Coronavirus could cause multitrillion-dollar decline in US economic output, new report shows

Recession will be worse without more coronavirus aid for workers: Former Ford economist

Former Ford Chief Global Economist and Third Way senior resident fellow Ellen Hughes-Cromwick on government health care and worker support.

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The coronavirus pandemic could result in trillions of dollars’ worth of economic-related losses, a new government report shows.

Updated figures sent to Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday by the Congressional Budget Office highlight a “significant markdown” in GDP as a result of the pandemic. Over the next 11 years, the agency forecasts output will be $7.9 trillion less than its baseline projections put out in January.

The cumulative nominal output will be $15.7 trillion less than previous forecasts.

“Business closures and social distancing measures are expected to curtail consumer spending, while the recent drop in energy prices is projected to severely reduce U.S. investment in the energy sector,” the letter read. “Recent legislation will, in CBO’s assessment, partially mitigate the deterioration in economic conditions.”

STOCKS SHRUG OFF WEEKEND RIOTS, JUNE BEGINS ON HIGH NOTE

Lower inflation levels also contributed to its GDP forecast cut.

In a joint statement responding to the estimates, Schumer and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called on Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell to acknowledge the need to provide more aid to America’s working families.

“In order to avoid the risk of another Great Depression, the Senate must act with a fierce sense of urgency to make sure that everyone in America has the income they need to feed their families and put a roof over their heads,”  Schumer and Sanders wrote. “The American people cannot afford to wait another month for the Senate to pass legislation. They need our help now.”

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Another $3 trillion stimulus bill passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and has made its way to the Senate, where the Republican majority has deemed it dead on arrival. McConnell has indicated another relief bill is feasible, but he has said lawmakers need to assess the impact of the CARES Act first.

The CBO noted there is an “unusually high degree of uncertainty” surrounding its forecast, given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and the government’s responses – in addition to the uncertainty surrounding how the economy will respond moving forward. It is also not known what legislation could be enacted moving forward and if there will be large-scale future domestic outbreaks of the virus.

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US Coronavirus Infections Rise For Third Day; To Above 25000

Coronavirus infection rate rose for the third consecutive day in the United States.

With more than 25000 new cases reporting in the last 24 hours, the total number of infections in the country rose to 1,577,758 as of John Hopkins University’ 6:00 a.m. ET update Friday.

With an additional 1286 deaths, the total death toll in the U.S. reached 94729.

In New York, more than 356,000 cases have been reported and 28,743 have died so far.

When adjusted for population, that translates to about 1,832 known cases and 148 deaths for every 100,000 residents in the state, according to CNN.

This is higher than the total numbers in both categories reported in Spain, the world’s third worst affected country.

As the numbers are receding in the state, drastic fall in patients was reported in New York City hospitals.

The death toll in New Jersey, the second worst-affected state, reached 10,846. A total of 151,586 infections have been reported so far there.

Michigan (5129 deaths, 53510 infections), Massachusetts (6148 deaths, 90084 infections), Louisiana (2629 deaths, 36504 infections), Illinois (4607 deaths, 102688 infections), Pennsylvania (4869 deaths, 69252 infections), California (3604 deaths, 88480 infections), Connecticut (3583 deaths, 39208 infections), Texas (1460 deaths, 53053 infections), Georgia (1775 deaths, 40663 infections), Maryland (2159 deaths, 43531 infections), Florida (2144 deaths, 48675 infections), Indiana (1913 deaths, 29936 infections), Ohio (1837 deaths, 30167 infections) and Colorado (1310 deaths, 23191 infections) are the other worst-affected states.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump ordered the national flag to be lowered to half-mast for three days in honour of U.S. citizens who lost their lives due to coronavirus. This was a demand raised firt by the Democrats.

While touring a Ford Motor Co. plant in Michigan Thursday, Trump said he is not going to close the country if a second wave of coronavirus outbreak hits later this year.

Addressing workers at the plant, Trump said he is fighting to bring back U.S. jobs from China and many other countries.

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Gym Junkies Rush Back, the Rest Slower to Return After Lockdowns

Reopening in early May seemed too much, too soon for Mike Doolittle, who owns a 24-hour gym in Tulsa, Oklahoma, named Styrka after the Swedish word for strength. But it’s worked out well so far, with business mostly back to normal.

“Turns out that being a small, uncrowded gym is a boon for us in the market right now,” Doolittle said. “The only real loss is that some of our personal trainers have chosen to do in-home training, as they may have elderly clients who don’t feel comfortable coming to a gym.”

His comments echoed those of small fitness clubs across Georgia and Oklahoma — among the most aggressive U.S. states in reopening their economies —  who reported that 75% or more of their customers have returned over the past weeks. In most cases, those clients are behaving, keeping distances and wiping down their equipment.

While some members are slower to return and other clubs are folding because their business is no longer viable, anecdotal evidence suggests that hard-core fitness addicts rushed to get back to their sweat-filled gyms as soon as they could.

“I’ve heard clients say customers are beating on their doors wanting to work out again,” said Jennifer Urmston Lowe, national account manager for the health-club insurance underwriter Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation.

 

Gyms are among businesses that are closely watched for signs of economic recovery after being among the first to reopen in some Southern states. Across the nation, fitness clubs rocked by Covid-19 closures face a swell of bankruptcies with more than $10 billion of revenue wiped out as clients ditch memberships, according to investment bank Harrison Co. Globally, Lexington, Massachusetts-based market researcher WinterGreen Research estimates the fitness and health club industry could shrink to $45 billion this year from $85 billion in 2019 — assuming people would be slow to return to packed gyms.

A few weeks of business in Georgia or Oklahoma is too early to draw conclusions, especially in a country divided politically about the pandemic. The earliest states to reopen, conservative politically, weren’t as hit by the coronavirus as in regions in the Northeast that remain mostly shut down. Data on the coronavirus, which can incubate for 14 days in asymptomatic patients, are also premature. In Georgia, the number of cases has increased as more people got tested, while hospitalizations — perhaps a better gauge — are down.

Nonetheless, some clubs that have opened reported encouraging news after spending heavily heavily on disinfectants or ultraviolet light lamps to clean their equipment and bathrooms.

In Cartersville, Georgia, roughly 80% of the customers have returned to BodyPlex Fitness Adventure, and the club has sold about 100 memberships in the past month, manager Keith Turner said. The only group noticeably staying away are the seniors, who for now aren’t showing up for their SilverSneakers fitness program for older adults, he said.

In Lithonia, Georgia, business is starting to pick up at Pro-Fit Fitness and Rehab, which reopened two weeks ago to a slow start. Normally, owner Kevin Peoples could count on his two trainers dividing up 20 customers every hour for group sessions. For now, as many as 12 customers are dropping by each hour.

“As long as we use Lysol, we’ll be perfectly fine,” Peoples said.

Orangetheory Fitness, a Boca Raton, Florida-based chain, has reopened 377 of its more than 1,300 studios, most of which are in the U.S. A survey of members showed that 84% are likely to return when their local clubs reopen, Chief Brand Officer Kevin Keith said.

”We’ve had tremendous demand,” Keith said. “What we are trying to do is manage this demand.”

And back in Tulsa, Matt Giuliano has seen about three-quarters of his active customers return to Beyond the Gym, which counts both regular gym customers and patients of Giuliano’s separate physical therapy clinic. 

“The gym junkies who can’t stand not being in the gym, they were the first to rush back,” Giuliano said. “The general people were more slow to come back.”

For Josh Jarmin, it wasn’t enough. He folded his Blueprint Fitness in Atlanta after finding out that only half of his 100 clients might return. The gym, which he’s owned for eight years, was offering small-group personal training. 

“I was getting feedback that a lot of clients were buying equipment and training from their home and doing online programming,’’ Jarmin said.  “About a month into it I realized it was the nail in the coffin.”

Urmston Lowe, the gym insurance underwriter, has about 13,000 customers and expects a relatively small percentage to close for good. Many more, though, are struggling with confusing state guidelines, she said. Some states, for example, ask gyms to take people’s temperatures, but are less clear about how gyms should record those temperatures and whether doing so violates rules around people’s health-care privacy.

In the past, communicable diseases weren’t covered by a gym’s liability policies because of the difficulty of proving where a person caught something. However, there’s concern that could change with Covid-19 and contact tracing, she said.

“It is new water for us,” Urmstom Lowe said. “It’s not known how courts are going to come down on a pandemic.”

— With assistance by Sonali Basak, and Katherine Doherty

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CNN Puts Up Out Of Office Notice Until Maybe 2021 Due To COVID-19, Jeff Zucker Tells Staff At Cable Newser

The news never sleeps, but for many of those at CNN who get the news out to the world, a return to their offices and bureaus may not come until next year because of the coronavirus, network boss Jeff Zucker announced today.

“When you consider physical distancing requirements, we simply cannot put the same number of people back into our workspaces that were there before the pandemic,” the cabler newser president told staff in a memo sent out Wednesday. “So we need to make some tough decisions,”.

“As a result, we expect that the majority of you will not be able to return to our offices this calendar year,” Zucker stated in the correspondence (Read it below). “What happens after that is still a question mark as well,” he told CNNers.

Coming on the same day that corporate cousin HBO Max launched for WarnerMedia, the ex-NBCUniversal CEO outlined for his employees that a minority of them could be back at their desks a little earlier.

As he had already laid out in a previous memo last month, Zucker anticipates approximately 15% of CNN’s workforce to be back in the office on June 1. Again, as he said before, the exec emphasized that there’s an “early September timeline for another phase of returning employees” to CNN’s workplaces.

That the outlet would be extra cautious in its approach to a physical return to work should come as no surprise. Anchors Brooke Baldwin and Chris Cuomo both were hit hard with the potentially fatal COVID-19, as have others at the AT&T-owned organization.

As of today, almost 101,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and the nation still leads the world in confirmed cases with over 1.7 million reported.

Read the full memo from Jeff Zucker today here:

I wanted to follow up on the note you received yesterday from WarnerMedia about the current thinking on returning to the office. As I have said before, our operations will primarily, across both news and sports, continue to work remotely throughout the summer. Of course, there are exceptions for some of our newsgathering, programming and production people at CNN; and, on the sports side, there will likely be changes when we have a sense of league schedules in the summer months. But for the most part, our operations will remain work from home.

As of Monday, we will have about 15 percent of our CNN workforce in the office. And a few more will return in the weeks ahead. Almost all of you in Sports and Studios continue to work from home.

But the next real milestone we are aiming for is an end of summer, early September timeline for another phase of returning employees. As you have heard me say before, there are a lot of considerations when it comes to bringing people back to our offices, first and foremost your health and safety. When you consider physical distancing requirements, we simply cannot put the same number of people back into our workspaces that were there before the pandemic. So we need to make some tough decisions.

As a result, we expect that the majority of you will not be able to return to our offices this calendar year. What happens after that is still a question mark as well. No doubt the world, and our understanding of the way COVID-19 continues to shape our lives and our work, will change countless times between now and then. But I know it is important as you all make decisions for your own lives and your families that you are equipped with the most honest and transparent information we can give you.

For many of you, this will be welcome news, as you have navigated a new world with new needs that are better accommodated from home. For others, this is likely tough news to hear, and I understand that. We intend to spend the summer months hearing from all of you, and doing our best to balance the physical needs of our spaces with our production needs, as well as your preferences. And nothing happens without putting safety first. All of that will be taken into account as we make decisions about how and when we make the slow return back.

I hope this is helpful. I know that there are a lot of questions that have yet to be answered, as many of you await news about school, summer camp, and all of the activities that used to be such a normal part of all of our lives. These conversations will continue, and you have my assurance that I will communicate as much as I can as decisions are made.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we see this through together.

Jeff

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Latin America New Epicenter Of COVID-19: Pan American Health Organization

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has announced that with more than 2.4 million cases and over 143,000 deaths, the Americas became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region now has more daily reported cases of Covid-19 than Europe and the United States, the Director of PAHO said during a media briefing Tuesday.

In South America, “we are particularly concerned that the number of new cases reported last week in Brazil was the highest for a seven-day period, since the outbreak began,” Dr. Carissa F. Etienne told reporters.

Having recorded 807 deaths on Monday, Brazil has surpassed the U.S. in daily coronavirus death toll.

The University of Washington has warned in a study that the death toll in the worst-hit Latin American country could cross 125,000 by August. That would be almost a five-fold increase on its current total of 24,512.

Peru and Chile are also reporting a high number of cases.

The statistics comes amid claim by Human Rights Watch that the numbers in Venezuela are almost certainly much higher than reported.

More than 5.6 million cases and over 350,000 deaths have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Etienne warned that now is not the time to relax restrictions or scale back preventive strategiesor for most countries in the Americas. “Now is the time to stay strong, remain vigilant and aggressively implement proven public health measures.”

“We have never seen such a deadly relationship between an infectious disease and Non-Communicable Diseases. Some of the data are truly alarming. Especially for our region, where NCDs are pervasive,” she said.

Dr. Etienne called for aggressive preventive measures to protect people with diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from the new coronavirus.

Persons with diabetes are twice as likely to have severe disease or die, and 28 percent of cancer patients who contracted COVID-19 died, compared with 2 percent of overall patients, she said, citing recent studies. Smoking also increases the chance of severe disease from COVID-19, according to the top medical expert.

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Varney: Slow coronavirus reopening will cause ‘hobbled’ economic recovery

Varney: Opening up America is in the national interest

FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Democratic states slowing coronavirus reopening, threatening economic recovery.

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FOX Business’ Stuart Varney, in his latest “My Take,” argues that Democratic states are “dragging their feet” when it comes to reopening amid coronavirus, and it could have a huge impact on economic recovery.

Varney said 100 million people, about one-third of the population, are still locked down in states like California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey.

“If the heavily populated, Democrat-run states drag their feet about opening up, the country's economic recovery will be hobbled,” he said. “There has been some loosening up but these blue states are way behind the red states. Why?”

VARNEY: IT'S TIME TO OPEN THE ECONOMY, SET PEOPLE FREE

State governors say it’s for safety in protecting the vulnerable and avoiding a second wave, but Varney said these Democratic leaders may be acting on political motive.

A pedestrian browses the display window at The Loop fashion and shoe store as businesses slowly begin to reopen after social distancing restrictions shuttered storefronts nationwide, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“This suggests those Democrat governors don't want a quick recovery for the economy because it would help President Trump's re-election,” he said. “Now that’s a nasty allegation: holding back the whole country, prolonging the pain, so Trump doesn't win.”

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But Varney said the argument “gained strength” when Obama’s top economist Jason Furman said, “we are about to see the best economic data this country has ever seen!"

This stunned Obama and Biden staffers, Varney said, as Furman pointed out that the economy and employment will see a big boost once people get back to work, right before the election.

“No wonder Democrats are worried,” he said. “Joe is already in trouble on any number of fronts. If he loses the economy debate, his chances of winning are slim indeed. So, is that why the blue-state Democrats are keeping the lockdown in place for as long as possible? Given the vicious nature of politics these days, it’s not out of the question.”

Varney said the other side of the story argues that Republican states are reopening rather quickly and “downplaying” safety to boost the economy and ensure Trump is re-elected.

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“Here's where I stand: open up fast, all across the country,” he said. “Because the pain of lockdown is terrible. It’s a human tragedy and an economic disaster. Forget party politics, opening up is in the national interest."

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Coronavirus misconduct crackdown by SEC fueled by whistleblower tips

Government warns of ‘coronavirus-related fraud’

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman and Chief Executive Heath Tarbert discusses the markets and gives details on ‘bad actors’ who are peddling false coronavirus cures or products.

WASHINGTON  – The novel coronavirus outbreak and economic fallout is proving to be a bonanza for whistleblower lawyers as the U.S. securities regulator cracks down on a range of related misconduct from companies touting sham cures to misuse of federal aid.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fielded about 4,000 complaints from mid-March to mid-May, a 35 percent increase compared to the period one year ago, Steven Peikin, the agency's co-head of enforcement, said this month as cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, shot up.

HOW DO I REPORT A CORONAVIRUS SCAM? 

That is creating work for lawyers who help whistleblowers navigate the SEC's bounty program for tipsters whose information leads to penalties of more than $1 million for offenders. The agency is already working with some tipsters, lawyers said.

"Unfortunately, fraudsters often seek to exploit difficult situations like the ongoing pandemic for their own gain. The SEC frequently relies on the tips that we receive from the public," an SEC spokeswoman said.

Two factors appear to be driving the current surge in tips, according to lawyers: the sheer scale of the crisis has sparked a wave of misconduct across all areas of the SEC's remit, and mass unemployment has unleashed whistleblowers who may otherwise have feared retaliation by their employers.

Neil Getnick, managing partner of Getnick & Getnick, said his practice had seen a jump in whistleblower complaints.

CORONAVIRUS SCAMS: A LOOK AT SCHEMES BUSTED BY THE FBI

"I expect that is just the beginning. Typically about six months in we'll see that matters will begin to crystallize, and at that point I would expect an uptick in enforcement cases," he said.

Getnick said a broad range of misconduct related to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as loan fraud, price-gouging, counterfeit or substandard medical goods, or healthcare fraud, could potentially find their way into the SEC's remit, due to the breadth of U.S. securities law.

"Anything that in effect interferes with the free market operating freely, will potentially give rise to SEC liability."

The agency has created a new group to closely monitor the market and spot potential abuses. So far, that effort has led it to suspend trading in 31 so-called penny stocks for allegedly touting dubious COVID-19 cures, tests, treatments and medical supplies to investors.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GLP GLOBAL PARTNERS LP 10.52 +0.38 +3.75%

The SEC this month charged two of those companies, Applied BioSciences Corp and Turbo Global Partners Inc, for allegedly publishing misleading information on the status of their COVID-19 screening offerings. The companies did not respond to multiple emails and calls for comment.

EAGER TIPSTERS

The SEC has also begun scrutinizing companies that took emergency aid for potential disclosure issues. Lawyers also expect to see it bring charges against coronavirus-related insider trading, Ponzi schemes and "boiler room" stock scams.

"We expect to see the SEC bring more actions as we continue to investigate suspected COVID-19 related scams," Peikin and his enforcement co-head, Stephanie Avakian, said in a statement.

Stephen Kohn, a partner at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, said his firm has seen "a slew of coronavirus-related tips." The SEC has heard from investors about scams related to a large number of small private companies as well as larger, listed "essential" firms like meat-packing houses, he said.

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He added that many tipsters have been recently laid off and are eager to help identify issues that have surfaced at their previous employers without fear of reprisals.

With so many tips, lawyers are being selective about which cases they take on. Sean McKessy, a partner at Phillips & Cohen who previously worked to set up the SEC whistleblower office, said he was on the lookout for misconduct the SEC tends to penalize most harshly, such as companies padding earnings or disclosure violations.

"While the SEC has so far penalized penny stock firms, the regulator is also quite vigilant about what larger companies are telling investors about how COVID-19 might impact them," he said.

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Trump coronavirus travel ban on Brazil to take effect Tuesday

International travelers could pose coronavirus threat to NY, elsewhere

Retired Col. David Hunt provides insight into 13 U.S. airports designated to process passengers returning to America from restricted countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Trump administration's temporary travel ban on foreigners from Brazil goes into effect Tuesday in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus from the Latin American country, which has also been hard hit by the virus.

Trump had already banned certain travelers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Iran. He has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world's third-highest caseload.

TRUMP THREATENS TO PULL REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OUT OF NORTH CAROLINA

Trump had said last week that he was considering limiting travel from Brazil.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany cast the step announced Sunday as another "decisive action to protect our country" by Trump, whose management of the crisis has come under sharp scrutiny.

Emergency workers transfer a COVID-19 patient to a hospital in Manaus, Brazil, May 15, 2020. Per capita, Manaus is Brazil’s major city hardest hit by COVID-19. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The U.S. leads the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll that is expected to surpass 100,000 later this week, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil, now Latin America's hardest-hit country, is second, with more than 374,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

"Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," McEnany said.

President Trump shakes hands with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro before attending a working dinner at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner 

Filipe Martins, who advises Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on international affairs, said the U.S. was treating Brazil as it had other populous countries and suggested the news media were overplaying Trump's ban.

"By temporarily banning the entry of Brazilians to the U.S., the American government is following previously established quantitative parameters that naturally reach a country as populous as ours," Martins tweeted. "There isn’t anything specifically against Brazil. Ignore the hysteria from the press."

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Bolsonaro has downplayed the coronavirus by repeatedly calling it a "little flu" and insisting that closing businesses and issuing stay-at-home recommendations will ultimately cause more hardship by wrecking the economy. Bolsonaro fired his first health minister for going against him and backing restrictions put in place by Brazil's governors. His second minister also resigned after openly breaking with Bolsonaro over widespread prescription of the antimalarial drug chloroquine for coronavirus treatment.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Oil gains as coronavirus lockdowns ease, boosting hopes for demand pickup

Oil demand is picking up but will be muted this summer: Analyst

The Schork Group principal Stephen Schork argues oil demand is picking up but that it is partially due to barrels moving into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday, erasing earlier losses, as countries around the world continued to ease lockdown measures imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, boosting hopes for a recovery in fuel demand.

Amid quiet trading, with financial centres Singapore, London and New York all closed for holidays, Brent was up 6 cents, or 0.2%, at $35.19 a barrel by 0636 GMT. U.S. oil had gained 27 cents, or 0.82%, at $33.52 a barrel.

MORE STATES LOOSENING CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS THIS WEEK

Both contracts have risen for the past four weeks, although prices are still down around 45% so far this year.

"Oil markets are focused on the potential for an easing of lockdown measures," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

In this March 10, 2020 photo, David Nickerson, CEO of Marine Well Containment Company, points to the hydrocarbon train that fits on top an oil spill disaster response tanker, in Ingleside, Texas. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)

Trading volumes were light, and gains are likely to be capped by rising tensions between the United States and China over moves by Beijing to impose security legislation on the one-time British colony.

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Ties between Washington and Beijing have soured since the outbreak of the new coronavirus. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have traded barbs over the outbreak, including accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

Points of contention between the superpowers have included Hong Kong, human rights, trade and U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

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Could coronavirus lockdowns be worse for our health than disease itself?

How is the coronavirus lockdown impacting people’s mental health

Coronavirus lockdown is fraught with danger from a psychological standpoint, dean of the University of Buckingham medical school Dr. Karol Sikora says.

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Continuing the lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could be threatening the health of those not sickened by COVID-19, according to a top British doctor.

Dr. Karol Sikora, dean of the University of Buckingham medical school, told FOX Business' Gerry Baker on "WSJ at Large" that the longer the economy is shut down, the more serious the collateral damage to people’s mental health.

VARNEY: AMERICANS GETTING CORONAVIRUS 'QUARANTINE FATIGUE'

“Lockdown is … fraught with danger from a psychological standpoint,” he said. “People will lose their jobs, unemployment will go up, self-esteem is absolutely vital to get out of this crisis.”

“We can never get back to where we were with travel, hotels and holidays quickly, it will take a year or two, but we can get a semblance of normality,” he pointed out. “We just got to get systems in place to allow people to do what they normally do safely.”

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In addition, Sikora said our laser focus on dealing with the virus has led to people not getting proper treatment for other dangerous diseases.

“As an oncologist, I’m really upset, and the reason I got into understanding corona and being very vocal about it is we’ve now got to make the shift away from corona, which we’ve dealt with, there’s been a surge but it’s all gone, into other diseases, and cancer is perhaps the biggest challenge now,” he argued. 

And he fears many more deaths will occur unless we return to spending more time on other major diseases such as cancer.

“It’s not that cancer has simply taken Easter off, it’s simply not being diagnosed,” he explained. “The longer it goes on, the worse the mortality and the suffering we’re going to see from cancer. So we’ve got to move.”

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