This story was updated at 7 P.M. March 19th, after the release of Senate Republicans’ proposed bill.
What a year it’s been so far for the world as the novel coronavirus pandemic reshapes the way we live. Canceling travel plans and avoiding large public gatherings help reduce the spread – “flatten the curve.”
Many households are feeling the financial effects of novel coronavirus as employers temporarily close and stop paying a steady income. However, the monthly bills are not disappearing even if an entire nation goes under lockdown.
Perhaps you, a relative, or neighbor is already working reduced hours or on temporary leave.
We’ve seen some banks respond with emergency relief. Ally Bank, for example, has implemented new policies for the next 120 days. They’ve suspended fees like overdraft fees and excessive transactions. They’ve also deferred payments on auto and home loans for 120 days and finance charges will accrue but you won’t be charged any late fees. (Read more here about what banks are doing to make sure you can get cash while protecting workers and the public.)
Those are good first steps but the federal government is looking to do more.
Congress and the Trump Administration are discussing sending out stimulus checks to American households. A lot of figures have been thrown around but nothing has been finalized yet.
This check can bring much-needed short-term financial relief as the economy slows down.
Here’s what you can expect if you get a stimulus check.
Stimulus Checks Are Not a New Idea
If you were working during the 2008 Great Recession or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you might remember getting a check from Uncle Sam.
There are three times in recent memory when U.S. households received a one-time check:
How to Get a 2020 Stimulus Check
The proposed 2020 stimulus check is going to be larger than the 2001 or 2008 initiatives. Congress is working out the final details of who qualifies and how much the check will be. These checks are part of a larger $1.2 trillion stimulus package.
The most recent proposal from Senate Republicans is that each adult could get up to a $1,200 payment ($2,400 in the case of a joint return). Each qualifying child would add $500 to the amount.
With previous checks, you needed to file a tax return in the prior year. For example, you had to file a tax return for the 2007 tax return to get a stimulus check for the 2008 program.
For the 2020 stimulus check, they would be based on 2018 tax returns, although the Senate bill contains a provision that a 2019 return could be used if you did not file a return for the 2018 tax year. (That’s a good reason, if you had income in 2019, but not 2018—say you’re a new college graduate—to get your 2019 return filed.)
In 2008, there were annual income limits that began to reduce the check amount for high-income households. The income phaseout was $75,000 for the 2008 checks.
The 2020 stimulus check, under the Senate Republican proposal, would have a similar income limitation that starts at $75,000. The amount would be reduced by 5% of the amount of a taxpayers income that exceeds $75,000. For joint filers, the threshold would be $150,000. At the other end of the income spectrum, some poorer families would a minimum benefit of $600, a provision that has raised concerns from not only Democrats, but some Republicans.
How Soon Can You Expect Your Check?
Qualifying households could begin receiving their checks soon after the measure becomes law. The Trump administration’s goal is to start distributing checks within two weeks of signing the stimulus measure into law.
However, it may take several weeks longer before households begin receiving their checks. For example, it took two months to start distributing the stimulus checks in 2008.
You will likely be able to receive your check by direct deposit or in the mail.
The quickest delivery method is receiving your stimulus funds by direct deposit. The IRS may likely use the same bank information you provided with your most recent tax refund.
As technology is more advanced in 2020 than during the Great Recession, the processing times could be faster.
Is This a One-Time Payment?
The current Senate Republican stimulus check proposal is currently a one-time lump sum payment.
However, households may receive a second check if economic conditions do not improve in the fall. Some of the current proposals include language for a potential follow-up stimulus check.
These are two sure signs a stranger may be scamming you:
Require you to pay an upfront fee to receive your check.
Ask for your Social Security number, bank details, or other personal details by phone.
The Federal Trade Commission is reporting some scammers are stating you can receive your money now. These checks are not yet official. Nobody has received funds yet as of this writing.
Once the stimulus checks start going out, the scams will really start to ramp up so remain vigilant. Also make a point to tell your friends, relatives, and anyone else you think would be susceptible to fraud.
As many of us are relying on the internet more than ever to connect with the world, also watch out for fraudulent internet links. If you’re going to request your stimulus check, make sure you only visit websites with a “.gov” domain.
How Should You Spend Your Stimulus Check?
Like the previous stimulus check programs, there won’t be spending restrictions on where you spend your check. You can spend the cash just like how you use your tax refund.
You might use your stimulus funds for these immediate purchases:
Pay essential bills like rent or utilities
Buy groceries and other supplies
Support local business by purchasing gift cards to be used later
Purchase takeout at restaurants that are still open
Make monthly debt payments
Spending your funds now can boost your local economy while putting your money to good use.
Supporting local businesses can make it easier to for these small businesses to survive. Many small businesses don’t have the cash reserves to weather a multi-week slowdown like a major corporation. Maybe your friend or family is still working and your support helps keep the lights on.
If you don’t need the funds right away, consider stashing away the cash into a savings account as the economic slowdown may last several months. You may also consider investing your funds so you can build long-term wealth.
Simplify Your Finances
While a $1,000 stimulus check can help your finances, most household monthly expenses are still higher. You will need to come up with other innovative ways to manage your money during these uncertain times.
Simplifying your finances can help stretch your stimulus check further. Treating your check as a one-time windfall enables you to use it for your financial priorities.
Reduce Unnecessary Expenses
Cutting monthly expenses is an easy way to find ongoing financial relief. Focus on finding a balance between your necessary and unnecessary spending.
As you and your children are at home with more free time than usual, you may use streaming apps to pass the time. If you use multiple streaming apps, consider downgrading to a more affordable package or canceling a service altogether.
Don’t stop making payments for certain monthly expenses like term life insurance. These products can provide financial peace of mind if a financial emergency happens. With term life insurance, canceling and re-applying for a new policy can result in a more expensive premium.
Negotiate Essential Bills
Most households either have a monthly rent or home mortgage payment. Plus, there are other essential bills like electric and water utilities. While companies and governments are making provisions like waiving late payment fees, these bills are still due.
Your stimulus check can help pay these bills. But you may need to negotiate a payment plan to keep your account in good standing if you are having financial troubles due to the novel coronavirus.
Pay Off Debt
Using your stimulus check to pay off debt may not help the local economy but it can prevent personal bankruptcy. If you’re close to paying off a balance, having one less monthly bill can reduce your financial stress during this time.
Plan for Future Expenses
If you don’t need to spend your money now, you can save your cash for future expenses. Maybe you have enough money this month to make ends meet but not for one or two months from now.
Most households will be receiving a stimulus check soon to offset the adverse economic effects of the novel coronavirus. These funds are highly needed by many families adjusting to unique financial challenges. It’s not every day that you get a windfall, so use it for a good purpose to help yourself and your community.
As U.S. cases soared past 10,000 and doctors pleaded for protective gear, the president said the government had “slashed red tape” to try to expand trials for possible treatments. Last year, the U.S. tested its pandemic response and found substantial shortcomings that have been further exposed by the current crisis.
The number of deaths in Italy soared to 3,405, outstripping China’s death toll.
Italy’s death toll soars to 3,405, surpassing China’s.
Italy, which has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world since the coronavirus first began to spread, passed a grim milestone on Thursday: it announced that deaths from the virus had soared to 3,405, outstripping the toll in China, where the virus first hit.
With the crisis mounting, Italy is increasingly turning to its military for help.
Cemeteries in the northern city of Bergamo are so overwhelmed that the army was called in to transport bodies elsewhere to be cremated, and the army sent 120 doctors and health professionals to help in Bergamo and nearby Lodi, two cities in the Lombardy region, while field hospitals and emergency respiratory units are being set up elsewhere in the north.
The country tallied 902 deaths in the last two days alone: 475 Wednesday and 427 on Thursday. Most of those who died had serious pre-existing conditions, officials said. Italy now has 41,035 cases.
The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, said in an interview in Corriere della Sera Thursday that he expected the government’s restrictive measures to limit movement would be extended past the current April 3 deadline.
“The restrictive measures are working, and it’s obvious that when we reach a peak and the contagion begins to descend, at least in percentages, hopefully in a few days, we won’t immediately be able to return to our regular lives,” he said.
In the face of relentlessly bad news, Italians have risen to meet the crisis — the worst the country has faced since World War II — with fortitude, and creative attempts to keep their spirits up. Some housebound Italians, trying to follow social distancing rules in a famously social country, began serenading one another from their balconies in the evenings. And many began taking to their balconies to applaud the doctors and medical workers risking their own lives on the front lines, a show of communal gratitude later emulated by Spain and other countries.
In a video news conference Thursday, António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, told reporters that the coronavirus pandemic presented a global health crisis unlike any in the organization’s 75-year history and that a worldwide recession is a “near certainty.”
Mr. Guterres implored leaders of the world’s biggest economies to coordinate their battle plans for defeating the scourge. “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply,” he said.INSIDE ITALYHere’s what it was like to report on Italy’s outbreak, while in quarantine.
The State Department is expected to advise Americans to refrain from travel abroad.
The State Department is preparing to announce that American citizens abroad should either return home or stay in place as the new coronavirus pandemic grows, American officials said.
The department plans to raise to level four its global travel advisory. Officials did not give an exact time on when this would happen, but said it is imminent. Level four is the top-tier warning, usually reserved for nations with war zones or beset by serious disruptions.
The global advisory is now at level three. The announcement would be a recommendation, not a requirement. Millions of Americans are still overseas, and many would likely choose to remain in place.
Some tourists or American citizens without long-term living arrangements or support networks abroad have been trying to get back to the United States, but have found that difficult because of border closings or the cutting of flight routes and other transportation shutdowns.
President Trump, asked during a briefing on Thursday about Americans stranded abroad and trying to re-enter the United States, said that the administration is working with the military to get them home.
The State Department used five charter flights sent from the United States to evacuate American citizens from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, but has no plans at the moment to run similar evacuation flights elsewhere. American diplomats who have returned to the United States from countries where large outbreaks have occurred have done so mostly on commercial flights.
Politico first reported the State Department’s plans on Thursday.
Some other countries have already issued travel advisories telling their citizens to return home or not go abroad. Canada did so last Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in a 14-day period of self-quarantine because his wife, Sophie Trudeau, had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Canada and many other countries have also closed borders to nonessential traffic in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
State Department representatives did not answer a request for comment on the travel advisory plans.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military is halting deployments into Iraq for at least the next 14 days, military officials said Thursday. The move follows similar initiatives in Afghanistan as the Pentagon wrestles with the spread of the coronavirus.
The change comes at a time when U.S. troops in Iraq are contending with a recent spate of rocket attacks launched by Iranian-linked militias, and as the U.S.-led coalition in the country closes several smaller bases throughout the country.
The decision means some of the more than 5,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq will have to stay longer than expected.
Trump says White House “slashed red tape” to expand trials.
‘We Have To Remove Every Barrier,’ Trump Says of F.D.A. TestsThe White House coronavirus task force shared the latest updates on the virus and its impact on the country.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
As coronavirus cases soared in the United States and health care workers complained of shortages of critically-needed supplies, President Trump said Thursday that his administration had “slashed red tape” to expand trials for possible treatments but gave mixed signals about whether he would move to compel private industry to produce medical equipment.
With the development of a usable coronavirus vaccine at least a year off, Mr. Trump, surrounded at the White House by leading federal health officials, said that they had been working to swiftly expand trials of several antiviral therapies they hoped would prove effective against the coronavirus.
“I’ve directed the F.D.A. to eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy so this work can proceed rapidly, quickly, and I mean fast,” said an enthusiastic Mr. Trump, who said that several drugs could turn out to be a “game changer,” before adding a note of caution: “and maybe not.”
Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, gently tamped down some of Mr. Trump’s optimism, saying that while it was important for doctors to give hope, it was also important “not to provide false hope.”
“We need to make sure the sea of new treatments will get the right drug to the right patients at the right dosage at the right time,” Dr. Hahn said, citing the importance of establishing the safety and efficacy of possible treatments. “As an example we may have the right drug but may not be near appropriate dosage form right now and that may do more harm than good.”
There is no proven drug treatment for the new coronavirus, and doctors around the world have been desperately testing an array of medicines in the hopes of finding something that will help patients, especially those who are severely ill.
During the briefing, the president and Dr. Hahn said that the F.D.A. had approved the use in coronavirus patients of the prescription drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which have been used for malaria. There have not been clinical trials to determine whether those drugs actually work for the disease, and Dr. Hahn did not explain why the F.D.A. is supporting their use, nor he did explain whether today’s action was actually a formal approval of the drug for this new use.
Doctors in China and France have said there were indications they might help, and many hospitals in the United States had already begun using them. The drugs are inexpensive and relatively safe. Because they were already approved for other illnesses, doctors in the U.S. were free to use them in an “off-label” way based on their own judgment.
Dr. Hahn also said the F.D.A. was considering the use of “convalescent plasma,” meaning blood from people who have recovered from the disease, which contains antibodies against the coronavirus that might be able to help other patients fight the virus.
Mr. Trump and Dr. Hahn also said they planned to allow patients to gain access to an experimental drug, remdesivir, through a policy known as “compassionate use.” Compassionate use is typically used to grant access to not-yet-approved experimental drugs to give potentially lifesaving treatments to patients who might otherwise die.
When the president was asked if it was acceptable that there were such shortages of masks some health care workers were being urged to reuse them, he turned to Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Pence said that there had been “a dramatic increase in production” in masks, but did not say when they would be in the hands of health care workers.
Mr. Trump gave mixed signals on whether he would use the Defense Production Act, which authorizes presidents to take extraordinary action to force American industry to ramp up production of critical equipment and supplies. In this case, the list could include ventilators, respirators and protective gear for health care workers.
When asked why he hadn’t yet compelled companies to do this — especially given the projected shortages of masks and lifesaving ventilators — the president first told reporters that governors were responsible for buying equipment for their states.
“Nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought we would need tens of thousands of ventilators,” he said. But he said he would use the power if needed, before adding ambiguously, “You don’t know what we have done.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that a large backlog of pending tests would be released in the next two to three days.
She said that 50 percent of reported coronavirus cases in the United States have come from 10 counties, and praised health care workers for prioritizing available tests for people who show symptoms. She added that the number of positive results had increased as a result.
The U.S. tested its pandemic response last year and found significant problems.
The United States ran a detailed exercise testing the federal government’s response to a fictional respiratory virus for nine months last year. The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.
That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion,’’ was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.
In the scenario, the respiratory virus began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then it was too late: 110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead. It was not the first time in recent years that the government had studied its capacity for dealing with a pandemic.
The draft report, marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and local hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own way on school closings.A LACK OF ACTIONA cascade of warnings went unheeded before the outbreak.
Senate Republicans are drafting a plan to send $1,200 checks to taxpayers as part of $1 trillion rescue.
Senate Republicans, racing to fill in the details of a $1 trillion or larger economic stabilization package requested by the White House, have drafted a plan that would send payments of $1,200 to individual taxpayers and $2,400 to families, with another $500 per child, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who insisted on anonymity to describe an emerging proposal.
The direct payments, they said, would begin phasing out for those earning more than $75,000. Individuals who made more than $99,000 and families earning more than $198,000 would not be eligible.
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said earlier Thursday that the administration wants to send two waves of $1,000 checks to each American, and another $500 per child — one in April and another in May should the coronavirus crisis continue.
The details could change as fast-paced talks on the package proceed. They emerged as Republicans huddled privately to hammer out a proposal that would be the starting point for negotiations with Democrats on the stabilization package, which leaders hope can be signed into law within days.
Panic grows as the number of U.S. cases exceeds 10,000.
The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 10,000 on Thursday, rippling into Capitol buildings and the homes of mayors and prompting sweeping action even from state leaders who only days ago had been reluctant to order radical changes to daily life.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday stopping dine-in service at restaurants and bars, officially shutting down all schools and gyms, and barring gatherings of more than 10 people statewide. The order, effective at midnight, brings some of the strongest recommendations in the nation to the sprawling state’s 28 million residents.
Known for its independent spirit and pro-business stance, Texas had previously left it to local officials to decide what restrictions were necessary, even as other states took strong stands. But by Thursday, Mr. Abbott said serious action had become necessary, with more than 140 cases and at least three deaths from the virus in Texas, numbers that had rapidly accelerated over the past week.
The state also declared a public health disaster for the first time since 1901, Mr. Abbott said.
“The traditional model that we have employed in the state of Texas for such a long time so effectively does not apply to an invisible disease that knows no geographic or jurisdictional boundaries,” he said.
“I spend half my day knocking down rumors that we are going to lock people in their homes,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that New York City seemed to be at “near panic levels.”
“I am not going to imprison anyone in the state of New York in their homes,” he said. “I am not going to declare martial law in the state of New York.”
Some states were also recognizing the ongoing need for basic necessities, including food, by classifying grocery store workers as emergency personnel. In Minnesota this week, Gov. Tim Walz passed an executive order recognizing store clerks, stockers, food preparation personnel, cleaning staff and deli staff as “Emergency Tier 2” workers, which will allow the workers to receive free child care.
Vermont is also planning to reimburse private child care centers that are looking after children of emergency workers. The state’s public safety commissioner, Michael Schirling, said he would add grocery store workers to the growing list of essential employees that would receive free child care.
As China reports zero local infections, a new study finds the death rate in Wuhan was lower than previously thought.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Nature Medicine, calculated that people with coronavirus symptoms in Wuhan had a 1.4 percent likelihood of dying. Some previous estimates have ranged from 2 percent to 3.4 percent.
Assessing the risk of death in Wuhan is instructive because it provides a snapshot of the epidemic from the beginning, when doctors were scrambling to treat people with a brand-new virus and hospitals were overwhelmed.
Some experts say that such a benchmark — known as the case fatality rate — could be lower in countries like the United States if measures like widespread business and school closures and appeals for social distancing have the desired effect of slowing the spread of the disease.
But a 1.4 percent case fatality rate still means a lot of deaths. By comparison, the average seasonal flu kills about 0.1 percent of the people it infects in the United States.
Also, on Thursday, China reported no new local infectionsfor the previous day for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, a milestone in its costly battle with the outbreak that has since spread around the world.
Officials said 34 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed, all of them involving people who had come to China from elsewhere.
In signaling that an end to China’s epidemic might be in sight, the announcement could pave the way for officials to focus on reviving the country’s economy, which nearly ground to a halt after the government imposed travel restrictions and quarantine measures. In recent days, economic life has been resuming in fits and starts.
But China is not out of danger. Experts have said that it will need to see at least 14 consecutive days without new infections for the outbreak to be considered over. It remains to be seen whether the virus will re-emerge once daily life restarts and travel restrictions are lifted.
“It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections,” said Ben Cowling, a professor and head of the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health. “The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave, because the kind of measures that China has implemented are not necessarily sustainable in the long term.”
To contain the outbreak, the authorities shut schools and workplaces, imposed travel restrictions, and ordered quarantines on broad swaths of the population and many visitors from abroad. Since January, more than 50 million people in the central province of Hubei, including its capital, Wuhan, where the outbreak began, have been subjected to a strict lockdown.A FLATTER CURVE China goes from ‘patient zero’ to zero patients.
Many hospitalized in the U.S. are younger adults.
American adults of all ages — not just those in their 70s, 80s and 90s — are being seriously sickened by the coronavirus, according to a report on nearly 2,500 cases in the United States.
The report, issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that — as in other countries — the oldest patients were at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. But of the 508 coronavirus patients known to have been hospitalized in the United States, 38 percent were between 20 and 54. And nearly half of the 121 sickest patients studied — those admitted to intensive care units — were adults under 65.
“I think everyone should be paying attention to this,” said Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. “It’s not just going to be the elderly.”
“You have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about, and cause them to have a disastrous outcome,” Dr. Birx said.
In the C.D.C. report, 20 percent of the hospitalized patients and 12 percent of the intensive care patients were between the ages of 20 and 44, basically spanning the millennial generation.STRIKING THE YOUNG A virus that kills the old is sickening the young.
Wall Street whipsaws as investors weigh government action.
Stocks were volatile on Thursday as policymakers in the United States and Europe took more steps to offset the sharp decline gripping their economies.
The S& P 500 climbed into positive territory after earlier having fallen more than 3 percent, but it struggled to hold onto those gains. Shares in Europe also recovered after trading lower for most of the day. Oil prices, which had fallen by more than 20 percent on Wednesday, rebounded on Thursday.
The uneven trading followed a steep drop across financial markets on Wednesday and came as the steady drumbeat of bad news about the spread of the coronavirus continued. Speaking at a White House press briefing, Mr. Trump acknowledged that the economy would experience a rapid fall before it climbs back. He also praised efforts to speed up the approval of potential treatments for Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
“I believe in the V curve,” Mr. Trump said, referring to how some economists describe a sharp falloff and rebound in economic growth. “When this is defeated, this hidden scourge is defeated, I think we’re going to go up very rapidly.”
In the United States, the number of workers filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance surged, government data released on Thursday showed. Those figures don’t reflect the sharp cuts made in the past few days as companies quickly scale down operations as efforts to contain the coronavirus keep consumers at home and force factories to close.
Young Money marked the milestone which surpasses that of rival superstars Lil Kim, Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliott.By Dawn Onley -March 18, 2020
Nicki Minaj has earned more money than any other female rapper in history.
According to a Twitter post put up by Young Money, the “Anaconda” rapper’s record label, Minaj has brought in more than $100 million from a successful rap career that spans many years. Her debut studio album, Pink Friday, was released in 2010.
The Young Money tweet was accompanied by a portrait of Minaj along with the caption: “Nicki Minaj has become the first female rapper in history to amass a $100 million net worth,” and also included the hashtag #QueenTingz and the crown emoji.
Kountriee wondered whether Minaj would rap about the accomplishment.
“I wonder what line @NICKIMINAJ gone say in a song now she up over 100 million she gone be like #YIKES it’s just a hunnit mil what’s the f*cking hype yikes you hamburger bitch couldn’t touch me even witcha helpers lol” tweeted Kountriee.
The milestone was reached even as the rapper claims to have hung up her mic. In September, Minaj officially announced she was retiring from music.
Since then, however, she’s been featured on PnB Rock’s single “Fendi” with Murda Beatz. In February, the rapper released a new song entitled “Yikes.”
The latest: The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus has risen to more than 2,600 across the world. Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy, where five people have died in Italy and restrictions have been imposed on some municipalities.
How this affects US markets: US stocks plunged this morning on mounting worries about the spread of the coronavirus outside China to major economies including South Korea and Italy.
Health official: “We are in the phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic”
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said today it’s too early to declare the novel coronavirus a pandemic — but now is the time to prepare.
“Look what’s happened in China, we’ve seen a significant drop in cases, huge pressure placed on the virus and a sequential decrease in the number of cases, that goes against the logic of pandemic. Yet we see in contrast of that, an acceleration of cases in places like Korea, and therefore we are still in the balance.”
He added: “We are in the phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic.”
Ryan said countries must prepare to take and treat patients and push for adequate containment.11 min ago
California city goes to court over possibility of housing coronavirus patients
From CNN’s Stella Chan
Representatives from the southern California city of Costa Mesa will be in court this afternoon to continue its fight against housing coronavirus patients in its city.
Late Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the possible use of the Fairview Developmental Center to quarantine patients who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. In the complaint, the city says “Fairview is an inappropriate location for a quarantine, as there is no way to restrict access to or from the facility.”
A hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. local time Monday.
Coronavirus has pandemic potential, but it’s not there yet, World Health Organization says
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today coronavirus has pandemic potential — but it’s not there yet.
Tedros said the decision to use the word pandemic is based on ongoing assessments of the geographic spread of the virus, severity and impact of the society and for the moment they are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus.
He said the virus is affecting countries across the world in different ways and requires a tailored response, adding it’s not a one-size-fits-all response.
WHO had previously declared Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
Remember: There is no precise, mathematical definition of a pandemic.
Outbreaks get characterized as pandemics by epidemiologists — who are not yet using the term. That’s because they’ve yet to see sustained transmission among people who have not recently traveled to China or had close contact with someone who recently traveled to China.
It’s not enough for a cluster of disease in a country to exist and even spread — it has to spread in a sustained way, from person to person, time and time again, through many generations of transmission.1 hr 5 min ago
Oman suspends flights to and from Iran during coronavirus outbreak
From CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali
The General Authority of Oman’s Civil Aviation announced the suspension of all flights between the Sultanate and the Islamic Republic of Iran until further notice, state TV reported.
Earlier today, Oman’s Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first two coronavirus cases — two women who were traveling from Iran.1 hr 8 min ago
California naval base could receive US coronavirus evacuees
From CNN’s Stella Chan
Naval Base Ventura County in Oxnard, California might be tasked with receiving coronavirus evacuees, according to a statement from NBVC Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island.
“Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has tasked Naval Base Ventura County with supporting the potential repatriation of American citizens subject to federal quarantine due to the coronavirus. A Community Info Session is scheduled Monday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m. at the Pt. Mugu Theater,” read the post on the NBVC Facebook page. 1 hr 14 min ago
Italy has yet to identify the source of its outbreak
From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite
Italy still has not identified “patient zero,” the source of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, two officials said Monday.
“The important thing is to identify ‘patient zero,’ where he/she is from, and to stop this chain of infection,” Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s civil protection agency, said.
Luca Zaia, the governor of the Veneto region, said “no news” when asked Monday by CNN affiliate Sky 24 about the hunt for the carrier.
Borrelli suggested an explanation for the sudden spike in cases over the weekend: “I believe that the incubation period meant that the infections all exploded at a certain moment.”
9:41 AM PT — Sources familiar with the surveillance video tell TMZ … the video shows at least 4 masked men with hoodies making their way into the house just 10 minutes after people inside the house deadbolted the front doors shut. We’re told they did not turn the house alarm on, which made it easier for the home invaders to get inside.
And, there’s this … Pop Smoke posted the address of the home earlier in the day. He was showing off gift bags he had received and one had the home’s address. As for why he was getting gift bags … his mix tape hit #7 on the Billboard 200 chart Tuesday.
8:03 AM PT — Just hours before he was gunned down, Pop Smoke mugged with a pal in a car — the friend holding a fortune in bills — in the driveway of the home where he was shot.
7:32 AM PT — Law enforcement sources tell us there was a party or gathering at the house prior to the shooting. It’s unclear what motive the shooters had in showing up at the house.
7:08 AM PT — Nicki Minaj just posted a message about his death … “The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest in Peace, Pop.”
6:56 AM PT — The home is owned by ‘RHOBH’ star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband, Edwin Arroyave, who owns several homes in Los Angeles. It’s possible Pop Smoke was renting the property.
Pop Smoke, an up-and-coming rapper, was shot and killed Wednesday morning in what appears to be a home invasion robbery … TMZ has learned.
The rapper was at a home in the Hollywood Hills at around 4:30 AM when 2 men wearing hoodies and masks broke into a house … this according to law enforcement sources. We’re told the 2 men fired multiple shots, striking and critically wounding Pop Smoke. The men were seen fleeing on foot.
ATTEMPTING CPRRMG News
Pop Smoke was rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood where he was pronounced dead.
The suspects have not been caught and as far as we know they have not been identified. It’s unclear if Pop Smoke knew the shooters. One man was placed in handcuffs but cops determined he was not involved and was released.
Pop Smoke released an album back in July and one of the songs, “Welcome to the Party,” blew up … it was considered by many the song of the summer. Nicki Minaj did a remix of the song a few months later. He also did a song, “Gatti,” with Travis Scott.
We got Pop Smoke out at LAX back in July, and he told us about a hoop dream that came true.
Police in Glendale, Calif., said they received a report about the DuBois’ death late Monday. She appeared to have died of natural causes and no investigation is ongoing, police Sgt. Dan Stubbs said. No additional details, including her age, were immediately available.
BernNadette Stanis, who played Thelma Evans Anderson on “Good Times,” said she learned of DuBois’ death Tuesday from the actress’ daughter. Stanis said DuBois appeared to be in good health and they had appeared at a signing event two weeks ago. She noted that DuBois kept to herself and no one knew exactly how old she was.
DuBois had a prolific career beyond the 1970s hit “Good Times,” winning two Emmy Awards for her voice work on the WB series “The PJs.” She also composed and sang the theme song for “The Jeffersons.” DuBois’ song “Movin’ on Up” provided a joyous intro to “The Jeffersons” during the show’s 10-season run.
On “Good Times,” DuBois’ Willona Woods was the single, sexy neighbor and best friend to star Esther Rolle’s Florida Evans. Though the comedy had plenty of one-liners, DuBois’ appearances gave an extra dose of comedic relief.
Portrait of the cast of the television show ‘Good Times,’ Los Angeles, California, August 5, 1977. Pictured are, front row, American actresses Esther Rolle (1920 – 1998) (left) and BernNadette Stanis; back row, from left, American actors Jimmie Walker, Ja’net DuBois, and Ralph Carter. (CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
DuBois showed off more of her dramatic skills when a young Janet Jackson joined the show as the abused child Penny; DuBois’ character would go on to adopt Penny, and the storyline also forged a long, close relationship with Jackson, who would go on to become a multiplatinum superstar; she cast DuBois as her mother in her 1986 “Control” video.
DuBois’ career started in theater, where she appeared in Broadway productions of “Golden Boy” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” according to a biography on her website. A performance in “The Hot l Baltimore” in Los Angeles caught the eye of Norman Lear, who developed “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.”
50 Cent is in heavy promo mode for his new ABC crime drama For Life. During a recent interview with Rap Radar’s Cigar Talk, the rap legend/television mogul opened up about a bevy of topics, including Ja Rule’s allegation that he’s a “snitch,” a name the Murder Inc. boss has been throwing in 50’s direction for decades.
Mr. Curtis Jackson denied he’s anything of the sort and insisted it’s nothing more than an attempt to assassinate his character.
“They’ll say, ‘He a rat’ or, ‘He this, this and that,’” he explained around the 19-minute mark. “All you gotta do is ask them who I told on?I ain’t never told on no nigga in my life. In the Preme [Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff] situation — look at his case. It’ll tell you who told on him. My name ain’t in that case. You see what I’m saying? They tried to use that I needed an order of protection, but why it feels like I’m the bully out here then?
“YOU needed protection, nigga. And your protection gone! That’s the truth! Niggas will try to put a spin on anything to try to make it look good and then when you get in disputes with younger artists, they don’t know what to use against you so they use what someone else used. So they go back and they go, ‘Oh you this!’”
50 also spoke on Meek Mill and French Montana, who recently slapped the Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ mastermind with the “snitch” label as well. But he said he wasn’t offended.
“You heard it when Meek was talking shit, you heard it when French was talking shit,” he said. “It’s like, I don’t take offense to it when they do it because I know what they’re doing. I took offense where it actually started and you never see — let Jimmy Henchman tell you I’m a snitch. Let Preme tell you I’m a snitch. Just say it one time. Because Jimmy been snitching since 1942!”
Ja Rule provided Drug Enforcement Agency paperwork last July that allegedly proved Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was the anonymous caller who had given police a tip about the Lodi Mack homicide.
Eminem waited 17 years to perform at the Oscars because the “younger him” didn’t feel a show like that would “understand” him.
The 47-year-old rapper finally performed as a surprise act at the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday (09.02.20), after turning down the Academy’s offer to perform and receive the Best Song Oscar from Barbra Streisand in 2003 for ‘Lose Yourself’ from ‘8 Mile’.
And the ‘Stan’ hitmaker has admitted the reason why he didn’t attend back then was, because he never imagined he would end up winning the prize and he had already performed at the Grammys that year.
However, after he found out he won, Eminem realised that the Oscars are “authentic”.
He admitted: “I kinda figured maybe since I didn’t get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool.
“Back then, I never even thought that I had a chance to win, and we had just performed ‘Lose Yourself’ on the Grammys with the Roots a couple of weeks before the Oscars, so we didn’t think it was a good idea.
“And also, back at that time, the younger me didn’t really feel like a show like that would understand me.
“But then when I found out I won, ‘That’s crazy!’
“That to me shows how authentic and real that award is — when you don’t show up and you still win. That makes it very real to me.”
The ‘Rap God’ star also revealed how they managed to keep his performance top secret.
He told Variety: “We flew in [to Los Angeles] last week, so we probably have four or five rehearsals just to make sure we got everything right. Most of the rehearsals were offsite, not in [the Dolby Theater], just trying to keep it secret.”
And on whose idea it was to have him as a surprise act, he added: “I don’t know, I think it was either [the Oscars’] idea or Paul and [longtime publicist Dennis Dennehy’s] idea before they brought it to me.
“It was presented to me that way and I said, “Oh that’s kinda dope, to not even announce it.”
CORONA DEL MAR (CBSLA) — Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were laid to rest in a private funeral service last Friday.
Kobe Bryant warms up with daughter Gianna Bryant.
The private funeral was held at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar on February 7, two weeks after they died in a helicopter crash alongside seven others, according to Entertainment Tonight.ADVERTISING
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, posted to Instagram confirming that a “Celebration of Life” for “Kobe and Gianna Bryant” will be held on Feb. 24, at 10 a.m. at Staples Center. She wrote, “#2, #24 #20 years as a Laker,” to explain the significance of the date of the memorial.
The service will not be broadcast on screens outside Staples Center and security is likely to be tight around the area. Similar to Nipsey Hussle’s Staples Center service, streets surrounding the venue are expected to be closed in an effort to prevent crowds from gathering in the area.
The helicopter had departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and was bound for Camarillo, with the passengers on board heading to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was set to coach Gianna in a tournament game.
Letters, illustrations, signs and flags were among the items left at the memorial. So were 1,353 basketballs that have been boxed.
Workers remove thousands of items left in honor of Kobe Bryant, including hundreds of basketballs, from X-Box Plaza across Chick Hearn Court from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, on Feb. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles.Reed Saxon / APFeb. 4, 2020, 11:12 AM ESTBy Janelle Griffith
At the request of Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, she will be given some of the items left by thousands of fans at the makeshift memorial for the NBA legend at the Los Angeles Lakers’ Staples Center.
“Truly amazing the outpouring of love from the City of Angels in honor of the 9 who lost their lives 1/26/20,” Zeidman tweeted.
A 40-yard trash bin filled with flowers from the memorial will be made into mulch and spread throughout the landscaping around L.A. Live and Staples Center, he said.
Additionally, 14 banners, 25,000 candles, 5,000 letters, signs and flags, 500 stuffed animals and hundreds of shoes were also collected.
On Feb.1, Zeidman thanked those who had come to downtown Los Angeles to “peacefully and respectfully” pay homage to Bryant and Gianna. Zeidman said fans could rest assured that the tributes left would be delivered to the Bryant family.
Over the weekend, Vanessa Bryant shared a photo of an illustration of Gianna on her Instagram account and asked the public to help identify the artist behind it.
She has since updated the photo caption to include a credit to the artist: “Seeing my babygirl smile and happy again with a basketball 🏀 under her arm, wrapped in 💜💛love just warmed my heart. Thank you for this. @_vivalareina thank you!! My Gigi.❤️ #Mambacita“