- Trump says he wants ‘travel advisory’ on NY area
- Total COVID-19 cases tops 700k
- US death toll passes 2k
- Global total tops 660k
- Ireland death toll hits 46
- UK deputy chief medical officer warns life won’t be normal for 6 months
- Mayor of NYC OKs fines of up to $500 for those caught not social distancing
- Mnuchin says decision on reopening economy will be ‘health decision’
- Italy reports 2nd day of declines
- Texas, RI, Florida & others bar people traveling from NY and surrounding area
- France reports another 300 deaths
- Medical evac flight to Tokyo crashes in Manila
- Dutch reject masks made by Chinese
- Inmate dies from COVID-19 in Louisiana
- Even Spanish politicians criticized for traveling to vacation villas
- Navarro suggests Chinese may have exposed US officials to virus
- More than 700 NJ police officers test positive
- Modi asks for “forgiveness” from India’s poor
- Syria, Jordan report first deaths
- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says his state needs more federal help or it will be quickly overrun
- WHO criticized over treatment of Taiwanese journalists
- Russia closes borders to foreigners Monday
- US issues guidelines banning ‘protocols’ on rationing equipment
Update (1900ET): Following reports that freezer trucks have been brought to Queens hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital to handle the influx of bodies from COVID-19, a video purporting to have been taken at Brooklyn Hospital in Fort Green claims to show bodies being loading into a truck by a forklift.
Though another video taken outside the same hospital shows a much less chaotic scene not long before the initial video was taken.
Update (1735ET): As the US confirms new cases at a rapid clip, with 911 calls in NYC at their highest level since 911, and ambulances dropping off comatose patient after comatose patient all of whom are have trouble breathing, the number of confirmed cases in the US is nearing 150,000, with 2,414 deaths.
* * *
Update (1700ET): The streets of NYC are empty…
Now he’s reportedly OK’d fines of up to $500 for New Yorkers caught violating social distancing orders, even as he and his wife Chirlaine McCray were caught walking in Prospect Park the other day.
And remember, as de Blasio tries to blame Trump for this crisis, he was telling New Yorkers to go out and enjoy the sunshine less than three weeks ago (the clip below says Feb. 10 but the real date is March 10).
And earlier, de Blasio threatened any places of worship that still hold services in violation of the city’s order could be permanently shut down.
Meanwhile, WSJ has published a sweeping piece about the impact on retailers and other businesses.
Update (1655ET): As we sit and wait for the White House Task Force’s latest press conference, here’s a little levity from an Arizona strip club….
need everyone to see this sign at my neighborhood strip club pic.twitter.com/Hnmlxtkov9
— katherine fitzgerald 🌵 (@kfitz134) March 29, 2020
Meanwhile, over in the UK, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer warned life may not get back to normal for six months or possibly even longer, as the country battles the novel coronavirus, which has infected its prime minister, and many others.
Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said the current lockdown would be reviewed every three weeks, and warned that if the measures were lifted too quickly, the virus could surge once again.
Now that the numbers are mostly in, it looks like Europe reported its worst day since the outbreak began on Saturday.
The number of cases and deaths continues to rise steeply in Europe, which experienced its deadliest day since the coronavirus outbreak began on Saturday, though since then, numbers have already started to slow. In France, officials reported 2,606 deaths, compared with 2,314 yesterday, and 40,174 cases total, compared with 37,575 yesterday. The numbers represent a slowdown compared with the prior day.
Authorities in India just reported that they’ve begun converting train coaches into isolation wards in preparation for a possible surge in new coronavirus cases, which they’ve been warning about for days now, though the other shoe hasn’t yet dropped.
In other news, an aircraft on a mysterious “medical evacuation mission” bound for Tokyo crashed at a Manila airport on Sunday night, killing all eight people on board. Footage showed the aircraft, operated by a charter company in spite of the fact that most flights have been barred from taking off or landing at the airport, burst into flames after trying to take off.
Update (1245ET): Following an outbreak at a nursing home in Maryland, it looks like authorities in Mississippi are gearing up to do…absolutely nothing now that an employee at a nursing home in the state has tested positive. There are no plans to test other nursing home employees or patients, beyond scanning for fevers, virtually guaranteeing that the outbreak will worsen and more will die.
BREAKING: A Mississippi nursing home employee tested positive for #COVID19 & is quarantining. There are no plans to test other employees/residents, only checking for fevers or symptoms. My latest @MSFreePress is personal—one of my grandmothers lives there. https://t.co/NLGrVCEBUA pic.twitter.com/oOWj8vBc5u
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) March 29, 2020
Cuomo made the announcement at around noon on Sunday less than a day after the CDC issued a 14-day travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the tri-state surpassed 65,000.
New York State has now seen 965 coronavirus-related deaths, Cuomo said, up from 728 on Saturday. As of Sunday afternoon, 8,503 people in the state were hospitalized, 2,037 of whom were in the ICU. A total of 3,572 patients with COVID-19 have been discharged. As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 32,308 people in New York City had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 678 people had died in the city.
New York State registered new cases, with total cases surpassing 59,000 on Sunday. 965 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the last day, bringing New York State’s death toll to: “It’s the acutely ill, by-in-large who are the vulnerable population.”
Cuomo is still answering questions:
WATCH: NY Gov. Cuomo comments on upcoming Easter and Passover holidays, saying "density is the enemy here."
"Worship the way you can, but the gatherings are just not a good idea." pic.twitter.com/01gBHYRgjl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 29, 2020
Over in Japan, NHK reports that Tokyo has confirmed 68 new coronavirus cases, yet another record daily increase, on Sunday, as the Japanese capital scrambles to prevent a wider outbreak, something we warned about yesterday. And as we mentioned earlier, Russia’s decision to close its borders to all foreigners including those with visas, as China did, begins Monday.
Update (1220ET): Italy reports 5,217 new cases of COVID-19 and 756 new deaths, raising its total to 97,689 cases and 10,779 dead. It marks the second straight day of declines in the number of new cases reported, a sign that the quarantine, first announced on March 8, might finally be working.
The number of new cases declined, and the number of new deaths declined, officials said.
And here’s the latest breakdown courtesy of Corriere della Sera:
In other news, Al Jazeera reported Sunday that Dutch officials had officially recalled tens of thousands of masks imported from China and distributed to hospitals battling the COVID-19 outbreak.
The masks, which were purchased at a time of intense international need, reportedly don’t meet widely accepted international quality standards.
Additionally, the Indian government has apologized for the sudden manner in which it imposed its lockdown on the country, giving more than a billion people just hours to prepare. Still, more than 3.38 billion people worldwide have been asked or ordered to follow confinement measures in the fight against COVID-19, AFP reports. That’s more than 4 in 10 people worldwide.
As the Middle East continues to struggle with the outbreak, Syria’s Health Ministry reported on Sunday its first death from COVID-19. Jordan also reported its first death on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, expanded its lockdown by halting entry and exit into the Jeddah governorate, expanding lockdown rules as it reports four new deaths from a coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread in the region despite extensive containment measures implemented by the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and other countries in the region.
Elsewhere, in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the nation’s poor for “forgiveness” as the economic and human toll from his 21-day nationwide lockdown order deepens and criticism mounts over a lack of adequate planning. Reports by the NYT and other papers depicted millions of migrant workers forced to walk dozens of miles back home after being stranded when public transit shuttered. Many were confronted by police harassment that compounded an already intensely difficult situation.
“I apologise for taking these harsh steps that have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor people,” Modi said in his monthly address broadcast on state radio.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide has topped 700K.
Late last night, President Trump said he wasn’t planning on quarantining New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but that the governors of other states like Florida had complained about the number of travelers from out-of-state bringing disease and pestilence with them from the big city.
So, instead of a quarantine, governors are taking measures into their own hands, and authorizing the police and the national guard to interrogate anybody with an out-of-state license plate, or a rental vehicle or an out-of-state driver’s license about the steps they’re taking to quarantine themselves, and issue fines if necessary.
On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
As for Trump’s telling everybody he wants the country, or parts of it, anyway, to reopen by Easter, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that any decision regarding whether to reopen the country back for business as early as Easter will be a “health decision” not an “economic decision.”
Mnunchin acknowledged surging unemployment numbers and declining GDP as 1 in 3 Americans remain under government orders to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Already, more than 2,000 Americans have been killed by the virus. But he said health officials will ultimately have the final say on the matter.
Spain on Sunday reported yet another record rise in the death toll – another 838 fatalities – bringing the total to about 6,500 deaths and almost 79,000 registered coronavirus cases, the fourth highest in the world. It’s at least the second day in a row that Spain has reported a ‘record-breaking’ jump in its death toll.
But the US, with its total number of cases climbing at the fastest pace on record anywhere – even as large swaths of the country still have trouble accessing tests – is really starting to panic. The number of confirmed cases globally is nearing 682k, and in the US, 124,866 have been confirmed as of Sunday morning, Johns Hopkins said. Another 2,191 deaths had been recorded, with nearly 200 of those having occurred since late Saturday.
Last night, Jim Dolan, the owner of NBA team New York Knicks, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the basketball team said in a Twitter post.
The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 29, 2020
Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the other states that have ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine. In Texas, the authorities said on Friday that Department of Public Safety agents would make surprise visits to see whether travelers were adhering to the state’s mandate, and they warned that violators could be fined $1,000 and jailed for 180 days. Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont last week urged all travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped short of issuing an order requiring it. Back in Jersey, more than 700 police officers have tested positive for the virus.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has warned that the situation is going to get worse. “There’s no question” that the coronavirus epidemic in Maryland will be worse in two weeks, he said, pushing back on Trump’s comments last week that he would like to see parts of the country reopen by Easter.
“The virus is going to dictate the time frame, and we’re going to follow the advice of the scientists and doctors,” Hogan said. “We don’t see any way we’re going to be opening up in a couple of weeks.”
Just like in the US, where national guard troops in multiple states are now stopping anybody with a New York license plate to ask them, kindly, what in the hell they are doing driving around in a different state, European police are struggling to stop wealthier Europeans from fleeing to their cottages by the lake and/or mountains, which purportedly ‘lessen the difficulty of confinement’.
In an interview, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro suggested that senior Chinese officials may have knowingly exposed the American trade delegation to the virus, since they came to the US and January and “smiled and shook our hands…but didn’t say a word.”
Even political leaders have faced criticism. In Spain, José María Aznar, the former prime minister, departed for his holiday villa in Marbella, a celebrity resort on the Mediterranean, leaving Madrid on the day that schools were shuttered. News of his move prompted an angry backlash as the public demanded he shut himself inside his villa.
Meanwhile, after a hospital system in Michigan revealed new protocols that would prioritize life-saving equipment for younger patients with fewer co-morbidities, the US civil rights office released a new bulletin arguing that protocols to ration lifesaving medical care adopted by Alabama, Washington State and elsewhere were discriminatory and impermissible. This comes as more hospitals develop plans to ration care that sometimes involves making uncomfortable choices. This is “war”, right?
Many plans would prioritize patients who were most likely to survive their immediate illness, and who also had a better chance of long-term survival. Some assign patients a score based on calculations of their level of illness, with decisions on patients with similar scores being made by chance. Some plans instruct hospitals not to offer mechanical ventilators to people above a certain age, or with a certain combination of high-risk conditions.
In Louisiana, where Gov. John Bel Edwards – a Democrat – is begging for more federal aid as the outbreak ramps up, an inmate at a federal prison also died from the coronavirus, according to an employee at the facility. The death is the first involving an inmate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. Yesterday, we reported that an infant had died in Chicago, possibly the first in the US. Authorities have apparently confirmed this is, unfortunately, the truth.
Newborns and babies have seemed to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus, but three new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in utero.
“There has never before been a death associated with Covid-19 in an infant,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.” Older adults, especially those in their 80s and 90s, have been viewed as the most vulnerable in the outbreak, but younger people have also died despite having no co-occurring conditions, as we’ve pointed out.
The BoP website presently lists five inmates and no staff members at the Oakdale prison as having tested positive, and across the federal system, at least 27 inmates and prison workers have tested positive for the virus.
Along the border, a judge concerned that thousands of migrant children in federal detention facilities could be in danger of contracting the coronavirus ruled late Saturday that the government must “make continuous efforts” to release the migrant children from custody, which would seem to violate the spirit of the whole ‘shelter in place’ idea.
The order, from Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court, came after plaintiffs in a long-running case over the detention of migrant children cited reports that four children being held at a federally licensed shelter in New York had tested positive for the virus.
In New York City, still the center of the outbreak across the US, the number of infections has overwhelmed city systems in a matter of days. The city’s 911 system has been overwhelmed by calls for mostly virus-related medical problems. Typically, the system sees about 4,000 Emergency Medical Services calls a day.On Thursday, dispatchers received nearly double that number. They haven’t seen this many calls since 9/11.
Yesterday, we shared a video made by Taiwanese journalists involving a senior WHO official who steadfastly refused to say anything about China’s response or the WHO’s dismissive treatment of Taiwan.
oh. my. god. pic.twitter.com/GAwEj5yvT0
— wilfred chan (@wilfredchan) March 28, 2020
Now, the NYT reports that the WHO official “ducked questions about Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” reviving suspicions about China and the “undue influence” that Beijing has over the WHO.
Thank god New Yorkers have Andrew Cuomo to lead them through this crisis, because it seems like despite all of the government’s efforts, the outbreak is still accelerating faster than most models had projected.
The NY curve is accelerating against our model… pic.twitter.com/Us3FoaBe9p
— Remi Tetot (@RemiGMI) March 29, 2020
“While the president has said he’d like to open the country up in weeks not months, we’re going to be bringing that data forward to him,” Pence said in an interview with Fox News. “Ultimately, the president will make a decision that he believes is in the best interest of all of the American people”
Over in Italy, where the pace of new cases is finally starting to slow, a top Italian health official said Sunday that he believes the country is at the “peak” of the coronavirus outbreak and that within a week to 10 days the number of cases will start dropping. Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri told the BBC that Italy’s lockdown is starting to work. The country is the world’s worst-hit by the pandemic, having overtaken the official Chinese death toll 10 days ago. “I believe we are living in the peak of this epidemic,” Sileri said. “In one week time, 10 days maximum, we will see a drop, a significant drop in positive cases.”
Let’s hope, for the Italians sake, and for the Americans’ sake, that he’s right.