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

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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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NYC’s rich are paying limo drivers to deliver their mail to their Hamptons beach houses


Talk about first-class mail.

A Manhattan limousine company has found a way to drive up some revenue now that the COVID-19 pandemic has pumped the brakes on car service around New York City: Have its drivers chauffeur their elite clientele’s mail and packages from their posh city penthouses to their Hamptons beach houses, where they’ve fled to self-isolate in style.

“I had to be innovative,” Mark Vigliante, the president of M&V Limousine Limited, told Vice. “There wasn’t a choice. This was it. I had to work. Plus, you can only have so much family time, you know?”

Vigliante, who also owns Hampton Luxury Liner, an upscale bus service that would normally be ferrying people between Manhattan and Long Island, said that for “hundreds of dollars,” his drivers will pick up customers’ mail from their Upper East Side and Upper West Side apartments, and bring them to their homes out on the shore.

“It’s a limo service for your things.”

He told Vice that this pop-up pandemic Tony Express now makes up 30% of Hampton Luxury Liner’s business, which has allowed him to keep up to 15% of his drivers employed — even as millions of Americans have lost their jobs, particularly in the travel, hospitality and service industry, as social-distancing guidelines have closed bars, restaurants, gyms and retailers for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a lot of mail and a lot of packages. It’s a lot of groceries, too, and luggage,” Vigliante said. “Some of it’s more odd. One dude had us transport a bicycle.”

Now he’s got his limousines and Cadillacs offering same-day delivery on anything that can fit in the trunk. His drivers wear gloves, he says, and the cars are also sanitized.

“To be honest with you, if it keeps going well, we’ll probably keep doing it after things get better,” he added.

Perhaps the rich don’t realize that the United States Postal Service already offers this service — and for just $1.05?

A quick Google search for “how to forward your mail” takes you to the USPS site, where with just a few clicks, and forking over a buck and change, you can redirect your mail and your packages to a permanent or temporary new address. You can use this “regular” forwarding service for as short as 15 days, or as long as one year. It can take a seven to 10 business days to process your mail-forwarding request, however, so there could be a couple of weeks where your mail will continue going to the old address, and it would indeed be useful to have someone pick it up for you.

Or you can lay out some extra money for the “premium” USPS forwarding service; the post office will hold your mail for a week at a time, package it, and then ship the bundle to you each week via its Priority Mail service. There’s a $21.90 enrollment fee in person ($20.10 if you enroll online), and then you pay $21.90 for each week of service; it’s still a bargain compared to the “hundreds” spent to get it delivered by limo. You can use this service for a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of one year.

And if you move while you’re still expecting some online orders to come in, you can sometimes change the address on your Amazon

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Walmart

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 and Target

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 deliveries if they haven’t been fully processed or shipped yet.

The USPS also shared a coronavirus update last week, noting it has a dedicated COVID-19 Command Response team that’s focused on keeping the mail service running, and while keeping postal workers safe. It also assured the public that there is currently no evidence from the World Health Organization or CDC that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.



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‘I’m not against releasing the restrictions,’ says Dr. Anthony Fauci, of areas of U.S. with low rates of coronavirus infection


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is “not against releasing restrictions” in certain parts of the country.

Fauci also said the country could experience “between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths and “millions of cases” of coronavirus. But he added “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.”

Loosening restrictions would mean reopening schools and other businesses that were forced to close as a result of strict social-distancing measures. It would be dangerous, however, to remove some of the restrictions unless there is adequate testing to get “people out of circulation who are infected,” said Fauci, a key expert serving on the White House’s coronavirus task force.

“If you release the restrictions, before you have a good eyeball on what’s going on there, you’re going to get in trouble,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “So I’m not against releasing the restrictions — I’m actually for it in an appropriate place — but I don’t recommend that unless we have the tools in place.”

This comes as President Donald Trump floated the notion Saturday of a mandatory enforceable quarantine in New York City and much of the surrounding tri-state area only to have the idea called unworkable by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Instead the administration issued a travel advisory Saturday night urging people to refrain from all nonessential travel in the region.

Fauci said he had not wanted Trump to issue an enforceable quarantine, saying that it “would be a bigger difficulty, morale- and otherwise.”

Some 56% of all of the new infections in the country are coming from the greater New York City area, now deemed the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, Fauci said. As of Sunday morning, there were more than 32,308 cases of coronavirus in New York City. That accounts for more than half of the state’s 52,318 total cases, according to data from the New York Department of Health.

“What you don’t want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country, and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals. We felt the better part of way to do this would be a advisory, as opposed to a very strict quarantine.”

Social-distancing measures to “flatten the curve,” or rein in the rapid spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, first identified late last year in China, have had a direct negative impact on the U.S. economy. Restaurants, hotels and other small business that rely on foot-traffic have been forced layoff workers.

Read: Emerency-loan program for small businesses will be up and running this week, say Kudlow and Mnuchin

The most recent jobless-claims data showed that a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Loosening the restrictions that are now in place would allow more people to return to work but could, warn public health experts, cost lives.

See: A loophole for construction workers shows how confusing ‘stay at home’ regulations are

That’s partially why Fauci said he is in favor of lifting restrictions only once there is evidence from widespread that shows the risk is relatively minimal. “We don’t neglect other areas of the country, where it looks like they’re just relatively few infections, because we have a window of opportunity there to get out there and test.”

Across the country, COVID-19 had infected at least 124,763 people in the U.S. by Sunday morning, exceeding the number of confirmed cases in both China and Italy, and killed at least 2,191, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

Read on: Trump wants his signature to appear on coronavirus stimulus checks





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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

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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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