Washington State Announces First Coronavirus Death In The US; Trump Reportedly Planning New ‘Restrictions’ At Mexican Border: Live Updates

Washington State Announces First Coronavirus Death In The US; Trump Reportedly Planning New ‘Restrictions’ At Mexican Border: Live Updates

Update (1515ET): President Trump has finally wrapped up a lengthy press conference that most agreed was more convincing than his previous effort on Wednesday. Trump confirmed that there are now 22 cases in the US outside of the evacuees from Wuhan and the ‘Diamond Princess’.

Read more about it here.

Washington State is expected to hold a press conference of its own at 4 pm ET.

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Update (1350ET): Trump is officially 20 minutes late, and following reports about Trump tightening the border with Mexico, the governor of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila has confirmed what appears to be the country’s fourth case.

Here’s more on the border reports from Reuters.

The administration is also weighing possible restrictions on the entry of travelers from South Korea, Italy and Japan. The White House instructed DHS to draft a range of options about travel restrictions related to those countries.

Yesterday, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico’s assistant health secretary, confirmed a case in Mexico City and at least one other case in the cartel-dominated region of Sinaloa. He also encouraged Mexicans to hold back on hearty greetings involving kisses and hugs and close contact.

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Update (1325ET): Trump is set to start speaking in a few minutes, but a rash of important virus-related headlines just hit, including a Reuters report that the administration is considering imposing restrictions at the Mexican border as part of its effort to suppress the outbreak.

France just confirmed roughly 30 new cases, raising its total from 73 to north of 100, according to the latest reports.

One more thing: We neglected to mention earlier that Washington State discovered another case of coronavirus, which it announced at press conference late last night: The state’s third coronavirus patient overall had recently traveled to South Korea.

Meg Tirrell

@megtirrell

New case of just announced in Snohomish County, WA. School-aged individual. Went to HS before learning of diagnosis, but left before classes started. Currently in home isolation. No travel history. Source of infection still being identified, per health officials

Also, the CDC has announced a press conference of its own at 3 pm, while Washington State is planning a press conference at 4 pm.

In other words, it’s gonna be a busy Saturday afternoon.

  • FRANCE RAISES NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES TO 100 – HEAD OF FRENCH PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
  • TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERING IMPOSING ENTRY RESTRICTIONS AT BORDER WITH MEXICO OVER CORONAVIRUS THREAT – U.S. OFFICIALS
  • CDC PRESS CONFERENCE AT 3 PM

While we wait to hear from Trump, who will almost inevitably begin late, here’s a graphic showing the history of pandemics for you to ponder.

Meanwhile, here’s a chart showing the France:

And Italy:

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Update (1310ET): As we wait for President Trump’s latest update, here’s another roundup of updates from across the Middle East and Europe, via Al Jazeera.

  • Two more people in the Netherlands have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, increasing the total number of the cases to six, according to health agency RIVM.
  • Iraq has detected five new cases of coronavirus, four in Baghdad and one in Babel province, the health ministry said, taking the total number of cases there to 13.
  • Azerbaijan shuts its border with Iran after the country confirmed its first case yesterday; two patients have been placed in quarantine after testing positive.
  • Lebanon has confirmed three new cases, bringing its total to 7.
  • Pakistan has confirmed two new cases, bringing its total to 4.

Over in the US, more colleges are cancelling their study abroad programs: UConn just joined a growing list of schools, which CNN is tracking here.

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Update (1250ET): Minutes after President Trump announced his 130pmET press conference to discuss the latest coronavirus developments, Washington State health officials have reported the first death from the coronavirus in the US.

No details yet, but it’s probably reasonable to suspect that the death is the state’s latest case (remember, it was also home to the first confirmed case in the US, a case that reportedly recovered) of ‘unkown origin’ which it announced last night.

Of course, it’s also possible that this could have been a post-mortem confirmation…meaning it would also constitute a new case.

Washington State health officials are also planning to hold a press conference shortly.

So much for routing all information through the VP’s office…

In Italy, officials confirmed that the number of confirmed cases has passed 1,000. The number of confirmed deaths in the country climbed to 21 on Friday.

The US isn’t the only country struggling with a rash of unexplained cases. The same phenomenon has frustrated public health officials in Japan, Italy and the UK.

The BBC reports that the UK’s 20th case is also believed to be the first person who was infected inside the UK, since they hadn’t traveled abroad recently.

As we wait to learn more, here’s some more information about the latest FDA announcement, courtesy of the NYT’s virus live feed:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday that it was authorizing American laboratories to develop their own coronavirus tests, which should significantly increase the country’s testing capacity.

The effect could be rapid. About 80 labs and private companies have applied for emergency approval for tests they have already created. If they have submitted evidence that the tests work, the labs and companies will be able to use them immediately, rather than wait for the F.D.A. to complete reviews and issue approvals.

“This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation,” the F.D.A.’s commissioner, Stephen M. Hahn, said in a statement.

Experts have been frustrated with the limited availability of coronavirus tests in the U.S., which until now could only be provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Broader testing will enable more rapid detection and isolation of people who have the coronavirus to help contain the spread of disease.

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Update (1235ET): President Trump will hold another press conference to discuss “the latest CoronaVirus developments” at 1:30pm.

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The unceasing 24/7 flood of coronavirus news yielded some disturbing developments last night as public health officials in Oregon and Washington State confirmed the third and fourth coronaviruses of “unknown origin” in the US.

To President Trump’s chagrin, public health officials on the west coast warned that the cases are evidence that community outbreaks have already begun in Northern Cali, Oregon and Washington State. So if you were planning on traveling to the Pacific Northwest any time soon…you might want to reconsider.

In Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, we saw a rash of new cases overnight (including the first case in Qatar) nearly doubled on Friday to  along with news of more cancellations of sports games, concerts and public events. France has temporarily banned all public events involving more than 5,000 people. Health Minister Olivier Véran announced the decision after an emergency government meeting on Saturday.

Veran also confirmed 16 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the country’s total taking to 73 since the outbreak began. Two patients have died, a 60-year-old French teacher and an 80-year-old Chinese tourist. On Friday alone, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled.

Across France, all gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces will be cancelled.” The same applies to events “in an open environment where people can mix with others from areas where the virus is possibly circulating,” according to France24.

France’s decision follows Switzerland, which announced a similar ban on Friday. In Italy’s three virus-hit northern provinces, schools and universities are preparing to remain shut for a second week.

South Korea reported more than 800 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest jump of any country, and twice the number reported yesterday by Chinese authorities in Hubei. Unsurprisingly, the increase was mostly concentrated in Daegu, the epicenter of the outbreak in South Korea.

But the biggest news Saturday morning was in the US, where the FDA released sweeping new guidelines speeding up hospitals’ ability to test for the virus, appearing to resolve an issue about which public health officials, epidemiologists and labs from NYC to Cali had loudly complained. According to WaPo, some experts are worried that these new measures will still fall short. We suspect we will soon know for certain if the changes were effective, or not.

Read the full briefing below:

Virus by Zerohedge on Scribd

Elsewhere in the US, while much of the focus so far has been on the west coast, local media outlets reported on Saturday that a suspected coronavirus patient has been isolated at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, as the hospital awaits the results of a test, which could take a few days.

The patient has yet to test positive, but is showing suspicious symptoms, the hospital said. It continues to screen all patients who have recently visited hot zones, or who are showing suspicious symptoms.

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