- Hong Kong closes more land borders with mainland
- Virus death toll rises to 425 in China (426 if we count one death abroad)
- 2 more cases reported in Germany
- President Xi threatens to punish local authorities if they fail to contain virus
* * *
Update (1720ET): It’s early Tuesday morning and China, which means we’re getting another batch of statistics about the coronavirus outbreak – statistics that likely underplay the severity of the outbreak.
According to Chinese health authorities, 2,345 were confirmed on Monday, while another 64 died (including 48 in Wuhan alone).
Hubei Province is now reporting 13,522 cases of coronavirus infection (including 6384 in Wuhan), while 58,544 are under observation across China. 46 new deaths were reported overnight, bringing the death toll in China to at least 425.
For those who are keeping score at home, that’s a 18% rise in deaths overnight.
Another terrifying video shows a man collapsing in a virus-induced fit.
Terrifying. Surveillance video catching the moment of man collapsing maybe dying in less than a minute during #CoronavirusOutbreak . No wonder so many fell on streets. 不到一分鐘就過去了。怪不得那麼多倒地斃的。#武漢肺炎 pic.twitter.com/5jjE1GnfT2
— 曾錚 Jennifer Zeng (@jenniferatntd) February 3, 2020
Meanwhile, President Xi is cracking the whip. According to the SCMP, at a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, President Xi Jinping said local cadres would be punished severely if they failed to heed Beijing’s orders to stop the virus from spreading.
“[We] must treat the fight of the outbreak as the most important task at hand,” Xi was quoted by state broadcaster CCTV as saying.
Punishments of local officials has already started; more than 400 have already been ‘penalized’, according to Nikkei. Meanwhile, the party has acknowledged that it shouldn’t have arrested a group of doctors in December for allegedly spreading ‘disinformation’ (they were trying to warn the world of the outbreak – yet the WHO has praised China for being ‘transparent’).
The chart below is slightly out of date (‘rona-related deaths have climbed to 425):
Looks like everything is under control.
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Update (1545ET): Germany reports 2 new cases of coronavirus, raising country’s total to 12. Nearly all of these cases have been linked to the same company.
Here’s the latest roundup of cases:
Elsewhere, Princeton isolates 108 students as precaution after China trips. Remember, the US has it all under control.
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Update (1400ET): Stocks are still in the green, but the administration is taking zero chances. To wit, the USTR’s office reportedly told Fox that China hasn’t requested any changes to the ‘Phase 1’ trade deal struck last year just before the virus emerged as a global threat to the public.
- USTR SAYS HAS NO CHINA REQUEST ON DEAL CHANGE DUE TO VIRUS: FOX
This follows reports from earlier claiming that China was seeking ‘flexibility’ regarding its trade deal commitments. Meanwhile, HHS is telling Congress that it might need another $136 million to fight the virus (this after the Pentagon requested quarantine space for 1,000 people).
A few hours ago, Hong Kong’s leader announced the closure of four more border crossings with mainland China on Monday, leaving just three checkpoints open, but stopped short of demands for the entire border to be closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
* * *
Update (1250ET): The Pentagon confirmed that 198 people have been quarantined at March Air Base in California’s Riverside County. It’s believed that those under quarantine traveled on the evacuation flight out of Wuhan.
Meanwhile, Fox reports that China has accepted the US’s offer to incorporate a group of American experts into a contingent of WHO researchers focusing on studying and understanding the virus.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman blames US for not helping with #Coronavirus.. saying, “it was the first to withdraw its consulate staff from Wuhan, the first to suggest the partial withdrawal of embassy staff, the first to announce a ban on entry by Chinese citizens…” 1/2
— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) February 3, 2020
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying Adding “…after the WHO made it clear that it doesn’t recommend and even opposes travel and trade restrictions against China. What the US has done could create and spread panic.” #coronavirus
— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) February 3, 2020
The White House has responded to the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson. Judd Deere says, “China has accepted the United States’ offer to incorporate a group of experts into a World Health Organization mission to China to learn more about and combat the virus.” #Coronavirus
— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) February 3, 2020
This comes after Beijing blasted the US for inciting a panic over the virus.
* * *
Update (1140AM ET): The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US is starting to increase at a concerning pace, and moments ago, the CDC confirmed in a telebriefing that there are 11 cases in the US.
- U.S. CDC CONFIRMS 11 CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES IN UNITED STATES – TELEBRIEFING
More ominously, the CDC said that the new Coronavirus case is close contact of other California case, and was spread person-to-person.
And while traders were not happy with this latest confirmation that the disease is anything but contained, it is what the CDC aid said next that sent stocks and yields both sliding:
- CDC: PREPARING AS IF CORONAVIRUS WERE THE NEXT PANDEMIC
Judging by the market reaction, it appears that algos are not fans of that word.
Finally, the CDC also said at its briefing that it has added four more airports for screening of Coronavirus.
* * *
Late last night, we reported that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak had surpassed 360 as more suspected cases popped up in New York. Though no deaths have been reported overnight, Chinese officials warned yesterday that many more cases and deaths would be confirmed on Sunday/Monday.
In the meantime, Chinese markets finally faced their inevitable reckoning. Despite the best efforts of the PBOC and the government, the Chinese market bloodbath was about as bad as expected.
But over in the US, investors ignored the latest news out of China and have seemingly bought into the WHO’s optimistic message and China’s accusations about an ‘alarmist’ Washington.
This is surprising, since anybody who has been paying close attention to the situation in China should know that this is far from the truth.
Late last night, while most of America was watching the Superbowl, the New York Times puablished a scathing story recounting what it’s like on the ground in Wuhan right now. The truth is that all of the warnings of alleged ‘conspiracy theorist’ have more or less turned out to be correct. Supply shortages are still making it impossible for China to diagnose every case of the virus.
Ms. An, 67, needed an official diagnosis from a hospital to qualify for treatment, but the one she and her son raced to last week had no space, even to test her. The next hospital they were referred to here in Wuhan, the city of 11 million people at the center of the outbreak, was full, too, they said. They finally got an intravenous drip for Ms. An’s fever, but that was all.
Since then, Ms. An has quarantined herself at home. She and her son eat separately, wear masks at home and are constantly disinfecting their apartment. Ms. An’s health is declining rapidly, and even keeping water down is a struggle.
“I can’t let my mom die at home,” said her son, He Jun. “Every day I want to cry, but when I cry there are no tears. There is no hope.”
Chilling stuff. And once again, doctors and health-care workers are leveraging their newfound immunity to shed a light on the government’s brutality.
Last month, the government put Wuhan in a virtual lockdown, sealing off the city and banning most public transportation and private cars from its streets in a desperate effort to contain the outbreak. Now, many residents say it is nearly impossible to get the health care they need to treat – or even diagnose – the coronavirus.
Expressing exasperation, doctors say there is a shortage of testing kits and other medical supplies, and it is not clear why more are not available. The ban on transportation means some residents have to walk for hours to get to hospitals – if they are well enough to make the journey. Layers of bureaucracy stand between residents and help. And the long lines outside hospitals for testing and treatment suggest that the outbreak is spreading far beyond the official count of cases.
For many sickened residents, their best hope is the new coronavirus hospital that has just been finished (a second hospital is also being built).
Those who do make it to the hospital say they are squeezed together for hours in waiting rooms, where infections are easily spread. But the shortages have meant that many are ultimately turned away and sent home to self-quarantine, potentially compounding the outbreak by exposing their families.
Many doctors and residents are putting their hopes on the two new coronavirus hospitals that China has been racing to build in Wuhan in just a matter of days. One of them spans about eight acres, has 1,000 beds and is scheduled to open on Monday. The government says 1,400 military medical workers will be deployed to work there, potentially helping with the shortage of health professionals on hand to combat the outbreak.
Ironically, the hospital, which was supposed to open on Monday, is still undergoing ‘finishing touches’, and when masses of sick patients showed up at the gates on Monday morning, construction workers were forced to turn them away.
More than a week into the quarantine/lockdown, millions of residents fear the virus has spread much further than the government realizes.
On Sunday, city officials announced plans to set up quarantine stations around Wuhan for people with symptoms of pneumonia and close contacts among coronavirus patients. But just over a week into the lockdown, many residents believe the virus has already spread much further than the official numbers suggest.
“The situation that we’ve seen is much worse than what has been officially reported,” Long Jian, 32, said outside a hospital where his elderly father was being treated. Mr. Long said his father had to go to six hospitals and wait seven days before he could even be tested for the coronavirus.
But after Monday’s market shellacking, we suspect Beijing will be diverting more resources away from meeting critical shortages of medical supplies to focus instead on arresting shortsellers and locking up ‘fearmongers’, like the doctors who were arrested by local authorities in December for trying to warn the public about the outbreak.
In just eight days, China has completed construction on one of two new hospitals in Wuhan, dedicated to treat #coronavirus patients.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 3, 2020
Notice the bars on the hospital-room windows…this hospital is a prison with beds, as we’ve pointed out.
See the inside of huoshenshan hospital] yesterday, Wuhan huoshenshan hospital was officially delivered. pic.twitter.com/nKXtX5PXkm
— 中国区推特总监 (@hcLktciyfkz9KZi) February 3, 2020
Following reports OPEC is weighing another supply cut to ‘rebalance’ the global oil market and warnings from economists that the outbreak could wipe more than a percentage point off Chinese GDP growth, officials in Beijing have reportedly changed their economic growth forecasts for 2020 to below 5%, what would be the lowest rate of growth since the beginning of China’s modern era of state-directed capitalism.
To help the economy cope, Beijing is reportedly considering more stimulus measures to try and bolster growth.
Of course, the fallout won’t be limited to China, and in a report published Monday, WSJ explores how the outbreak is already disrupting global supply chains and placing “additional strain” on an increasingly fragile economic expansion.
As we’ve pointed out, the outbreak has stoked racism against Chinese around the world.
Corona Virus doesn’t have a nationality; it’s a pathogen threatening us all. Anti-Chinese sentiment is unconscionable. Let’s come together as a shared humanity to fight disease, inequity, discrim, & stigma.#coronavirus
— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) February 3, 2020
If you’re looking for a quick refresher on the outbreak, here’s a short video from SCMP.
Everything you need to know about the coronavirus is right here. pic.twitter.com/zslxSZZ0rM
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) February 3, 2020
On a slightly more positive tip, Chinese state media posted this video about an infected woman who gave birth to a healthy baby in the middle of the crisis.
A pregnant woman with novel #coronavirus pneumonia has delivered a healthy baby on Jan. 30. The baby is tested negative for the novel coronavirus on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. The mother’s body temperature had returned to normal by Feb. 2. pic.twitter.com/vB1GfpDEDR
— China Economy (@CE_ChinaEconomy) February 3, 2020
And here’s a video of a drone being used to take the temperature of a terrified civilian trapped by decree inside their apartment.
The Chinese are using drones to check people’s temperature so that there is no human to human contact.#coronavirus
Source via | Global Timespic.twitter.com/6dHJXSBjyB
— CoronaVirus Breaking News (@NCOVNEWS) February 3, 2020
Finally, RT points out that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has already eclipsed the death toll from SARS, as the virus has spread to nearly two dozen countries and territories. The pandemic will eventually “circle the globe,” according to scientists from the NYT,.
Given the fear of the virus ravaging densely populated areas, the people of Hong Kong have succeeded in pressing the city’s government to tighten travel restrictions, joining the US, Vietnam, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and many others.
— Aviationdaily✈️الطيران يوميآ (@Aviationdailyy) February 3, 2020
Hong Kong has shut crossings to the mainland. But even this is likely too little, too late, as the first cases have already been diagnosed in the city.
Members of the G-7 will hold an emergency call on Monday to discuss strategies for containing the outbreak.
Get ready for another week of virus-induced craziness as this doesn’t look ready to disappear from the headlines any time soon.
Mon, 02/03/2020 – 17:29
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Author: Tyler Durden