Trump considers then rejects quarantining New York and other states By Associated Press Reporters•US President Donald Trump considered then abandoned ordering a quarantine for the coronavirus hotspots of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.Mr Trump announced in a tweet that the quarantine, which it was unclear if he had the power to order, would not go ahead and a travel advisory would be issued instead.The advisory urged residents of the three states to avoid all but essential travel for two weeks.New York governor Andrew Cuomo had said earlier that roping off states would amount to “a federal declaration of war”.Meanwhile, Mr Cuomo postponed his state’s presidential primary from April to June as nurses made anguished pleas for more protective equipment and rebuffed officials’ claims that supplies are adequate.The governors of Florida, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas have ordered people arriving from the New York area to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival.In a more dramatic step, Rhode Island police have begun pulling over drivers with New York plates so that the National Guard can collect contact information and inform them of a mandatory, 14-day quarantine.The US leads the world in reported cases with more than 115,000. There were roughly 1,900 deaths recorded by Saturday.
All 50 states have reported some cases of the virus but New York has the most, with over 52,000 positive tests for the illness and more than 700 deaths.
About 7,300 people were in New York hospitals on Saturday night, including about 1,800 in intensive care.
Meanwhile, a gun rights group has welcomed the Trump administration’s designation of the firearms industry, including retailers, as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure during the coronavirus emergency.
The designation by the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is advisory.
The agency notes that the designation does not override determinations by individual jurisdictions of what they consider critical infrastructure sectors.
The firearms industry was not part of the federal agency’s original list of critical infrastructure issued just over a week ago.
The designation came in an update following a brewing legal battle between gun rights groups and California officials.
The group Gun Owners of America said in a statement that it is encouraged that the Trump administration is not ignoring what it calls “the ability to protect yourself” during the emergency stemming from the pandemic.
Gun rights groups initiated a lawsuit last week after the Los Angeles County sheriff closed gun shops in the wake of California governor Gavin Newsom saying that each of the state’s 58 counties could decide for themselves whether to list firearms dealers as non-essential businesses that should be subject to closure while the state seeks to limit the spread of the virus.The lawsuit claims that the designation violates the second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, but officials said it was a public health issue.
‘I’m deeply concerned’: Public health experts warn of coronavirus spread in more U.S. cities by Adriana Belmonte Associate Editor•U.S. now tops world in confirmed coronavirus cases in Alison Bateman-House.
Detroit, devastated by the 2008 Financial Crisis, declared bankruptcy in 2013. New Orleans, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, accounts for nearly half of all coronavirus cases in Louisiana. Some attribute it to Mardi Gras celebrations that occurred at the end of February.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that officials in the city were likely caught by surprise until the number of cases kept growing.
“It putters along and you think you’re OK, then it starts to go up a little and then bingo — it goes up in an exponential way,” Fauci told CNN. “That’s what’s happening in New Orleans right now.”
Other public health experts were also sounding the alarm on the spread to other U.S. cities.
“Coronavirus is going to hit every city in America,” Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha said. “There is no question about it. New York is going first. Will [the spread] be at the same ferocity? It may or may not in different cities. … I am incredibly worried about Louisiana, and specifically New Orleans. I am very worried about Atlanta.”
I’m worried about emerging situations in New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, among others. In China no province outside Hubei ever had more than 1,500 cases. In U.S. 11 states already hit that total. Our epidemic is likely to be national in scope.
‘Trying to build upon a very shaky foundation’
Although public health officials have recommended putting restrictions in place, like shelter-at-home orders, not every state has followed suit. So far, only 23 states have it on a statewide level. Other states have it on a city or county level.
“It really is your local mayors, your governors, who are making these decisions, and most of the people don’t have public health backgrounds,” Bateman-House said. “And it’s been systematically defunded for years, so you’re suddenly trying to build upon a very shaky foundation in a crisis situation.”
Social distancing has been one of the top recommendations for containing the spread of the virus. This means keeping six feet apart from others at all times, and only leaving the house for essential things, like grocery shopping or seeing the doctor. Some local officials have had to enforce social distancing measures, like police officers breaking up large groups of people on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
“What we’re seeing across the nation is very different,” Bateman-House said. “Some places only have a few cases at this point. Other places like New York City, where I live, are in the middle of a mass epidemic. So, the responses happening on the ground are very differential, and I think that’s disturbing to those of us in the public health world who do believe that we need to implement social distancing as quickly as possible, especially given the fact that people can spread the virus before they even have the start of symptoms.”
‘We’re in the middle of a terrible, terrible situation’
More than half of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. are based out of New York, which has been deemed the national epicenter of the outbreak in the country. Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the city is planning to close certain streets, and possibly public parks and playgrounds to enforce social distancing.
“I think New York is probably one of the best case scenarios and right here, we’re in the middle of a terrible, terrible situation,” Bateman-House said.
With the virus starting in China and then hitting Italy particularly hard, why haven’t Americans done more to prepare for the outbreak? Bateman-House has one particular theory.
“When we started hearing the numbers from Italy, I think there was this perception amongst many people: ‘That’s Italy, it will be different here,’ sort of overestimating how good the U.S. health care system is and how, in comparison, ill-prepared the Italian system was perceived to be,” she said.
However, she continued, “the Italian health care system is actually really great, but I think we had a false sense of comfort that things would be better when they got to the United States. And now that it’s in the United States, I think the most important thing here is to keep in mind that public health is a local government responsibility. It’s not a federal responsibility. It’s not something that the CDC steps in and tells every locality what to do.”Adriana is a reporter and editor for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.
Worry, problems and strife: Investors fear markets not out of woods despite big rally By Megan Davies and April Joyner•
But other investors, economists, and strategists are fearful of advising a jump back in, with no certainty about when the coronavirus will be got under control.
„People are trying to time the bottom and that’s indicative of an early bear market, when people have hope,” said Richard Bernstein, chief executive officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors. „The beginning of a bull market starts with complete despair, when you’ve killed hope.”
Bernstein said he was a „data hawk” and was looking for a combination of „improving fundamentals” – eyeing the basic health of the asset, rather than trading patterns – and „total disbelief,” adding that in 2009 investors did not believe the bull market was real.
After a slump into bear market territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> surged over 20% from its recent low last week, which by one definition suggested a new bull market. That definition, however, should be treated with significant caution.
BofA said on Friday that its Bull & Bear Indicator – a key market measure used to track positioning – had hit „maximum bearish,” which could imply a rebound. However, that could have been borne out by the rally seen in the past week.
Ackman, whose Pershing Square LP fund gained a net 6.8% this month according to one investor, wrote to investors last week to say he had taken off credit market hedges and invested the money in new and existing stock holdings after turning „increasingly positive” on stock and credit markets.
Credit Suisse said there was merit in being an early mover rather than waiting until a market bottom „has become apparent,” while the BlackRock Investment Institute said the sell-off created value for long-term investors.
While some investors believe an earlier return to work would boost the U.S. economy, health experts say a haphazard patchwork of restrictions across states and a slow-to-mobilize White House could make the coronavirus impact worse. Cases in the United States soared past 115,000 on Saturday, the highest number in the world.
„Those advocating for less strict policy options have no real idea of the full social and economic costs of a large epidemic,” said Steven Riley, Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, in an email to Reuters.
The possibility that the coronavirus outbreak fades, only to return once restrictions holding back economic activity are lifted, could cause „a severe financial crisis,” said business consultancy Fathom Consulting.
Edward Moya, senior market analyst at currency trading firm OANDA in New York, said the „longer we don’t have people going to work, the greater the shock on the economy” – which could mean „U.S. markets open limit down at the start of next week.” Limit down refers to the restrictions placed on how fast markets can fall.
BEAR MARKET BOUNCE
Stocks have been highly volatile in the past few weeks, falling around 30 percent to notch a bear market then staging a stunning rally on hopes that the stimulus will help the economy.
Money managers rebalancing their portfolios to boost equity exposure into the end of the quarter may be supporting stocks.
A moderation in equity volatility could also help, as it is „an important precondition for investors to raise equity exposures,” said analysts at Deutsche Bank. The Cboe Volatility Index <.VIX> is down from its high earlier this month – although still pricing in some turbulence.
Still, on Friday, Wall Street stocks ended their massive three-day surge.
Shaun Osborne, Chief FX Strategist at Scotiabank, said in a research note on Thursday that there were a number of risks that could easily derail optimism, including how Western economies manage the virus and the re-emergence of cases in China. A more persistent slowdown that limits forward visibility on earnings further „will curb the ability for stocks to rebound,” he said.
Retail investors are particularly bearish, with a survey showing them the most pessimistic about the stockmarket since spring 2009.
Action in haven assets such as gold also points to continued skepticism. George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management, said he received calls from clients wanting to add to their gold holdings last week through exchange traded funds.”Everywhere investors look, they see worry, problems and strife,” Gero said.(Reporting by Megan Davies and April Joyner, Writing and additional reporting by Ira Iosebashvili, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
The Latest: Pakistan sees increase in positive virus tests The Associated Press•