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Illinois Confirms 4th Case, Saudi Arabia Confirms 1st, Italian Death Toll Tops 50: Live Virus Updates

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Summary:

  • 2nd US death reported in Washington State
  • Gottlieb warns US cases likely in ‘low thousands’
  • Illinois announces 4th case
  • Boris Johnson: “A very significant expansion” of the virus is “clearly in the cards”
  • Italian death toll climbs 18 to 52 while total cases surpasses 2,000
  • BMW tells 150 to quarantine after Munich employee infected
  • WHO’s Tedros: Virus is “common enemy” of humanity so don’t focus on blame
  • Jordan reports first two cases
  • Death toll in France doubles
  • Tunisia reports first case
  • UK total climbs to 40
  • OECD warns global growth could fall by half
  • Indonesia reports first cases
  • “Progress is being made” toward a vaccine
  • Cuomo says NY expects more cases
  • India confirms 2 more cases
  • ‘Official’ Iran death toll hits 66
  • EU confirms 38 deaths across 18 members
  • First cases confirmed in Fla.
  • 2 Amazon employees test positive in Milan
  • Virus now in 7 US states: Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Oregon
  • San Antonio virus patient re-hospitalized after testing positive
  • China warns it could face ‘locust invasion’

* * *

Update (1305ET): Boris Johnson said Monday that “a very significant expansion” of the virus is “clearly in the cards.”

* * *

Update (1300ET): Public health officials in Illinois have announced another “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus. Like the prior cases, Illinois case No. 4 is also in Cook County.

.@IDPH and @CookCoHealth report 4th coronavirus case in Illinois. Woman in her 70s who is the spouse of the third case pic.twitter.com/mssAgf8dHG

— Ben Orner (@Ben_Orner) March 2, 2020

The total number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy has climbed to more than 2,000 on Sunday, according to a statement from Italian public health officials. The country’s death toll climbed by 18 to 52.

The march of first-cases continues, with Saudi Arabia becoming the latest to announce its first case on Monday.

In Washington, 34 firefighters and police are being quarantined after visiting the nursing home in Kirkland where two cases were confirmed over the weekend.

* * *

Update (1130ET): Toward the end of the Q&A with reporters following Monday’s press briefing, Dr. Tedros told a reporter that humanity now has a “common enemy” and should focus on fighting it instead of apportioning blame. The WHO Director-General made the remark in response to a question about the culpability of certain governments for the global spread of the coronavirus.

The outbreak only kills roughly 2% of those it infects, Dr. Tedros said. Because of this, he said, Dr. Tedros believes that “the stigma to be honest is more dangerous than the virus itself,” he said. “Let’s really underline that. The stigma is the most dangerous enemy, for me it’s more than the virus itself.”

Translation: The WHO is prioritizing defending Beijing’s actions – i.e. ‘battling racism’ – over its responsibility to combat the virus.

“Concerns and worries are understandable. It’s fine to be concerned and worried, but let’s calm down and do the right thing,” he added later before ending the briefing.

  • WHO’S TEDROS SAYS HUMANITY NOW HAS A COMMON ENEMY
  • WHO’S TEDROS SAYS STIGMA IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN VIRUS ITSELF

Dr. Tedros then launched into a defense of the WHO’s decision to delay the decision to declare the virus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), before pointing out the fact that in 55 countries have confirmed less than 100 cases.

“Even if it’s more, it can be contained.”

So, Dr. Tedros started the press conference explaining why it’s not appropriate to describe the outbreak as a pandemic, before declaring it a “common enemy” of the human race.

We seem to have lost the thread.

* * *

Update (1100ET): The WHO’s daily presser is still ongoing. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday after two people were diagnosed with the virus that 23 Floridians have now been tested, and 184 are under monitoring by publi health officials.

California has warned about how the virus could impact its finances.

* * *

Update (10:55ET): Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Ireland’s Sinn Fein, has revealed that her children attend the Dublin school that has been temporarily shuttered after a student who recently returned from Italy was diagnosed with the virus, according to the Guardian.

The roughly 400 students and staff at the school have been advised to ‘stay home’ and ‘restrict their movements’.

* * *

Update (1045ET): WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that he wouldn’t call the outbreak a pandemic until “evidence warrants” – adding that right now, 90% of cases are in China (even as the virus as been confirmed in nearly 70 countries).

  • WHO’S TEDROS SAYS WILL CALL IT A PANDEMIC IF EVIDENCE WARRANTS
  • WHO’S RYAN SAYS STILL HOPEFUL CONTAINMENT IS RIGHT STRATEGY
  • TRUMP SAYS HE ASKED TO ACCELERATE WORK ON VIRUS VACCINES
  • WHO’S TEDROS STILL URGES CONTAINMENT FOR KOREA, CHINA, ITALY
  • CHINA HAS SENT TECHNICAL TEAM TO AID RESPONSE IN IRAN

In other news, Qatar’s public health officials have announced 4 new cases of the virus.

* * *

Update (1030ET): Tunisia has reported its first case of coronavirus, joining a growing list of major cities and countries that have reported their first cases of the virus on Monday, drawing even more scrutiny to the WHO and its unwillingness to call the outbreak a ‘pandemic’.

Meanwhile, the WHO will hold its daily press breifing at 10:30 am ET.

Watch live below:

* * *

Update (0900ET): Here’s a funny headline about the G7 emergency coronavirus meeting.

  • FRANCE’S FINANCE MIN. LE MAIRE: G7 CORONAVIRUS MEETING IS TO BE HELD BY TELEPHONE TO LIMIT TRAVEL.

The ECB, meanwhile, called off a joint event with the European Commission that was supposed to happen on Tuesday because several participants cancelled because of the outbreak.

In the UK, the total number of cases has climbed to 40.

In other news: As fear spreads in Washington State, six schools and one university have closed Monday for a ‘deep clean’.

* * *

Update (0845ET): Echoing the news out of San Antonio, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma warned Monday morning in the US that one of India’s first cases was a passenger who landed in Jaipur from Italy on Feb 29. He was admitted to the isolation ward at a hospital after he showed symptoms of COVID-19 in the screening and at first he tested negative, and he was sent home.

However, a later confirmatory test later showed he was positive.

It just underlines the notion that the most dangerous thing about the novel coronavirus is it’s ability to remain undetected for lengths of time.

* * *

Update (0820ET): The French death toll doubled Monday morning when health officials reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total to four.

* * *

Update (0800ET): Former FDA Director Scott Gottlieb, who has been far more vocal than the current FDA director thanks to his regular appearances on CNBC and other cable news channels, warned during an interview on CNBC Monday morning that the public shouldn’t trust the administration’s rhetoric.

The fact is, things are far from ‘okay’, Gottlieb said. Now that the government is expanding testing, the US case count will ‘grow rapidly’. The public should start stocking up on supplies and preparing for widespread disruptions. Gottlieb warned that the number of cases in the US has probably already reached the ‘low thousands’. Hundreds could be confirmed by the end of the week.

Scott Gottlieb

As the GT pointed out earlier, the CDC is telling Americans that wearing facemasks in public right now isn’t necessary. We suspect Gottlieb would beg to differ.

Meanwhile, Jordan has reported its first 2 cases as the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East spreads.

BMW has reportedly told 150 R&D employees to quarantine at home for two weeks ater coming into contact with an employee in Munich contracted the virus. The Munich case was sent home to self-quarantine. Large companies that have now confirmed employees have been infected include Amazon, Nike, Google and BMW. 

Before we go, we’d just like to point out: In the past 24 hours, Moscow, New Delhi, NYC, Berlin, Rome and Brussels have all confirmed their first cases, as have Indonesia, Portugal and now Jordan on Monday morning.

And yet…

And the World Health Organization still won’t call this a pandemic. https://t.co/y4Y3cbAw30

— Ben Hunt (@EpsilonTheory) March 2, 2020

Earlier, European Commission President Von der Leyen followed the OECD’s breakthrough warning by saying the risk in the EU had risen from “moderate” to “high.”

* * *

Update (0730ET): As we reported last night, a group of drug company CEOs are on their way to meet with President Trump at the White House.”Progress is being made” toward a vaccine, Trump said.

I am meeting with the major pharmaceutical companies today at the White House about progress on a vaccine and cure. Progress being made!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2020

Meanwhile, NY Governor and Trump nemesis Andrew Cuomo told CNN Monday that he expects more cases to be confirmed in New York. NYC’s first patient is a woman in her late 30s who contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran.

Amazingly, despite all of Cuomo’s boasts about his state’s state of the art labs and medical resources, the woman is apparently “isolated in her home.”

* * *

Update (0715ET): A Reuters headline from late Sunday just caught our eye, and we felt obligated to share: China’s State Forestry and Grasslands Administration has warned that the world’s second-largest economy could face a devastating “Locust Invasion”.

  • CHINA FACES RISK OF LOCUST INVASION – FORESTRY AND GRASSLAND ADMINISTRATION

Last month, we reported that China was deploying an “army of ducks” to help Pakistan fight an invasion of locusts, a plague that is also hurting farmers across Africa.

Looks like Beijing is going to need its ducks back.

The Global Times, meanwhile, is now mocking the CDC for refusing to recommend that Americans should wear facemasks.

Suggesting people not wear face mask is seriously misleading. All of the Chinese experts have advised people to wear face mask when in contact with others during time of epidemic and consider it one of the most effective measures. Please heed suggestion of Chinese experts. pic.twitter.com/xUxq11m7Bg

— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) March 2, 2020

* * *

Update (0640ET): Japan reports 15 new coronavirus cases, Reuters reports, bringing the country total to 271, excluding the 705 from the Diamond Princess.

* * *

Update (0615ET): Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, confirmed on Monday that the EU Has 2,100 confirmed cases and 38 confirmed deaths across 18 member states. The bloc has also raised its risk alert level from “moderate” to “high”.

Yet all the borders remain open…

Shortly after South Korea reported 599 new cases of coronavirus raising its total to 4,335 and death toll to 22, South Korea’s transport ministry said flights from South Korea to the US would begin screening all passengers with mandatory temperature checks – techniques that have already been shown to be not entirely effective.

Trump has seemed hesitant to slap South Korea and Italy with the same travel restrictions he used on China. If he cares about being reelected, he might want to reconsider.

China reported 202 additional coronavirus cases and 42 additional deaths last night, as we reported. This morning in the US, Chinese Premier Li said the coronavirus outbreak was at a crucial stage and that positive trends outside Hubei mean strict control measures must be maintained.

* * *

Update (0600ET): After six weeks of speculation about how Indonesia had managed to avoid an outbreak, especially considering the thousands of travelers from Hubei that visited the country, the government of the world’s fourth-largest country had confirmed that two patients had tested positive on Monday, Reuters reports.

In other news, Goldman Sachs has postponed all non-essential travel for its staff “effective immediately” according to a memo seen by Reuters.

* * *

Meanwhile, here’s the State Department’s ‘Travel Advisory’ map. Areas marked ‘red’ indicate ‘Do Not Travel’, areas in yellow or yellow-black stripes are ‘exercise increased caution’ (it’s not clearly visible, but Italy has yellow-black stripes).

The CDC has its own travel advisory map (courtesy of NPR):

* * *

As the wild swings in US equity futures over the last few hours would suggest, we’re headed for another insane week of coronavirus news as America comes to grips with the outbreak as it claims a second life and spreads to the country’s largest city.

The American coronavirus outbreak accelerated rapidly over the weekend, as health officials confirmed the first virus-linked death on Saturday, before confirming a second death of a US citizen – this time a 70-year-old man – in the same area of Washington State.

As we explained last night, state and federal public-health officials are focusing on what appears to be a cluster of confirmed cases in Washington, where both deaths have occurred, as well as outbreaks in Oregon and California where patients had no clear path of transmission for the virus, leading officials to suspect that a more widespread outbreak has already begun. Late Sunday night, Gov. Cuomo confirmed the first case in Manhattan, involving a woman who had recently traveled to Iran. The news followed a seemingly unceasing stream of scares and negative tests in America’s largest city, according to the New York Times.

As we pointed out, the global death toll climbed above 3,000 last night as China reported another 42 deaths.

“Coronavirus Czar” and Vice President Mike Pence reiterated promises to make more testing kits available to state officials, reiterating promises made over the weekend. President Trump and other administration officials are also scheduled to meet with drug company execs on Monday.

The cases confirmed over the weekend were found in seven states: Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Oregon, and included a mix of people who had traveled to high-risk countries, and others believed to have contracted the virus in the US.

Republican-controlled Florida defied Pence’s urges to ‘remain calm’ and declared a state of emergency on Sunday after the governor’s office confirmed 2 “presumptively positive” cases late Sunday, according to a Florida TV station. 

Russia reported the first case of the virus in Moscow in a man who returned from Italy on Feb. 23, local newswires reported.

The cases were discovered in Florida’s Manatee County and Hillsborough County.

A patient in San Antonio, one of the evacuees, appeared to recover from the coronavirus illness and had been released from a health care facility after having tested negative twice in more than 24 hours was placed back into isolation, even after the CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted that there was no evidence that people could be ‘reinfected’ after recovering from the virus.

Mayor of San Antonio. #covid19 https://t.co/pIm1vxROFD

— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) March 2, 2020

India’s health minister confirmed 2 new cases as the virus spreads in India and neighboring Pakistan. Health authorities in Portugal confirmed the first 2 cases in the country early Monday as the virus continues its spread across Europe. And Iran reported 523 new cases of coronavirus Monday morning and 11 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,501 cases confirmed and 66 dead.

After advising employees to stop non-essential travel over the weekend, Amazon said late Sunday that two of its employees in Milan have contracted the virus and are now under quarantine, the NYT reports.

“We’re supporting the affected employees who were in Milan and are now in quarantine,” company spokesman Dan Perlet said.

The world’s biggest online retailer said it was unaware of any U.S. employees who had contracted the virus. On Friday, Amazon told employees to stop non-essential travel, within the United States and beyond. The company also confirmed on Sunday it is moving some recruiting interviews to video rather than in person.

Over in China, on-the-ground reports claim that most Chinese have returned to work at this point. However, in the rush back to work, the CCP appears to have overlooked a few things…like worker-safety standards.

Chinese workers are working under these kinds of conditions to boost #CCP‘s GDP, which they are very proud of.


中共的 #GDP 有多少是底层民众的血与汗与命换来的。 pic.twitter.com/Hx0q7YulBW

— 曾錚 Jennifer Zeng (@jenniferatntd) March 1, 2020

As Chinese officials continue their campaign to convince the world, and the Chinese population, that the outbreak is subsiding and that everything will soon return to normal, State TV reports the first of 16 hospitals specially built in Wuhan to tackle the coronavirus epidemic.

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