Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

Contagion of fear, uncertainty infect financial markets

AP - April 30, 2020

The rapidly deteriorating health of the financial markets is being driven by a contagion of fear and uncertainty about a global pandemic that’s infecting the economy in ways that seemed unfathomable just a month ago. Most experts now believes a U.S. recession is inevitable, with its severity the only question left to be determined. “It’s a fait accompli,” said Michael Yoshikami, CEO of Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, Calif. No wonder the S&P 500 now stands roughly 30% below its peak after a mind-boggling four weeks like no other in the financial markets. The pummeling would have been even worse if not for several robust, although short-lived, rallies that were fueled by hopes that the government might come up with a financial antidote that would prevent the fallout from the corornavirus outbreak from becoming as bad as it is now. The market’s wild swings have been exacerbated by the computerized trading programs that hedge funds create to wager on the financial market’s up and downs. Those algorithms, coupled with the lightning speed of today’s computer programs, can vastly accelerate the momentum of selling frenzies, as well as seemingly irrational buying binges. Human behavior, though, is more predictable. Just as people are hoarding non-perishable groceries, hand sanitizers and other goods they need while being forced to stay at home to stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease, investors have been fleeing the stock market as they build stockpiles of cash in conservative investments viewed as safe havens in times of financial turmoil.

US dollar plows ahead as global stock markets remain volatile

CNN - April 30, 2020

The strong US dollar is slamming global capital markets like a sledgehammer today," wrote Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp. That merely signals more [US dollar] strength to come as the buying frenzy continues," he added.

New York restaurant group lays off around 2,000 people

CNN - April 30, 2020

Esteemed restaurant company Union Square Hospitality Group is slashing its workforce by 80% and laying off around 2,000 people in the wake of coronavirus-related restaurant closures. The cuts — which will affect employees in both the company's restaurants and home office — came as a result of "a near complete elimination of revenue," the New York-based USHG said in a statement.

World leaders rush in to shore up panic-hit global financial system

Reuters - April 30, 2020

World finance leaders tried to lift confidence with emergency measures to pour cash into panic-stricken markets on Thursday, as investors everywhere dumped assets, switching to dollars amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, the Federal Reserve rolled out its third emergency credit program in two days, aimed at keeping the $3.8 trillion money market mutual fund industry functioning if investors made rapid withdrawals. On Sunday, the Fed slashed interest rates to near zero and pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in asset purchases, while President Donald Trump’s administration drew up a $1 trillion stimulus and rescue proposal. The desperate state of industry was writ large in Detroit, where the big three automakers - Ford Motor Co (F.N), General Motors Co (GM.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) - confirmed they would be shutting U.S. plants, as well as factories in Canada and Mexico.

Advice From France To Avoid Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Leaves Experts Baffled

NPR - April 30, 2020

Over the past few days, social media has lit up with reports, picked up by some media outlets, that taking drugs like ibuprofen to ease COVID-19 symptoms could actually worsen the progress of the illness. But most infectious disease experts say there's no good scientific evidence at this point to support that claim.

WHO Now Doesn’t Recommend Avoiding Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Symptoms

ScienceAlert - April 30, 2020

Editor's note (19 March 2020): Since the publication of this article, the World Health Organization has updated its advice on the official Twitter account: "Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen."

Yes, You Can Take Your Kids For A Walk

NPR - April 30, 2020

Perhaps the biggest challenge for kids will be staying active, while at the same time staying socially distant, says pediatrician Dr. David Hill. He says families should get outside, but avoid playgrounds where kids come into close contact with one another. "Definitely take a walk. Definitely go to the park. Definitely ride bikes," says Hill, "But if a crowd starts to form — as unsocial as it seems — back away a little bit. Find your own space."

Creating an effective family routine when homebound for coronavirus

CNN - April 30, 2020

Because we need order. We need to know what to do with ourselves with all this new unstructured time, even if it's mainly kids while parents work from home. We need a way to constructively fill the many, many hours we will now be with our children ... indefinitely. And if having a schedule brings you peace of mind and keeps your kids appropriately engaged, then lean in. Maybe you don't even have a choice because you know your children only thrive from routine. If you do construct a schedule, I suggest physically writing it down on paper. Or maybe on a dry erase board for easy revisions. But not just on your computer. Post it where everyone can see it. And adapt it for younger kids, perhaps adding emoji-like icons for the pre-literate. Or make copies and have the kids check things off, put stickers next to them or cross them out as they're completed for the day. There is a counter argument to this schedule reflex, though. One that embraces the sudden freedom being mandated by governments and strongly urged by health experts. There's opportunity here to rethink what our daily lives could be in the absence of after school sports and music lessons, without playdates, nor going out to restaurants and movies.

10 Ways to Ease Your Coronavirus Anxiety

New York Times - April 30, 2020

These simple tips will help you relax and put things in perspective — in between washing your hands, of course. Tips include: be informed, put things into perspective, know what’s triggering your anxiety, no blame/shame, seek help, prepare – don’t procrastinate, connect, be kind to yourself, self-care.

Coronavirus outbreak revives dangerous race myths and pseudoscience

NBC News - April 30, 2020

Most fictional claims about black immunity to the coronavirus are connected to a long history of contradictory but uniformly racist ideas. The news last week that NBA player Rudy Gobert, a Frenchman of Caribbean heritage, had tested positive for the coronavirus shattered a myth that some of the world's more conspiracy-minded had circulated online through jokes, news stories and social media posts. Black people are not, in fact, immune to the coronavirus.

At the Front Lines of Coronavirus, Turning to Social Media

New York Times - April 30, 2020

Like many of my colleagues in the emergency room, I have been gathering information from Facebook and Twitter.

Love in the time of coronavirus? Around the world, dating finds a way

Reuters - April 30, 2020

As governments invoke emergency powers to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and social distancing measures preclude meeting people in bars, cafes or restaurants, love - or at least lust - is still finding a way via dating apps. While some users like Marcos are meeting in person, many are romancing online because of the public health risks, often using in-app video chats.

Now Is the Time to Overreact

The Atlantic - April 30, 2020

If the measures we're taking to fight the coronavirus work, they'll look excessive later on. But the alternative is worse.

New Coronavirus Wasn’t Made in a Lab, Genomic Study Shows

HealthDay - April 30, 2020

Despite internet rumors to the contrary, the new coronavirus arose from natural causes and was not concocted in a lab, according to scientists who conducted a detailed genomic examination of the virus. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 illness, shows zero evidence of being artificially engineered, reported a team who published their findings March 17 in Nature Medicine. "By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes," study co-author Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research, said in an institute news release.

Coronavirus now in all 50 states as death toll reaches 100

CNN - April 30, 2020

West Virginia became the 50th state to report a case of the deadly novel coronavirus when Gov. Jim Justice announced the first positive test result Tuesday. Justice said the case was in the eastern panhandle of the state, but he gave no other details. The announcement comes just after the death toll from the virus in the United States passed 100, according to a CNN tally of data from state health officials. Illinois reported its first death Tuesday, becoming one of 18 states to report the death of a resident who died from the virus in the pandemic.

These Places Could Run Out of Hospital Beds as Coronavirus Spreads

New York Times - April 30, 2020

A new Harvard analysis shows that many parts of the United States will have far too few hospital beds if the new coronavirus continues to spread widely and if nothing is done to expand capacity. In 40 percent of markets around the country, hospitals would not be able to make enough room for all the patients who became ill with Covid-19, even if they could completely empty their beds of other patients. That statistic assumes that 40 percent of adults become infected with the virus over 12 months, a scenario described as “moderate” by the team behind the calculations.