U.S. Preparing More Stimulus; Deaths Top 37,000: Virus Update

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© Bloomberg. The Oculus transportation hub and mall stands nearly deserted in lower Manhattan on March 29.

(Bloomberg) — Europe is expected to start stabilizing soon, the World Organization said, as Italy saw the slowest rate of new cases in almost two weeks. New York also said new infections are slowing, though it reported a 26% increase in deaths.

The White House and congressional Democrats are preparing for a fourth round of stimulus, even while they’re still arguing over the $2 trillion measure signed Friday.

Trump said a national stay-at-home order is “pretty unlikely.” ’s governor urged residents to avoid bars and night clubs, while the Olympics were rescheduled to July 2021.

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Key Developments:

Cases top 784,000; 37,600 dead, 165,000 recovered: Johns Hopkins
China to reveal key data point: people with no symptoms
Sick crew keeps ship running, risking spread of virus
New York City marshals all hospitals; Navy sails in to help
China struggles to get shoppers out
Empty hotels pivot to virus battle as N.Y. lodges health workers

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White House, Congress Weigh Next Stimulus (8:50 a.m. HK)

The White House and congressional Democrats are preparing for a fourth round of economic stimulus to get the U.S. through its coronavirus outbreak, even while they’re still arguing over the $2 trillion measure President Donald Trump signed Friday.

White House officials have compiled lists of requests from government agencies totaling roughly $600 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposals include more state aid as well as financial assistance for mortage markets and the travel industries.

China Reports 48 New Cases, All Imported (8:25 a.m. HK)

China reported 48 additional coronavirus cases for March 30, all from abroad, according to a statement from the country’s National Health Commission. China now has 81,518 total confirmed cases, with 771 of them imported.

The country’s death toll rose by 1 to 3,305. Discharged patients increased by 282 to 76,052.

The statement from the NHC didn’t mention how many people are infected with coronavirus but don’t have symptoms. China’s government had indicated it will start releasing such numbers, seemingly responding to a growing chorus of domestic and international criticism of China’s data on the outbreak.

U.K.’s Johnson Under Pressure on Tests (8:18 a.m. HK)

The U.K. government is facing renewed calls to speed up testing of patients and health-care workers for the coronavirus. Ministers and officials were challenged on Monday to explain why they said 10,000 tests were being carried out every day but only 7,000 people had received them. The concerns over testing rates came after a week of lockdown measures, which officials suggested were starting to make a difference to slowing the spread of the virus.

South Korea Delays Reopening Schools (8:08 a.m. HK)

South Korea again delayed the reopening of schools as concerns over coronavirus spread continues, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a meeting. South Korea will progressively begin the school year from April 9 by offering online classes. The country had planned to reopen schools on April 6.

Trump Says Travel Ban May Extend to More Countries (7:24 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said the U.S. might expand the travel ban affecting Europe and China as well as several other countries to include additional nations as the U.S. extends its effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The White House has already moved to block entry of non-U.S. citizens traveling from China, Iran, the U.K., Ireland, and 26 European countries in the Schengen Area that allow unrestricted movement among them.

The administration also struck agreements with the governments of Canada and Mexico to significantly scale back cross-border travel.

U.S. Hospitals Get Help to Make Room for Patients (6:26 a.m. HK)

Hospitals will be able to send people to same-day surgery centers, hotels, dorms, and other locations to make room for coronavirus patients needing care in their main facility, under new regulatory changes announced Monday. The temporary waivers aim to give hospitals “maximum flexibility” to respond to the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.

The relaxed rules “will help the health-care system deal with patient surges by giving it tools and support to create non-traditional care sites and staff them quickly,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

Gap Joins Macy’s in Furloughing Workers (5:20 p.m. NY)

Large retailers are letting workers go as shoppers stay home. Gap Inc (NYSE:). said it would furlough most of its U.S. and Canada store employees as it anticipates closures to extend past a previously announced April 1 date. Neiman Marcus and Ascena Group, the owner of chains including Ann Taylor, announced similar moves. Macy’s Inc. said earlier Monday that it would furlough most of its roughly 130,000 workers this week.

Consumer spending has “sharply declined” amid the pandemic, according to Visa Inc (NYSE:)., which lowered its outlook for revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter.

J&J Surges After Vaccine Deal With U.S. Government (4:25 p.m. NY)

Johnson & Johnson jumped 8% after the company said it would begin a $1 billion-plus effort with the U.S. government to make a vaccine against the virus. It will work with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Authority, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to further develop a vaccine the company said it’s been working on since January.

J&J said it plans to begin building manufacturing capacity for a billion doses of the vaccine. Early doses may be ready for emergency use as soon as January.

Read the full story here

California Calls for Non-Practicing Health-Care Workers (4:13 p.m. NY)

California Governor Gavin Newsom made a call to non-practicing health-care workers, asking them to help with the anticipated surge in hospitalizations. “We need you,” he said of nurses, doctors, pharmacists and emergency medical technicians. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:). has committed $25 million to provide stipends for additional costs health-care workers might face from childcare to hotel rooms, Newsom said in a press briefing.

In the past four days, California’s number of hospitalizations related to the virus have roughly doubled to more than 1,400. The progression matches the state’s modeling, Newsom said, meaning California is on track to needing an additional 50,000 hospital beds and people to staff them.

Charges Filed Against Florida Pastor Who Held Services (3:15 p.m. NY)

Charges were filed against a Florida pastor who held in-person services at his megachurch on Sunday, Hillsborough Country Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a press conference on Monday. An arrest warrant was issued for Rodney Howard-Browne, who yesterday compared the pandemic to a flu and dismissed the advice of public health experts.

Howard-Browne’s behavior was described as “reckless disregard for public safety” by Chronister. The local county is under a stay-at-home order as the state of Florida deals with skyrocketing coronavirus cases and deaths.

N.Y. Cases Slowing Though Fatalities Still on Rise (2:17 p.m. NY)

New York state reported 253 new coronavirus fatalities on Monday, a 26% increase, but Governor Andrew Cuomo also offered some positive news: The rise in confirmed cases is slowing, and the hospital-discharge rate is rising.

While the doubling of infections has slowed from every two days to every six, the number of people who had to be moved into intensive care with intubation surged in one day, the governor said at a briefing in Manhattan.

New York added almost 7,000 confirmed infections overnight, for a total of more than 66,000, Cuomo said. Of those, roughly 9,500 are hospitalized, an increase of more than 1,000, and about 2,350 were in intensive care, up 315.

France Hospital Deaths Rise by Most to Date (1:56 p.m. NY)

France reported 418 deaths in hospitals, the most in a day for the country. The number doesn’t include deaths in other locations, and will add those figures later in the week, according to the health ministry’s press office. The jump brings the total number of hospital deaths to 3,024.

Israel PM Netanyahu Tests Negative for Virus (1:45 p.m.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his family and close aides tested negative for Covid-19, his office said in a statement. One of his aides who he was in contact with has the virus, prompting them to go into isolation and be tested. He will remain in isolation until receiving further instructions from the health ministry.

N.J. Files Charges for Violating Social-Distancing Orders (1:25 p.m. NY)

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy made good on a promise to name and shame people accused of violating social-distancing orders. His attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, sent out a news release detailing cases against a score of people, an unusual move for low-level offenses like disorderly conduct.

Among the residents facing charges are four buddies who met to drag race in a school parking lot, men who held weddings, a woman who left her home to toss a Molotov cocktail at her boyfriend’s residence — unsuccessfully — and a billiards hall owner who reopened after he was ordered to close. At least a dozen people have been charged with threatening to transmit the virus.

Italy Reports Fewest New Cases in Two Weeks (12:30 p.m. NY)

Italy reported the smallest number of new coronavirus cases in almost two weeks as the epicenter of Europe’s contagion enters its fourth week of lockdown.

New infections in the past 24 hours totaled 4,050, compared with 5,217 the previous day, civil protection authorities said Monday at their daily news conference in Rome. This is the lowest increase since March 17.

Fatalities rose by 812 on Monday compared with 756 on Sunday, bringing the total to 11,591. Italy now has 101,739 total cases, the most after the U.S.

Read more here

Europe Expected to Start Stabilizing Soon, WHO Says (12:18 p.m. NY)

European countries that took measures two to three weeks ago will probably begin to show some signs of stabilization soon, according to Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the World Health Organization. The WHO hopes Italy and Spain are nearly at the peak, though reducing the number of new cases requires proactive measures, Ryan said at a press briefing Monday.

To know if they are testing enough, countries should be getting roughly 10 negative results for every confirmed infection, Ryan said. “If 80 or 90% of the people you test are positive, you are probably missing a lot of cases.”

All Covid-19 patients should be taken to health facilities rather than staying at home, and their close contacts also ideally should be isolated outside the home, he said. Singapore’s success in containing the virus came by sending community workers door-to-door, checking people for symptoms such as fever, and immediately taking anyone suspected to be infected to a testing center, he said.

EU Finance Ministers to Meet April 7 on Response (12:01 p.m. NY)

Euro-area finance ministers will meet on April 7 to deliver proposals to reinforce the EU’s policy response to the coronavirus, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said on Twitter.

Their meeting comes after EU leaders last week struggled to find common ground on how best to cushion to the impact of the pandemic. Instead, they gave their finance chiefs two weeks to produce new proposals amid disagreements over whether they should deploy the bloc’s fund or push with more ambitious plans such as joint debt in the form of so-called coronabonds.

French Fashion Brands Ramp Up Mask Production (12:01 p.m. NY)

The French fashion sector’s push to supply protective masks is on track to produce 480,000 units per day with 45 companies participating, Deputy Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said. Those masks, often reusable, will be intended as an additional protection measure for people working outside the medical sector.

France’s makers of surgical masks are also ramping up production, targeting 40 million masks in April, Pannier-Runacher said Monday in a briefing to press.

Lacoste, Yves Saint-Laurent and Chanel are among the French fashion makers that have said they’ll participate in the effort.

Abbott Surges on Five-Minute Test (9:45 a.m. NY)

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:) shares surged after the company unveiled a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting.

The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. The molecular test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome, which can quickly be detected when present at high levels. A thorough search to definitively rule out an infection can take up to 13 minutes, he said.

Read more here

China to Reveal Data on People Infected With No Symptoms (9:07 a.m. NY)

China’s government indicated it will start releasing data on how many people are infected with coronavirus but don’t have symptoms, as domestic and international criticism of the country’s portrayal of the outbreak grows.

Local governments should emphasize efforts to monitor, track and isolate these asymptomatic infections, a meeting on Covid-19 led by Premier Li Keqiang said Monday. These efforts will help close loopholes in epidemic control work, according to a statement released on the website of the State Council, the top administrative body in China.

Tokyo Governor Urges Residents to Avoid Night Clubs (8:39 a.m. NY)

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to avoid bars and night clubs, which are seen to be behind a recent increase in virus cases in the city. Tokyo reported 13 new cases of infection on Monday, bringing the total to 443.

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Source: Investing.com

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