Illinois Reports Another "Presumptive" Case Of Coronavirus, Bringing US Total To 24; Washington Declares State Of Emergency After 1st US Death: Live Updates

Summary:

  • CDC says "no national spread of coronavirus in US"

  • Cook County reports "presumtive" coronavirus case

  • S.Korea reports another 376 new cases

  • Another Chinese doctor dies in Wuhan

  • China reports 573 new cases.

  • US reports first death from Covid-19 (in Washington State)

  • Washington declares state of emergency

  • US Surgeon General says "stop buying masks"

  • Trump blasts media/Dems for 'hoax'-gate

  • South Korea's Shincheonji Church members found 1557 out of 1900 tested positive for virus

  • Germany boosts border controls

  • Italy tops 1000 cases (1,128, with 29 possible virus-linked deaths)

  • France bans large gatherings

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Update (2200ET): Public health officials in Illinois said Saturday night that they had a new "presumptive case" , what would be the state's third case of coronavirus since the outbreak began. If confirmed by the CDC, the case would increase the total in the US to 24 (aside from the evacuees, who are all in quarantine right now).

The case was confirmed in Cook County, the second-largest county in the US, which includes the city of Chicago, where about half of its residents live. All three of the state's cases now will have been confirmed in Cook County, with the prior two cases being a husband and wife who had recently traveled to Wuhan. It's unclear whether this is another case of 'unknown transmission'.

The positive test results must still be confirmed in a CDC lab in Atlanta. Until then, the patient is being hospitalized in isolation and CDC protocols are being implemented, according to NBC News.

Yesterday, Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker requested that hospitals across the state implement additional testing to improve surveillance for coronavirus.

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Update (2030ET): And here comes the NHC with China's numbers from Saturday. Mainland China reported 573 new coronavirus cases. Note the ~150 case increase from 427 on Friday. 51,856 are still under "medical observation" across China. In all, there have been 79,824 confirmed cases in mainland China, though most experts believe the true total could be much higher.

Here's the rest of the NHC press release,  translation courtesy of the NHC:

On Feb 29, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 573 new cases of confirmed infections, 132 new cases of suspected infections, and 35 deaths (34 in Hubei province and 1 in Henan province). 2,623 patients were released from hospital after being cured. 8,620 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 299.

As of 24:00 on Feb 29, the National Health Commission had received 79,824 reports of confirmed cases and 2,870 deaths in 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and in all 41,625 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. There still remained 35,329 confirmed cases (including 7,365 in serious condition) and 851 suspected cases. So far, 660,716 people have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients. 51,856 are now under medical observation.

On Feb 29, Hubei reported 570 new cases of confirmed infections (including 565 in Wuhan), 64 new cases of suspected infections (including 50 in Wuhan), and 34 deaths (including 26 in Wuhan). 2,292 patients were released from hospital after being cured, including 1,675 in Wuhan.

As of 24:00 on Feb 29, Hubei had reported 66,907 cases of confirmed infections (including 49,122 in Wuhan) and 2,761 deaths (including 2,195 in Wuhan). In all, 31,187 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital, including 19,227 in Wuhan.There still remained 32,959 confirmed cases (including 27,700 in Wuhan), with 7,107 in serious condition (including 6,393 in Wuhan), and 646 suspected cases (including 393 in Wuhan).

As of 24:00 on Feb 29, 144 confirmed infections had been reported in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan province: 95 in Hong Kong (2 had been dead and 33 had been cured and discharged from hospital), 10 in Macao (8 had been cured and discharged from hospital) and 39 in Taiwan (1 had been dead and 9 had been cured and discharged from hospital).

In other news, the Korea Times just reported that a 45-day-old baby has been infected with the virus. Another tragic story - this time out of China: Another doctor has died in Wuhan, making him at least the fourth or fifth to die since the death of Dr. Li Wenliang a month ago.

The doctor's name was Jiang Xueqing. He was 55.

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Update (2000ET): Yonhap just reported the latest numbers out of South Korea: the country reported another 376 new cases on Saturday, raising the countrywide total to 3,526. Most of the cases reported so far have been concentrated in the city of Daegu, particularly among members of a strange cult-like church that has become entangled in the outbreak.

It doesn't look like any new deaths were reported - at least not yet.

To review: three new cases of the virus were announced Saturday in Washington State bring the total number of infections in the US to 23, excluding repatriations, according to the CDC. 47 of the evacuees from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess are also being quarantined.

As part of its virus-suppression efforts, South Korea has sent its troops to disinfect the streets of Daegu.

In Mexico, the government hit back at President Trump’s comment Saturday that it might be necessary to close the border to prevent transmission of coronavirus, with the Foreign Ministry reminding the administration that "there are four cases of covid-19 registered in our country and 22 in the U.S."

Trump said closing the border probably wouldn't be necessary.

 

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Update (19120ET): We're moving into a 'twilight zone' of sorts for coronavirus-related news: It's still early in the morning in Asia, and it's the middle of the night in Europe.

But, while we have time, we'd just like to point out that Singapore, a city that has been praised as a role model (ignore what the WHO said about China) for outbreak suppression. 

But as we reported below, the four new cases reported out of Singapore on Saturday put the total over 100. As the Straits-Times pointed out, eight recent cases have been linked to one e-learning solutions company that might be the center of a new outbreak.

Meanwhile, over in Thailand, health officials reported a new case yesterday that brought its total to 42.

Going forward, it will be a question of whether governments succeed in mimicking Bangkok, or Daegu. Will public health officials succeed in suppressing the outbreak before things get out of hand? Or will we see a flood of videos on social media showing citizens collapsing in the streets?

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Update (1630ET): The BBC reports that in Daegu, South Korea, 1900 Shincheonji Church members have been tested for coronavirus. 1300 had symptoms & 600 did not. Among those 1300 with symptoms, 87.5% were confirmed with the virus . BUT out of the 600 WITHOUT symptoms, 70% were confirmed with coronavirus.

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Update (1530ET): Following the first death of a Coid-19-infected person in the US, Washington state has declared a state of emergency.

King County official Jeff Duchin says that 27 patients and 25 staff members at the long-term care facility in Kirkland, WA are showing symptoms.

CDC's Messonnier stated that "there is not a national spread of the virus in the US," and adds that US has capacity to test 75,000 people.

CDC erroneously identified the patient as a female in a briefing earlier today with the President and Vice President.

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Update (1515ET): President Trump has finally wrapped up a lengthy press conference that most agreed was more convincing than his previous effort on Wednesday. Trump confirmed that there are now 22 cases in the US outside of the evacuees from Wuhan and the 'Diamond Princess'.

Read more about it here.

Washington State is expected to hold a press conference of its own at 4 pm ET.

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Update (1350ET): Trump is officially 20 minutes late, and following reports about Trump tightening the border with Mexico, the governor of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila has confirmed what appears to be the country's fourth case.

Here's more on the border reports from Reuters.

The administration is also weighing possible restrictions on the entry of travelers from South Korea, Italy and Japan. The White House instructed DHS to draft a range of options about travel restrictions related to those countries.

Yesterday, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico's assistant health secretary, confirmed a case in Mexico City and at least one other case in the cartel-dominated region of Sinaloa. He also encouraged Mexicans to hold back on hearty greetings involving kisses and hugs and close contact.

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Update (1325ET): Trump is set to start speaking in a few minutes, but a rash of important virus-related headlines just hit, including a Reuters report that the administration is considering imposing restrictions at the Mexican border as part of its effort to suppress the outbreak.

France just confirmed roughly 30 new cases, raising its total from 73 to north of 100, according to the latest reports.

One more thing: We neglected to mention earlier that Washington State discovered another case of coronavirus, which it announced at press conference late last night: The state's third coronavirus patient overall had recently traveled to South Korea.

Also, the CDC has announced a press conference of its own at 3 pm, while Washington State is planning a press conference at 4 pm.

In other words, it's gonna be a busy Saturday afternoon.

  • FRANCE RAISES NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES TO 100 - HEAD OF FRENCH PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
  • TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERING IMPOSING ENTRY RESTRICTIONS AT BORDER WITH MEXICO OVER CORONAVIRUS THREAT - U.S. OFFICIALS
  • CDC PRESS CONFERENCE AT 3 PM

While we wait to hear from Trump, who will almost inevitably begin late, here's a graphic showing the history of pandemics for you to ponder.

Meanwhile, here's a chart showing the France:

And Italy:

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Update (1310ET): As we wait for President Trump's latest update, here's another roundup of updates from across the Middle East and Europe, via Al Jazeera.

  • Two more people in the Netherlands have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, increasing the total number of the cases to six, according to health agency RIVM.
  • Iraq has detected five new cases of coronavirus, four in Baghdad and one in Babel province, the health ministry said, taking the total number of cases there to 13.
  • Azerbaijan shuts its border with Iran after the country confirmed its first case yesterday; two patients have been placed in quarantine after testing positive.
  • Lebanon has confirmed three new cases, bringing its total to 7.
  • Pakistan has confirmed two new cases, bringing its total to 4.

Over in the US, more colleges are cancelling their study abroad programs: UConn just joined a growing list of schools, which CNN is tracking here.

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Update (1250ET): Minutes after President Trump announced his 130pmET press conference to discuss the latest coronavirus developments, Washington State health officials have reported the first death from the coronavirus in the US.

No details yet, but it's probably reasonable to suspect that the death is the state's latest case (remember, it was also home to the first confirmed case in the US, a case that reportedly recovered) of 'unkown origin' which it announced last night.

Of course, it's also possible that this could have been a post-mortem confirmation...meaning it would also constitute a new case.

Washington State health officials are also planning to hold a press conference shortly.

So much for routing all information through the VP's office...

In Italy, officials confirmed that the number of confirmed cases has passed 1,000. The number of confirmed deaths in the country climbed to 21 on Friday.

The US isn't the only country struggling with a rash of unexplained cases. The same phenomenon has frustrated public health officials in Japan, Italy and the UK.

The BBC reports that the UK's 20th case is also believed to be the first person who was infected inside the UK, since they hadn't traveled abroad recently.

As we wait to learn more, here's some more information about the latest FDA announcement, courtesy of the NYT's virus live feed:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday that it was authorizing American laboratories to develop their own coronavirus tests, which should significantly increase the country’s testing capacity.

The effect could be rapid. About 80 labs and private companies have applied for emergency approval for tests they have already created. If they have submitted evidence that the tests work, the labs and companies will be able to use them immediately, rather than wait for the F.D.A. to complete reviews and issue approvals.

“This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation,” the F.D.A.’s commissioner, Stephen M. Hahn, said in a statement.

Experts have been frustrated with the limited availability of coronavirus tests in the U.S., which until now could only be provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Broader testing will enable more rapid detection and isolation of people who have the coronavirus to help contain the spread of disease.

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Update (1235ET): President Trump will hold another press conference to discuss "the latest CoronaVirus developments" at 1:30pm.

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The unceasing 24/7 flood of coronavirus news yielded some disturbing developments last night as public health officials in Oregon and Washington State confirmed the third and fourth coronaviruses of "unknown origin" in the US.

To President Trump's chagrin, public health officials on the west coast warned that the cases are evidence that community outbreaks have already begun in Northern Cali, Oregon and Washington State. So if you were planning on traveling to the Pacific Northwest any time soon...you might want to reconsider.

In Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, we saw a rash of new cases overnight (including the first case in Qatar) nearly doubled on Friday to  along with news of more cancellations of sports games, concerts and public events. France has temporarily banned all public events involving more than 5,000 people. Health Minister Olivier Véran announced the decision after an emergency government meeting on Saturday.

Veran also confirmed 16 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the country's total taking to 73 since the outbreak began. Two patients have died, a 60-year-old French teacher and an 80-year-old Chinese tourist. On Friday alone, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled.

Across France, all gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces will be cancelled." The same applies to events "in an open environment where people can mix with others from areas where the virus is possibly circulating," according to France24.

France's decision follows Switzerland, which announced a similar ban on Friday. In Italy's three virus-hit northern provinces, schools and universities are preparing to remain shut for a second week.

South Korea reported more than 800 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest jump of any country, and twice the number reported yesterday by Chinese authorities in Hubei. Unsurprisingly, the increase was mostly concentrated in Daegu, the epicenter of the outbreak in South Korea.

But the biggest news Saturday morning was in the US, where the FDA released sweeping new guidelines speeding up hospitals' ability to test for the virus, appearing to resolve an issue about which public health officials, epidemiologists and labs from NYC to Cali had loudly complained. According to WaPo, some experts are worried that these new measures will still fall short. We suspect we will soon know for certain if the changes were effective, or not.

Read the full briefing below:

Virus by Zerohedge on Scribd

Elsewhere in the US, while much of the focus so far has been on the west coast, local media outlets reported on Saturday that a suspected coronavirus patient has been isolated at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, as the hospital awaits the results of a test, which could take a few days.

The patient has yet to test positive, but is showing suspicious symptoms, the hospital said. It continues to screen all patients who have recently visited hot zones, or who are showing suspicious symptoms.