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‘Correction is looking much more probable’

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Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Goldman Sachs sounded the alarm on Wednesday to clients about a possible correction in the stock market, noting investors are underestimating how big of a risk the coronavirus really is.

“We believe the greater risk is that the impact of the coronavirus on earnings may well be underestimated in current stock prices, suggesting that the risks of a correction are high,” strategist Peter Oppenheimer wrote in a note.

Investors have been grappling with the possible ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in recent week. But except for a few pullbacks, the major U.S. stock indexes have taken the news in stride. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite jumped to record highs. Oppenheimer thinks the market could be in trouble if earnings expectations aren’t ratcheted down.

“Equity markets are looking increasingly exposed to near-term downward surprises to earnings growth,” said Oppenheimer. “While a sustained bear market does not look likely, a near-term correction is looking much more probable.”

—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right

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At a White House briefing on the coronavirus on March 20, President Trump called the State Department the “Deep State Department.” Behind him, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dropped his head and rubbed his forehead.

Some thought Dr. Fauci was slighting the president, leading to a vitriolic online reaction. On Twitter and Facebook, a post that falsely claimed he was part of a secret cabal who opposed Mr. Trump was soon shared thousands of times, reaching roughly 1.5 million people.

A week later, Dr. Fauci — the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak — has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.

That fanciful claim has spread across social media, fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump’s supporters, even as Dr. Fauci has won a public following for his willingness to contradict the president and correct falsehoods and overly rosy pronouncements about containing the virus.

An analysis by The New York Times found over 70 accounts on Twitter that have promoted the hashtag #FauciFraud, with some tweeting as frequently as 795 times a day. The anti-Fauci sentiment is being reinforced by posts from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group; Bill Mitchell, host of the far-right online talk show “YourVoice America”; and other outspoken Trump supporters such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who has falsely claimed to be the inventor of email.

Many of the anti-Fauci posts, some of which pointed to a seven-year-old email that Dr. Fauci had sent praising Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State, have been retweeted thousands of times. On YouTube, conspiracy-theory videos about Dr. Fauci have racked up hundreds of thousands of views in the past week. In private Facebook groups, posts disparaging him have also been shared hundreds of times and liked by thousands of people, according to the Times analysis.

One anti-Fauci tweet on Tuesday said, “Sorry liberals but we don’t trust Dr. Anthony Fauci.”

The torrent of falsehoods aimed at discrediting Dr. Fauci is another example of the hyperpartisan information flow that has driven a wedge into the way Americans think. For the past few years, far-right supporters of President Trump have regularly vilified those whom they see as opposing him. Even so, the campaign against Dr. Fauci stands out because he is one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts and a member of Mr. Trump’s virus task force, and it is unfolding as the government battles a pathogen that is rapidly spreading in the United States.

It is the latest twist in the ebb and flow of right-wing punditry that for weeks echoed Mr. Trump in minimizing the threat posed by the coronavirus and arguably undercut efforts to alert the public of its dangers. When the president took a more assertive posture against the outbreak, conservative outlets shifted, too — but now accuse Democrats and journalists of trying to use the pandemic to damage Mr. Trump politically.

“There seems to be a concerted effort on the part of Trump supporters to spread misinformation about the virus aggressively,” said Carl Bergstrom, a professor of biology at the University of Washington who has studied misinformation.

Adding that Dr. Fauci is bearing the brunt of the attacks, Mr. Bergstrom said: “There is this sense that experts are untrustworthy, and have agendas that aren’t aligned with the people. It’s very concerning because the experts in this are being discounted out of hand.”

The Trump administration has previously shown a distaste for relying on scientific expertise, such as when dealing with climate change. But misinformation campaigns during a pandemic carry a unique danger because they may sow distrust in public health officials when accurate information and advice are crucial, said Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor at Syracuse University who teaches digital ethics.

“What this case will show is that conspiracy theories can kill,” she said.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases did not respond to a request for comment on the misinformation being directed at Dr. Fauci, who has said he plans to keep working to contain the coronavirus.

“When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with Science magazine this past week. “So, I’m going to keep pushing.”

The online campaign is an abrupt shift for Dr. Fauci, an immunologist who has led the institute since 1984. He has long been seen as credible by a large section of the public and journalists, advising every president since Ronald Reagan and encouraging action against the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

In recent weeks, much of the online discussion of Dr. Fauci was benign or positive. Zignal Labs, a media analysis company, studied 1.7 million mentions of Dr. Fauci across the web and TV broadcasts from Feb. 27 to Friday and found that through mid-March, he was mainly praised and his comments were straightforwardly reported. Right-wing figures quoted Dr. Fauci approvingly or lauded him for his comments on shutting down travel to and from China, Zignal Labs said.

In the White House briefings on the coronavirus, he often spoke plainly of the severity of the situation, becoming something of a folk hero to some on the left. Then Dr. Fauci, who had been a steady presence at Mr. Trump’s side during the briefings, did not appear at the one on March 18.

A hashtag asking “Where is Dr. Fauci?” began trending on Twitter. Several Facebook fan groups dedicated to praising his medical record called for his return. The first accounts tweeting #FauciFraud also appeared, though their volume of posts was small, according to the Times analysis.

Two days later, Dr. Fauci put his head in his hand at the White House briefing after Mr. Trump’s remark on the “Deep State Department.” His gesture — some called it a face palm — caught the attention of Mr. Trump’s supporters online, who saw it as an insult to the president.

Anti-Fauci posts spiked, according to Zignal Labs. Much of the increase was prompted by a March 21 article in The American Thinker, a conservative blog, which published the seven-year-old email that Dr. Fauci had written to an aide of Mrs. Clinton.

In the email, Dr. Fauci praised Mrs. Clinton for her stamina during the 2013 Benghazi hearings. The American Thinker falsely claimed that the email was evidence that he was part of a secret group who opposed Mr. Trump.

That same day, Mr. Fitton of Judicial Watch posted a tweet linking to a different blog post that showed Dr. Fauci’s email on Mrs. Clinton. In the tweet, Mr. Fitton included a video of himself crossing his arms and saying, “Isn’t that interesting.” It was retweeted more than 1,500 times.



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As Life Moves Online, an Older Generation Faces a Digital Divide

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For more than a week, Linda Quinn, 81, has isolated herself inside her Bellevue, Wash., home to keep away from the coronavirus. Her only companion has been her goldendoodle, Lucy.

To blunt the solitude, Ms. Quinn’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons wanted to hold video chats with her through Zoom, a videoconferencing app. So they made plans to call and talk her through installing the app on her computer.

But five minutes before the scheduled chat last week, Ms. Quinn realized there was a problem: She had not used her computer in about four months and could not remember the password. “My mind just went totally blank,” she said.

Panicked, Ms. Quinn called a grandson, Ben Gode, 20, who had set up the computer for her. Mr. Gode remembered the password, allowing the call and the Zoom tutorial to take place — but not until Ms. Quinn got him to promise not to tell the rest of the family about her tech stumble.

For many seniors, “the only social life they had is with book clubs and a walk in a park,” said Stephanie Cacioppo, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago. “When they look at their calendar, it’s all canceled. So how do we as a society help them regain a sense of tomorrow?”

To bridge that digital gap, families are finding new apps and gadgets that are easy for older relatives to use. Companies and community members are setting up phone calls and, in areas where lockdowns are not yet in place, in-person workshops to help those uncomfortable with tech walk through the basics.

Officials are also calling for people to pitch in to close the divide. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urged people this month to help the elderly set up technology to talk to medical providers.

“If you have an elderly neighbor or family member who might have trouble with their laptop or their phone for this purpose, make yourself available to help,” Ms. Verma said in a news conference.

In nursing homes that have stopped visitors from coming in to limit the spread of the virus, workers are leaning on tech to help residents stay connected with their families.

At 23 senior living communities in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia run by Spring Arbor Senior Living, workers have been triaging family calls — sometimes multiple ones a day per resident — over Apple’s FaceTime, Skype and a software system operated by K4Connect, a tech provider, said Rich Williams, a senior vice president at HHHunt, which owns the centers.

“That line of communication is essential to the resident’s well-being,” he said.

Mr. Williams added that workers had also used virtual activities like Nintendo’s Wii bowling and SingFit, a music singalong program, to help Spring Arbor’s 1,450 residents — whose average age is 88 — pass the time and stay active.

Candoo, a New York company that helps older people navigate technology, has recently taught its customers how to use Zoom and other video calling apps with downloadable guides and phone calls and, in some cases, by taking over their screens and showing them where to click. Candoo charges $30 for a one-hour lesson and $40 for support.

“People are literally relying on technology, not only to keep them healthy and safe and alive, but also to keep them occupied,” said Liz Hamburg, founder of Candoo.

Jane Cohn, 84, who lives alone in New York, has paid for Candoo’s services to help her get connected. Typically active, she has been staying inside because of the virus outbreak. Her doctor’s check-in went virtual, while her therapy session and New York University class on architecture and urbanism moved to Zoom.

Ms. Cohn said she called Candoo twice in one day last week to help her get on Zoom. She had never used the software before, and when she tried to join her N.Y.U. class through the videoconferencing app, she saw only a video of herself and wasn’t able to hear anything.

A Candoo representative walked her through Zoom over the phone. Ms. Cohn, already worried about the virus, said struggling with technology “adds another level of stress.”

Some people are finding easy-to-use tech to connect generations. Medbh Hillyard recently introduced an electronic speaker called a Toniebox to connect her parents, Margaret Ward and Paddy Hillyard, to her sons, Rory and Finn, ages 3 and 18 months, during quarantine.

While they all live in the same neighborhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and frequently saw each other before the outbreak, they have now stopped close contact. Each evening, Ms. Ward, 69, and Mr. Hillyard, 76, instead use an app on their smartphone to record bedtime stories. The app then transmits the stories to the Toniebox so Rory and Finn can listen, Ms. Hillyard said.

“It’s been a really, really good way of having contact each evening and them still being able to do bedtime stories for us, which is really lovely,” Ms. Hillyard said.

Tech-savvy older people have found themselves in great demand, fielding calls from friends and neighbors who need digital help.

Chuck Kissner, 72, a technology executive in Los Altos, Calif., who administers a computer network for his extended family and maintains their 40 or so devices with security updates and software licenses, said he recently had a deluge of requests for tech assistance from his neighbors.

Last week, he spent several hours using remote access to the devices of his homeowner association board to help members, who range in age from about 65 to 85, figure out how to attend a virtual meeting.

One neighbor and board member sanitized his iPad and left it at Mr. Kissner’s front door. The neighbor was having trouble logging into his Apple iCloud account because he could not remember the password. Mr. Kissner could not get into the account, and the neighbor eventually sought support from Apple.

“Everyone got into the meeting,” Mr. Kissner said. “It’s great to see the reaction when it works and it seems so simple.”

After Ms. Quinn’s family helped her get on Zoom, she told her book club about the videoconferences. While some were excited about keeping the club going online during the outbreak, others didn’t want to try it, she said.

“I’m thinking that we won’t do it this month, but when they get tired of not getting together, we’ll probably do it,” said Ms. Quinn, who was also trying to get her bridge club to go virtual.

Her family has certainly embraced the Zoom calls. Jackson Gode, 23, one of Ms. Quinn’s grandsons, lives across the country in Washington, D.C., and used to text her a few times a month. Now they video chat more frequently, he said.

“We’re in this time of great uncertainty,” he said, adding he was “just wanting to make sure that every moment we have counts.”



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COVID-19 CHINA ECONOMY Vs WESTERN ECONOMY ANALYSIS BASED OPINIONS

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#coronavirus affecting the world and China economy recovery slowly whilst other parts of the globe are struggling and fighting for survival. What is the secrets of China? Watch this video till the end to ignite a debate is it true or false? Subscribe like comment and click the bell 🔔

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