16,000 New Yorkers could die from the coronavirus, according to Gates Foundation projections


The coronavirus pandemic could result in the death of 16,000 New Yorkers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned from Albany on Wednesday in his daily news conference.

To date, the virus has killed 1,914 across the state with 83,712 confirmed cases, according to the statistics shared Wednesday by Cuomo.

“There is a group that is funded by the Gates Foundation that projects 93,000 Americans will lose their life by the time this is over,” Cuomo said. “That model suggests 16,000 New Yorkers will pass away by the time this runs its course,” which could be through July, he added.

His U.S.-wide projection is less than what the White House gave on Tuesday, which estimated the number of deaths to be between 100,000 to 240,000 Americans.

The group referenced by the governor is the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and their specific numbers for the two rates on Wednesday afternoon are 93,765 dying in the U.S. and 16,090 in the state. The institute takes into account the effects of social distancing measures until at least the end of May 2020.

Factors affecting the forecasts, which are updated every day at 6 a.m. (PST), are based on a wide range of data sources, including state health agencies, among others, a representative for IHME told MarketWatch.

The model, which only provides statewide projections, does not provide an estimate for the death toll in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S.

As of Wednesday, the city has accounted for 1,096, or 57.2%, of New York state’s 1,914 deaths.

Meanwhile, at a separate news conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city is expected to run out of ventilators by Sunday. He said that to handle the surge of victims, New York City will need 2,500 to 3,000 ventilators over the next week and 65,000 hospital beds by the end of April. The city will be retrofitting hotels and large venues to create 39,000 beds.

Cuomo pointed out on Wednesday that New York state will account for roughly 16% of the total deaths in the U.S. based on the modeling from the IHME. The actual figure based on IHME’s specific online numbers is a just pinch higher at 17%.

“I don’t even understand that,” he said. “Since New York is so much higher right now.”

The governor was referring to the disproportionate number of both coronavirus cases and deaths in the state. New York currently accounts for 42.7% of the U.S.’s total 195,929 confirmed cases and for 45% of the country’s 4,310 coronavirus deaths.

“If you believe these numbers, 16,000 deaths in New York, that means you’re going to have tens of thousands of deaths outside of New York,” Cuomo said. “So to the extent people watch their nightly news in Kansas and say ‘well this is a New York problem’, that’s not what these numbers say. It says it’s a New York problem today, tomorrow it’s a Kansas problem and a Texas problem and a New Mexico problem.”

Along with the projections, Cuomo said Wednesday that 7,917 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across New York compared to the figures he announced Tuesday, 1,297 new hospitalizations and 391 more deaths.



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‘Would you risk your life for a jar of marmalade?’ My coronavirus survival guide to navigating grocery stores safely


NEW YORK — It’s not always easy to ask for help.

One of my best friends in New York is self-quarantining. She is smart, extremely well-read and makes me laugh. We read long-form articles together and, afterwards, we discuss them over tea. We don’t always agree, which we like, but we do agree most of the time, and we’re OK with that, too.

My friend remembers the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, and witnessed people get up from a park bench if they thought a sick person sat next to them. She did not even get around to telling me about the many polio epidemics. Perspective is good: THIS IS NOT THE FIRST PANDEMIC. (That’s Point No. 1).

We take tap-dancing classes together (her idea). At least, we did until the social-distancing policies prescribed by public health officials came into effect. On Monday, we each vowed to practice 15 dance steps. That’s more “dig, brush, toe, heel, paddle and roll, paradiddle!” for me.

It’s good to be cautious, but it makes sense to be careful and take your time.

She listens carefully, tells me exactly how she feels, and remains open to changing her mind. I learn from her. Before tap-dancing class, she asks me, “So, Quentin, what color is your tutu today?” I usually describe the most ridiculous-sounding tutu. “Pink,” I say, “with yellow ruffles.”

My friend is 95, and she is now blind. Mostly, I feel grateful that we are both here at the same time, and that our paths crossed. She is one of my favorite people on the planet. She grew up in an Irish community in Massachusetts. I grew up in Dublin. She calls me “lace-curtain Irish.”

She needed a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries. That is how I found myself with another Irishman — who moved to the U.S. 30 years before I did — at the Fairway Market on Broadway and 74th Street on Monday afternoon, with a shopping list in one hand and a grocery cart in the other.

We’d been asked to help buy our friend groceries, so we joined forces. I didn’t like him usurping my place as Sir Edmund Hillary on this potentially hazardous expedition. (Nor did I want to be Francis Crozier to his Sir John Franklin.) But it’s a lot for one person to carry the load. We made a good team.

I wore a balaclava I’d bought for a New Year’s Eve midnight run in Central Park.

“If we get coronavirus, a grocery store is where we’ll get it!” I said, surveying the food aisles. He looked at me like I was about to rob a store, not shop in one. “What’s wrong?” I said. I was wearing a balaclava I’d bought for a New Year’s Eve midnight run in Central Park. He tried to muffle a laugh.

“Would you risk your life for a jar of marmalade?” I asked. He turned his head, as if to roll his eyes up to heaven, but then appeared to think better of it midroll. I presumed he was about to say, “You’re completely overreacting.” But he’s a gem, so he did a diplomatic 360-degree head roll, instead.

As for wearing a D.I.Y. mask, I could be wrong, I could be right, as the former Johnny Rotten sang. There are conflicting messages on whether a face mask other than the scarcely available medical-grade N95 helps. With so many people milling about, I decided to err on the side of caution.

Research has concluded that masks have helped reduce contagion by reducing droplets being sprayed into the air during flu season; and infectious-disease specialist Anthony Fauci has said the White House’s coronavirus task force is considering giving the public the green light to wear them.

N95 medical-grade masks help filter viruses larger than 0.1 micrometers.

N95 masks filter viruses larger than 0.1 micrometers (a micrometer, um, is one millionth of a meter). The coronavirus is 0.125 micrometer. Still, I would not wear an N95. They’re needed elsewhere. And if I am asymptomatic? If I can avoid passing on one droplet while reaching for the chicken giblets, I will.

Proponents of face masks also point to countries in East and Southeast Asia, including South Korea and Taiwan, which appear to have slowed the spread of the coronavirus more effectively than the U.S., Spain and Italy have. But they also have other safety measures, including early testing, in place.

I wore gloves because studies have found that shopping carts are traditionally covered in all kinds of germs, just like subway poles and turnstiles, or anything else that lots of people touch on a regular basis. I constantly lose my gloves, alas. But I have adopted a wartime thrift: I wear odd pairs with pride.

I did not bring alcohol wipes. Next time, I will at least bring Clorox

CLX, +2.05%

wipes in a Ziploc bag. I tell myself every 15 minutes to wash my hands as soon as I get home both before and after I put the groceries away. “When you get home, Quentin, WASH YOUR HANDS.” (Point No. 2.)

Shopping carts are covered in all kinds of germs, just like subway poles.

Here’s the other reason I wore a ridiculous balaclava: It’s not comfortable, it reminds me that we’re dealing with a serious health emergency, it covers almost my entire head, and — here’s the science bit — I am constantly reminded: DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. (That’s No. 3.)

If you take anything away from this, rather than becoming embroiled in a heated debate on face masks, take that. Coronavirus can survive longer on a solid surface than on a pair of gloves, but it can live for a time on different surfaces, so I try to be aware that it could be on my gloves, too.

Growing up in Ireland in the 1980s during the Troubles, and living in London during the 1990s, swanning around in a balaclava would have been a risky proposition, especially with an Irish accent. But during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic with my now transoceanic twang, I think I’ll be OK.

As an editor, I play devil’s advocate with my writers, push back and ask questions. It helps to be a little paranoid. I’m putting a life skill to good use. The coronavirus pandemic is a time when germaphobes (check), quirky paranoid types (check) and workaholics (check) come into their own.

I took my time, and I stayed 6 feet away from others whenever possible.

But here’s the other thing I learned during My Day at the Supermarket: Shopping can be stressful under these conditions. It’s good to be a cautious — and a smart — shopper. I usually want to get in and out in double-quick time, but I decided to be careful and take my time.

What’s more, I enjoyed it. Everything I could have done to minimize my chances of picking up COVID-19, I did. I stayed 6 feet away from others, whenever possible, including my shopping partner. We did not go at rush hour. I talked to staff and other customers.

Everyone is freaked out. Friendly banter puts me and, I hope, others at ease. A nice woman recommended the London broil. I read peer-reviewed studies — not Facebook

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 posts. I choose caremongering over scaremongering because FEAR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. (Point No. 4.)

There is no evidence linking coronavirus transmission with food or food packaging. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., suggests that viruses would survive better on “artificial fibers” such as plastic or polyester.

Viruses survive better on artificial fibers such as plastic, vinyl and polyester.

This, too, might help: Sarah Fortune, a professor who chairs the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that while health-care workers might have to worry about their clothes, we should not.

But here’s the deal: If you want to change clothes or wear a mask, do it. TRUST YOUR GUT. (Point No. 5.)

As my self-quarantining friend told me the other day on the phone, “Quentin, I’m 95! Do you think I’m scared of coronavirus?” But that doesn’t mean she’s standing in line at the supermarket, either.

If you are concerned about going to the grocery store, imagine what it’s like for those who work there. I told every staff member I spoke to at Fairway, “Thank you for working today.” They need to hear that. Customers must be frazzled, and a frazzled customer is often not a gentle or happy customer.

I also got something I couldn’t buy at any store or pharmacy. Getting out of the house for a couple of hours was a great tonic. I didn’t see Yoko Ono rummaging through the vegetables at Fairway — I did see her there once, and I left her to it — but I did meet another friend outside, from 6 feet away.

If you’re nervous about shopping, imagine what it’s like for the staff.

We had two weeks’ worth, maybe more, of groceries — including bottles, cans, six-packs of kitchen roll, liters of milk, jars of this, that and the other — and they were heavy. I walked one block, and we had a few more to go. I spotted an abandoned cart on the street corner. “We’ll return it,” I said. “Later!”

I quickly piled the groceries into the cart and pushed it across four traffic lanes on Broadway. We’re in the middle of a national emergency, after all; if the cops stopped me, I’d simply tell them the truth. Thank you, NYPD, first responders and health professionals, and thank you, Fairway Market.

As I headed down Amsterdam with the speed of a clanking, yet nutritious, bullet, a man ran out of a jewelry store in pursuit of another man. “People are dying, and you try to steal something from my store? You motherf—!” Ah, yes. There are always folks with bigger problems than mine.

It was a good day in Manhattan. To quote that opening line from the postwar film noir, “The Naked City”: “There are 8 million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” My 95-year-old friend would have been 23 when that film was released. She, too, has more stories to tell.

This essay is part of a MarketWatch series, ‘Dispatches from a pandemic.’

MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto

Voices from around the world.



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Online dating amid coronavirus: Longer chats and fewer new prospects, Match says


As COVID-19 has spread across the globe, online daters are having longer conversations but finding fewer new dating prospects, Match Group Inc. said Tuesday, which is leading to a change in strategy.

The new chief executive of Match Group

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 — which owns Tinder, Match.com and other online-dating properties — wrote a letter about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that was posted Tuesday on the company’s website and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In it, she said that the length of Tinder users’ conversations increased 10% to 30% after the virus struck their countries, but services were struggling to attract new users (especially those older than 30) and paying subscribers in countries hit hard by infections.

“In Europe, we’ve seen new subscriber declines of around 5% in aggregate since the crisis began, but in countries severely impacted by COVID-19, like Italy and Spain, we have seen more significant declines,” CEO Shar Dubey wrote. “In the U.S., the impact also depends on the level of cases in the region and varies by brand. For example, Tinder in New York State has seen low double-digit declines in new subscribers since the outbreak accelerated, but much of the rest of the country has held up much better.”

See also: This is why loneliness and dating apps are such a bad match

As a result, Dubey said that Match was looking to “pivot” to quickly add video chat to more of its services. Dubey said Match had begun rolling out video chat on two services, Plenty of Fish and Twoo, and that usage had “exceeded our expectations.” The company now plans to roll out one-on-one video-chat services on its namesake Match.com service in early April.

“As nearly every aspect of our lives is now conducted via video, singles are also becoming increasingly comfortable with video dates, and we are integrating video chat into our apps,” she wrote. “We have offered video chat features in the past and seen low usage, but we think this time user behavior is likely to change more permanently.”

Match did not mention any plans for video on Tinder, its mobile-focused dating app. A spokeswoman said that the company had nothing to add beyond the letter.

The company also did not mention if it plans to charge for any video-chat offerings as part of subscription services like Tinder Gold, which have powered much of Match Group’s gains in recent years. Earlier this month, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth cut his target for Match’s 2020 revenue by 15% because he expected to see “less social interaction likely weighing on dating subscriptions, which are largely month-to-month & easy to turn on and off.”

Jefferies analysts raised their price target after the news Tuesday, because Dubey said that Match’s first-quarter results would likely come in at the low end of the company’s guidance range, which called for sales of $545 million to $555 million. The analysts wrote that performance was better than feared, and the letter suggested Match “was likely on pace to exceed 1Q expectations prior to the COVID dynamic.”

“No recession in love,” they wrote, while bumping the target to $74 from $65.

Read: More people meet online than through friends or family or work

The letter also noted that the company’s divorce from parent company IAC/Interactive Corp.

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 is on track to be completed in the second quarter, but the pandemic could impact that as well.

Match stock declined 19.6% to a market cap of roughly $18.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020 as the novel coronavirus spread across the globe, roughly in line with an 18.7% decline for the S&P 500 index

SPX, -1.60%

 . Shares fell 2.1% in late trading Tuesday. No analysts tracked by FactSet suggest selling the stock, with 10 rating it a buy and eight rating the shares as a hold.



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Outspoken Wall Street bond whiz says the stock market is acting ‘dysfunctional’ and may hit rock bottom once we take out March’s low


Jeffrey Gundlach on Tuesday said that the worst isn’t over for the stock market, after a brutal quarter that left the Dow with its worst decline in the first three months of a calendar year in its 124-year history.

Speaking during a webcast, the DoubleLine Capital founder said that the stock market remains “dysfunctional” from his perspective, indicating that the market may put in a more “enduring low,” once the March 23 nadir for stocks is “taken out.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

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 on March 23 finished at 18,591.93, its lowest close since Nov. 9, 2016, which left it with a pullback of more than 37% from its all-time closing high set in February. The S&P 500

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, on the same day, ended at 2,237.40, its lowest close since Dec. 6, 2016, marking a nearly 34% pullback from its record finish.

From that point, the indexes then began a rebound that saw the Dow log its biggest three-day gain since 1931, and many strategists have speculated that the worst may be over for stocks after President Donald Trump last week signed the more-than-$2 trillion relief package and the Federal Reserve has rolled out a barrage of stimulus measures to ease gummed-up parts of the financial market.

Read: April poses crucial stock-market test as coronavirus promises ‘blizzard of bad news’

Gundlach speculated that the market could slide lower still. “I would bet that will get taken out,” he said, referencing the March nadir.

A day after the March low, the DoubleLine CEO speculated that the S&P 500 could jump to 2,700 before the coronavirus relief package was signed into law.

The S&P 500 hit an intraday March 24 peak at 2,637.01, but has mostly been retreating since then.

At the beginning of March, the Los Angeles bond-fund manager offered what turned out to be sage advice, recommending that investors stay in cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

He advised investors back then to pay attention to the economic data that will reveal the damage wrought by COVID-19, which has so far caused a near-global shutdown as governments across the world attempt to mitigate the spread of the deadly infection, which has been contracted by more than 850,000 people and killed 42,000 so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Gundlach said watching the direction of weekly U.S. jobless claims data, along with consumer confidence, could be helpful in seeing how households — the linchpin of the economy — are holding up.

Weekly jobless claims reported on Thursday were the worst in history, surging to 3.28 million people seeking unemployment benefits.

On Tuesday, Trump attempted to underscore to Americans that the road ahead will be a tough one, noting that we are facing a “very, very painful two weeks,” during a daily coronavirus news briefing. “This is going to be a rough two-week period,” the president said.

On Tuesday, stocks, slammed by uncertainty surrounding the illness, ended sharply lower, with the Dow marking its worst quarterly performance since 1987, the S&P 500 index marking its sharpest quarterly fall since 2008 and the Nasdaq Composite Index

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  notching its worst quarterly slide since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Read: Only one stock in the Dow rose during the first quarter — and it was up by only one penny





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On Equal Pay Day, a reminder that some women get paid less than men — even on the front lines of coronavirus


Women are more likely than men to work in industries substantially affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute — whether on the front lines of patient care or in sectors walloped by social distancing-mandated closures.

And on Tuesday, Equal Pay Day, it’s worth noting that many of these working women still make less money on average than their male counterparts, added EPI, a left-leaning Washington, D.C., think tank. Equal Pay Day marks the point in the year when the average woman’s earnings catch up to what the average man earned in the previous year: Women made about 22.6% less than men in 2019, after controlling for demographic factors.

Some 33.4% of employed women work in the health-care and social-assistance industry, currently overburdened by an influx of COVID-19 cases, as well as in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has been brought to a near-halt by closures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, according to EPI’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That’s compared to only 15.7% of employed men.

“Women employed in both industries experience a gender wage gap,” wrote Valerie Wilson, director of the EPI’s program on race, ethnicity and the economy.

What’s more, more than one in five employed women work in health care and social assistance, the analysis found, with black women more likely than women of other races and ethnicities to work in a hospital or nursing-care facility.

But despite their likelihood of interacting with patients on the front lines of the pandemic, female physicians and surgeons make nearly 12% less than their male counterparts, according to EPI. Female registered nurses make almost 8% less than their male counterparts.

Within the leisure and hospitality industry, women who work as wait staff and as desk clerks at hotels, motels and resorts also face gender wage gaps of 12% and 11%, respectively.

“While most men and women employed as restaurant wait staff and hotel workers earn modest hourly wages, the existence of a gender wage gap — and thus the elevated financial insecurity these women workers face — means that women in this industry are especially financially vulnerable in the event that they are out of work or on a severely reduced work schedule for an extended period of time,” Wilson wrote.

An earlier analysis by the Pew Research Center found that industries at greater risk of coronavirus-related job loss — like restaurants, retail trade and transportation services — counted “slightly” more women in their ranks (19.4 million women versus 18.7 million men).

Meanwhile, a “gender pay scorecard” of 50 major U.S. companies released this week by the investment firm Arjuna Capital and Proxy Impact, a shareholder-advocacy and proxy voting service, found that only Starbucks

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 , Citigroup

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  and Mastercard

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  pulled “A” grades; a full 25 of the companies received failing grades.

The scorecard ranked “quantitative disclosures (not qualitative assurances), commitments to report numbers annually, global coverage, and goals to close the gender pay gap.”

Reached for comment, a Starbucks spokeswoman said that “pay equity has long been a priority at Starbucks, and we’ve done serious work to ensure women and men are compensated fairly.”

A Mastercard spokeswoman referred MarketWatch to an earlier statement by executive vice chair Ann Cairns: “It’s essential for our business that we foster a workplace where all employees feel valued, respected and empowered to reach their greatest potential. That includes equal pay for equal work.”

A Citi spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the report.

Equal Pay Day for all women falls on March 31 this year, but there are additional observances for women of different races and ethnicities, depending on how far into the new year they must work on average to catch up with a white male worker’s earnings from the previous year. Equal Pay Today, a project of the gender-justice organization Equal Rights Advocates, offers a full list here.



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