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January 1, Most Americans Will Likely Be Exposed to Coronavirus



This Day in History | 1933

President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt conducts his first ‘fireside chat’ broadcast over radio from the White House to the American public. Roosevelt tried to ease the fears of Americans after he decided to close the banks. 

Good morning Middle Americans

I’ll keep my comments brief as there is a lot of focus on in today’s articles. We always say it’s wise to ‘practice’ news like a religion or yoga or working out. Something you do everyday to get ready for something else. That something else is now. COVID-19 is about to impact every aspect of our lives. And the president’s address last night doesn’t seem to be helping. Stock futures are way, way down after his speech last night. The president’s approval ratings are also taking a hit.  

This, while a new report says Republicans were recently told ‘most Americans’ will be exposed to the virus.  The assessment, from a former White House public-health official who now works in the pharmaceutical industry.  Also, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for conronavirus. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

President Trump Restricts ‘All Travel’ from EU to US Starting Friday

(USA Today) – President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT about his administration’s response to the coronavirus.

This is what President Donald Trump said he would either execute himself or ask Congress to tackle in response to the coronavirus.

Travel restrictions: Trump said as of Friday at midnight, all travel from Europe to the United States – with the exception of the U.K. – will be suspended for the next 30 days. The president also said there will be travel restrictions for Americans coming from Europe “who have undergone appropriate screenings.”

Paid sick leave: Trump said he plans to take emergency action soon to provide financial relief to workers who are quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus. He added he would be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend the relief.

Small business loans: Trump said he is instructing the Small Business Administration to provide capital and loans to businesses affected by coronavirus, effective immediately. He added he’s asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion to help those businesses hardest hit by economic uncertainty over the virus.

Defer tax payments: Trump said he would instruct the Treasury Department to “defer tax payments” without interest or penalties for “certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.” He did not define which businesses or individuals. He said the moves would add $200 billion in liquidity to the economy. Tax day is April 15. 

Payroll taxes: He called on Congress to provide Americans with “immediate payroll tax relief,” and implored lawmakers to “consider this very strongly” despite bipartisan pushback that idea received Wednesday.

Learn more here

Republicans Told Most Americans Will Likely Be Exposed to Coronavirus

(Daily Beast) – Republican members of Congress heard a sober warning in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill: There’s a good chance most people in the United States will eventually be exposed to the novel coronavirus, according to one former official. 

The assessment, from a former White House public-health official who now works in the pharmaceutical industry, did not suggest that most people will become infected or ill—rather, just that most will encounter the virus, which has killed at least 31 Americans and infected hundreds more.

Not all public-health experts share that view. And not everyone exposed to the virus will become infected. Still, the briefing highlighted the potential gravity of the growing crisis.

Read more here

Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson Test Positive For Coronavirus

(Deadline) – We have just received word that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus. Both have been down in Australia for the pre-production of Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley film from Warner Bros. The two-time Oscar winner Hanks is set to play Presley’s longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker in the project.

Warner Bros. was notified that someone in the production had been diagnosed with coronavirus, the studio said in a statement to Deadline, adding that the person is receiving treatment and that “we are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual.”

Deadline received a statement directly from Hanks:

“Hello, folks.  Rita and I are down here in Australia.   We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.   Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too.  To play things right, as is needed in the world right now,  we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.

Find out more here

Stock Futures Tank, Hit ‘Limit Down’

Dow drops 1,400 Points and Tumbles into a Bear Market

(CNBC) – Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes dove early Thursday after an address from President Donald Trump failed to quell concerns over the possible economic slowdown from the coronavirus. 

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 all hit the so-called limit down threshold at one point, off by more than 5%, before paring those losses slightly.  At last count, the Dow futures were right at that threshold, which halts trading. Dow futures implied a loss of more than 1,100 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures were off by 4.8%.

Exchanges halt trading of futures contracts if they drop by more than 5%, acting as a floor for selling until regular trading resumes at the opening bell at 9:30 a.m. ET. After stocks open in regular trading, the S&P 500 must drop by 7% before triggering the New York Stock Exchange’s circuit breaker, which halts trading temporarily.

Thursday was the second time this week that exchanges were forced to halt futures trading prior to the market open: Futures hit a similar “limit down” prior to the opening of normal trading Monday morning. Later that day, the S&P 500 also hit NYSE’s 7% circuit breaker and the Dow fell more than 2,000 points.

On Wednesday, the Dow ended its historic 11-year bull market run by closing in bear-market territory. A bear market marks a 20% decline from all-time highs. The S&P 500 was just shy of that threshold going into Thursday’s trading and was poised to enter bear market territory based on futures losses.

See the latest here

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