February 1, 2020
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Update (1720ET): It’s Saturday morning in Beijing, and that means another wave of updates from Hubei and the rest of China’s virus-stricken provinces.
In a major milestone, the number of cases around the world has topped 10k, 2k more than SARS infected during its nearly year-long run, as Hubei reports 1,347 new cases.
The death toll in China (also the global death toll) has risen to 257, according to China’s NHC.
At present, 6738 cases are still being treated in the hospital (among them: 956 cases of severe illness and 338 cases of critical illness), all of them are receiving isolation treatment at designated medical institutions. A total of 41,075 close contacts have been tracked, and 36,838 people are still undergoing medical observation.
In other breaking virus-related news, Spain has confirmed its first case of nCoV.
The latest round of cases and deaths hasn’t been reflected in most counts yet, but here’s where we were like 20 mins ago.
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Update (1630ET): We’re not sure why the CDC didn’t mention it during the press conference that ended five minutes ago, but media reports that hit the tape just minutes ago are claiming that a seventh case has been confirmed in California, marking case No. 3 for the largest state by population.
NEW: California reports another case of coronavirus, 7th in the U.S. https://t.co/XQhLD5wMuG
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) January 31, 2020
Notably, a plane with 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan landed in California, and its passengers have been quarantined. No word yet on whether the new case is tied to this group.
To be sure, the task force did warn journalists to expect more cases in the US. It follows a 7th case confirmed in Germany, an employee who worked at the same company as the other patients.
Meanwhile, back in Beijing, it’s still technically a holiday thanks to the government “extension.” And even in Beijing, the country’s second-most-populous city, streets that were once bustling with nightlife activity are barren.
If you’ve been to Sanlitun’s bustling shopping and bar street in Beijing, you’ve probably never seen it like this. At 630pm on a Friday night. I was looking for a place to get dinner with some masked(!) human interaction. That ain’t here. @CBSNews is here. #WuhanCoronavirus pic.twitter.com/yi2coXYady
— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) January 31, 2020
Update (1545ET): The CDC held another press conference on Friday to reiterate, over and over again, that the risk to the public from the coronavirus is low. They also confirmed that the sixth case in the US that was confirmed yesterday was, in fact, an instance of human to human transmission.
Did we mention that ‘the risk to the public is low?’ (even though the virus ‘does present a public health emergency’ and ‘expects more cases’, according to Dr. Fauci.)
Since it represents a public health emergency, the US will mandate that any US citizen returning to the US who traveled to Hubei Province in the last 14 days prior to returning to the US will be quarantined for up to two weeks. Any US citizen returning to the US from anywhere in mainland China any time during the last 14 days will undergo intense health screening.
Additionally, President Trump has signed a proclamation temporarily suspending the entry into the US of foreign nationals who pose a risk of carrying the 2019 nCoV. Foreign nationals who have traveled in China during the last 14 days may be denied entrance to the US starting at 5 pm ET.
All travelers from China will be funneled through seven airports, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Honolulu, LAX and several others said interim deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
And miraculously, it worked: stocks picked up off the lows of the day.
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Update (1315ET): In a historic move, the CDC has issued an official federal quarantine order for the Americans who returned to Alaska then California, on a chartered Boeing jet. The 195 passengers were mostly diplomats and other professionals living in Wuhan. The quarantine order will keep them isolated for 2 weeks – the same length of time that evacuees in the UK will face.
Its the first time such an order has been issued in 50 years. The CDC also warned that the virus continues to spread rapidly in China, appearing to contradict their international partners at the WHO. The order comes after one of the quarantined Americans reportedly tried to leave the base where they were housed in California Thursday night. Because of this, Politico reports that the White House is weighing an order for all American citizens to leave China.
The Trump administration is planning to evacuate additional Americans next week from the region of China at the center of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, and officials are considering a mandatory order for all U.S. citizens there to leave, two officials told POLITICO.
The process is being led by the State Department and supported by HHS, which is handling the medical and other needs of evacuees.
Curious how the CDC has the authority to do this? Here’s a rundown on how federal quarantine powers work, from the CDC’s website:
The federal government derives its authority for isolation and quarantine from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to take measures to prevent the entry and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between states.
Federal isolation and quarantine are authorized for these communicable diseases
- * Cholera
- * Diphtheria
- * Infectious tuberculosis
- * Plague
- * Smallpox
- * Yellow fever
- * Viral hemorrhagic fevers
- * Severe acute respiratory syndromes
- * Flu that can cause a pandemic
Federal isolation and quarantine are authorized by Executive Order of the President. The President can revise this list by Executive Order.
The authority for carrying out these functions on a daily basis has been delegated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under 42 Code of Federal Regulations parts 70 and 71, CDC is authorized to detain, medically examine, and release persons arriving into the United States and traveling between states who are suspected of carrying these communicable diseases.
As part of its federal authority, CDC routinely monitors persons arriving at U.S. land border crossings and passengers and crew arriving at U.S. ports of entry for signs or symptoms of communicable diseases.
When alerted about an ill passenger or crew member by the pilot of a plane or captain of a ship, CDC may detain passengers and crew as necessary to investigate whether the cause of the illness on board is a communicable disease.
Elsewhere in North America, Canada’s Global News reports that Canada is about to announce its fourth confirmed case of the virus. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the White House could further restrict travel to China, possibly in the form of an outright ban on travel in China for Americans. Last night, the State Department lifted its travel advisory warning to 4. Meanwhile, the Guardian and others are reporting that Washington has apparently angered Beijing with its ‘Level 4’ travel advisory (especially after President Xi strong-armed the WHO to propagate Beijng’s lies). If that’s accurate, imagine what would happen if the US imposed a travel ban?
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Update (1255ET): Almost immediately after the Daily News report, a NYC spokesman was quoted by Bloomberg saying there were “no confirmed, suspected” Coronavirus cases.
So… chaos, although even if NYC is not “bending” the truth to avoid a panic, it is likely just a matter of time before Coronavirus does make landfall in the Big Apple.
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Update (1245ET): New York City has reported its first case of Coronavirus according an unconfirmed report in the NY Daily News.
An Asian man in his 50s was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital with the illness, the source said.
The FDNY and the NYPD could not immediately confirm a coronavirus patient in New York.
An NYPD message sent to eight Queens precincts early Friday advised officers to protect themselves if they planned to go to Elmhurst Hospital.
“Make sure the officer has proper gear (mask) to protect themselves,” the message said. –NY Daily News
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Update (1045ET): After its pilots’ union sued the airline to try and force cancellations, American has acquiesced and joined Delta in cancelling all flights to and from China, though the exact timeframe of the cancellations hasn’t yet been reported. Analysts expect the airline will wait a week to start cancelling flights to give customers a way out of China.
BREAKING: American Airlines to also halt all U.S.-China flightshttps://t.co/fPOIK6MUja
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) January 31, 2020
As the selloff in stocks worsens, the Economist has just previewed the cover of next week’s issue:
A picture's worth a thousand words — but sometimes The Economist hedges on its cover and tries to get two thousand. pic.twitter.com/ZawjTQtNxp
— Simon Chesterman 陈西文 (@ProfChesterman) January 31, 2020
As we await the 10,000th confirmed case, here’s a chart showing the distribution of new cases.
— FBS 🇵🇹 🇮🇹 🇪🇺 (@filipebatsilv) January 31, 2020
Update (1030ET): More videos of China’s ghost-like roads and public transit platforms have reached twitter.
— 🐨 (@kinkumpoop) January 28, 2020
— A lovely bird (@sb1023) January 31, 2020
Meanwhile roads are being blocked leading out of Wuhan.
Not wearing a mask in public has been banned.
in China,A railway policeman inD5319 train found a woman without a mask (which is banned)and she tried to cover her face with clothes. She explained that she couldn't buy a mask which is in short supply,crying. so he gave her a one and comforted her. pic.twitter.com/MUzfRn8XqQ
— Bai (@n1Qm6RAIvI8VS1U) January 31, 2020
Considering it doesn’t have the resources to combat the virus should it arrive, Iran is cutting off all flights to and from China indefinitely due to the outbreak.
That’s right: Iran cancelled flights before the US.
CNBC reported that travel on Beijing’s public transit shrank 84% from a year earlier on Jan. 30, given that it’s traditionally the first day after the LNY holiday.
The NYT published the following chart comparing the official infectiousness of the Wuhan virus with other recent pandemics.
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Update (1000ET): Medical journal The Lancet just published a new study claiming that up to 75,800 people might already be infected with novel coronavirus in the city of Wuhan alone.
“Not everyone infected with 2019-nCoV would require or seek medical attention. During the urgent demands of an expanding epidemic of a new virus, especially when system capacity is getting overwhelmed, some of those infected may be undercounted in official register.”
“The transmissibility of 2019-nCoV—or at least its geographical distribution—seems to be higher and broader than initially expected. Why? Partly this may be because of China’s rapid expansion of its transport networks, especially air and high-speed rail. Wuhan is a crucial hub: linking west to Chengdu, south to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, east to Nanjing and Shanghai, and north to Beijing. With much of December a period when the outbreak went unreported and unrecognised, the population exposed to the virus is far greater than first thought—a cause for heightened concern.”
The scientists also acknowledged that the virus has spread “more broadly than initially anticipated.”
This new modelling study estimates 75,800 individuals in the Chinese city of Wuhan may have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of January 25, 2020 – but authors caution that the true size of the epidemic remains unclear https://t.co/SvJQDRrKov pic.twitter.com/xsLlwiejFZ
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) January 31, 2020
These early estimates underscore that it will likely take rapid immediate scale-up of substantial public health control measures to prevent large epidemics in areas outside Wuhan. In our new issue @richardhorton1 shares early lessons from the outbreak https://t.co/N8ZJ49lndP
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) January 31, 2020
Just imagine: If there are 75,000 cases in Wuhan, what’s the total number from all of China’s 31 provinces?
In the US, Delta just suspended routes to China until May because of the drop in demand caused by the coronavirus. It will continue operating flights between now and Feb. 5 because it wants to give customers the opportunity to get out of China. Delta’s cancellations have been described as the “most aggressive” of the major US airlines.
For whatever reason, flights have continued out of Wuhan as more countries seek to evacuate their citizens.
Read the full Lancet report below:
Update (0920ET): India just created a law to ban the shipping abroad of facemasks and other supplies needed to fight an epidemic. Now that cases have been confirmed in India, it’s all hands on deck.
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) January 31, 2020
So governments are now hoarding supplies to fight this virus as Wuhan remains totally screwed.
United and Delta are now allowing pilots to decline trips to China, policies that will be tantamount to a shadow cancellation of all flights until further notice. This comes after an American Airlines pilots union sued the company to try and force it to cancel China trips.
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Update (0845ET): The total number of confirmed cases worldwide is creeping closer and closer to 10k. In the latest cases to be reported in the press, Germany has confirmed a sixth case – a child in Bavaria, according to the Guardian. The child is related to an employee at a Munich company where four others were infected, virtually guaranteeing that this will be confirmed as a human-to-human transmission.
Meanwhile, 83 British citizens have been successfully evacuated from Wuhan. There were another 27 passengers on the flight who weren’t British nationals. They will all be quarantined for two weeks at Arrowe Park hospital in Wirral.
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Update (0745ET): Like the UK, after several false alarms, Russia has now confirmed its first coronavirus cases, Deputy PM Tatiana Golikova confirmed, according to RT. Russian media said two cases have been confirmed, and are now in isolation.
Two Chinese citizens have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Russia’s Zabaikalsky Krai and Tyumen Oblast in Siberia, Golikova said on Friday.
In other news, analysts at JPM have released their own projections for how the outbreak will hurt global growth: analysts at the biggest US bank shaved its forecast for global growth by 0.3% points for Q1. “Based on the patterns observed from other epidemics, we assume that the outbreak will likely run its course over 2-3 months, meaning the hit to activity happens in the current quarter,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note to clients. “Also in line with historical experience, we expect a full recovery to follow.”
Goldman, meanwhile, forecast that the outbreak would shave 0.4% off Q1 growth in the US. After shuttering its land border with China, Russia said it’s weighing whether to temporarily halt working visas for Chinese nationals, in the latest repudiation of the WHO’s insistence that traveling to China is still ‘safe.’ The Vampire Squid also cut China’s 2020 GDP growth expectations to 5.5% from 5.9%
These, added to the latest count of confirmed cases from China, has sent the number of confirmed cases over 10,000.
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Update (0650ET): India has only confirmed a single case of the virus, and the victim’s condition is said to be improving, But the Guardian just noted that there are 1,000 people under observation in various parts of Kerala. 15 are in isolation wards in various hospitals.
Authorities were attempting to contact all the passengers who traveled on a flight from Kolkata to Cochin on Jan. 23 that the infected patient had been on, a day after she traveled from Beijing.
Meanwhile, earlier, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, offered some insight into the WHO’s insistence that countries don’t need to curtail travel to China, when she insisted that a complete border closure is “not the right answer.”
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For a few hours on Friday, the global community will turn away from obsessively following outbreak news to acknowledge the UK finally leaving the EU. But with US stocks on track to open in the red once again now that the first cases have been confirmed in the UK after multiple scares, all other news on Friday will be more or less irrelevant.
Though the WHO insisted that restricting travel to China during the outbreak simply wouldn’t be necessary, airlines and governments continued to cancel flights and tighten border restrictions. American Airlines has acquiesced to the pilots union, which filed a lawsuit demanding that flights to China be cancelled, and cancelled two of its routes. According to Business Insider, 43 airlines – Lufthansa, British Air, United, American, Air Canada, Air Seoul, Air France, etc. – have cancelled some or all routes to China, with some of the cancellations stretching out until late March. Most have cited a drop in demand as the reason as passenger plane traffic has plummeted. Russia has closed its border, Italy has cancelled flights to China, while the US and Japan have implemented the most urgent travel warnings advising citizens not to travel to China. Other governments, including the UK, have warned against travel to Hubei.
Singapore has also closed its borders to all Chinese travelers, becoming the first southeast Asian country to do so.
The number of cases and the death toll haven’t budged from late Thursday in New York, when we filed our last update. However, speculation about underreporting by the Chinese government has intensified in recent days. Though the total number of cases of the novel coroanvirus outbreak has already surpassed the total from the entire 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.
Research suggesting (though not confirming) that the virus can spread asymptomatically – meaning that individuals are contagious before they’re even aware they have contracted the virus.
Roughly half of Chinese will stay home from work next week, and indefinitely until the virus is contained, according to local officials. This is tantamount to two-thirds of the economy – the second-largest economy in the world – virtually guaranteeing that knock-on impact to global growth will be severe.
Now to the big news on Friday: UK health officials have confirmed two cases of the virus in England. The victims are being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.
BREAKING: two cases of coronavirus being treated at Newcastle's infectious disease unit.
New Gov advice: anyone coming back from China with respiratory symptoms should self isolate for 14 days.
Anyone coming back from Wuhan, with symptoms or not, should self isolate for 14 days.
— Kate Proctor (@Kate_M_Proctor) January 31, 2020
As Beijing scrambles to contain the outbreak, the contagion has spread to all 31 of mainland China’s provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, and at least 19 other countries or territories. After confirming its first cases on Thursday and cancelling all flights to China, Italy has declared a state of emergency to last six months.
Though officials are touting unexpectedly strong progress on their two slap-dash coronavirus hospitals – Huoshenshan and Leishenshan – being erected in Wuhan to house another 2,300 patients, Beijing has sent more than 7,000 medical workers to the province to help fight the disease. As of Thursday, the province had reported 5,806 confirmed cases, with 32,340 people still under observation for infection. A total of 804 patients were in severe condition and 290 in critical condition. Across China, there were more than 100,000 people under observation as of Friday morning, according to Bloomberg.
France is the latest country to complete a chartered evacuation flight has rescued dozens of citizens from virus-plagued Wuhan.
As mask shortages led to absurd price gouging, China is importing more than 56.228 million masks in the past week, according to the General Administration of Customs. Some 290 million yuan (US$41.8 million) worth of protective gear was imported between Jan. 24 and Jan. 30. That included the masks, 69,000 pairs of goggles, and 738,000 items of protective clothing, according to the SCMP.
Shocking photos published by the Guardian that were allegedly smuggled out of Wuhan show nurses at a hospital making their own makeshift facemasks out of cloth.
Hong Kong schools have announced that they will remain closed until March 2. Many countries, including Vietnam and the US, have suspended some or all visa processing for Chinese citizens, or residents of Hubei.
Goldman said it expects the outbreak to wipe 0.4 percentage point off US GDP growth during Q1. However, the investment bank believes growth will rebound in Q2, and that the long-term impact would be negligible. Labor Secretary Wilbur Ross disagrees, arguing that the outbreak will help bring more jobs back to the US.
One thing’s for sure: The total economic fallout will be difficult to gauge until we figure out how long it will take to implement a vaccine. If a vaccine really is a whole year away, that could become a problem.
This article was posted: Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 7:50 am