US Coronavirus Cases Surpass 500 As Italian Deaths Surge 57%: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Italy reports 2nd straight 1,000+ jump in cases, deaths jump 60%; mortality rate in Italy hits 5%
  • China daily numbers post another drop on Sunday
  • Albania confirms first two cases
  • Total US cases surpass 500
  • Portugal president goes into self-quarantine
  • New York State confirms 16 new cases bringing total north of 100
  • Santa Clara reports 5 more cases to 37
  • Mass confirms 15 more cases tied to Biogen conference
  • Mayor de Blasio says NYC could see hundreds of cases in 2-3 weeks
  • Death toll hits 21 as 2 more cases confirmed in Washington State
  • Oregon declares state of emergency
  • 16 million Italians wake up under quarantine
  • Egypt reports Africa's first coronavirus death, a German citizen
  • Pope Francis cancels Sunday address
  • Dr. Fauci warns community spread is getting out of control.
  • 'Grand Princess' to dock in Oakland on Monday
  • Saudi Arabia quarantines province
  • France, Germany call for bans on events with over 1,000
  • Still no word on timing of when 'Grand Princess' will land
  • Patient in Japan develops meningitis
  • Spain death toll hits 17, 600+ cases
  • Cuomo says he wants to avoid closing NYC schools, transit if possible
  • Iran official death toll hits 194
  • Daegu Mayor says outbreak may be slowing as number of new cases falls

* * *

Update (2030ET): China has released its latest numbers, showing just 36 new cases in Hubei - another massive drop.

  • MAINLAND CHINA'S TOTAL NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS REACHES 3,119 AS OF END-MARCH 8
  • CHINA'S HUBEI PROVINCE, EPICENTRE OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, REPORTS 36 NEW CASES ON MARCH 8 VS 41 ON MARCH 7

Meanwhile, following several scares, the first two cases have been confirmed in Albania, a father and son who just returned from nearby Italy, according to Albanian health officials.

Earlier on Sunday, President Ilir Meta has urged the Albanian government to take emergency measures against the spread of coronavirus in the country.

* * *

Update (1650ET): The office of Portugal's 71-year-old President President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said Sunday that he has canceled all public activities and will stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, after having recently received a group of students from a school which has since been closed after a student tested positive, ABC News reports.

The infected student wasn't included in the group who visited the president, and he has so far showed no symptoms.

In Massachusetts, the number of "presumptively" confirmed cases has climbed to 27 as of Sunday, while one additional case has been confirmed by the CDC, according to the Boston Globe, for a total of 28.

So far, 23 of the 28 cases are related to a Biogen employee conference in late February.

Officials said there are 27 presumptive positive coronavirus cases across the state, along with one confirmed case.

The presumptive positive cases, five from Middlesex County ranging in age from 40 to 70, four cases from Norfolk County ranging in age from 40 to 70, and a female whose age and county of residence are presently unknown. The Boston Public Health Commission officials said the other five cases were Boston residents, a woman in her 30s, a woman in her 60s, a man in his 40s, a man in his 50s and a man in his 60s. All patients who tested presumptive positive are isolating at home, state officials said. As always, officials said the risk to the public remains low.

Santa Clara County has reported 5 more cases, bringing its total to 37. Here, Cali health officials are giving their regular updates.

There are 512 cases of the virus in the US as of mid-day Sunday, according to the CDC, along with state and local authorities. Per the CDC there are 49 cases from repatriated citizens from Wuhan (3) and the Diamond Princess (46). Twenty-one are from the Grand Princess cruise ship. According to CNN, the tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the US through US public health systems there have been 442 cases in 33 states and Washington DC, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 512.

* * *

Update (1615ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio just warned that there could be :"hundreds" of cases of Covid-19 in the city in a matter of two or three weeks, up from 13 now.

  • NEW YORK CITY COULD HAVE 100 CORONAVIRUS CASES WITHIN TWO TO THREE WEEKS, UP FROM 13 NOW -MAYOR DE BLASIO
  • NEW YORK CITY COULD AT SOME POINT HAVE HUNDREDS OF POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS CASES -MAYOR DE BLASIO

He then claimed (without evidence) that smoking or vaping could make a person more susceptible.

  • SMOKING OR VAPING COULD MAKE PERSON MORE VULNERABLE TO CORONAVIRUS INFECTION - NEW YORK CITY MAYOR DE BLASIO

Meanwhile, two more deaths in Washington State have increased the US death toll to 21, up from 19.

The State Department is cautioning Americans, especially those with existing health conditions, not to travel by cruise ship, citing the increased risk of catching the virus.

"Many countries have implemented screening procedures, denied port entry rights to ships and prevented disembarking," they said in a tweet.

ABC News reports that two more people have died of Covid-19 in Washington state, citing local health officials.

Both patients - a woman in her 80s and a man in his 90s - are Life Care Center residents, according to the King County Health Department. The woman died on Friday, and the man died on Thursday.

Of the 18 deaths reported in Washington, 16 have been associated with Life Care nursing home facility.

Two deaths have occurred in Florida and another in California, bringing the total in the US to 21.

Elsewhere in Florida, the Regal Princess cruise ship has been forced to remain offshore by the CDC and HHS while two of its crew members are tested for the virus.

If one or both come back positive, that could mean the start of another cruise ship nightmare in the US.

Officials in Clark County Nevada, an area that is mostly contiguous with Las Vegas, has confirmed its second patient.

* * *

Update (1530ET): Yesterday, we reported the six new cases of Covid-19 in British Columbia

Now, officials in the province have identified another outbreak at a nursing home in the province, the second such outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, in addition to the nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. The pair was infected by a staff member at the Lynn Valley Care Center in North Vancouver. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the facility is basically on lockdown as the provincial authorities try to keep the virus from spreading.

As we head into the middle of the day in California, let's circle back to the 'Grand Princess', the virus-plagued cruise ship drifting 20 nautical miles off the coast as it awaits plans to dock at the Port of Oakland on Monday. The ship's captain, John Smith, said Sunday that the crew still doesn't know at approximately what time they would be docking. Not that it matters: It will take at least a day for the non-priority (i.e. those not dying of Covid-19) passengers to exit the ship. And of course, anybody found to be infected will be quarantined, according to the Washington Post.

The captain added that one passenger in dire need of hospitalization will be taken off the ship Sunday but government authorities have not yet told cruise officials when the remaining passengers would be able to arrive at port.

"We know this will be a disappointment to you, and we share in that disappointment," the captain said in a message that was shared with WaPo and the r/coronavirus board. "However, we are required to follow the government instructions."

More than 3,500 people are aboard the Grand Princess, and of the 46 tested for the coronavirus so far, 21 have tested positive. When the ship docks, the cruise line says, guests who are California residents will undergo health screenings and go to federal facilities in the state, while Americans from other states will be taken to locations elsewhere in the country. The crew will be quarantined and treated aboard, the cruise line said Saturday.

The captain said the ship would rendezvous with a Coast Guard cutter to collect prescription medicines and other medications for people on board (one patient is reportedly in danger of missing vital chemo treatments. One of the passengers requires “shoreside hospital care,” he said, so that person will go to shore. The captain did not elaborate on the person’s condition or say whether the person was among those who tested positive.

In France, as the number of confirmed cases grows, officials have called for a ban on events with over 1,000 attendees, after earlier banning events with more than 500. This follows in the footsteps of Germany, where lawmakers made a similar request on Sunday.

* * *

Update (1425ET): A state of emergency impacting certain heavily flooded counties is still in effect from a few weeks ago, but on Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus in the state. The state of emergency will remain in effect for 60 days, and can be extended if necessary. The Oregon Health Authority has confirmed 14 - 7 of them new - cases of the virus in the state.

Authorities said they expect to see more cases, but emphasized that everyone can take actions to reduce the spread of the virus, according to Oregon Public Radio.

After an employee at a hospital in Danbury, Conn. tested positive, marking the first case in the state, health officials said that the first Connecticut resident to be confirmed positive with Covid-19 is from the town of Wilton, a town in Fairfield County not far from the NY State border. The patient, who is being treated at Danbury Hospital, is a Wilton resident reportedly between the ages of 40 and 50. Officials believe the patient came in contact with the coronavirus on a recent trip to California, the Hartford Courant reports.

Saudi Arabia has closed schools across the kingdom.

Meanwhile, in Japan, doctors have reported an unusual development. One patient who was hospitalized with the virus has developed meningitis, a swelling of the lining in the brain. It's reportedly the first case where this has happened.

* * *

Update (1330ET): For the second day in a row, Italian health officials on Sunday have reported 1,000+ newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. In addition, deaths have climbed 50% to 366 deaths, up from 233.

The Italian fatality rate has now hit 5%.

In France, the total number of confirmed cases has climbed to 1,126, with 19 deaths. Germany has reported 107 new cases of coronavirus, raising the total to 902, with 40 cases in Berlin.

In Israel, PM Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly weighing a ban on all foreigners entering the country. A few hours ago, Israel closed the rest of its border with Egypt after the country reported the first coronavirus-linked death in Africa. The deceased is a German citizen.

* * *

Update (1130ET): After declaring a state of emergency on Saturday, Gov. Cuomo confirmed 16 more cases in the state on Sunday, raising the state total from 89 to 105.

As officials in Washington State try to figure out exactly how many residents of the Life Care Center of Kirkland have died from the virus, one Twitter user pointed out the number of patients who have died at the facility - not at a hospital - since the outbreak began.

In India, officials have confirmed what's believed to be the first Covid-19-related death. They're awaiting a final confirmation.

Spain reports 96 new cases of coronavirus and 7 new deaths, raising total to 613 cases and 17 dead.

In Virginia, officials have found what they described as the state's second presumptive case of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the Washington DC area to seven.

Saudi Arabia has suspended travel to and from Qatif Province, a key eastern province and ordered businesses and government offices there closed after confirming four new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 11.

The Army has suspended travel to and from Italy and South Korea for all soldiers and family members because of the coronavirus outbreak until May 6. The order, which affects 4,500 soldiers and family members, comes after that sailor in Naples was confirmed infected.

According to the New York Times, the 'Grand Princess' is on its way to dock on Monday at the Port of Oakland, the vessel’s operator said, after initially being refused entry at the port in San Francisco on Thursday. Passengers on the ship who require "acute medical treatment and hospitalization" will disembark first and be taken to secure facilities in Cali. Some 21 crew and passengers (mostly crew) have been infected, and more are being tested.

Most of those under quarantine on the ship, a situation that one passenger described as "hellish", will linger for at least a day as officials continue the screening process.

California's Office of Emergency Services said that a joint state and federal effort will begin Monday to disembark passengers from the ship in the port of Oakland. Sick passengers will be taken to medical facilities in California, and those who don't require immediate care will be housed in federal facilities "for testing and isolation," according to CBS News.

California residents will be brought to facilities within the state, and non-residents will be taken to locations in other states, including a military base in Marietta, Georgia. OES said 1,000 passengers are California residents. In an interview on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, US Surgeon General Jerry Adams said the White House "is still working" on figuring out where the "disembarked" passengers will be held.

Reuters reports the Mayor of Daegu, the hardest hit city in South Korea that is under quarantine as officials fight the outbreak, says the outbreak might be slowing. He reportedly expressed cautious hope on Sunday that the numbers of new cases may be dropping, after the rate of increase slowed to its lowest in 10 days.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Sunday 272 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 7,313 in the country. Two further deaths took the toll to 50, it added.

The increase was smaller than the day before, though health officials have warned that these figures could change as new tests are processed.

* * *

The drastic new measures announced yesterday in Rome's draft decree to contain Europe's worst novel coronavirus outbreak have now been put into practice: Italians awakened on Sunday to conditions that haven't been seen in the country since the partisans in Giulino di Mezzegra, a small village in the Italian north that is now under quarantine, executed Mussolini.

With the quarantine imposing strict rules governing who can and can't leave the area, anyone living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces will need special permission to travel. Milan and Venice, two of the largest cities in the country, which is also Europe's third-largest economy with a total population of roughly 60 million - are both affected.

Overall, some 16 million Italians will be impacted by the strict quarantines - roughly 25% of the Italian population.

The most salient details of the Italian quarantine are as follows: In the quarantine region, weddings and funerals have been suspended, as well as religious and cultural events. Cinemas, night clubs, gyms, swimming pools, museums and ski resorts have been closed. Restaurants and cafes in the quarantined zones can open between 06:00 and 18:00 but customers must sit at least 1m (3ft) apart. People have been told to stay at home as much as possible, the BBC reports.

Those who willingly decide to break the quarantine could face three months in jail.

Restrictions apply to all of the Lombardy region, which includes many of Italy's largest cities and most economically important provinces. According to Turkey's Anadolou News Agency, along with Lombardy, the quarantine includes the cities of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro e Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padova, Treviso and Venice.

The order impacts Lombardy, the region around Milan, as well as vast swathes of Piedmont, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Marche. Venice is part of the affected zone, while Turin, home to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV headquarters, is outside, according to Bloomberg.

PM Giuseppe Conte said sports matches will be held without crowds, and that schools in all quarantined locations will be on break until April 3.

In a tweet retweeted by Conte, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros congratulated the Italian government for imposing "extraordinary measures", and specifically praised Italian President Sergio Mattarrella for his boldness in getting the draft decree adopted into law.

Of course, while these measures are undoubtedly bold, they're coming rather late in the game. Italy has confirmed 233 deaths connected to the outbreak, most of them in Lombardy, but cases and deaths have been confirmed across the country now, including a US Navy serviceman in Naples. 5,061 cases have been confirmed across Italy.

In the Vatican, which confirmed its first case the other day, Pope Francis delivered his first live-streamed Sunday prayer to avoid the usual crowds forming. The Pope said he was "close through prayer" with those suffering from the epidemic. The Pope is also just recovering from a relatively serious 'indisposition' that officials said was definitely not the coronavirus (the pontiff was reportedly tested).

Over in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of NIAID and the CDC's point man on the outbreak, delivered some appropriately severe comments in a statement to the press delivered early Sunday.

The celebrated epidemiologist warned the public that they should avoid public gatherings because the virus's seemingly rapid spread within communities on the West Coast is "not encouraging."

  • FAUCI SAYS SCOPE OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN UNITED STATES 'NOT ENCOURAGING' BECAUSE OF SPREAD WITHIN COMMUNITIES
  • NIAID HEAD ANTHONY FAUCI SAYS U.S. NEEDS TO LOOK AT CANCELLING EVENTS WITH LARGE GATHERINGS OF PEOPLE IF COMMUNITY SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS INCREASES.

The Washington Post reports, citing a tweet from Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), that the Grand Princess passengers are expected to be quarantined at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where evacuees from the Diamond Princess and Wuhan have been quarantined.
 

Meanwhile, hours after announcing the District’s first coronavirus case, the DC Department of Health said Sunday that it was investigating whether members of a Georgetown church were exposed to the deadly virus.

In Albany, Gov. Cuomo said that NY and NYC wanted to avoid the quarantines imposed in Italy and China, but he would shut down NYC schools if he really felt it necessary.

  • CUOMO: WANTS TO AVOID MASSIVE QUARANTIES USED IN CHINA, ITALY
  • CUOMO" `IF WE NEED TO CLOSE SCHOOLS, WE WILL CLOSE SCHOOLS'
  • CUOMO SAYS NO REASON NOW TO CLOSE DOWN MASS TRANSIT IN CITY
  • NEW YORK GOV ANDREW CUOMO COMMENTS ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL

In a tweet sent early Sunday, President Trump defended the US response to the virus, praised VP Mike Pence (but notably not HHS Secretary Azar, and insisted that the "Fake News" media was deliberately trying to make him look bad.

We can't help but wonder: Does this "plan" involve mass Italy- and/or China-style quarantines?

Elsewhere, in the UK, health officials confirmed another batch of cases, bringing the national total between the four kingdoms to 273. Among them, a student at Oxford University, the first case at the school. It was the largest daily jump in cases for the UK yet.

As we reported last night, South America recorded its first coronavirus death, a 64-year-old Argentinian man, meanwhile, in Australia, a man in his 80s died, marking the country's third death from the virus.

In Malaysia, which has been one of the more successful countries at combating the outbreak, officials banned all cruise ships from landing (taking a page out of President Trump's book).

Of course, even as President Trump said he would prefer to leave the passengers on the Grand Princess offshore indefinitely (he doesn't need his 'numbers' to double, as he said the other day), the US doesn't have that luxury considering most of them are American citizens.

The Netherlands reports 77 new cases of coronavirus and 2 new deaths, raising total to 265 cases and 3 dead. German Health Minister Jens Spahn advised all events with more than 1,000 participants to be cancelled.

Iran on Sunday reported 49 deaths and more than 700 new cases of the virus, according to health authorities. As the worst outbreak outside China intensifies, the regime has urged citizens to stay home and avoid travel between cities, while many of Iran's neighbors have closed their borders to Iranian citizens.

According to WaPo, the new cases bring the official death toll in Iran to 194, with a total number of confirmed cases climbing to 6,566 infections.

The new cases bring the official death toll in Iran to 194, with a total of 6,566 infections, according to the Health Ministry.

The outbreak is one of the largest outside China, where it is believed the virus originated.

In New York, as the number of confirmed cases passes 100, an Uber driver living in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway has reportedly been hospitalized with the virus. As one reporter noted.