Trump Doubles Down On “Racist” ‘Chinese Virus’ Comment, NYC Mayor Says “Absolutely Considering” Citywide Shutdown: Live Updates

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 03/17/2020

Update (0935ET): Minutes after the open, the Fed is preparing to throw a vital lifeline to the commercial paper market, according to anonymously sourced reports.



Earlier, CNBC’s Eamon Javers tweeted earlier that investors should expect “action from the Fed today.”

The tiny European nation of Luxembourg has declared a three month “state of emergency” . In Russia, President Vladimir Putin, who closed the country’s land border with Poland yesterday, said the outbreak in his country was “under control.”

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Update (0915ET): During yet another appearance on CNN by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC mayor said he’s “absolutely considering” a shelter-in-place edict that would – in addition to closing schools – shut down the subway and other public transit while closing all stores except for groceries and pharmacies.

A similar order in San Francisco and other nearby counties orders people to stay inside their homes and only leave for “necessities”.

“We’re absolutely considering that,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to look at all other options, but it could get to that for sure for the whole country.”

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Update (0908ET): Churchill Downs just confirmed that the Kentucky Derby, the most widely watched horse race in the world, has been rescheduled until Sept. 5.

As WDRB reported earlier ahead of the official announcement Tuesday morning, the 146th running of the Derby – a race which is responsible for some $400 million in economic activity in the Louisville area – will be postponed until the first Saturday in September.

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Update (0850ET): President Trump just doubled-down on his “Chinese virus” phrasing, essentially confirming that his original tweet was intended to be both deliberate provocation (perhaps in response to China’s repeated insults and lies about the virus originating from the US) and a reminder to the American people that this virus isn’t Trump’s fault, even as liberals act like Trump cooked up the thing himself in a bioweapons lab.

Somewhere in the Imperial City, President Xi is probably blowing his stack…

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Update (0830ET): The White House has confirmed that it’s planning a massive $850 billion package to put cash in the hands of everyday Americans while also bailing out the airline industry.

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US stock futures stabilized overnight after another widowmaking session on Monday, even as strategists across Wall Street warned their clients not to try and ‘catch the falling knife’ – but in the absence of any concrete headlines, it seems traders in Japan are finally realizing that the White House is moving closer to the type of fiscal stimulus they want to see. And in Europe, though the G-7’s “whatever it takes” pledge didn’t do much to quiet local markets, reports about the Eurogroup potentially tapping into a €410 bailout fund appear to have done the job.

Another snippet of good news overnight: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been released from their quarantines, signaling that they have won their battles with the virus.

But perhaps the biggest headline, which landed late last night, was certainly discouraging: The death toll in the US saw its largest daily jump yet on Monday. The US death toll climbed to 85, with more than 4,660 cases confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins. Worldwide, more than 182,424 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, along with 7,155 deaths, affecting at least 155 countries according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

But there was also positive news: Regeneron reported that tests for its “antibody-based” remedies for the coronavirus infection could be ready for the final round of clinical testing by the beginning of the summer, which could see a drug shipped by the end of the summer, according to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell.

Pfizer, meanwhile, announced it would partner with a Swiss biotech company to produce a vaccine using a technology similar to Moderna.

Reporting from Beijing, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon, reported that a Chinese trial for favipiravir, another antiviral designed to treat the virus, showed “promising” results.

After Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said last night that he would push for an $840 billion economic rescue package for the administration’s third rescue bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin one-upped him in a leaked report to Politico’s Morning Playbook (which hits at around the time most US traders are beginning their pre-market research) claiming that he was pushing for an $850 billion package.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday ordered all bars, restaurants and wineries in the state closed, one day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti acted unilaterally to impose similar restrictions in LA. California, the largest state in the US which accounts for 1/5th of US GDP, also suspended its state legislature for the next month. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered residents in his state not to leave their ho,es between the hours of 8 pm and 5 am.

Restrictions have also been imposed by other states, including New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland and others. in Connecticut, there have been whispers about a full quarantine and the call-up of national guard troops in the state.

With a hodgepodge of local authorities moving to combat the virus in their communities, more businesses and brands are ordering stores to close. After McDonald’s closed its dining rooms and play areas, fitness classes like SoulCycle and OrangeTheory have suspended all classes.

Finally, 8 US banks also got together overnight and accessed the discount window to try and “remove the stigma” as Steve Leisman reported in the midst of the central bank’s additional repo-market interventions.

In China, official data suggests the domestic outbreak is over. Across the country, 20 new cases were reported last night, 19 of whom were ‘travelers’ from abroad. Of course, any new arrivals to China will be herded into 14-day quarantines as Beijing tightens its borders, like everybody else.

At this point, much of the Balkans and Central Europe has shut its borders: Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and a handful of others have instituted strict restrictions or all-out bans on non-citizen, non-resident travelers entering their borders. Last night, French President Emmanuel Macron shut down France and tightened borders as the EU declared that it would begin limiting travel into the Schengen Area.

Some other good news overnight: Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has shipped some 400,000 tests. As drug trials continue at a breakneck pace in China and in the US, the Washington Post has published perhaps the most comprehensive investigation into the CDC’s failure to distribute tests. The story seems to suggest that the errors were largely made by CDC bureaucrats and Obama-administration holdovers, though that wasn’t WaPo’s angle.

Yesterday, the CDC confirmed that one of its employees had tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, the WHO followed up by reporting that two of its staffers had tested positive.

Poland has become the latest government to confirm that at least one senior official has caught the virus. In the Philippines, the quarantine ordered for the island of Luzon, where roughly half the country’s 104 million people live, has created complications, including preventing health-care workers from getting home, and from getting to work.

Late last night, when President Trump blamed the “Chinese Virus” for hurting American businesses, we suspected that American liberals and the Chinese regime (two groups that have been oddly in sync as of late) would respond with fury.

Individual epidemiologists warned the comment could strain relations with Beijing at a critical time…

The Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed Trump for “insulting China”, and said the US should “learn to take care of its own business.” Just like how China should learn to develop their own technologies instead of just stealing everyone’s trade secrets.

And of course the Chinese press once again blasted the president’s “racism” in blaming China for a virus that originated in China, and was unleashed upon the world thanks to the CPC’s callousness and indiscretion .

Of course, if Beijing finds this phrasing so offensive, then why does it continue to call Swine Flu the ‘African Swine Flu’?

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