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Coronavirus Crisis: Second U.S. death, new cases in Florida and New York, and the Louvre closes

In a special edition of the Morning Rundown, Dr. John Torres, NBC News Medical Correspondent, weighs in on what to watch from a public health perspective.
Image: Crowds wearing protective masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are seen at the Shinagawa station in Tokyo
Crowds wearing protective masks at the Shinagawa railway station in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday.Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

During the coronavirus crisis, the newsletter is going to be dedicated to bringing readers the latest news and analysis on the issue from our experts in the field.

This morning Dr. John Torres, NBC News Medical Correspondent, weighs in from a medical point of view, while NBC News Business Correspondent Ali Velshi tells us what economic indicators he'll have his eye on when the markets open.

We've also got the latest on Joe Biden's South Carolina win, Pete Buttigieg dropping out of the race and what it all means for Super Tuesday.

Here's what we're watching at the start of what's sure to be a busy news week.


Coronavirus: More diagnostic tests could spell a jump in U.S. cases

We asked Dr. Torres to tell us what issues he'll be looking at as the week begins. Here's what he sent in:

"Over the weekend we heard about other cases of possible community spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. This rise in cases is consistent with what government and public health experts have been predicting.

Today, we’re looking to get more information about how local agencies will be getting more diagnostic test kits.

This could increase the amount of cases detected around the country. Although that might look like the virus is spreading at a faster rate, it’s more likely the result of better testing.

Meanwhile, as much alarm as there is over the outbreaks in Europe, at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, where I attended the El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Sunday, 81,000 fans seemed to care only about football. There was no mention of coronavirus and I counted only a handful of people wearing masks."


As markets open, what to watch this week

We also asked Ali Velshi, NBC Business Correspondent and MSNBC anchor, what he’ll be watching as global markets open Monday morning. Here’s what he had to say:

“What I’m looking for this week is whether investors struggle with the sell-off, as they did last week, or whether there is panic selling — which we haven’t yet seen.

I don’t typically get too concerned with swings below the 3 percent range, although multiple drops of 3 percent or more in the course of a week (like last week) are concerning.

Keep in mind we came nowhere near the top 10 biggest percentage drops on major markets last week. We’d have to drop close to 8 percent in one day, or 18.5 percent in one week to even be in the record-breaking game.

The biggest single day drop was 22.6 percent in the crash of 1987. By contrast we lost a little more than 10 percent last week. Nothing to sneeze at, but this isn’t panic selling.

If trading DOES get that serious (feel free to follow me @alivelshi for alerts). The New York Stock Exchange has mechanisms called 'circuit breakers' which act exactly like circuit breakers — they kill all of the energy going through the system to allow for a reset.

These are particularly important in an age where automated algorithmic trading is responsible for so much of the frenetic activity. The circuit breakers allow humans to intervene and slow the pace.

If the S&P 500 falls 7 percent, trading stops for 15 minutes. If it drops 13 percent, it stops for another 15 minutes, and if it drops 20 percent, trading is halted for the day.

I don’t expect any of that to happen this coming week, but there are two words you should know: correction and bear market."

See more of what Velshi had to say about those economic terms and the whispers about the big R-word: recession.


Second coronavirus death in U.S. as Florida declares health emergency, NYC reports 1st case

A second person has died in Washington state from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, health officials said Sunday.

The man, who was in his 70s, had underlying health conditions, they said.

The announcement came one day after officials said a man in his 50s in Kirkland, east of Seattle, died after contracting the disease through community spread, the term used when there is no known source of transmission.

The deaths in Washington state come as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency Sunday after officials reported two presumptive cases there.

The cases must still be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but DeSantis said the declaration was necessary to control the virus.

New York State also reported its first case, saying Sunday that a woman is quarantined in her home in Manhattan after contracting the virus during a recent trip to Iran.

While the scale of the problem in the U.S. grows, Democrats and Trump officials continue to clash over the response to it.

Meantime, the number of cases in mainland China has topped 80,000.

A murder probe is being sought in South Korea for the Christian sect at the center of the outbreak that has infected more than 4,200 people and killed 22 there.

In Europe, Amazon said it was "supporting" two employees in Milan, Italy, who tested positive for coronavirus. Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, has so far reported 1,694 confirmed cases and 34 people have died.

In Paris, the Louvre closed its doors Sunday out of fears that visitors to the world-famous museum could be bringing coronavirus with them.

"We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere," said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for its staffers. "The risk is very, very, very great."

Get the latest updates in our live blog. And see maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S. and internationally.

And while the "dystopian look" of masks enters the mainstream thanks to widespread fears of coronavirus, here's a tip on how to protect yourself: Hum "Happy Birthday" from beginning-to-end twice as you wash your hands to make sure you scrub them for the right amount of time.


After Biden's big win in South Carolina, Buttigieg announces he's dropping out

Joe Biden got the resounding victory his struggling campaign needed in South Carolina on Saturday night, buoyed by strong support from black voters.

While the former vice president still has plenty of ground to make up to reclaim his position atop the 2020 Democratic field, his victory winnowed the field of candidates vying for the top spot.

Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race Sunday night, ending a campaign that enjoyed a meteoric rise and outshone those of more experienced competitors but ultimately fell short after being dogged by a lack of minority support.

Billionaire Tom Steyer also quit the Democratic primary race on Saturday after a disappointing finish in South Carolina despite spending nearly $160 million on his campaign.

With Super Tuesday tomorrow, the Democratic presidential race is entering a critical new phase: Go big to win or hang on for dear life, writes NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald.

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Plus


THINK about it

From Justin Bieber to BTS, stars are revealing the hidden mental health costs of being a star, Rachel Simon writes in an opinion piece.


Shopping

Back, neck or knee pain? Try these foam rollers exercises.


Quote of the day

"We began this unlikely journey with a staff of four. No big email lists. No personal fortune. Almost nobody knew my name, and almost no one could pronounce it."

Pete Buttigieg on suspending his presidential campaign


One fun thing

As fears of coronavirus grow, "Saturday Night Live" lightened the moment by imagining what would happen if Democratic candidates for president elbowed into the leadership spotlight during a White House news conference.

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Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra