China has said it will leave healthy people in Wuhan starting April 8, easing the blockade around the initial center of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of recently reported cases in the United States has increased.
Over the past week, China has reported several days without new domestic infections. The United States reported over 13,000 new infections on Monday alone. More than 392,700 people have been infected worldwide and 17,159 have died from Covid-19, the pneumonialeke disease caused by the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins …
Dealing with a sudden and harmful financial event such as a reduction in working hours is quite difficult. Doing it in the midst of a global pandemic, while new cases of COVID-19 emerge daily and the major cities of the United States essentially closed, can be overwhelming. But if that is where you are now, or you fear that you may soon, using your credit cards strategically could help you overcome.
To be sure, credit cards have their own costs, risks and limitations. It is possible to accumulate high interest debt, which can put you in a more precarious financial situation. If you already feel overwhelmed by credit card debt, adding more may not be an option. Seeing if you qualify for a credit card difficulty program instead might be a good move.
Credit cards can keep someone afloat for so long. Eventually the debt has to be repaid, so they are not a solution to a permanent loss of income. But when faced with a short-term interruption of your earning power – shortening of hours, loss of tips or temporary layoffs – they can be an accessible way to get through the storm while keeping costs down. That’s how.
1. Preserve cash
If you have limited cash, you may need it for essential expenses that you cannot pay with credit, such as rent or mortgage or, in some cases, utilities. Using a credit card for other purchases allows you to fluctuate these costs in order to extend your cash reserves.
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Taking month-to-month debt typically means paying interest, so this flexibility comes at a cost. However, if you have paid your credit card bills up to now, you can purchase some interest-free time by making use of your grace period. When you pay the full balance of your bank statement, new purchases will not start collecting interest until the expiration date of your next bank statement. This means that you can get 50 or more interest-free days between the purchase and payment: 30 days in a typical billing cycle, plus 21-25 days between the end of the cycle and the due date.
What to know: Grace periods have some limitations. They apply only to purchases, not to balancing transfers or cash advances, which will generally begin to accrue interest immediately. Also, if you don’t pay all the balances in full in the previous billing cycle, there is no grace period. Purchases will begin accruing interest on the day they are processed, unless you have an APR offer of 0%.
2. Purchase time, sometimes 0%
In a crisis, income can fall off a cliff without warning as expenses continue to pile up. Credit cards can distribute that impact, “flattening the curve” of your spending and giving you time to adjust. This may in particular mitigate the blow from occasional or infrequent expenses that you might otherwise have paid all at once, such as a repair bill.
However, it is not ideal to carry credit card balances with high interest rates if you can avoid it. Over time, accrued interest can accumulate and make debt more difficult to manage. If you have good credit, consider getting a credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases; many of these have interest-free periods of a year or more.
What to know: Even with an APR 0% credit card, you will still have to pay at least the minimum every month. Typically, you will also need good or excellent credit (credit scores of 690 or higher) to qualify for a card with an introductory APR offer of 0% on purchases. If you are unable to qualify for a 0% APR card, you will have to pay regular interest rates, which could increase your debt.
3. Reduction of the cost of existing debt
When money is tight, debt with high interest rates, such as old credit card balances, can get out of control. In some cases, interest charges can be so high that paying the minimum hardly affects the balances.
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To pump the brakes on interest, consider a balance transfer and debt shift on a card with 0% APR on balance transfers. With such a card, you will potentially have a year or more to pay off this interest-free debt. This gives you the flexibility to focus on other more pressing short-term financial obligations.
What to know: Generally you need a good or excellent credit to qualify for the best balance transfer cards. And moving the debt isn’t usually free; most credit cards charge balance transfer fees from 3% to 5%.
Sometimes, issuers also offer balance transfer offers to existing cardholders. For example, you may receive convenience checks from an issuer by post which are counted as balance transfers and delivered with a lower APR (if not 0%, at least less than what you are paying for). If you are unable to qualify for a new card, check your email, regular mail or online account portal for offers like these. And as always, make sure you understand the terms before making your request.
A U.S. military operation saved an American woman from an unspecified danger in Honduras and was reunited with her family, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday.
The head of defense, speaking at a Pentagon press conference, declined to offer details of the operation or the circumstances that led to it, as well as saying that the woman was the victim of a violent crime.
Health officials around the world are issuing warnings on the use of antimalarial drugs after President Trump’s comments on the treatment of coronavirus with them triggered panic and overdose purchases.
In recent days, thousands of consumers across Africa and southern Asia have rushed to accumulate chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs that are usually used to fight malaria, aspirate supplies in cities in developing countries, send prices skyrocketing and panic alarming local authorities.
In the U.S. and some other developed countries, meanwhile, some doctors have started prescribing coronavirus medications, sparking heated ethical debates because their effectiveness has not yet been proven in large-scale clinical trials.
At issue, health officials said, is how to reconcile the pace of rigorous scientific research with the exponential spread of the infection.
“There is no known dosage for Covid-19 and if it can actually cure it, it is safer to avoid chloroquine,” said Dr. Chris Kaganda, a Ugandan public health expert, referring to the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. “But you know these are desperate times.”
The Nigerian government said on Saturday that three people were hospitalized after an overdose of chloroquine, while pharmacies in Lagos, the largest city on the continent with 20 million people, reported running out of supplies.
Similar panic scenes took place in Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Morocco. Chloroquine also ran out of pharmacies across Pakistan, according to those seeking the drug.
Chloroquine drugs are common in Africa, which accounts for 92% of malaria cases worldwide. The drugs can be purchased over the counter without a prescription and are also used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
President Trump said at a White House meeting last week that he had told the Food and Drug Administration to speed up the study and use of the “very powerful” chloroquine to treat coronavirus. The president doubled on Saturday, publishing on his Twitter feed that hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin “taken together” could be “one of the biggest changes in the history of medicine” and urged them to be deployed “IMMEDIATELY”.
Trump’s claims immediately started trending on social media across Africa. In Nigeria, which reported 22 virus cases, stocks and hospitalizations forced health officials to warn citizens of self-medication with the drug. The National Center for Disease Control said the World Health Organization has not approved the use of the drug against the virus.
The antimalarial drugs chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine both showed early signs of improvement in the symptoms of some patients diagnosed with Covid-19, based on reports from doctors and researchers in South Korea, France and China.
In France, interest in antimalarial drugs increased last week after a French professor published a study showing that 100% of patients infected with coronavirus and treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin antibiotic were cured after six days. The percentage of patients recovered was 70% for those treated with hydroxychloroquine only and 12.5% for those who had not received any treatment, the study showed.
Although the study had a very limited scope – it included only 30 patients – prof. Didier Raoult from France said he chose to publish the results because of the urgent need for an effective coronavirus drug.
Among his patients was the French legislator Valérie Boyer. “He has known the doctor for a long time and trusts him,” said Maxence Jouve, Mrs Boyer’s parliamentary assistant. She is still weak, but she is doing better and was sent home a few days ago, she added.
Inserm, a research institute affiliated to the French ministry of health, said Sunday that it had added hydroxychloroquine to a list of experimental treatments it will test as part of a larger European study.
But while experts have warned that there is still no scientific evidence that the drug is effective against the virus, some doctors say they cannot wait for the results of clinical trials.
Christian Perronne, a French doctor, said he had started prescribing hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients in a hospital near Paris, explaining that it was all he had to fight against the pathogen.
“We have a drug that is not expensive, well tolerated and seems to work well enough. We will wait until there are more deaths before we say” Isn’t it really bad? “, He said. “Until we find something better, we have to use it. We have to try. We practice military medicine. “
In the United States, hospital orders for chloroquine increased 3000% from March 1-17 compared to typical demand, according to
one of the largest group purchasing organizations in the United States for drugs and other hospital supplies. During the same period, orders for hydroxychloroquine increased by 260% compared to typical demand.
Chloroquine, approved for Americans in the 1940s, and hydroxychloroquine, emitted in green light over the next decade, are also prescribed for patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Drugs are considered relatively safe for most people although chloroquine is slightly more toxic.
Pharmacists who fill out prescriptions for patients taking drugs for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis have had difficulty finding them in the past few weeks.
While manufacturers have announced plans to increase production, both drugs are listed in shortages, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The United States FDA does not list them failing.
The number of coronavirus cases in Africa, the second most populous continent in the world, is still lower than Monday in Europe, Asia and the United States, but is starting to rise rapidly. Confirmed infections have increased to over 1,200 in 42 countries. That’s almost double the number in a third of more countries since Friday.
The use of chloroquine for the treatment of malaria has decreased significantly in recent years in many African nations due to the high levels of resistance, experts say. In recent days, however, panic for coronavirus has sent many people to the pharmacy for drugs.
Bony Okwale, an electrician in Uganda who saw a video of President Trump’s coronavirus speech last week, spent the weekend fighting pharmacies in Kampala, the capital. It was not until Sunday that the 25-year-old managed to get the drug from a pharmacy in a nearby suburb.
“I wanted to buy two packages, but the pharmacist had limited sales to one,” he said. “The queue was long, I had to wait about two hours.”
Write to Joe Parkinson at email@example.com and David Gauthier-Villars at David.Gauthier-Villars@wsj.com
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Kabul on an urgent and unannounced diplomatic rescue mission Monday, but left eight hours later without a breakthrough in his attempt to bridge a political divide that undermined U.S. efforts to get out all American troops from Afghanistan.
Pompeo sought to instill fresh momentum in negotiations with the Taliban who got stuck after the Trump administration signed an agreement with the militant group, establishing a timetable for the United States to withdraw all military forces and end its long term. ..
LONDON – At the beginning of March, Europeans became much more somber about their economic prospects when governments across the continent announced increasingly stringent restrictions on movements and social interaction, suffering the greatest loss of confidence in one month.
The European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – said Monday that its extent of consumer sentiment in the euro area in 19 countries plummeted to minus 11.6 from minus 6.6 in February, the largest drop in a month since the series began in 1985.
“The real situation is not as terrible as you imagine.” “
This is Michael Levitt, Stanford’s Nobel laureate and biophysicist, who provided his optimistic view of the coronavirus pandemic to the Los Angeles Times over the weekend.
Levitt was credited with correctly calling in advance that China would overcome the worst of its devastating outbreak before many other health experts predicted.
On January 31st, China had 46 new deaths compared to 42 the day before, which Levitt acknowledged as a slowdown in the growth rate. So he sent an optimistic report.
“This suggests that the rate of increase in the death toll will slow down even further over the next week,” he said in a widely shared note on Chinese social media. Levitt, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013, also said that the death toll will soon begin to drop every day.
Eventually he nailed his appeal for a peak in mid-February with a total count of around 80,000 cases and 3,250 deaths. As of March 16, China had counted a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths – in a country of nearly 1.4 billion people where around 10 million people die each year.
He has a similar vision for the United States.
“What we need is to control panic … we’ll be fine,” he said, adding that the data doesn’t support the darkness and the epidemiologist of fate warned.
Levitt looked at statistics from 78 countries with over 50 reported cases of COVID-19 every day and sees “signs of recovery”, focusing on the number of new cases, not the cumulative figure.
“The numbers are still noisy but there are clear signs of slowing growth,” he told Times L.A., arguing that the trajectory of deaths in the United States confirms his findings, however.
There are now 35,224 cases and 471 deaths in the United States, as of Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Friday afternoon, there were 16,018 cases and 210 deaths.
Levitt said that social distancing mandates and flu vaccination are both critical to the fight against spread. The strong Italian anti-vaccine movement, he explained, probably played a role in the explosion of cases, because the spread of influenza has probably been a factor in overwhelming hospitals and increasing the chances that the coronavirus will not be detected.
He blames the media for triggering panic by focusing on the increase in cumulative cases and highlighting celebrities, such as Tom Hanks and Idris Elba, who have been infected.
Levitt is also concerned that an overreaction could trigger another crisis, with jobs lost and desperation creating their own set of problems, such as an increase in the suicide rate.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank president James Bullard said on Sunday he saw the US unemployment rate hitting 30% in the coming months as the world continues to face the coronavirus pandemic. If its projection turned out to be true, unemployment would be worse than it was during the Great Depression and three times worse than the 2007-2009 recession.
While those headlines of that type continue to spread fear, Levitt attacks his simple message: the coronavirus pandemic is not “the end of the world”.
Governments around the world are increasingly imposing mandatory restrictions on residents to force people to keep away from each other, intensifying efforts to slow the global spread of coronavirus while cases exceed 350,000.
New Zealand said it would impose a blockade and move to the highest alert level, closing schools on Tuesday. Colombia has ordered a three-week blockade nationwide and sealed its borders. India has initiated a blockade on a number of states and Australia has imposed the closure of restaurants and bars …
It will be worse before it gets better – much worse, according to Scott Minerd.
Guggenheim Partners’ global chief investment officer says investors continue to hold hope in many sectors, and this could be a sign that the worst hasn’t gone through a market that has had a beat in the past month.
“Since we have not yet seen the capitulation, it would be premature to aggressively take action and buy at current levels, whether it be stocks or credit activities.” “
Minerd offered some sad insights for his customers in a Sunday research report, published during the period when the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass a bailout package to help companies and individuals in difficulty navigate the pandemic. global that has brought economies around the world to a sharp halt.
“Since we have not yet seen the capitulation, it would be premature to aggressively intervene and buy at current levels, whether it be stocks or credit activities,” said Minerd.
Minerd said that the turmoil that the markets are facing now is a combination of the viral epidemic exacerbated by companies and investors who have resolved the debt in a rapid sequence to readjust the new reality caused by the onset of the deadly pathogen, which it has infected with more than 335,000 people and have caused nearly 15,000 casualties worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“The turmoil we are seeing right now is the result of this leveraging,” wrote Minerd.
In his report, Minerd reiterated that the United States government and the Federal Reserve, in particular, need to allocate substantially more than they have already arranged to correct dislocations in financial markets and contain the economic blow resulting from the rapid spread of COVID- 19.
He explained the market situation and possible Fed strategies in this way:
To get a foundation under the markets we will need something very large, something in the $ 2 trillion range in the form of a pool of liquidity that can be quickly made available to the companies and businesses that need it along with funding facilities from $ 2 to $ 4 trillion from the Fed. A facility like this will be much more efficient than a targeted, time-consuming approach to attempting to design bailouts.
Similar comments were made by Minerd on Wednesday and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
“That’s why I said we would need to see around 4.5 trillion dollars in quantitative easing (QE),” he said, adding that those funds would come in addition to all the measures that the American central bank has taken so far. , including a structure for the recently unrolled commercial paper market.
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Fed will play a key role in lending funds to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“By working with the Federal Reserve – we will have up to $ 4 trillion in cash that we can use to support the economy,” Mnuchin told Fox News on Sunday.
‘I’m not betting on a global depression, but I’m saying that for the first time in the post-war era we are really getting too close for comfort.’ “
Minerd said that the Fed’s funding efforts could bring its budget to at least $ 9 trillion, or about 40% of 2019’s gross domestic product.
The investor said that areas of the financial market, ranging from airline leasing to guaranteed loan obligations, are in poor shape, but have not yet hit bottom.
“Interestingly, aircraft securitisations have not entered the realm of prices that would be appropriate,” he said, referring to the damage that the travel and airline industry suffers as a result of ongoing global shutdowns due to the coronavirus.
As for the epidemic that is spreading around the world, Minerd said that extrapolating from the trajectory that the epidemic took in Wuhan, China, where it originated, the United States has been able to see substantially more coronavirus cases within a month.
At the end of Sunday, there were 33,000 cases of infections with the new coronavirus strain in the United States, and he predicted that there may be around 2 million infected people in the United States in the next 30 days.
“This tells us that our life patterns will not return to normal in the next 30 days, mainly because we have not yet blocked the whole country,” wrote Minerd.
So can Washington lawmakers save the market or the economy early? Minerd said not to hold his breath, because even if Capitol Hill were to pass a bailout bill, it could take months to eventually bring about calm in the economy and market.
For this reason, he says that “buying the plunge”, or market downturns, a practice that has proven profitable in the past two years until this recent bout of stomach upset volatility could be a foolish commission.
“Even if Congress approves all the necessary legislation, we should expect the market to be vulnerable for another six months,” he wrote.
“This means that” buying the plunge “in the expectation that Congress will pass something soon is probably not a prudent investment strategy,” he said.
So far, the markets have been in freefall, with the industrial average of Dow Jones DJIA, -4.54%,
the S&P 500 index SPX, -4.33%