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US COVID-19 Cases Top 10MN, Nebraska Issues Mandatory Mask Order; Italy Tightens Restrictions: Live Updates

US COVID-19 Cases Top 10MN, Nebraska Issues Mandatory Mask Order; Italy Tightens Restrictions: Live Updates



US COVID-19 Cases Top 10MN, Nebraska Issues Mandatory Mask Order; Italy Tightens Restrictions: Live Updates Tyler Durden Mon, 11/09/2020 - 13:53


  • California gov hints at more restrictions
  • Trump campaign advisor David Bossie tests positive
  • Hospitalizations climb in the mountain west
  • Deaths drop in Illinois
  • Nebraska issues mask order
  • US cases top 10 million
  • Italy tightens restrictions
  • Joe Biden warns of "dark winter", unveils task force members
  • NJ imposes new restrictions
  • NYC on verge of 2nd wave, mayor says
  • Shanghai reports first case in months
  • US hospitalizations back to July highs
  • Ukrainian president tests positive
  • Dr. Fauci hails Pfizer-BioNTech news

* * *

Update (1520ET): California Gov. Gavin Newsom has just become the latest governor to hint at, or announce, more COVID-19-related restrictions in the neaer future.

* * *

Update (1450ET): Trump campaign senior outside advisor David Bossie has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, joining Mark Meadows and Ben Carson in the growing number of TrumpWorld figures testing positive for the virus.

* * *

Update (1430ET): After the US topped 10 million confirmed cases on Monday...

...we've gotten some mixed news out of the mountain west and midwest. Wyoming reported a new record hospitaliztions Monday, while warning that 17 of 19 ICU beds at the state medical center were full. In neighboring Montana, 470 virus-linked hospitalizations were reported on Monday, a third of the total since March. 7 of 10 large hospitals in the state reported limited availability for emergency beds.

Meanwhile, Nebraska has joined Utah in issuing a mandatory mask order. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced the new health order Monday including a requirement that masks be worn when people are in close contact for at least 15 minutes at usinesses in the state, according to reports in the Nebraska local press. The reports come after the governor's owne chief spokesman criticized the

Illinois, meanwhile, saw daily deaths decline day over day, from 42 on Sunday to just 14 on Monday.

* * *

Update (1330ET): Italy’s Health Minister has tightened coronavirus restrictions on six new parts of the country, bumping up the Province of Bolzano to a "red zone", while the regions of Abruzzo, Umbria, Tuscany, Liguria, Basilicata became orange zones. The news, which comes via Italy's ANSA newswire, comes as Reuters publishes a story noting Italians' reluctance to abide by restrictions on movement and business like they did in the spring, when the nation "stoically accepted" a massively restrictive lockdown to beat back one of the first major outbreaks in Europe.

Last week, Italy became the sixth country to top 40k COVID-19 deaths (confirmed deaths, at least). Northern Italy, including Lombardy and Piedmont, have been hit by the most restrictive measures involving bars, restaurants and shops (they're in so-called "red zones"). PM Giuseppe Conte has been slowly tightening restrictions to different degrees nationwide.

Italy, like the US and many other European countries, is seeing an alarming surge in hospitalizations as well, as some scientists warn about the second wave of the virus overwhelming the health-care system.

Unlike the first time around, protests against the new measures have been widespread across the worst-hit areas of the Italian peninsula.

Meanwhile, in the US, Johns Hopkins just confirmed that the total case count has passed the 10 million mark, as expected, meaning the US currently accounts for roughly 20% of the global confirmed COVID-19 tally.

* * *

Update (1200ET): After spending the morning with the co-chairs of his newly announced coronavirus task force, Joe Biden delivered an update where he expanded on his statement from earlier, warning Americans about the "dark winter" ahead', as he prepares to impose mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing rules.

"There’s a need for bold action to fight this pandemic. We’re still facing a very dark winter...infection rates are going up, hospitalizations are going up, deaths are going up," Biden said during the video briefing, after which he did not take questions.

Biden also laid out his 13-member advisory panel, which is made up of doctors and other "health experts", including Dr. Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official who was fired from the Trump administration, as a member of his COVID-19 advisory panel, which he announced on Monday.

Biden’s task force will have three co-chairs: Vivek H. Murthy, surgeon general during the Obama administration; David Kessler, Food and Drug Administration commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Murthy and Kessler have briefed Biden for months on the pandemic.

As the Washington Post pointed out, Biden's picks for the panel intend to communicate to the public that he's embracing a "science-backed" approach, which essentially means doubling down on economically harmful restrictions on business and movement, in addition to the social distancing, as New Jersey showed us earlier.

Other members include (text per WaPo):

Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School who is a prolific author.

Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Eric Goosby, global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama and professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.

Celine R. Gounder, clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine.

Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropy focused on health issues.

Loyce Pace, president and executive director of the Global Health Council, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to global health issues.

Robert Rodriguez, professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.

Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center, and Beth Cameron, director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration, are serving as advisers to the transition task force.

Biden also plans on working closely with local officials, calling both Republican and Democratic governors to get their input.

We imagine NJ's Phil Murphy and NY's Andrew Cuomo will have quit a bit of input.

Biden's comments come as US cases have soared to new daily records in recent days, including the 128,000 cases reported on Saturday, a daily record.

* * *

Update (1110ET): Phil Murphy just announced that among the latest  batch of restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Garden State, will be an order barring indoor dining between 2200 and 0500, a strategy that has also been implemented in Asia and Europe.

Importantly, the halt comes just after the FDA approved more rapid antigen tests for COVID-19. Manufacturers and many scientists argue the tests could be used by restaurants to safely serve customers, since they're cheap (only a few dollars per customer).

Of course, most family restaurants in the state won't be impacted, it's the nightlife industry, which, in theory, leads to more spread, that will suffer the bulk of the impact.

It's notable in that the bounce-back in restaurant spending was a major contributor to last quarter's GDP print. NJ is officially back ahead of the pack in its efforts to curb the latest round of the virus.

* * *

Monday's torrent of optimistic vaccine-related news, sparked early this morning by a WSJ report previewing the first batch of results from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine candidate, has, predictably, been followed by a statement from the Biden campaign (which, curiously, got a preview of the results around the same time as Pfizer's own top executives, and possibly even before the sitting president himself) warning Americans that masks remain the best tool to prevent spread of the virus.

It began Sunday evening, when Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency and ordered a statewide mask mandate, blaming a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations that he said was threatening hospital capacity, CBS News reported.

Herbert and the Utah Department of Health issued executive and public health orders requiring residents to wear face coverings in public, at work and when they are within 6 feet of people who don't live in their households. Herbert, a Republican, had resisted a statewide mandate, even as several counties in the state went ahead with more restrictive mask rules. But apparently the election results, combined with the latest data, have been convincing enough to sway them.

Across the US, hospitalizations have returned to their highs from late July, with 56,768 patients in the hospital, 11,108 of those in the ICU and 2,959 on ventilators.

On Monday morning, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy suggested that he would revive some restrictions in the wake of the state reporting about 5,000 new COVID-19 cases in two days.

New restrictions might impact the state’s bars, restaurants and indoor youth sports may be reined in, Murphy said on CNBC’s "Squawk Box." Though notably the limits wouldn’t be extended to include college sports as part of measures he said would likely be announced Monday.

"If you sit at a bar there’s a much higher likelihood of a transmission," he said.

Across the river in NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city was coming "dangerously close" to a second wave. His warning comes as cases and hospitalizations rise, and the city health department, which has caught a lot of flack for its dysfunctional relationship with city hall (or rather, city hall has caught flack for its dysfunctional relationship with the health department, and decisions to delegate tasks like organizing the city's contact tracing effort to others outside the department) releases a "real time" breakdown of zip-code by zip-code data.

While daily case numbers remain uncomfortably elevated, and deaths and hospitalizations continue to climb, the number of confirmed cases is currently at 50,550,062, while 1,258,321 deaths have been recorded.

Here's some more COVID-19 news from Monday morning and overnight:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating. Zelenskiy is feeling fine and will continue to work remotely, according to a statement from his office (Source: Bloomberg).

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer will have a “major impact” on the battle against the coronavirus. The efficacy of the Pfizer drug candidate being over 90% “is just extraordinary,” Fauci said Monday on a call with reporters. Separately, he said Moderna may have similar results to the Pfizer vaccine because it is also based on mRNA technology (Source: Bloomberg).

Shanghai reported a single domestic case of Covid-19 on Monday, according to the municipal government. The confirmed case works as a porter at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The Chinese financial hub hasn’t reported any local cases in months, although it has seen a steady stream of imported cases (Source: Bloomberg).

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Fighting the Surveillance State Begins with the Individual

It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in…



It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in place, collecting data on the entire populace. This has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by people like Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who exposed that the NSA was conducting mass surveillance on US citizens and the world as a whole. The NSA used applications like those from Prism Systems to piggyback on corporations and the data collection their users had agreed to in the terms of service. Google would scan all emails sent to a Gmail address to use for personalized advertising. The government then went to these companies and demanded the data, and this is what makes the surveillance state so interesting. Neo-Marxists like Shoshana Zuboff have dubbed this “surveillance capitalism.” In China, the mass surveillance is conducted at a loss. Setting up closed-circuit television cameras and hiring government workers to be a mandatory editorial staff for blogs and social media can get quite expensive. But if you parasitically leech off a profitable business practice it means that the surveillance state will turn a profit, which is a great asset and an even greater weakness for the system. You see, when that is what your surveillance state is predicated on you’ve effectively given your subjects an opt-out button. They stop using services that spy on them. There is software and online services that are called “open source,” which refers to software whose code is publicly available and can be viewed by anyone so that you can see exactly what that software does. The opposite of this, and what you’re likely already familiar with, is proprietary software. Open-source software generally markets itself as privacy respecting and doesn’t participate in data collection. Services like that can really undo the tricky situation we’ve found ourselves in. It’s a simple fact of life that when the government is given a power—whether that be to regulate, surveil, tax, or plunder—it is nigh impossible to wrestle it away from the state outside somehow disposing of the state entirely. This is why the issue of undoing mass surveillance is of the utmost importance. If the government has the power to spy on its populace, it will. There are people, like the creators of The Social Dilemma, who think that the solution to these privacy invasions isn’t less government but more government, arguing that data collection should be taxed to dissuade the practice or that regulation needs to be put into place to actively prevent abuses. This is silly to anyone who understands the effect regulations have and how the internet really works. You see, data collection is necessary. You can’t have email without some elements of data collection because it’s simply how the protocol functions. The issue is how that data is stored and used. A tax on data collection itself will simply become another cost of doing business. A large company like Google can afford to pay a tax. But a company like Proton Mail, a smaller, more privacy-respecting business, likely couldn’t. Proton Mail’s business model is based on paid subscriptions. If there were additional taxes imposed on them, it’s possible that they would not be able to afford the cost and would be forced out of the market. To reiterate, if one really cares about the destruction of the surveillance state, the first step is to personally make changes to how you interact with online services and to whom you choose to give your data.

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Stock Market Today: Stocks turn higher as Treasury yields retreat; big tech earnings up next

A pullback in Treasury yields has stocks moving higher Monday heading into a busy earnings week and a key 2-year bond auction later on Tuesday.



Updated at 11:52 am EDT U.S. stocks turned higher Monday, heading into the busiest earnings week of the year on Wall Street, amid a pullback in Treasury bond yields that followed the first breach of 5% for 10-year notes since 2007. Investors, however, continue to track developments in Israel's war with Hamas, which launched its deadly attack from Gaza three weeks ago, as leaders around the region, and the wider world, work to contain the fighting and broker at least a form of cease-fire. Humanitarian aid is also making its way into Gaza, through the territory's border with Egypt, as officials continue to work for the release of more than 200 Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attack. Those diplomatic efforts eased some of the market's concern in overnight trading, but the lingering risk that regional adversaries such as Iran, or even Saudi Arabia, could be drawn into the conflict continues to blunt risk appetite. Still, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies and acts as the safe-haven benchmark in times of market turmoil, fell 0.37% in early New York trading 105.773, suggesting some modest moves into riskier assets. The Japanese yen, however, eased past the 150 mark in overnight dealing, a level that has some traders awaiting intervention from the Bank of Japan and which may have triggered small amounts of dollar sales and yen purchases. In the bond market, benchmark 10-year note yields breached the 5% mark in overnight trading, after briefly surpassing that level late last week for the first time since 2007, but were last seen trading at 4.867% ahead of $141 billion in 2-year, 5-year and 7-year note auctions later this week. Global oil prices were also lower, following two consecutive weekly gains that has take Brent crude, the global pricing benchmark, firmly past $90 a barrel amid supply disruption concerns tied to the middle east conflict. Brent contracts for December delivery were last seen $1.06 lower on the session at $91.07 per barrel while WTI futures contract for the same month fell $1.36 to $86.72 per barrel. Market volatility gauges were also active, with the CBOE Group's VIX index hitting a fresh seven-month high of $23.08 before easing to $20.18 later in the session. That level suggests traders are expecting ranges on the S&P 500 of around 1.26%, or 53 points, over the next month. A busy earnings week also indicates the likelihood of elevated trading volatility, with 158 S&P 500 companies reporting third quarter earnings over the next five days, including mega cap tech names such as Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report, retail and cloud computing giant Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report and Facebook owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report. "It’s shaping up to be a big week for the market and it comes as the S&P 500 is testing a key level—the four-month low it set earlier this month," said Chris Larkin, managing director for trading and investing at E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley. "How the market responds to that test may hinge on sentiment, which often plays a larger-than-average role around this time of year," he added. "And right now, concerns about rising interest rates and geopolitical turmoil have the potential to exacerbate the market’s swings." Heading into the middle of the trading day on Wall Street, the S&P 500, which is down 8% from its early July peak, the highest of the year, was up 10 points, or 0.25%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which slumped into negative territory for the year last week, was marked 10 points lower while the Nasdaq, which fell 4.31% last week, was up 66 points, or 0.51%. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.11% lower by the close of Frankfurt trading, with markets largely tracking U.S. stocks as well as the broader conflict in Israel. In Asia, a  slump in China stocks took the benchmark CSI 300 to a fresh 2019 low and pulled the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan 0.72% lower into the close of trading.
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Forget Ron DeSantis: Walt Disney has a much bigger problem

The company’s political woes are a sideshow to the one key issue Bob Iger has to solve.



Walt Disney has a massive, but solvable, problem.

The company's current skirmishes with Florida Gov. DeSantis get a lot of headlines, but they're not having a major impact on the company's bottom line.

Related: What the Bud Light boycott means for Disney, Target, and Starbucks

DeSantis has made Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report a target in what he calls his war on woke, an effort to win right-wing support as he tries to secure the Republican Party nomination for president. 

That effort has generated plenty of press and multiple lawsuits tied to the governor's takeover of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney's legislated self-governance operation. But it has not hurt revenue at the company's massive Florida theme-park complex.  

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger addressed the matter during the company's third-quarter-earnings call, without directly mentioning DeSantis.

"Walt Disney World is still performing well above precovid levels: 21% higher in revenue and 29% higher in operating income compared to fiscal 2019," he said. 

And "following a number of recent changes we've implemented, we continue to see positive guest-experience ratings in our theme parks, including Walt Disney World, and positive indicators for guests looking to book future visits."

The theme parks are not Disney's problem. The death of the movie business is, however, a hurdle that Iger has yet to show that the company has a plan to clear.

Boba Fett starred in a show on Disney+.

Image source: Walt Disney

Disney needs a plan to monetize content 

In 2019 Walt Disney drew in more $11 billion in global box office, or $13 billion when you add in the former Fox properties it also owns. In that year seven Mouse House films crossed the billion-dollar threshold in theaters, according to data from Box Office Mojo.

This year, the company will struggle to reach half that and it has no billion-dollar films, with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" closing its theatrical run at $845 million globally. 

(That's actually good for third place this year, as only "Barbie" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" have broken the billion-dollar mark and they may be the only two films to do that this year.)

In the precovid world Disney could release two Pixar movies, three Marvel films, a live-action remake of an animated classic, and maybe one other film that each would be nearly guaranteed to earn $1 billion at the box office.

That's simply not how the movie business works anymore. While theaters may remain part of Disney's plan to monetize its content, the past isn't coming back. Theaters may remain a piece of the movie-release puzzle, but 2023 isn't an anomaly or a bad release schedule.

Consumers have big TVs at home and they're more than happy to watch most films on them.

Disney owns the IP but charges too little

People aren't less interested in Marvel and Star Wars; they're just getting their fix from Disney+ at an absurdly low price. 

Over the past couple of months through the next few weeks, I will have watched about seven hours of premium Star Wars content and five hours of top-tier Marvel content with "Ahsoka" and "Loki" respectively. 

Before the covid pandemic, I gladly would have paid theater prices for each movie in those respective universes. Now, I have consumed about six movies worth of premium content for less than the price of two movie tickets.

By making its premium content television shows available on a service that people can buy for $7.99 a month Disney has devalued its most valuable asset, its intellectual property. 

Consumers have shown that they will pay the $10 to $15 cost of a movie ticket to see what happens next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars galaxy. But the company has offered top-tier content from those franchises at a lower price.

Iger needs to find a way to replace billions of dollars in lost box office, but charging less for the company's content makes no sense. 

Now, some fans likely won't pay triple the price for Disney+. But if it were to bundle a direct-to-consumer ESPN along with content that currently gets released to movie theaters, Disney might create a package that it can price in a way that reflects the value of its IP.

Consumers want Disney's content and they will likely pay more for it. Iger simply has to find a way to make that happen.

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