COVID-19 Megathread #7

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COVID-19 has now infected more than 244,517 people. There have been 10,030 confirmed deaths and 86,025 confirmed recoveries attributed to the virus.


Major Updates

Recent updates are just under this section.

1) United States: The US State Department has raised their travel warning to a Global Level 4 Health Advisory and is advising all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. Read more here.


2) New data from the CDC shows young adults ages 20 to 44 face a substantial risk of serious illness and hospitalization from the coronavirus. While early reports from China showed the majority of deaths occurred in patients age 60 or older or those with underlying health issues, that doesn’t mean younger people are immune from severe illness.

The CDC said there were a total of 4,226 cases confirmed in the U.S. as of March 16, and it analyzed the data on 2,449 of those cases where ages for the patients were known. Of those:

  • 6% were people age 85 or older

  • 25% were 65-84 years old

  • 18% were 55-64 years old

  • 18% were 45-54 years old

  • 29% were ages 20-44 years old.

Only 5% of cases occurred in children and teens age 19 or under.Read more here.


Recent Updates

Note: These are the updates from the last 48-72 hours.

MARCH 19 –

  • United States: California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay at home” order effective Thursday evening, and called on residents to “recognize the reality” of the coronavirus pandemic. He predicts that 56% of California’s population – roughly 25.5 million residents – could be infected with the novel coronavirus over an eight-week period. Read more here.

  • United States: New York’s governor called on recently retired health care professionals and qualified medical and nursing school students and staff to sign up to be part of a reserve staff if the need arises. See Governor Cuomo’s tweet here.

  • United States: The CDC advised medical personnel facing a shortage of protective masks to use bandanas or scarves in an emergency. “In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (eg, bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort,” the CDC said. “Caution should be exercised when considering this option,” the CDC added. “Homemade masks are not considered PPE (personal protective equipment), since their capability to protect HCP is unknown.” Read more here.

  • United States: Senator Burr and Senator Loeffler dumped millions of dollars worth of stocks after coronavirus briefings, but before the markets began to tank. It looks an awful lot like insider trading, and people on all sides are demanding their resignations.

  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a global recession “is a near certainty” and current national responses to the coronavirus pandemic “will not address the global scale and complexity of the crisis.” Read more here.

  • Israel: Prime Minister Netanyahu declared a state of emergency Thursday — with a mandatory seven-day lockdown that could result in fines if broken — in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Read more here.

  • Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus has overtaken China’s as authorities in Rome announced 427 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s total to 3,405 – more than the 3,245 recorded in China, where the outbreak began late last year. Read more here.

  • India has prohibited export of all ventilators, disposable surgical masks and specific textile raw material for masks and coveralls in a move that could increase the availability of personal protective gear for healthcare professionals in the country fighting the deadly coronavirus. Read more here.

  • England: Bank of England cuts interest rates to all-time low of 0.1%. Read more here.

  • Morocco has declared a state of emergency in response to the growing threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The decision will come into effect starting tomorrow, March 20, at 6 p.m. until further notice. Morocco’s armed forces and police will enforce the new measures. The state of emergency means that citizens cannot go out to public spaces without special authorization from local authorities.Read more here.

  • China has exonerated Dr. Li Wenliang, who was officially reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease, a startling admission of error by the ruling Communist Party that generally bodes no challenges to its authority. Read more here.

  • Amsterdam: The minister leading the Dutch government’s fight against the coronavirus resigned on Thursday, a day after collapsing from exhaustion during a parliamentary debate on the epidemic. Read more here.

  • Argentina imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem the coronavirus pandemic, marking one of the strictest measures taken by any Latin American nation. Starting Friday, citizens are only permitted to leave their homes for essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies, President Alberto Fernandez said. The lockdown, which will be enforced by security forces, lasts until March 31. Read more here.

  • Haiti has declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, closing the borders of the Americas’ poorest nation and imposing a curfew after authorities detected the first two cases of infection. Read more here.

  • Brazil closes nearly all land borders, Rio de Janeiro to shut beaches for 2 weeks. Read more here.


MARCH 18 –

  • United States: President Trump signed into law a coronavirus relief package, which provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. The bill also provides additional Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits. The “third phase” coronavirus response bill is expected to pass later this week. Read more here.

  • United States: President Trump announced that home foreclosures and evictions will be suspended “until the end of April.” Read more here. He also invoked the Defense Production Act, which gives the government the authority to control the production and distribution of scarce materials deemed “essential to the national defense.” In his executive order, Trump specifically cites protective equipment (presumably face masks) and ventilators as meeting the criteria in this provision. Read more here.

  • United States: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams become first members of Congress to test positive for coronavirus. Read more here.

  • United States: King County in Washington State is building a 200-bed field hospital on Shoreline soccer field amid coronavirus outbreak. Read more here.

  • United States: The New York Stock Exchange said starting March 23, it will temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading. This is the first time the physical trading floor of the Big Board has ever shut independently while electronic trading continues. Read more here.

  • United States and Canada: US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to close the US-Canada border to all non-essential travel in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. Trade will not be affected. Read more here.

  • Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a massive $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals. The package includes $27 billion in direct supports and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals. Read more here.

  • Japan’s Hokkaido, the nation’s prefecture with the highest number of coronavirus infections, will end its state of emergency over the epidemic on Thursday. Read more here.

  • Europe: The European Central Bank launched an extra emergency bond-buying program worth 750 billion euros ($820 billion) in the latest attempt to calm markets and protect a euro-area economy struggling to cope with the coronavirus epidemic. Read more here.

  • France: French police handed out over 4,000 fines Wednesday to people found violating an order to stay at home, on the first full day of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Read more here.

  • Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The new measures allow Prime Minister António Costa’s government to restrict movement of people, temporarily suspend the right of workers in vital sectors — such as health, civil protection, security and defense — to strike, and ban protests and social or religious meetings Read more here.

  • Brazil: Davi Alcolumbre, the head of Brazil’s Senate, became the latest high-level political figure to test positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Read more here.

  • Chilean president Sebastian Pinera declared a 90-day state of catastrophe Wednesday to address the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which has 238 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. By law, a state of catastrophe puts the armed forces in charge of public order and security and enables military control of the movement of people and goods. Military officials will be able to issue direct instructions to public employees and local governments and establish measures deemed necessary to maintain public order, including curfews. Read more here.

  • Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa records first coronavirus death. Read more here.

  • Both the United States and the United Kingdom have confirmed cases of coronavirus within their jails.

  • Europe: This year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers confirmed on Wednesday, marking the first time that the much-loved competition has ever been scrapped. Read more here.

  • Australian airline Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar will suspend scheduled international flights from late March until at least the end of May due to the coronavirus crisis. In a statement posted on its website Thursday, Qantas Group announced that 60% of its domestic flights would also be cut, and two-thirds of its 30,000 employees would be temporarily stood down. Read the announcement here.

  • RyanAir, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier, said it expected “most if not all” flights to be grounded, apart from a small number to maintain connections between the UK and Ireland. Read more here.


MARCH 17 –

  • United States: A plan developed by the federal government to combat the coronavirus reportedly projects the pandemic will last 18 months or more and could feature multiple “waves.” Read more here.

  • United States: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised the possibility with Republican senators that U.S. unemployment could rise to 20% without government intervention because of the impact of the coronavirus. Mnuchin discussed the scenario with the lawmakers on Tuesday as he proposed an economic stimulus of $1 trillion or more. Read more here.

  • United States: Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days. Read more here.

  • United States: The U.S. military is preparing Naval hospital ships for deployment, and is looking to open its labs to help test civilians for coronavirus. The Pentagon also plans to distribute equipment. Read more here.

  • United States: White House requests and additional $45.8 billion in emergency funding due to coronavirus. The request comes on top of the $8.3 billion in emergency funding passed by Congress just two weeks ago and underscores just how dramatically financial demands at federal agencies have grown in a matter of days. Read more here.

  • United States: Schools are likely to be closed for the rest of this school year according to Governor Newsom of California. Ohio’s governor has made similar statements. Read more here.

  • United States: Are Hospitals Near Me Ready for Coronavirus? Here Are Nine Different Scenarios. | There is a tool in the article that allows you to see your area’s hospital capacity. See the interactive tool here.

  • EU: Leaders of European Union countries have agreed to close the EU’s external borders to most people from other countries for 30 days in a new effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Movement within European Union member nations will be still be allowed. Read more here.

  • Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a package of measures worth a total 200 billion euros ($219 billion), between loans, credit guarantees, benefits and direct aid, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the economy. The package represents about 20% of the country’s gross domestic product; 117 billion euros for the package will come from the government, with the rest to come from private companies. Read more here.

  • Scotland: No new jury trials will take place in Scotland for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus. Read more here.

  • Bolivia will close its borders to non-residents and suspend all international flights to combat the spread of coronavirus. The measure will remain in place until March 31. Read more here.

  • Australia declares emergency, warns coronavirus crisis could last six months. Read more here.

  • Euro 2020 has been postponed by one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.


Tracking COVID-19


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