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Viral Alerts

  • Bird Flu Outbreak Occurs in South Carolina, 32,000 Turkeys Destroyed

    As humans around the world scramble to fight a pandemic caused by a new virus, a separate infection has emerged that could wreak havoc on another population of creatures.

    The US Department of Agriculture this week confirmed the presence of an infectious and fatal strain of avian influenza (H7N3) in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.

    State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease,” the department said in a statement, indicating the birds were killed en masse.

    Meanwhile, more than 32,000 turkeys have been euthanized after the discovery of the deadly virus.

    Unexpected

    The detection of the virus was the first of its kind in several years, and any US farmer who remembers the last outbreak of bird flu knows the implications could be massive if the problem is left unattended.

    More than 50 million chickens and turkeys across 15 states were killed between December 2014 and June 2015 in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

    It was a devastating period for the poultry industry, as some 30 countries banned US chicken and turkey products to avoid accidental transmission.

    Nightmare for farmers

    While bird flu is generally not a threat to humans, it’s a nightmare for farmers as it can strike seemingly at random, sometimes from the sky.

    It’s often transmitted by falcons or migratory birds who defecate mid-flight over farms.

    It can also be tracked onto farms and into barns on the tires of trucks or the boots of farm workers — and once one bird gets sick, the entire flock is at risk.

    Economic consequences

    The economic implications can be huge. In 2015, US broiler chicken exports were $1.1 billion lower than in 2014, a 26% decrease.

    Export revenue fell 13% for eggs and 23% for turkeys.

    The near future

    It’s too early to say whether the latest detection of the virus will lead to its discovery in other US poultry operations.

    Stopping its spread will require extra vigilance by farmers, who use their own form of social distancing and preventative measures on the farm, such as limiting foot traffic and wearing protective gear in barns.

    This probably doesn’t apply to the poor birds that remain crammed together in the bigger operations.

    If the virus does begin to spread, it will put the US meat industry in the harrowing spot of navigating two very different viruses at the same time. And that will end pretty nasty as farmers already don’t know what to do with milk, eggs and other fresh goods production.

  • Brazil Overwhelmed by Pandemic, Global Infections Surpass 4 Million

    Now it is Latin America’s turn to face the pain of the COVID-19 storm that has spread west across the globe.

    In Brazil, the health service is ill-prepared. In truth it is already overwhelmed. Since they can’t fight this virus, they are digging instead thousands upon thousands of graves in the city of Sao Paulo.

    The pictures filmed for Sky News by cameraman Eduardo Duwe at the Vila Formosa cemetery, the largest in Latin America, are simply staggering.

    More than 13,000 graves are being dug. From the air, the enormity of this digging operation is astonishing. Grave after grave stretches as far as the eye can see.

    This is a public cemetery, mainly used by the poorest families. In Sao Paulo, the poorest areas are being hit the worst.

    Medical workers across Brazil haven’t given up hope, but there is no battle, no real war on the virus, and they are facing defeat.

    The graves are perhaps a symbol of the failure to contain, and the failure to lock down.

    In full hazmat gear, the grave diggers and burial teams struggle over the freshly dug earth, while grieving family members follow behind.

    Behind the gates of Vila Formosa

    She told us what it was like when she entered the gates of Vila Formosa.

    It was a tense and deeply sad atmosphere, but also there was this rush. Everything was at a very fast pace, something you don’t expect to see at a funeral site,” she said.

    Arrival, document checking and then if there was space they would grant the family some minutes to mourn, otherwise the coffin was just taken by a van immediately to the grave.

    No time for a prayer or anything, no time for goodbyes, no chance to see your loved one for one last time.

    Families were standing at the site surrounded by open graves. It was devastating. When it was done, another family would then take their position on the next grave and the process would start again,” Marcia explained.

    And this is only the first infection cycle. Let’s wait for the second run… Catastrophic. More pandemic news

    Number of global coronavirus cases passes 4 million

    Globally, more than 281,000 have died from the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, with the number of confirmed infections surpassed four million. More than 1.3 million people have recovered.

    U.S figures

    Confirmed Cases: 1,326,138

    Deaths:                    79,384

    More Pandemic News

  • Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. doubled in two days, Italy hits grim milestone

    As the novel coronavirus continued to spread globally Thursday, in the United States the number of confirmed cases doubled. The dramatic increase stems in part from more testing, but also indicates how much the virus has spread.

    On Tuesday, there were just more than 5,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. That number climbed above 11,500 on Thursday, and officials indicated the number will continue to rise sharply as more test results become available.

    Meantime, the State Department warned Americans not to travel internationally and advised all Americans who are abroad to return to the United States or make preparations to shelter in place.

    Here are some other significant developments:

    • Italy on Thursday hit a grim milestone, surpassing China for the largest number of coronavirus-related deaths, at 3,405. Morgues in Italy are running out of capacity.
    • Hospitals and health-care facilities are running out of supplies. In the hardest-hit cities, workers are making their own safety equipment out of supplies from hardware stores.
    • CDC data now shows that younger adults are a large percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations in the United States.
    • India barred incoming commercial flights for a week, and Australia and New Zealand closed their borders to everyone except citizens and residents. The United Arab Emirates went further, stopping expatriate residents from returning to the country. Meanwhile, Italy is extending lockdown measures
    • Prince Albert of Monaco has tested positive for the coronavirus. That announcement came hours after the European Union’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he had tested positive.
    • As lawmakers finalize a massive stimulus package, President Trump said Thursday that he supports the federal government taking equity stakes in private companies that take bailout funds.

     

    Here are the LATEST Global Coronavirus Figures

    Coronavirus Cases:          

    244,097                                                    
    Deaths
    10,005
    Recovered
    86,714
     
    Here are the LATEST U.S. Coronavirus Figures
    Coronavirus Cases                 Deaths              Recovered
    13,304                                     185                     108
     
     
     
     
  • Coronavirus Crisis Reaches the Arctic, Imperils Research Expedition

    The coronavirus crisis has reached the Arctic…

    A team member of a massive international scientific project called MOSAIC has been tested positive for Covid-19 while the Polarstern research vessel is locked in Arctic ice.

    Corona in the Arctic?

    A researcher involved has tested positive for the coronavirus forcing the quarantine of the other 20 team members.

    Although non of them are currently stationed in the Arctic, their absence will disrupt the aerial component of the research since most of that team has been quarantined.

    The mission MOSAIC is operating from the German research vessel Polarstern, an icebreaker which has been intentionally frozen in Arctic sea ice since last October.

    The Polarstern is currently stationed near the North Pole, where it serves as a central hub for the expedition.

    An ice camp consisting of several structures is stationed nearby, along with a runway for incoming and outgoing aircraft. It’s basically a temporary city built on an ice floe.

    The science project aims at understanding why the Arctic climate changes so rapidly.

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The Alfred Wegener Institute writes:

To minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, all team members who are scheduled to join MOSAiC…are tested for coronavirus before departing their homes for Svalbard, Norway, from where they leave for the ship. There, they are tested a second time before they are allowed to depart. The infected individual had been at a workshop in Bremerhaven on March 5th with other aircraft members; the first round of testing was done as part of this meeting.

The last thing these mission members need right now is for the COVID-19 outbreak to reach the Arctic, where the disease could spread to members in the camp and those on the ship.

As shown by recent turmoils on cruise ships, viruses spread like wildfire on boats and thus this quarantine makes a lot of sense.

And now the alarming coronavirus pandemic threatens a team working close to the North Pole.

 

 

  • Coronavirus: Spain set to declare national lockdown

    The Spanish government is poised to declare a 15-day national lockdown on Monday to battle coronavirus.

    Under the decree being finalised, people would be allowed out only for emergencies, to buy food, or for work.

    With 191 deaths and 6,046 infections, Spain is the worst-hit country in Europe after Italy, which declared a nationwide lockdown on Monday.

    The US is extending its European travel ban to the UK and the Republic of Ireland from Monday.

    President Donald Trump confirmed the news in answer to a reporter's question at the White House.

    On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe was now the "epicentre" of the pandemic.

    Italy has seen 1,266 deaths and 17,660 infections.

    Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives.

    Several European countries have reported steep rises in infections and deaths in recent days.

    What is the situation in Spain?

    Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez discussed the emergency measures at a meeting of his cabinet in Madrid. The restrictions are expected to come into force at 08:00 (07:00 GMT) Monday.

    All public transport would be cut back with airline, train, bus and boat operators told they need to cut their services by at least half and that any plane, train, bus or other means of transport can only be a third full, Reuters news agency reports.

    The interior ministry would control all police forces, including those at local and regional level.

    Adding to the drama, Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias broke his own quarantine - which he went into after coming into contact with an infected colleague - to attend Saturday's talks.

    It had not been possible for Mr Iglesias, who did not test positive for the virus, to attend remotely and his presence was agreed with the government after sanitary measures were taken, government sources told Efe news agency.

    Two other ministers who are ill with coronavirus, Irene Montero and Carolina Darias, did not attend.

    This will be the second state of emergency in the country since the transition to democracy began in 1975, the first being a 2010 air traffic controllers' strike.

    Some measures have already been enforced at local level. The authorities in Madrid and its surrounding area have ordered the closure of most bars, restaurants and shops.

    Shops selling foodstuffs, pharmacies and petrol stations are exempt. Similar measures have been brought in elsewhere, including the regions of Galicia and Catalonia.

    The mayor of the southern city of Seville said he had suspended the famous Easter processions.

    Catalan regional leader Quid Torra has said he wants to seal off the whole region, and has asked the authorities in Madrid to block access by air, rail and sea.

    On Thursday the region's authorities locked down four towns north of Barcelona with a high number of cases.

    Airlines are also stopping flights to Spain. Low-cost leisure airline Jet2 turned back planes in mid-air on Saturday as it announced it was cancelling all flights.

    All but "essential travel" to parts of Spain should be avoided, says the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    Why is Europe the 'epicentre'?

    More than 132,500 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in 123 countries around the world, according to the WHO.

     

    The total number of deaths has reached about 5,000 - a figure Dr Tedros described as "a tragic milestone".

    "Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China," he said.

    "More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic."

    As well as the increases in Spain and Italy, France has now confirmed 3,661 cases and 79 deaths.

    Germany has seen 3,675 cases and eight deaths. There have been 798 confirmed infections in the UK and 11 deaths.

    A number of European states are enforcing border closures:

    • Denmark:Closes borders to foreign visitors from Saturday
    • Czech Republic: Bans all foreigners from entering the country, except those with residence permits. Bans most of its own nationals from leaving
    • Slovakia: Closes borders to all foreigners except those with a residence permit.
    • Austria: Closes three land border crossings with Italy to all foreigners, except those with a medical certificate issued within four days. No restriction on Austrian nationals
    • Hungary:Closes land borders with Austria and Slovenia
    • Poland:From Sunday will close borders to foreign visitors
    • Russia:Closes land borders with Poland and Norway
    • Ukraine: Closes border crossings to foreigners (except diplomats) for two weeks

    Belgium, France, Switzerland and parts of Germany are among the latest countries to close schools.

    There are also widespread curbs on large gatherings and measures to close theatres, restaurants and bars.

    Why Europe could be worse off than China

    The number of cases of coronavirus reported every day in Europe has surpassed China at its peak.

    But Europe is in a worse position.

    The overwhelming majority of China's cases were in one place, Hubei province, and those were largely concentrated in one city, Wuhan.

    The outbreak was dealt with by an authoritarian government that imposed the biggest quarantine in human history.

    While there are hotspots in Europe, this is an outbreak across a continent, and different countries are adopting very different strategies for dealing with coronavirus.

    All these figures are based on cases that have been detected, but scientists fear there could be large outbreaks going on unnoticed in countries that don't have the tools to spot them.

    LATEST UPDATES ON CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

    Latest Coranavirus figures from the U.S.

    2449 Cases

    252 New Cases

    55 Deaths

    6 New Deaths

     

  • COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 100,000 As World Grapples With Containment

    Just over a week ago, the worldwide death toll linked to the coronavirus stood at around 50,000 — a staggering sum for a virus that was still largely unknown to the world at the start of the year. Now, that death toll has doubled.

    As of Friday afternoon ET, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed the global death toll at just over 100,000 and the number of confirmed cases worldwide at more than 1.6 million. A handful of Western European countries — particularly Italy, the United States, Spain, France and the United Kingdom — so far have felt the brunt of the disease's deadly effects, combining to make up roughly half the global death toll.

    But nearly every country in the world has reported at least one confirmed case of the virus within its borders. That includes some nations with debilitated health infrastructures, such as civil war-ravaged Yemen and Syria, where health authorities and humanitarian activists fear conditions are ripe for the coronavirus's spread.

    The U.S. has struggled with the world's largest reported outbreak by far — confirmed cases in the hundreds of thousands across the country and more than 5,100 deaths clustered in New York City alone.

    On Thursday, the World Health Organization said it had been 100 days since the group was notified about the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

    The group's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a briefing that much has become clear since the first cases surfaced — as a disease with a fatality rate 10 times that of influenza "has overwhelmed health systems, disrupted the global economy, and lead to widespread social disruption."

    "This pandemic is much more than a health crisis. It requires a whole-of government and whole-of-society response," Tedros said.

    "In the last 100 days, COVID-19 has shown us the damage it can mete out in wealthy nations. We are yet to see the devastation it could wreak in poorer and more vulnerable countries. We're committed to doing everything we can to prevent that from happening."

    Mass Burials On New York Island

    The drone footage and photos circulating on social media show what appears to be the unthinkable: Mass graves on a New York City island as the city struggles in the throes of a pandemic.

    LATEST UPDATES ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

  • Italy Deploys the Military after 627 Coronavirus Deaths Reported in 24 Hours

    1,500 deaths in three days; officials call for even stronger measures to stop spread; 40,000 infected but top scientist says true figure could be 100 times higher

    ROME — Italy on Friday reported a record 627 new deaths from the novel coronavirus and saw its world-leading toll surpass 4,000 despite government efforts to stem the pandemic’s spread.

    The Mediterranean country’s daily death rate is now higher than that officially reported by China at the peak of its outbreak around Wuhan’s Hubei province.

    Italy’s previous one-day record death toll was 475 on Wednesday. Italy has seen more than 1,500 fatalities from COVID-19 in the past three days alone

    It has now recorded the five highest one-day tolls officially registered around the world.

    Italian media broadcast pictures it said was military vehicles brought into the Bergamo area to transport away the hundreds of coffins.

    Italy’s total number of deaths now stands and 4,032. Infections rose by nearly 6,000 to 47,021.

    The nation of 60 million currently accounts for 36.6 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths after surpassing China’s total on Thursday.

    The soaring numbers come despite a national lockdown that drastically limits when residents are allowed to leave their homes. Police have issued citations to thousands of people for being out and about without valid reasons, such as going to work or shopping for food.

     

     

    Mayors and governors throughout the country have been demanding even stricter measures. Italy’s national government is widely expected to respond soon.

    For days now, Italian authorities have said at daily briefings that the virus outbreak that emerged in northern Italy four weeks ago could reach its peak in a matter of days and the number of new infections might start going down.

    “There are so many people walking around who have the virus and who are at risk of infecting others,” Matteo Bassetti, the director of the infectious diseases department at Genoa’s San Martino clinic, told Italy’s AGI news agency.

    “The 40,000 cases we are talking about could actually be 100 times higher.”

    The Italian government intends to extend a ban on public gatherings and the shutdown of almost all businesses past their March 25 deadline.

    Regional leaders and city mayors are urging the Italian government to adopt even tougher restrictions such as a ban on outdoor exercises and the closure of all stores on Sundays.

    LATEST UPDATES ON THE CORONARVIRUS PANDEMIC

    LATEST FIGURES ON THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC

  • National Guard deployed to New York, California and Washington to Help Fight the Virus

     

    The number of novel coronavirus cases around the world is over 328,000 worldwide with Italy and the United States behind China as the countries with the most cases of COVID-19 infections, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

    The number of U.S. cases has surpassed 31,000, and as the number rises, some states are acting quickly by ordering variations of stay-at-home orders for residents. Oregon issued such an order on Friday night, joining states that include California, Illinois and New York.

    The respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, has reached every continent except Antarctica, and every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

    Globally, there are at least 14,356 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 95,000 people have recovered worldwide.

    The National Guard will be deployed to assist in the fight against the coronavirus in the hard-hit states of New York, California and Washington, President Donald Trump announced.

    The move, announced at Sunday evening's briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will include delivery of medical supplies and the establishment of medical stations in those states.

    "The federal government will be funding 100% of the cost to deploy National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command," Trump said. "I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago, they're very happy with what we're doing."

    Pete Gaynor of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said that medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, will be arriving in the affected states within 42 hours.

    Members of the task force said that 254,000 Americans have been tested for COVID-19, with 30,000 of those -- 11.8% -- testing positive.

    According to commercial testing labs, the U.S. should be caught up on the backlog in testing by midweek, officials said.

    Following the announcement this afternoon by Sen. Rand Paul that he had contracted the coronavirus, there are now five U.S. senators under self-quarantine.

    Sen. Mitt Romney said that he had quarantined himself after having contact with Sen. Paul.

    “Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor," a Romney spokesperson said in a statement. "He has no symptoms but will be tested. He urges members to pass a relief package as quickly as possible that provides assistance for families, workers, and small businesses.”

    Sen. Mike Lee is also under quarantine after coming in contact with Sen. Paul.

    Sens. Rick Scott and Cory Gardner were already under self-quarantine after coming into contact with diplomatic delegations whose members had tested positive.

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced they will be cracking down on large gatherings that linger in city parks, to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

    The order comes after reports of people interacting too closely in parks over the weekend, despite a shelter-in-place order by the mayor. Cops will be in cars, bikes and other vehicles with a speaker, alerting parkgoers not to linger, and if crowds get too big, the officers will break them up, according to de Blasio and Shea.

    The mayor said they will run this policy for a week, and reassess their procedures.

    "If we feel people aren't following the rules... we will consider shutting [parks] down," he warned.

    As of Sunday morning, New York City had 9,654 confirmed coronavirus cases, de Blasio said.

    Earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the mayor to come up with a plan to reduce the density in parks and suggested that the city close certain streets to vehicular traffic and allow pedestrians.

    De Blasio said he is mulling over closing the streets and will codify their plans in the next 24 hours, but warned that such a plan would require a gradual phase-in and strict police enforcement.

    "If you put barriers at the end of a block and everyone comes out like it’s normal, we can’t have that,” the mayor said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into self-quarantine after she was exposed to the virus, according to her office.

    The chancellor learned that a doctor who administered a precautionary pneumonia vaccine on Friday afternoon tested positive for COVID-19, her office said.

    "In the next days she will be regularly tested in the coming days, as a test now would not yet be fully conclusive. From her quarantine at home, the Chancellor will continue to attend to her official business," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

    Shortly before she learned about the exposure, Merkel issued an order earlier in the day that barred social gatherings of more than two people with the exemptions of families and people living in the same household. The order will be in effect for two weeks.

    The International Olympic Committee's executive board said it will step up its planning for possible scenarios for the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.

    The committee emphasized that it has no current plans to cancel the games, but said it will be discussing different options with its planning partners, including postponing the Olympics from its July 24 start date.

    "The IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks," the committee said in a statement.

    Several teams around the world, including the U.S. Track & Field and USA Swimming teams, have called on the IOC to postpone the games out of concern of the pandemic

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a new order that bans social gatherings of more than two people.

    Families and people living in the same household are exempt from the order, which will be in effect for at least two weeks.

    “We are further reducing public life and social contact and ensuring that the measures will be nationwide,” the chancellor said at a news conference. “Everyone should organize their movements according to these regulations.”

    Germany has 23,974 COVID-19 cases, the fourth highest outside of China, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Italy, which has the highest number of coronavirus fatalities outside of China, said there were 651 deaths recorded in in the last 24 hours, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency.

    The total number of fatalities in the country is now 5,476, the agency said.

    Italy has 53,578 confirmed cases, 5,560 of which are newly recorded.

    Emirates reversed a plan made earlier Sunday that would have suspended all of its flights this week.

    The airline initially said Sunday morning that it would suspend all commercial flights on March 25, and only operate its cargo ships due to coronavirus concerns. Later in the day, Emirates tweeted it received several requests from world leaders who said they needed flights to repatriate its citizens, and the airline changed its course, allowing some flights to continue.

    "We will operate passenger flights to UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, USA & Canada," Emirates tweeted.

    The airline apologized to passengers for the inconvenience and said it will monitor the situation closely.

    Spain’s Health Ministry announced that it recorded 394 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, bringing the country’s total death count to 1,720.

    The country has now surpassed Iran for the third largest number of COVID-19 deaths.

    As of Sunday, Spain had 28,572 confirmed cases of the virus, with 3,646 confirmations made in the last 24 hours.

    The government said it would take immediate actions to stop the spread of the virus including restricting flights to diplomats, repatriation of travelers, healthcare workers and flights that layover in Spain's airports.

    Pharmaceutical company Merck said it will donate half a million masks to New York City’s Office of Emergency Management.

    The city has over 9,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday morning and elected officials said they are in desperate need of protective material for first responders and medical professionals.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other leaders to come up with a plan to reduce density in parks, after he saw large gatherings in the green spaces over the weekend.

    Cuomo called the crowds at the parks "reckless," "arrogant" and "selfish" because of the greater risk and said the city needed to take immediate action. He gave the mayor and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson 24 hours to come up with a plan and suggested they consider closing some streets to vehicular traffic and open it up to pedestrians.

    "Get creative. Open up the streets" he said at a news conference.

    Cuomo later said he had the power to make that move, however he didn't know the full situation about the density of the parks and would defer the planning to local leaders.

    De Blasio's office did not have an immediate comment about the governor's call to action. Johnson tweeted that he supported closing down streets.

    "We must #StopTheSpread. The @NYCCouncil will do all we can to make this happen," he tweeted.

    Cuomo said there were 15,168 positive coronavirus cases in the state, with more than 9,000 within New York City. The governor announced said there are plans to open up spaces to treat patients, including the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, and the state would be undergoing trials for a malaria drug that could treat the disease.

    Pope Francis announced he will be holding two major events of prayer this week to respond to the pandemic with "a universal prayer of compassion and tenderness."

    During his Sunday noontime prayer, Francis called on the heads of all Christian churches and Christians across the world to recite the "Our Father" prayer at the same time on Wednesday, the feast of the Annunciation, at noon.

    The pope will also will preside over a moment of prayer on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica to the empty square Friday at noon. The services will include the Urbi et Orbi, to the City [of Rome] and to the World, blessing, which is normally recited during Easter and Christmas.

    During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy stressed that his state and others in the northeast region needed more assistance from the federal government to fight the pandemic.

    Murphy told co-anchor Martha Raddatz that New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania needed $100 billion direct cash assistance to fight against the pandemic. Specifically, he said the states needed more personal protective equipment, or PPE.

    "We are in desperate for more PPE," Murphy said. "We’ve had a big ask into the strategic stockpile on the White House -- they’ve given us a fraction of our ask."

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor said on ABC's "This Week," that medical masks began shipping yesterday from the national stockpile.

    Gaynor could not provide an exact number of masks or a timeline as to when they will reach individual states.

    "All those supplies to all the demands, all the asks, all the governance, every day, we are -- we're prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand," Gaynor said.

    Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez ordered that all boat ramps and marinas in the city would be closed for recreational use after images and videos of boat parties in the area circulated online Saturday night.

    Gimenez chastised organizers and partygoers for violating the city's orders that limit crowds to 10 or fewer.

    "We are in a state of emergency, and I cannot stress enough the need for personal responsibility," he said in a statement.

    Only fishing boats will be able to use the docks and sail into the waters under the new order, which will be enforced by police boats, Gimenez said.

    Russia’s military is sending medical aid to Italy to help in its fight against the coronavirus epidemic, including disinfection vehicles and military virologists.

    Russia’s defense ministry in a statement announced military transport planes will be delivering eight mobile brigades of military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy, starting from Sunday.

    It followed a phone conversation between president Vladimir Putin and Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte, during which Putin offered help.

    The move obviously highlights the EU’s relative failure so far to aid Italy in the epidemic and follows China sending a plane-load of medics to help. The authoritarian governments see this as a diplomatic and PR opportunity. Italy was already one of the friendliest countries to Russia in the EU and this obviously won’t go unremembered.

    Saudi Arabia announced 48 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 392, with five of the new infections being healthcare workers in Riyadh, according to a health ministry spokesman.

    All domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains in the Kingdom have been suspended for at least 14 days to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, an Interior Ministry official told the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

    Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan early on Sunday did his best to reassure his people about the nation’s efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, saying Turkey is doing its duty to protect citizens. "I hope we will get over these difficult times together. Just follow the rules and guidance and also continue staying at homes," Erdogan posted on Twitter while reiterating that those older than 65 and anyone with a chronic disease should not go outside.

    Turkey imposed a partial curfew on Saturday for senior citizens and those with chronic diseases, but stopped short of a blanket curfew. Earlier on Saturday, Turkey suspended flights from 46 additional countries and banned picnics and barbecues, as the number of cases has roughly doubled every day for the past week.

    Turkey now has 947 confirmed cases of the virus, with 21 deaths.

    Posting on his Instagram account Saturday night, Amazon's Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to all Amazon employees announcing that Amazon will be hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for hourly workers while also detailing how the company plans on working through the crisis.

    View this post on Instagram

    A message to all Amazon employees.

    A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos) on

    The New York Air Route Traffic Control Center and New York's LaGuardia Control Tower will now be closed overnight for sanitization, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

    During this time other air traffic facilities will provide needed key services and some flights will be rerouted around the airspace, but the FAA expects a minimal impact on traffic since the volume during these hours is low.

    Flights were briefly suspended at New York City and Philadelphia airports Saturday afternoon when an air traffic controller trainee at New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, New York, tested positive for coronavirus.

  • Number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpasses 400,000

    More than 407,000 cases have been confirmed in 169 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

    • More than 18,000 deaths have been tallied worldwide since the outbreak began in December.
    • Health and state officials warned the pandemic is accelerating.
    • More than 104,000 people have recovered.

    The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases around the world has surpassed 400,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    The map that tracks COVID-19 cases, built by the university’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, showed more than 407,000 confirmed cases in 169 countries and regions as of Tuesday afternoon, with more than 18,000 deaths.

    China, where the outbreak began in late December, still holds the largest number of cases overall, with more than 81,000 and more than 3,200 deaths.

    Several other countries are experiencing a surge in confirmed cases, including Italy, which has the second largest number of cases overall at more than 69,000. Italy also is the country with the highest number of fatalities at more than 6,800.

    The United States has surged to third in the total number of cases with more than 49,000 cases and more than 600 deaths. 

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Tuesday that coronavirus cases in his state, which has been hit the hardest in the nation, are doubling every three days. 

    On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the increasing pace of cases shows that the pandemic is accelerating. 

    “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases. 11 days for the second 100,000. And just four days for the third 100,000,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference. 

    WHO officials said the U.S. has the potential to become the new epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.

    “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So, it does have that potential,” WHO spokeswoman Maragaret Harris told reporters Tuesday

    The Johns Hopkins University tracker shows that more than 107,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus since the outbreak began in December.

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  • US coronavirus fight enters crucial weeks as the number of cases tops 331,000

    The next two weeks will be crucial in the United States' fight against the coronavirus, warn health officials, who are urging Americans to continue practicing social-distancing measures.

    "This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe," Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Saturday. She added, "and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing your hands."

    On Sunday, the number of cases nationwide climbed to at least 331,151, with at least 9,441 dead, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of those deaths, 1,344 were reported Saturday -- the most fatalities recorded in the US in a single day.

    Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the US surgeon general, likened the coming week to a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment, saying on "Fox News Sunday" it would be the "hardest and the saddest week in most Americans' lives."

    Meantime, appearing Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases conceded it "would be a false statement" to say the US has the pandemic under control.
    "We are struggling to get it under control," Fauci said.
    Fauci continued to stress the importance of social distancing measures. On Saturday he pointed to Washington state, where such measures appear to be paying off.
    Still, modeling cited by White House officials project that, even with stringent mitigation efforts, between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans will die from coronavirus. And President Trump has refrained from a nationwide stay-at-home order, preferring to leave it to states to decide.

    A battle to stop the spread

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a bit of good news in a news conference in Albany on Sunday, saying the number of deaths in his state has been dropping over the past few days for the first time.
    The significance of that, he said, is "too early to tell." The number of new hospitalizations is also down, while the hospital discharge rate is up, Cuomo said.
    Based on the data, Cuomo said the state is either near the apex of its curve "or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on that plateau right now."
    "We won't know until we see the next few days," he said.
    With 122,031 cases and at least 4,159 deaths, Cuomo warned that hospital systems are running on just a few days' supply of medical equipment.
    Other states are coming to New York's aid, offering what supplies they can afford to give.
    New York state will receive 140 ventilators from Oregon, Cuomo said Saturday in a news conference, adding the gesture was both "kind" and "smart." China is donating another 1,000 ventilators, Cuomo said.
    "Help New York today," Cuomo said Sunday. "And then nationally, we shift the resources to the next place that is most impacted."
    Additional help is on the way from Washington state, which was the initial epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.
    Because of mitigation efforts and the cooperation of residents, the state has seen fewer infections than it anticipated, Dr. Raquel Bono, director of the state's Covid-19 Health System Response Management, said in an news release.
    As a result, Washington state will return more than 400 ventilators it received from the national stockpile to help other communities in need, Gov. Jay Inslee said.
    "These ventilators are going to New York and other states hardest hit by this virus," Inslee said. "I've said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together. This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks."
    Washingtonians should still stay home, wash their hands and practice social distancing, the news release added.
    "People have been so beautiful to us," Gov. Cuomo said. "And it is the New York way -- we're going to codify everything we've learned, and we get past this curve, whatever part of the country goes next, we will be there with equipment and personnel and however we can help."

    States say the impact is not even halfway through

    Several states have reported big jumps in cases, including Pennsylvania, which saw an increase of 1,494 cases, the governor's office said Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 11,510.
    New Jersey reported another 3,482 cases on Sunday for a total of 37,505. At least 917 have died, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's office said.
    The day prior, Murphy said the state had lost nearly 100 more of its residents to coronavirus than it did in 9/11.
    "This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state's history," Murphy said.
    After "multiple" conversations with the White House, Murphy on Sunday said the state had secured an additional 500 ventilators. He called them the state's No. 1 need.
    Louisiana reported a 21% increase in cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 12,500 cases, according to the state health department.
    "We are still very much in this," Dr. Joseph Kanter, assistant state health officer for the department, said in a news conference. "In fact we haven't even hit halfway."
    New Orleans' coroner's office and mortuaries have reached their limit, said Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and she's asked the federal government for additional refrigeration. oOfficials are responding to the influx by converting a convention center into an emergency hospital.
    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday his state could run out of ventilators by the end of the week if cases continue to surge.
    "We now think it's probably around the 9th of April before we exceed our ventilator capacity based on the current number on hand, and... we're a couple of days behind that on ICU bed capacity being exceeded," he told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
    Still other states continue to struggle with inaccessible testing.
    California has been working to increase the number of its residents that have been tested, which stands now at more than 126,000,Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
    "That testing number may sound high to some. It is low to many others and certainly to me," Newsom said in a news conference on Saturday.
    The state formed a new task force led by leaders of the public and private sector to handle coronavirus testing as well as a partnership between University of California Davis and University of California San Diego to create at least five to seven testing hubs to increase capacity.
      Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday his state doesn't even have enough tests to get a clear idea of the scale of the outbreak.
      "Everything about the tests are very difficult to come by, and there's no federal plan for this, so every state is on their own," Pritzker said. "As I've said, it's the Wild West out here."

      Homemade face masks, coronavirus and the CDC: Here's everything you need to know

      Homemade face masks and face coverings, from hand-sewn cloth to bandanas and rubber bands, are now urged for public use. But they may not be effective at preventing coronavirus. More Info

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    • White House Releases Grim Covid-19 Model Projecting High U.S Death Toll

      The White House released its first official models of the course of the coronavirus, and the C.D.C. said it was reviewing its guidance on wearing masks as new data suggests people with no symptoms are infecting others.

      Right Now The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated on Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans.

      There are at least 811 new coronavirus deaths reported in the US on Tuesday

      There have been at least 811 new coronavirus deaths reported in the US on Tuesday, according to a count from CNN Health.

      This is the most reported deaths in the United States in a single day since the coronavirus outbreak began. 

      There have been a total of 3,815 deaths reported in the US.

      Here’s what you need to know:

      The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, in spite of the disruptive social distancing measures that have closed schools, banned large gatherings, limited travel and forced people to stay in their homes.

      Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, displayed that grim projection at the White House on Tuesday, calling it “our real number” but pledging to do everything possible to reduce those numbers even further.

      The conclusions generally match those from similar models by public health researchers around the globe.

      As dire as those predictions are, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said the number of deaths could be much higher if Americans do not follow the strict guidelines to keep the virus from spreading, and they urged people to take the restrictions seriously.

      The data released on Tuesday was the first time that Mr. Trump’s administration has officially estimated the breadth of the threat to human life from the coronavirus, and the disease it brings, known as Covid-19. In the past several weeks, Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have resisted predicting how many people might die in the pandemic, saying that there was not enough reliable data.

      That is no longer, the case, they said. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 173,741 people across every state, plus Washington, D.C., and four U.S. territories, have tested positive for the virus, according to a New York Times database. At least 3,433 patients with the virus have died.

      A startlingly high number of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, complicating efforts to predict the pandemic’s course and strategies to mitigate its spread.

      In particular, the high level of symptom-free cases is leading the C.D.C. to consider broadening its guidelines on who should wear masks.

      “This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country,” the director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told National Public Radio in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

      The agency has repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are feeling sick. But with the new data on people who may be infected without ever feeling sick, or who are transmitting the virus for a couple of days before feeling ill, Mr. Redfield said that such guidance was “being critically re-reviewed.”

      Researchers do not know precisely how many people are infected without feeling ill, or if some of them are simply presymptomatic. But since the new coronavirus surfaced in December, researchers have spotted unsettling anecdotes of apparently healthy people who were unwitting spreaders.

      “Patient Z,” for example, a 26-year-old man in Guangdong, China, was a close contact of a Wuhan traveler infected with the coronavirus in February. But he felt no signs of anything amiss, not on Day 7 after the contact, nor on Day 10 or 11.

      Already by Day 7, though, the virus had bloomed in his nose and throat, just as copiously as in those who did become ill. Patient Z might have felt fine, but he was infected just the same.

      Researchers now say that people like Patient Z are not merely anecdotes. For example, as many as 18 percent of people infected with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship never developed symptoms, according to one analysis. A team in Hong Kong suggests that from 20 to 40 percent of transmissions in China occurred before symptoms appeared.

      The high level of covert spread may help explain why the novel coronavirus is the first virus that is not an influenza virus to set off a pandemic.

      Across Asia, countries and cities that seemed to have brought the epidemic under control are suddenly tightening their borders and imposing stricter containment measures, fearful about a wave of new infections imported from elsewhere.

      The moves portend a worrisome sign for the United States, Europe and the rest of the world still battling a surging outbreak: Any country’s success with containment could be tenuous, and the world could remain on a kind of indefinite lockdown.

      Even when the number of new cases starts to fall, travel barriers and bans in many places may persist until a vaccine or treatment is found. The risk otherwise is that the infection could be reintroduced inside their borders, especially given the prevalence of asymptomatic people who might unknowingly carry the virus with them.

      Following a recent uptick in cases tied to international travelers, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan barred foreigners from entering altogether in recent days. Japan has barred visitors from most of Europe, and is considering denying entry to travelers from countries including the United States. South Korea imposed stricter controls, requiring incoming foreigners to quarantine in government facilities for 14 days upon arrival.

      In China, international flights have been cut back so severely that Chinese students abroad wonder when they will be able to get home. In Singapore, recently returned citizens must share their phones’ location data with the authorities each day to prove they are sticking to government-ordered quarantines. In Taiwan, a man who had traveled to Southeast Asia was fined $33,000 for sneaking out to a club when he was supposed to be on lockdown at home.

      “Even countries that have been relatively successful in managing the pandemic are only as safe as the weakest links in the system,” saidKristi Govella, an assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, who added that in the absence of cooperation among countries, “closing borders is one of the ways that individual governments can control the situation.”

      By the hundreds of thousands, Americans are asking for help for the first time in their lives, from nail technicians in Los Angeles to airport workers in Fort Lauderdale, from bartenders in Phoenix to former reality show contestants in Minnesota.

      Biting back shame, and wondering guiltily about others in more dire straits, they are applying for unemployment, turning to GoFundMe, asking for money on Instagram, quietly accepting handouts from equally strapped co-workers, and showing up in unprecedented numbers at food banks, which in turn are struggling to meet soaring demand as volunteers, many of them retirees, stay home for safety.

      The United States’ coronavirus death toll has moved past China’s official count, a bleak milestone hours before the Trump administration planned to release the models that fueled fears that as many as 200,000 Americans could die because of the pandemic.

      Although the count from mainland China — 3,305 deaths — has been a subject of intense skepticism, and although Italy and Spain have reported more than 20,000 fatalities between them, the swelling toll in the United States is a grim indication of the outbreak’s scale.

      The U.S., despite widespread concerns about the availability of testing for the virus, already had the highest known number of infections in the world, and the American toll was at least 3,430 deaths, as of late Tuesday morning.

      But there are mounting concerns that some countries, including China, North Korea and Indonesia, are not being forthcoming about the scope of their outbreaks.

      China on Tuesday announced more than 1,500 coronavirus cases that had not previously been made public, giving in to pressure for greater transparency nearly two weeks after officials there first announced zero new local infections.

      Questions about the accuracy of China’s numbers have circulated since the start of the outbreak there, even as the country has touted its apparent success in bringing it under control. The 1,541 newly announced cases were people who had tested positive but were asymptomatic, according to an official at China’s National Health Commission.

      China had not previously included asymptomatic patients in its public tallies of confirmed cases, even though the World Health Organization recommends doing so, and many within China and abroad had expressed fear about the true scale of the epidemic.

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