The Wall Street Journal - 28.03.2020 - 29.03.2020

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Coronavirus Daily Update

As of 10:30 p.m. ET
March 27

World-wide cases

U.S. cases

World-wide deaths

U.S. deaths

World-wide recoveries

Source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering

the number of infections and
deaths related to the virus
climbed and multiple govern-
ment authorities ordered non-
essential businesses to close
and urged people to stay
home. A record 3.28 million
U.S. workers applied for unem-
ployment benefits just last
week, and forecasters now ex-
pect the unemployment rate to
rise steeply.
The declines in other large
economies would be similar to
that in the U.S, according to
the OECD. The organization’s
economists estimated that
output losses would likely be
greatest in Greece, which has
a large tourism industry, and
least in Ireland, which relies
heavily on digital businesses.
Meanwhile in Italy, busi-
nesses and consumers became
much more gloomy about their
prospects this month, as the
death toll from the coronavi-
rus continued to climb and an
already extensive lockdown
tightened further.
Istat, the official Italian sta-
tistics agency, said Friday its
measure of consumer confi-
dence slumped to 101.0 from

110.9 in February as Italians
saw a significant worsening of
the economic outlook, while
its measure of business confi-
dence plummeted to 81.7 from
97.8. The turn to pessimism
among companies was most
marked among service provid-
ers, many of which have been
almost entirely deprived of
customers by social distanc-
The consumer confidence
reading was the lowest since
January 2015, while the busi-
ness confidence measure was
the weakest since December
Consumer sentiment also
soured in the U.S. this month,
according to a University of
Michigan survey released Fri-
day. The survey’s index of con-
sumer sentiment fell to 89.1 in
March—its lowest level since
2016—down from 101.0 in Feb-
The index’s drop—the
fourth-largest one-month de-
cline in nearly 50 years—hints
at a broad pullback in spend-
ing as the virus upends daily
life, said Richard Curtin, the
survey’s chief economist.

“The extent of additional
declines in April will depend
on the success in curtailing
the spread of the virus and
how quickly households re-
ceive funds to relieve their fi-
nancial hardships,” he said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Ste-
ven Mnuchin said Friday he
expects the economy to re-
bound strongly after the wide-
spread shutdown to contain
the coronavirus is lifted, add-
ing that the federal govern-
ment is working at “lightning
speed” to provide support.
Asked if he agreed with
some investors’ view that U.S.
economic output could expand
by 5% in the fourth quarter,
Mr. Mnuchin said, “Abso-
Consumers just last month
were still buoyed by a solid la-
bor market and firming wages,
and in turn boosted spending
as personal income rose.
Personal-consumption ex-
penditures, or household
spending, ticked up by a sea-
sonally adjusted 0.2% from
January and personal income
was up 0.6%, the Commerce
Department reported Friday.

But national leaders continue
to face risks even as they meet
face-to-face in emergency ses-
sions to plot ways to curb the
contagion, with British Prime
Minister Boris Johnson testing
positive for the virus Friday.
The U.S. and Italy have both
now overtaken China as the na-
tions with the most confirmed
infections. Italy, which has the
highest death toll of any coun-
try at 9,134, had nearly 86,

confirmed infections; China,
where the outbreak originated
late last year, had 81,905.
New York remains the cen-
ter of the pandemic in the U.S.,
with more than 46,000 con-
firmed cases, but states includ-
ing Michigan, Illinois, Califor-
nia and Louisiana are poised
for a jump in cases as the rate
of infection—and of testing—
continues to grow.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome

Adams said cities including De-
troit, Chicago and New Orleans
are expected to have a worse
week next week.
“The virus and the local
community are going to deter-
mine the timeline. It’s not going
to be us from Washington,
D.C.,” Dr. Adams said on CBS on
Friday. “People need to follow
their data. They need to make
the right decisions based on
what their data is telling them.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric
Garcetti warned residents on
Thursday of the city’s growing
threat, telling residents that
reports and images coming
out of New York would likely
be at their doorstep as early
as next week.
“It’s the most haunting im-
ages any leader could see, and
it’s difficult for me to imagine
that it won’t happen here,” Mr.
Garcetti said.
New York Gov. Andrew
Cuomo said Friday that crisis
there is expected to peak in
three weeks. Hospitals in New
York City are already seeing
massive rises in cases of pa-
tients with Covid-19, the pneu-
monialike disease caused by
the coronavirus.
Mr. Cuomo, who has been
pushing to increase hospital ca-
pacity by at least 50%, said four
additional temporary hospitals
would be built in the city, add-

ing an additional 4,000 beds.
As the need for hospital
equipment increases, the Food
and Drug Administration said
Friday it has approved the
emergency use of devices that
can be modified into ventila-
tors. Roughly 80% of Covid-
cases tend to be mild or moder-
ate, and more than 131,000 peo-
ple globally have recovered. But
those who are older or have un-
derlying health conditions, such
as heart disease, lung disease
or diabetes, are at a higher risk.
Across the world, govern-
ments have closed schools,
shut down nonessential ser-
vices, told people to work from
home and urged that they
avoid going out as much as
possible. Travelers arriving in
many countries have also been
subject to quarantines requir-
ing them to remain in their
homes, hotel rooms or govern-
ment centers for 14 days.


The U.S. surpassed 100,
confirmed cases of the novel
coronavirus Friday, led by a
continued jump in infections in
New York and in new hot spots
across the country.

While testing for the deadly
respiratory virus hasn’t been
uniform across America or
globally, making accurate case
counts hard to pin down, con-
firmed infections in the U.S.
have doubled or tripled every
three days for nearly a month.
Last Friday, the number of
confirmed infections in the
country exceeded 16,000, ac-
cording to data compiled by
Johns Hopkins University. By
Tuesday, that figure was 55,000.
Two days later, it had surpassed
all other countries’ reported to-
tals, with just over 85,000.
The pandemic has swiftly
reverberated across the U.S.,
shutting schools, businesses,
arenas and parks and silencing
once-busy thoroughfares. A re-
cord 3.28 million workers ap-
plied for unemployment bene-
fits last week. Hospital capacity
in places like New York and Se-
attle has already passed a tip-
ping point even as the health
crisis continues to unfold.
President Trump signed a
$2 trillion stimulus bill passed
speedily by House lawmakers
earlier Friday, the largest eco-
nomic-relief package in his-
tory. Major U.S. stock indexes
posted double-digit gains for
the week, but remain down
more than 20% in 2020.
The president also signed an
executive order that authorizes
the Pentagon to identify and
potentially reinstate to active
duty former military medical
personnel and other special-
ized reservists to help the na-
tion during the pandemic.
Authorities around the
world have stepped up en-
forcement of measures de-
signed to help slow the spread
of the virus, which has infected
nearly 596,000 people and
killed more than 27,000, ac-
cording to Johns Hopkins data.

ByTalal Ansari,
Lucy Craymer
andMax Colchester

U.S.’s Confirmed Cases Exceed 100,

Infections continue

to rise in New York

and other hot spots

across the country

U.S. Army personnel sit apart at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which will be partially converted into a hospital for coronavirus patients.


taken to curb the spread of the
new coronavirus could lower
economic activity in the U.S.
and other developed countries
by a quarter, the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and
Development said Friday.
In a report made available
to leaders of the Group of 20
leading economies for a video
conference they held Thurs-
day, OECD economists esti-
mated the likely impact on the
sectors most affected by wide-
spread business closures and
orders for people to remain at
home, and the size of those
sectors in each national econ-
The OECD calculated that
the activities most directly af-
fected by the shutdowns—
ranging from restaurants to
automobile makers—account
for between 30% and 40% of
total output in most of the de-
veloped economies. With ac-
tivity in many of those sectors
curtailed, it calculated that
output was likely to be be-
tween 20% and 25% lower
than is usual in large, devel-
oped economies.
If the measures are sus-
tained for three months, the
OECD forecast total annual
output would be 6% lower in
the developed economies. Un-
der this scenario for the U.S.,
where the economy was fore-
cast to grow 2% this year be-
fore the virus struck, the
OECD estimates output would
fall 4% in 2020.
“Our analysis further un-
derpins the need for sharper
action to absorb the shock,
and a more coordinated re-
sponse by governments to
maintain a lifeline to people
and a private sector that will
emerge in a very fragile state
when the health crisis is past,”
OECD Secretary-General Angel
Gurría said in the report.
Signs already point to a de-
terioration in U.S. economic
conditions during March, as


OECD Warns on Growth Outlook

Costco signs greeted shoppers with messages about inventory in Overland Park, Kansas, this week.


gests that the stresses facing
the nation’s unemployment
system could grow in the
months and weeks ahead, as
other states catch up on pro-
cessing claims and more work-
ers pursue those benefits.
A spokeswoman with the
Pennsylvania Labor Depart-
ment and Industry said the
state system didn’t suffer ma-
jor disruptions like those re-
ported in states such as Cali-
fornia and New York. The state
also relaxed the requirement
that the unemployed be ac-
tively seeking work to qualify
for benefits.
Holly Chapman, 62, of Jef-
ferson Hills, Pa., said she filed
a claim online last Tuesday af-
ter being laid off from a cater-
ing company when a spate of
weddings and other events
were canceled.

“I think because I was
Johnny on the spot, it was rel-
atively painless for me,” she
said. She added that co-work-
ers who waited a couple of
days encountered delays, but
were eventually able to com-
plete their claims.
There is also still plenty of
time for workers to file claims.
Some applying last week may
have been laid off before the
pandemic hit, but sought ben-
efits as job prospects dimmed.
Ohio had the second-high-
est number of claims with
187,784, narrowly ahead of
California with 186,809. By
contrast, in New York, which
has nearly seven million more
residents than Pennsylvania,
80,334 workers, or about 0.8%
of the labor force, filed for
jobless benefits.

Pennsylvania, the nation’s
fifth-most populous state, re-
corded the largest number of
unemployment claims in the
U.S., an outsize jump that sug-
gests other states could report
higher numbers ahead.
Jobless claims in the Key-
stone State rose to 378,
last week, up from 15,439 the
prior week, as the state’s
economy reels from layoffs be-
cause of the novel coronavi-
The number of people fil-
ing for benefits represented
nearly 5.8% of the state’s labor
State officials said jobless
claims were so high because
they actively pushed workers
to file for unemployment bene-
fits and didn’t see the kinds of
disruptions in filing other
states experienced. Workers in
many parts of the country
complained they were unable
to access websites and get
through on phone lines, mean-
ing other states may be accept-
ing a high volume of delayed
filings in the coming weeks.
Also, workers still have
plenty of time to file such
claims, meaning numbers could
rise everywhere as economic
prospects dim because of the
pandemic. Workers aren’t re-
quired to file for claims the
week they are laid off.
“I think Pennsylvania is in-
dicative of what you’re going
to see elsewhere,” said James
Sweeney, chief economist at
Credit Suisse. “I think you’re
going to see claims pick up in
a lot of other states in the
coming weeks, and that’s
pretty sobering considering
the level we just saw.”
Pennsylvania’s numbers
came out Thursday along with
a record number of workers
nationwide, nearly 3.3 million,
filing for jobless benefits last
The state’s experience sug-


State’s Jobless Surge

Signals Wider Trouble

Portion of Pennsylvania’s
workers filing jobless claims
Free download pdf