China New Cases, Deaths Soar After Data Revision: Virus Update

The number of new cases and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in China surged as Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic, revised its method for counting infections.

Hubei said the number of infections rose by 14,840 as of Feb. 12, with 13,332 of those from the new category. Fatalities in Hubei more than doubled from a day earlier, to 242, with 135 coming from the new method of diagnosis. The yen rose and U.S. stock futures dropped on the data.

Hubei province said it carried out a review of past suspected cases to align with other regions in China, and revised its data to include “clinically diagnosed” cases in its daily disclosure.

Key Developments

  • BREAKING: China death toll at least 1,355 after Hubei reports an additional 242 fatalities.
  • See a breakdown of virus cases here
  • Grim Toll of Virus Deaths Will Get Worse Even as Outbreak Wanes
  • Hedge Funds Start to Buy the Dip, Betting on Virus Stabilizing
  • Fears Grow Virus Being Passed Around Quarantined Japan Cruise

Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online.

U.S. Confirms 14th Coronavirus Case (8:48 a.m. HK)

An American who was brought home on a State Department flight from central China became the 14th person with the infection in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The patient was under quarantine at the same U.S. airbase in San Diego where another repatriated American was previously diagnosed with the disease known as Covid-19. There had been no contact between the two patients, who were on different flights coming out of China and were housed in separate facilities, indicating that the virus hadn’t spread between them.

MGM Resorts Withdraws Outlook as Casinos Suffer (6:14 a.m HK)

MGM Resorts International withdrew its earnings forecast for 2020, citing the impact of the virus on its casinos in Macau and Las Vegas. The company said the virus has made its outlook “unpredictable.”

MGM said it’s losing $1.5 million a day in Macau. Last year, MGM got about 27% of its revenue from Macau, the largest gambling market in the world.

Like other casino owners in the Chinese enclave of Macau, MGM Resorts shut its operations there this month under a government order. That’s led to a loss of business — all while the company has to keep paying staff and maintaining its properties.

The Chinese government closed Macau’s casinos for a 15-day period that began Feb. 5, although Matt Maddox, chief executive officer of rival Wynn Resorts Ltd., told investors last week there’s no certainty as to when they will reopen. Wynn said it is losing about $2.5 million a day in Macau.

Europe to Step Up Crisis Preparations (3:47 p.m. NY)

The European Union is preparing for potential medical shortages and the risk of travel restrictions that could disrupt the bloc’s border-free zone.

During an emergency meeting scheduled in Brussels on Thursday, EU health ministers plan to ask the bloc’s executive arm to assess the consequences of global health threats like the coronavirus on the availability of medicine and the security of supply chains, according to a draft of a joint communique seen by Bloomberg. The draft is still subject to changes.

The document acknowledges that “measures regarding travel” could be necessary if the situation deteriorates, while ministers will vow to protect the “free movement” of people — a key pillar of EU integration — in such case.

Similar temporary measures have been applied in the past to limit the flow of asylum seekers from poorer to richer EU members.

Mnuchin: More Data Needed to Assess Impact (3:17 p.m. NY)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that two to four more weeks of economic data are needed to forecast the impact of coronavirus.

Mnuchin also told a Senate Finance Committee hearing that implementation of the first phase of a U.S. trade deal wh China is being slowed by the virus. On Tuesday, White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said agricultural purchases under the deal may not be as large as the Trump administration had hoped due to coronavirus.

China Keeps U.S. Experts Waiting (2:39 p.m. NY)

Top U.S. health experts seeking to join an international group heading to the center of the coronavirus outbreak in China said they still have no answer on whether they’ll be allowed into the country.

U.S. officials have said they’ve offered for weeks to send front-line disease experts to China to study the outbreak, which originated in the city of Wuhan, and consult with colleagues there on how to stop it.

“We haven’t been invited yet,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

Mobile World Congress Is Canceled (1:45 p.m. NY)

Mobile World Congress, the premier mobile-industry conference scheduled this month in Spain, was canceled over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event” John Hoffman, the chief executive officer of conference organizer GSMA Ltd., said in a statement to Bloomberg News.

Intel Corp., MediaTek Inc., AT&T Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sprint Corp. joined Ericsson AB, Sony Corp. and others earlier this week in canceling plans to attend MWC Barcelona later this month.

CDC Says Warm Weather May Not Slow Outbreak (1:06 p.m. NY)

It’s too early to know if warm spring weather that typically heralds the end of cold and flu season will also slow the coronavirus, said a top official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Wednesday that she hopes “it will go down as the weather warms up, but it’s premature to assume that.”

Messonnier’s remarks Wednesday run counter to a theory put forward by President Donald Trump that heat would stop the new coronavirus.

“The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in.” At a campaign rally this week, he went further, according to a CNN report on his remarks, saying, “in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away.”

During a call with reporters Wednesday Messonnier said, “I would caution against over-interpreting that hypothesis.”

The theory that the coronavirus will slow down when warm weather sets in is mostly based on the fact that other respiratory viruses such as influenza exhibit seasonal patterns, not specific data about this new virus, she said.

More from the CDC press briefing:

  • CDC officials haven’t yet been allowed into China or been given direct access to raw data on the epidemic.
  • Some states conducting tests using CDC coronavirus test kits are getting inconclusive results. The CDC said it was working to resolve the problem.
  • CDC is optimistic that lower case counts coming from China in the last few days mean that the country’s quarantine is working, but that it’s “too soon to say that for sure,” Messonnier said.

Fed Chair Says Too Early to Know Virus Impact (11:15 a.m. NY)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it will take time to see the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.

“It’s too uncertain to even speculate” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday. “We’ll be looking at the economic data.”

Carnival Sees Material Impact on Results (9:28 a.m. NY)

Carnival Corp. said it foresees a slowdown in global bookings and an increase in canceled voyages that will will have a material impact on financial results that wasn’t anticipated because of the coronavirus oubreak.

“As a result of coronavirus, the company believes the impact on its global bookings and canceled voyages will have a material impact on its financial results which was not anticipated in the company’s previous 2020 earnings guidance,” the Miami-based cruise ship operator said in a statement Wednesday.

The company said it was unable to determine the full financial impact on the current fiscal year.

Read the full story here

Hong Kong Sevens to Be Postponed, TVB Says (6:21 a.m. NY)

The Hong Kong Sevens, an annual international rugby tournament that has been running since 1976, is set to be postponed, local broadcaster TVB reported. It was set to start in April.

A formal announcement will be made this week.

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