States Team Up on Reopening Plans; France Lockdown: Virus Update
Emergency medical technicians, wearing personal protective equipment, take a stretcher out of an ambulance at a nursing home in Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S. (Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg)

States Team Up on Reopening Plans; France Lockdown: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) --

States on both U.S. coasts formed coalitions to plan for coordinated reopenings of their economies, while President Donald Trump insisted that he alone has the authority to restart the country.

President Emmanuel Macron of France extended the nation’s lockdown to May 11. The World Health Organization said it has a “very good” relationship with Trump, who has threatened to cut off funding to the group.

U.S. stocks fell, while markets across Europe were closed for the Easter holiday.

Key Developments

States Team Up on Reopening Plans; France Lockdown: Virus Update

Insurer Centene Expects to Gain Members (5:22 p.m. NY)

Health insurer Centene Corp. expects significant growth in membership in its Medicaid and Affordable Care Act marketplace business as people who lose jobs enroll in those programs for health coverage, Chief Executive Officer Michael Neidorff said in an interview.

Centene’s business is focused on low- and moderate-income members who rely on government-sponsored health insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Obamacare marketplaces. That may position it better than its competitors in an economic downturn, as newly unemployed people enroll in safety-net coverage.

Massachusetts Joins Northeastern Reopening Plan: Cuomo (5:12 p.m. NY)

Massachusetts has joined an effort by northeastern U.S. states to coordinate on a plan to reopen their economies, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet. New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island are also part of the initiative.

U.S. Confirmed Cases Rise 5.6% (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases rose 5.6% from the day before to 572,169 by Monday afternoon, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was lower than the 7.4% average daily increase over the past week but slightly higher than the 5.4% increase on Sunday. Deaths rose 7.3% to 23,070.

New York’s cases rose about 3.3%, but the rate was about half of what it was a week ago.

South Dakota’s cases increased by about 19%. Governor Kristi Noem announced that South Dakota, with Sanford Health leading the effort, will begin a statewide clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a possible Covid-19 treatment.

Washington, California, Oregon Join Forces (3:22 p.m. NY)

The governors of California, Washington, and Oregon announced a regional framework for bringing the states’ economies back on line.

“We will be driven by facts, we will be driven by evidence, we will be driven by science, we will be driven by our public health advisers,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said during his daily coronavirus briefing Monday.

The move came within minutes of a similar plan being announced by the governors of six states in the Northeast, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

French Extends Lockdown to May 11 (2:12 p.m. NY)

France reported an increase in new coronavirus deaths Monday as President Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown to May 11.

While deaths linked to the virus rose by 574 to 14,967, the number of intensive-care patients dropped for a fifth day to the lowest level since April 3, the health ministry said in an emailed statement. New recorded cases rose by 4,188 to 136,779 and the rise in the daily death toll was the first in four days.

“The dynamic observed in recent days thus seem to be confirmed: the impact of the epidemic is major and France is currently in a ‘high plateau’ phase,” according to the ministry.

Greek PM Sees Phased Return to Normalcy (1:22 p.m. NY)

The return to a normal life after the coronavirus pandemic will be “gradual and in phases,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday in a televised address to the nation.

Greece has seen fewer deaths and cases than other European countries amid widespread observance of restrictions on movement. The end of the current restrictions is on the horizon, but must be lifted carefully and with a plan, Mitsotakis said. “The slightest letup can lead to a painful regression.”

Northeast Governors to Coordinate Reopening: Cuomo (12:55 p.m. NY)

A coalition of Northeast governors will announce a plan on Monday afternoon for how they will coordinate the reopening of schools and businesses after the coronavirus outbreak subsides, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Any regional plan by the governors could set up a clash with President Donald Trump, who said earlier that he alone had the authority to decide when states would return to normal.

“The optimum is a geographically coordinated plan,” Cuomo said, adding that “This virus doesn’t understand governmental boundaries.”

WHO Has ‘Very Good’ Relationship with U.S. (12:30 p.m. NY)

The head of the World Health Organization said he hopes funding from the U.S., the group’s biggest donor, will continue and that the two have a “very good” relationship. President Donald Trump suggested Friday he might suspend on contributions this week. The men last spoke two weeks ago, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.

“We are going to have to change our behavior for the foreseeable future,” said Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. Countries should lift lockdowns slowly and only when they have enough capacity to track the disease, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said, warning it would be a mistake for Europe to lift them all at once.

“While Covid-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly,” Tedros said. “The way down is much slower than the way up.”

NYC Needs Widespread Testing: Mayor (10:30 a.m. NY)

New York City may be close to seeing a decline in new coronavirus infections after having hit a peak, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says a lack of universal testing means it could be summer or fall before the city can start returning to normal.

“What we need is much more widespread testing,” de Blasio said Monday at his daily virus briefing. “This is the crucial need if we’re going to transcend to the next level.”

The city has a shortage of testing swabs, the mayor said. New York can’t sustain a level of low transmission without a federal commitment to supply millions of testing kits, he said.

U.K.’s Daily Death Toll Eases (9:45 a.m. NY)

A further 717 people have died from the coronavirus in U.K. hospitals, a slight drop in the number of new deaths from the 737 reported Sunday.

Some 88,621 people have been diagnosed with the virus, up from 84,279 the day before. Total deaths are now above 11,300.

Portugal’s Curve Flattens (9:25 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported the smallest daily increase in confirmed cases since March 24, and the number of patients in intensive care fell for a second day. There were 349 new cases in a day, taking the total to 16,934, the government said on Monday. Total deaths increased to 535 from 504 reported through Sunday morning.

U.S. Outbreak Stable, CDC Director Says (8:10 a.m. NY)

Coronavirus has stabilized across the U.S. and is expected to show declines in days ahead, CDC Director Robert Redfield told Fox News. The U.S. will reopen slowly and in a prudent way, he said, without providing a timeline.

“We are nearing the peak right now,” Redfield said in another interview, with NBC. “I think sometime, hopefully this week, we will be able to say -- you’ll know when you’re at the peak when the next day is actually less than the day before.”

German Schools Should Reopen Soon, Adviser Says (8:05 a.m. NY)

The National Academy of Sciences recommends that primary schools and lower secondary education should be gradually reopened as soon as possible. If new infections stabilize and hygiene measures are followed strictly, the lockdown can be gradually eased, the scientific adviser to the German government said.

Coronavirus cases in Germany registered their smallest increase this month on Monday, a sign the infection curve in Europe’s largest economy may be flattening.

Dutch Deaths, Cases Moderate (8 a.m. NY)

Confirmed cases in the Netherlands rose by 4% to 26,551, below the seven-day average. The RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment recorded 86 new fatalities, the lowest daily increase since March 26. The Netherlands now has 2,823 confirmed deaths. Hospital admissions rose a stable 2%.

Fed’s Clarida Says Virus a Severe Hit But U.S. Can Escape Deflation (6:54 a.m. NY)

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said the central bank has the tools needed to keep the U.S. out of a deflationary trap, even as the coronavirus deals a severe hit to the economy. “Demand is impacted very adversely, we’re trying to offset that with our policy. I don’t believe it’s deflationary,” Clarida said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “I think we have the tools to keep the U.S. economy out of deflation and to support the economy through this challenging period.”

States Team Up on Reopening Plans; France Lockdown: Virus Update

Philippines Eases Ban on Nurses Seeking to Leave for Jobs Abroad (6:50 a.m. NY)

The Philippines is easing a ban on overseas deployment of health workers, allowing those with existing contracts abroad to leave, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.

Emirates Airline Plans Passenger Flights to More Cities (6:22 a.m. NY)

Emirates is planning to operate passenger services to more cities as the Dubai-based airline gradually ramps up operations that was shut following the coronavirus outbreak. It will operate flights to Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Chicago, Tunis, Algeria, and Kabul in addition to its operations to London and Frankfurt, according to a statement.

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