A team of health experts from the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control arrived in Italy on Monday to assist local authorities while some 100,000 remain under an effective quarantine. Over in India, Trump added to his earlier comments by saying a vaccine is "very close", even though the most generous estimates claim we need another year. Market experts cited a WSJ report on a possible vaccine as helping market sentiment, though even that report made clear that human tests of the drug are not due until the end of April and results not until July or August. * * * Update (0650ET): It's not even 7 am in the US, and it looks like a new outbreak is beginning in Central Europe. Local news agencies report that Croatia has confirmed its first case, while the Austrian Province of Tyrol has confirmed two cases. In South Korea, meanwhile, officials have just confirmed the 11th coronavirus-linked death, a Mongolian man in his mid-30s who had a preexisting liver condition. Over in India, where President Trump is in the middle of an important state visit with the newly reelected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the president struck an optimistic tone once again claiming that the virus will be a "short-term" problem that won't have a lasting impact on the global economy. "I think it's a problem that's going to go away," he said. Trump also reportedly told a group of executives gathered in India that the US has "essentially closed the borders" (well, not really) and that "we're fortunate so far and we think it's going to remain that way," according to CNN. Meanwhile, SK officials announced they're aiming to test more than 200,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the "cult-like" church at the center of the outbreak in SK. * * * Last night, a post written by Paul Joseph Watson highlighted commentary from a Harvard epidemiology professor (we realize we've heard from pretty much the whole department at this point in the crisis, but bear with us for a moment) who believes that, at some point, 'we will all get the coronavirus'.
Well, up to 70% of us, but you get the idea: The notion that this outbreak is far from over is finally starting to sink in. Stocks are struggling to erase yesterday's losses, with US futures pointing to an open in the green after the biggest drop in two years. More corporations trashing their guidance, and more research offering a glimpse of the faltering Chinese economy (offering a hint that all the crematoriums are keeping air pollution levels elevated even as coal consumption and travel plunge) have seemingly trampled all over the market's Fed-ensured optimism. And across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, headlines tied to the outbreak hit at a similarly non-stop pace on Tuesday.
With so much news, where to start? In China, data out of the Transport Ministry revealed that barely one-third of China's workforce has returned to work, despite state-inspired threats. CNN reported Tuesday that only 30% of small businesses in China have returned to work. The problem? Travel disruption has left millions of migrant workers stranded. There's also the question of schools: Some cities, including Shanghai, are offering students the option of completing their studies online after March 2. China's rapidly advancing tech sector has responded to the crisis by unleashing a wide range of technologies outfitted for specific tasks, China's rapidly advancing tech sector has responded to the crisis by unleashing a wide range of technologies outfitted for specific tasks,''' including ferrying supplies to medical workers, fitting drones with thermal cameras and leveraging computer-processing power to aid the search for a vaccine. In a televised interview, one health official said it might take 28 days to safely say an area is free of coronavirus, while another official insisted that "low risk" areas should "resume normal activity" on Tuesday.