NBCUniversal CEO Tests Positive For COVID-19, “Apocalyptic” Surge Rocks Hospitals In New York, New Orleans: Live Updates


  • Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed
  • New York City hospitals report “apocalyptic” surge in cases
  • Elmhurst Hospital in Queens is overwhelmed with new cases
  • More than 500k volunteers sign up to help the NHS in Britain
  • New Orleans hosts major outbreak
  • Inmate in Washington DC tests positive
  • India passes $22.6 billion bailout package
  • Tokyo reports 40 cases for 2nd day in a row
  • A record 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment
  • 157 more deaths reported in Iran
  • Putin shuts down Moscow, delays vote on constitutional measures
  • Wednesday was deadliest yet in US
  • President Xi calls on nations to improve policy coordination to avoid a recession
  • Mnuchin says he speaks with Powell up to ’30 times a day’

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Update (1030ET): The Treasury Department has announced new sanctions against several senior Iranian officials and business entities on Thursday, after hinting earlier this month that more sanctions against the Iranians would land soon, and that the US wouldn’t hold back because of the coronavirus epidemic.


Earlier, Iranian authorities reported 157 deaths over the last day, raising the total to 2,234, while it confirmed 2,389 new cases, bringing the total official count in Iran to 29,406.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said “fortunately, until today 10,457 of those infected have recovered and been discharged from hospitals,” he told a news conference.

During Thursday’s videoconference between G20 leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for nations to improve coordinations in macro economic policies to stave off a global recession.

Xi said nations need to implement strong, effective fiscal and monetary policies; coordination needed to strengthen global financial supervisions, and nations need to work jointly to stabilize global supply chain. He added that China will increase output of raw-material level medicines, living necessities, preventive medical gears, and increase their supplies to the global market.

*  *  *

Update (0930ET): In the US, stocks have gone vertical at the open. Meanwhile, comments from President Xi are just hitting the tape.


Meanwhile, in Italy, the hard-hit Lombardy region reported a jump in cases.

On CNBC, during an interview with an almost overly sympathetic Jim Cramer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that not a day goes by where he doesn’t speak with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Mnuchin says he’s approved “every single one of” the Fed’s requests for new lending facilities. On new jobless claims report, he says “these numbers right now are not relevant”.

For the second day in a row, health officials in Tokyo reported 40 additional coronavirus cases, matching or possibly exceeding yesterday’s total of 41.

Earlier, weekly unemployment claims data showed a massive jump last week, as expected.

*  *  *

President Trump’s hurried demands to get the nation “back to work” before Easter probably couldn’t come at a worse time. Across the US, but mainly in a handful of ‘hot spots’, most notably New York City and the surrounding area, the number of confirmed cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 is climbing at an alarming rate.

According to John Hopkins data, Wednesday was the deadliest day yet for the US with 233 fatalities reported, taking the US to 65,273 cases and 938 deaths. In New York and California, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every few days.

As Russia reports record growth for a second day, President Vladimir Putin has ordered the country’s capital and largest city, Moscow, to close up all restaurants, bars and “non-essential” shops. In an online post, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered the closure of government offices and religious sites – which he urged Muscovites not to visit – and asked all other Russians not to visit the capital during a planned ‘nationwide holiday’ set to last for all of next week. The Kremlin has also halted all international air traffic, both for airlines and charter flights, excluding repatriation flights bringing Russian citizens back into the country.

Russia reported 182 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to 840, along with 3 deaths.

Last night, President Putin delivered a nationwide address where he delayed a vote on constitutional amendments that would allow him to remain in the Kremlin until 2036, and announced that next week would be a national holiday, urging Russians to stay at home. He didn’t declare a national emergency or any other type of special circumstance, but a government medical advisor has reportedly told Putin that given the spread already documented in Moscow, that he must shut the country down to prevent a full-blown outbreak.

The lockdown comes as roughly one-third of the world’s population is now facing some degree of movement restriction: Indian PM Narendra Modi followed up his decision to lock down the second-largest country in the world by announcing a $22.6 billion relief package to help the “poor and suffering.”

“It’s only been 36 hours since the lockdown was imposed,” the country’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a news conference on Thursday. “Now we have come up with a package which will immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help.”

The relief package includes medical insurance coverage of up to $66,400 per person (a considerable sum in India) for those battling the virus on the front lines, incuding medical workers, sanitation workers and community health workers.

The measure is expected to cover 2 million people, a tiny fraction of the country’s population. Firefighters have been repurposed to spray disinfectant around the country, and police have been acting aggressively to enforce the lockdown.

More importantly, the government will provide 800 million people, roughly two-thirds of the country’s population, with 5 kilograms of rice or wheat each month for the next three months for free.

“We do not want anyone to go hungry,” Sitharaman said.

Other measures announced include fast-tracking subsidies and benefits for farmers, construction workers, widows and the disabled as well as increasing the minimum wage. Workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees 100 days of unskilled manual work per year, will see their wages rise by $26. Of course, like Russia and most other major countries at this point, India has also banned international flights.

Across the UK, as Britons trudge through their first full week of lockdown, more than half a million people in the UK have signed up as volunteers to support the NHS, according to the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Globally, the number of coronavirus cases topped 480k on Thursday, and at its current pace, will likely top 500k by Friday, according to Johns Hopkins data. The total number of cases in the US, at last check, was 69,197, a sliver behind Italy, leaving the US in third place globally for number of cases, and far lower down the rankings for number of deaths. The US has recorded 978 deaths as of Thursday morning, leaving behind Spain and France in terms of death toll.

The death toll in coronavirus-ravaged Spain continued to climb on Thursday, with more than 600 additional fatalities reported so far. In total, more than 4,000 people have been killed by the novel coronavirus in Spain so far. Only Italy has recorded more deaths during the outbreak, and only Spain and Italy have recorded more deaths than mainland China – though we suspect the US will join them soon enough.

Yesterday, we discussed the boom in cases in the tri-state area, the suburban area around New York City. Now, on Thursday, the tally of known coronavirus cases in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia – the Greater DC area, as it’s known – stands at 1,051 as of Thursday morning after Maryland reported an additional 74 cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 424, Virginia reported 101 more cases for a total of 392, and DC reported 48 new cases Wednesday, bringing its total to 235. Yesterday, Maryland extended its school closures another four weeks out to April 24.

An inmate at a Washington DC jail has tested positive for the virus, the first to do so, as the US fears an outbreak inside its prisons similar to what happened in Italy and China.

In Florida, the total number of confirmed cases is climbing rapidly. Last night, the Miami City Commission unanimously voted to implement a citywide curfew from 10 pm to 5 am beginning on Friday.

The situation in NYC is growing increasingly dire, while Louisiana also experiences a sudden surge in cases, as the NYT pointed out. According to one study, Louisiana is experiencing the fastest growth in new cases in the world, which is why President Trump approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a major disaster declaration, which unlocked additional federal funding to combat the outbreak.

The situation in and around New Orleans is particularly acute, with the city reporting 827 confirmed cases as of Wednesday night, more than the total number of cases in all but 15 states, while Orleans Parish, which is the same boundary-wise as the city of New Orleans, has reported the largest number of deaths per capita in the country.

Statistic: Total number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States as of March 26, 2020, by state | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

In New York, city hospitals are being overrun as they report an “apocalyptic” surge in patients who are seriously ill from COVID-19, as Elmhurst Hospital in Queens reported 13 deaths in one day on Wednesday.

Across the world from New York, Israel was an early mover in terms of restricting citizens’ movement when there were only a few cases confirmed. And as group prayers are postponed, mass and Sunday church gatherings are suspended and pilgrimages like the Hajj are temporarily halted, religious sites are also being closed to delay the spread of the virus.

In Jerusalem, the sacred Church of the Holy Sepulchre was shuttered Wednesday night in keeping with tighter restrictions on movement as Israel attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, church officials said.

The church, the holiest site in Christianity, is believed to mark the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and later resurrected. The sprawling compound, which is home to some clergy custodians, is shared by six Christian denominations: The Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Orthodox churches are the primary custodians, while the Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches have lesser responsibilities.

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