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- Total confirmed cases: More than 75,200
- Total deaths: At least 2,007
2:19 pm: Tyson Foods sees business slow in China due to outbreak
Tyson Foods’ CEO said at a conference that the company has seen Chinese ports backed up as a result of the virus, slowing down the import of its U.S. meat products. Shares of the world’s second-largest meat processor fell 1% in afternoon trading on the comments. “There’s a definite need within the country to fulfill customer demand, to feed the people and we are continuing to ship product,” Tyson CEO Noel White said. In the next few years, Tyson expects to see higher demand as a result of African swine fever, which has hit China’s pork supply and global pork prices. Beijing lifted a years-long ban on importing U.S. poultry meat in November.
1:53 pm: The market continues to take outbreak in stride
1:12 pm: Diamond Princess cruise passengers disembark quarantined ship in Japan
Hundreds of passengers trundled off a cruise ship in Japan after being held on board in quarantine for more than two weeks, as criticism mounted of Japan’s handling of the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside China. More than 620 passengers and crew became infected with the virus over the course of the quarantine, raising questions about whether it helped or hurt efforts to contain the outbreak. The Diamond Princess has been quarantined at a dock at Yokohama near Tokyo since Feb. 3, initially with 3,700 people aboard. Passengers who test negative and show no symptoms are free to leave. Around 500 were expected to disembark on Wednesday, with the rest of those eligible leaving over the next two days. Confirmed cases were to be sent to hospital, while those who shared cabins with infected passengers may still be kept on board. The United States flew more than 300 passengers to air bases in California and Texas this week. — Reuters
A bus leaves the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at a port Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Yokohama, near Tokyo. The U.S. says Americans aboard a quarantined ship will be flown back home on a chartered flight Sunday, but that they will face another two-week quarantine.
Jae C. Hong | AP Photo
12:49 pm: Fed’s Kashkari warns US could feel economic impact from persistent outbreak
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari warned the U.S. would likely feel economic effects if the coronavirus continues to plague Asian commerce. Speaking at a symposium in Mankato, Minnesota, Kashkari explained the impact to Asia could bleed into the U.S. if the outbreak persists. “China’s economy is a big engine of the world economy. So that will affect all of us,” he said. “It’s unlikely that if this continues that we’re going to be completely immune from the economic effects of a slowdown in Asia.” — Franck
People wearing face masks move packs of vegetables at a wholesale market for agricultural products, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 19, 2020.
Tingshu Wang | Reuters
12:08 pm: China reportedly plans to take over HNA Group and sell its airline assets
China plans to take over HNA Group and sell off its airline assets, as the coronavirus outbreak hits the Chinese conglomerate’s ability to meet financial obligations, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The government of Hainan, the southern province where HNA is based, is in talks to take control of the conglomerate, the report said. HNA did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the Bloomberg report. — Higgins-Dunn
11:05 am: Iran reports two deaths
Two Iranians have died in the
hospital after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, the head of the city’s University of Medical Sciences told Mehr news agency on Wednesday. “Two Iranians, who tested positive earlier today for new coronavirus, died of respiratory illness,” the official told Mehr. Iran’s health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur confirmed their death on Twitter. Iran confirmed earlier in the day its first two cases of the virus, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, shortly after reports that preliminary tests on the two had come back positive.The health ministry said earlier that the patients had been put in isolation. — Reuters
10:04 am: IMF chief calls outbreak the ‘most pressing uncertainty’ for global economy
International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva said the COVID-19 outbreak is the “most pressing uncertainty” for the global economy. The new coronavirus has already slowed China’s economic growth for the year — just how much depends on how well world leaders can contain the fast-spreading outbreak, she said in a blog post. “There are a number of scenarios, depending on how quickly the spread of the virus is contained,” she said. If it’s contained quickly, she said, China’s overall 2020 GDP growth will be hurt, but just slightly and cross-border spillover would remain minimal. “However, a long-lasting and more severe outbreak would result in a sharper and more protracted growth slowdown in China. Its global impact would be amplified through more substantial supply chain disruptions and a more persistent drop in investor confidence, especially if the epidemic spreads beyond China.” — Feuer
9:15 am: Plugable Technologies warns the worst of its supply disruption won’t hit for months
The CEO and founder of Plugable Technologies, which sells USB, Bluetooth and power devices and partners with 15 factories in China, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” he is expecting the virus to disrupt his supply chain during March and April the most because securing any extra inventory will take at least two months to move through the supply chain. CEO Bernie Thompson said he has also had trouble with factories outside China since it only takes one part built in the country to disrupt the entire supply chain, especially in the electronics industry. —Higgins-Dunn
9:01 am: Virus hits small business owners who import products from China
As coronavirus spreads around the world, small business owners who import from China are on edge. CNBC spoke with Kyle Kirshner, who has been doing business in China for several years. He knew to stock up on supplies ahead of the Lunar New Year, but prolonged factory shutdowns threatened his business and that of others who import products from China. Kirshner owns Kyndley, which sells outdoor products via Amazon and imports 90% of its goods from China. He expects his supply will be impacted within a month if things don’t turn around. And if he doesn’t have product to list on Amazon, his rankings may drop and hurt sales. — Rogers
8 am: China expels three WSJ journalists
China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists from The Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column that called China the “real sick man of Asia,” China’s foreign ministry said. Spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing that Beijing made several representations to the paper over the column, which China criticized as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, but that the paper had failed to apologize or investigate those responsible. Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S. nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, have been ordered to leave the country within five days, the WSJ reported. — Feuer
7:30 am: Adidas reports 85% drop in China business activity
German sportswear maker Adidas said business in China dropped by about 85% year on year as the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in store closures and fewer customers visiting the remaining outlets. Adidas said it had seen lower traffic, mainly in Japan and South Korea, but added that it had not yet registered any major business impact beyond Greater China. “As the situation keeps evolving on a daily basis, the magnitude of the overall impact on our business for the full-year 2020 cannot be quantified reliably at this point in time,” it said. — Reuters
A masked man guards at the entrance to a village as a measure to contain the COVID-19 spread in Zhangye in northwest China’s Gansu province Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.
Barcroft Media | Getty Images
6:30 am: Iran says two people have tested positive for coronavirus
Iranian authorities reported two suspected cases of the coronavirus, according to the country’s semi-official ISNA news agency. A health ministry spokHesperson said both cases were in the city of Qom and the patients had been put into isolation. “The next stages of testing are underway and the final results of these tests will be released to the public once they have been determined,” Kiyanoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson at Iran’s health ministry, said in a statement, ISNA reported. Iran has not previously confirmed any cases of the coronavirus. — Meredith
5:40 am: Japan says 79 more people have tested positive for coronavirus on Diamond Princess cruise ship
Japan confirmed 79 new cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner, taking the total number of on-board infections to 621. Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, citing the health ministry, said 68 of the 79 people with COVID-19 didn’t have any symptoms. Earlier, passengers and crew members on board the quarantined cruise ship, who were not taking government repatriation flights, started the process of disembarking. There may be more positive test results as people need certificates indicating they tested negative for the virus before they can leave. — Meredith
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Iran says two test positive for virus, death toll tops 2,000.
— Reuters and CNBC’s Thomas Franck, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kate Rogers, Sam Meredith contributed to this report.
Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right
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.
In an interview, Mr. Fitton said, “Dr. Fauci is doing a great job.” He added that Dr. Fauci “wrote very political statements to Hillary Clinton that were odd for an appointee of his nature to send.”
The conspiracy theory was soon shared thousands of times across Facebook and Twitter. It was also taken up by messaging groups on WhatsApp and Facebook run by QAnon, the anonymous group that claims to be privy to government secrets. On YouTube, far-right personalities began spouting that Dr. Fauci was a fraud.
By Tuesday, the online and television mentions of Dr. Fauci had declined but had become consistently negative, Zignal Labs said.
One anti-Fauci tweet last Sunday read: “Dr. Fauci is in love w/ crooked @HillaryClinton. More reasons not to trust him.”
Facebook said it proactively removed misinformation related to the coronavirus. YouTube said that it did not recommend the conspiracy-theory videos on Dr. Fauci to viewers and that it promotes credible virus information. Twitter said it remained “focused on taking down content that can lead to harm.”
Ms. Phillips, the Syracuse assistant professor, said the campaign was part of a long-term conspiracy theory propagated by Mr. Trump’s followers.
“Fauci has just been particularly prominent,” she said. “But any public health official who gets cast in a conspiratorial narrative is going to be subject to those same kinds of suspicions, the same kinds of doubt.”
That has not stopped Dr. Fauci from appearing on the internet. On Thursday, he joined a 30-minute Instagram Live discussion about the coronavirus hosted by the National Basketball Association star Stephen Curry.
In the session, Dr. Fauci, with a miniature basketball hoop behind him, conveyed the same message that he had said for weeks about the outbreak.
“This is serious business,” he said. “We are not overreacting.”
Ben Decker contributed reporting.
As Life Moves Online, an Older Generation Faces a Digital Divide
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.
As life has increasingly moved online during the pandemic, an older generation that grew up in an analog era is facing a digital divide. Often unfamiliar or uncomfortable with apps, gadgets and the internet, many are struggling to keep up with friends and family through digital tools when some of them are craving those connections the most.
While teenagers are celebrating birthdays over Zoom with one another, children are chatting with friends over online games and young adults are ordering food via delivery apps, some older people are intimidated by such technology. According to a 2017 Pew Research study, three-quarters of those older than 65 said they needed someone else to set up their electronic devices. A third also said they were only a little or not at all confident in their ability to use electronics and to navigate the web.
That is problematic now when many people 65 and older, who are regarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as most at risk of severe illness related to the coronavirus, are shutting themselves in. Many nursing homes have closed off to visitors entirely. Yet people are seeking human interaction and communication through the web or their devices to stave off loneliness and to stay positive.
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.”
COVID-19 CHINA ECONOMY Vs WESTERN ECONOMY ANALYSIS BASED OPINIONS
#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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