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Sense of crisis deepens in U.S. as worldwide cases approach 100,000.
The U.S. Coast Guard rushed testing kits to a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of California on Thursday as the number of new cases and deaths related to the coronavirus in the United States continued to rise.
California joined the list of states declaring emergencies. So far, 14 deaths have been linked to the virus — all but one in the Seattle area — with more than 200 confirmed cases across the country. Reports of cases in New Jersey, Maryland and Tennessee brought the number of states with infected patients to 19. Washington State reported dozens of new cases on Thursday, and New York added 11. San Francisco reported its first two cases, and Houston its first.
Around the world, there were almost 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths. A global database maintained by Johns Hopkins counts more than 53,600 recoveries from the virus.
With the caseload in Europe passing 5,000 and rising fast, major conferences, trade shows, cultural events and sporting competitions have been canceled. Officials warned that the outbreaks — the largest is in Italy, but France, Germany and Spain are also being hit hard — will continue to grow.
New York’s cases double; thousands are under quarantine.
The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in New York State doubled on Thursday to 22, with officials announcing two additional cases in New York City, eight new cases in Westchester County and one on Long Island.
The virus’s potential reach was underscored by a much larger number: As of Thursday morning, the city Department of Health was monitoring 2,773 New Yorkers who are quarantined, most of them in isolation at home.
Most of them had recently traveled to one of five countries where the outbreak has been most severe — China, Italy, Iran, South Korea or Japan — according to Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city health commissioner.
At least two New Yorkers — a health care worker who has tested positive after visiting Iran and her husband, who tested negative — are under mandatory quarantine in their Manhattan home.
The eight new Westchester cases were all connected with a man from New Rochelle who is hospitalized, adding to eight that were found the day before. The two new New York City patients — a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s — and the Long Island case, a 42-year-old man in Nassau County — were hospitalized after testing positive.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of recklessly spreading the virus.
Saudi Arabia added the coronavirus scourge to its litany of grievances against Iran on Thursday, accusing the Iranian authorities of having recklessly spread the disease to the Arab monarchy and other countries.
In a statement through the official Saudi Press Agency, the government said five confirmed Saudi cases of the coronavirus disease, known as Covid-19, were Saudi citizens who had visited Iran surreptitiously with help from Iranian officials, who had not stamped their passports. Saudi Arabia has banned its citizens from travel to Iran.
“This behavior poses a serious public health threat to the international community and undermines international efforts to combat Covid-19, putting many communities around the world at risk,” the statement said, referring to the illness caused by the coronavirus.
There was no immediate comment by Iran. Messages left with Iran’s United Nations Mission for a response were not returned.
Iran has emerged as a hot spot for the disease in the Middle East. At least 107 people have died there, the Ministry of Health said Thursday. More than three dozen officials and lawmakers have been infected, including a vice president; an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has died because of the virus.
Iranian media reported Thursday that another official, Hossein Sheikholeslam, a prominent diplomat and former ambassador to Syria, also had died of the disease.
A cruise ship is idling off the California coast, while those aboard await test results.
A cruise ship returning to California from Hawaii is being held off the coast of San Francisco, after officials learned that a coronavirus patient who died near Sacramento on Wednesday had traveled on the vessel last month and that 21 people on board were showing symptoms.
Test kits were flown out to the ship, the Grand Princess, for use on those with symptoms and also dozens of passengers who had been on an earlier leg of the cruise with the man who died, and were flown back later in the day.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who declared a state of emergency for California at a Wednesday evening news conference, said results could be ascertained “within just a few hours.” Other officials said the results would be out on Friday.
The ship is expected to dock at San Francisco as early as Saturday.
The patient, who died in Placer County, near Sacramento, was the first to die from the coronavirus in California and had traveled on the ship on a round trip from San Francisco to Mexico last month. Of about 2,500 passengers aboard that cruise, about half were Californians, Mr. Newsom said.
Sixty-two passengers from that trip stayed on for the trip to Hawaii and are still on board. Ten crew members and 11 passengers are showing symptoms.
At least 56 people have been treated for the coronavirus in California.
Princess Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, is the same company that runs the Diamond Princess, a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship that was quarantined last month off the coast of Japan as the virus circulated among the more than 3,700 crew members and passengers.
Congress sends an $8.3 billion aid package to Trump’s desk, as U.S. nurses raise alarms.
The Senate resoundingly approved $8.3 billion in emergency aid on Thursday to counter the spread of the coronavirus, sending the package for President Trump’s expected signature, even as nurses in two of the hardest-hit states warned of a lack of equipment and training.
The bipartisan package includes nearly $7.8 billion for agencies dealing with the virus, like state and local health departments that say that even as they deal with early-stage outbreaks, their resources are strained. It also authorizes $500 million to encourage Medicare providers for telehealth services for the elderly at home.
Nurses in Washington State and California said they lack the protective equipment they need to care for coronavirus patients and training in how to use it, as well as clear protocols to keep themselves and their patients safe.
Health care workers are among the groups most at risk of contracting the virus. At least eight people who work in health care facilities in the United States have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Some nurses said that instead of in-person training, they had been asked to watch online videos about how to spot the virus and how to put on and take off hazmat suits. Others said they had been forced to beg for N95 masks, which are thicker and block out much smaller particles than surgical masks do. And still others said they had faced ridicule when expressing concerns about catching the highly contagious virus.
“If nurses aren’t safe, then really our community isn’t safe,” said Jenny Managhebi, a clinical nurse at the University of California Davis Medical Center, where 24 nurses were asked to self-quarantine after a patient tested positive. “If I’m not safe at the bedside, when I come home to my husband and my children, then they’re not safe.”
Stocks are battered and airlines flag up to $113 billion in losses.
Stocks fell, oil slipped and yields on government bonds slid again on Thursday — all signs that investors remain worried about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting the global economy.
The S.&P. 500 index fell about 3.4 percent, while shares in Britain and Germany were also down sharply. U.S. stocks had rebounded earlier this week, after being pummeled last week over virus fears.
The drop on Wall Street on Thursday was led by energy, financial and industrial stocks — all of which are susceptible to concerns about the economy. Each of those sectors fell about 3 percent.
Economists at the Institute for International Finance slashed their outlook for the global economy, downgrading their 2020 forecast for the United States to 1.3 percent and in China to below 4 percent. As a whole, the world may see growth of just 1 percent this year, down from 2.6 percent last year, the institute said.
As carriers around the world halt flights and tourism sputters in the face of spreading outbreaks, some $63 billion to $113 billion in annual airline revenue could be wiped out, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.
The financial impact on the airline industry will be “almost without precedent,” said Alexandre de Juniac, the association’s president.
The difficulty of calculating the virus’s fatality rate.
With the numbers of coronavirus cases soaring and experts putting out varying estimates of death rates, it can be hard to keep track of what all the numbers mean.
To help, an editor on our science team, James Gorman, tracked down a mathematician who uses math to understand outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, SARS, influenza and now the coronavirus, or Covid-19: Dr. Adam Kucharski at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Here are selections from their edited, condensed exchanges by phone and email.
To understand the case fatality rate, can we just look at the total number of deaths and the current number of cases?
The problem with just dividing the total number of deaths by the total number of cases is that it doesn’t account for unreported cases or the delay from illness to death. The delay is crucial: If 100 people arrive at hospital with Covid-19 on a given day, and all are currently still alive, it obviously doesn’t mean that the fatality rate is 0 percent. We need to wait until we know what happens to them eventually.
Any deaths will be people who got sick two to three weeks ago, so it’s not simply deaths at the moment divided by cases at the moment. Plus some cases might be missed.
Does the latest estimate of a 3.4 percent fatality rate globally make sense?
Early on, people looked at total current cases and deaths, which, as I said, is a flawed calculation, and concluded that the case fatality rate must be 2 percent based on China data. If you run the same calculation on yesterday’s totals for China, you get an apparent CFR (case fatality rate) of near 4 percent.
People are speculating that something is happening with the virus, where it actually is just this statistical illusion that we’ve known about from Day 1. I’d say on best available data, when we adjust for unreported cases and the various delays involved, we’re probably looking at a fatality risk of probably between maybe 0.5 and 2 percent for people with symptoms.
In Europe, ‘we must accept that this will continue.’
The epidemic in Europe will probably get much worse before it is contained, officials warned on Thursday, as the number of infections across the continent jumped sharply, from fewer than 4,000 on Wednesday to well over 5,000, with at least 160 deaths.
“It’s now highly likely that the virus is going to spread in a significant way,” said a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, where the number of cases rose from 87 to 115.
Dilek Kalayci, the local health minister in Berlin, said: “We must accept that this will continue and we will have more new cases confirmed. No one is able to stop this from spreading.”
In the hardest-hit European countries, the number of cases saw the biggest one-day jumps so far: from 3,089 to 3,858 in Italy; from 262 to 482 in Germany; and from 285 to 423 in France. In Netherlands, infections more than doubled, from 38 to 82.
The death toll in Italy, the source of outbreaks in several other countries, leapt from 107 to 148, the highest figure outside of China.
Britain and Switzerland reported their first coronavirus deaths on Thursday, and Spain had its second. In Berlin, officials said three of the 13 cases could not be traced to any others, suggesting that the virus was spreading undetected in the city.
Organizers of the Paris Marathon postponed the event from April 5 to Oct. 18.
Many of Germany’s cases stem from a man who took part in a Carnival celebration last month in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where hundreds of other revelers became infected.
But unlike in Italy, where officials have decided that all sporting events will take place in the absence of fans, or Switzerland, where the government has banned events involving more than 1,000 people, German officials are insisting that public life should be allowed to continue as normally as possible.
Immigration enforcement clashes with virus containment, Democrats say.
The Trump administration’s efforts to contain the new coronavirus may be running headlong into its simultaneous crackdown on illegal immigration, Democrats warned.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement this week began 24-hour-a-day surveillance operations around the homes and workplaces of people believed to be undocumented immigrants, and the agency plans to deploy hundreds of additional officers in unmarked cars in the coming weeks.
Senate Democrats on Thursday sought assurances from Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that his department would not interfere with undocumented immigrants seeking medical attention.
“This is a public health and safety issue that, if anything else, puts all of our communities at risk,” Senator Jacky Rosen, Democrat of Nevada, said. “Will the department refrain from apprehending individuals based solely on their immigration status while they’re seeking care?”
Mr. Cuccinelli said ICE does not conduct enforcement at health care facilities “absent single case exigent circumstances.”
But immigrant advocates say that stepped-up enforcement could deter people from seeking medical care.
On Wednesday, nine Democratic senators wrote a letter to President Trump and members of his coronavirus task force urging the agency to halt civil immigration enforcement in or around health care facilities.
The senators also requested that Homeland Security publicly state that the administration’s new wealth test, known as the public charge rule, would not penalize immigrants who receive treatment for coronavirus symptoms by labeling them “public charges,” thus barring their paths to green cards.
“We cannot allow the fear this ill-considered rule creates to scare families away from getting the help that they may need if they come into contact with people,” with the coronavirus, the Democrats said in the letter.
Washington State has 75 cases, and a Seattle-area school district closes.
In Washington State, site of the nation’s worst outbreak, officials confirmed dozens of new infections on Thursday, raising the figure to 75.
The Northshore School District, which serves more than 20,000 children in a suburb north of Seattle, closed for at least the next two weeks after a parent volunteer tested positive for the virus. It’s the largest such shutdown in the United States resulting from the outbreak. Public health officials urged organizers to cancel public gatherings and asked companies to let employees work from home.
Seattle’s notorious traffic all but vanished, and the few cars on the highways raced along unimpeded. In the South Lake Union area, where thousands of people work for tech companies and parking is usually a challenge, spaces were easy to find.
Facebook and Amazon have each reported having a worker infected with the virus.
The Northshore district is near Kirkland, the town where a nursing home has become the center of Washington’s outbreak. At least seven of the home’s residents died after contracting the virus, accounting for most of the state’s 11 virus-linked deaths.
Michelle Reid, superintendent of the school district, said in a letter to families that 26 district schools had some direct or indirect exposure to the affected parent. She added that 20 percent of students did not attend classes on Wednesday.
The nearby Monroe School District announced plans to close all of its schools Thursday for a day of cleaning and to allow time for contingency planning.
Reporting was contributed by Rick Gladstone, Katie Robertson, Vindu Goel, Melissa Eddy, Michael Wolgelenter, Marc Santora, Niki Kitsantonis, Mitch Smith, Sarah Mervosh, Davey Alba, Mike Baker, Tiffany May, Claire Fu, Elaine Yu, Farah Stockman, Ed Shanahan, Neil Vigdor, Lauretta Charlton, James Gorman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Matt Richtel, Mitch Smith, Amy Harmon, Michael Gold, Ben Dooley, Richard Pérez-Peña, Azi Paybarah, Joseph Goldstein and Kirk Johnson.