Feb 3, 2020
Death toll tops 400; U.S. braces for pandemic
Coronavirus going to disrupt global manufacturing supply chains: Economist
Chinese officials are hoping the U.S. will agree to some flexibility on pledges in their phase-one trade deal, people familiar with the situation said, as Beijing tries to contain economic damage from the worsening coronavirus crisis.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing as if the outbreak in China will eventually spread to the U.S. Scientists are increasingly focusing on bats in their search for an origin of the SARS-like pathogen.
The death toll in China from the outbreak rose to at least 425, as Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, reported 64 additional deaths.
Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online.
- BREAKING: China death toll at least 425
- HHS may need $136 million more for coronavirus, Washington Post reports
- China’s government accused the U.S. of “overreacting” in response to outbreak
- Outbreak puts China’s commodity industry at risk
Hubei Reports More Cases (6:15 a.m. HK)
The death toll from the virus in China rose to at least 425 as Hubei province reported an additional 64 deaths as of Feb. 3. It reported 2,345 new cases of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus Likely Began in Bats, Scientists Say (4:13 p.m. NY)
Scientists increasingly believe the coronavirus originated in bats, which can harbor hundreds of diseases. As people and wild animals come into increasing contact because of human expansion, future outbreaks are likely.
Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist at nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, would know. He and his team have suited up and ventured into caves all over China and the rest of world in search of bats and the pathogens they carry. “We go into caves,” said Daszak. “We don’t just walk in. We wear a full-body suit: breathing masks, gloves and all the correct equipment.”
Princeton Isolates 108 Students as Precaution (3:51 p.m. NY)
Princeton University has ordered 108 recent student visitors to China to isolate themselves as a precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The students are being evaluated “on a one-by-one basis,” and most are expected to be classified as low-risk as early as this evening, according to Michael Hotchkiss, a spokesman for the Ivy League school. None of the students have shown symptoms of the virus, Hotchkiss said. The university told students on Jan. 31 to self-isolate based on federal health guidance, he said.
U.S.: No Request From China on Trade Deal Changes (3 p.m. NY)
A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington hasn’t received any request from China to discuss changes in Beijing’s purchase commitments as part of the phase-one trade deal set to take effect this month.
Chinese officials are hoping the U.S. will agree to some flexibility on pledges in their pact, people familiar with the situation said. Beijing is trying to contain the coronavirus crisis, which threatens to slow domestic growth with repercussions around the world.
The trade deal has a clause that states the U.S. and China will consult “in the event that a natural disaster or other unforeseeable event” delays either from complying with the agreement.
Carnival Shares Fall as Passenger Tests Positive (1:20 p.m. NY)
Carnival Corp.’s Princess Cruises said a recent passenger in Asia tested positive for coronavirus, prompting Japanese health officials to delay the ship he’d been on while they conduct a review of all guests and crew.
Princess said in an emailed statement Monday that the passenger embarked in Yokohama, Japan, on Jan. 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong on Jan. 25. The ship, Diamond Princess, then continued its round-trip journey to ultimately take other passengers back to Yokohama, which is near Tokyo.
On Saturday, the passenger, who was from Hong Kong, tested positive for coronavirus at a local hospital there, according to Princess. The episode comes just days after a ship from Carnival’s Costa Crociere unit was put on lockdown at a port near Rome over concerns that passengers might have had coronavirus. Those passengers were eventually diagnosed with the flu.
Carnival shares fell as much as 3.3% to $42.10, the lowest intraday level since October.
Vaccine Could Take Year or More, Glaxo Says (12:32 p.m. NY)
Developing a vaccine against the coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months, Thomas Breuer, GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s chief medical officer for vaccines, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Monday.
While technology could enable researchers to come up with new vaccine candidates within a few months, they will then have to undergo human safety and efficacy trials that may last about a year, Breuer said.
CDC Seeks Emergency Approval for Virus Test (11:58 a.m. NY)
U.S. health officials are seeking emergency approval to roll out a test for the coronavirus that can be used by hospitals and state health authorities, instead of having samples shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.
The agency is preparing for the outbreak as if it will be a pandemic that spreads widely from China to other countries, including the U.S., said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The goal of public health officials is to slow the virus’s entry into the U.S., she said.
Federal and local health authorities have been monitoring people who have displayed symptoms and have a travel history that puts them at risk. The vast majority have tested negative: There are 11 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 167 people who have a negative test. It’s possible that some people can test negative and then have a positive result later, depending on how far along their illness is.
The severity of the U.S. cases has varied, with some people becoming more severely ill, Messonnier said. Some have needed oxygen, she said.