N.Y. Begins ‘Descent,’ U.S. Deaths Double in Week: Virus Update

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New York’s coronavirus outbreak may have begun“a descent” as cases and deaths slow. U.S. fatalities doubled in a week to 40,000. A deal on more aid for small businessescould pass Congress in days.

The outbreak could beeasing in Europe as hard-hit Italy, Spain and France reported the smallest increases in fatalities in weeks.

The top executive of casino operatorWynn Resorts is pushing for an early reopening of Nevada. Stocks in Asia headed for a mixed start on the reports from Europe and New York.

32,491 in U.S.Most new cases today

-16% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​091 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

Key Developments

  • Virus Tracker: Cases near 2.4 million; deaths exceed 165,000
  • Health expertschallenge U.S. testing goals
  • Big companiestap small-business fund
  • Rich Americansactivate pandemic escape plans
  • Chinafaulted by Trump, aides over response transparency
  • Russianshoarded cash ahead of lockdown

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G-20 Finds ‘Systemic Weaknesses’ (5:20 p.m. NY)

Health ministers from the Group of 20 leading economies said Covid-19 “has highlighted systemic weaknesses” in health readiness worldwide. The officials commented in acommunique issued from Riyadh after a teleconference hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Ministers “addressed the need to improve the effectiveness of global health systems by sharing knowledge and closing the gap in response capabilities and readiness,” they said.

Not mentioned was the World Health Organization, less than a week after President Donald Trump said he’s temporarily halting U.S funding for the Geneva-based agency.

Total U.S. Deaths Double From Week Earlier (4 p.m. NY)

New U.S. cases increased 5.6% from Saturday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s higher than the average daily increase of 4.8% over the past week.

New York had the largest number of confirmed cases after a 3% increase from the same time the previous day. North Dakota experienced a 20% increase. Eight states had fewer than 1,000 cases.

Total U.S. deaths rose 12% to 41,379, which is more than double the total a week ago, according to the data.

New deaths rose 21% in Minnesota, 20% in Pennsylvania and more than 10% in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Maine, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

WHO Says Epidemic Won’t End as Steps Ease (3 p.m. NY)

Social restrictions imposed to curb the virus must be eased in phases and don’t spell the end of the epidemic, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“It’s just the beginning of the next phase,” he said at a virtual meeting of G-20 health ministers. WHO will publish its second response plan with an estimate of resources required for the next phase.

New Deaths, Cases Decline in N.Y. (2:30 p.m.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York appeared to be “on the other side” of the outbreak. The state reported 507 new deaths, the lowest daily toll since April 6. Total new cases and hospitalizations also dropped.

“If this trend holds we are past the high point,” Cuomo said. “Right now we are on a descent.” But he cautioned “we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

The governor also said that New York will begin an aggressive program to test for antibodies.

Read the fullstory.

Wynn Pushes for Nevada Opening (2:20 p.m. NY)

Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox is calling for parts of Nevada’s economy to start reopening in early May, followed by the Las Vegas Strip in the middle or later part of the month.

Maddox, in anopinion piece published by the Nevada Independent, outlined safeguards such as reduced hotel occupancy, physical distancing measures, temperature checks and no large gatherings. He also proposed keeping hospitalizations and deaths relative to the population below the U.S. average.

The casino operator was the first in the state to shut down operations and is paying staff for 60 days through May 15.

France Sets Plan to Lift Limits (1 p.m. NY)

France within two weeks will unveil a plan to begin lifting restrictions on travel and business that aimed to curb the coronavirus, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said without giving specifics.

After May 11, when the lockdown starts to lift, “our lives won’t be exactly the same as before,” Philippe warned in atelevised press conference. “Not right away, and probably not before long.”

The lockdown, in place since March 17, could lead Europe’s third-biggest economy to contract by about 10% this year, Philippe said.

French Deaths Rise at Slower Pace (12:15 p.m. NY)

Deaths in France rose by 395 to 19,718, Director General for Health Jerome Salomon said, the slowest pace of increase since March 29. The number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus fell for a fifth day, while patients in intensive care dropped for an 11th day.

Italy Has Fewest Deaths in Week (12:10 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 3,047 new cases of the disease, the lowest in four days, according to the civil protection agency. Hospitalized patients rose for the first time in six days.

Italy registered 433 deaths compared with 482 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 23,660, the most in Europe.

Turkey Has More Cases Than China (12:05 p.m. NY)

Turkey reported 127 new coronavirus fatalities, bringing the death toll to more than 2,000, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The number of confirmed cases rose 4.8% to 86,306, more than China has.

Senators Float State Aid Plan (12 p.m. NY)

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are proposing a $500 billion fund for state and local governments to be in the next rescue package. The money would be divided into three tranches and distributed according to formulas that reflect population, infection rates and revenue loss to help states hardest hit by the outbreak.

Congress and the White House agree a phase four comprehensive economic rescue package would be needed, following the $2 trillion package approved late last month.

Birx Says Community Data Key (11:50 a.m. NY)

Community-level data will be key to showing Americans the progress made to reopen, Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House task force, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Birx touted the Florida Department of Health website, which shows data by Zip code.

“We have to really get them information in a much more granular way than a national way or even a state way,” she said. “It needs to be down to the communities so the communities can see what happens in their communities and make decisions with the local and health officials and the state officials.”

Zimbabwe Extends Lockdown (11 a.m. NY)

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended a national lockdown by 14 days, to May 3, citing the risk of infections rising from the current 25 confirmed cases. Still, the mining sector will be allowed to scale up operations and manufacturing can partially re-start during the extension.

U.S. Small Business Deal Close: Mnuchin (9:51 a.m. NY)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were optimistic about reaching a deal to top up funds in a loan program aimed at helpingsmall businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. Discussions are focused on adding an additional $300 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, designed to help small businesses keep workers on their payrolls as much of the country remains under stay-at-home orders, Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Americans Don’t Want Restrictions Lifted Too Soon: Poll (9:30 a.m. NY)

A majority of Americans in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll are concerned the U.S. will lift restrictions too quickly. Almost 60% want to wait longer, with about 30% saying the economic impact outweighed health concerns. The survey of 900 registered voters also revealed more anxiety over the virus, the WSJreported.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Ian Fisher, Zara Kessler, Ray Ndlovu, Olivia Rockeman, Patrick Winters, Laura Millan Lombrana, Ross Larsen, Hailey Waller, Billy House, Daniel Flatley, Emma Court, Jordan Fabian, David McLaughlin, Naomi Nix, and Mark Niquette

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