New York confirms more cases of the virus.
The family members and a neighbor of a man who was confirmed as New York’s second case of the new coronavirus have also tested positive, state officials said on Wednesday.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at a news conference, said that the man’s wife; his son, 22, who is a student at Yeshiva University; and daughter, 14, were all confirmed cases.
The man was hospitalized in Manhattan in serious condition while his family were quarantined in their home in New Rochelle.
The neighbor in Westchester County, who also tested positive, drove the man to the hospital.
The additional results bring the number of cases of the new coronavirus in New York State to six.
The authorities announced the state’s first confirmed case of the virus on Sunday, saying that a health care worker had been infected in Iran, where the illness is raging. She began exhibiting symptoms after returning home but had kept herself largely isolated.
Her husband was tested for the virus but the tests came back negative, Governor Cuomo said.
Virus is deadlier than the seasonal flu but does not transmit as easily, W.H.O. says.
The head of the World Health Organization said that the global mortality rate for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, was 3.4 percent, a figure that primarily reflects the outbreak in China, where the vast majority of cases have been detected.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general, said in a news conference in Geneva that Covid-19 was deadlier than the seasonal flu but did not transmit as easily. “Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported Covid-19 cases have died,” Dr. Tedros said. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.”
The figure does not include all mild cases that do not require medical attention and is skewed by Wuhan, where the death rate is several times higher than elsewhere in China. Researchers expect the rate may be reduced as they discover a fuller picture of who has been infected.
The death rate could turn out to be below 1 percent, according to an editorial published by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The W.H.O. estimate takes into account the growing number of infections being recorded outside China, mostly in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
Dr. Margaret Harris, a W.H.O. spokeswoman, said the figure was a “crudely calculated” snapshot of the disease’s death rate globally, and was expected to “change over time, and vary from place to place.”
“While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, Covid-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity,” meaning more people can be infected and some will suffer severe illnesses, Dr. Tedros said. The coronavirus does not transmit as efficiently as the flu but “causes more severe disease,” he added.
When the outbreak was concentrated in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new virus was first found, the W.H.O. said that the mortality rate of the disease had ranged from 0.7 percent outside of Wuhan to as high as 4 percent inside the city. The organization also said that the epidemic would affect different countries in different ways.
Data from the Chinese government shows that the mortality rate in that country is about 3.7 percent, with most deaths reported in the province of Hubei, which includes Wuhan.
Dr. Tedros added on Tuesday that it was still possible to contain the virus, but warned that “rising demand, hoarding and misuse” of medical supplies such as masks could compromise the world’s ability to fight the outbreak, and he recommended a 40 percent global increase in the production of such supplies.
Spain says first known fatality tied to virus in Europe was on Feb. 13.
Spanish officials said on Wednesday that they believe the death from pneumonia of a 69-year-old man in Valencia on Feb. 13 was the earliest known fatality in Europe connected to Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The announcement suggests that the virus was circulating in Spain earlier than previously believed.
The number of confirmed infections in the country has ticked up to 193, with a 4-year-old girl who tested positive in Madrid among the new cases.
The Spanish health minister, Salvador Illa, has urged health professionals to cancel medical conferences so they can be available if the virus spreads. He also recommended that sports events involving teams from risk areas, such as Italy, be played behind closed doors.
Elsewhere in Europe, Poland reported its first case, linked to an individual who had traveled to Germany, where the number of cases increased to 240, from 196, according to the authorities.
Britain reported 34 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, lifting the total number of cases to 85 and raising fears of a broader outbreak because at least three of the new patients had contracted the virus in the country.
Britain has tested nearly 17,000 people altogether, though doctors and epidemiologists still worry that those tests have missed many milder cases.
In Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, the death toll attributed to the virus rose to 79, with more than 2,500 infected.
A Seattle high school was closed after a student tested positive for the virus.
A high school in the Seattle suburbs was closed on Wednesday through the rest of the week after a student was confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus, the school district said.
The Seattle area is rapidly emerging as a focal point for the coronavirus in the United States, where there have now been at least 125 cases of in more than a dozen states.
On Tuesday, officials said that two people who died last week in the Seattle area were infected with coronavirus, suggesting that the illness had spread in that region days earlier than health officials had previously known.
That took the death toll in the United States to nine, all of them in the Seattle area.
The other deaths, all announced over the last few days, included residents of a nursing care facility in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb.
Renton School District, which includes Hazen High, the school that was closed, said it had learned of the positive test result for the student late Tuesday and had decided to close the school on the advice of county health officials. The student was at home recovering, the district said. County health officials were tracing all those who had come into contact with the student in recent days.
Also on Tuesday, Amazon emailed its staff in the Seattle area saying that it had learned that an employee in one of its many office buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood had tested positive for the virus. “The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25, and has not entered Amazon offices since that time,” the email said.
New York transit authorities vow to regularly disinfect the subway.
In a city that lives in close quarters, perhaps there is no better symbol of the shoulder-to-shoulder existence than the New York City subway. With public health officials urging healthy people to avoid contact with those who are sick, many of those who rely on public transit wonder how they can do that.
Hoping to dispel some of those fears, officials said late Monday that an industrial-grade disinfectant would be used to clean the entire New York City transit system — from train cars to MetroCard machines — every 72 hours.
“The safety of our customers and employees is our first priority as we continue to monitor the coronavirus,” said Patrick T. Warren, chief safety officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “The M.T.A. is enhancing its cleaning regimen across all our operating agencies to ensure the system is safe for everyone.”
From Monday evening to midday Tuesday, transit workers disinfected nearly all of the system’s 472 subway stations, more than 1,900 subway cars and nearly 2,000 buses, officials said. Officials said the cleaning process would begin again 72 hours later.
Officials in New Jersey, which has its own vast commuter rail and bus network, have also ramped up the transit system’s cleaning regimen.
Research on the new coronavirus is still in the early stages, but a 2011 study on a possible influenza outbreak in New York City found that only 4 percent of infections were likely to occur on the subway.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that essential services like public transit continue to operate so that health care workers can get to work.
U.S. expands testing for people who fear they have been infected.
Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lift all restrictions on testing for the coronavirus and would release new guidelines to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus, even if they were displaying mild symptoms.
The guidelines “make it clear that any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders,” Mr. Pence told reporters at the White House. The federal government had promised to ramp up testing after drawing criticism for strictly limiting the tests in the first weeks of the outbreak.
Some companies and public health officials cast doubt on the government’s assurances, saying in some cases that tests under development were still weeks from approval.
And public health laboratories have said that their capacity to process the tests is limited. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday that the labs currently could handle 15,000 tests a day, though that figure was expected to grow.
Deaths outside China exceed those inside the country for the first time.
The number of deaths from the coronavirus outside of China on Wednesday surpassed for the first time those reported within the country — the latest sign that the front line of the epidemic may be shifting.
The silver lining in that news is that the pace of infections in China is continuing to drop by the day.
The Chinese government on Wednesday reported 38 more deaths from the virus, bringing the nationwide toll to 2,981. At the same time, the number of new infections grew by only 119, to 80,270, according to official figures. Most of the new infections and deaths were reported in Hubei, the central Chinese province at the center of the outbreak. Shanghai has reported only one new infection in the past six days.
Experts said the downward trend in official figures outside of Hubei was a strong indication that the draconian measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the virus were working, at least for now. Those measures include strict quarantine and travel restrictions on broad swaths of the country as well as the closures of schools and workplaces.
“It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections,” said Professor Benjamin Cowling, an infectious disease expert at Hong Kong University.
The concern in China now, experts say, is what will happen once the country begins to normalize economic activity and people start going back to work and school. There are also worries about infected travelers coming back into the country and reintroducing the virus to recovered communities. Already, local governments are taking steps to quarantine people returning from certain countries abroad.
“The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave,” Professor Cowling said, “because the kind of measures that China has implemented are not necessarily sustainable in the long term.”
As cases in France rise, the kiss must go.
With France now reporting one of the highest numbers of infected patients in Europe, with 257 cases and four deaths, President Emmanuel Macron said the country had “entered a phase that will last weeks and probably months.”
“We’ll continue to stand together, it’s what we owe to our country,” Mr. Macron said during a visit on Tuesday to the country’s Health Ministry.
The main clusters of cases so far have been in the Oise area of northern France, the Haute-Savoie area of the French Alps and the Morbihan area of Brittany, on the Atlantic coast. More than 100 schools have been closed, affecting nearly 45,000 students.
However, there was growing concern Wednesday about a new cluster of cases in Mulhouse, a city in eastern France. The authorities have tied the outbreak there to a local evangelical community that gathered several thousand people from Feb. 17 to Feb. 24. Health officials have asked participants to watch their health and to report any signs of sickness.
Some supermarkets were reporting runs on supplies, and the police were investigating the theft of thousands of masks over the past few days from hospitals in Paris and Marseille.
As a nervous public tried to assess their own individual risks, the government said it was requisitioning stocks of certain types of protective masks to avoid shortages.
Bruno Le Maire, the economy minister, also announced on Wednesday that the government would regulate the price of antibacterial gels after “isolated cases” of price gouging.
And officials continued to drive home the importance of social distancing.
“I have formally advised against the practice of handshaking, the reduction of social contact in a physical manner, and that would include the practice of ‘la bise,’” Olivier Véran, the French health minister, said recently.
La bise refers to the French custom of kissing both cheeks upon greeting.
After watching nervously, India confronts arrival of the virus.
Until this week, only a handful of cases of the new coronavirus had been reported in India.
But on Tuesday, the first case was reported in New Delhi, with a man who had recently traveled to Italy testing positive. Six of his family members were also found to have the illness, and all were placed under quarantine, the government said, as officials rushed to trace all those who had come into contact with the group.
On Wednesday, the number of cases jumped to 28, including 16 Italian tourists.
And there were concerns that, in a country where only 22 percent of deaths are medically certified, the true rate of infection might already be higher.
Airports have started screening passengers, and visas issued to nationals of Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea have been canceled. An existing visa ban on Chinese citizens remains in place.
With hundreds of Indian students and workers in Iran, where there has been a major outbreak, the Indian government also announced plans on Wednesday to send several scientists there to set up a laboratory for testing.
Holi, a major religious festival, takes place next week, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Indians to remain calm but to cancel gatherings.
The festival brings together entire neighborhoods across India, with friends and relatives applying colorful powders to each other’s faces while children stage giant water fights and share food.
Reporting was contributed by Maria Abi-Habib, Melissa Eddy, Michael Wolgelenter, Elian Peltier, Elisabetta Povoledo, Joanna Berendt, Roni Caryn Rabin, Michael Gold, Azi Paybarah, Sean Plambeck, Mike Baker, Marc Santora, Iliana Magra, Aurelien Breeden, Amy Qin, Sui-Lee Wee, Choe Sang-Hun, Katie Rogers, Christina Goldbaum, Vindu Goel, Reed Abelson, Sopan Deb, Mike Isaac, Karen Weise, Paul Mozur, Keith Bradsher, Elaine Yu and Sarah Kliff.
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso