Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Outbreak Spreads as East Coast Sees Its First Deaths


Authorities across the United States reported 307 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths as of Friday, with Florida reporting the first deaths on the East Coast. The number of infections does not count the 21 people who have tested positive aboard a cruise ship off California.

Florida officials on Friday night said there had been two deaths in the state related to the coronavirus. Both of the people who died had traveled internationally, they said.

Hawaii reported its first confirmed infection, a person who had been on the cruise ship, the Grand Princess.

The West Coast has borne the brunt of the toll in the United States. Washington State has recorded the most coronavirus cases, more than 80, and the highest number of deaths, 14. Most of the fatal cases emerged from a Seattle-area nursing home. Officials in King County, Wash., said 15 residents of the facility, Life Care Center, had been taken to hospitals over the past 24 hours.

China also reported 28 deaths among those with the virus, all in Hubei Province. By comparison, there were 49 deaths from the virus in Italy on Friday.

The downward trend in China is a result of an all-out effort by the government to contain the spread of the disease, which has come at a great cost to the country’s economy and its social life. Since January, the government has enacted nationwide quarantine and travel restrictions and placed Hubei under a strict lockdown, effectively penning in 56 million people.

The new numbers reflect a steep decline from just a few weeks earlier. At one point in early February, Hubei reported more than 1,400 new cases outside Wuhan in one day.

One of the government-appointed Chinese researchers working to control the outbreak told the state-run newspaper People’s Daily on Thursday that, based on the data, he expected Wuhan to hit zero new infections later this month.

The number of infections climbed past 7,300 in Europe on Friday — more than doubling in just three days.

France, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and others each recorded their biggest one-day increases in cases. More than 30 European countries now have cases; 10 of them have at least 100 each.

A member of the French Parliament tested positive for the virus. Doctors in Britain warned that the already-strained health care system there could be overwhelmed as the outbreak grows, and the country had its second coronavirus death.

In Italy, with the worst outbreak outside of Asia, the toll rose on Friday to more than 4,600 cases, 197 of them fatal, increases of almost 800 infections and 49 deaths from the day before. Only China has had more people die from the new coronavirus.

Pope Francis has had a cold for over a week, and on Thursday, a Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said that the pontiff’s illness was “running its due course.”

He also told reporters that the Vatican was “studying measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the disease caused by the new coronavirus, that could affect coming activities involving the pope.

Germany, France and Spain, with the next-largest outbreaks in Europe, reported more than 1,700 cases combined, up from fewer than 1,200 on Thursday. In Switzerland, the confirmed caseload doubled, to more than 200.

Outside Europe, in Iran’s outbreak, one of the world’s largest, the government reported more than 4,700 infections, an increase of more than 1,200 from the day before.

Edouard Philippe, the French prime minister, announced a 15-day school closure in two regions, Oise and Haut-Rhin.

Exports from China, the world’s largest manufacturer and its second largest economy, tumbled 17.2 percent in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to data released Saturday morning by the General Administration of Customs. Imports fell 4 percent.

China’s imports of meat, soybeans, medicines and medical equipment offset declines in imports of semiconductors, as the country’s electronics factories shut down for weeks.

The timing of Lunar New Year celebrations affected the data, making it hard to compare either January or February separately to the same months last year. The weeklong holiday fell in late January this year and was in early February last year.

Companies try every year to export and import as much as possible before the holiday. Such shipments in early January, when the Chinese authorities were still concealing the spread of the disease, may have dampened the steepness of this year’s drop.

The decline reflected two problems: fewer goods were being produced, and what was being made could not be transported. Gao Gao, a deputy secretary general of the Chinese government’s National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news briefing on Friday morning that 80 percent of China’s logistics companies had told the government that they had been severely affected.

By the end of February, only 70 percent of the industry’s trucks and other vehicles were operating, partly because many drivers are stranded far from their employers by quarantines and other obstacles, Mr. Gao said. China is trying to address the problem by ordering that once drivers complete a 14-day quarantine upon their return from their hometowns at the end of holidays, they do not have to undergo additional quarantines in cities that they visit while driving cargo.

All of the 3,533 people aboard a cruise ship idling off San Francisco will be tested for the coronavirus, after 19 crew members and two passengers tested positive, Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday.

The ship, the Grand Princess, had been halted off the coast on Wednesday, until passengers with possible coronavirus symptoms or exposure could be tested. On Thursday, a Coast Guard helicopter flew testing kits to the ship and flew samples for 46 people back to shore.

“Twenty-one of those on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, 24 tested negative and one test was inconclusive,” Mr. Pence said at a White House news briefing — blindsiding the passengers and the ship’s operators.

“We have developed a plan which will be implemented this weekend to bring the ship into a noncommercial port,” he added. “All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus. Those that need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those that require additional medical attention will receive it.”

Mr. Pence said the Defense Department was working to locate a California military base where passengers on the ship could be tested. Two air bases in the state have been used to house quarantined Americans repatriated from Asia.

Shortly after Mr. Pence’s briefing, the ship captain came over the loudspeaker and apologized that passengers were getting updates from television news rather than him. The captain said that he had not received any advance notice about the news briefing and that the ship would notify individuals of their test results “as soon as possible.”

If you’re returning from an area that’s had a coronavirus outbreak, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive, you may be asked to isolate yourself at home for two weeks, the presumed incubation period for the coronavirus.

It’s not easy to lock yourself away from your family and friends. These are the basics.

Isolation If you are infected or have been exposed to the coronavirus, you must seclude yourself from your partner, your housemates, your children, your elderly aunt and even your pets. If you don’t have your own room, one should be designated for your exclusive use. No visitors unless it’s absolutely essential. Don’t take the bus, subway or even a taxi.

Masks If you must be around other people — in your home, or in a car, because you’re on your way to see a doctor (and only after you’ve called first) — wear a mask. Everyone else should, too.

Hygiene Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to cough or sneeze, and discard it in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use sanitizer, but soap and water are preferred. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, if you haven’t just washed them.

Disinfecting Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding. Wash these items after you use them. Use a household cleaner to wipe down countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathrooms fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. That also goes for any surfaces that may be contaminated by bodily fluids.

Household members When around the patient, wear a face mask, and add gloves if you’re touching anything that might carry the patient’s bodily fluids. Dispose of the mask and gloves immediately. The elderly members and those with chronic medical conditions should minimize contact with the secluded individual.

Reporting was contributed by Eliza Shapiro, Katie Rogers, Roni Caryn Rabin, Keith Bradsher, Thomas Fuller, Sarah Mervosh, Tim Arango, Jenny Gross, Ben Sisario, Julia Jacobs and Amy Qin.


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