PROBLEM, WE MIGHT CLOSE THEM UP
  • TRUMP SAYS AIRLINES HAVE NOT ASKED FOR ANY U.S. FINANCIAL SUPPORT, HAVEN’T DISCUSSED THAT YET
  • WHITE HOUSE MEETING ON CORONAVIRUS EXPECTED TO INCLUDE AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOUTHWEST, ALASKA AIR, UNITED, JETBLUE, REPUBLIC AIRWAYS, HAWAIIAN

Meanwhile, after Jim Bullard said during an interview that he feels monetary policy is “in the right place,” S&P Global cut its GDP forecast for the eurozone to 0.5% from 1%, and 0.8% for the UK, down  from 1%.

* * *

Update (1130ET): During a press conference on Wednesday following a meeting between President Trump and VP Pence and the leaders of the airline industry, Pence confirmed earlier reports that travelers from Italy and SK would be subjected to multiple tests before boarding a plane to the US, and multiple times after landing.

Pence also praised the FDA’s decision to expand testing to university labs and other state labs. Trump blamed the Obama Administration for a vague ‘decision’ that Trump blamed for slowing down testing. Trump has now undone that decision.

Here are some of the headlines from the presser:

  • AIRLINE CEOS TELL TRUMP THEY STEPPED UP CLEANING EFFORTS
  • PENCE: NEW PRIORITIES ON INSPECTIONS TO BE RELEASED TODAY
  • PENCE SAYS ALL PASSENGERS FROM ITALY, SOUTH KOREA ARE BEING SCREENED MULTIPLE TIMES FOR CORONAVIRUS

Earlier, HHS Secretary Azar told Fox News during an interview that the administration is working with the private sector to develop a better coronavirus test.

  • U.S. HEALTH SECRETARY AZAR SAYS ADMINISTRATION IS WORKING WITH PRIVATE SECTOR SO THEY DEVELOP CORONAVIRUS TEST WITHOUT FDA APPROVAL -FOX NEWS INTERVIEW
  • SEC. AZAR SAYS 12-18 MONTHS BEFORE POSSIBLE VACCINE: FOX NEWS

In Italy, government officials are still weighing whether to close all schools, while also shutting all events, sports games and cinemas.

* * *

Update (1120ET): This video of Chinese doctors and patients “square dancing” at a “shelter hospital” in Wuhan is going viral on the Chinese Internet.

* * *

Update (1110ET): The WHO is running a live Q&A session at the moment. Check it out below:

* * *

Update (1050ET): It appears the tables have turned – or at least that’s what we imagine members of the #resistance will say when they see this headline.

According to the Guardian, Russia has been targeted by “enemies” spreading fake news about the coronavirus to sow panic and discord across the country, President Vladimir Putin said.

His remarks came as Russia’s communications regulator said it had shut down access to some social media posts containing falsehoods about the virus outbreak.

“The Federal Security Service reports that they (the fakes) are mainly being organised from abroad. But unfortunately this always happens to us,” Putin said on Wednesday, in televised remarks at a government meeting.

“The purpose of such fakes is clear: to sow panic among the population.”

Reuters reports that a Russian cyber security company, Group-IB, on Monday identified what it said were thousands of fake news posts on messaging services and social networks such as Russia’s VK alleging that thousands of Muscovites have caught the virus.

In other news, the Irish Times reports that the Chinese ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong advised the government to make a speedy decision about banning mass gatherings as the number of coronavirus cases climbs (health officials reported the country’s second case last night).

In other news: Twitter said Wednesday that it will block advertisers from using the coronavirus outbreak to send inappropriate advertisements to its users.

Twitter has said it will stop any attempt by advertisers to use the coronavirus outbreak to send inappropriate advertisements to its users.

And more cases have been confirmed in the UK as the two people who traveled to Italy are currently isolating themselves at home.

To be sure, the latest numbers out of the UK, where the total number of cases has jumped to 85, does not suggest the country is past the stage where the containment approach is no longer valuable, according to a senior microbiology expert.

* * *

Update (1040ET): As deaths mount in Iran and Italy, Al Jazeera reminds us that Poland, Morocco, Andorra, Armenia and Argentina have all confirmed their first cases of the virus over the last 24 hours.

Ecuador has just confirmed three new cases, bringing its total to 10.

* * *

(Update 0950ET): A Yeshiva University student who is the son of the Westchester County man infected by the coronavirus, has also been diagnosed with the illness, the school announced Wednesday. “We have unfortunately received news this morning that out student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with him and his family as well as to all those affected,” Yeshiva said in a statement. “We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as wall as the boys’ high school,” it added.

The student’s father, attorney Lawrence Garbuz, 50, runs a boutique law firm with his wife that also employs one of their four kids as a paralegal, according to information posted online. The seven-lawyer practice, Lewis & Garbuz, is located across the street from Grand Central Terminal.

In addition to the son. Garbuz’s wife and daughter, as well as a neighbor who drove the man to the hospital, are among the new cases confirmed in the state.

According to Governor Cuomo, this means that there are now 6 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State.

* * *

(Update 0940ET): PM Netanyahu has told Israelis that while it is not openly spoken of as such, the coronavirus epidemic is a global-scale pandemic and it could “possibly be among the worst diseases in this century.”

He asked Israelis to avoid handshakes and suggested greeting one another using the Indian greeting of namaste while keeping one’s hand clasped together.

Additionally, all travelers will be quarantined from these nations: France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland

* * *

(Update 0935ET): France has reported 45 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 257.

* * *

(Update 0920ET): In addition to general de-socialization across Italy, the new decree urges elderly people to stay indoors if possible. It seems Italy is resorting to China’s strategy to stall the exponential spread of the virus.

* * *

(Update 0917ET)UK health authorities have just announced that the number of virus cases soared overnight, jumping by 34 to 85 total cases (16,659 people have been tested)

* * *

(Update 0905ET): While we wait to see if Italy will close all schools and universities as the country’s coronavirus pandemic gets worse, Reuters reported that the country is now planning a decree banning public events as well as close cinemas and theaters across the country.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that there has been a second case of coronavirus found at the EU office in Brussles.

* * *

Update (0835ET): The outbreak in Osaka is expanding: Kyodo just reported three more confirmed cases from a concert that also sickened a McDonald’s worker mentioned below. The total from the concert is now 14.

* * *

Update (0820ET): The Italian education ministry said Wednesday morning that “no decision has yet been made” regarding whether to close schools, or not. The decision has apparently been delayed for a few hours, the minister added. The headline about the school closures took a little bit of the momentum out of markets earlier, but stock futures in the US have rallied back.

* * *

Update (0800ET): Italian newswire ANSA reports that the Italian government will move ahead with plans to close all schools and colleges in the country for two weeks.

Until now, only schools in Italy’s virus-plagued northern region had been closed due to the outbreak, even as the death toll from the virus nears 80. France has also closed some 120 primary and secondary schools near Paris as cases in France have surged, a decision that’s impacting about 35,000 kids.

Meanwhile, the Global Times can’t help but gloat…

…Even as school closures in China will enter their 7th week next week.

In other news, the Israeli government has quarantined a group of soccer fans who attended a match last week in Tel Aviv after a teenager in the crowd tested positive for the virus. He’s believed to have contracted the virus from the manager of a toy store who recently visited Italy, according to the BBC.

In other news, after religious authorities in Saudi Arabia banned foreigners from traveling to the holy land last week, the Saudi government said Wednesday that it would temporarily suspend a lesser Muslim pilgrimage called the Umra for both foreigners and citizens, the BBC reports.

The Umra is an optional pilgrimage that includes some of the rituals of the most important pilgrimage, the Hajj, though they are shortened and there are fewer rituals.

* * *

Update (0740ET): German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has been pushing for Germany to defy its constitutional “debt break” and bolster spending. Now, he’s taking his rhetoric up a notch and defying the WHO to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “global pandemic.”

  • GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKER GERMANY WOULD HAVE “ALL THE STRENGTH” TO COUNTER IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS IF EPIDEMIC PLUNGED WORLD ECONOMY INTO CRISIS – SOURCES
  • GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS GOV’T IS PREPARED AND READY TO ACT DECISIVELY TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS – SOURCES
  • GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS ANY FISCAL MEASURES TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS IMPACT WOULD BE “TIMELY, TARGETED, TEMPORARY” – SOURCES

The FinMin has encountered resistance from within the ruling coalition, and if he’s going to succeed in delivering the fiscal stimulus that Europe so desperately needs, he’s going to need to outmaneuver his rivals.

* * *

Update (0722ET): Japan has confirmed 9 more cases in Osaka.

* * *

As we reported last night, Tuesday marked a major shift in the coronavirus outbreak: For the first time, more deaths were reported outside China than inside. And already on Wednesday, we’ve seen some unfortunate firsts: Iraq reported its first death after the virus leaked across the border from Iran.

The EU’s decision not to close borders and impose travel restrictions has come back to bite it: Just a few minutes ago, the European Union confirmed the first case of the virus at EU offices in Brussels. It appears to be tied to the European Defense Agency.

Brussels only confirmed its first case in the city a couple of days ago.

Last night, China reported 119 additional coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths for March 3. That’s compared with 125 additional cases and 31 new deaths the previous day. The new cases bring the total number of mainland cases to 80,270 and death toll at 2,871.

South Korea reported 809 additional coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths, bringing its total cases to 5,621 and death toll to 32, while Italy’s total cases rose to 2,502 from 2036, and its death toll increased to 79, up from 52 earlier in the day on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, over in Japan, a part-time worker at a McDonald’s in Kyoto has tested positive, prompting the restaurant to close. The cashier attended music events in Osaka on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, where investigators believe he may have been infected.

Last night, Japanese officials raised the possibility of delaying the Olympics. NTV reports Wednesday morning in the US that Japan would scale back Olympic Torch relay events.

Unsurprisingly, an a global Ipsos poll highlighted by the Guardian showed that a majority of Italians would accept quarantines of cities and towns, though that number climbed to 74% for the UK and 91% for Vietnam.

As we reported yesterday, Ireland has recorded a second case of coronavirus. However, officials are still planning to go ahead with St. Patrick’s Day festivities when the holiday arrives in a couple of weeks.

While the WHO has embraced alternative greetings, Public Health England, the agency in charge of the UK outbreak, said that while it might recommend people stop shaking hands, “we’re not there yet.

Over in Iran, the health ministry said the coronavirus had killed 92 people, up from 77 the day before, while the number of infections rose to 2,922, Al Jazeera reports. To be sure, reports last week claimed the true death toll had surpassed 200 – and that was a week ago.

Elsewhere in Europe, Bloomberg reports that Italy’s government is weighing a closure of all schools nationwide to contain the coronavirus outbreak. A closure could last 15 days and start this coming Monday, or the Monday following. This comes after officials reportedly considered cancelling all sports games in the country for a month.

Over at the ECB, the central bank has cancelled travel for all members of the Christine Lagarde-led executive board, as well as other employees judged to be non-essential, until 20 April 2020, at which time the central bank will reassess the situation.

via zerohedge

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