Coronavirus live updates: US cases surpass 100; bungled test kits slowed testing

2020-03-03 09:03:47

The U.S. surgeon general urged calm Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases across the nation surged to more than 100. Six deaths have been attributed to the outbreak.

“We should be cautious and take appropriate measures to prepare and protect ourselves, but we should not be afraid,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. “We’ve been through this before, and no place in the world is better prepared to handle this challenge.”

Adams also – again – urged healthy people not to create a shortage on masks by stocking up on them.

“They don’t provide you respiratory protection against diseases like coronavirus,” he said. “They protect others from your cough.”

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. outbreak includes more than 40 “domestic cases,” mostly in California and Washington state, and a greater number of cases involving people who came from other countries.

Here’s the latest on the outbreak of COVID-19: 

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Bungled test kits slowed testing in US

The CDC initially developed and mailed testing kits with three components, or reagents, to detect the COVID-19 virus. Some states had trouble validating one of three components in the kits. On Friday, a CDC official said the agency reviewed the glitch and determined using two components accurately detect coronavirus.

CDC officials said all state and local public health labs and qualified private labs should be able to test by the end of this week. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said more aggressive testing could have slowed the spread of the disease.

“The opportunity was missed,” Murphy said. “There were delays, and now there are going to be more cases.”

– Ken Alltucker

New York waives fees for coronavirus test

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a new directive requiring New York health insurers to waive costs associated with testing for coronavirus, including emergency room, urgent care and office visits.

“We can’t let cost be a barrier to access to COVID-19 testing for any New Yorker,” Cuomo said.

The state confirmed its second case Tuesday, a Westchester County man hospitalized with an “underlying respiratory illness,” Cuomo said. The first case involves a health care worker from Manhattan quarantined in her apartment.

– Jon Campbell

US pitches in $37M toward global struggle

The U.S. will provide $37 million from an emergency infectious diseases fund to help 26 countries affected by COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced. The money is going to the World Health Organization and other agencies, USAID said. It’s the first funds from a pledge of up to $100 million announced Feb. 7 by the State Department.

“These funds will help build preparedness and response capacities in vulnerable countries,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general. “WHO is grateful for your support to keep the world safe.”

California Gov. Newsom wants $20M to fight virus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking the state Legislature to provide $20 million from a disaster emergency account to help halt the spread of coronavirus. Newsom also activated the State Operations Center to its second highest level in support of the state Public Health department and first responders. Ten labs across the state are now testing, and another 10 should be online soon, public health officials said.

Georgia confirms first 2 cases

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey confirmed Georgia’s first cases of COVID-19 involving two Atlanta-area residents who live in the same household. One recently returned from Italy and both have mild symptoms, Toomey said. The patients were isolated at home with other relatives.

“Our team has been working around the clock to prepare for any scenario,” Gov. Kemp said. “They are confident that our efforts to prepare for this moment have enabled us to manage these cases appropriately and minimize any risks moving forward.”

South Korea at ‘war against infectious disease’

South Korea President Moon Jae-in described the virus outbreak as “a grave situation.”

More than 5,000 South Koreans had tested positive for coronavirus as of early Tuesday; 28 had died. South Korea is testing 10,000 people a day.

“The entire country has entered a war against an infectious disease,” he said.

Hoarding in Iran; 2,000 cases in Italy

Iran’s judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, pleaded with prosecutors to show “no mercy” for people stockpiling medical supplies for profit in a country that has seen 66 deaths so far. Italy was reeling, too, with the count of confirmed cases over 2,000 early Tuesday and quarantines in effect in 11 northern towns. The coronavirus has killed 52 Italians so far.

How many people have died from coronavirus?

The death toll from confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide stood at 3,118 early Tuesday, according to a coronavirus dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,900 of them were in mainland China, and more than 2,800 of them were in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Iran has reported at least 66 deaths, Italy 52 and South Korea 28. 

How many coronavirus cases in the US?

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus dashboard counted 105 U.S. cases early Tuesday, though officials have warned that the number is likely much higher. We will learn more as testing efforts expand. Test packets are being shipped to health centers across the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging more testing.

Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. If the infection worsens, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure or even death.

China sees ‘coming victory’ over coronavirus

China, where COVID-19 originated, remains the hardest-hit nation, with 80,151 cases and 2,943 deaths, but its ambassador to the United Nations said late Monday that it has turned a corner in battling the disease

“We are not far from the coming of the victory,” said Zhang Jun, ahead of daily figures released Tuesday that showed new cases in China dropped to 125, a six-week low. But the optimism in China contrasts with a growing sense of alarm in other parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. 

— Kim Hjelmgaard

Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 in California, CDC numbers, deaths

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