Summary:

  • Japan reports first virus death
  • President Xi says China will minimize impact from virus
  • Chinese leadership scapegoats local officials
  • Death toll and case count soared last night: There are more than 60k cases worldwide, and more than 1300 deaths
  • EIA joins OPEC in warning about upcoming drop in oil use, the first in a decade.
  • HHS Secretary says CDC will announce another confirmed COVID-19 case in US on Thursday
  • 21 people in Spain released from quarantine
  • US admin reportedly questioning China’s reporting
  • White House reportedly “doubts” China’s coronavirus numbers
  • CDC warns more infections possible after first US case confirmed in Texas (15th overall)
  • 2 Russian women attempt escape from quarantine
  • EU could close border if outbreak worsens
  • Kudlow says US “disappointed” in China virus response
  • Shanghai reports 300+ more cases

* * *

Update (1400ET): President Trump just reportedly said during a radio interview that he believes China is handling the outbreak “professionally.”

This after a slew of frustrated messages from his administration and officials including Larry Kudlow.

* * *

Update (1320ET): Following last night’s admission that local officials in Wuhan were undercounting the number of cases, a reporter appears to have found evidence that more than 300 unreported cases are active in Shanghai, as well as 1 previously unreported death.

So China is tightening the lockdown in Shanghai to hide the truth about the outbreak? That’s unconfirmed for now.

* * *

Update(1250ET): Not long after reports claimed the White House is widely skeptical of Chinese numbers, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow appeared on television to say the US is “disappointed” in how China has handled the virus response, and that the Trump administration wishes there was more clarity.

Specifically, the US was most hurt by China’s refusal to accept an American team of experts from the CDC, who offered to help.

The US economy would be at 3% growth if not for the virus, he added.

* * *

Update (1230ET): As Beijing insists that it’s safe for foreign nations to soon lift their travel restrictions on China, CNN reports that the European Union is considering closing its borders if the outbreak really escalates.

They cite a Croatian health official, who said the plan is in the works, though he strongly suspects that it won’t be necessary.

The WHO has said that level of restriction isn’t necessary, but that’ hasn’t stopped Russia from closing part of its border and other countries restricting travel by Chinese.

* * *

Update (1215ET): For the second day in a row, the CDC has warned that more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US are inevitable, especially as the testing of ~800 evacuees from Wuhan continues.

After confirming the US’s 15th case at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, officials warned that “there may be additional cases” identified during this period.

The 15th patient was a “solo traveler” from China who has been quarantined “since arriving at Lackland Air Force Base from Wuhan.

They remain in isolation at a local hospital.

Officials assured the public that there’s no risk to the local community, according to CNN.

“We are right in the middle of that incubation period so it is not surprising” that the individual developed symptoms, McQuiston said.

“For the most part the people in quarantine are not doing much associating with each other,” McQuiston said.

Across the ocean in Russia, two women being held under quarantine over fears they might have contracted the virus managed to escape, citing the appallingly poor conditions of their medical detention, according to the NY Post.

Both of the women were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms after returning the Hainan region in southern China that is popular with Russian tourists because of its tropical environment.

In honor of US stocks turning green, we’d like to share this memorable clip of hazmat-suit-wearing person spraying an office down with disinfectant as China continues to slow lurch back to work.

Remember, it’s just like the flu – except much, much worse.

If it was really so mild, would authorities be treating anybody even suspected of having the virus like this?

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