Bill Gates on Trump call for quick end to lockdown: It’s tough to tell people ‘keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner’


‘There really is no middle ground, and it’s very tough to say to people, “Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, [and] ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts.” ’


Bill Gates

That’s billionaire Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft

MSFT, -4.11%

and noted philanthropist, sharing in a TED interview as described by the Vox Media site Recode his view on the drumbeat, notably from President Donald Trump, for an earlier end to public health policies aiming to mitigate the spread of a deadly pandemic that has brought much of the world’s business activity to a screeching halt.

Most of the U.S., including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California, are under rules that limit movement and travel. Those efforts to dull the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 are putting the U.S. economy into a recession and have tanked U.S. equity markets that were just a month ago at record highs.

See: Governors reject Trump’s timeline to reopen economy; ‘Job one has to be save lives,’ Cuomo says

The illness that is carried by the novel strain of coronavirus first identified in China in December has been contracted by some 622 ,000 people and killed more than 28,000 across the globe, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as of Saturday late morning.

In the U.S., where the epidemic is likely still in its nascence, more than 105,000 have been infected and 1,710 killed.

Trump, however, said on Tuesday during a Fox News interview in the White House Rose Garden that he hopes to have the country reopened as early as Easter on April 12, though most countries have taken months to achieve some semblance of managing the infection.

Trump has argued that a longer U.S. shutdown would make it more difficult for the economy to rebound from a recession. “The longer it takes, the longer we stay out, the longer that is to do,” he explained.

Read: Do you need to change and wash your clothes after visiting the grocery store?

An early end to the lockdown in the U.S. has been viewed as ill-advised by many experts and politicians who fear that lives would be sacrificed in the bid to resume business-as-usual, and achieve a stock-market rebound, before the virus subsides.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose updates on the virus’s impact on the Empire State have been closely followed, expressed views similar to those of Gates on Tuesday. “No American is going to say, accelerate the economy at the cost of human life, because no American is going to say how much a life is worth. Job [No. 1] has to be save lives,” the governor said.

See: ‘You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die’: New York’s Cuomo, in plea to Trump administration for ventilators

Gates told TED, according to Recode, that “it’s very irresponsible for somebody to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds,” referring to mitigating the impact of the deadly pathogen on human lives and keeping the economy whirring.

U.S., and global, stock markets have been in turmoil due to the viral outbreak, with some at least partly attributing Tuesday’s biggest percentage gain since 1933 by the Dow Jones Industrial Average

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, up 11.4%, to a belief that Trump’s administration may push forward with reopening the U.S. economy, despite public health experts indicating that such a move would likely be premature. Noted infectious-diseases specialist Anthony Fauci suggested at a late-afternoon news conference at the White House that it might be worth exploring an idea floated by Trump that some sections of the country could have restrictions eased ahead of others.

The Dow surged 2,112 points on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 index

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soared 9.4%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index

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finished Tuesday’s session up 8.1%. All three indexes finished out the week lower but booked strong weekly gains, as President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package into law.

Gates, who boasts a net worth of $94.6 billion, according to Forbes (making him the second wealthiest man in the world behind Amazon.com’s

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Jeff Bezos) is among a group of billionaire philanthropists who have said they would give away at least half their wealth to charities under terms of the Giving Pledge. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $100 million to pandemics science and testing.

Check out: Man who scored big wins during the 2008 financial crisis says the stock market could be ‘near a bottom’ if U.S. gets a coronavirus recovery plan



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European stocks slide as U.S. coronavirus cases surpass China and global spread intensifies


European stocks and U.S. equity futures fell on Friday, as U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed China and the global spread intensified.

The pan-European Stoxx 600

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 index declined 2.5% in early trading, while the FTSE 100

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 slipped 3.8% lower. The German DAX

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 dropped 2.1% and the French CAC

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fell 3%. Stocks slipped back at the end of a good week as investors digested the increasing spread of the virus and the uncertainty ahead. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

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 were down 2%, Nasdaq futures

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 fell 1.9% and S&P 500 futures

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 were 2.1% lower ahead of the open.

What’s moving the market?

The U.S. has now surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus cases, rising above 85,500. The U.S. death toll climbed to just below 1,300 but sits far below Italy — 8,215 — and Spain — 4,365. Global infections grew by 13.6% in the past 24 hours — the seventh double-digit rise in 8 days. Cases have now tripled in Europe in a week, with Germany and France also among the worst affected.

The Dow entered a new bull-market phase on Thursday, driven by a $2 trillion stimulus package, bringing the 11-day-old bear market to an end, but was set to fall back on Friday. Asian markets followed Wall Street higher overnight but European stocks headed lower as the continent’s own equity rally came to an abrupt end.

OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said it made sense that investors were taking profit ahead of the weekend, given the fast-changing nature of the pandemic.

“We may have had a good run this week but the weekend can feel like a long time at moments like this and the numbers we’re getting from the U.S., which now has more cases than China or Italy, are getting uglier by the day. I fear a few more shocks lie ahead as we get closer to peak coronavirus in countries like the U.S., U.K. and more,” he said.

China’s industrial profits slumped 38% in January and February. As the first country impacted and locked down, global investors are closely following China’s economic fallout and recovery.

Stocks to watch

Cruise operator Carnival plunged 11% in early trading as the hard-hit industry was left out of the $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package.

As the U.K.’s national lockdown took hold and the economic impact began being felt across the country, shares in house builder Persimmon

PSN, -7.82%

 tumbled 9% and retail property company Hammerson

HMSO, -11.12%

 dropped 12%.



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Floyd Cardoz, an influential and gregarious New York-based chef, has died at 59 due to the coronavirus


Floyd Cardoz, the Mumbai-born, New York City-based chef who changed countless diners’ perceptions of Indian cuisine, has died at the age of 59 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Shortly after returning from a trip to India on March 8, Cardoz began feeling feverish and admitted himself to a New York hospital as a precautionary measure, he revealed in an Instagram post on March 18. In a statement, The Hunger Inc., the hospitality company co-founded by Cardoz, reported that “Floyd tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18th and was being treated for the same” at New Jersey’s Mountainside Medical Center, where he died on March 25. (It’s unclear if Cardoz had any pre-existing conditions or underlying complications, and attempts to reach his representatives at The Hunger Inc. were unsuccessful.)

“Few people have done more than Floyd Cardoz to impact an entire industry, the career trajectories of more cooks, or the palates of more restaurant goers,” said Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group who had worked with Cardoz, via his Instagram account.

Perhaps the most famous Indian-born chef to make a mark on the American dining scene this century, Cardoz first started to develop a reputation in the 1990s during his time in the kitchen at Lespinasse, the now-shuttered temple to fine dining at New York’s St. Regis Hotel.

The chef reached a new level of prominence in 1998 with the groundbreaking Tabla, a fine-dining Indian restaurant opened in partnership with Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The restaurant, which opened across from Manhattan’s Madison Square Park at a time when the city’s culinary scene offered few Indian fine dining options, was a critical hit, enjoying an influential run until it closed in 2010.

Cardoz’s fame and influence continued to grow in 2011, when he won season three of American TV show Top Chef Masters. For his final challenge, the chef honored his roots by serving wild mushroom upma polenta with kokum and coconut milk.

Cardoz went on to open the North End Grill, which closed in 2018 after a six-year run in Battery Park City, for Meyer’s restaurant group, and then proceeded to open several of his own restaurants in Mumbai (the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro) and New York (Paowalla in SoHo, which turned into the Bombay Bread Bar, which closed last year).

The personable Cardoz embraced his role as a de facto culinary ambassador, cheerfully extolling the wonders of Indian cuisine and spices at various culinary events and festivals around the U.S.

The chef was featured in numerous TV programs, and recently appeared in the Mumbai-filmed “Don’t Call it Curry” episode from season two of Netflix’s popular Ugly Delicious series. Cardoz was also a member of the star-studded culinary council for LUCKYRICE, a company that brings the foods and cultures of Asia to North American consumers.

Cardoz’s influence was reaffirmed by the immediate outpouring of grief from the global culinary community in reaction to news of his death. Dozens of notable chefs, journalists and other members of the food world took to social media to share their memories while honoring the chef’s kindness and generosity of spirit. Several called out Cardoz’s impassioned efforts to expand the awareness and understanding of Indian cuisine in his adopted homeland, with myriad chefs of South Asian descent saying he paved the way for them and countless others in the industry.

Cardoz “made us all so proud,” said Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi via her Twitter account. “Nobody who lived in NY in the early aughts could forget how delicious and packed Tabla always was. He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch. This is a huge loss…not only for the professional food world, but for Indians everywhere. My heart goes out to his wife Barkha and their whole family.”

“Easily one of the most beloved people in the business,” said David Chang on Twitter. “He was criminally under appreciated, introduced so many new flavors and techniques to America…But as great as a chef as Floyd was, he was a better person and amazing dad.”

“He was beyond talented as a cook. He was a supertaster, big-hearted, stubborn as the day is long, and the most loyal friend, husband, and dad you could imagine,” Meyer said. “His life and career was full of triumph and adversity. We opened and closed two restaurants together and in that time he never once lost his sense of love for those he’d worked with, mentored, and mattered to. He made monumental contributions to our industry and to my organization, and his passing leaves us with a gaping hole.”

Cardoz is survived by his mother, Beryl, wife Barkha, and sons, Justin and Peter.



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Man who scored big wins during the 2008 financial crisis says the stock market could be ‘near a bottom’ if U.S. gets a coronavirus recovery plan


Hedge-fund manager David Tepper says there is nothing wrong with “nibbling” at stocks that have experienced a brutal selloff in the past month, amid growing fears centered on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the star fund manager and billionaire says that U.S. lawmakers and the Trump administration need to act quickly to stabilize the economy and mitigate the damage from the deadly pathogen.

“There’s nothing wrong with nibbling here,” the founder of Appaloosa Management said during a phone interview with CNBC on Monday, referring to stocks that have fallen at an unprecedented rate, as business activity across the globe shutters in order to contain the illness, COVID-19, the infectious disease that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December. Nearly 370,000 people have contracted the illness and some 16,000 lives have been lost, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.S., there are more than 41,000 confirmed cases and almost 500 dead due to the infection.

Tepper signaled that stock-market indexes, that have fallen by more than 20% from their peaks, meeting the widely accepted criteria for a bear market, could be “near a bottom once we get this package done,” he said.

“It might be time to buy a little, and that means a little,” he emphasized. He cautioned that the market could still fall by another 10% or 15%, and investors should be willing to endure further pain.

With that in mind, he told the business network that investors need to be prudent in identifying stocks in the wake of the carnage at least partly sparked by the outbreak.

Asked if it was time to buy stocks, Tepper asked, rhetorically, “Which stocks?”

”You have to be very selective, right here,” he admonished.

For his part, Tepper said he was buying beaten down technology-related names, as well as health-care shares. He said he also was buying corporate debt.

“We are nibbling, no question about it,” he acknowledged. “Things look really interesting for the long term,” he said.

Tepper’s comments come as Senate lawmakers race to finish a massive aid package to help Americans devastated by the coronavirus. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it needed to be completed “today,” to do the most good.

However, talks have been stalled as Democrats blocked a fresh effort by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to move a bill forward.

“We hope and expect to conclude negotiations today,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

During the CNBC interview, Tepper said, “Tell me when you have a plan.”

“In some sense, you need a plan and you need to go out and do this to give confidence to the market,” he explained. “Do whatever it takes to get it down,” he said, referring, perhaps, both to a plan by U.S. lawmakers and by the Trump administration to get much-needed ventilators and masks produced for those sickened by the illness.

“I can’t wait to invest again,” he said, striking an upbeat tone.

Markets, however, were far from upbeat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

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the S&P 500 index

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and the Nasdaq Composite Index

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all ended sharply lower Monday, as investors also awaited clarity from Capitol Hill on a rescue package.

Tepper may be best known for the concentrated bets he made on the financial system during the 2007-09 financial crisis, when he cited the backstop provided by the Federal Reserve as a reason to own beaten-down bank shares.

He also saw a windfall after betting, correctly, that commercial property bonds underpinned by New York City’s hulking Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residential complex would recover.

Tepper’s net worth was estimated at $12 billion by Forbes, ranking him as the world’s fifth-wealthiest hedge-fund manager. Tepper has also been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

Since buying the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers, Tepper mostly retreated from investing for others. Back in May, he started converting his hedge-fund firm to a family office, according to reports.

Appaloosa Management LP has earned an average annual return of 25% since its inception in 1993, and his flagship fund regularly features among the ranks of all-time top performers.



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Second dog tests positive for coronavirus as owners warned not to abandon pets


The Hong Kong government has urged people not to abandon their pets and to stop kissing them after a second dog repeatedly tested positive for coronavirus.

The German shepherd living in the Pok Fu Lam area on Hong Kong Island was sent for quarantine along with another mixed-breed dog from the same residence on Thursday after its owner was confirmed as being infected, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a statement.

No positive results were obtained from the mixed breed dog and neither dog has shown any signs of disease,” the department said, adding it will continue to closely monitor both dogs and conduct repeated tests on the animals.

The animal welfare authority reminded pet owners to use good hygiene practices and urged them to avoid kissing their pets, but stressed that there is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of the virus or that they can get sick from it.

”Under no circumstances should they abandon their pets,” the AFCD said.

The new case comes after a 17-year-old Pomeranian which had tested “weak positive” during repeated tests for the virus died two days after it was released from quarantine virus-free. The AFCD said the dog’s owner wasn’t willing to allow an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Some animal welfare experts have suggested that the elderly Pomeranian’s death could have been caused by the stress of being quarantined and separated from its owner.

Both the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have said there is no evidence that companion animals such as cats and dogs can spread the virus. “Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” the animal health organization said.

The AFCD said it “strongly advises” that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats from households with persons infected with Covid-19 or those who have had close contacted with others infected with the virus, should be quarantined in government facilities.



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