Update (0822ET): As China continues to roll out new restrictions on foreign travelers, all while gloating about the world’s inability to contain the outbreak that China unleashed, Global Times editor Hu Xijin tweeted Thursday morning that he was “calling on” the Chinese government to impose 14-day quarantines for everybody traveling from the US.
US CDC’s passive attitude in tallying/disclosing infection number, and Trump administration’s attempt to downplay the epidemic is disturbing. I have called on Chinese local governments to implement 14-day quarantine for all people coming from the US.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) March 5, 2020
China managed to stop the virus only by restricting the movements of roughly half its population. Democracies like the US unfortunately don’t have that power.
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Update (0720ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has apparently just announced during an appearance on “Morning Joe” that NYC has confirmed 2 more cases, raising the citywide total to 4 and the state-wide total to 13, per the NYT.
BREAKING: @NYCMayor announces two new #coronavirus cases in NYC on Morning Joe just now. Source says it’s a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s. That brings the city’s total positive tests up to four.
— Julia Marsh (@juliakmarsh) March 5, 2020
The new cases include a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s.
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With stock futures once again pointing to a massive drop at the open, the brief respite provided by Joe Biden’s political comeback has faded as Americans brace for the outbreak by, among other things, hoarding Purell, while California and others threaten to prosecute sellers caught gouging prices on essentials as people across the country stock up.
Since midday on Wednesday, the virus death toll in the US has held steady at 11. But there’s no denying the reality that coronavirus hysteria has arrived in America. Last night, California declared a state of emergency, joining Florida and Washington State.
And with cases confirmed in New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey, the virus has officially gone bi-coastal.
Globally, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 95,000, and the global death toll is north of 3,000. China remains by far the worst hit, with 80,410 cases, while South Korea is No. 2 with 5,766. They’re followed by Italy and Iran.
Courtesy of the FT
In addition to declaring the state of emergency, Cali Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that a cruise ship – the ‘Grand Princess’ – preparing to dock in San Francisco be held off the coast of California after the one fatality in California was linked to a previous voyage on the ship.
Late yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that local health officials had discovered the first “presumptive” case of the virus in Bergen County, a suburb of New York City. The individual, a male in his 30s, has been hospitalized in the county since March 3. The “presumptive” case was initially tested at a local New Jersey lab
Tonight, Acting Governor @LtGovOliver and I are announcing the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus, or #COVID19, in New Jersey. The individual, a male in his 30s, is hospitalized in Bergen County and has been hospitalized since March 3rd. pic.twitter.com/E2QtB1Wzut
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 5, 2020
We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. I urge residents to remain calm.
The investigation is underway & more information will be released when it becomes available.
For more info:
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 5, 2020
According to the CDC, 14 US states have reported either confirmed or “presumptive” cases of the virus.
Already, the number of confirmed cases in the US is north of 150 (including the 48 evacuees).
Yesterday, VP Pence and HHS Secretary Azar promised that new screening measures would be applied to travelers from South Korea and Italy. Australia on Thursday joined the list of countries restricting travel by barring visitors from South Korea. Meanwhile, in a glimpse of what’s to come for the airline industry, which could be in for a $100 billion hit tied to the coronavirus, the UK regional airline Flybe collapsed.
As the outbreak appears to wane in China, President Xi has cancelled a state visit to Japan because of the rapidly circulating outbreak.
Though it wasn’t all good news out of Beijing: Last night, the western press reported that a 36-year old man thought to have recovered from coronavirus had died from respiratory failure in Wuhan five days after being discharged. It’s alarming because the man was young and otherwise healthy – characteristics that should have made him particularly resilient to the virus.
Much to the chagrin of his political allies, President Trump continued his campaign to minimize the severity of the outbreak during an appearance on Hannity Wednesday night when he said he had a “hunch” the real mortality rate for the virus is closer to 1% than the 3.4% estimate shared by Dr. Tedros during Wednesday’s WHO Press conference.
Trump to Hannity on WHO saying coronavirus death rate is 3.4%: “I think the 3.4% number is really a false number. Now this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations … personally, I’d say the number is way under 1%.”
Astoundingly irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/uC9c03zX31
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 5, 2020
In South Korea, mass testing has confirmed more than 6,000 cases as of the health officials’ second update on Thursday, as well as more than 40 deaths. Italy has confirmed more than 3,000 cases, along with more than 100 deaths. Elsewhere in Asia, Malaysia has confirmed another 5 cases, bringing its national total to 55. Travelers who have recently visited any hot spots – northern Italy, Hokkaido (in Japan), Tehran and Daegu – will be temporarily banned from entering Malaysia, unless they are Malaysian citizens.
Officially, Iran has confirmed 92 deaths and 2,922 cases. But the Washington Post reported last night that data obtained from a string of hospitals in Tehran suggests that the epidemic has spread far more widely than the government has acknowledged.
CNN reports that the case total in India, the world’s second most populous country, has climbed to 29 (three have already recovered). In response, India has started screening all passengers who arrive at its airports for the virus. The Indian government is also preparing to evacuate its citizens from Iran, becoming the first country to plan an evacuation from the epicenter of the virus in the Middle East.
Based on the data, which was given to WaPo by a UK-based activist, the true case count in Iran is probably closer to 30,000 than the 3,000 cases counted by the government. And the death toll is likely closer to 1,000 than 100 – after all, the BBC reported last week that the true death toll was already north of 200 days ago.
Whatever the real number, as more senior government officials catch the virus, the Islamic Republic has kicked off its “national mobilization” scheme in which 300,000 medical teams joined by voluntary members of the IRGC – the Revolutionary Guard – will monitor families across the country and take unexplained action to help limit the spread. The teams will be stationed in “medical facilities, schools and military bases” across Iran. The Iranian government has also started to limit travel within the country after suspending issuing visas for travelers from other hot spots.
With 15 cases confirmed in Israel, the West Bank city of Bethlehem has closed all mosques and churches, setting of a controversy in the town where Jesus was reportedly born, Middle East Eye reports.
Over in Europe, Switzerland reported its first death overnight; health officials have confirmed 80 cases across the small alpine state. In Italy, where the number of cases climbed above 3,000 (total: 3,089) and deaths surpassed 100 (total: 107), Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said the government could increase the size of the package to €5 billion, according to the FT. In the UK, PM Boris Johnson said Thursday morning during an interview with ITV that the best thing Britons can do to prevent the spread of the virus is to “just wash our hands,” Johnson said. He also stressed that for most people who catch the virus, this will be a “mild to moderate” illness. The number of confirmed cases in the UK climbed to 88 on Thursday. ITV also reported. Six of those were reported in Scotland, 2 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.
In London, en employee in HSBC’s research department has reportedly tested positive for the virus, Reuters reported.
The latest increase in cases comes as the NHS warns that it doesn’t have enough nurses, ITV reports. Despite efforts to fill positions, more than 43,000 vacancies remain across the UK.
Meanwhile, UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed that human-to-human transmission is ongoing in the UK, before adding that the UK is now “mainly in the second stage” of its plan to tackle coronavirus, which involves delaying the spread for as long as possible to stop the virus from overwhelming the country’s hospital system.
After all, since western democracies simply can’t undertake the same heavy handed response imposed by China (though the west has the advantage of jumping on the problem instead of choosing to ignore it for weeks), the west is going to need to accept the fact that the virus will likely become significantly more widespread.
Before we go, we’d like to leave readers with a little levity. Are you a recent college grad searching for a business plan?
Here’s a freebie, courtesy of the CCP:
Xuzhou City in E #China’s Jiangsu, has put into use the country’s first self-vending machine that dispenses #masks. With a daily limit of 800 masks, this tool has been in use since Mar 2. Residents can buy two N95 masks using their ID cards every 24 hours for 12 yuan ($1.72). pic.twitter.com/V3Q60DvuDi
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 5, 2020