Morning Headlines: Swine Flu and Stress Tests

Read All About It

Read All About It

I guess there are two big stories competing for everyone’s attention this morning, neither of them positive…

First up, it seems that the first confirmed Swine Flu death in the US was reported from Texas.

From the New York Times:
A 23-month-old child in Texas has died of the swine flu, marking the first confirmed death from the virus outside of the borders of Mexico in the spreading outbreak, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

The Dr. from the CDC goes a bit further than you hoped he would:

Dr. Richard E. Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, termed the early days of swine flu in the United States as a “prepandemic period” and was blunt about the potential impact of this influenza. “As this moves forward,” he said, “I fully expect that we will see deaths from this infection.”

My only two cents on this I’d add here is that wearing a mask will only help you if you are standing within 3 feet of someone who is infected and in the midst of a coughing bout.  The best defense, and I’m writing this from a train in NYC right now, is to continuously wash your hands, try to avoid touching everything, and make sure not to touch your face until after you’ve washed up.  I am loaded to the gills with Purell wipes right now.

The other story, which seems almost frivolous in light of what we just discussed above, is the leaked info from the stress tests that surfaced yesterday.

From Bloomberg:
At least six of the 19 largest U.S. banks require additional capital, according to preliminary results of government stress tests, people briefed on the matter said.

OK, most of probably have a good idea of who the dirty half-dozen banks may be, but where will they get the money?

While some of the lenders may need extra cash injections from the government, most of the capital is likely to come from converting preferred shares to common equity, the people said. The Federal Reserve is now hearing appeals from banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., that regulators have determined need more of a cushion against losses, they added.

For the banks, love from the government is now spelled D-I-L-U-T-I-O-N.

Swine Flu Full Story: First US Death (NYT)

Stress Test Full Story:  Six Banks Need Capital (Bloomberg)