Good morning. By my count, I have given 53 elbow bumps in the past 72 hours. During that time, I’ve turned down several dozen handshakes and tried, unsuccessfully, to turn this into a thing as the coronavirus spreads. (Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.)

Over the weekend, the global death toll of the coronavirus surpassed 3,000, with about 90,000 identified cases in 65 countries. The U.S. reported its first two deaths from the virus, both in a Seattle suburb, while New York City disclosed its first case. The latest developments, as always, can be found in our live briefing.

Stocks can also go up — sometimes. A rare sight in recent days, markets in Asia and Europe posted gains in early trading, recovering some of the ground lost during last week’s rout. (European shares are mixed at the time of writing, and U.S. futures have tipped into the red.) The turnaround, such as it is, began when Bank of Japan issued a statement pledging support to “ensure stability in financial markets,” echoing a similar notice from the Federal Reserve on Friday. Jittery markets are expecting increasingly aggressive, potentially coordinated actions from central banks around the world. (Anybody else getting 2008 flashbacks?)


The activist hedge fund Elliott Management’s latest big bet is a $1 billion stake in Twitter, with the goal of shaking up the social network’s leadership. Michael did some reporting over the weekend on why the $40 billion hedge fund run by Paul Singer has set its sights on Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey.

  • Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

Mr. Dorsey’s dual C.E.O. roles at Twitter and at Square, the financial services provider, have been a longtime concern among investors who worry about his attention span. (How many listed tech companies can you run simultaneously?)

Other things weighing on Elliott’s mind:

Twitter’s total enterprise value is just $22.5 billion, despite being one of the most prominent internet companies around. By comparison, Facebook’s is $504 billion, and even the old-internet company eBay has an enterprise value of $33 billion. Elliott thinks Mr. Dorsey and his leadership team have not focused enough on innovation, according to people briefed on the matter.

Twitter’s leadership has seen a lot of turnover in recent years, particularly in the C.O.O. and C.F.O. roles.

Far more of Mr. Dorsey’s wealth is tied up in Square than Twitter. He owns about 13 percent of Square’s outstanding shares, valued at $4.9 billion as of Friday, while he controls about 2 percent of Twitter’s outstanding shares, valued at about $531 million.

He may view Twitter as less important. In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, he said of Twitter versus Square, “If you lose 140 characters, people are like, ‘Eh.’ If you lose $140 or even $1.40, it’s important.”

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