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American cruise passengers quarantined at U.S. military bases



More than 300 American cruise ship passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, were being quarantined at military bases in California and Texas on Monday after arriving from Japan on charter flights overnight.

One plane carrying cruise passengers touched down at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California just before midnight Sunday, while another arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas early Monday. The passengers will remain at the bases for two weeks.

Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 U.S. passengers on 14 buses from Yokohama port to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship.

The U.S. said it arranged for the evacuation because people on the Diamond Princess were at a high risk of exposure to the new virus that’s been spreading in Asia. For the departing Americans, the evacuation cuts short a 14-day quarantine that began aboard the cruise ship Feb. 5.

The State Department announced later that 14 of the evacuees received confirmation they had the virus but were allowed to board the flight because they had no symptoms. They were being kept isolated from other passengers on the flight, the U.S. State and Health and Human Services said in a joint statement.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that an infected person who shows minimal symptoms could still pass the virus to someone else.

It’s unclear which base the 14 who tested positive for the virus went to.

Officials said the evacuees who arrived at Travis Air Force Base will be housed at a different location from the more than 200 other Americans who were already being quarantined on the base, in a hotel. Those people have been at the base since early February, when they arrived on flights from China.

No Travis airmen will have contact with the passengers, officials said.

Now that they’re in the U.S., the cruise ship passengers must go through another 14 days of quarantine at the military facilities — meaning they will have been under quarantine for a total of nearly four weeks.

Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Italy were planning similar flights of passengers. Other governments, including Canada and Hong Kong, also will require the passengers to undergo a second 14-day quarantine.

Japan on Monday announced another 99 infections on the Diamond Princess, raising the ship’s total number of cases to 454. Overall, Japan has 419 confirmed cases of the virus, including one death. The United States has confirmed 15 cases within the country. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China.

Americans Cheryl and Paul Molesky, a couple from Syracuse, New York, opted to trade one coronavirus quarantine for another, leaving the cruise ship to fly back to the U.S. Cheryl Molesky said the rising number of patients on the ship factored into the decision.

“We are glad to be going home,” Cheryl Molesky earlier told NHK TV in Japan. “It’s just a little bit disappointing that we’ll have to go through quarantine again, and we will probably not be as comfortable as the Diamond Princess, possibly.”

She sent The Associated Press a video of her and her husband boarding the plane with other Americans.

“Well, we’re exhausted, but we’re on the plane and that’s a good feeling. Pretty miserable wearing these masks though, and everybody had to go to the bathroom on the bus,” she said.

Some American passengers said they would pass up the opportunity to fly to the United States because of the additional quarantine. There also was worry about being on a long flight with other passengers who may be infected or in an incubation period.

One of the Americans, Matthew Smith, said in a tweet Sunday that he saw a passenger with no face mask talking at close quarters with another passenger. He said he and his wife scurried away.

“If there are secondary infections on board, this is why,” he said. “And you wanted me to get on a bus with her?”

He said the American health officials who visited their room was apparently surprised that the couple had decided to stay, and wished them luck.

“Thanks, but we’re fine,” Smith said he told them.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

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The case for a national primary
—Fortune Explains: The debt ceiling
Can Amazon convince a federal court to depose Trump over a $10 billion Pentagon contract?

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3 “Strong Buy” Stocks With Double-Digit Upside — At Least According to Needham



The second quarter of 2020 started with a slide in the markets, as the glum mood came after President Trump acknowledged publicly that the first two weeks of April are likely to see a rise in deaths from COVID-19, as the epidemic intensifies.In one way, this is to be expected – the disease has an incubation period up to 14 days, and course of illness lasting up to 14 cases, in cases with notable symptoms. The majority of cases are reported as mild, but the disease, as we know can be deadly in more severe cases. The social distancing moves, imposed through lockdowns and quarantines, are pounding the economy – but also slowing the spread of COVID-19. But they were implemented some two to three weeks ago, so the natural course of the disease, in those exposed before the lockdown policies took hold, is reaching its peak now, The good news is, the success of social distancing policies is slowing the disease spread, allowing hospitals to cope.Downturns can present buying opportunities for contrarian-minded investors. Investment firm Needham has recently been thinking along these lines and came out with reports on stocks that should rally when the spread of COVID-19 will stabilize, or actually benefit from the current situation.We’ve taken three of Needham’s top picks and looked them up in the TipRanks database. These are investments that TipRanks reveals as “Strong Buys” and, more importantly, all three offer robust upside potential. Let’s take a closer look. EverQuote, Inc. (EVER)Everything is available online these days. It’s one of the wonders of the internet information age in which we live, as just about any product or service can be researched and purchased with the click of a mouse and a simple online search. Some products are more amenable to online service than others, and insurance is clearly in that category.Online insurance firm EverQuote connects customers and providers through its platform, and has expanded from its beginnings in the car insurance sector to also offer life and home policies. EverQuote’s services are free for site visitors – insurance customers don’t pay any fee for using the site. The company brings in profits from charging referral fees to the policy providers – but those fees are only assessed when policies are purchased.EverQuote shares have underperformed the broader markets recently, having lost half of their value since the current bear trend began. This came after a Q4 that saw the company outperform expectations, with a net loss of 4 cents per share against a forecast of 6 cents – a loss that was less than one-third the year-ago figure of 15 cents. Revenue growth was strong in Q4, reaching $73.8 million, 8.2% over the estimates and up 85% year-over-year.With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, older forward guidance is of little use. But it’s important to note that as restrictions are lifted and business begins to resume in 2H20, customers will need to renew lapsed insurance policies – or may have been ‘scared straight’ by the downturn, into putting their insurance protections in order.5-star Needham analyst Mayank Tandon agrees, seeing a clear path forward for the company. The analyst noted, “In our view, EVER's business model should remain largely resilient given that it is run through a digital marketplace and ~85% of the revenue comes from auto insurance, which is a nondiscretionary expense… we believe that demand should remain strong as consumers look for ways to save money in a difficult economic environment and carriers/agents compete for share by leveraging highly measurable marketing channels.”Tandon reiterates his Buy rating here, and sets a price target of $45, suggesting an upside 95%. (To watch Tanon’s track record, click here)EVER’s Strong Buy analyst consensus rating is based on a 6 to 1 split of Buys versus Hold. Shares are priced low, at $23.03, and the $46.57 average price target suggests an upside potential of 102%. (See EverQuote’s stock analysis at TipRanks)Livongo Health, Inc. (LVGO)Moving to the health industry, we find an interesting company with a unique niche. Livongo is a biotech – that develops systems for the treatment of chronic health conditions. Specifically, the company works with patients with diabetes, using a combination of medical treatment and real-time data analysis technology to give customers a personalized approach to disease management. The connection here to COVID-19 is apparent: the coronavirus disease is dangerous to patients with preexisting chronic conditions, and better management of those is key to maintaining good health.At the beginning of March, LVGO reported a strong Q4. Earnings were positive, at 2 cents per share, versus the 5-cent loss expected, and revenue, at $50.2 million, was 1.8% better than forecast. The revenue total also represented 137% year-over-year, a clear testament to the company’s valuable niche. In another clear sign that LVGO is well-suited to current conditions, the stock has posted 12% gains year-to-date, while the overall market has dropped sharply.Writing for Needham, 5-star analyst Scott Berg notes these points, saying of Livongo, “We note shares of Livongo have significantly outperformed the broader market including the Russell 2000 significantly since they reported 4Q results on March 2… We want to highlight our belief Livongo's success in FY20 is not perfectly correlated with the broader economy and they may actually benefit from some recent economic trends related to COVID-19.”Berg sets a $42 price target to back his Buy rating, implying an upside of 51%. (To watch Berg’s track record, click here)With 5 Buy-side reviews, Livongo holds a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating. The stock has an average price target of $39.40, which suggests a strong 40% upside potential from the current share price of $23.22. (See Livongo’s stock analysis at TipRanks)Monolithic Power Systems (MPWR)While its name suggests a utility, this is actually a tech company. Monolithic Power is maker of power circuits and converters, for digital, analog, and mixed-signal systems, used in portable electronics, wireless devices, computer systems, cars… and medical equipment. That last is a segment in high demand, as hospitals and medical providers are seeking expand their inventories in expectation of increased near-term need due to COVID-19.Where most companies have lost heavily recently, MPWR has managed to outperform the market. While the stock is still down in the bear market, the loss is only 13%, compared to the 23% to 26% losses in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes. Monolithic entered 2020 after an in-line Q4 report. Specifically, EPS, at $1.04, edged over the estimates by 1 cent, while revenue, at $166.74 million, was 2.23% higher than expected.Strong customer orders powered the quarter, and MPWR finished 2019 with a backlog of work orders. That was noted by Needham’s 5-star analyst Quinn Bolton, who sees the backlog as a firm foundation for the company going forward, despite an overall gloomy economic outlook. Bolton opined, “Monolithic Power Systems has a consistent track record of execution and faster growth than its analog/mixed-signal peers. Targeting a growth rate 10-15 pts higher than the overall market, MPS is the fastest growing company in the attractive catalog analog segment, in our opinion. We believe MPS will continue to grow faster than the analog market in 2020 and 2021 driven by market share gains, the ramp of new products/design wins and co-development projects with tier-one customers.”Bolton maintains his Buy rating on this stock, and while he lowered his price target considering current economic declines, he still sees the stock gaining 23% in the coming year, to reach $190 per share. (To watch Bolton’s track record, click here)Monolithic is another company with a unanimous analyst consensus rating. The Strong Buy rating is based on 9 Buys, while the $201.11 average price target implies an upside potential of 29% from the current share price, $155.80. (See Monolithic stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

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What to stream (and skip) at home this weekend



Stay home. As COVID-19 spreads, that’s the sentiment stressed by epidemiologists racing to combat the virus, who have implored Americans to avoid all nonessential travel and limit all person-to-person interactions. “Social distancing,” it seems, is our new normal—at least for now.

Though it can be challenging to look for silver linings in times as tumultuous as this, those sheltering indoors can at least rest assured that there’s now little reason to put off catching up on Netflix. And particularly with movie theaters shuttering across the country in response to the growing pandemic, Americans are looking to VOD and streaming platforms in search of their next binge-watch.

Fortune’s (still) here to help you navigate the week’s latest offerings, boiling down all the entertainment out there to a few distinct recommendations: Put more simply, should you rent it, stream it, or skip it? Find out below.

RENT: ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ (VOD)

This soft-spoken, hard-hitting latest by Beach Rats director Eliza Hittman—a word-of-mouth sensation out of its Sundance Film Festival premiere earlier this year—saw its theatrical run curtailed by the closure of movie theaters nationwide in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Moving quickly, Focus Features is making it available on VOD platforms today, a relief to those worried the film—one of 2020’s strongest so far—would fall too soon from audiences’ radars. That would have been a crying shame, given the all-important specificity and compassion with which Never Rarely Sometimes Always approaches its seldom-discussed subject.

Those who saw the film discussed ahead of its original theatrical bow will know it as an “abortion drama,” and that’s entirely accurate, though its framing of the odyssey one Pennsylvania teenager, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), undertakes to terminate her unwanted pregnancy is quietly radical all the same. Compared to past films about this subject, which often emanate a raised-fist fury toward patriarchal systems that work to deny women agency over their own bodies, Never Rarely Sometimes Always stands out most through its naturalism.

Through Hittman’s precise script and graceful direction, there’s little accommodation for moral handwringing, and in that restraint exists a striking aversion to big-picture lensing, something that allows Never Rarely to maintain unblinking, gradually mesmeric focus on its young protagonist. Hittman, an established force in the independent film world, is exceptional at spotting young talent, and that’s entirely true of Never Rarely. Flanigan, her performance carried by quick-flickering expressions and an air of worn resignation, is a remarkable find. Excellent, too, is Talia Ryder as Autumn’s devoted cousin, who accompanies her through the hellish bowels of New York City as they seek her treatment at a clinic there.

As the pair navigate the big city, low on funds and ground down by a world in which men loom as obstacles at every turn (from the sneering grocery store manager who’s unsympathetic to Autumn’s morning sickness, to a subway pervert whose entitlement is just as upsetting), Hittman pulls no punches. The misogynistic nightmare that is modern America comes, gradually, brutally, into frame. But Never Rarely doesn’t need melodrama to drive its points home, and it’s more of a character study than an issue picture. That cinema-verité approach matters, putting the raw humanity of its young characters on full display; if there was ever a film that could change hearts and minds about abortion, this is it.

STREAM: ‘Tales From the Loop’ (Amazon)

There’s never been a sci-fi series quite like Amazon’s Tales from the Loop, a mournful and invitingly mysterious new anthology adapted not from books or pre-existing films but the viral, prescient-meets-pastoral paintings of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag.

The creative appeal of Stålenhag’s paintings (many of which are viewable on his website) is manifest; they often blend together mundane countryside vistas with science-fiction elements that loom over their surroundings or fit so naturally into the backdrop one begins to question whether they’ve always been there, new gods asserting their place amid the old ones. Conceptually as well as visually, they wrestle with questions as much philosophical as they are logistical, provoking lengthy thought-trains about how the future of civilization will alter even its most rural reaches.

In translating that tone to the screen, showrunner Nathaniel Halpern has made a number of smart choices—at least from the hypnotic, gently moving nature of the three episodes, of a total eight, sent out to critics ahead of premiere. Set in the quiet hamlet of Mercer, which rests atop a sprawling underground particle accelerator known as the Loop, the series broadly concerns itself with the emotional and existential connections between townsfolk, none of whom are really main characters. Instead, in a way most reminiscent of Amazon’s little-known Philip K. Dick miniseries Electric Dreams from two years back, the residents of Mercer drift in and out of loosely connected but mostly standalone stories, all of them governed by the surreal and sometimes wondrous energies the Loop harnesses.

Halpern’s brought in a remarkably capable crew of collaborators to realize the chilly and beautiful world of this series, with director Mark Romanek setting the tone through a particularly somber, engimatic tale of Loretta (Abby Ryder Fortson), a little girl lost, abandoned after her mother (Elektra Kilbey) steals a mysterious crystal from a subterranean lab. In a haunting, unexplained image, Loretta sees her house floating upward in fragments, as if gravity has reversed course to pull it into the heavens. In searching for her parent, Loretta is aided by Cole (Duncan Joiner) and his enigmatic mother (Rebecca Hall). In another episode, helmed with a more wistful sense of rusted nostalgia by Wall-E director Andrew Stanton, Cole moves to center stage, struggling in his own arc with death, aging, and life’s transient nature; playing his grandfather, Jonathan Pryce turns in some of his best work in years.

There is a subdued narrative arc to the series, and more is eventually discovered about the Loop and those who work to untangle its myriad questions. Those looking for easy answers and storylines tied up in a neat bow might be advised to look elsewhere. Most of all, Tales from the Loop succeeds in letting the mystery be.

The score, from Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan, is of particular importance. Laden with heaving, jagged arpeggios and solemn piano keys, it’s often so stirring as to overpower the emotion of the actors on screen, heightening Tales from the Loop into something that feels thoroughly dreamlike in its chasms of grief and yearning—for forgotten pasts, nebulous futures, and the experience of living while suspended between the two.

SKIP: ‘Coffee & Kareem’ (Netflix)

It’s never a good sign when a film’s best joke is its title, especially when that title is a play on words as minor-key and ultimately trivial as Coffee & Kareem. But, then again, humor is so damnably absent from this witless, noxious sludge of a comedy, now streaming on Netflix, that one suspects those involved may have worn out their rotator cuffs high-fiving over such an innocuous, caffeine-related pun.

Ed Helms (who also produced) stars as James Coffee, a Detroit police officer whose consummate ineffectuality is a running joke around his department. Fellow cops, especially one played at a permanent sneer by Betty Gilpin, pepper him with crude jokes about his inability to measure up, as both a cop and a lover. (The mustache doesn’t help, making Coffee look uncannily like Doofy, the Scary Movie franchise’s send-up of David Arquette’s deputy sheriff Dewey, from Scream.) Outside of work, Coffee’s navigating a new romance with Vanessa (Taraji P. Henson), whose foul-mouthed 12-year-old son, Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh), hates the idea of his mom dating anyone new—let alone a white guy and a cop.

Kareem’s fast-talking and exceptionally spiteful toward Coffee, and—through the remarkably sloppy work of first-time feature scribe Shane Mack—is soon asking a local drug dealer (RonReaco Lee) to put a hit out on him. But when Kareem sees the dealer’s associates kill a corrupt cop, he and Coffee are forced to go on the run. Racist overtones aside, that setup jerkily moves Coffee & Kareem onto a buddy-cop track, the pair trading all manner of lazily homophobic barbs as they flee through a series of increasingly improbable action setpieces. Kareem frequently threatens in graphic detail to frame Coffee as a child rapist, Coffee must prove he’s man enough to date Vanessa, and the banter largely flows from there, with some particularly cringe-inducing cracks about the racial dynamics between Coffee and Kareem, and those between him and Vanessa. That said, just as many jokes aim at I-don’t-see-color territory, as where Coffee mocks Kareem for not being fast enough to run from bullets and later on says he expects the kid to end up in jail. After a decade in which police brutality and institutionalized racism moved to the forefront of national discourse, it’s somewhat enraging a comedy as lazily exploitive as Coffee & Kareem can still get made, and wholly unsurprising how few of its jokes land.

As in Stuber, director Michael Dowse’s last big-screen effort, moments of brutal violence are memorably callous and tossed off as if already forgotten. One moment in which a supporting character explodes into bloody chunks is almost reptilian in its excessive force and futility. That the character in question is black, a low-level enforcer in the employ of the bigger-deal baddie, and that his cause of death is one of two grenades lobbed by the crusading white hero-cop (part of a puerile, repeated gag explicitly tied to the size of his gonads), gives you a sense of the lame-brained, tone-deaf material in play. Not since Get Hard have performers this generally funny (Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart there, Helms and Henson here) lowered themselves to material so ugly and outdated. Both films also share a certain obliviousness when it comes to their narrative’s racial politics, either in the prison system or the institution of policing, skirting any real satirical skewering of them by instead doubling down on every homophobic and scatological punchline in sight. It’s an idiot’s provocation, empty and inadmissible, from some last vestige of the old Netflix crank factory that brought you The Ridiculous 6 and is curiously eager not to let you forget it.

The best of the rest

Now on Netflix, all six seasons of Community are now streaming. The perpetually underrated sitcom, from creator Dan Harmon (who’d then go on to be properly rewarded for his pop culturally savvy mixture of snark and surrealism by creating Rick & Morty with Justin Roiland), follows a group of students at fictional Greendale Community College, who convene to form a study group. But that was just a jumping-off point for what would become one of the smartest, boldest, funniest TV series of the ’10s. As the actors (especially Danny Pudi, as the meta-aware Abed, and then-unknown Donald Glover, as his endearingly goofy partner in crime Troy) grew more comfortable in their characters, Harmon scaled up Community‘s storytelling ambitions, delivering theme episodes (paintball! musicals! Claymation!) that set the standard for all sitcoms that have followed since.

Another Sundance darling, the achingly beautiful Georgian drama And Then We Danced, is getting a specialty arthouse rollout. Set in modern-day Tblisi, where conservative traditions still loom large, it follows a competitive dancer (Levan Gelbakhiani) whose pursuit of his training at the National Georgian Ensemble is imperiled by romantic sparks between him and a rival (Bachi Valishvili). In lurring the physical and emotional into a uniquely sensory experience, one in which the head and heart are thrown hopelessly out of alignment, the film’s the best of its kind since Call Me By Your Name.

Also on VOD, uirgent doc Slay the Dragon looks at the political hot-button issue of gerrymandering, arguing (convincingly) that the United States is in the midst of an extreme legislative crisis through which elected officials have carved up voting districts in such a way as to help their political parties stay in power. Not simply an exposé, the documentary (directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance) implores its viewers to take action, shining a light on various grassroots movements that have sprouted up in opposition to gerrymandering and the political hostage-taking that has resulted from it.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Hulu could be an essential streaming service—if Disney figures out what to do with it
Hollywood showrunners assist the assistants amid coronavirus pandemic
—The coronavirus pandemic is changing broadcast and streaming TV as we know it
As the coronavirus forces people home, interest in streaming services is surging; so is piracy
What to watch on Amazon Prime while social distancing
Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.

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COVID-19 deaths in PHL now at 136



THE Department of Health (DoH) reported that an additional 385 persons tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive cases on Friday, bringing the total to 3,018. Twenty-nine patients died, raising the total number of deaths due to the disease to 136.

One patient recovered, bringing the total of those who have gotten well to 52, it added.

The sudden spike in the number of deaths is attributed to the late reporting of previous deaths, special assistant of the Health Secretary Beverly Lorraine C. Ho said.

In the Laging Handa briefing on Friday, DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said that symptomatic persons will still be prioritized in the COVID-19 mass testing later this month.

Ang mass testing po ay hindi lahat ng tao sa ating bansa. Ito po ay magkakaroon din ng protocol kung saan, kung sakali po ay itutuloy nga ito, yung may mga simtomas ang uunahin natin at sila po yung i-te-test at kung sakaling mag-positibo, ilalagay natin sa community quarantine facilities,” she said. (The mass testing will not cover all the people in the country. It will follow a protocol which, if it does push through, those with symptoms will be prioritized for testing, and if they are positive, they will be placed in community quarantine facilities.)

Ms. Ho said during the virtual press conference on Friday that mild cases of COVID-19 do not need to be admitted to hospitals but they will be put in quarantine centers.

“Mild cases which are not eligible for admission into hospitals — yung mga (the) non-elderly, mga no comorbidities, mga non-pregnant cases, di po sila maadmit (will not be admitted). The quarantine centers are in place because we understand that it is not easy for many households to isolate themselves from one family member due to space limitations,” she said.

COVID-19 referral hospitals are expected to receive the severe cases which will require critical care, while non COVID-19 referral hospitals are expected to receive patients with mild cases and patients with non COVID-19-related illnesses.

The DoH is confident that testing can reach 3,000 people per day by April 14 and 8,000 tests by the end of the month due to the increase in testing capacity, Ms. Ho said.

“Currently we have the RITM as our national reference laboratory and we have seven-sub national laboratories at full-scale implementation. With 40 other laboratories in the pipeline, we can expect our daily testing capacity to increase significantly within the next couple of weeks as more laboratories will be certified,” she said.

Ms. Ho added that the test kits developed by the University of the Philippines — National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) are also expected to get marketing authorization as soon as they submit their results to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Meanwhile, Ms. Ho said that there are no limits on the number of volunteers for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Trial, a global effort which seeks to research possible treatments against COVID-19.

“So nag-submit na po ang ating mga eksperto ng kanilang (so out experts have submitted their) proposal. Initially we have 20 hospitals who are participating. Ang ibig sabihin po nito, kung may COVID-19 patients sila, ang kanilang doktor ay maari silang i-enroll sa trial na ito (What this means is if the hospitals have COVID-19 patients, their doctors can enrol them in the trial),” she said adding that patients need to be fully briefed before joining the test. — Genshen L. Espedido

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