The US Coast Guard has delivered coronavirus test kits to a cruise ship that is being held 400 miles off the California coast amid fears of a suspected outbreak as the number of cases across the country soared to more than 200 in 19 states.
Thousands of passengers remained on the Grand Princess cruise ship on Thursday after it was banned from returning to its home port of San Francisco following a voyage to Hawaii after at least 20 people onboard fell ill.
Members of the Coast Guard were spotted lowering test kits onto the 951-foot cruise ship.
It comes after two passengers who traveled on the same ship on a previous voyage last month between San Francisco and Mexico tested positive for the coronavirus and one later died – becoming California’s first fatality from the disease.
California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier declared a state of emergency as cases rose to 53 in the state, with San Francisco recording its first two cases – a woman in her 40s, and a man in his 90s who has underlying health conditions.
The number of cases in Los Angeles County, which has about 10 million residents, jumped to 11 on Thursday.
The US death toll from coronavirus rose to 12 on Thursday with more than 200 case confirmed in 19 states.
An increase in testing countrywide has seen a jump in confirmed cases in Washington state, California and New York – with Nevada and Tennessee each reporting their first cases in the last 24 hours.
The cases in New York state jumped to 22 after a Manhattan attorney infected more than a dozen people, including his own family, and multiple other unrelated cases were announced.
The US Coast Guard delivered coronavirus test kits on Thursday to the Grand Princess cruise ship that is being held 400 miles off the California coast amid fears of a suspected outbreak
Members of the Coast Guard were spotted lowering crews down onto the cruise ship to deliver the test kits
The Coast Guard approaches the Grand Princess cruise ship to deliver test kits to more than 3,500 people stranded on the ship about 400-miles of the coast of San Francisco
An employee sprays down the common areas of the Grand Princess cruise ship with disinfectant
Thousands of passengers are currently on the Grand Princess cruise ship that was banned on Wednesday from returning to its home port of San Francisco from a voyage to Hawaii amid the suspected coronavirus outbreak (file image)
The Grand Princess is currently 400 miles off San Francisco and heading for port having returned from Hawaii after 11 passengers and 10 crew reported symptoms of coronavirus
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?
Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.
- The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom.
Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.
In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause:
- Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
- Low appetite, energy and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
- Confusion (more common in elderly people)
- Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occassionally been a complication.
Avoid people with these symtpoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possivle exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.
The 11 passengers and 10 crew members who are currently on the Grand Princess ship will be tested after reporting symptoms that could turn out to be the coronavirus, seasonal flu or the common cold.
Newsom said the cruise ship would remain at sea until passengers and crew complaining of symptoms that may be consistent with the coronavirus can be tested to determine whether they have it.
He said the manifest for the ship’s Hawaii cruise included 50 to 60 passengers who were also on board the Mexico voyage.
Health officials said those passengers had contact with the two coronavirus cases. It is not yet clear if the 21 people currently reporting symptoms are among the 62 who were on the Mexico leg of the trip and came in contact with the two infected passengers.
Coronavirus testing kits were flown out to the ship on Thursday and samples will be analyzed at a state laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area, a process Newsom said should produce results in a matter of hours.
‘So we’re holding that ship, which is thousands of passengers, off the coast, and will be conducting those tests and getting those tests back,’ Newsom said.
‘The ship will not come onshore until we properly assess passengers.’
Two passengers – who identified themselves as Laura and Leah – uploaded a YouTube video showing themselves in their cabin after a warning was issued. They are shown reading out a statement from the cruise line while one of them coughs, though the pair insist they do not have coronavirus.
California’s first coronavirus victim – a 71-year-old man – had boarded the Grand Princess in San Francisco on February 11 for a 10 day voyage to Mexico, arriving back on February 21.
The man subsequently fell ill and went to hospital in Placer County, to the east of Sacramento, where he was diagnosed with the virus before he died.
Health officials say it is ‘highly likely’ the man was exposed to the virus on board the Grand Princess but have not yet said how the disease got on board.
The Grand Princess can hold up to 2,500 passengers and 1,150 crew. It is not clear how many people are currently on board. State health authorities, working with the CDC, are trying to contact some 2,500 passengers who were on the earlier voyage.
A statement from the cruise line said that it had been alerted by the CDC that a ‘small cluster’ of coronavirus cases in northern California had been linked to the ship.
The predicament of the Grand Princess cruise liner was reminiscent of the Diamond Princess vessel that was quarantined off the coast of Japan in February and was, for a time, the largest concentration of cornoavirus cases outside China.
Some American passengers from that ship were ultimately repatriated to military bases in California for extended quarantines.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday, and said coronavirus testing kits are now being flown to the Grand Princess
How coronavirus has caused cruise ship chaos: Holidaymakers around the world are trapped on ocean liners
The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the dangers of travelling on cruise ships packed with elderly passengers after hundreds of people were infected on the Diamond Princess and several other voyages were wrecked by virus fears.
The Diamond Princess became one of the world’s largest clusters of virus cases when more than 700 people tested positive during a two-week quarantine in Japan.
Another vessel, the MS Westerdam, was turned away by five governments in a sign of official panic over cruise ships despite no cases being confirmed on board.
In addition, fears of a cruise ship outbreak on the Grand Princess off the California coast have grown after a former passenger died of coronavirus and 21 people showed possible symptoms.
Several other ships have had their journeys disrupted by the virus after passengers required urgent tests or countries refused them permission to dock.
Experts have highlighted a number of reasons why cruise ships are vulnerable to the spread of disease, including the large number of elderly passengers in a confined space.
There have also been fears that air-conditioning systems could spread the virus, with experts pointing out that ventilation systems were previously linked to the spread of SARS.
Scientists say that the large number of elderly passengers who are trapped together on cruise ships is likely to make the vessels more vulnerable to the spread of disease.
Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, have been the most likely to catch the virus since the outbreak began in China late last year.
California health authorities have confirmed 53 cases, the most of any single US state, from the respiratory disease that has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide.
The death of the former cruise passenger in California marked the first coronavirus fatality in the US outside of Washington state, where 11 people have died in a cluster of at least 39 infections in the Seattle area. Researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected there for weeks.
A Washington state county with nine coronavirus deaths urges ALL its 2.2MILLION residents to work from home, pulls 22,000 students from school and tells everyone over 60 to stay indoors
Residents of King County in Washington state where dozens have tested positive for coronavirus and 10 people have died are being advised to work from home to avoid possible exposure.
Nearby Snohomish County has recorded one death.
The health officials in King County, which includes Seattle and is home to over 2.2 million people, have urged local businesses to allow employees to telecommute for the next three weeks in an effort to curb the outbreak.
They are also recommending that higher-risk groups – including people over the age of 60, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems – stay home and away from large social gatherings.
Meanwhile, public officials in Washington have come under pressure to take more aggressive steps against the outbreak, including closing schools and canceling large events. While the state and Seattle have declared emergencies, giving leaders broad powers to suspend activities, they have not issued any orders to do so.
UNESCO revealed that roughly 300 million students have been disrupted by school closures in 13 different countries.
The latest recommendations announced Wednesday came after an employee at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters was confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus, potentially exposing some 50,000 others who work at the plant.
Hours later officials confirmed that an employee at Facebook’s Stadium East office in Seattle had also tested positive. The company said the office will be closed until at least March 9.
Northshore School District, which serves 22,000 students across King and Snohomish counties, announced late Wednesday that it was closing all 36 of its schools after a parent or volunteer at Woodmoor Elementary tested ‘presumptive positive’ for coronavirus.
Northshore Superintendent Michelle Reid issued a statement saying the schools will remain closed for up to 14 days ‘while we continue to monitor the situation and health department recommendations’.
Reid said administrators plan to begin conducting classes online on Monday. She noted that multiple individuals across the district are under self-quarantine after being exposed to the virus at a nursing home in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland where the majority of the 39 Washington state cases have occurred.
Authorities launched a federal investigation into the nursing home, Life Care Center, on Wednesday.
Seema Verma, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency is sending inspectors to Life Care along with CDC experts to figure out what happened and determine whether the nursing home followed guidelines for preventing infections.
Officials in King County have purchased an 85-bed motel south of Seattle to house patients for recovery and isolation.
Medics wheel out a person on a stretcher from the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Wednesday where a cluster of the US coronavirus deaths have occurred
Most of the Washington state victims were patients at Life Care Center (pictured). The nursing home is now the subject of a federal investigation
Officials in King County in Washington state have purchased an 85-bed Econo Lodge motel (pictured above) south of Seattle to house patients for recovery and isolation
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE 11 US PATIENTS WHO DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS
So far, 11 people have died of coronavirus in the US, federal and local health officials say.
Ten of the deaths have occurred in Washington state – nine in King County and one of Snohomish County.
Most came from Life Care Center, a long-term care facility in Kirkland.
One deaths has occurred in Placer County, California.
Here’s what we currently know:
1. A man in his 50s was brought from Life Care Center to Harborview Medical Center on February 24. He died two days later and is the first death in the US from coronavirus
2. A man in his 50s from King County who had underlying health conditions. He was hospitalized and died at EvergreenHealth on February 29
3. A man in his 40s from Snohomish County who died after being hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland on March 1
4. A woman in her 70s, who lived at Life Care and was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She had pre-existing conditions, and died on March 1
5. A man in his 70s, linked to Life Care, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He died on February 29 and pre-existing conditions
6. A man in his 70s, who was also a resident of Life Care, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He died on March 1 and also had underlying health conditions
7. A woman in her 70s, who was a Life Care resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on March 2
8. A woman in her 80s, who was linked to Life Care and was previously reported to be in critical condition at EvergreenHealth, died on March 1
9. A woman in her 80s, who was a resident of Life Care and was never hospitalized, died at her family home on February 26
10. A tenth death was confirmed on March 4, but Public Health – Seattle & King County has not yet released information about the latest death
11. An 69-year-old man died on March 4 in Placer County, California after likely becoming infected on a Princess cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between February 11 and 21
Health officials in North Carolina reported that a person from Wake County tested positive for the illness after visiting the nursing home and then flying back home across the country. The person’s flight from the Seattle area to the Raleigh-Durham airport raised fears other passengers were exposed to the virus.
Nevada reported its first case after a man in his 50s who is currently in hospital tested positive.
In Tennessee, a man with a history of out-of-state travel became the state’s first case. That man is now under self-quarantine at his home.
In Los Angeles, six new coronavirus patients were confirmed in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, including a federal contractor who may have been exposed while conducting medical screenings at Los Angeles International Airport.
Three others likely were infected while traveling recently to northern Italy, one of the areas hardest hit in the global outbreak. Of the six in Los Angeles County, five are recovering in home isolation.
A man, who was among those who went to Italy, has been hospitalized. He lives in Tarzana, which is about 10 miles from the city of Calabasas that is home to the likes of Kim Kardasian and other celebrities.
Florida declared a public health emergency after confirming its three cases. Among them was a 29-year-old woman who had recently returned from Italy and tested positive. That woman claims she told the CDC of her symptoms after flying from Italy to New York on her way back to Florida.
She claims the CDC told her she was okay to continue on the flight from New York to Tampa. She was tested for coronavirus after arriving back in Tampa last week. Her sister later also tested positive.
New York coronavirus cases jump to 22 – including four people in the city
Meanwhile in New York, a total of 22 people have now tested positive.
Seventeen of the cases are in Westchester County and are linked to the 50-year-old Manhattan attorney who infected his family and a friend’s family.
Two other cases – a woman in her 80s and man in his 40s – were also announced but are unrelated to the attorney. The two patients are currently in intensive care. Officials have not revealed any other information about their cases.
There is also one person on Long Island who has the disease. He is a 42-year-old man and he has been hospitalized.
It comes after health officials urged 1,000 residents to self-quarantine after members of two families linked to the attorney were diagnosed with the virus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the disease appeared to have spread from a Manhattan lawyer, 50, to his wife, 20-year-old son, 14-year-old daughter, a neighbor and another family of five.
A female healthcare worker who has not been linked to the attorney had earlier tested positive after returning from a trip to Iran.
Health officials said the lawyer, who is in intensive care at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, was suffering from severe pneumonia, which put him in more danger than others who have also tested positive.
His family remain quarantined in their home in New Rochelle in Westchester County. The neighbor, who initially drove the attorney to the hospital when he started suffering from coronavirus symptoms last Friday night, is also under self-quarantine at home.
Following the positive tests, Cuomo said about 1,000 people in Westchester County and New York City will be contacted by health professionals and asked to self-quarantine.
They include some 300 people from New Rochelle synagogue the infected family attends, two people at the son’s university, an unconfirmed number of students at the daughter’s school in the Bronx, seven employees and one intern at the Manhattan law firm and eight staffers at New York Presbyterian-Lawrence Hospital.
The lawyer commuted every day on the Metro-North Railroad from his home in New Rochelle to his small law firm across from Grand Central Terminal. His wife and one of their four children also work at the firm.
Seven law firm employees were identified as being at risk of coronavirus after having close, prolonged contact with the infected attorney.
Yeshiva University, the private Jewish university where the lawyer’s diagnosed 20-year-old son is a student, canceled classes at its Washington Heights campus on Wednesday as a precaution.
The SAR High School in the Bronx where the lawyer’s diagnosed 14-year-old daughter is a student was shut down after his positive test was announced Tuesday. The Westchester Torah Academy where the children of the other family who tested positive had already decided to close until Friday as a precaution.
In New York, health officials put hundreds of residents in self-quarantine after members of two families in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle were diagnosed with the virus. Two more unrelated cases were confirmed in New York City on Thursday, raising New York state’s total to 13. A female healthcare worker who is also not linked to the attorney was the first in the state to test positive after returning from a trip to Iran
The MTA has stepped up disinfecting and cleaning subway stations, cars and buses in New York City amid the coronavirus outbreak
The World Health Organization has since warned that the fatality rate of the virus (3.4 percent) is higher than initially thought – making it more than three times deadlier than the flu.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading expert on coronavirus in the US, told Congress on Wednesday it was still too early to determine accurate mortality rates of the disease in America because it wasn’t yet clear how many had been infected.
U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday agreed on an emergency funding package worth more than $7 billion to address the spread of the disease. The bill would be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives later on Wednesday.
JetBlue cuts flights, Delta halts Japan route expansion and at least five other US airlines waive change fees as coronavirus outbreak sees empty planes and airports
In addition to JetBlue and Delta, United, American, Frontier, Hawaiian and Alaskan will waive change fees.
The changes come as plane passengers have been sharing images of empty aircrafts and airport lounges, with one traveler saying 70 seats were canceled at the last minute.
The Washington-based passenger tweeted: ‘Empty flight brought to me courtesy of #coronavirus. The flight attendant said 70 people canceled last minute. #awholerowtomyself.’
Another Twitter user in Houston wrote: ‘The airports are empty too. I flew to Florida today and the plane was half empty. This really has people scared but [expletive] plane tickets are cheap as hell right now.’
One person traveling to Chicago on a red-eye said they ‘couldn’t have had a better start’ to their trip as coach only had 17 passengers and 12 people flew first class on an aircraft with a capacity of 137.
A different person bound for the Illinois city posted a snap of an empty flight and said: ‘Assuming flight is super empty because there are flights to Chicago every hour and not because people are freaking out about coronavirus or some other sign of imminent doom right?’
‘Maybe everyone avoiding Washington because of coronavirus,’ a Twitter user flying to Seattle posted.
Several airlines were implementing cost controls in the most drastic actions by U.S. airlines to get ahead of depressed travel demand due to the spreading coronavirus.
On Wednesday JetBlue announced it has reduced flight capacity by approximately 5% ‘in the near term to address the fall in demand’ as a result of COVID 19 and the airline said it assessing if more cuts are needed.
The New York-based carrier is taking other steps ‘aimed at preserving cash’ including ‘delaying or canceling upcoming events and meetings’ and ‘reducing hiring for frontline and support center positions’.
It is also considering voluntary time-off programs and is ‘limiting non-essential spending’ while demand for flights is reduced. JetBlue began waiving change and cancellation fees last month and said it would continue until March 11 for travel completed by June 1.
Dow opens 700 points DOWN as coronavirus epidemic quashes rebound fueled by Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday comeback
The Dow Jones suffered a sharp drop Thursday opening 700 points down as the coronavirus-fueled volatility extended into a third week.
Stocks open sharply lower on Wall Street, erasing 2 per cent from indexes, a day after surging 4 per cent as mood swings back to fear.
Thursday’s decline comes a day after markets rallied on former Vice President Joe Biden’s strong showing in the Democratic presidential nomination. Investors see him as more business-friendly than his main rival, Senator Bernie Sanders.
But new cases of coronavirus and rising death tolls in the US has seen more pressure on companies, with numerous airlines canceling flights and some even laying off workers. The International Air Transport Association said Thursday they could see up to $113 billion in losses.
Businesses are also lowering their earnings targets or canceling forecasts altogether as it remains unclear how long the outbreak will continue to disrupt supply chains, production and travel.
Ten-year Treasury yields also fell below 1 per cent again, trading last at 0.9745 per cent. Yields have fallen for 11 straight days, the longest slide in at least a generation.
Sentiment had been helped Wednesday by Congress’s decision to make $8.3 billion available to battle the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
The measure’s funds would go toward research into a vaccine, improved tests and drugs to treat infected people.
There are more than 95,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide as of Wednesday evening
Everything you need to know about coronavirus
By Natalie Rahhal, Acting US Health Editor for DailyMail.com
HOW DANGEROUS IS CORONAVIRUS?
About 14 percent of people who contract the Covid-19 coronavirus are taken to hospital – with severe symptoms including breathing problems and pneumonia. About 5 per cent need intensive care.
But the majority who get the virus suffer nothing more than a cough and may never know they are infected.
So far, some 51,000 people around the world have already recovered from coronavirus – and that just includes the numbers who received a diagnosis.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE?
Officially, the death rate so far has been just over three percent. But experts believe the true mortality rate is probably between one and two percent. This is because most mild cases have not been picked up by doctors or reflected in the official numbers – so the death rate is inflated.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH OTHER DISEASES?
Seasonal flu kills roughly 0.1 percent of people. So Covid-19 is between 10 and 20 times more fatal.
But it is far less dangerous than SARS – the virus that ripped across China in 2003 – which killed 10 percent of patients.
BUT DOESN’T CORONAVIRUS SPREAD MORE EASILY?
Yes, but not dramatically. The best estimates suggest every person with Covid-19 passes it on to 2.6 people, on average. For flu that number is 1.5.
CAN IT BE SPREAD WITHOUT SYMPTOMS?
Initially scientists feared carriers who had no symptoms could pass it on. That is now in doubt.
What is likely, however, is those who have mild symptoms are putting it down to a cold and going about their normal lives – which puts others at risk.
HOW LONG IS IT BEFORE SYMPTOMS APPEAR?
Again, unclear. Initially scientists said this could take up to two weeks.
But recent evidence suggests the incubation period could be as long as a month – particularly among children.
The average, however, is much shorter. A Chinese study said the average period of symptom onset was 5.4 days for adults and 6.5 for children.
WHO IS AT RISK?
The virus can affect anyone – with a study of the first 41 infected people revealing two thirds did not suffer from any pre-existing condition. But the middle-aged are most likely to get it – 78 percent of those infected in China have been aged 30 to 69.
WHAT ABOUT THE OLD?
Only 3 percent of people infected so far have been over 80 – but if they get it they are more vulnerable. Analysis of 72,000 cases in China suggests for over-80s the death rate is 15 percent. For those in their 70s the death rate is 8 percent and for those in their 60s, 4 percent.
WHO ELSE IS VULNERABLE?
Those with other conditions – such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney problems – are likely to suffer severe complications if they become infected.
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN?
Children seem to be low-risk. Less than 1 percent of the Chinese cases have been under the age of ten – and if children do get the virus it’s often a mild form.
They do, however, retain the virus for longer than adults.
A study last week found the virus was still present in the stools of some children for a month after they contracted it.
DOES GENDER MATTER?
Men are marginally more likely to get the virus than women. It is not clear why this is.
HOW DO DOCTORS TEST FOR COVID-19?
Anyone who has symptoms –particularly if they have travelled to an at-risk area – are told to call ahead to their health care provider, local emergency department or clinics.
This way, health care providers can be prepared, wearing masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment when they meet the possible patient and escort them to isolated areas of the facility.
They are tested using a cheek swab which is sent off for analysis at one of 12 Public Health England labs, a process that takes between 24 and 48 hours. Any positive test is double-checked at the main PHE lab in Colindale.
WHAT TREATMENT DO PATIENTS GET?
There is little doctors can do to tackle the virus, but they can treat the symptoms – such as fever and respiratory problems. Antivirals and antibiotics are also used, mainly to keep secondary problems at bay.
In the most serious cases patients are put on life-support equipment.
There are several clinical trials for potential coronavirus treatments ongoing worldwide, including one in Nebraska, where at least 13 patients are in quarantine, including two in biocontainment units.
WHAT ABOUT A VACCINE?
Even though the Wuhan virus appeared only a few weeks ago, 20 teams around the world are already manufacturing vaccines.
Chinese authorities provided the DNA code for the virus early on in the outbreak, enabling scientists to get to work straight away.
At least 30 companies and research institutions in the US are racing to make a vaccine.
Last week, one of these companies, Moderna, shipped its candidate vaccine to the US, signalling the shot was ready to begin clinical trials.
Even so, US health authorities say it will likely be upwards of a year before a vaccine is actually ready.
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