- Spainish impose 15-day lockdown effective immediately
- President Trump tests negative
- Spanish first lady test positive
- France announces national lockdown
- Mayor of Teaneck NJ asks residents to self-quarantine
- NYC confirms 1st coronavirus death
- Trump says he was tested for Covid-19, White House expands travel ban to UK and Ireland
- US death toll hits 51
- Louisiana declares first death
- Mississippi becomes 32nd state to declare emergency
- Newly diagnosed cases jumped by +3,000 in Italy
- Latin American states follow US with travel bans of their own
- Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell updates world on his condition
- 10 US servicemembers test positive
- 2nd presumptive case confirmed in Stratford, Conn.
- UAE suspends tourism industry
- De Blasio refuses to close schools
- Israel limits gatherings to 10 and closes leisure businesses
- ireland reports 2nd death
- North Carolina becomes latest state to close schools for 2 weeks; more than a dozen states have done so
- India case total hits 84
- White House virus task force delivers update
- Switzerland total climbs to 1,359
- Airlines cancel flights to Spain
- South Carolina issues emergency medical licenses for out-of-state practitioners
- Dallas municipal court suspends jury duty
- Chile quarantines 2 cruise ships, Bahamas refuses ship entry
- Seattle halts evictions
- Apple closes stores outside Greater China
- Washington State re-takes lead in US case total
- Gaming Commission shuts down Mass. casinos
- 1 man dies in New Jersey
* * *
Update (1930ET): In a major blow to the credibility of the gang of reporters who tried to corner President Trump during two press conferences on Friday and Saturday, the president has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the White House.
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom free,” his physician, Sean P. Conley, said in a statement. “I have been in daily contact with the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.”
Trump took the test on Friday, and revealed that he had taken the test during a press conference on Saturday. As we head into the evening, yet another first lady of a major developed economy has tested positive for Covid-19.
María Begoña Gómez Fernández, the wife of Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, has the coronavirus.
In New Jersey, which just reported its first death, the mayor of the city of Teaneck New Jersey asked residents to self-quarantine at hoe and only leave for food or medicine.
* * *
Update (1805ET): The first coronavirus death in the state of Louisiana has been reported Saturday, according to a news release from Gov. John Bel Edwards. The deceased was a 58-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying health conditions who was being treated at Touro Infirmary Hospital and Medical Center in New Orleans.
The state has 67 confirmed cases (well, 66 now).
Read the release below:
“Now more than ever, we must remain vigilant against the spread of this illness by taking care of ourselves and each other, avoiding going into public areas if you are sick, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water.”
“This underscores the fact that those with underlying health issues are most at risk from the coronavirus. Those with compromised immune systems and are older should be taking extra precautions to avoid becoming affected with the coronavirus.”
Elsewhere, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has made a video updating the world on his condition.
— NBA (@NBA) March 14, 2020
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency in response to coronavirus, bringing the total of states in the US who have declared a state emergency to 32, including Mississippi and Washington DC.
After the Pentagon announced new travel restrictions for all personnel earlier, it later confirmed that 10 US service members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, along with 1 Defense Department civilian and two contractors, military officials said Saturday. This presumably doesn’t include the servicemembers who tested positive abroad.
In Connecticut, officials from the town of Stratford said that they are monitoring a second presumptive case of coronavirus in a Stratford High School student. The town’s first confirmed case was found in a school-age Stratford child earlier this week, according to WTNH.
* * *
Update (1720ET): As we previewed below, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has signed the emergency decree Spain under an Italy-style lockdown as more European countries suspend air travel to infected countries. The decision to declare the lockdown, effective immediately, followed an emergency cabinet meeting Saturday night. Even the White House has scrapped its travel-ban exemptions for the UK and Ireland.
The new measures announced by Sanchez during a news conference on Saturday banned all Spaniards from leaving their homes except for:
- Going to work
- Buying food or essential supplies
- Going to a hospital
- Supporting an elderly person or a minor under their care
As deaths, and ICU admissions, continued to skyrocket in Italy…
Whoa- Critical care ICU rate in Italy for #COVID19 556/3420 ➡️ 📍16%📍! In China it was just 5%. We are now realizing the virus could be even worse than expected. Very concerning with these Italy data published in JAMA. https://t.co/gDpsEb7Sz2 pic.twitter.com/B783DYYKd6
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 14, 2020
…Spain and France have joined in passing sweeping restrictions on movement and business. Late last week, several Latin American countries stepped up measures on to slow the spread of the coronavirus, halting flights to and from Europe, closing schools and cancelling public gatherings. Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Honduras. On Friday, Colombia followed the US and closed its borders to travelers from Asia and Europe.
Europe was an example to the world: Half-measures and open borders don’t work to stop a pandemic. Quashing an outbreak like this requires a swift and heavy-handed response from federal authorities.
Health officials in Switzerland reported 234 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,359 cases, with 119 cases in Zürich, and 103 cases in Geneva.
In New York, Gov, Cuomo declared on Saturday that there are probably “thousands” of infected people walking around the state of New York.
“This is going to be everywhere,” Cuomo said. “My guess is there are thousands and thousands of cases walking around the state of New York.”
After French President Emmanuel Macron chastised citizens for not taking the outbreak seriously, and ordered all cafes, bars and restaurants to close as he imposed restrictions on movement and public life across France, as Bloomberg reports. Gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned. The Eiffel has been shut down.
Recently infected Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert announced Saturday that he would be donating over $500,000 to Vivint Smart Home Arena hourly employees and coronavirus-related social services in Utah, Oklahoma City and France, which is his home country. Gobert apologized for mocking virus-control precautions before being infected.
In Israel, a country that has been notoriously paranoid about the virus, resulting in exceptionally effective (if at times excessive) containment measures. On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu further tightened restrictions on Israelis by limiting gatherings to 10 people and closing all leisure and entertainment venues effective Sunday morning.
“We are at war against an invisible enemy,” Netanyahu said. “Defeating it depends on the steps that each of you takes. We must do everything in order not to infect and not to become infected.”
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Dubai has ordered all large events in March cancelled and encouraged hotels to halt hosting weddings for the time being.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper closed schools for two weeks, a decision he announced during a press conference on Saturday. He also banned gatherings of more than 100 people and chided citizens for not respecting earlier restrictions. In South Carolina, the state Board of Medical Examiners and the state’s Board of Nursing said they would begin issuing temporary licenses to out-of-state medical professionals helping with the outbreak, according to a news release from Gov. Henry McMaster.
In what appears to be the first example of trials being rescheduled because of the outbreak, the Dallas Municipal Court has rescheduled trials and jury duty, according to a news release from the city of Dallas.
After dozens of countries banned cruise ships from arriving, the Bahamas said Saturday it would not be allowing the MS Braemar cruise ship, which has five confirmed coronavirus cases on board, to dock. Two cruise ships with a total of about 1,300 people on board are now quarantined off the coast of Chile as one passenger tested positive for coronavirus, said Chile’s Health Minister Jaime Manalich.
In Seattle, the mayor has halted residential evictions during the outbreak.
As of Saturday evening on the east coast, at least 2,548 cases of the novel coronavirus had been confirmed in the US, according to the state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around the world, more than 150,000 cases have been confirmed.
– January 19: 100 cases
– January 24: 1,000 cases
– January 28: 5,000 cases
– February 12: 50,000 cases
– March 6: 100,000 cases
– March 14: 150,000 cases
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) March 14, 2020
* * *
Update (1445ET): As deaths and cases soar in Europe (4500 cases, 91 deaths), French PM Edouard Philippe has announced Italy-esque draconian measures to control the spread of Covid-19:
French people “must understand the seriousness of the issue” warned Philippe, as he declared all bars, cafes, discos, cinemas, and restaurants across France will be closed forthwith
“We must show more discipline” he implored, explaining that traveling “should be only for work or crucial issues.”
* * *
Update (1330ET): The White House task force has finished its latest update, and minutes later, Italian health authorities announced yet another unprecedented jump in newly diagnosed cases as the authorities ramp up testing during the crackdown.
The death toll in Italy climbed to 1,441 from 1,266 on Friday, while the official total number of confirmed to 21,157 from 17,660.
And here are charts from the worst four infections from Europe:
Latvia’s PM has just banned gatherings and banned foreigners, making Latvia the latest country in Europe and the first in the Baltic States to ban all foreigners, in defiance of Brussels’ policy recommendations.
In NYC, Mayor de Blasio confirmed that an NYFD firefighter in Brooklyn had tested positive for the virus, and now a squad of more than 30 firefighters had been locked in quarantine. The firefighter worked from Sunday to Tuesday, went home on Tuesday with symptoms, before testing positive on Friday. The Brooklyn firehouse where he worked is now being sanitized.
A prison worker in Pennsylvania’s Delaware County has also tested positive, raising the possibility of an outbreak at a prison.
Following today’s press briefing, a reporter for China’s state-controlled CTGN was turned away from the briefing for running a high body temperature.
This is the journalist turned away from the White House press briefing for having a fever.
He’s from the outlet CGTN—an English language channel that is Chinese owned. pic.twitter.com/lyEbWTU5qn
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) March 14, 2020
Unsurprisingly, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he hoped that somebody would “nationalize or federalize” key factories.
.@NYCMayor Bill de Blasio says since we’re on a war-time footing, he would like to see someone “nationalize or federalize” key factories, including those that make medical supplies like ventilators.https://t.co/tElx0HYu9B
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) March 14, 2020
Here’s the rest of de Blasio’s press conference.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 14, 2020
De Blasio insisted he wouldn’t close the schools unless he absolutely had to: “Where are these kids going to go?” he said. Meanwhile, two teachers at Stuyvesant High School published an op-ed in the NYT demanding that the city close the schools.
Ireland has just confirmed another 39 cases, and the country’s second death. In India, another 10+ cases have been confirmed bringing the country’s death toll to 84 following its first death reported yesterday.
* * *
Update (1130ET): New York City has confirmed its first coronavirus-related death, WSJ reports.
The world is now waiting to hear whether Gov. Cuomo will shut down the city’ schools and subway system.
Per WSJ, the deceased was an 82-year-old woman with emphysema. Her death brings the US death toll to an even 50. As of Saturday, the state has 524 cases of coronavirus, with more than 100 people hospitalized. Gov. Cuomo warned in a morning press conference that there are roughly 50,000 hospital beds statewide, with 3,000 intensive care rooms. Since those rooms will be needed to care for the most severely ill patients, hospitals are beginning to suspend elective surgeries, beginning with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the largest hospital systems in the NYC area, which said that it would be stopping all elective surgeries and procedures.
The decision will free up more space for coronavirus patients.
In other news, following yesterday’s press conference where reporters hammered Trump and Pence for their allegedly ‘selfish’ unwillingness to get tested and to wear a mask, the White House has implemented temperature checks for reporters entering the breifing room and other individuals coming into close contact with the president.
New procedure from the White House, @HansNichols reports: “Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President.” Reporters are having their temps taken ahead of noon briefing.
— Monica Alba (@albamonica) March 14, 2020
* * *
While EU bureaucrats in Brussels slammed President Trump over the European travel ban, claiming that he left them in the dark with his “unilateral” action, Spain – one of Europe’s largest countries, and the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone – on Sunday said it would adopt a draconian national travel ban on par with the national lockdown taking place in Italy.
Yes, even as Brussels bureaucrats insist that closing borders isn’t necessary, more European leaders are deciding to ignore Brussels and follow in the footsteps of Italy, which has declared a two-week national lockdown, and Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which have all closed their borders to foreigners.
On Friday, Spain declared a two-week state of emergency that Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was necessary to help contain the outbreak that has spun out of control since thousands of marchers packed into the streets of Madrid for last weekend’s International Women’s Day march.
On Friday, Sanchez declared the emergency for 15 days, saying that Spain would “mobilize all resources,” including the military, to contain the virus and help reverse the sharp rise in new infections over the past week. Part of the powers invoked by Sanchez allow the federal government to restrict movement of the Spanish people, to legally confiscate items and to seize control of Spanish industrial output – presumably a relic of Spain’s authoritarian past that makes this lockdown more similar to the Chinese Communist Party’s lockdown than anything happening in Italy. Even private hospitals can be commandeered for the government effort. The government can even impose ‘special measures’ to guarantee the food supply for the country. Even April elections in two northern regions could be delayed, the government said.
The decision came after Spain’s case total surpassed 4,000, and deaths climbed above 100. More cases and deaths were reported Saturday morning, along with the latest details about the Spanish emergency measures, which appear to be even more thorough than initially believed. On Saturday, total cases passed 5,000, and the number of confirmed deaths neared 200.
Then on Saturday, the Spanish government decided to kick things up a notch, perhaps having realized that the outbreak is now out of control and more restrictive controls on movement would be needed to contain it.
Spain’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that it would assu,e direct control of all police forces in the country, allowing them to direct police to enforce quarantines, with deadly force if necessary. In Madrid, the epicenter of the Spanish outbreak, a state of emergency will be imposed, including a curfew and lockdown measures intended to restrict movement and ensure social distancing.
El Pais, Spain’s newspaper of record, reported Saturday that the government had prepared a draft decree similar to Italy’s declaring a ‘nationwide lockdown’. According to reports, the lockdown will be rolled out nationwide on Monday, and people would only be able to go out to either work or buy essential items.
As the eurozone’s fourth largest country, Spain has a population of 47 million, roughly 13 million fewer people than Italy.
So far, no news of the lockdown has appeared on official government accounts. Earlier, PM Sanchez tweeted a PSA about ‘social distancing’ and hygiene practices.
Los profesionales sanitarios nos protegen con entrega y sacrificio, pero todos tenemos una misión frente al #Covid19.
Los mayores deben protegerse, evitar a toda costa la exposición. Los jóvenes tienen que mantener la distancia social para frenar contagios. Su papel será crucial. pic.twitter.com/nrWKGCQM6A
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) March 13, 2020
Already, airlines are cancelling flights over Spain’s new measure. British travel company Jet2 has canceled all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. The cancellations were a result of Spain’s new measures, per CNN.
In the Netherlands, which has also seen an alarming spike in cases over the last week, confirmed on Saturday that infections had climbed by 155 TO 959, with two more deaths, while many cases and deaths likely remain unconfirmed.
On the corporate side of things, Apple announced Saturday morning that it would shutter all of its stores outside Greater China. The decision is notably ironic seeing as Apple just finished opening the last of its stores on the mainland late this week. The stores will be closed until March 27.
According to CNN, the company also pledged to commit $15 million to help with the worldwide recovery from the outbreak, “both to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic.”
In the US, while Walmarts, Targets and groceries across the country remain oddly barren of toilet paper, the Pentagon on Saturday suspended all domestic travel for personnel and their families during the outbreak. The new restrictions apply to “all DoD military and civilian personnel and their families assigned to DoD installations, facilities and surrounding areas within the US and its territories,” the department said in the statement, according to BBG.
Overnight, the death toll in the states climbed to 49 as Washington re-took the lead in total confirmed cases from New York, which held it briefly for a few hours Friday afternoon. NJ reported its first death, as the number of confirmed cases in the state climbed to 69.
Across the US, 46,000 schools have closed, are scheduled to close, or were closed and later reopened, because of the virus outbreak, as 12 states declare two or three-week closures. At least 21 million students in the United States have been or will be affected by the closures. The acting ambassador from Brazil, who attended the dinner with Trump and Pence and Bolsonaro and his infected comms director, has tested positive for Covid-19 after reporting symptoms. But though some said that Trump sounded a little hoarse at yesterday’s press conference, he and his doctors insist he isn’t showing any symptoms.
A Rhode Island elementary school student who got an autograph from one of the Utah Jazz players who tested positive for the virus has also tested positive, shining another uncomfortable light on one player (Rudy Gomert’s) nonchalant and mocking behavior toward the virus, which clearly has a twisted sense of humor.