Trump Warns Americans To Brace For Extended Shutdown As Seattle Area Shows Promising Drop In New Cases: Live Updates

Monday, March 30, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Mon, 03/30/2020


Dr. Fauci says 100k-200k Americans may die from COVID-19
Trump extends guidelines to April 30
Spain case total passes China
South Korea reports worrying rebound in cases around Seoul
Russia expands Moscow lockdown throughout country
NYC remains undisputed center of US outbreak
Seattle area reports optimistic slowdown in new cases, deaths
New York surpasses 1k deaths
Indian migrant workers ‘washed’ with disinfectant
Netanyahu goes on quarantine
Trump: US has enough medical equipment & ventilators to deal with peak of virus outbreak
Mnuchin says front-line workers deserve ‘hazard pay’
Spike in cases should arrive around Easter, Trump said, deaths expected to be “very low”
JNJ announces encouraging progress on vaccine
Chinese press publishes photo of Xi standing in public without mask
Australia launches worker subsidy program
Tokyo Olympics officially delayed until 2021
Amazon workers planning strike
* * *

Update (0843ET): Trump reminded his Fox & Friends interlocutors that he is “the one that put the sanctions on” when it comes to Russia, and that when he speaks with President Putin in the near future, he will tell Putin to take a hike if he asks for the sanctions to be removed because of the outbreak.

“I know more about sanctions because I’m the one who put them on Russia.”

Then Trump jumped into discussion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and also said he would “discuss” Venezuela, while also reminding the world that the Soviet Union lost 50 million people during World War 2 (we believe the actual figure is closer to 27 million or more).

Trump also said he feels Andrew Cuomo would be a tougher political opponent than “Sleepy” Joe Biden, who is probably thrilled that he gets to just kick back and sleep through this crisis.

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business that hazard pay for workers on the front lines of battling the coronavirus – like nurses but also cashiers at grocery stores – will be included in a fourth legislative rescue package. He said he stands ready, as does the administration, to work with Congress if additional funds are needed in combating the pandemic.

In other news, the Tokyo Olympics have been rescheduled for the summer of 2021, the International Olympic Committee has announced, though this news was basically pre-announced weeks ago when Japan said it would push for it.

* * *

Update (0825ET): Before Trump insisted he would “rely on experts” to determine the end of the quarantine and that the worst thing to do would be to “declare victory” over “the invisible enemy” and have it not be true, the president took a few minutes to slam the national press. “I’ve spent three years trying to figure out who is more dishonest the New York Times or the Washington Post,” Trump said. “When I figure it out I’ll call you and we’ll have a special.”

Steve Doocy laughed a little, though his co-hosts were less amused.

Update (0817ET): During President Trump’s interview Monday morning on Fox News, Trump insisted that the number of deaths would be “a very low number,” even as Joe Biden interjected, saying “I am issuing this challenge to Donald Trump…He must use the Defense Production Act within the next 48 hours … He may think the risk is having too many. That would be a wonderful problem to have. The risk is having too few.”

Trump expects the peak now to arrive around Easter though some projections put it around April 15 vs. Easter’s April 12.

Trump meanwhile insisted that New York “should have more than enough” ventilators, seeming to settle the federal position on whether the states have enough ventilators “after this is over they’ll be selling ventilators for $1 a piece…we’ll have a lot of them.”

Workers at an Amazon “fulfillment center” in New York (on Staten Island, no less) are planning to go on strike Monday morning in a gesture of contempt toward Jeff Bezos, as they accuse the company of not doing enough to stop the virus…so much for hoping Amazon would save us.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, said he would be quarantining for a few weeks after coming into contact with somebody who tested positive for the virus.

* * *

Hours after Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday and declared that the current modeling projects between 100k and 200k deaths in the US alone, President Trump stood up at last night’s Rose Garden press conference and declared that the White House would extend its current guidelines – which call for Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more, along with a host of other commandments intended to help “flatten the curve” – through the end of April.

Trump added that the “peak” in new cases & deaths should arrive in two weeks, but by June 1, everything should be fine. This, as New York City hospitals have been transformed into “war zones”, while the number of confirmed cases globally closes in on 1 million. Mayors are cracking down, giving police the authority to hand out fines to anybody who isn’t obeying the terms of the crackdown.

The biggest headline overnight: Spain has surpassed China in the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections (joining Italy and the US) as the number of cases rose from 78,797 on Sunday to 85,195 on Monday, with Spain’s death toll rose by 812 to 7,340, according to the Spanish Health Ministry.

Spanish authorities reported more than 6,000 new cases within 24 hours again on Monday. Among those testing positive: Fernando Simon, the leader of the country’s coronavirus task force.

In the US, New York City remains the undisputed epicenter of the national outbreak as the number of new cases out of the Seattle area has noticeably declined. An area that produced 37 of the first 50 fatalities in the US has seen deaths drop off markedly, while hospitals have been mercifully underwhelmed. While each infected person was spreading the virus to an average of 2.7 other people earlier in March, that number appears to have dropped, with one projection suggesting that it was now down to 1.4, according to the New York Times.

That’s largely thanks to strict measures implemented early on by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. While NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was still encouraging New Yorkers to go out and have a good time in late February, Inslee was barring gatherings of more than 250 people and cautioning Washingtonians to stay home and be careful.

New York, meanwhile, surpassed 1k deaths from COVID-19 over the weekend.

As of Monday morning, the US had reported 143,055 cases, according to Johns Hopkins, roughly 1 in 5 global cases (the global case total was 732,000). Projections claim that the global case total should surpass 1 million by the end of the week. The CDC is advising people from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to stay put, and avoid traveling to second homes or relatives’ homes elsewhere in the country.

As Tokyo health officials recorded another surprising jump in mostly travel-related cases as of Monday, officials in South Korea warned that they were recording a “sustained increase” in new cases, suggesting new clusters forming around Seoul. Meanwhile, EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, said it would ground its entire fleet as demand for personal travel collapses.

Across India, migrant workers have struggled with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden lockdown, which left millions of Indians with only hours to prepare. The PM apologized yesterday, and now, news organizations are reporting on some of the draconian steps that local governments are taking to “disinfect” poor migrant workers returning home.

Back in Europe, the border closures across the Schengen Area have shuttered borders that haven’t been closed since the fall of the Soviet Union. Here’s a guide produced by a non-profit in the region, which recently noted how many Europeans are now meeting loved ones at borders to share a kiss or a quick hello.

As the Russian capital commenced a mandatory self-isolation regime Monday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called on regional governors to extend the system across the country to control the coronavirus.

Now that world leaders expect the virus to last for most of the year, Australia’s government planned to subsidize the wages of private-sector employees for up to six months to help businesses and workers struggling with the impact of the coronavirus shutdown: “We will pay employers to pay their employees,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he announced what he dubbed a “job keeper” program. “Our government has made a decision today…that no government has made before in Australia,” according to the Washington Post.

The program is part of an $80 billion package.

In Spain, the number of new cases has surpassed China’s “official” total in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections, as the number of cases rose from 78,797 on Sunday to 85,195 on Monday. The death toll rose by 812 to 7,340.

The Chinese press on Sunday published a photo of President Xi standing out in public without a facemask, a notable development as China continues to report no or almost zero new home-grown cases of COVID-19.

JNJ meanwhile reported Monday that it has produced a “lead vaccine candidate” in its trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. While it’s certainly a reassuring headline (and CNBC has given it no shortage of attention this morning), it won’t move up the timeframe for an expected vaccine.

Finally, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said Monday that a new bank lending program passed as part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill late last week will be ready by Friday, and he encouraged every business to apply because the loans will be “forgivable” for companies that hire back workers and retain them.

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