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20 items in de category Businessinsider.com_-_Tech in donderdag     De links 1 t/m 20.
 
World: Businessinsider.com - Tech: [ Geolocation ]   (Laatste update: donderdag 26 maart 2020 19:59:00)
  • Face mask price-gougers set up a black market on Facebook and Instagram using anonymous profiles

    Instagram profiles are using stock imagery and stolen photos to advertise face masks they claim will prevent the wearer from getting the coronavirus.

    • Facebook, Instagram's parent company, is no longer permitting advertisements or commerce listings for face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, or COVID-19 test kits.
    • But some users are creating anonymous, personal profiles on both platforms to price gouge items like face masks, and many are ripping stock images and photos from other websites to do so. 
    • Business Insider found one Facebook profile friend requesting others to try and sell masks, along with Instagram and Facebook pages marketing expensive, unverifiable products. 
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    As a global shortage of face masks threatens medical professionals in hospitals and treatment centers, a black market for them has emerged on Facebook and Instagram, where people are creating anonymous personal profiles to price gouge the masks and sell them to unsuspecting social media users. And unlike third-party Amazon sellers or hand sanitizer hoarders, it's unclear whether these face masks even exist, since many of the sellers are using stock photos and imagery ripped from other websites.

    On March 6, Facebook announced it was temporarily banning advertisements and commerce listings, like those on Facebook Marketplace, for medical face masks. On March 19, it announced the same policy for hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes, and COVID-19 test kits — all items that brought potential price-gouging and scamming amid panic-buying — in ads and commerce listings. 

    Business Insider found multiple profiles on both Facebook and Instagram advertising expensive face masks outside the social media platform's e-commerce listings or advertisements. The profiles don't provide verification that the masks exist, let alone fulfill the coronavirus prevention claims made in posts.

    After Business Insider reached out to Facebook, Instagram's parent company, with the profiles in this article, each of the profiles were removed. Facebook says it removed the three Instagram accounts between the time the reporting started and the time Business Insider reached out. 

    Some of the Facebook profiles selling face masks are sending friend requests to other users, listing contact information like phone numbers in their profile descriptions. Business Insider texted one of these profiles, and the seller said payment could be transferred via Cash App, Google Pay, or through Walmart's online money transfer system. 

    Itz Dolly facebook mask seller

    The person, whose Facebook profile identified them as "Itz Dolly," also sent three photos of the masks they claim to be selling for $15 each – two of the photos could be traced back to other websites via a reverse Google Image search.

    Of the three photos of masks sent by "Itz Dolly," the only identifiable mask brand was a 3M disposable respiratory mask. Before the mask shortage, Home Depot sold a 20-pack for $23.97, or about $1.20 per mask.

    When asked if they would be willing to do an interview with Business Insider about selling face masks through Facebook, the user stopped responding to texts and appears to have hidden or deactivated their Facebook profile. 

    "Itz Dolly" isn't the only personal profile being used to advertise face masks for sale. Business Insider found another person shilling face masks on both their personal profile and a business profile they connected to it.

    One Facebook user listed their employment as the face masks business page they set up.

    That user also set up a page branded as a "Medical Lab" under the name "Covid-19 masks for purchase," using stock imagery of N95 masks in promotional posts, then posted conflicting photos and videos of standard surgical masks being mass-produced. The page also linked an email address that could be contacted for purchase.

    According to the CDC, surgical masks aren't considered respiratory protection as compared to N95 masks.

    According to the CDC, the surgical masks shown in the photos and videos are not considered respiratory protection, while N95 masks filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles. 

    By setting up advertisements masquerading as personal and professional Facebook pages, as well as personal Instagram accounts, it appears that individuals are still able to price gouge and mislead potential buyers through both social media platforms. Facebook's Trust/Integrity team leader said "If we see abuse around these products in organic posts, we'll remove those, too," but many accounts seem to be slipping past enforcement systems in the meantime. 

    Online storefronts advertising on Instagram and Facebook use stock imagery and product photos ripped from other websites

    One Instagram profile, "@covidhalfmask," started posting on March 17. It avoided using the word "coronavirus" or the disease's full identifier, "covid-19," but had an easily recognizable picture of the virus' molecular form as a profile icon.

    With nearly 18,000 followers, but averaging fewer than 35 likes a post, it appears the account also bought followers and likes on recent photos to create an illusion of better engagement – making it look more trustworthy to casual Instagram users. The description warned that "The stock is limited!"

    covidhalfmask

    By clicking on the link in the profile's description, potential buyers were directed to a Shopify storefront, where they could pay "discounted" prices for packs of masks ranging from $74.99 for 10 "N95 " masks to $199.99 for a 15-pack of "3M 9162E" masks. A reverse Google Image search shows the product images were ripped from other websites. 

    3M 9162E masks ripped from google images

    The New York Times reports that Shopify "allows just about anyone with an email address and a credit card to create retail websites in short order," and that 500 new storefronts have been registered with the keywords "corona" and "covid" over the past two months. The "Half-Mask" site avoided those keywords altogether. 

    The storefront also has a reviews section, where 61 five-star reviews are listed. Several of the reviews contain pictures that are ripped from other websites, as determined by a reverse Google Image search, and at least one is a stock image.

    stock images used in reviews on shopify coronavirus website

    While Facebook removed the storefront's Instagram profile, its website was still functioning at the time of publication. Business Insider reached out to Shopify for comment but didn't hear back immediately. 

    Other Instagram profiles with handles like "@coronasafetymask" and "@hygienic_mask_covid19" asked potential customers to DM them, or click or a link that contained a QR code that could be used to contact someone through the messaging app LINE. "@coronasafetymask" used a photo of actress Emma Watson with a mask overlay as branding.

    coronasafetymask

    "We are working to protect people from inflated prices and predatory behavior, if we see posts and accounts selling masks, hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits, we will remove them," a Facebook company spokesperson wrote in a statement to Business Insider.

    SEE ALSO: A week after Etsy said it was removing coronavirus-themed products, listings for 'Immunity Tea,' DIY hand sanitizer, and 'I survived coronavirus' bracelets remained

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why it's so hard for planes to land on water


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:39:48 -0400
  • The UK reported 11,658 coronavirus cases and 578 deaths. Here's all we know about how the virus is spreading across Britain.

    London Tube coronavirus

    • March 26: The UK has reported 11,658 coronavirus cases and 578 deaths linked to the virus.
    • The NHS said on Thursday that a further 115 had died after catching the coronavirus.
    • Boris Johnson announced a series of strict new social distancing measures on Monday evening.
    • He has banned social events, closed all non-essential shops, and imposed rules on when people can leave their homes, among other things.
    • Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced emergency grants for self-employed people.
    • Over half a million people in the UK have volunteered to help the NHS.
    • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told all Brits travelling abroad to return to the UK.
    • The British public will applaud NHS workers from their doorsteps, windows, and balconies at 8pm tonight.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    A total of 11,658 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK and 578 people have died, the National Health Service said on Thursday, March 26, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a strict lockdown on the entire country.

    The NHS on Thursday announced 115 further deaths across the country. 

    Johnson on Monday evening (March 23) unveiled a series of strict new rules which the British public must follow to combat the spread of the coronavirus. He warned people, "if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well."

    The prime minister said the government will:

    • Close all non-essential shops.
    • Ban all social events.
    • People will only be allowed to leave their homes for essentials, exercise, and work.
    • There will be a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.
    • The police will have the powers to fine people who do not comply with the rules.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday (March 26) announced that the UK government would give grants to self-employed people adversely affected by the coronavirus, which would be worth 80% of their average profits over the last three years.

    He said the package for self-employed people was "one of the most generous in the world."

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged Brits travelling abroad to return to the UK immediately.

    All schools across the UK will be closed from this week onwards. 

    Anyone with symptoms, or anyone who lives with someone experiencing symptoms, has been told to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

    The coronavirus causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19. More than 12,987 people have died and more than 305,145 others have been infected worldwide, mostly in China. Cases have been recorded in at least 105 countries.

    For the latest global case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider's live updates here.

    Carry on reading below for the latest updates on how the virus is spreading across Britain.

    Kieran Corcoran, Alison Millington, and Rachel Hosie contributed reporting to this post.

    Self-employed people affected by the coronavirus will be given up to £2,500 cash a month  but not until June

    The UK government has announced emergency financial support for self-employed people whose finances have been damaged by the coronavirus, but the money will not be available until June, raising serious questions about how people who work for themselves will stay financially afloat until then.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Thursday afternoon (March 26) that the government would give self-employed people taxable grants worth 80% of their average profits over the last three years, up to £2,500.

    The grants will be available for three months, but the UK government will extend the period if necessary, Sunak said at a press conference in Downing Street.

    Sunak said the UK's support for the self-employed was "unprecedented" and "one of the most generous in the world."

    The UK Chancellor said: "I know that many self-employed people are deeply anxious about the support available for them. Musicians and sound engineers, plumbers and electricians, taxi drivers and driving instructors, hair-dressers and child-minders and many others through no fault of their own risk losing their livelihoods.

    "To you, I say this: You have not been forgotten. We will not let [sic] you behind. We all stand together."

    Addressing questions about how people will access cash before June, Sunak said people could apply for advance loans through the Universal Credit scheme.



    A further 115 in the UK have died after catching the coronavirus

    The NHS said on Thursday (March 26) that a further 115 had died after catching the coronavirus.

    However, the Department for Health and Social Care said that today's figures are the first to cover a 24 hour period, and therefore an extend period of time.



    Boris Johnson announces £210 million funding to find a coronavirus vaccine

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today (Thursday March 26) that the UK will inject an extra £210 million into the global effort to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.

    The UK government says this is the biggest single contribution by any country to the international fund for finding a vaccine.

    Johnson announced the news after holding a video call with G20 leaders at lunchtime. 

    The group pursuing a vaccine — the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) — has said that it needs an additional $2 billion to help develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.

    Johnson said on Thursday that this would be achieved if the governments of all other G20 countries each contributed $100 million to the scheme.

    The UK prime minister said: "While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world. UK medics and researchers are at the forefront of this pioneering work.

    "My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus. "In the meantime, I want to repeat to everyone that they should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."

    The UK has now contributed a total of £544 million to the scheme.



    The British public will applaud NHS workers at 8pm tonight

    The British public is set to thank National Health Service staff who are fighting the coronavirus by partaking in a nationwide round of applause at 8pm tonight (Thursday, March 26.)

    It is being organised by the "Clap for Carers" campaign, which said "during these unprecedented times they [NHS staff] need to know we are grateful."

    British people are encouraged to join the round of applause from their doorsteps, windows, and balconies.



    The UK is refusing to take part in an EU scheme to secure thousands of ventilators

    The UK government is refusing to take part in an EU scheme to procure thousands of ventilators and other medical supplies.

    The European Commission has launched a joint effort to secure ventilators and protective equipment for medical staff, which could significantly reduce costs because of the bloc's greater buying power.

    Speaking on Thursday (March 26), the prime minister's spokesperson confirmed the UK could access the scheme if it wanted to because it is still in the Brexit transition period but said the government was not interested because "we are no longer a member of the EU."

    "This is an area where we are making our own efforts," they added.

    The decision will raise questions about whether the government is putting its commitment to Brexit over the national interest.

    A government source also confirmed that the government was "actively considering" plans for more field hospitals across the country. Reports suggest sites in Birmingham and Manchester are being considered.



    March 26: Rishi Sunak to unveil emergency support for Britain's self employed today

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak will today (March 26) announce support for self-employed people who are struggling to cope with the financial effects of the coronavirus.

    The UK government has been under intense pressure this week to give more support to the self-employed after it announced grants and tax deferrals for businesses and their employees last week.

    Sunak is set to reveal the new measures in a press conference later today.



    A British worker films the inside of the huge London venue being transformed into a coronavirus hospital

    A British worker has uploaded footage showing the inside of the massive east London conference venue which Boris Johnson's government is turning into a hospital for up to 4,000 coronavirus patients.

    In the footage, worker Alex Woodside says: "If you're not taking it seriously like I wasn't, I think we really need to start, because they're preparing for an absolute high death toll here."

    Here's the footage.



    560,000 people have volunteered to help the NHS

    At least 560,000 people have volunteered to help the National Health Service protect vulnerable people from the coronavirus since the UK government launched the "Your NHS Needs You" scheme on Tuesday (March 24.)

    Boris Johnson's government has asked British people to help the NHS protect the 1.5 million people identified as being most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

    Over half a million people have offered their services, Sky News Political Editor Beth Rigby tweeted today (March 26.)



    March 26: Another 43 people have died in the UK, bringing the total to 465.

    A further 43 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in the UK to 465, the National Health Service said on Wednesday evening (March 25.)

    Patients were aged between 47 and 93 years old and all except the 47 year old had underlying health conditions.



    Coronavirus antibody tests will be rolled out first to NHS workers

    The UK's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has revealed details of the coronavirus tests which could soon be rolled out to the public across Britain.

    Speaking alongside Boris Johnson at today's press conference (March 25), Witty said the UK had ordered a large number of these tests, but they would first need to be properly tested.

    Under the plan the tests, which determine whether an individual has ever had the virus, will first be given to NHS staff, and then made more widely available to the general public.

    Whitty stressed it's unlikely that the tests will be made available to the public as soon as next week.

    "I do not think this is something you will be ordering on the internet next week," he said.

    Whitty said the tests could be crucial for fighting the coronavirus as they might be able to indicate how many carriers of the virus are asymptomatic, therefore potentially allowing restrictions to be lifted sooner.

     



    405,000 sign up to be NHS volunteers in 24 hours

    405,000 people in the UK have signed up to be volunteers for the National Health Service since the UK government launched the scheme 24 hours ago, Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (March 25.)

    The prime minister said that a huge number of people had responded to the government's "Your NHS Needs You" scheme, designed to provide additional support to 1.5 million Brits identified as being most vulnerable to the coronavirus.



    A 21-year-old woman with no pre-existing health conditions has died after testing positive for the coronavirus

    A 21-year-old woman in the UK, who had no underlying health complications, has died after contracting the coronavirus.

    Chloe Middleton died on Saturday (March 21.) She is believed to be the UK's youngest victim with no underlying health issues. Here's the full story.



    London City Airport suspends all flights until the end of April

    London City Airport has announced that it has suspended all flights until the end of April as the UK continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus.



    Rishi Sunak will announce support for Britain's self-employed on Thursday

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce new financial support for the self-employed on Thursday (March 26), the prime minister's spokesperson has just told journalists.

    The UK government is under pressure to provide financial support to self-employed people having already announced measures designed to help businesses and their employees.

    Here's what else Johnson's spokesperson said today (March 25):

    • Johnson is having his weekly meeting with The Queen over the phone, rather than in person.
    • The prime minister is "still fit and well" despite government staff catching the virus.
    • Companies which don't follow government instructions and temporarily close "face enforcement action, up to an unlimited fine." Sports Direct triggered outrage this week when owner Mike Ashley said his sports retailer would remain open, before agreeing to close his shops.

     



    Doctors could quit the NHS over shortage of medical equipment

    Doctors leading the fight against the coronavirus could quit if the UK government fails to provide them with adequate protective equipment soon, groups representing them have warned.

    As the outbreak continues to grow in the UK, doctors say they are being forced to endanger their own health due to a nationwide shortage of the right equipment.

    Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes masks, respirators, and gowns, and can help prevent transmission of the virus between medical staff and patients.

    Read the full story here.



    The House of Commons closes a week early for Easter and may not reopen for some time

    The House of Commons will go for its Easter break a week early today (Wednesday March 25) and may not return for some time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

    The House is currently scheduled to return on April 21, but this will be assessed nearer the time, Mogg told members of Parliament.



    UK logistics urge Boris Johnson to extend the Brexit transition period following the coronavirus outbreak

    The Freight Transport Association, which represents the UK logistics sector, has today (March 25) urged Boris Johnson to extend the Brexit transition period, warning that Britain's borders and hauliers cannot prepare for new trading arrangements with the EU while dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. 

    "Our industry needs the support of government, not to be broken by it," the FTA's Elizabeth de Jong said in a statement.

    The transition period is due to expire at the end of December. Until then, the UK will follow all EU trade and customs rules, in order to give businesses on both sides of the border time to adapt new trading arrangements.

    However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus across the continent has derailed negotiations over a new UK-EU free trade agreement, with talks postponed and the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, testing positive for the virus.

    Business Insider's Adam Payne has the story.



    NHS capacity 'will not be breached' by the coronavirus

    The UK government's national lockdown will be effective in preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London.

    Ferguson, whose modelling was reportedly instrumental in persuading the UK and other governments around the world to go into lockdown, told the House of Commons Science Committee on Wednesday 25 March, that the crisis would peak in the UK in about 2-3 weeks before declining.

    "We clearly cannot lock down the country for a year," he said.

    "The challenge is to move from an intense lockdown.. to something that will allow the economy to re-start… That is likely to rely on large scale testing and contact tracing."

    Ferguson also dismissed a widely-reported Oxford University study suggesting more than half the UK population has already contracted the coronavirus.

    He said that testing in Italy suggested that "we're nowhere near that scenario."

    He told Members of Parliametn that: "Sage [the UK government's scientific advisory group] has considered that issue in a lot of detail. We have ruled out some scenarios in that paper...

    He added that even if the Oxford modelling proved to be right, "It doesn't make any difference to what the government response should be."



    170,000 sign up to be NHS volunteers in less than 24 hours

    Over 170,000 members of the British public have offered to volunteer as National Health Service responded since the UK government launched the initiative on Tuesday.

    NHS England tweeted today (Wednesday March 25) that this equated to 189 people every minute. 

    Health Secretary announced the launch of the scheme at a press conference yesterday. The UK government aims to create a nationwide "army" of volunteers who will help the NHS by supporting the 1.5 million people identified as being most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

    Details are here.



    Members of Parliament will go home today as Westminster goes into recess a week earlier than planned

    Members of Parliament will head home a week earlier than planned today (Wednesday, March 25) with the UK Parliament set to break up for Easter recess.

    MPs, Lords, and other parliamentary staff are set to return on Tuesday, April 21.

    However, with the number of coronavirus cases growing exponentially in the UK, Parliament may be forced to into an even longer recess. 

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson will take part in his last PMQs before the extended Easter break. You can expect most — if not all — questions to be about the strict new social distancing measures he announced on Monday evening, and the UK's plan going forward.

     



    Nearly 12,000 retired NHS workers are returning to the frontline

    Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has announced today (Tuesday March 24) that 11,788 retired NHS workers are returning to work to help out in what he called the health service's "hour of need."

    He also said the government was opening a new temporary hospital at London's ExCeL conference centre to provide support during the outbreak. It will be called the Nightingale Hospital and the army will help to set it up. Here's the full story.



    March 24: 422 people in the UK have died after catching coronavirus

    A further 87 people in the UK have died after catching the coronavirus, taking the total to 422, the NHS announced on Tuesday (March 24.) 83 of these deaths were in England. 27 were in London.

    There are 8,077 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the UK.



    83,945 people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus

    A spokesperson for Boris Johnson has told journalists the UK has tested 83,945 people for the coronavirus as of Tuesday morning (March 24), and is testing around 5,000 people a day.

    The UK government aims to increase this to 10,000 tests per day by the end of the week, and 25,000 a day in the next three weeks.

    Here's what else Johnson's spokesperson said:

    • Johnson has spoken to London mayor Sadiq Khan about his decision to reduce transport services in the capital after pictures this morning showed packed Tube carriages. "The PM raised with  the mayor the issue of reduced services on the Tube and its impact on people trying to get to work," his spokesperson said.
    • Around 10% of pupils attended school yesterday following the UK government's decision to close them for all children apart from those of key workers.
    • The UK government is "working at pace to find a well-targeted package" for Britain's self-employed whose finances are being negatively affected by the COVID-19 virus.
    • UK prisons have stopped allowing visitors in accordance with social distancing rules.

     



    The Tokyo Olympics is to be postponed to 2021

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach have agreed to postpone the Olympics for one year.

    The games were supposed to be held in Tokyo, Japan from the end of July until early August.

    However, the global outbreak of the coronavirus means the games cannot go ahead this summer, and will take place in 2021 instead. Insider's Will Martin has the story.



    Boris Johnson's Cabinet holds a video conference for the first time

    Boris Johnson and his ministers today (Tuesday March 24) held a Cabinet meeting over a video call for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the UK.

    The prime minister told Cabinet it was "vital that the public followed the instructions issued by the Government on the need to stay at home."

    His prime minister's spokesperson said: "Cabinet received an update from Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, on the coronavirus outbreak. 

    Cabinet discussed the extensive range of actions which the Government is taking to tackle the spread of the virus. 

    The Prime Minister said it was vital that the public followed the instructions issued by the Government on the need to stay at home. 

    "The PM said that by staying at home, people would protect our NHS and save lives.

    "The Chancellor confirmed to Cabinet that the Comprehensive Spending Review will be delayed so that Government remains focused on responding to the public health and economic emergency.

    "Further details of when the Comprehensive Spending Review will be held will be set out in due course."



    93% of Brits support Boris Johnson's new coronavirus measures

    A whopping 93% of Brits support the measures unveiled by the prime minister on Monday evening, according to a snap poll published by YouGov on Tuesday March 24.

    93% of respondents said they supported the rules, with 76% saying they strong support them.

    Two-thirds of respondents said they believed it would be "easy" to get through the next three weeks of lockdown, with 24% saying it'll be very easy. 

     



    How will the UK's lockdown work in practice?

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of new draconian measures for reducing human interaction last night (Monday March 23.)

    Here's how the UK's coronavirus lockdown will work in practice.



    The UK's coronavirus lockdown could last up to 6 months

    March 24: The UK is waking up to a state of lockdown after Boris Johnson on Monday evening introduced strict new measures to reduce human contact and the spread of the coronavirus.

    Johnson announced that Brits would only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, and would not be able to gather in groups of more than two people in public. He has also banned all social events and closed all non-essential retail businesses. Here are the details.

    The Police have the powers to fine those who don't comply with the new social distancing rules. These fines begin at £30 but could rise to £1,000. Officials have told the Police to prepare for the lockdown lasting for up to six months, according to reports on Tuesday morning.

    The ban, which will last for an initial 3 weeks from today, is "highly likely" to be extended until May or June, the reports say.

     

     

     



    Boris Johnson bans social events, closes down all non-essential shops, and says people can only leave their homes for essentials, exercise, and work in strict new coronavirus rules

    March 23: Boris Johnson unveiled a series of strict new social distancing measures as his government steps up its efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

    In a TV address to the nation on Monday evening, the prime minister said: "Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won't be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses."

    Here are the new measures he announced:

    People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

    • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
    • one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
    • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
    • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

    The UK government will:

    • close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
    • we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
    • and we'll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

    Police will have the power to fine people who don't comply with the rules.



    Boris Johnson will reportedly not do a press conference today

    Boris Johnson will not do his daily press conference on Monday, according to multiple reports.

    The prime minister had promised to update the nation on the government's efforts to fight the coronavirus on a daily basis using a press conference.

    However, Johnson is not set to do one on Monday, and will instead make a statement following a COBRA meeting of senior ministers and officials.



    Another 46 people have in England after catching coronavirus

    March 23: Another 46 people in England have died after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths in England to 303, NHS England has said.

    The victims were aged between 47 and 105 years old and all had underlying health conditions.

    The UK death toll is now 335.



    Amazon is reportedly in talks with the UK government about delivering coronavirus tests

    Boris Johnson's government is reportedly in talks with Amazon and other companies about delivering COVID-19 test kits to the British public.

    Under the plan being discussed on March 23, major logistics companies like Amazon would deliver testing kits to key workers like those in the National Health Service, before expanding the service to the general public. Here's the story.



    A social distancing ad campaign is coming in the next few days

    The UK government will in the next few days launch a nationwide ad campaign on social distancing, the prime minister's spokesperson said on March 23.

    Boris Johnson has been accused of issuing confusing advice on social distancing after pictures over the weekend showed packed outdoor spaces like parks and beaches.

    His spokesperson revealed the imminent ad campaign in the daily lobby briefing.

    Here's what else they said:

    • The UK government will introduce more stringent social distancing rules if their data shows British people are not following Johnson's instructions. "If our analysis is that people haven't stopped their interactions then we will take further measures," they said.
    • Ministers are "working around the clock to find an appropriate package" for self-employed people who are being affected by the coronavirus. "We do understand the urgency of this situation," the prime minister's spokesperson said.
    • The UK government is "working urgently" to help airline companies on the brink of collapse as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
    • Boris Johnson and his Cabinet will meet today as planned. However, several ministers will be dialling in. 



    The UK government's new coronavirus law will "enable a national quarantine"

    The Coronavirus Bill being rushed through Parliament today will "enable a national quarantine," according to Boris Johnson's Parliamentary Private Secretary.

    Conservative MP Trudy Harrison told BBC Radio Cumbria this morning: "It's very sad that it has come to this because some people are just not listening."

    The prime minister is expected to announce more stringent social distancing measures at his press conference on March 23.

    UK government sources believe a full national lockdown is "inevitable."



    Boris Johnson is considering plans to close all non-essential businesses and fine people who ignore social distancing rules

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with ministers and officials on Monday morning to discuss more new measures for achieving social distancing as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

    Johnson is considering plans to close all non-essential businesses — he announced the closure of pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, nightclubs, and leisure centres on Friday — and fine people who ignore social distancing instructions, the BBC reported on March 23.

    The UK government is under immense pressure to enforce more stringent measures after pictures emerged over the weekend of people packing into parks and beaches across the UK.



    The UK government effectively nationalises the railways to ensure trains keep running

    The UK government has all-but nationalised Britain's railways for a period of at least six months, in order to ensure key workers like doctors, nurses, and other emergency service personnel can travel during the coronavirus crisis.

    The UK government will suspend all franchise agreements and take control of all revenue, the Department for Transport announced on Monday (March 23.) Private operators will continue to run services for a "small predetermined management fee," the department said.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Today's offer will provide greater flexibility to the train operators and the government and make sure the railway can continue to react quickly to changing circumstances and play its part in serving the national interest.

    "It will ensure vital services continue to operate for key workers who are keeping the nation running and that we are able to reinstate a normal service quickly when the situation improves."

     



    Boris Johnson threatens to close parks if people don't keep his 'two-metre rule'

    March 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to impose "further measures" to close UK parks and other public spaces if the public doesn't follow government social distancing guidelines to keep two metres apart from other people.

    "If people can't make use of parks in a way which observes the two-metre rule then, of course, we will have to take further measures," Johnson said.

    He indicated that these measures would be similar to the sorts of lockdown on public spaces seen in other European countries.

    The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick also announced that the government would tomorrow write to the most clinically vulnerable people in the country advising them to stay at home for 12 weeks.



    The UK's coronavirus outbreak is just two weeks behind Italy's

    The United Kingdom has as little as two weeks to prevent its Coronavirus outbreak reaching the depths of the crisis currently seen in Italy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned.

    "The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks - two or three - behind Italy," Johnson said on Saturday March 21.

    Italy on Saturday recorded almost 800 deaths from the coronavirus in just one day and has overtaken China as the worst affection nation in the world.

    Read the full story here.



    The government will pay up to 80% of people's wages

    March 20: Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government will pay most of people's wages to stop businesses from going bankrupt.

    The chancellor said that the government would use grants to pay 80% of the salaries of Brits still on the payroll but forced out of work by the coronavirus, in order to prevent them from losing their jobs. That figure will be capped at £2,500 a month.

    He also announced that VAT would be deferred for the whole of the next quarter, meaning businesses will not have to pay the tax until June at the earliest.



    MPs return to the NHS to fight the coronavirus

    MPs who used to work for the NHS are returning to the healths service to help the fight against coronavirus.

    Rosena Allin-Khan, who is standing to be deputy leader of the Labour Party, is set to help out at her local emergency department this weekend to ease the strain on staff there.

    Conservative MP Maria Caulfield, a registered nurse, is returning to the NHS to do shifts and weekend work during the parliamentary recess. 

    She said Boris Johnson was "very supportive" of her decision, adding: "It's important to help out if you can. With schools closed it's putting a lot of pressure on the NHS.

    "If one member of their family goes into self-isolation they all have to now, so that's taking people out of the system."



    London pubs, restaurants and gyms were closed on the evening of Friday, March 20.

    Pubs, restaurants, cinemas, leisure centres, and gyms will be closed under new coronavirus measures for London prepared by Boris Johnson's government, the Evening Standard reports.

    The newspaper says that the measures were agreed at a COBRA meeting on Friday morning. 

    Johnson could announce the new rules for the capital at his daily press conference later today.

    The COVID-19 virus is spreading faster in London than anywhere else in the UK.

    The prime minister has advised Brits to stay at home and not go to public places like pubs and restaurants. However, this week pictures have shown Londoners continuing to visit these places, putting pressure on the government to close premises altogether.

     



    150 lorries are dropping off protective equipment at hospitals today

    150 lorries are currently on their way to hospitals nationwide where they will drop off PPE (protective equipment) for doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

     



    The UK's chief Brexit negotiator is in self-isolation after showing coronavirus symptoms

    David Frost, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, is in self-isolation after developing symptoms of the coronavirus, Bloomberg reports, citing a British official.

    Frost has recently been in contact with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, who announced on Thursday that he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.



    Transport for London announces more closures and tells people to use services only if "absolutely essential"

    Transport for London has just announced that more Tube lines will close from today and next week in an effort to reduce contact between Londoners.

    In an email to commuters, TfL said: "Only travel if your journey is absolutely essential. If you do travel, follow the expert advice on hand washing and other health measures.

    "We are running reduced services and closing a number of stations, and also still need to undertake essential engineering work at weekends."

    Here's what you need to know about TfL closures:

    "From today, Friday 20 March, the Waterloo & City line will be closed and there will be no Night Tube or Night Overground services until further notice.

    "From Monday 23 March, we will also gradually reduce other services across the TfL network. 

    "Our extensive night bus service will continue, in order to provide critical workers with a reliable night option as they continue to support the city throughout Covid-19.

    "These measures allow us to keep helping critical workers make their essential journeys, and keep the most used stations and services open and running.

    "For the latest information on what we're doing to tackle Coronavirus on our network, check back to our Covid-19 page."



    Rishi Sunak will today announce emergency support for workers facing losing their jobs

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak will today announce more emergency measures to support workers facing redundancy as the coronavirus continues to damage businesses nationwide.

    Sunak earlier this week announced that the government would give £330 billion worth of loans to companies which need support and three-month mortgage holidays to struggling households, among other things.

    However, figures from across the political spectrum — including Conservative MPs — have urged Boris Johnson's government to do more for workers, with companies across the country already beginning to lay people off.

    The Financial Times reports that Sunak is seriously considering subsidising the wages of affected workers. Another idea he is reportedly considering is allowing businesses to have tax holidays.

     



    Boris Johnson says Britain "can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks"

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he believes Britain can begin to exit the coronavirus crisis within the next three months — but only of the British public follows the government's advice.

    At his daily press conference, Johnson said: "We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, and I'm absolutely confident we can send coronavirus packing in this country, but only if we all take the steps outlined."

    This means the UK government currently believes the country will need to continue with social distancing until at least June.

    Johnson also said:

    • Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce more support for businesses and workers in the next day or so. The UK government is being urged to add to the measures it announced earlier this week amid businesses closing and jobs being lost across the country.
    • The UK government is looking at potentially buying antibody tests which can detect whether someone is carrying or has carried the virus. Johnson said this would be a "game changer" because it would allow people to go back to work.
    • Today a British patient was put into a trial for drugs for the first time.



    The Queen says Britain is "up for that challenge" of defeating coronavirus

    The Queen has issued her first public statement since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the UK.

    "Many of us will have to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe," she said. "I am certain that we are up for that challenge. You can be assured that my family stands ready to play our part."

    Here's the Queen's full statement:

     



    No more than 5 people should attend weddings during the coronavirus crisis

    The Church of England has said that no more than five people should attend weddings for the foreseeable future. These should be the vicar, the bride, the groom, and two witnesses.

    This is the latest piece of the advice issued by the Church in its efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Earlier this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said public worship was "suspended until further notice."

     

     



    UK government seeks sweeping new powers to tackle the Coronavirus

    The UK government has just published its Coronavirus bill, which will give ministers sweeping new powers to tackle the pandemic in the UK.

    The bill is over 300 pages long and contains huge new powers across large areas of public life.

    Among the many powers it confers, the bill will enable the UK authorities to:

    • Close premises, or direct people not to enter them.
    • Force members of the public to be tested for coronavirus.
    • Fine them up to £1,000 if they refuse to comply.
    • Postpone or cancel elections.



    The Premier League and other English football will be postponed 'indefinitely' until it is safe to resume the leagues

    The Football Association, Premier League and other professional football bodies in England have agreed to postpone their competitions until April 30 at the earliest.

    In a statement released on Thursday, they said they were prepared to extend competitions "indefinitely" until it was safe to resume the 2019/2020 season.

    The bodies originally agreed to postpone competitions until April 4. However, the continued spread of coronavirus has forced them to postpone professional English football further.

    It said: "We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so. 

    "We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition. 

    "The FA's Rules and Regulations state that "the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June" and "each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season".

    "However, The FA's Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.

    "Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April."

     

     



    Labour leadership frontrunner Keir Starmer urges Boris Johnson to give more support to workers

    Labour leadership frontrunner Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson's government to protect the income of every worker in the UK, warning that the government was "still several steps behind where they need to be."

    Starmer, who is likely to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as the next leader of the Labour Party, has urged Johnson to introduce a Danish-style system of subsidies for business facing job losses.

    He has also called on statutory sick pay to be increased and extended to all those forced out of work by coronavirus, including the self-employed.

    "These proposals are bold, but necessary," Starmer said.

    "We are potentially days away from further social-distancing measures that will change British life. It is imperative that the Government acts to support workers to buy food, pay the bills and cover the cost of living."



    The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has got coronavirus

    Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

    He announced the news on Twitter on Thursday morning.



    London's transport network winds down

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that services on the city's public transport network will be scaled back with up to 40 London Underground stations closed down as the city heads towards lockdown over the coronavirus.

     

     



    Schools across the UK will be closed from March 20.

    Schools in the UK will be closed from next week as the government steps up its efforts to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on Wednesday afternoon told MPs that schools in England would close their gates on Friday and remain shut indefinitely.

    The exceptions will be vulnerable children and children of key workers like NHS and emergency service staff.

    This followed announcements from the Scottish and Welsh governments that they'd be taking the same action.

    Read the full story.

     



    London lockdown could happen within days

    London could be put on coronavirus lockdown within days with bars and restaurants closed and public events banned.

    Read the full story here.



    A Labour MP announces he has coronavirus

    Labour MP Russell Lloyd-Moyle has just announced on social media that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

     



    Schools in Scotland and Wales will close on March 20.

    Schools in Scotland and Wales will close on Friday, March 20, as their devolved governments try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned parents that schools might not re-open until the end of the summer term.

    Read the full story here.



    The government says it will increase coronavirus testing to 25,000 people a day in the next 4 weeks

    NHS testing for coronavirus will be increased to 25,000 people a day in the next four weeks, the UK government has announced.

    The government says this raise testing levels in the UK to those in China.

    Over 50,000 people have been tested in the UK up to now.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Public safety is my top priority, and radically ramping up testing for coronavirus is a key part of our plan to protect lives. We are already among the best in the world for coronavirus testing and today we are launching a national effort to increase our testing capability even further.

    "Our aim is to protect life, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS – so it is right that we prioritise testing for those most at risk of severe illness. We will always do the right thing at the right time, based on the best scientific advice, and will do whatever it takes to protect life."



    British MPs start social distancing in parliament

    The House of Commons has cut the number of MPs being allowed to enter the House of Commons chamber for Prime Minister's Questions as the coronavirus spreads rapidly across Westminster.

    Conservative and Labour whips both emailed their members instructing them only to appear in the Commons chamber if they had a question to ask the Prime Minister, the Independent reported.



    Glastonbury is cancelled due to coronavirus

    The organisers of Glastonbury Festival have cancelled this year's festival because of coronavirus. Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Kendrick Lemar were due to headline Britain's biggest music festival.

    Ticket-holders will have the option to roll their tickets over to next year's festival.

     



    Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to pay for NHS staff to say in a west London hotel for 2 months

    Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, will pay for NHS staff to stay at the club's Millennium Hotel for two months.

    "Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the National Health Service (NHS) has accepted the Club's offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff," the club said in a statement.

    "The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by Chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation."



    BBC postpones filming of Eastenders and other shows

    Filming on popular BBC shows like EastEnders, Casualty, and Holby City will be postponed "until further notice" due to the outrbreak of coronvirus, the BBC has said in a statement.



    Police will be able to detain coronavirus carriers under the government's new emergency coronavirus laws

    Police will have the power to temporarily detain people who have caught coronavirus but are not self-isolating under emergency measures being prepared by the UK government.

    Boris Johnson's government will put The Emergency Coronavirus Bill before Parliament on Wednesday. 

    If as expected it passes into law, it will allow:

    • Police and immigration officers to detain people who are a risk to public health
    • Retired health and social care workers to return to work
    • The creation of a compensation fund for people who take emergency leave from their jobs to volunteer in public services like the NHS
    • The government to shut down schools and mass gatherings
    • Ministers to close down ports and other transport hubs if there are staff shortages

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness, but crucially they give the government the powers it needs to protect lives.

    "By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together — from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands.

    "I also want to pay tribute to our brilliantly selfless NHS and social care staff who are working tirelessly to care for our friends and loved ones in this unprecedented period."



    The government is to announce emergency measures for renters

    UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is due to make an announcement on how the government will protect renters whose incomes are disrupted by coronavirus.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Wednesday morning that Jenrick would shortly be making an announcement.

    Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are under pressure to protect renters after failing to mention them in the emergency measures revealed on Tuesday evening.

    Sunak said there will be mortgage holidays for people who are struggling to pay them, meaning they will not have to make payments for three months.



    Rishi Sunak announces enormous financial support for businesses

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced enormous financial support for businesses and workers in a bid to limit the economic impact of coronavirus.

    Sunak said the government would make £330 billion of loans available to businesses which need them amid warnings that businesses nationwide and across several sectors could collapse.

    The Chancellor also announced a three month suspension of mortgage payments for those struggling to pay, and said small businesses most vulnerable will be entitled to funding grants worth up to £25,000 each.

    "We have never faced an economic fight like this one. We will do whatever it takes," he said.

    However, Sunak and Johnson faced questions on how businesses would be able to pay back those loans, and what financial support renters would receive.

    The Chancellor said he would make further announcements later in the week.

     

     



    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iranian prison for 2 weeks

    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe — the British-Iranian dual citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 — has been released on temporary furlow for two weeks.

    Iran has decided to release 85,000 prisoners in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

    Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be forced to wear an ankle tag and stay within 300 metres of her parents' home during the temporary release.

     

     



    Nissan suspends car production in Sunderland as coronavirus disrupts supply chains

    Carmaker Nissan says vehicle production has been suspended at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England plant due to supply chain disruption and a sharp drop in market demand.

    The plant employs around 7,000 people.



    The UK government insists that the Brexit transition period will not be delayed

    The UK government continues to insist that it will not extend the Brexit transition period beyond the current end date of December 31, despite coronavirus forcing upcoming trade negotiations to be cancelled.

    A Downing Street spokesperson says: "In light of the latest guidance on coronavirus, we will not formally be convening negotiating work strands tomorrow in the way we did in the previous round.

    "We expect to share a draft FTA [free trade agreement] alongside the draft legal texts of a number of the standalone agreements in the near future still, as planned.

    "Both sides remain fully committed to the negotiations and we remain in regular contact with the European Commission to consider alternative ways to continue discussions, including looking at the possibility of video conferencing or conference calls, and exploring flexibility in the structure for the coming weeks.

    "The transition period ends on 31 December 2020. This is enshrined in UK law."

     



    20,000 deaths or fewer would be best case scenario for the UK government

    Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government's chief chief scientific adviser, has just told MPs that a coronavirus death toll of 20,000 or below would be a "good outcome."

    He said "seasonal flu tends to lead to 8,000 excess deaths, so if we can get [the number of deaths from covid19] down to 20,000 and below, that's a good outcome of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak, but I mean it is still horrible."

     



    The Archbishop of Canterbury says public worship is suspended indefinitely

    Public worship is "suspended until further notice", the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has just announced.

    A Church of England spokesman said weddings and funerals could still go ahead.



    Boris Johnson: "We are engaged in a war against the disease which we have to win"

    Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have just discussed their plan to combat coronavirus.

    The prime minister told his ministers "we are engaged in a war against the disease which we have to win," according to a readout of the meeting.

    Downing Street said "Secretaries of State will hold sector specific roundtables including, but not limited to, aviation, retail, manufacturing, food, insurance, financial services, sport, entertainment and events, and tourism and hospitality."

    Chancellor Rushi Sunak is to announce new economic measures to helping businesses deal with the impact of the virus later today.

     



    UK government advises against all global travel

    British people have been told to cancel all non-essential travel globally as the country ramps up its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The UK Foreign Secretary told the UK Parliament on Tuesday that it would advise British people not to leave the country for at least 3o days.

    "UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries. The speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented," Raab said.

    "So I have taken the decision to advise British nationals against all non-essential international travel."

    Read the full story here.



    Boris Johnson's government drastically changed its coronavirus plan after realising only "in the last few days" that it would result in the deaths of up to 250,000 people, according to reports

    The UK abruptly changed its strategy to cope with coronavirus yesterday after realising only "in the last few days" that its existing approach would result in the deaths of up to 250,000 people, according to a report by a team of disease experts who have advised the government on its scientific approach.

    The report, from Imperial College's COVID-19 response team, said the UK had initially adopted a "mitigation" strategy, by which it would slow, but not necessarily stop, the spread of the disease.

    But Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced yesterday to abandon that strategy and adopt more draconian measures to "suppress" the disease.

    Here's the full story.



    Tate closes its art galleries across Britain

    Tate has announced that it has closed all of its galleries across the country in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    In a statement, it said:

    To all our supporters, 
     
    "For over 120 years we have been welcoming people to our galleries to enjoy great art from around the world. However, the welfare of our visitors and staff must always come first. 
     
    "That's why we are closing Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives from this evening, Tuesday 17 March until 1 May 2020. We will be reviewing this and keep you updated.
     
    "We believe that access to art for everyone is a universal human right. Now more than ever, art can lift our spirits, brighten our days and support our mental health. So whilst our galleries are shut, we'll be sharing some ideas for how you can still enjoy the best of Tate online. 
     
    "If you have a ticket for an upcoming event or exhibition, we'll be in touch as soon as possible. 
     
    "Thank you for your support – we don't know yet when galleries will reopen, but we look forward to welcoming you back when they do.

    "Until then, stay safe and take care."

     



    London's public transport will run on a reduced service

    London will reduce its public transport to weekend levels of service, mayor Sadiq Khan has said.

    Khan told Sky News that the number of people using the Tube and London's other public transport had plummeted amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

    "Frankly speaking we don't need the normal rush hour service we have," he said.

    "I was on the tube today and it was 40 per cent down today than it was a few weeks ago, so we have got to recognise that and follow the advice from the experts."



    British businesses ask Johnson for financial support to prevent jobs and companies being destroyed

    As the stark reality of Boris Johnson's extraordinary press conference on Monday sets in, British businesses are pleading with him for financial support to prevent entire industries collapsing.

    French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced a €300 billion support package, promising that "no business whatever its size will face risk of bankruptcy."

    Johnson is under huge pressure to announce similar measures amid warnings that his policy of advising Brits to avoid pubs, cafes, and restaurants, but not telling them to close, will leave businesses unable to claim insurance to cover the huge loss in custom.

    The hospitality sector is particularly worried.

    UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: The PM's statement is the worst of all worlds, leaving businesses, guests and teams all unprotected and in limbo.

    "No insurance will apply unless the government requires closure — and even then any payout will come far too late to save millions of jobs."

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a series of measures for keeping businesses afloat at a press conference on Tuesday.

    Airlines, railway companies, construction firms, and sports teams are just some of other businesses seeking government help.

     



    British people told to work at home and avoid social contact

    Boris Johnson has told all British people to work at home "where possible" and limit all non-essential human contact for up to three months as the coronavirus spreads across the UK.

    "Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others, and to stop all non-essential travel," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference on Monday.

    "We need people to start working from home where they can and you should avoid pubs, clubs and other venues."

    The prime minister said that anyone living in a household where an individual within that household had experienced symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate themselves for 14 days.



    EU announces 30-day ban on non-essential travel

    The European Union has announced a 30-day ban on non-essential travel to the bloc, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has announced.

    It means people from non-EU member states will not be allowed to enter the bloc unless they are long term residents of the EU, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, or essentials workers like doctors, nurses, and researchers. People transporting goods will aso be exempt from the ban.

    However, the UK is set to exempt from these restrictions. Von der Leyen said "there are no restrictions for the UK citizens to travel to the continent." 

     



    Here's how the EU travel ban would work in practice

    The EU on Monday said it would ask its 27 member states — plus European countries with close economic and political ties to the bloc — to impose a 30-day ban on non-essential travel.

    The countries invited to implement the EU's proposal are its member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and Ireland.

    Is it a binding decision?

    No. This is a proposal. It is up to EU member states and the other European countries invited to implement it whether they do or not. They could adopt the proposals in full, partially, or not at all.

    Are there exemptions?

    Yes. The proposed ban is on non-essential travel. But long term residents of the EU, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, and essentials workers like doctors, nurses, and researchers, are all exempt. People who commute across the EU's border are as well.

    What does it mean for the UK?

    Despite no longer being in the EU, the UK is in a transition period, during which it will continue to follow EU law. Because of this, UK citizens will continue to be treated as EU citizens and will exempt from the 30-day travel ban.



    BBC delays license fee changes amid coronavirus chaos

    The BBC has announced that it is delaying plans to abolish the free license fee for the over 75s until August. The policy was supposed to take effect on June 1.

    The BBC has decided to keep the free license fee for the elderly until later in the year after it emerged that the UK government was planning to urge older people to stay at home for a period lasting up to four months.

     



    Boris Johnson to speak to world leaders in G7 conference call

    Boris Johnson will today speak to leaders of all the other G7 countries in a conference call, his spokesperson said on Monday morning, in what will be the first multilateral meeting of world leaders since the coronavirus outbreak.

     



    Boris Johnson asks Britain's biggest manufactures to develop medical ventilators

    Boris Johnson will today hold a conference call with some of Britain's biggest manufactures and ask them to develop ventilators for the over-stretched NHS, the FT reports.

    Companies on the call are set to include  JCB, Honda, Dyson, and Unipart Group.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week that the UK's health service did not have enough ventilators and would need support from elsewhere.

    The UK government is asking anyone who can develop medical ventilators to contact the business department's support helpline on 0300 456 3565. 

     



    A second MP tests positive for coronavirus

    Labour MP for Jarrow Kate Osborne has announced she has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

    Osborne is the second MP to catch coronavirus, the first being health minister Nadine Dorries.

    Another MP, Labour's Bell Ribeiro Addy, said she was self-isolating after experiencing coronavirus symptoms over the weekend.



    Boris Johnson to host daily coronavirus press conferences

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior members of his government will hold daily press conferences on the coronavirus crisis from now on, Downing Street announced on Sunday evening. 

    The events follow a growing storm of criticism about the government's communications strategy during the outbreak. Briefings that the government was aiming for "herd immunity" and other major developments in the UK's response being briefed out to select journalists have triggered heavy criticism from both the government's opponents as well as privately from Johnson's own side. This appears to be an attempt to quell the criticism.

    A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister and this Government are committed to keeping the public informed every step of the way about what we're doing to fight the spread of coronavirus, when we're doing it and why we're doing it. At all times we will be led by the science to bring forward the right responses at the right time to this global pandemic."



    Newborn baby in London becomes youngest person in the world to test positive for coronavirus

    A newborn baby has reportedly become the youngest person in the world to test positive for the novel coronavirus.

    The baby's mother was rushed to hospital in London with suspected pneumonia a few days ago, the Sun reported.

    Once it was ascertained that both mother and baby had coronavirus, they were placed in separate hospitals overnight to receive treatment. 

    It's unknown whether the baby contracted the virus in the womb or during the labour.



    UK government will ban large public events and mass gatherings in coronavirus u-turn

    Boris Johnson has u-turned and decided to ban large scale events in the UK from next week, despite all but ruling it out just days ago.

    A Whitehall source said: "Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings, beginning next week."

    The source added that they would also look at encouraging more people to work from home, saying: "We are also talking to businesses and other bodies about the timing of moving towards much more widespread working from home."

    The u-turn comes despite Johnson saying earlier this week that: "on the issue of mass gathering, sporting events and so on, it is very important we are guided by the science. There is very little medical reason at the moment to ban such events."

    It follows multiple sporting and other large events being cancelled across the UK by organisers and heavy criticism of the prime minister's reluctance to impose a ban.

    Emergency legislation will also be passed next week giving the government emergency powers to detain sufferers of the virus.



    The London Marathon has been postponed

    The 2020 London Marathon was due to take place on April 26, but it has been postponed to October 4.

    The announcement is the latest sporting event to be cancelled, alongside the suspension of the Premier League and Europa League, the postponing of Six Nations matches, and the cancellation of England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka.

    The Olympics in Japan this summer are currently still set to go ahead. 



    Scotland suffers its first coronavirus fatality

    An older person with underlying health conditions has died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, the Scottish government announced on March 13.

    Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood said: "I am saddened to report that a patient in Scotland who has tested positive for Coronavirus has died in hospital. I offer my deepest sympathy to their friends and family at this difficult time.

    "The patient, who was being treated by Lothian Health Board was an older person who had underlying health conditions. No further information will be available to protect patient confidentiality."

    This brings the total number of coronavirus deaths in the UK to 11.



    May elections postponed amid fears they would coincide with coronavirus peak

    Boris Johnson has decided to postpone local elections due to take place in May amid fears that they would coincide with the peak of the coronavirus in the UK.

    This includes London's mayoral election.



    The UK tells British people not to travel to certain parts of Spain

    The Foreign Office has advised British people not to travel to parts of Spain where there have been acute coronavirus outbreaks.

    In a statement, the FCO said: "We are advising against all but essential travel to the regions of Madrid, La Rioja and the municipalities of La Bastida, Vitoria and Miranda de Ebro. Airlines are continuing to run flights as normal to and from these areas."



    What to do if you need to stay at home and self-isolate because of the coronavirus

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said that anyone who has even mild symptoms of the coronavirus should stay at home and self-isolate for at least seven days.

    Here's our guide to what you should and shouldn't do if this applies to you.



    Premier League and all other professional football suspended until April 3

    The Premier League, English Football League and other footballing authorities in England have all agreed to postpone the professional game until April 3 at the earliest, it has just been announced.



    English Football League games postponed until April 4

    The English Football League has decided to suspend all fixtures until at least Saturday, April 4.

    This means there will be no Championship, League One, or League Two games until next month at the earliest.



    A London Underground driver has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus

    A London Underground driver has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Transport for London has just announced.

    It said that the driver was not working in a customer-facing area and where they worked is being cleaned, including the trains.



    UEFA postpones all competitions including the Champions League

    UEFA — Europe's chief football authority — has announced that its competitions have been suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

    Champions League and Europa League games scheduled for next week have been postponed.

    This includes fixtures like Manchester City vs Real Madrid, Bayern Munich vs Chelsea, and Barcelona vs Napoli.



    Anne-Marie Trevelyan named as Cabinet minister in isolation

    The Cabinet minister who has been in isolation has just been named as International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

    Trevelyan tested negative for coronavirus but is spending seven days in self-isolation to be safe.

     



    Premier League to hold emergency talks

    The Premier League will today hold emergency talks on how to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus as it spreads throughout the country's biggest football teams.

    Arsenal announced on Thursday evening that manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. As has Chelsea attacker, Callum Hudson-Odi.

    The Premier League is expected to suspend the competition for several weeks.



    Brexit trade talks cancelled because of the coronavirus

    The next round of post-Brexit trade talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union have been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis.

    In a joint statement on March 12, negotiators from both sides said the talks could not go ahead as planned.

    "Given the latest COVID-19 developments, UK and EU negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week's round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled," they said in a statement.

    However, they added that "Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible the use of video conferences."

    Read the full story here.



    The real number of coronavirus cases in the UK could be much higher than we think

    The UK government believes that up to 10,000 have already been infected with the coronavirus, despite there being just 590 confirmed cases in the country.

    The government's chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, said on March 12 that the number of actual cases was likely to be much higher than the number of confirmed cases because many people have not yet been tested.

    Speaking alongside Boris Johnson, the prime minister, Vallance said the fact that more than 20 patients were in intensive care meant that it was statistically likely that thousands of cases were undiagnosed.

    "There are more than 20 patients on intensive care units," he said. "If you calculate what that really means in terms of the total number, it's much more likely that we've got somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected at the moment."

    Read the full story here



    Brits with even mild coronavirus symptoms told to stay at home for 7 days

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told British people with even mild symptoms of the coronavirus to stay at home for at least seven days, warning that the virus "is the worst public health crisis for a generation."

    He also warned that "Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."

    Read the full details of the UK governments' latest coronavirus advice here.



    Trump defends excluding the UK from his coronavirus travel ban

    President Donald Trump on March 12 defended excluding the United Kingdom from his European coronavirus travel ban, saying that the country is "doing a good job."

    The president's comments came after the number of confirmed cases in the UK rose by almost 30% in just one day.

    Trump's decision to exclude the UK and Ireland from the European ban raised eyebrows after it was pointed out that both countries host golf clubs owned by the president.

    Read the full story here.



    UK government advised to postpone May elections

    The Electoral Commission, the independent body for overseeing UK elections, has advised Boris Johnson's government to postpone local elections scheduled for May, including London's mayoral election.

     

     



    Nicola Sturgeon confirms UK has moved to 'delay'

    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended the emergency Cobra meeting of UK leaders and advisers where the decision was taken, told a press conference on March 12: "The decision has been taken that we have now moved from a contain phase into the delay phase, where the objective is to seek to slow down the spread of the virus."

    She said the government would introduce new measures to protect vulnerable groups who are most at risk of dying from the virus.

    She said the Scottish government would be advising those people with a fever or a persistent cough, which can indicate coronavirus, to stay at home and self-isolate for seven days.



    Real Madrid players told to self-isolate for 2 weeks

    Real Madrid football players have been told to self-isolate for 15 days after one of Real Madrid's basketball players tested positive for coronavirus.

    The move means Manchester City's Champions League game with Real Madrid scheduled for next week almost certainly won't go ahead.

    La Liga — the Spanish football league — has decided to postpone the next two rounds of fixtures.



    EU slams Trump's European travel ban

    The EU's two most senior figures have slammed Donald Trump's move to temporarily ban millions of Europeans from traveling to the US.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel criticised Trump for failing to consult with European countries before taking the decision.

    "The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action," the statement said.

    "The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation."

     



    Boris Johnson to introduce social distancing methods today

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on Thursday expected to confirm (March 12) that Britain has moved into the "delay" stage of the government's coronavirus plan, paving for the way for a number of "population distancing" measures.

    Measures under consideration include population distancing-strategies such as school closures, encouraging more people to work from home and banning mass gatherings.



    Six MPs placed in isolation as more ministers are tested for coronavirus

    Six Members of Parliament are in self-isolation as fears grow that the coronavirus is spreading throughout Westminster, the Daily Telegraph reports.

    Among those in isolation are an unnamed Cabinet minister who dined with the coronavirus-afflicted Health Minister Nadine Dorries shortly before she fell ill with COVID-19.

    A second health minister in the government, Edward Argar, is also in self-isolation after dining with Dorries. Argar was seen coughing at the House of Commons despatch box on Tuesday.

     

    Labour MP Rachael Maskell tweeted earlier this week that she had also been advised to stay at home after meeting with Dorries last Thursday.

    Maskell also called on the Prime Minister to take similar measures, having also met with Dorries last week.

    However, Johnson has not been tested for the virus, with aides saying it is unnecessary because he has no symptoms.



    UK expected to move to 'delay' phase of coronavirus response

    The UK is expected to move into the "delay" phase of coronavirus response on Thursday. Government sources said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of emergency group COBRA around lunchtime, and that it is expected that the government will shift to a "delay" phase of its response to COVID-19.

    The move is an effective admission that efforts to contain the spread the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom has failed, and that the government is now focused on trying to slow its growth and mitigate its impacts.



    UK sets up second drive-thru coronavirus test site

    The UK has set up drive-thru coronavirus test sites as the number of cases across the country surged.

    Health authorities have set up a new site in Wolverhampton, England, as part of a drive to ramp up the number of tests being carried out every day to 10,000, Sky News reported.

    The first drive-thru test centre opened in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February.



    UK Chancellor reveals emergency coronavirus measures

    UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed a package of emergency measures to shore up the UK economy ahead of a likely coronavirus epidemic.

    He told Members of Parliament that he would inject a £30 billion fiscal stimulus into the economy.

    Among the measures are the scrapping of business rates for small businesses this year and a boost for funding of the NHS.

    Read his full plans for the economy here.

     



    Michael Gove says the next round of Brexit trade talks might have to be cancelled

    The next round of trade talks between the UK and EU might have to be cancelled due to coronavirus, government minister Michael Gove has suggested.

    Gove, who is overseeing UK preparations for life after Brexit, told MPs that it was a "live question" whether the talks scheduled for next week would go ahead as planned.

    Here's the full story.



    Boris Johnson will not be tested for coronavirus

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be tested for the coronavirus despite recently meeting with his health minister who has now been diagnosed with COVID-19.

    Read the full story here.



    Manchester City's fixture against Arsenal is postponed

    Manchester City's game versus Arsenal scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed, making it the first Premier League fixture to be impacted by coronavirus.

    The decision was taken on March 11 to postpone the game after it emerged that Arsenal players had recently interacted with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has contracted the virus.



    Bank of England slashes interest rates to 0.25% in emergency coronavirus move

    The Bank of England has slashed interest rates in an emergency move to alleviate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.

    Rates will be cut from 0.75% to 0.25%



    A minister in Boris Johnson's government has caught coronavirus

    UK health minister Nadine Dorries has caught coronavirus.

    Dorries, a minister in Boris Johnson's government, announced on Tuesday evening that she was in isolation after first experiencing COVID-19 symptoms last week.

    She had interacted with the prime minister in the days leading up to her diagnosis.



    Coronavirus forces major football teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona to play behind closed doors

    Some of the world's biggest football teams will play in empty stadiums tonight and tomorrow as the sport's authorities try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Four fixtures in Europe's most prestigious club competition — The Champions League — will be played behind closed doors. They are:

    • Bayern Munich vs Chelsea
    • Valencia vs Atalanta
    • PSG vs Borussia Dortmund
    • Barcelona vs Napoli

    And on Thursday, Manchester United's Europa League game against LASK in Linz, Austria will also be played behind closed doors.

    International football is being impacted, too.

    Ticket sales for Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off game versus Bosnia-Herzegovina have been postponed. Tickets were scheduled to go on sale tomorrow.

     

     



    British Airways cancels all Italian flights

    British Airways has announced that it has cancelled all flights to and from Italy.

    A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday morning that the government has booked a hotel near Heathrow airport in order to isolate people arriving from Italy. 

    The Italian government on Monday, March 10, took the extraordinary step of putting the entire population on lock down. Over 9,000 people have been infected there, with 464 deaths, as of Tuesday morning.



    UK citizens with even mild symptoms of coronavirus will soon have to self-isolate for 7 days

    Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street alongside the government's chief scientific and medical advisers, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters that:

    • Attempts to contain the coronavirus are "extremely unlikely" to be effective.
    • The UK will therefore soo move to delay the peak of the coronavirus because "the more we can delay the peak of the epidemic to the summer the more likely the NHS will be able to cope."

    The Chief Medical Office Chris Whitty said that social-distancing methods such as bans on mass gatherings and encouraging people to work at home should not be taken too early as they would be difficult to maintain.

    However, he said measures to encourage "self-isolation" of anyone potentially suffering from the virus would likely be taken within the next two weeks.

    "Probably within the next 10-14 days [we will] say everybody who has even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever, should be self-isolating for seven days afterwards," he told reporters.



    UK government prepares for coronavirus to 'spread in a significant way'

    Boris Johnson's government remains focused on containing coronavirus but expects it to "spread in a significant way" in the coming days and weeks, his spokesperson said on Monday.

    "We remain in the contain phase, but it is now accepted that this virus is going to spread in a significant way and that's why officials have been working at speed on further steps we can take to delay the spread of the virus," the prime minister's spokesperson told journalists at a regular Downing Street briefing attended by Business Insider.

    Johnson was still chairing a COBRA meeting with senior ministers and health officials when his spokesperson briefed the UK press at Monday lunchtime.

    The prime minister's spokesperson also said:

    - Brits returning from quarantined areas of northern Italy are urged to self-isolate for two weeks — even if they do not have coronavirus symptoms.

    Johnson's spokesperson said: "For those returning from Italy, Public Health England have advised that anyone returning from locked-down areas should self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether they show symptoms.

    "People returning from the rest of Italy should isolate if they are showing symptoms."

    - There are still no plans to close the Houses of Parliament. 

    "The prime minister set out last week that he didn't believe there was any reason why parliament should close and as much as possible, based on medical advice, it should carry on as normal," they said.

    "I would expect [the parliamentary authorities] to be guided by scientific advice."

    There were reports last week that Westminster could be closed for five months amid fears that MPs and Lords could be "super-spreaders" of the COVID-19 virus.

    He opened the door to extending supermarket home delivery slots to the middle of the night, to tackle panic-buying.



    The UK economy is plummeting amid coronavirus fears

    Britain's markets are taking a battering as coronavirus continues to grip the country.

    London's FTSE Index fell by almost 9% when trading opened on Monday morning, putting it on course for its biggest fall in a single day since the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008.

    UK Chancellor Ruski Sunak is set to announce measures for dealing with the financial impact of the COVID-19 virus when he delivers the government's budget on Wednesday.

    European Commission President Von Der Leyen on Monday morning said that the virus had inflicted huge damage on the whole European economy.

    "The spread of the virus has a vast impact on people's lives but it also has a vast impact on our economy," she said.

    "We are looking into everything that we can do to help to address the impacts on the economy."

     



    Transport for London staff member tests positive for coronavirus

    Transport for London — the organisation responsible for operating London's public transport — says that a member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

    A TfL spokesperson on Monday said that "a deep clean has taken place within the building used by the staff member."

    The staff member reportedly works at one of TfL's above-ground offices and not on the Underground.



    Boris Johnson to chair emergency COBRA meeting as the UK moves to delay Coronavirus epidemic

    Boris Johnson will on Monday morning chair an emergency meeting of the UK government's COBRA committee.

    The UK Prime Minister will meet with senior ministers and the government's health and scientific advisers.

    "The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the UK and around the world," Johnson will tell the meeting.

    "We are well prepared and will continue to make decisions to protect the public based on the latest scientific advice.

    "Tackling Coronavirus will require a national and international effort. I am confident the British people are ready to play their part in that.

    "The most valuable thing people can do is wash their hands with soap and water for twenty seconds."

    The meeting comes as the government prepares to officially move the UK towards the "delay" phase of its four-point action plan for tackling the coronavirus. 

    The delay phase will likely involve advice to limit human contact and unnecessary travel, with many workers advised to work from home where possible.



    Johnson announced a £46 million package for accelerating efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine.

    "Keeping the British people safe is my number one priority, and that's why I've set out our four-part plan to contain, delay, mitigate and research coronavirus," Johnson said in a statement on Friday.

    "We are ensuring the country is prepared for the current outbreak, guided by the science at every stage. But we also need to invest now in researching the vaccines that could help prevent future outbreaks.

    "I'm very proud that UK experts — backed by government funding — are on the front line of global efforts to do just that."



    UK airlines are running empty flights out of Europe.

    Airlines operating out of Europe have run "ghost" flights, without any passengers on board, during the coronavirus outbreak to get around rules that could see them lose their flight slots.

    UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has written to regulators asking for a suspension of the rules amid an increasingly gloomy outlook for the industry.

    The UK airline Flybe collapsed earlier this week, though it said its financial problems existed long before the outbreak.



    There is little chance of a coronavirus vaccine appearing this year.

    The UK's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program on Friday that this coronavirus outbreak could become an annual outbreak.

    Vallance also said it's unlikely a vaccine will be created in time to contain this year's outbreak.

    "I don't think we'll get something in time and at scale for this outbreak," he said. "That said, there have been remarkable changes in the ability to make vaccines and discover vaccines just in the last few years. And so things have progressed much more quickly than they would have done in the past, and it's not unreasonable to assume that we will end up with a vaccine and we may do so in a year, 18 months."



    British people with flu-like symptoms could be told to stay at home.

    March 3: UK citizens with flu-like symptoms could be told to stay at home even if they haven't traveled to countries heavily affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

    Other measures, including plans to reduce big gatherings, are also being considered.

    "You've got a range of things that you can do to arrest or check the spread of a disease," Johnson said this week. "But you can't fire your shots too early."



    Funerals could be livestreamed if the outbreak escalates.

    Funerals could be affected by any ban on large public gatherings.

    The National Association of Funeral Directors told Sky News on Thursday that it had spoken with Johnson's government about the steps it could take if the outbreak becomes an epidemic in the UK.

    One option would be to livestream funerals, the group said.

    "As well as supporting the government and local authorities in managing the impact of the additional deaths, funeral directors would be focused on helping families who lose a loved one during that time in finding meaningful ways to say goodbye — even if the funeral they would have preferred isn't possible," the group told Sky News.

    "One option might include the webcasting of funeral services, as many crematoria now have these facilities — or holding a separate memorial service at a later date."



    Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed Britain's first coronavirus-related death on Thursday.

    March 5: The woman was thought to have contracted the virus in the UK and hadn't traveled to other countries affected by the outbreak, suggesting it's spreading in the UK.

    "I am very sorry to report a patient in England who tested positive for Covid-19 has sadly died," Whitty said.

    "I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

    "The patient, who was being treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, was an older patient who had underlying health conditions. We believe they contracted the virus in the UK and contact tracing is already underway."

    In a statement, Johnson said his "sympathies are very much with the victim and their family."



    Johnson said school closures "don't work as well" as people might think.

    Johnson has sought to play down the threat of the outbreak.

    "We need to strike a balance," Johnson told ITV's "Good Morning" on Thursday, adding that there was no need to close schools at this stage.

    "Slightly counterintuitively, things like closing schools and stopping big gatherings don't work as well, perhaps, as people think," he said.

    He added, "As far as possible, it should be business as usual for the vast majority of people."



    The British government has stopped trying to contain the virus and is now trying to delay it, Whitty said on Thursday.

    Whitty said that containing the spread of the virus among the early few patients who caught it is very unlikely and that the government was focused on trying to delay the outbreak until the spring.

    Whitty said that approach — which overlaps in many ways with "contain" — had several benefits. Delaying could mean that the National Health Service is in a better position to respond and that the disease could be better managed, possibly with new drugs.

    Additionally, delaying an outbreak until the spring or summer could mean the rate of infection goes down, as is generally the case with flu.



    What measures are the government considering?

    The government's action plan, published this week, outlined several measures that might be introduced if there is a major outbreak:

    • Reducing the number of big gatherings, such as Royal Ascot and the Glastonbury Festival, as well as football matches.
    • Closing schools.
    • Using the armed forces to support emergency services.
    • Asking employees across the country to work from home, possibly for about 12 weeks.
    • Expanding the public information campaign, which encourages people to wash their hands regularly with warm water.



    How is the virus affecting the rest of Europe?

    • England's Six Nations rugby games against Italy in Rome on March 14 and 15 were postponed.
    • Italy  has put 16 million people on lockdown to control the escalating coronavirus outbreak as the country reports 5,883 COVID-19 cases and 233 deaths.
    • All professional sports in Italy will be played behind closed doors for a month.
    • Switzerland reported its first coronavirus death, a 74-year-old woman who died in hospital, on Thursday.



    What advice is the government giving about avoiding the coronavirus?

    According to the NHS, the best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus is to:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
    • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
    • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterward.
    • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.



    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    The symptoms of coronavirus include a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath.

    They don't necessarily mean a person has the illness, however, as they are also similar to illnesses like the common cold or the flu.




    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:23:00 -0400
  • A 3D printing company is giving away for free its design for a device that allows doors to be opened handsfree — here's how it works

    MAT_4091

    • Belgian company Materialise developed a design that can be 3D printed and added to door handles to make them hands-free, and it's giving the design away for free in an effort to fight the spread of coronavirus. 
    • The coronavirus outbreak that originated in China has killed more than 17,000 people worldwide and infected more than 398,000, according to recent totals.
    • The virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, has spread to 169 countries, and the majority of infections and deaths are now outside of China.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The novel coronavirus can live on some surfaces for as long as three days and has been found on doorknobs, which are touched frequently.

    Belgian company Materialise designed 3D printed door openers that attach to a door handle and make it possible to open it without touching the handle itself. 

    The worldwide death toll of the coronavirus disease that originated in Wuhan, China, is now more than 17,000, and the virus has infected more than 398,000 people.

    On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellations, quarantines, and other breakdowns in movement and supply chains.

    See how the 3D printed design works here. 

    SEE ALSO: A 3D printer company is creating medical face shields for doctors and nurses fighting coronavirus here's how it works

    The design consists of two detachable pieces.



    To make installations easy, the handles don't require drilling holes or changing the actual handle.



    Instead, the pieces attach over the door handle with four screws.



    The shape of the new door handle allows people to open doors with their arms, avoiding directly touching with their hands.



    Of course, these door handles can also become contaminated, and Materialise still recommends disinfecting them regularly.



    The current design works for door handles, but not doorknobs.



    Materialise is giving the design away for free online, for anyone able to 3D print to use.



    It is also encouraging others to modify the design for other types of doors, and distribute those as well.



    Materialise told Business Insider that its team took just 24 hours to create and test the design.



    Assembly instructions show how the pieces come together.



    The team even came up with a slogan to go with the design: "Do less harm. Use your arm."



    See it in action here.

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:20:43 -0400
  • A third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown — here's our constantly updated list of countries and restrictions

    FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands at New Delhi's border barricade during lockdown by the authorities to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

    Countries around the world are implementing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, from national quarantines to school closures.

    As of Wednesday, more than a third of the planet's population is under some form of restrictions. 

    The World Health Organization, which has officially declared the outbreak a pandemic, has called on "all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus."

    While "lockdown" isn't a technical term used by public-health officials, it can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines to non-mandatory recommendations to stay at home, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings, Lindsay Wiley, a health law professor at the Washington College of Law, told Vox.

    Here are the countries and territories that have implemented mandatory mass quarantines and border closures so far.

    SEE ALSO: Coronavirus live updates: More than 169,000 people have been infected and over 6,500 have died. The US has reported 69 deaths. Here's everything we know.

    DON'T MISS: What to buy if you're quarantined at home during the coronavirus outbreak

    South Africa went into a 21-day lockdown on Thursday.

    Only essential businesses will remain open, and soldiers and police will monitor the streets, Al Jazeera reported.

    "While this measure will have a considerable impact on people's livelihoods, on the life of our society and on our economy, the human cost of delaying this action would be far, far greater," President Cyril Ramaphosa said, according to Al Jazeera.



    New Zealand enacted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all individuals entering the country. The country went on full lockdown on Wednesday.

    New Zealand went into a month-long national lockdown on Wednesday as the number of cases in the country rose by almost 50%, the Guardian reported. 

    The lockdown will only be partially eased after a month if case trends slow.

    "I say to all New Zealanders: the government will do all it can to protect you. Now I'm asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis — go home," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, according to the Guardian.



    Saudi Arabia locked down its capital and two holy cities on Wednesday.

    Bloomberg reports that Ridayh, and Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina, are under lockdown. Residents will not be allowed to enter or exit, and are subject to a curfew that's four hours longer.

    Saudi Arabia already suspended international flights and closed mosques, schools, and restaurants; it also imposed a curfew.



    Colombia began a nationwide quarantine on Tuesday, with people over the age of 70 told to remain indoors until May.

    The quarantine is expected to last 19 days, the BBC reported.

    One mass breakout attempt in a Colombian prison led to the deaths of 23 inmates, as prisoners held protests over crowding and health concerns.



    India went into full coronavirus lockdown for 21 days on Tuesday.

    The lockdown will be the largest stay at home order yet, with 1.3 billion told to social distance, CNBC reported.

    "To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, according to CNBC.



    The UK went into full coronavirus lockdown on Monday evening.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that citizens will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, exercise, and purchasing food or medicine. Citizens will only be allowed one form of exercise a day.

    Gatherings of more than two people — excluding people who live together — will be banned, as will most ceremonies other than funerals.

    "From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home," Johnson said.

     



    Australia closed non-essential businesses on Monday. Further closures were announced on Tuesday and were enacted on Wednesday.

    The new restrictions were imposed after a national cabinet meeting, according to the BBC.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he wanted to keep Australian schools open, but parents could keep children at home if they wanted. 

    "We are not putting in place lockdowns that put people in and confine them to their homes," Morrison said. "That is not a measure that has been contemplated at this point."

    On Tuesday, Morrison announced further restrictions on businesses and gatherings, such limiting the size of weddings to five people and funerals to ten, the BBC reported.

    The federal government said that it is safe for students to attend school through the rest of the term, but different states and territories are creating their own plans with a mix of distance learning and in-person instruction.



    China implemented the largest quarantine in human history to try to contain the coronavirus, locking down at least 16 cities at the end of January.

    At its peak, China's quarantine spanned at least 20 provinces and regions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Wuhan, where the virus first appeared, was locked down on January 23. For almost six weeks, the streets have been virtually deserted as Wuhan residents self-quarantine in their homes.

    Soon after imposing restrictions on Wuhan, China locked down 15 other cities, including Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million people, and Suizhou, which is home to almost 11 million.

    Earlier in the quarantine, some Wuhan residents faced food shortages, and grocery stores struggled to meet increased demand for home delivery.

    According to WHO, China's containment measures prevented many more cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    "There's no question that China's bold approach to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what was a rapidly escalating and continues to be a deadly epidemic," Bruce Aylward, a Canadian doctor and epidemiologist who was recently sent to China as part of a delegation to inspect its containment efforts, told The New York Times on February 24.

    One study, however, found that the travel restrictions in Wuhan only slowed domestic spread of the virus by three to five days because there were already cases in other cities at the time of the lockdown.

    On March 18, China reported no new local cases for the first time since the outbreak began. According to CNN International, China will lift the lockdown on Wuhan on April 8.



    Jordan has been under a strict indefinite lockdown since Saturday morning, although the government eased some restrictions on Wednesday. People caught leaving their homes are subject to up to a year in prison.

    The announcement was made on Friday night and the curfew began at with air-raid sirens at 7 a.m, on Saturday, The Guardian reported.

    Residents were not allowed to leave their homes, and the government was piloting a system for getting basics to citizens — like food and pharmaceuticals — according to The Guardian.

    However, following four days of total lockdown, the government eased restrictions; citizens are now allowed to leave their homes for essential trips, according to CNN International. Previously, an emergency hotline was reportedly overwhelmed by calls, leaving some citizens without food.



    Argentina went into a "preventative and compulsory" lockdown on March 21.

    Citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for essential services while police monitor the streets, the Buenos Aires Times reported.

    The lockdown will go until March 31.

    "We'll be absolutely inflexible in the enforcement," President Alberto Fernández said, according to the Buenos Aires Times. "This is an exceptional measure in an exceptional time, within the framework of what democracy allows."



    On March 19, Israel went into partial lockdown foreigners were already banned from entering the country. On Wednesday night, restrictions tightened further.

    Citizens could still leave to shop for food and medicine, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said orders could be tightened and will be regulated by police, according to Reuters.

    "Under these orders, you, Israel's citizens, are required to stay at home. It is no longer a request, it is not a recommendation, it is an obligatory directive that will be enforced by enforcement authorities," Netanyahu said, per Reuters.

    Starting Wednesday at 5 p.m., Israelis were forbidden from leaving their homes except for a short list of permissible reasons, Haaretz reported, and nonessential businesses were closed. Citizens who want to go out and exercise must do so within 100 meters of their house.



    Belgium went on lockdown on March 17. The government asked citizens to stay at home and limit contact to their closest family. On Sunday, the health minister said that the restrictions are likely to last eight more weeks.

    Residents' travel will be limited to "essential" visits to supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks or for cases of emergency, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said at a news briefing on March 17. Many stores had already closed as an isolation measure.

    Belgium's Brussels Airlines will also suspend flights from Saturday, March 21, through April 19, according to Reuters.

    On Sunday, Belgian health minister Maggie De Block said the lockdown is likely to continue for at least eight more weeks, according to Reuters.



    On March 16, the European Union banned non-essential travel into the region for at least 30 days.

    "The less travel, the more we can contain the virus," European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said. "We think non-essential travel should be reduced right now in order to not spread the virus further. Be it in the European Union or by leaving the European Union."

    The ban will not include the United Kingdom, which left the EU. 

    "Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 13.



    Germany announced a shut down of shops, churches, sports facilities, bars, and clubs in 16 states.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the measures were "drastic" and never-before-seen in Germany's postwar history.

    "But we have to do this right now to reduce the number of contacts and with it the number of . . . serious illnesses, and so prevent our health system coming under excessive strain," she told reporters, according to The Financial Times.

    On March 20, Bavaria became Germany's first federal state to go into full lockdown, Politico reported

     



    The Malaysian government announced on March 16 that all business operations will be closed except essentials like markets, utilities, broadcasting, banking, and healthcare. On Wednesday, the lockdown was extended by two weeks.

    Malaysia has barred travel in and out of the country and shut down non-essential businesses.

    The country had already canceled large gatherings and events through April.

    "We cannot wait any longer until the situation becomes more acute," Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in an address, according to Bloomberg.

    The lockdown was set to end on March 31, but on Wednesday the prime minister extended it to April 14, according to the Bangkok Post.



    The Czech Republic closed most shops and restaurants for 10 days and banned foreign travel starting March 16.

    Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, gas stations, and takeaway restaurants were allowed to remain open under the new order, according to Reuters.

    The country has closed schools and banned many public events.

    "We need people to go to work but stay home afterwards," Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in a press conference. "Those [countries] who have managed to do something about the situation say... limit interaction among people."



    France closed nonessential businesses. On March 16 it implemented a full lockdown, banning public gatherings and walks outside.

    French President Emmanuel Macron said that the 15-day lockdown will prohibit any public gatherings and walks outdoors. He told French residents to take public transit only if absolutely necessary and to buy only essential groceries.

    Macron added that people who violate the lockdown will be punished.

    "We have seen too many people in cafes and restaurants. In usual times, this would make me happy. Because this is the France we all love. But for a few weeks, this is not what we should be doing," Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said in his announcement, according to CNN.

    Politicio reports that the lockdown could extend past the original 15 days, with France's Council of Scientists recommending a six-week lockdown.



    Morocco suspended international flights on March 15 and has closed mosques, schools, and restaurants.

    After days of announcing new flight restrictions for certain countries, Morocco placed an all-out suspension on international flights to and from its airports. As the country closed its borders, The Washington Post reports that thousands of international travelers have been stranded.

    The government has also arrested at least a dozen people for spreading false coronavirus news, according to US News & World Report



    On March 15, Kenya closed schools and blocked non-residents from entering the country, and has closed pubs and restaurants.

    "I want to assure you that my administration is at the forefront of managing this pandemic," President Uhuru Kenyatta said, according to Al Jazeera.

    Al Jazeera also reported that Kenyans are being asked to maintain social distancing as the country edges towards a lockdown.



    Spain became the second European country to impose a nationwide quarantine on March 14. On Thursday, the lockdown was extended to at least April 12.

    The Spanish government ordered its 47 million residents to stay in their homes for at least 15 days, though that period could be extended, according to The Washington Post. The order allows people to leave their homes for work, the bank, medical appointments, and to buy essentials.

    Bars, restaurants, and hotels are closed across the nation.

    "We have only one objective, which is to defeat the coronavirus," Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in a national address. "We are all on the same team."

    On Thursday, the lockdown was extended to last until at least April 12, Reuters reported. Cases in Spain have increased tenfold since the state of emergency was first declared on March 14.

    The country has had more than 4,000 deaths and 56,00 cases.



    Poland announced it would shutter businesses and prohibit international travel from March 13.

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on March 13 that the country was "banning foreigners from entering the country as well as shutting all restaurants, bars, and casinos," the Daily Mail reported.

    'The state will not abandon (its citizens)," Morawiecki said, according to The Mail. "However, in the current situation, we cannot allow ourselves to keep borders open to foreigners."

    People from abroad entering the country will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    Health minister Lukasz Szumowski said that all limitations being imposed would continue until April 11, according to The Independent.



    Kuwait went into a two-week nation-wide lockdown on March 13.

    The country banned all commercial flights, and prohibited citizens from going to restaurants and gyms, the New York Times reported.

    It's unclear when flights will resume. The country has imposed a partial curfew from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m., according to Bloomberg.



    Ireland has also put in restrictions, but its measures are less extreme than in many other countries as it puts an emphasis on testing.

    On March 24, Ireland announced that it was closing non-essential shops, said restaurants and cafes could only do takeaway, and said all sport was cancelled.

    The list of essential shops is larger than in many other countries.

    People are still allowed outside, but in groups no larger than four.

    Ireland had already closed all schools, colleges, childcare facilities, and cultural institutions on March 12, and later closed the country's pubs.

    The country has put an emphasis on testing the population, tracing those infected, and asking people to stay indoors rather than implementing the total lockdown many other countries have introduced.

    "We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory," Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said earlier in March, according to the Irish Times. "This is uncharted territory."



    Norway went into a two-week lockdown on March 12, and on Tuesday the government decided to extend the lockdown through Easter.

    Prime minister Erna Solberg extended measures through Easter, the Local Norway reports. Schools are closed except for children of citizens in essential roles, like healthcare and transportation. Buffet restaurants remain closed, although regular restaurants can seat patrons at least one meter apart.

    Anyone coming into Norway must go into quarantine, and healthcare workers assisting patients are not allowed to travel out of the country.

    Norway had already closed ports and airports.



    El Salvador's president announced an Alerta Naranja an orange alert on March 11.

    The orange alert measures include a national quarantine on the country's 6.4 million citizens. Schools are closed for three weeks, and Salvadorans returning home from abroad must undergo a 30-day quarantine.

    The move also bars foreigners from entering the country and bans gatherings of more than 500 people, according to The Washington Post.

    At the time of the orange alert, El Salvador had no confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

    "I know this will be criticized, but let's put ourselves in Italy's shoes. Italy wishes they could've done this before," El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said in a national address on March 11, according to the Post. "Our health system is not at Italy's level. It's not at South Korea's level."



    Denmark enacted a lockdown on March 11, which it has now extended to April 13.

    Originally, the lockdown was meant to end after two weeks, the New York Times reported.

    It restricts assembly of over 10 people, and closed schools, restaurants, libraries, and other businesses.



    In Italy, a nationwide lockdown went into effect on March 10 that restricts virtually all aspects of life for its 60 million citizens, including retail, leisure, worship, imprisonment, and travel.

    At least 74,386 people have been infected and 7,503 have died there as of Thursday.

    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the quarantine policy as "I stay home," according to the BBC.

    Large sporting events, schools and universities, museums, cultural centers, swimming pools, and spas have been shut down throughout the country. While public transportation and airports are still operating, only essential travel is allowed, and those who want to travel for valid work or family-related reasons need police permission. All stores except for grocery stores and pharmacies are closed.

    Mortgage payments have also been suspended, family members of prisoners are no longer allowed to visit, and healthcare workers were told to cancel vacations.



    Many countries have also closed borders to prevent international travelers from spreading the virus.

     

    These countries include:

    • Canada has shut its borders to anyone who isn't a citizen, a permanent resident, or a US citizen; while the country is not on full lockdown, Nova Scotia has gotten into a state of emergency, Richmond News reports.
    • Lithuania shut its borders on Monday to prevent nearly all foreigners from entering, and to prevent most Lithuanians from leaving the country, with the exception of business trips. Both Lithuania and Latvia have closed schools.
    • The Maldives is subjecting all passengers travelling to the country by air to a 14-day quarantine — with the exception of tourists checking in to resorts. Some tourists have found themselves under lockdown in resorts.
    • North Korea has shut down airline flights and train service with neighboring countries, and established quarantines for recent travelers.
    • Peru abruptly closed its land, sea, and air borders on Sunday, after issuing a state of emergency. Some travelers got stuck as flights were canceled and airports shut down.
    • Qatar stopped all incoming flights to the country and shut down shops in main commercial areas. 
    • Russia closed its borders with Poland and Norway, and suspended most flights to and from Europe. It had already done so for China. Russia also banned foreign nationals from entering the country from March 18 to May 1, and the Moscow mayor has asked citizens over the age of 65 to self-isolate.
    • Slovakia closed its borders to non-residents last week, and banned public events.
    • Ukraine closed its borders for foreign citizens for two weeks last week, after the first death from the virus within the country. The government has closed public institutions and limited transportation.
    • Croatia is on partial lockdown and have been told to avoid public areas, even amidst a strong earthquake, according to ABC News.

    Katie Warren, Holly Secon, and Sarah Al-Arshani contributed reporting.




    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:20:00 -0400
  • More than a dozen researchers predicted how the US's coronavirus outbreak will end. They estimated that nearly 200,000 people could die by the end of the year.

    coronvirus testing tent

    Infectious-disease experts aren't certain how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, but many agree that the worst is yet to come for the US.

    Last week, the country saw its cases spike more than 40% in just 24 hours. This week, the number of daily cases continues to rise even as Americans practice social distancing by working from home, limiting outdoor excursions, and staying 6 feet away from one another.

    To determine where the US is headed next, 18 infectious-disease modeling researchers developed their own forecasts for how the outbreak could evolve in the coming months. 

    They estimated that only 12% of all coronavirus cases (including asymptomatic ones) had been reported in the US as of March 15, which would mean that around 29,000 infections had gone undiagnosed by that time. The US has reported more than 69,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths as of Thursday.

    The average of the researchers' predictions suggests that the virus could kill around 195,000 people in the US by the end of the year, but that number varies widely depending on the model.

    The most extreme model predicted that up to 1.2 million people could die. By comparison, a typical flu season in the US kills between 11,000 and 95,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

    Not all of the coronavirus deaths that the models predict, however, would necessarily stem from the current outbreak. The researchers said a second wave of infections will likely occur in the fall, sometime between August and December. The odds of this happening, they said, are around 73%.

    The models account for a wide range of outcomes

    Since February, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have conducted weekly surveys of 25 infectious-disease experts on the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. Eighteen experts' responses were published in a report on March 18.

    The disease modeler who conducted the survey, Thomas McAndrew, said he didn't ask researchers to account for social-distancing measures in their models, but researchers still had the option. 

    "I do imagine they must have speculated about how interventions would impact deaths due to COVID-19," McAndrew told Business Insider. 

    coronavirus new york

    One researcher involved in the report Andrew Lover, an epidemiologist from the University of Massachusetts told Five Thirty Eight that his model was based on outbreaks in other countries, then adjusted for US testing rates and population density.

    Overall, the researchers' models offered a wide range of potential outcomes. Some estimated that the CDC had reported more than 20% of COVID-19 cases as of March 15, but others predicted that the agency had identified just 5% of cases. Some predicted that the US could see 1 million deaths by the end of 2020, while others predicted that the death toll would be in the thousands.

    Other models predict that up to 2.2 million people could die in the US

    The New York Times recently used CDC data to model how the how the virus could spread if no actions were taken to stop transmission in the US. The models show that between 160 million and 214 million people could be infected and as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.

    Other models have yielded even more worrisome projections. On March 16, epidemiologists at the Imperial College of London released forecasts about how social distancing measures could slow the virus' spread in the US. They predicted that 2.2 million in the US could die if no efforts were made to control the outbreak. Under that scenario, the death toll would peak around late May or early June and around 81% of the US population would ultimately get infected.

    social distancing US Washington

    But the Imperial College researchers also found that three months of social distancing measures such as household quarantines, closing all schools and universities, and isolating infected patients could cut the number of potential US deaths in half.

    Even if all patients were able to be treated at hospitals, however, the researchers predicted that around 1.2 million people in the US could die.

    Many experts agree that a 'second wave' is likely 

    Many viruses tend to spread more easily in cold weather, so it's possible that cases of the coronavirus could taper off in the summer and ramp up again in the fall. A recent study from researchers in Beijing (which is still awaiting peer review) found that the contagiousness of COVID-19 declines with each degree of temperature increase and each percent of humidity increase. And the H1N1 pandemic, for instance, had two peaks in the US: one in late June and early July, and another in late October and early November.

    But since this particular coronavirus hasn't been seen before in humans, scientists aren't certain whether it will behave the same way. Plus, it's currently spreading in places with high temperatures, like Australia.

    A second outbreak could also arise after people resume normal activity. The US asked citizens to avoid international travel starting March 19, but opening its borders again could fuel the virus' spread. The same goes for allowing citizens to return to work or use mass transit.

    Researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention have already predicted that the outbreak could rebound in China where cases have been close to zero for the past week once residents go back to work and school.

    "Data is starting to come in from Hong Kong that stopping containment measures too early can lead to rebound effects," Elaine Morrato, dean of the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health at Loyola University Chicago, told Business Insider. "It is fair to say, some form of social distancing will be required until we have a vaccine or effective treatment identified."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What COVID-19 symptoms look like, day by day


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:10:00 -0400
  • Coronavirus live updates: Global COVID-19 cases top 510,000, nearly 23,000 are dead, and one third of the world is under lockdown

    Spain coronavirus

    The novel coronavirus has infected 510,108 people and killed 22,993 worldwide.

    Europe and the Americas are seeing the vast majority of new cases the US has the third-highest case total after China and Italy.

    New York has the largest number of coronavirus cases of any US state more than 37,000, which accounts for nearly 7% of the world's coronavirus cases.

    In total, at least 175 countries and territories have reported cases. Many have declared nationwide lockdowns or otherwise dramatically restricted travel. This has left hundreds of millions of people under unprecedented restrictions: a third of the world is now under some form of lockdown.

    A dozen Business Insider staffers are keeping this post updated with the most recent developments around the clock. US-specific live updates can be found here.

    Here's the latest.

    Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 175 countries and territories.

     



    China appears to have contained the spread of the coronavirus, but cases are surging in other parts of the world.

     

    China — where the virus first began to spread in late 2019 — has seen a sharp drop-off in its rate of new cases.

    Italy has recorded more than 8,100 deaths, and Spain more than 4,100, both overtaking China's death toll. In China, 3,291 people have died.

    Over 120,000 people known to be infected have recovered, mostly in China.



    The number of deaths and cases is still surging worldwide. Some 2,390 people died from the coronavirus on March 25, the highest number since the outbreak began.

    Data compiled by the statistics website Worldometer, which uses information from organizations like the United Nations Population Division and World Health Organization, shows that March 25 was the deadliest day so far: 2,390 deaths were reported.

    This makes March 24 the eighth record-breaking day in a row for daily deaths.



    The virus is wreaking havoc on the global economy, and governments around the world are announcing massive stimulus packages.

    On March 26, the US Labor Department reported that a record 3.28 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits last week. The US could see 20% unemployment, officials warned, and UBS has warned of an "inevitable" recession in Europe as well.

    The US Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package— the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the ''CARES Act" — by a 96-0 vote on March 25. It will go to the House of Representatives, then to President Donald Trump's desk. 

    Modeling from The Australian National University has estimated a global GDP loss of $2.4 trillion in the best-case scenario.



    India put its 1.3 billion residents under a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 24. That means a third of the world's population is now under some sort of restriction.

    "There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

    "Lockdown" isn't a technical term, but can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings.

    Countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, Malaysia, and El Salvador are under some sort of restrictions, ranging from bans on large gatherings to people not being allowed out of their homes. South Africa, which has around 59 million residents, is also going into a 21-day lockdown on March 26.

     



    China is reporting very few (if any) new domestic cases, but imported cases from people traveling into the country pose a threat.

    Almost all new cases there are coming from people traveling from abroad, including Chinese students returning home.

    In all, nearly 82,000 people in China have been infected by the coronavirus.



    This chart shows the rate at which the coronavirus has spread worldwide since it first emerged.

     



    Italy has the world's highest number of coronavirus deaths more than double those in China and the entire nation is on lockdown.

     

    Italy has reported 80,539 cases and 8,165 deaths. Its death toll is now more than double that of China. The country set the record for the highest single-day coronavirus death toll March 21, with 793 deaths.

    The healthcare system in Italy, which is home to one of the world's oldest populations, has been overwhelmed, with medical workers stretched thin.

    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte placed the entire nation of 60 million people under quarantine on March 10. He has since made that stricter, forbidding all travel inside the country.



    All 50 US states and Washington, DC, have reported coronavirus cases. Infections have also been confirmed in the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The WHO warned that the US could become the new epicenter as cases jump.

     

    A WHO spokeswoman, Margaret Harris, noted that there had been a "very large acceleration" in cases in the US in recent days.

    New York state has been most hard hit, with 366 deaths so far.



    The US has reported more than 75,200 cases and 1,070 deaths.

    The real count is likely higher, since the country has lagged behind other nations when it comes to testing. The number is likely to spike as the US's testing capacity keeps expanding.

    New York state has reported nearly 7% of the coronavirus cases in the world.



    Spain's caseload is the fourth-highest in the world, and it has the second-highest number of deaths.

    On March 26, Spain's COVID-19 cases spiked to 56,197, and 4,145 deaths were reported. Its death toll overtook China on March 25.

     In Madrid, a conference center has been transformed into a field hospital, while an ice rink is now a makeshift morgue, El País reported. Soldiers deployed to disinfect care homes around the country found elderly residents "completely abandoned," with some dead in their beds, according to Spain's defense minister.



    France has more than 25,600 cases, while the caseload in Germany has crossed 43,600.

    The two countries' leaders have imposed strict lockdown measures.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a grim prognosis at the start of a parliamentary meeting on March 10: Between 60% and 70% of the country's population could contract COVID-19 at some point.

    Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Denmark have also reported more than 1,000 cases each.



    The United Kingdom has reported 9,962 cases and 479 deaths, and has gone into a strict lockdown.

    Officials in the UK initially did not encourage people to stay far apart, but they changed the plan after a report by a team of disease experts said nearly a quarter-million people could die.

    On March 23, the UK went into full lockdown, with the public barred from leaving home for non-essential reasons and allowed just one walk a day. Here are the rules of the UK lockdown.



    Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating.

    A Clarence House spokesperson confirmed to Insider on March 25 that the Prince of Wales tested positive, saying that the prince is displaying "mild symptoms" an "remains in good health." His wife, Camilla, tested negative. Both are self-isolating.

    Other well-known figures who have contracted the virus include actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson; Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; actor Idris Elba; NBA star Kevin Durant; and Kristofer Hivju of "Game of Thrones" fame.



    South Korea's total cases have reached 9,241, but the country has been reporting fewer cases each day thanks to steps like widespread testing.

    The country has reported 131 deaths as of March 26.

    Health officials say the nation's outbreak grew after a 61-year-old woman transmitted the virus to fellow members of a fringe religious group, the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

    But the number of new cases South Korea reports each day is now below the prior day most of the time. On March 23, the country announced 64 new cases— the lowest since its outbreak began four weeks ago — but it reported 76 new cases on March 24, 100 on March 25, and 104 on March 26.



    Iran has reported 29,406 infections and 2,234 deaths.

    Senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus and Iran's Parliament is closed.

    Journalists are challenging the country's infection and death counts, however, suggesting that the real totals are even higher. The WHO said in February that Iran's death toll could be five times as high as what the country is reporting because of limits on testing for the virus.

    Satellite images show massive burial trenches that can be seen from space.



    The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are postponed.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee agreed on March 21 to delay the event until 2021, citing uncertainty about the pandemic and the health threat the games could pose.



    Based on UNESCO estimates, more than 1.5 billion students have had their education disrupted.

    A running UNESCO tally says that 165 countries have totally shut down their schools as of March 25, affecting over 1.5 billion students.

    The closures have affected more than 87% of the enrolled learners in the world.



    The virus has prompted strict lockdowns and travel bans around the world. Many countries have shut their borders, and the Trump administration has issued the highest possible travel warning for every country in the world.

    The US State Department issued its highest-level travel advisory for every country on March 19, warning against any travel abroad. The country had already banned incoming travel from Europe, and shut its borders with Canada and Mexico to "non-essential travel."

    The European Union has also blocked all nonessential inbound travel, and many nations have shut their borders to non-citizens.



    The true number of infected people worldwide is likely much higher than the official counts.

    That's because some people can be asymptomatic, and therefore may not seek a test.

    Some countries, like the US, have also faced test shortages.



    The US still lags behind other countries when it comes to testing people for the coronavirus, even though testing capacity is now increasing.

    The White House and CDC have been criticized for their handling of the epidemic so far.

    The CDC initially designed a faulty test for COVID-19, then hit delays in distributing a better one for state and local labs to use, ProPublica reported. That prompted a test-kit shortage that has prevented health officials from gaining a clear understanding of exactly how many Americans have contracted the virus.

    President Trump has said he doesn't take any responsibility for the significant delay in the country's coronavirus testing capabilities. He tweeted on March 25 that the US had done more testing than any other nation. However, there is no clear tally of how many tests are being done in the country, and figures collected suggest that the US is far behind countries like South Korea when it comes to tests per capita.



    The coronavirus' incubation period is thought to be about five days.

    A recent study found that the coronavirus' average incubation period — the time that passes between when a patient gets infected and when their coronavirus test comes back positive — is five days. But in 1% of cases, it may last longer than two weeks.

    Many countries have made quarantine policies based on a 14-day incubation, but the evidence is far from conclusive.

    But one study found that a patient's incubation period was 19 days. Another study published early in February analyzed 1,099 coronavirus cases in China and reported that the incubation could be as long as 24 days.



    COVID-19's symptoms can be similar to pneumonia they include fever and difficulty breathing.



    The global fatality rate for the virus is around 3.4%, according to the WHO, but that could change.

    The death rate is based on the ratio of reported deaths out of total cases.

    A previous study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found a fatality rate of 2.3%. 



    A study from the Chinese CDC found that patients older than 80 had a 15% death rate.

    The study looked at 44,000 confirmed patients in China. The data suggests that patients in their 50s had a death rate about three times as high as patients in their 40s.



    Coronavirus patients with underlying health problems are also more likely to die than otherwise healthy people.

    Patients with heart disease had a 10% death rate, according to the same Chinese CDC study. The death rate for patients who reported no preexisting conditions was less than 1%.



    A tour guide in Japan tested positive for the virus a second time last month evidence that people might be at risk of getting the coronavirus multiple times.

    The patient — a woman in her 40s living in Osaka, Japan — first tested positive for the virus on January 29, and recovered. Nearly two weeks later, she developed throat and chest pains. She tested positive again on February 26.

    China has also reported cases of people getting reinfected, though they remain rare.



    Few children have gotten sick, but the coronavirus may pose more of a risk to kids than scientists initially thought.

    The virus mostly affects adults, but a study of 2,000 children who contracted COVID-19 in China found that children could play a role in spreading the virus and that 6% of infected kids developed severe or critical infections.

    The worst-affected were infants: in the study, 10% of children under one year old developed a severe or critical infection, compared to 7% of under-five-year-olds, and 4% of kids aged five to 10 years old. 

    The WHO cautioned parents to safeguard their children against the coronavirus.



    Healthcare workers are particularly at risk. At least 3,400 Chinese healthcare workers have been infected, and at least 46 have died.

    Research published in February found that nearly a third of hospitalized patients studied at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University were healthcare workers.

    Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, was hailed as a hero in China after he contracted the virus and died while treating patients. He had warned fellow medical-school alumni about the disease before it was widely understood, for which Chinese authorities punished him.



    To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds.

    The WHO, US CDC, and multiple other national health agencies all agree on the importance of handwashing. People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 



    US health officials do not recommend face masks for the general public.

    For healthy people, handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick patients is a better way to prevent infection.

    Stocking up on face masks can also reduce the supply for medical workers who need them. On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidance on masks for healthcare workers, saying that, in lieu of a surgical mask or an N95 mask, they could use a bandana or a scarf to cover their faces.



    The first case of the coronavirus was reported in Wuhan in December.

    The central Chinese city has a population of 11 million.



    Some experts think the coronavirus first infected humans at a seafood market in Wuhan. But a recent study suggested the virus could have originated outside the market.

    Since most of the early patients had links to one market where live animals were sold, scientists pinpointed it as the likely origin of the virus.

    The virus appears to have mutated to allow it to spread to people when it had previously been limited to animals.

    However, a group of Chinese scientists recently published a study suggesting that the virus could have started somewhere else, with the Wuhan market merely boosting the outbreak.



    Researchers think the virus originated in bats, then jumped to an intermediary species  most likely pangolins, pigs, or civets  that passed it to people.

    Researchers at the South China Agricultural University have suggested that the endangered pangolin may have been the intermediary species between bats and people.



    The SARS virus also originated in bats. It jumped to humans from civet cats at a Chinese market that sold live animals. SARS killed 774 people from November 2002 to July 2003.

    The viruses that cause the two diseases belong to the same coronavirus family.



    The total number of coronavirus cases and deaths have far surpassed those of the SARS outbreak.

     



    In late January, officials quarantined Wuhan and nearby cities by shutting down all transportation. The restrictions are starting to lift.

    Wuhan's 11 million residents were told not to leave the city, barring special circumstances. All of Wuhan's transportation — including trains, buses, metros, ferries, planes, and cars — was halted January 23. 

    A CNN analysis in February found that more than 780 million people in China — more than half the population — were under some sort of travel restriction.

    But China is now lifting restrictions, saying it will allow transport systems to run again from Wuhan on April 8.

    Some experts fear that when lockdowns end, a "boomerang effect" will occur, bringing a resurgence of the virus. Tokyo and Hong Kong, cities which managed to prevent outbreaks despite being some of the earliest-hit cities, are now worried about a new wave of cases.



    There are no vaccines to prevent humans from contracting the virus, but multiple drugmakers are racing to develop one.

    There are several dozen ongoing efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine, according to a World Health Organization report that mentions 35 candidates. 

    A wide range of companies, including behemoths like Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi as well as smaller biotech companies and academic research labs, are conducting research.

    Some are developing vaccines from scratch, while others are testing existing drugs. At least seven vaccines are likely to enter the human testing stage by the end of 2020.

    Lauren Frias, Rosie Perper, Aylin Woodward, Kieran Corcoran, and Ali Millington contributed to this report.

     




    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:00:00 -0400
  • Chain restaurants are asking to skip paying rent in April because of coronavirus closures

    A Cheesecake Factory in Glendale, California.

    • Restaurant chains including the Cheesecake Factory, Wendy's, and Subway are trying to help their store locations with rent costs amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. 
    • Some chains are calling for rent reductions from landlords, while others are covering the bills for their franchisees.
    • Many companies cited declines in business for the rent issues, saying closures from the novel coronavirus outbreak have affected their sales. 
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The Cheesecake Factory, Wendy's, and other chains are helping their stores seek rent relief as the coronavirus forces their doors to close.

    According to multiple reports, some chains are calling for rent reductions from landlords and telling their stores to stop paying rent entirely, while others are covering payments for their franchisees.

    Many companies say the decline in sales makes it difficult or impossible for them to pay rent for their restaurants.

    Restaurant and retail workers across the US and worldwide have struggled with closures in areas impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and many are trying to figure out what to do next.

    The rent arrangement differs between restaurant companies. Some, like The Cheesecake Factory and Subway, pay rent to local landlords. While others, like McDonald's, act as the landlord that collects rent from local franchises.

    At The Cheesecake Factory, which operates nearly 300 locations across the US and Canada, CEO David Overton wrote a letter to landlords saying that the "severe decrease in restaurant traffic has severely decreased our cash flow and inflicted a tremendous financial blow to our business."

    He told landlords that stores would not pay rent for April because of the losses, according to the letter obtained by Eater.

    "Due to these extraordinary events, I am asking for your patience and, frankly, your help," he wrote.

    CFO Mathew Clark told People magazine that he hopes the company and landlords "will be able to work together to weather this storm in the appropriate manner."

    Many people on Twitter praised The Cheesecake Factory over its decision to hold off paying rent. 

     

    Subway, too, sent a letter to landlords last week, saying rent payments for its 20,000 US locations might be cut or postponed, according to Bloomberg.

    Franchise-based restaurants are deferring rent payments

    Meanwhile, places that collect rent from franchisees, like Wendy's, McDonald's, and Yum! Brands which owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut have deferred rent payments to help through the shutdown. 

    Yum! borrowed $525 million from its revolving credit line to help franchisees cover their bills, according to Restaurant Business.

    "We are also working with franchisees who need more access to capital and are in good standing with the company to provide assistance, including grace periods for certain near-term payments where necessary," the company said.

    Wendy's Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor told Reuters it would defer rent payments on properties owned by the company by 50% over the next three months.

    "This is an unprecedented time, and we are focused on the actions where we can make a positive difference," he said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:55:00 -0400
  • People are fleeing coronavirus hotspots for rural areas that don't want them to come. Experts say it's a natural 'fight or flight' response.

    coronavirus driving roads chicago wisconsin illinois

    • As big cities like San Francisco and New York watch coronavirus cases climb, residents continue to flee to their smaller hometowns or neighboring communities in an attempt to stay safe, spread out, or be closer to family. 
    • A psychologist told Insider the impulse to return to the familiar or a less-densely populated area is a natural response to the unknown, but can be driven by anxiety rather than logic. 
    • In reality, fleeing cities could mean carrying the virus into new parts of the country and burdening already ill-equipped healthcare systems, some of which only have a single ventilator. 
    • But in some cases, like traveling to assist older relatives, leaving town could be worth the tradeoff. 
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    Molly Mitchell was running an errand in New York City on March 12th when she got a text from a friend: The mayor was going to shut down the subway system and only allow emergency vehicles on the road in order to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

    While that didn't end up happening, "I went into complete panic mode," said Mitchell, a 32-year-old who works in advertising. She worried about being trapped for months in the 780-square-foot apartment she shares with her partner and their dog, and worse, being in the city if things escalated to the point of looting and riots. 

    Less than five hours later, the couple was on the road from their apartment in Brooklyn to their house with about 2,000 more square feet in Damascus, Pennsylvania, a township with less than 4,000 people. 

    Across the country, people are fleeing big cities for nearby rural communities or their smaller hometowns in an effort to protect themselves from the virus, save their mental health by relocating somewhere with more space, be closer to or take care of family, or all of the above. 

    But while experts say the impulse is understandable and sometimes necessary, the trend could lead to unintended consequences like spreading the disease or burdening small healthcare systems that are low on resources. 

    Going home is a natural response for some when faced with a threat 

    Rebecca Harrington, a New York City-based Business Insider editor, decided to leave for her family's Wisconsin farm when the office announced a mandatory work-from-home policy March 11. "The thought of spending weeks on end alone in my Manhattan apartment became unbearable," she wrote

    Ashley Ridgway, a law student in Los Angeles, booked a flight from the city of 4 million to Richmond, Virginia, where she grew up, even though it meant cancelling her plans for an internship in San Francisco over the summer.

    "My family made it clear they were worried about me riding out the storm in a big city like LA, so far from all my family and friends" she told Business Insider.

    According to Natalie Dattilo, director of psychology in Brigham & Women's Hospital's department of psychiatry, wanting to go home is understandable in the face of danger.  

    "During times of great uncertainty and unpredictability, people long for a feeling of familiarity and safety, and home is a place that often feels that way," she told Business Insider.

    Getting out of town can also be thought of as one of three options humans feel they have when faced with a threat, either physical or psychological: fight, flight, or freeze. "This is our biologically pre-programmed 'better to be safe than sorry' reaction, and the goal is to prepare us to fight or run away — in this case, run away," Dattilo said.  

    Plus, in the current situation, where closeness breeds contagion, wanting to go somewhere less dense makes sense, she said. 

    Finally, it's human nature to want to do something, however rational, whether that's leaving town or buying excessive rolls of toilet paper. 

    "When we are afraid, we often feel we need to act, to do something, that by staying in place we become 'sitting ducks,'" Dattilo said. "I don't believe that to be the case here. In this case, staying in place may very well be the safest action to take." 

    Oregon State Troopers pass through a roadblock near the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside Burns, Oregon January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

    Many small communities aren't welcoming visitors, and sometimes are outright hostile to them

    Susan McVea, a business sales strategist on Canada's west coast, already had a spring break trip planned to Ucluelet, an area of British Columbia with less than 2,000 residents, when coronavirus cases started building in Washington State and neighboring Vancouver. 

    "We decided to go because it was an isolated cabin right on the beach," she told Business Insider. 

    While there, locals tried to barricade the highway to prevent tourists from entering. Even when she and her family went to the grocery store, they felt uncomfortable because residents knew they were tourists. 

    They chose not to extend their stay. "We are now self isolated at home," McVea said. 

    Small communities around the US are also urging, if not demanding, outsiders stay home. In Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska, governors are specifically telling New Yorkers to stay out, the New York Times reported

    In California, where many park systems have closed, the North Lake Tahoe visitor bureau website tells would-be tourists that now is not the time. 

    "Our locals have welcomed visitors from around the globe for generations but right now our community needs the time and space to protect our loved ones and health resources," it says

    In another California ski resort community, Mammoth Lakes, the dialogue hasn't been so gentle toward outsiders, the Sacramento Bee reported on March 24

    "I'm really concerned about the level of vitriol and xenophobia," Stacy Corless, a Mono County Supervisor, told the publication. "I'm worried someone is going to get shot."

    hospital

    Many small hospitals only have a single ventilator

    More people in small towns means more responsibility for those healthcare systems, which are overburdened and underfunded as is, Alan Morgan, the CEO of the National Rural Health Association, told Business Insider. 

    A lot of small hospitals in rural areas have 25 or fewer inpatient beds, and most have only one ventilator. Many don't have intensive-care units at all, Nora Super, senior director at the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, told Business Insider. 

    "People have to think about, if they do get sick, what that would do to an already really strained system?" Super said. 

    There's also the financial strain to consider. This year alone, six rural hospitals have closed because they couldn't afford to keep their doors open, and almost half of those that remain in the red, Morgan said. What money they could bring in from elective procedures and regular office visits is now off the table as they prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

    "They're postponing all elective procedures, they're trying to clear their hospitals out, so they're foregoing revenue right now," Morgan said. Doctor's offices and small clinics are doing the same thing. "And so now you have the potential of upper-income individuals who are in these small communities and decide, 'Oh, I should just check in with the doctor.' This is not a good time for that."

    The worst-case scenario, he said, is what he hears is happening in Colorado and has already happened in the San Francisco Bay Area: visitors unknowingly importing the virus. "Not only are you taxing the local community by being there, you're bringing the problem in with you." 

    woman with elderly father

    In some cases, making the move may actually benefit the healthcare system

    While fleeing a city for the countryside can come with its own set of public-health consequences, staying in place doesn't always make sense either.

    After all, it's not just small and rural healthcare systems that are overburdened: In New York City, hospitals are overloaded with patients they can't manage, and cities including Las Vegas and Nashville have fewer than 20 intensive-care unit beds for every 100,000 residents, NPR reported.

    Sometimes, uprooting from city life to ride out the pandemic with older relatives is actually the responsible thing to do, both for your family and the healthcare system, Super said. Younger people can help their relatives get groceries and medications, for instance, and help triage potential symptoms in a way that actually keeps them out of the hospital when a visit isn't necessary. 

    Plus, staying with parents or grandparents can help head off another looming, and serious, consequence of this pandemic: loneliness. "It's s a risk for [older adults] to be out and be around people, but there's also a great risk from them being socially isolated," Super said. 

    Ultimately, experts say a decision to leave town should be made when you're calm, not anxious, and with a respect for the community you're entering. 

    "Know and appreciate the community you're coming into, know the strengths and weaknesses," Morgan said. "I think that's key — really just being culturally competent when it comes to small town communities." 

    SEE ALSO: An American in Shanghai says the city isn't 'back to normal, but people feel safe again' as China's coronavirus cases drop

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:53:00 -0400
  • An animated map tracks the spread of the coronavirus as cases were reported in more than 180 countries

    A police officer checks the body temperature motorists amidst the lockdown of the country's capital, to contain the spread of coronavirus,Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 16, 2020. REUTERS:Eloisa Lopez .JPG

    The coronavirus has spread to more than 180 countries since it was first identified in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year.

    The Chinese government placed Wuhan and many other cities in the Hubei province under lockdown in late January, but cases had already been exported to other regions of China and other countries by then.

    This animated map shows which countries confirmed coronavirus patients and when after China reported its first case.

    The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11.

    As the rise in new COVID-19 cases has slowed in China, outbreaks in other countries have grown. Far more people outside of China than inside have caught the coronavirus and died. The death tolls in Italy and Spain have each surpassed China's.

    On the morning of January 20, the virus had spread to four countries: China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. The US reported its first case later that day.

    COVID 19 map January 20

    By February 15, 28 countries had reported cases of COVID-19, and the death toll had surpassed that of 2003's SARS epidemic.

    COVID-19 map Feb 15

    By March 25, almost all countries in the world had reported cases.

    Map of countries with COVID March 25

    As of Wednesday, 183 countries have COVID-19 patients. 

    More than 495,000 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, and more than 22,000 people have died. 

    Here's a full world map of cases and deaths:

     

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 myths about the coronavirus, including why masks won't help


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:35:00 -0400
  • How to leave a coronavirus hotspot safely and reduce the risk of spreading the virus

    gas pump

    • New York City is a hotspot for Covid-19 cases, but smaller communities face their own challenges, which is why health experts advise people to avoid travel.
    • The best way to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus is to stay put but if you must travel here's how to do it safely: Use private transportation, practice diligent hygiene, and self-quarantine for 14 days once you arrive at your destination.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    If you live in a place like New York where coronavirus cases are rising rapidly, it's tempting to want to leave. Some are already doing so

    But health organizations and experts will tell you this is a terrible idea. 

    "Traveling to other cities will only increase the spread of infection. No part of the country is immune," Ubydul Haque, an epidemiologist at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, told Business Insider. 

    His comments echoed  Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has warned that a person leaving New York might become patient zero in their new destination.

    But for those facing extenuating circumstances who must leave, Haque offered the following advice:

    1. Use private travel and avoid public transportation. New York City is the most densely packed city in the US, with 28,000 residents per square mile. Its mass public transit system and close quarters undoubtedly helped spread the novel coronavirus. So if yours is one of the 45% of households in New York that own a car, drive out of the city.
    2. Disinfect everything and use gloves at gas pumps. While on the road, Haque said, disinfect your luggage and minimize contact with anyone. Use disposable gloves, especially at gas pumps, which — like other frequently touched surfaces — can harbor bacteria and viruses for a long time.
    3. Self-quarantine. When you get to your destination, self-quarantine yourself and any others who traveled with you. New York, for example, has such a high infection rate that the White House has officially asked that anyone who has left the city — whether they lived there or were visiting — to self-quarantine for 14 days. But even if you're not fleeing New York, self-quarantine is a good practice since even asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus can infect others for up to 14 days.

    As for how long you should wait before packing your bags, Haque has this advice: "If I was going to leave, I would have left a long time ago. It's probably too late now." 

    Why you should stay put

    In addition to the possibility that you may spread the novel coronavirus, there are other reasons why you should stay put. 

    "The local infrastructure, especially the health-care infrastructure, is not prepared for the influx of part-time residents," Governor Phil Murphy tweeted. "Please stay at your primary residences."

    Many vacation communities across the country, from Lake Tahoe to the Hamptons, have seen skyrocketing surges in rentals in March and April as schools close and people evacuate to more sprawling areas. But the Lake Tahoe Visitor Authority, which generally encourages tourism, asked people to stay home, as has the Jersey Shore community.

    While big-city residents are at a greater risk of catching the disease, those big cities have more resources for handling cases. The rural south reportedly may be "fertile ground" for coronavirus due to a lack of health infrastructure and high rates of poverty. Sometimes smaller hospitals even stabilize patients and then send them to big cities for better or more specialized care. 

    Moreover, staying put is how other countries have fought the spread. Haque recently collaborated on a study that found that a lockdown in Malaysia successfully reduced the spread of the novel coronavirus. There are also signs that the two-month lockdown in Wuhan, China, has helped curb farther spread.

    The CDC and World Health Organization haven't issued guidelines about whether people should or should not leave hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic. However, the organizations have suggested that, in general, people should stay home and only leave their residence when necessary, such as for food and medical emergencies.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:29:52 -0400
  • US live coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 1,000, New York cases top 33,000

    coronavirus usa

    • The coronavirus has killed at least 1,049 people in the US.
    • More than 69,000 cases have been reported across all 50 states, and Washington, DC., and in other US territories.
    • The US has declared a national emergency. The Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill on March 25, which is awaiting approval from the House.
    • New York City has been hit especially hard, with more cases than many entire countries.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping the US so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up with the rising number of cases and deaths, new lockdown orders, and responses from lawmakers. 

    So a dozen Business Insider staffers are keeping this post updated with the most recent developments around the clock. Below, you will find a list of the latest headlines, followed by state-by-state coronavirus case totals and death tolls in the US. After that, we're distilling key pieces of recent news to bring you the latest information about "shelter in place" orders, containment measures, projections for the US outbreak's trajectory, and new bills from Congress.

    The COVID-19 virus has infected at least 69,607 people and killed 1,049 in the US as of March 26. Cases have been reported in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.

    Here are the latest headlines:

    Here's what else to know.

    The coronavirus has not spared a single state. The nationwide caseload has surged to at least 69,607. At least 1,049 people have died.

     

     

    Here are the numbers of cases and deaths in each state and territory:

    Alabama: 449 cases, 1 death
    Alaska: 56 cases, 1 death
    Arizona: 401 cases, 6 deaths
    Arkansas: 308 cases, 2 deaths
    California: 3,172 cases, 67 deaths
    Colorado: 1,087 cases, 20 deaths
    Connecticut: 875 cases, 19 deaths
    Delaware: 119 cases
    Florida: 1,978 cases, 23 deaths
    Georgia: 1,387 cases, 47 deaths
    Guam: 45 cases, 1 death
    Hawaii: 95 cases, 1 death
    Idaho: 138 cases
    Illinois: 1,870 cases, 19 deaths
    Indiana: 645 cases, 17 deaths
    Iowa: 147 cases, 1 death
    Kansas: 137 cases, 3 deaths
    Kentucky: 197 cases, 5 deaths
    Louisiana: 1,795 cases, 65 deaths
    Maine: 142 cases
    Maryland: 583 cases, 4 deaths
    Massachusetts: 1,838 cases, 15 deaths
    Michigan: 2,296 cases, 43 deaths
    Minnesota: 286 cases, 1 death
    Mississippi: 382 cases, 5 deaths
    Missouri: 377 cases, 8 deaths
    Montana: 71 cases
    Nebraska: 74 cases
    Nevada: 405 cases, 10 deaths
    New Hampshire: 137 cases, 1 death
    New Jersey: 4,407 cases, 62 deaths
    New Mexico: 113 cases, 1 death
    New York: 33,037 cases, 366 deaths
    North Carolina: 644 cases, 2 deaths
    North Dakota: 45 cases
    Ohio: 705 cases, 11 deaths
    Oklahoma: 164 cases, 6 deaths
    Oregon: 266 cases, 10 deaths
    Pennsylvania: 1,285 cases, 15 deaths
    Puerto Rico: 64 cases, 2 deaths
    Rhode Island: 132 cases
    South Carolina: 424 cases, 7 deaths
    South Dakota: 41 cases, 1 death
    Tennessee: 980 cases, 3 deaths
    Texas: 1,359 cases, 17 deaths
    US Virgin Islands: 17 cases
    Utah: 340 cases, 1 death
    Vermont: 125 cases, 8 deaths
    Virginia: 397 cases, 9 deaths
    Washington: 2,600 cases, 133 deaths
    Washington, DC: 231 cases, 3 deaths
    West Virginia: 52 cases
    Wisconsin: 638 cases, 7 deaths
    Wyoming: 49 cases

    Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's case counts are sometimes delayed and not always comprehensive, Business Insider is consulting a variety of trackers (from Johns Hopkins university, an independent database called Worldometer, and other projects), as well as tallying local reports to update this story with a comprehensive picture of the virus' impact across the country.

    Washington state was the first to report a coronavirus case. The first coronavirus-related death occurred there too, in King County on February 29. West Virginia was the last state to report a case, on March 17.



    The Senate passed a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package on Wednesday evening.

    The Senate reached a deal on conditions for a $2 trillion stimulus package for the US economy on Wednesday, causing global stocks to climb.

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the ''CARES Act,'' passed by a vote of 96-0. It now heads to the House of Representatives before making it to President Donald Trump's desk. 

    More than $300 billion of the package is earmarked for small businesses struggling to stay afloat — the bill would provide loans for small businesses and allow for payroll-tax deferment. It also includes direct payments to some citizens, gives a stimulus for the airline industry, and increases unemployment insurance.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a "wartime level of investment for our nation."

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made sure businesses controlled by President Donald Trump, his family, top US officials, and members of Congress couldn't receive money from the fund.

     



    Congress had already passed two other bills meant to offer relief to US residents.

    The first bill, passed March 6, provided about $8 billion in emergency funding. More than $3 billion was for research and development of vaccines and diagnostics, about $2.2 billion was for public-health programs, and $1 billion was to help with medical supplies and other preparedness measures.

    The second bill, known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was signed into law March 18. It included $300 billion in loans meant to help small businesses endure the upheaval.

    It marked the US government's first step toward bolstering workers and their families, with several measures intended to provide financial relief including increased free testing, benefits, and paid sick, family, and medical leave.

    The federal government has suspended interest on some student loans, and Trump last week announced that all federal student-loan borrowers had the option to suspend monthly payments for "at least the next 60 days."



    New York state's coronavirus case total is skyrocketing, making it the hardest-hit state.

     

     

    Home to over 33,000 coronavirus patients, New York state has nearly 7% of the world's cases. 

    Its first reported patient was a 39-year-old Manhattan healthcare worker who had recently traveled to Iran. The second was a 50-year-old Westchester County man who works in a law office near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. At least 120 cases were linked to this man, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set up a 1-mile "containment area" on March 10 around a synagogue in New Rochelle, which is regarded as the state's epicenter.

    On March 20, Cuomo issued an order closing all nonessential businesses and banning nonessential gatherings of any size in New York. The mandate requires that people with preexisting conditions, as well as residents ages 70 years and older, stay home. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio warned on March 24 that the virus was "moving rapidly" and was on track to overrun the state's hospital system.

    Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said those who were recently in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.

    "Because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York," Birx said, adding that about 56% of new cases in the US were coming from the New York City metro area.



    The pandemic has sent the world spiraling toward a recession.

    US weekly jobless claims jumped to a record 3.3 million for the week ending March 21, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly warned Republican senators that US unemployment could jump to 20%.



    During a "virtual town hall" hosted by Fox News on Tuesday night, Trump made unsubstantiated claims about the virus.

    Trump insisted that more Americans would die if the country remained on lockdown than would if the economy were allowed to reopen, arguing that a tanking economy would result in more people dying by suicide than "the flu" — a misleading comparison given that the coronavirus is far deadlier than the flu.

    "You're going to lose a number of people to the flu, but you're going to lose more people by putting a country in a massive recession or depression," he said. "You're going to have suicides by the thousands. You're going to have all sorts of things happen."



    The US is bracing for a wave of infections that could overwhelm the healthcare system. Nearly 5 million Americans could be hospitalized.

    Experts are concerned that hospitals across the country don't have enough beds, staff, ventilators, or protective equipment for the coming surge of COVID-19 patients.

    In a leaked presentation hosted by the American Hospital Association, one expert estimated that 4.8 million Americans could require hospitalization because of the virus.

    The US has fewer hospital beds per 1,000 people than places like Japan, South Korea, and Italy.

    According to one expert, about 1 million Americans may need ventilator treatment during the coronavirus outbreak. A February report found that the US had only about 170,000 of the life-saving machines.

    Already, workers at New York City hospitals are running out of ventilators and stretching single disposable face masks across a week of shifts, The New York Times reported. Some hospitals are making protective gear out of office supplies.

    Gov. Cuomo said on March 24 that New York state has raised its projection for the number of hospital beds needed at the peak of COVID-19 cases from 110,000 to 140,000. There are only 53,000 beds in New York currently.

    "The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo stressed.

    Public-health experts are urging interventions that could help "flatten the curve" of the outbreak — slow the virus' spread, in other words — so the country's healthcare system isn't overwhelmed. That includes keeping people isolated from others outside their household.



    Some experts estimate that 40% to 70% of the US population could contract the virus in the next 18 months and some 1.5 million people could die.

    That estimate, from a panel of experts at the University of California at San Francisco, assumed a 1% fatality rate from the coronavirus, with half of the US population getting infected. The researchers also assumed no drug would be found effective against the virus or made available.

    One member of the panel, Joshua Batson, wrote on Twitter that "the large % infected is not a forgone conclusion; coordinated action can now help."



    Multiple US lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, and dozens more politicians have self-quarantined after interacting with someone who was sick.

    Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami announced he had the virus on March 13. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican congressman from Florida, tested positive on March 18.

    The same day, Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democratic congressman from Utah, announced on Twitter that he had tested positive.

    Sen. Rand Paul tested positive on Sunday, his office said on Twitter

    Others who have self-quarantined include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as well as Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Doug Collins of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Adam Schiff of California, according to CNN.



    The World Health Organization has urged governments to step up testing, but the US still lags.

    The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have faced harsh criticism of their handling of the epidemic.

    The CDC initially designed a faulty test for COVID-19 and then hit delays in distributing a better one for state and local labs to use, ProPublica reported. The solution turned out to be simply to throw away one ingredient and use the original test, but it took 16 days to get state labs that directive, Business Insider's Aria Bendix reported.

    Testing is ramping up now — the US went from about 1,700 tests done on March 8 to more than 138,000 on March 20, according to The COVID Tracking Project— but the test-kit shortages have prevented health officials from gaining a clear understanding of exactly how many Americans have contracted the virus.

    South Korea, by contrast, has tested more than 300,000 people and constructed drive-thru screening spots so patients could be assessed within 10 minutes. The US and South Korea reported their first coronavirus cases on the same day.

    Trump has said he doesn't take any responsibility for the significant delay in the country's coronavirus testing.



    The CDC recommends that all Americans wash their hands often and avoid close contact with others.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's coronavirus health guidelines recommend that gatherings of 50-plus people be postponed and that people stay at least 6 feet away from others. 

    Disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and phones daily can also help prevent the virus' spread.

    The CDC advises Americans to make a household plan for how to prepare and what to do if somebody gets sick. In case of major disruptions, people should keep a two-week supply of medications, food, and other essentials.

    For people showing COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home except to get medical care, though it advises calling the hospital before leaving. The CDC also advises separating sick people from everyone else in the home, with a designated bedroom and bathroom that only the sick person uses, if possible.

    If you are sick, wear a face mask to protect others around you. But because of short supply, the CDC recommends face masks only for sick people and those who care for them.



    Many states have ordered residents to stay at home.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom said on March 19 that the "stay at home" order would remain in effect for California at least eight weeks. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks are open. Newsom estimated that 56% of the state's residents — 25.5 million people — would test positive for the coronavirus in the coming two months. 

    The Illinois order began March 21 and lasts through April 7. 

    "I've asked every one of these experts, What action can I take to save the most lives?'" Gov. JB Pritzker said, according to The Chicago Tribune. "Well, they've come back to me with one inescapable conclusion: To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois."



    The government has introduced sweeping travel restrictions.

    On March 19, the US State Department issued a blanket "Level 4" travel advisory— its highest warning — against any travel abroad. 

    This stringent warning is not a legal prohibition but is typically reserved for war zones and countries plagued by disease outbreaks or financial collapse. Americans who are abroad have been urged to return home or make plans to shelter in place. Those who ignore the warning should be "prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period," according to the State Department.

    The US also closed its borders with Canada and Mexico.

    Trump had already limited travel from most of Europe— including, after an initial exemption, the UK and Ireland. Before that, on February 3, the US prohibited foreigners who had been in China within the past 14 days from entering the US. American citizens and permanent residents who had recently traveled to China's Hubei province were quarantined.



    Eighty percent of US coronavirus deaths so far have been among people 65 and older, the CDC reported.

    The CDC reviewed 4,226 confirmed coronavirus cases and found that deaths, ICU admissions, and hospitalization rates were all higher among older Americans.

    While the findings are preliminary, and though testing has been "limited," the CDC said, "the risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups." 

    People who have preexisting health conditions are also at higher risk of death, according to the CDC. Those findings match trends in other countries like China and South Korea.



    The US tax-filing deadline has been delayed to July 15.

    Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced the new deadline via Twitter on March 20. The July 15 deadline applies to federal taxes only. State tax deadlines vary.

    Mnuchin also said the IRS would waive interest and penalty charges for 90 days for Americans who owe up to $1 million in taxes.



    Deeming himself a "wartime president," Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on March 18.

    Employing the Korean War-era law allows the administration to marshal the American private sector to manufacture desperately needed medical supplies, including face masks, protective gear, test kits, and ventilators, that are crucial but remain in short supply.

    "I view it — in a sense as a wartime president," the president said after employing the Defense Production Act. "I mean, that's what we're fighting. I mean, it's a very tough situation here. You have to do things."

    But Trump has said he isn't in a hurry to use it.

    "I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst- case scenario in the future," he said in a tweet. "Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!"

    Although FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor told CNN that the administration was using the law to commission the production of more test kits, an agency spokeswoman later said the agency was able to get kits "from the private market" at the last minute.



    All US states, and numerous cities and counties, have declared states of emergency.

    Gov. Jay Inslee was the first to declare an emergency after the first coronavirus death was confirmed in Washington on February 29.

    Declaring an emergency allows states to activate emergency response plans and operation centers. It also enables governments to get reimbursed for money they spend on preparedness and authorizes leaders to use funds to deploy additional personnel, buy equipment, and prepare stockpiles.

    In the case of the coronavirus, this move also allows leaders to enforce containment measures like banning large gatherings and shuttering public spaces.  

    Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.



    The majority of states have closed public schools.

    Children in New York, California, Washington state, Ohio, Maryland, and other places are out of school. Though most closings were meant to last a few weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said schools in California are likely to remain shut for the rest of the academic year, the Los Angeles Times reported.



    The pandemic has forced sports leagues to suspend seasons, major events to be canceled or postponed, and venues like restaurants and gyms to close.

    The NBA and MLB suspended their seasons, the South by Southwest festival was canceled, Disneyland and more than a dozen Las Vegas resorts were shuttered, and Coachella and the Boston Marathon were postponed to later this year.

    Many restaurants, theaters, gyms, and public spaces have closed amid the growing pandemic.



    Panicked shoppers have stocked up on essentials like hand sanitizer, food, and toilet paper, leading to local shortages and price gouging.

    In response, stores like Walmart, Kroger, and Target have begun rationing high-demand items. Costco has banned returns on such items to discourage stockpiling. One wine-and-spirits producer is rushing to make and donate hand sanitizer (though washing with soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean).

    Amazon has said it is suspending shipments of all nonessential products to its warehouses. In a letter to vendors, the company said it was prioritizing medical supplies, household staples, and other high-demand products until April 5. Amazon also temporarily closed its Prime Pantry service so it can restock after a spike in demand.

    You can still get essentials like toilet paper at a few online retailers.



    The US's first major outbreak began in Washington state.

    The Life Care Center in Kirkland was the epicenter of Washington's coronavirus outbreak. More than 50 residents contracted the virus, and at least 19 deaths have been linked to the long-term-care facility.



    The US repatriated hundreds of Americans from Wuhan and various cruise ships.

    About 800 Americans were repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan and quarantined on military bases. Four of them tested positive for the virus. Most others have since been released. 

    In total, the US coronavirus case count also includes 49 cases among passengers who had been on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. More than 700 people tested positive on the ship during and after a highly criticized quarantine in the port of Yokohama, Japan. 

    Passengers also tested positive on the Grand Princess, a cruise ship owned by the same company, just one week after the Diamond Princess was fully evacuated. The Grand Princess docked in Oakland, California, to release its passengers. At least 28 people evacuated from the ship have tested positive, though many are still under quarantine and some have declined to be tested.



    Celebrities, athletes, and influencers have contracted the virus and shown how being a VIP helps people cut the line for COVID-19 tests.

    On March 11, Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife, the actress Rita Wilson, fell sick while in Australia. They were Hollywood's first high-profile coronavirus cases.

    The actor Daniel Dae Kim, the NBA players Kevin Durant and Rudy Gobert, and the singer-songwriter Charlotte Lawrence have also tested positive, among many others.

    Some celebrities got tested quickly after presenting symptoms, highlighting disparities in the American healthcare system.



    Trump says he always knew the coronavirus outbreak would become a pandemic, but his record contradicts him.

    Speaking at the White House on March 17, Trump said, "I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic."

    But he previously downplayed the coronavirus' threat. The president first commented on the outbreak January 22, a day after the first US case was reported. 

    "Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?" CNBC's Joe Kernen asked.

    Trump replied: "No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine."

    Since then, Trump has accused CNN and MSNBC of "panicking markets," falsely promised that a vaccine would be available "very quickly" and "very rapidly," and touted his actions as "the most aggressive taken by any country."

    He awarded himself a perfect score when evaluating his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.




    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:26:00 -0400
  • FULL INTERVIEW: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the worst is yet to come, and warns other mayors to shut their cities down now before it's too late

    GettyImages 939452016

    • In an exclusive interview, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pushed back against optimism in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. "Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people," he said.
    • The mayor told Business Insider that the worst was yet to come: "The main horrifying thing that I think is keeping every local leader awake is the projection of how many people will get this, the projection of what the mortality rate will be, and how many dead we will have."
    • Shelter-in-place restrictions will be needed for at least two months, Garcetti said, and residents should "be prepared for longer."
    • At least 13,000 of LA's poorest residents continue to live on the streets, the mayor confirmed, with shelter beds limited by the need to maintain social distancing. On Skid Row, he said, the novel coronavirus could spread like "wildfire."
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants people to have hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and to recognize the human kindness that can arise in times of tragedy. But in an exclusive interview, he told Business Insider a "premature optimism" that isn't grounded in data will only cost more lives.

    And the data, he said, paints a grim picture — both for Los Angeles and for the rest of the country.

    Millions in the city are expected to remain in their home for the next couple of months, and thousands of the poorest residents are still sleeping on the streets. Across the US, he said, a failure to engage in social distancing could cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

    In a wide-ranging interview, Garcetti told Business Insider that LA does not have the medical resources needed to prepare for the coming influx of critically ill patients; that residents will soon be confronted with an unprecedented number of deaths among their friends and family; and that, while humanity is resilient, the crisis will fundamentally change life in the city.

    The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    Business Insider: I was listening to your press conference last night and you said Los Angeles is anywhere from six to 12 days from the tragedy that we're seeing unfold in New York. From your perspective, what should we be expecting?

    Mayor Eric Garcetti: Well, numerically ... I have to get the numbers correct, but the number of cases we have for a county of 10 million people versus the number of cases they have in New York City with about 8.36 million people, if you do that per capita, we're about, depending on how you exhume the rate of increase here is, it's anywhere from about six to 12 days.

    I hope that implementation earlier of social distancing in our curve will pay some dividends, but nobody that I've talked to from the medical, hospital, and data communities believe that we won't hit a point in which cases overwhelm our ability to treat them. So there's going to be really tough days ahead in which we're very hurriedly trying to prepare plans for extra beds.

    Thankfully, the United States Naval Ship Mercy is coming in later this week. That'll relieve 1,000 beds from our area hospitals. We're trying to recall staff, medical personnel that might not be working, or even recently retired, or ready to graduate from school, and all the supplies that we need.

    So just from a medical perspective, I think with reasonable confidence, we think that in the next week or two we're going to be at that point in New York City. New York City isn't overwhelmed yet, but they will be in a matter of days. So probably for us, you're looking at two to three weeks before we would hit our hospital capacity and need to start spilling over into whatever we can prepare for now.

    LA Mayor Eric Garcetti

    BI: And if we do hit our capacities, I know that ICU beds are already at 90% capacity — what does that mean for the residents of the city? Are we going to have to open up temporary hospitals? We're going to have to look at Staples Center being a temporary ICU facility?

    EG: Well, we probably can't use those spaces to be ICUs, but what we can do is convert beds that are not ICU beds in our hospitals to ICU spaces. And then we'll need to move those patients to a normal hospital bed that doesn't require ICU levels of equipment and personnel. And absolutely, I mean we're looking at convention centers, we're looking at sports arenas, we're looking at tenting, we're looking at places that are close to hospitals, too, so that folks can be monitored closely in case — they might not be even a COVID-19 case, but somebody who requires some careful monitoring and could need an ICU bed. Those are all the spaces and places that we're helping the county and the hospital association plan for and look at it.

    BI: And what do you need from the federal government right now?

    EG: Everything. The aid to flow, the assistance, the package; we're paging through it this morning, but there's a lot of good assistance there. I'm a little disappointed, I think, in initial reading that doesn't help our immigrant workers, which are critical here in a city like Los Angeles to our lifeblood, and need to be taken care of, as well. But we also, just at the broadest level, we were about to get 100,000 masks the other day from a company that we have done business with for years. And we had the contract signed, the check cut, and then they said, "Sorry, just got pulled away by FEMA."

    So we need the federal government to get more, we need it to get out of the way, some of the time, and not pull everything to a central location only to redistribute it when we're in those negotiations directly because we've had to. And I think as much help and guidance. Certainly, the Army Corps of Engineers would be great to help us get these spaces and places ready and going, as they're looking to do in New York. And I understand why New York should be the priority right now, but hopefully in the coming week or two, if one place is up, they can travel and help us do the same thing, or stand up units that are here.

    And I think we also need consistent messaging from the federal government. Real guidance from doctors and data scientists that are telling not just us but regions, and all of America, to take this seriously.

    I've been on the phone with lots of my peer mayors urging them to [put shelter restrictions in place]. Michelle de la Isla, the mayor of Topeka, Kansas, they don't have a confirmed case yet, but I told her, "I guarantee you you have cases. The sooner you do it, you may be the most successful, and nobody's going to be upset with you for having protected them and saved lives, and maybe even kept your hospital capacity going."

    Mayors of Denver, Atlanta, we're all in communication with each other regularly and sharing these best practices. And I told over 200 mayors on the phone last week, "Do it, do it now. It doesn't matter where you are in the curve, do it right away." And I think people are recognizing that you can do a good job where you are, but if the neighboring county doesn't, you could be just as afflicted as you would have been with nothing.

    Coronavirus california los angeles lockdown

    BI: What in particular has Los Angeles done that you think mayors in other cities can learn from? And also, I guess the second part of that is what, with the benefit of hindsight, would you have done differently?

    EG: Well, I would have had a national stockpile, and I would've had ventilators, masks, kept domestic manufacturing alive. It's really critical that people look at these as national security issues and public health issues, not just as an economy that's moved towards just-in-time logistics. It works well for company profits; it doesn't work well when it comes to disasters like this.

    Second, I think Los Angeles was the first big city in America to go towards almost full closure and the biggest city to go to full closure of all nonessential businesses. And all cities should do that, across America, big and small. Also, I think, one of the lessons I've learned is that cities can really be helpful to counties. Counties oftentimes aren't set up to be executive branch leaders or a mayor in a given area is the lead spokesperson for the metro area. You might be the mayor of Atlanta, which is a smaller city and a large metro area, but you are the face of Atlanta and you have the relationships of Atlanta.

    Same thing here, same thing in Seattle, same thing in any kind of media market and any regional economy. You can be that person pulling together the hospitals, pulling together the business and manufacturing community, pulling together the logistics, warehousing, and food provision communities. All of those things really are squarely, I think, on the shoulders of cities, and a place where we can lead while we try to listen to doctors and get them what they need so that they can provide care.

    BI: I think one of the unique challenges that Los Angeles faces, and I know you're aware of this, is the fact that we have so many of our residents living on the streets still. Even though there's a shelter-in-place order, there are still encampments all around my neighborhood, all around everyone's neighborhood in Los Angeles. So I would like to hear what else the city is doing to address that public health crisis, and do you think we can maintain a sense of urgency even after this is over?

    EG: Well, I certainly hope so because I've had this sense of urgency before. Over a year ago, I said we needed a FEMA-like response to homelessness, and it was the only way we'd ever scale up the resources to truly end homelessness, not just hope to reduce it by a small percentage. I was very pleased to see federal resources start to flow into this. I've been in regular communication with [Secretary of Housing and Urban Development] Ben Carson and there is, I forget the number ... for housing and homelessness in the federal package. And I was really pleased to see that happen.

    Here in Los Angeles, we've doubled the number of people in just three years that we are taking off the streets every day — about 133 a day. But about 150 are becoming homeless before this crisis started today. So it didn't require much more to get to the tipping point.

    But if we really want to accelerate that, we're certainly stepping up, now that we do have literally a FEMA-based response because we can, for public health, move people into safe spaces, like shelters and motel rooms. FEMA will reimburse that, hopefully, most of it.

    And that is absolutely critical to us when this is long over, making sure that they aren't just there for a few weeks, but that we can make exits into housing for the folks that are there, as well. So that, to me, this is a real opportunity. I say never let a crisis like this go to waste, but that's going to be absolutely critical for us to be able to make sure this isn't just getting people off the streets for a minute.

    And you're right, a lot of people don't have a place to go. So there's also been conflicting guidance. Initially, we moved to put everybody into recreation centers. Those are at capacity. We opened up the first eight. We've got 13 more on our way to 42 of those that we thought would house 6,000 people. But the spacing requirements were changed, so that now is going to be about 2,000 folks. We have 600 hotel rooms with the county.

    And people have to understand this is a shared responsibility. No city government can house the homeless on their own and cannot care for them in a health crisis. It really requires counties stepping up, state and federal money, as well. And the good news is, Gov. [Gavin] Newsom, we got a $19 million check two days ago for homeless policy and crisis response. Like I said, there's money … in the [federal ] package here for housing and homelessness. Seven billion, excuse me, not 30. So it's $7 billion. But that, for us, if we did that proportionate on the homeless population, LA County should get about $700 million of that, which would be pretty helpful. And then of course, the county has to help us on the healthcare side, because cities don't do that. But right now we need people who can monitor, care for, and help cure anybody who is an un-housed Angeleno before this spreads on the street.

    los angeles california homeless coronavirus

    BI: And do you have a current estimate of how many people are still un-housed in Los Angeles?

    EG: Yeah, in the City of Los Angeles, we estimate it's about ... roughly 31,000 homeless in the City of Los Angeles. If you take sheltered out of that, you've got 23-24,000 in a given year. We estimate probably 15,000 on the streets and we're going to be taking about 2,000 of them off.

    BI: So 15,000 on the streets. And after the response to COVID-19, there's still about 13,000.

    EG: Well, today. This is incredibly dynamic every single day. The more money we get, the more money we can do. The more leases that the county has with hotels and motels, the farther we can push that number down. So we don't have a set number. We're trying to do as much as possible.

    And … the other conflicting advice is CDC has also said that encampments should not be cleared. Now, the way I read that is they're saying, if there's no place for people to go, don't move encampments, that can actually move the virus. But that said, it's not clear whether they're saying, yeah, shelters with proper spacing is good, or everybody needs to have a room that's isolated. And to do that with 15,000 people will be impossible.

    BI: And have we seen the spread of the virus among this population?

    EG: Thankfully, not yet. I'm sure it's there because it's in every population. We haven't seen a disproportionate share yet, but it is a place where it can spend most quickly, like wildfire in a place like Skid Row. So we've prepared and are preparing for that. We're doing a lot of screening on the streets. We have LAPD, city employees, and others who are screening before anybody goes into shelters, and within shelters we're protecting shelter workers and using our limited tests to make sure that LAHSA [Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority] and shelter workers who exhibit any symptoms are immediately tested for COVID-19.

    BI: One of the measures that the city council was supposed to take up before it suspended itself earlier this week was a measure that would address, I think, one of the leading causes of homelessness in our city, which is the cost of housing. There was a proposal to freeze rent in LA during this crisis, and I'm just curious if you are considering executive action on that.

    EG: That can be interpreted in two ways, so we're still trying to determine whether that meant people don't have to pay rent at all or there's no increases. Is it a rent increase freeze or is it a nobody has to pay the rent? If it's nobody has to pay the rent, that's not a power that we have, nor would we have the power to do that for rent-increase freeze for anything that's not rent-stabilized. And the majority of our apartments are rent-stabilized, so we are looking at that, whether or not we can mandate no rent increases right now. And I've brought this up with the governor's office, and my office, and some other mayors, about whether there could be state action to ensure that.

    Without concomitant measures to help landlords not default on their mortgages and for banks not to run out of money, we need — you know, this is a series of dominoes. To tell people that nobody has to pay rent, and then to tell landlords, "Don't worry, you don't have to pay your mortgage," and then to tell banks, "Don't worry, you're going to be supported," that's a pretty big undertaking. And I don't see that in the $2 trillion [federal] package that was just put forward.

    So just being realistic, but we've said nobody will be evicted. They'll have six months to pay their rent to help space this out. We can do some more work there. And I banned some other evictions, for instance conversions to condos, two days ago, are now banned. That was a legal way to get rid of your tenants in the past, as well as us looking at what we could do with all the apartments that sit under our rent stabilization ordinance. But Costa-Hawkins, the state [rent control] law, prohibits us from doing that in market-rate apartments, even with emergency powers.

    Eric Garcetti

    BI: While acknowledging the limits of your power, as you know, if there is an eviction moratorium, a lot of people are losing their jobs right now. And so, while they might be able to stay in their homes for the next three months, they might not be able to pay the three months' worth of rent. So what do you need to help Angelenos in that situation?

    EG: Well, a number of things. Cash assistance, of course. One of the nice things, and the best thing, is that if we get a federal aid package, it allows people to continue to get paid or get the cash assistance that allows them to make the basic payments for food and for their rent, for their utilities. We're telling people, "You're still responsible for these things," but of course these can be pushed out, and hopefully we can work payment plans out. Certainly we can with Department of Water and Power, which we control.

    There's tens of thousands of private landlords, so that's difficult to mandate any one way of doing that. But that's why we said six months, which we think will give people breathing room. And if history is a guide, the recovery from pandemics is actually economically sometimes faster than, for instance, the stock market anticipates or that others predict. So that is very fluid; we'll have to look at that. But now that there's cash on the way and people have the peace of mind of not knowing they have evictions, we just have to get through this first couple of weeks before we can answer the month-long questions.

    BI: Moving on to how long you expect our current measures, like shelter in place, to last. I know the LA Unified School District has said that schools are going to be closed until at least May 1st. Can the rest of us expect to be staying in our homes until at least then?

    EG: Absolutely. I think this is at least two months, and be prepared for longer.

    BI: And what's keeping you up at night right now?

    EG: I could keep you on for about an hour, but I'll try to edit it down. I'm actually trying to make sure I get my sleep, because I need to have that to lead. But I think the main horrifying thing that I think is keeping every local leader awake is the projection of how many people will get this, the projection of what the mortality rate will be, and how many dead we will have. I deeply appreciate and am working extremely hard on everything else, from the economic suffering to the provision for our first responders, to getting our homeless off the streets and into safe places.

    At the end of the day, the social distancing measures and how effective they will be is the most important thing that any local leader can focus on. And when you push the numbers out, will we have hundreds and thousands of deaths or will we have tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths? That's what keeps me up. These are people who all know, who each one of us will know. It'll be our friends, it'll be our family, it'll be people whom we love dearly. And everything I do is through that lens. Everything else can be rebuilt, everything else can be replaced, but a life can never be replaced.

    coronavirus

    BI: Is there any reason for optimism at this time then, or is that just going to get more people hurt? Because we're seeing it from the national level, optimism that we'll get back to business in just a matter of weeks. Do platitudes like that help or is that just naive?

    EG: We have to keep hope, but our hope has to be grounded in data. We can't have premature optimism that puts people's lives at risk. I can't say that strongly enough. Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people. It will crush their spirits, will change their actions ... Sorry. Will crush their spirits, will revert their actions, and will kill more people.

    But of course we have to have hope. Of course there are beautiful rays of sunshine, of people's generosity and stepping up to help one another, the time that we're spending with one another. This will not kill most of us. It will kill a lot more people than we're used to dying around us. And that's a tough space to hold. Not knowing who that will be, not knowing exactly when it will be, but knowing that it will be. But absolutely there are tremendous rays of sunshine that are streaming through these dark clouds. And while we know the clouds aren't disappearing anytime soon, rabbi told me this morning, my rabbi, we did a little prayer circle, and he said, "The shadow of the valley of death, the shadows can only exist as evidence that there is light." So when we walk through that valley, we know that there is light and it will be there at the end.

    BI: I just want to close with one last question, which is: When people talk about returning to normalcy, will there be a return to a normal life in Los Angeles as we knew it before, or is this going to fundamentally alter Los Angeles, and the country?

    EG: I think this will be a defining moment of our lives and we will be changed, for sure. Some of the ways we probably conduct business and our relations will change, but I do think that we will fundamentally get back to a prosperous and a strong city in which we cannot only come out of our homes, but we can embrace each other again, and do big and bold things.

    I do fully expect, and this isn't as grounded in some Pollyannaish wishes, I have been doing a lot of reading in these last few weeks and looking at 1918, and the places hardest hit by epidemics in other parts of the world, and more recent memory. People do come back. Human beings have a tenacity, not only a will to survive, which we are demonstrating, but a will to thrive. And I do see those days ahead for Los Angeles, 100%.

    Have a news tip? Email reporter Charles Davis at cdavis@insider.com.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Can the US actually implement a nationwide lockdown?


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:22:11 -0400
  • A Gen Zer who contracted the coronavirus during his spring break says the White House's response to the pandemic is one of the main reasons why people aren't taking it seriously

    Max Schulman

    A spring breaker who contracted the coronavirus while on vacation in Spain has some advice for those looking to still hit the beaches during this pandemic: "Act like you already have coronavirus in order to prevent its spread."

    Max Schulman, a student at Vanderbilt University, contracted the virus while on vacation in Barcelona in early March, telling Fox News that "the spread wasn't as extensive [then] as it is right now." Still, he admitted that he wasn't "taking the threat that seriously" during his spring break, and is now encouraging others to understand the danger of this virus. 

    "The major thing that you can be doing to prevent the spread of this is social distancing, not going near anyone," he told Fox News. "I'm sort of an extreme case right now because I am totally quarantined, but you can spread this thing so easily just through a cough or sneeze or anything like that."

    Schulman began his two-week quarantine on March 8 at his parents' house in New York with only mild symptoms. He told Business Insider that, as of March 22, his "initial quarantine period" was finished. Now, he says, he is in "limbo" waiting for guidance from the New York State Department of Health about what to do next. 

    "My experience, thank God, has been very lowkey," Schulman told Business Insider. "I had a 102 fever for two days and no other symptoms after that. Almost as soon as my fever went away, my physical condition returned to normal— I could focus on schoolwork, exercise in my room."

    But, as Schulman noted, many others in his age group still aren't taking the virus seriously — like the vast number of spring breakers who still flocked to Florida in recent weeks, despite warnings from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

    Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower previously reported that Gen Zers like Jawontae Rodgers, a 21-year-old who spring breaked in Panama City Beach, don't think the virus is a "big deal." As more people began to hit the beaches, cities imposed restrictions, which some spring breakers, such as 21-year-old Gabby Porter, found to be "extremely upsetting" because "most students only get one spring break."  

    "I am a senior and booked this trip months ago," Porter, who was in Miami for spring break, told Business Insider. "Unfortunately, coronavirus is really serious and I understand the restrictions — it's just really sad."

    As of Thursday morning, Spain has 56,188 reported cases of the coronavirus, while the United States has 68,905 reported cases.

    Numerous beaches, such as those in Clearwater in Florida and South Padre Island in Texas, received backlash after videos of beachgoers packing the shores emerged on social media. Other beaches, such as those in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa, decided to completely close to the public; however, not all Florida beaches have followed suit. 

    Cece Guida, 19, top, of New York City, pushes on Sam Reddick, 20, of Evansville, Ind., as spring break revelers look on during a game of chicken fight on the beach, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all bars be shut down for 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. and many Florida beaches are turning away spring break crowds urging them to engage in social distancing. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Schulman told Business Insider that he believes the White House's response is one of the main reasons why people are not taking this crisis seriously

    The college student pointed to the fact that President Donald Trump seemingly downplayed the threat of the virus for weeks until he changed his stance on the issue.

    "[Trump] called [criticism of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak] a 'Democratic hoax' and has had this view parroted on outlets like Fox News. And now, even after his administration has taken action on the issue, Trump has violated epidemiologists' cautions about social distancing at his own press conferences," Schulman said.

    "Calling for an end to restrictive measures by Easter is against the advice of health officials. There's a reason why Democrats are significantly more likely to take the threat seriously than Republicans," Schulman continued. "Democrats are listening to the CDC and state health departments while some Republicans are listening to Trump. People need to relax and do what I'm doing: listening to health experts and journalists acting in good-faith. They've got it right."

    SEE ALSO: 'It's Gen Z you want': Millennials are defending themselves from accusations that they're out partying and ignoring warnings amid the coronavirus pandemic

    NOW READ: Florida's spring break problem shows a political pandemic divide: Red and blue states are treating coronavirus differently

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:13:00 -0400
  • 144 passengers and crew members have fallen ill aboard the stranded Holland America cruise so far, and a coronavirus test is still on the way

    holland america zaandam

    • Sickness is spreading on the MS Zaandam, a stranded Holland America Line cruise ship, with 144 passengers and crew members falling ill, people aboard the ship told Business Insider.
    • Previously, the cruise line reported that 42 crew members and guests were exhibiting "influenza-like symptoms."
    • Holland America has dispatched the MS Rotterdam to supply the Zaandam with COVID-19 testing kits and other medical supplies.
    • The Zaandam has been locked out of South American ports over coronavirus concerns.
    • The ship-tracking website Vessel Finder located the ship off the coast of Ecuador. 
    • Are you a cruise ship passenger or employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    A total of 144 passengers and crew members have fallen ill aboard the MS Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship stranded off the coast of South America, according to passengers on board.

    Previously, the cruise line reported that 13 guests and 29 crew members were exhibiting "influenza-like symptoms." Now, passengers on board told Business Insider that the numbers have jumped to 86 crew members and 58 passengers.

    Holland America did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment, although they did post an update to the line's official Facebook page on March 24. 

    The outbreak of illness has not yet been identified as COVID-19, as the Zaandam does not have coronavirus testing capacity on board. Holland America has dispatched the MS Rotterdam to supply the Zaandam with COVID-19 testing kits and other medical supplies.

    "As all ports along Zaandam's route are closed to cruise ships, Holland America Line has deployed Rotterdam to rendezvous with Zaandam and provide extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed," Holland America said in a statement posted on Facebook. "Carrying 611 crew and no guests, Rotterdam departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at 3 p.m. local time on March 22 and the current schedule is for the two ships to meet by the evening of March 26 off the coast of Panama."

    The cruise is currently located off the coast of Ecuador, according to the ship-tracking website Vessel Finder. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew members on board.

    Passengers were confined to their state rooms on March 22, with crew members relegated to delivering meals and collecting trash from each cabin. But concerns over the ship's sanitary measures have already arisen. Australia's 9 News published photos posted on Facebook of "crew members packed tightly together in a narrow corridor while collecting passengers' meal trays."

     

    The cruise on the Zaandam was scheduled to last 14 days, embarking from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and set to end in San Antonio, Chile, this past Saturday. Those plans were diverted because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the cruise ship rerouted its course to sail north to an undetermined destination.

    Currently, the ship is attempting to secure "a reservation to transit the Panama Canal" with the intention of sailing up to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a March 30 arrival. The Panama Canal Authority declined to comment about whether or not the ship will be permitted to sail through the canal, and the US Embassy in Panama did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Are you a cruise ship passenger or employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: Passengers have been confined to their rooms on Holland America's 'mystery cruise' after 42 guests and crew members come down with 'influenza-like symptoms'

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    NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:11:00 -0400
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom is letting California's 58 counties each decide if gun stores can stay open during the coronavirus shutdown as people line up to panic-buy firearms

    gun shop culver city california shutdown

    • Gun sales across the country have surged as customers panic-buy firearms in addition to essential supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
    • In California and the Bay Area specifically, firearm retailers have seen long lines and spikes in sales as shelter-in-place orders go into effect.
    • But whether or not gun shops qualify as essential businesses that are allowed to remain open during a shelter-in-place order has been unclear.
    • However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that it's up to each of California's 58 counties to decide if gun shops within county borders are allowed to stay open.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    Gun stores across the US have seen surging sales as customers panic-buy firearms amid shelter-in-place orders to contain the coronavirus disease.

    Retailers in California have also seen spikes, as first the San Francisco Bay Area entered a shelter-in-place order, and now the state has as well. As The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week, shaken customers turned to retailers in locales like Novato, Sunnyvale, and Pacifica for guns and for some peace of mind.

    "The government is trying to do everything it can to keep society intact," 36-year-old Andrew Dominguez told the Chronicle outside Pacifica's City Arms store. "But if society is unraveling, it's up to us to protect ourselves."

    Some firearm buyers cited a potential increase in crime rates as one motive for purchasing a gun, though reports have indicated that crime is actually down as stay-at-home orders are issued across the Bay Area. California retailers have also seen an influx of Asian-American customers looking for a means of protection against potential attacks fueled by xenophobia and racism that many are experiencing as the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, continues to spread. 

    There was some uncertainty about whether or not firearm stores qualify as essential businesses and could thus remain open through shelter-in-place orders. Regardless, some gun stores did indeed stay open the day that the Bay Area order went into effect. 

    On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom shed more light on the future of firearm retailers in the state. Instead of designating them as essential or nonessential businesses, he announced that each of the state's 58 counties would be able to decide for themselves.

    "I believe in people's right to bear arms, but I'll defer to the sheriff in this instance, the sheriffs in their respective jurisdictions," said Newsom during a press conference according to Mercury News. 

    Second Amendment advocates argue that people have the right to bear arms now, just as they do when a global pandemic isn't occurring. But some local officials have expressed concern that leaving gun stores open could lead to a public safety issue as residents stock up on guns.

    Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, for example, said Wednesday that gun stores in the county would be closed. Alameda County, another Bay Area county currently under the regionwide shelter-in-place order, closed down a gun shop last week that had stayed open after the order went into effect, according to Mercury News. A spokesperson for the county said that it's also up to individual cities to enforce county orders.

    Gun stores that do end up remaining open are still enforcing social distancing practices, with some directing staff to wear gloves and masks and allowing only 10 people to enter the shop at a time.

    Essential businesses that have typically remained open during shelter-in-place orders are grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and hardware stores. 

    The San Francisco Bay Area is in the second week of the three-week shelter-in-place order, though that could be extended. Newsom said last week that the statewide stay-at-home order would last for at least eight weeks.

    There are currently 1,887 confirmed cases of the virus in California, including 798 in the Bay Area.

    SEE ALSO: Here are the do's and don'ts for going outside under the different lockdown or shelter-in-place restrictions as countries across the world battle the coronavirus

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:59:24 -0400
  • More than 1,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus — one chart shows how it's failing to 'flatten the curve'

    Times square coronavirus

    More than 69,000 people in the US have gotten the coronavirus, and more than 1,000 have died. 

    The US ranks third on the list of countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases, after China and Italy. And the country's outbreak appears to be getting worse over time each day brings an equal or higher number of new confirmed cases than the one before.

    Its epidemic growth curve looks like a steep staircase.

     

    For a month or so following the first confirmed US case, the number of infected people remained low: less than 15 cases. Then on February 28 the day after the US' first case of community spread was reported the number of cases started to rise each day, and that trend hasn't stopped.

    Between March 10 and March 13, the number of new US cases tripled in part due to an increase in testing in state and private labs around the country. Between March 16 and 20, the number of cases tripled again, from about 5,600 to more than 16,600. The last six days have seen the count quadruple: Between March 20 and 26, the number of cases jumped from about 16,600 to more than 69,000.

    Failing to 'flatten the curve'

    Coronavirus cases have been reported in all 50 states and Washington, DC, along with Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. But about 30% of the US cases are in New York State, and more than one-quarter of US deaths have been reported in New York City.

    The US' confirmed case count is likely still far lower than the real number of cases in the country, since testing is still limited. According to the COVID Tracking Project a testing-tracking resource from two journalists at the Atlantic and the founder of a medical data startup 430,000 tests have been run in the US so far. (They note, however, that those figures may be incomplete due to different state policies on reporting negative tests.)

    Here's where the US cases have been reported:

    The growing number of US cases over time suggests that the nation has thus far been unsuccessful in efforts to "flatten the curve," or slow the spread of the coronavirus so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system.

    The best ways to slow the virus' spread are to test widely, isolate people who are ill, trace who sick people had contact with to find others who might have been exposed, quarantine anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, close schools and nonessential business, and encourage people to practice social distancing.

    Without these measures, the number of cases is likely to keep climbing. Flattening the curve, on the other hand, buys time for US healthcare providers to obtain more tests, beds, and ventilators, and to bolster their arsenal of supplies and treatments to combat the coronavirus.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 myths about the coronavirus, including why masks won't help


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:40:00 -0400
  • The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill also includes a provision that'll help you save on pads and tampons

    Dollar General Brooklyn tampons

    • A $2 trillion spending bill to rescue the economy and the healthcare industry from the coronavirus pandemic passed the US Senate last night. It's now headed to the House.
    • A provision in the bill would let people use health savings accounts and flexible spending account to pay for menstrual products, something that currently isn't allowed.
    • You can put money from your paycheck into those accounts without paying taxes on it, effectively making it cheaper to buy menstrual products.
    • The provision extends to pads, tampons, cups, sponges, and liners. 
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    Shoppers are about to get a break on purchasing period products under a provision tucked into the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package making its way through Congress. 

    The change in law would allow people to pay for pads, tampons, cups, sponges, and liners with flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts, which use pre-tax dollars taken from workers' paychecks. Under current law, these accounts can be used for purchases from contact solution to sunscreen and aspirin, but not to pay for menstrual products. 

    That would change under the coronavirus rescue package going before the House Friday and expected to get President Donald Trump's signature this weekend. The bill would re-classify period products as "medical expenses," allowing shoppers to buy them with their FSAs or HSA debit cards at the store. 

    Though most of the coronavirus legislation, known as the CARES Act, is aimed at alleviating climbing unemployment and rescuing an overwhelmed healthcare system, the bill's fast-track created a lobbying spree that allowed for the inclusion of other priorities lawmakers have been working on. The provision was already in the Senate draft as early as Sunday.

    This isn't the first time the issue has come up in Congress. The House had passed a similar measure in 2018, but that bill was never taken up in the Senate.

    Proponents of making the change have referred to the law and other restrictions on accessing menstrual products as the "tampon tax." Gutting it as been part of a broader push for policy changes to improve access to the products, whether that means requiring them to be stocked in schools or exempting menstrual products from state sales taxes. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:21:00 -0400
  • The US is running short on ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how they work and why they're so important.

    covid 19 ventilator shortage.JPG

    • Ventilators are in short supply in the US. 
    • Reported symptoms of patients with coronavirus include difficulty breathing.
    • Ventilators, which blow air into patients' lungs to assist the natural process of breathing, could be the difference between life and death for some.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The US does not have enough ventilators, the medical machines that could be the difference between life and death for COVID-19 virus patients struggling to breathe. 

    February report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins revealed the US has about 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals, with another 8,900 held in a national reserve. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned repeatedly that his state, the epicenter of coronavirus in the US, is at risk of running out of the machines. 

    About 1 million Americans might need a ventilator during the coronavirus outbreak, according to projections from Dr. James Lawler, an infectious diseases specialist and public health expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Lawler's projections didn't include a time frame, and all of those people might not need a ventilator at the same time.

    How a ventilator works

    Some patients with COVID-19 have reported shortness of breath and trouble breathing. A ventilator, which varies in appearance but typically has a square or rectangular base with a hose-like pipe on one side which carries air from the machine to the patient, would be able to help struggling patients.

    "Basically a ventilator is something that blows air into your lungs to assist the natural process of breathing," Dr. Nicholas Hill, the chief of pulmonary and critical care at Tufts University School of Medicine, told Business Insider.  

    There are fundamentally two different kinds of respiratory failure, Hill said. 

    The first kind is called hypercapnic respiratory failure, which is when not enough air is getting in and out of the lungs, causing carbon dioxide to build up. Non-invasive ventilation would be used to treat this sort of failure.

    The second kind, called hypoxemic respiratory failure, is when not enough oxygen is entering someone's bloodstream. This sort of failure is often caused by infections like pneumonia, which can cause damage to the lungs. The coronavirus is also shown to cause such damage. 

    When this happens, Hill said, the lungs become inflamed and build up fluid, causing them to not function properly.

    "We treat that by giving higher fractions of oxygen," Hill said. "We can give you 100% oxygen to get your oxygen levels in the blood up, but we have to be careful because that 100% oxygen could be damaging too."

    Addressing the ventilator shortage in New York

    In New York, the state with the most reported COVID-19 patients in the country, there are still enough ventilators to sustain the fewer than 800 coronavirus patients who currently need to be on the machines, Gov. Cuomo said at a press conference on Tuesday morning. But the governor has estimated that the state will soon need 30,000 ventilators for the virus' peak, which is expected to take place in a few weeks.

    The limited availability of ventilators has prompted Cuomo to propose using one ventilator for two patients if things get worse. That could be risky for patients since ventilators are usually built to help just one person at a time. If ventilators are shared among two patients, they would each need to have similar lung capacities and body sizes for things to go smoothly.

    Doing that would be a "desperate, desperate measure," said Hill, who said focusing on manufacturing more ventilators would be the best option to save lives. 

    Do you work in healthcare? Business Insider would like to hear what you're seeing on the front lines of the coronavirus response. Email the author at ylee@businessinsider.com.

    Hilary Brueck contributed reporting.

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    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 11:40:00 -0400
  • US Navy rushing to test all 5,000 sailors on deployed aircraft carrier hit by serious coronavirus outbreak

    The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Pacific Ocean Jan. 25, 2020. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

    • As the coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt worsens, the Navy has decided to test 100% of the flattop's roughly 5,000 sailors.
    • The Navy reported three cases, the first for a deployed warship, on Tuesday. Five more sailors on the Roosevelt tested positive on Wednesday. By Thursday, the number had reportedly climbed to nearly two dozen.
    • The ship is pulling into Guam and will remain pierside as the Navy tests the entire crew for the highly infectious coronavirus.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    There has been a coronavirus outbreak aboard a deployed US Navy aircraft carrier, and the situation is getting worse. In response, the Navy is pulling the ship into port and testing the entire crew.

    Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly reported Tuesday that "three cases of COVID-19 have been identified among personnel currently deployed and underway on the USS Theodore Roosevelt." Those three cases marked the first aboard a deployed warship.

    A Navy official told Insider on Wednesday that the number of infected sailors had risen to eight, as five more sailors had tested positive.

    By Thursday, the number of coronavirus cases aboard the carrier had climbed to nearly two dozen, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing defense officials.

    "We found several more cases on board the ship," Modly told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. "We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we're able to contain whatever spread might have occurred there."

    There are around 800 COVID-19 test kits on board, but more are being flown in.

    The USS Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed the "Big Stick," is currently pulling into Guam. While pierside, no one on the crew will be permitted to leave. There are around 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier.

    Modly told reporters Thursday that none of the sailors who have been airlifted off the ship due to the coronavirus have been hospitalized, explaining that their present symptoms are "very mild." He said there are "aches and pains" and "sore throats," but nothing requiring hospitalization.

    The acting secretary insisted that the ship remains operationally capable and able to fulfill its mission if necessary.

    The Navy reported Thursday that 104 active-duty service members have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. That figure is more than one-third the 280 infected active-duty military personnel across the Department of Defense.

    SEE ALSO: More than 10,000 US National Guard members are helping battle the coronavirus across the US

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    NOW WATCH: How US Navy carrier strike groups turn the world's oceans into a buffer between the US and war


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:46:42 -0400
  • New Yorkers are fleeing the city to escape the coronavirus, but health officials worry it could worsen outbreaks elsewhere

    suitcase christmas

    • Many residents have left New York City, now the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the United States, for smaller towns.
    • Health experts are concerned that, in doing so, New Yorkers could be unintentionally spreading the virus to places less equipped to handle potential outbreaks.
    • Experts say that anyone who has recently left New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent spreading the virus to other communities.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    When Isabel, a 23-year-old New York City resident, started to become concerned about novel coronavirus cases rising in the city, she couldn't shake her anxiety.

    On March 13, she boarded an Amtrak train and, five hours later, arrived in rural Vermont where her mom, dad, and golden retriever, Mr. Bear, live.

    "I thought being around loved-ones would help [with my anxiety], and it did," Isabel, who asked to omit her last name for privacy reasons, told Business Insider. "I also left because I was nervous about being in such a busy city with people everywhere."

    Like Isabel, many other New Yorkers have left the city, which is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, in an attempt to escape the coronavirus. They're replacing cramped apartments with wide-open spaces, family members, and the ability to go outside without worrying about crowds.

    But health experts are wary of New Yorkers' displacing themselves, and worry that these people could unintentionally spread the coronavirus to places less equipped to handle potential outbreaks.

    New Yorkers left the city in search of more space and comfort

    Amtrak Acela

    Nora, a 25-year-old who typically resides in Brooklyn, told Business Insider that she left the city in search of more space to live and work remotely. She left on March 15 with her roommate and roommate's boyfriend for Killington, Vermont, where her roommate's parents own a vacant vacation home.

    "They were like, 'If it's going to be weeks or months, we would rather be together than apart,' and I was like, 'The three of us in that little apartment [in Brooklyn] are going to kill each other,'" she said.

    Nora said she mainly had anxiety about the three of them spreading coronavirus to Killington residents, so they stayed inside the house for five days, only leaving to walk up and down the driveway for fresh air.

    Isabel said she didn't take particularly intense safety measures once she arrived at her parents' home.

    "Of course, I was washing my hands every three minutes and very aware of keeping my parents healthy," Isabel said. "We have the 'we are all in it together mindset,' mostly because we wanted to be able to hug each other and cook and bake for each other to try to maintain some sort of normalcy while being home. If I came to Vermont feeling sick, then it would be a whole different story."

    New York City is a coronavirus hotspot, but that doesn't mean it's best to leave

    New York City has the majority of coronavirus cases in the country, but other locales are starting to experience upticks in cases, which in some cases could be due to travel from New York.

    During a March 24 White House press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, said she was concerned about people leaving New York to find solace. Birx cited the recent uptick in Long Island cases and said it suggests New Yorkers spread the virus there.

    "To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York," Birx said. "Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure the virus doesn't spread to others, no matter where they have gone — whether it's Florida, North Carolina, or out to far reaches of Long Island."

    On March 20, New York Governor Anthony Cuomo announced that all non-essential employees were required to work from home and after that, direct flights from New York to Florida increased, Politico reported.

    Hospitals bed shortages in some places could make relocating dangerous

    Henry, a 24-year-old who lives in Brooklyn and asked to omit his name for privacy purposes, told Business Insider he left New York on March 18 to drive to a family home  in a suburb outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Henry said that he left because he was worried about infection risk, but never considered the dangers of going to a place with fewer hospitals that could be less equipped to handle an outbreak. Milwaukee County has more ICU beds per 100,000 people than the national median, but that's not the case in many smaller towns.

    Martha's Vineyard, for example, has one hospital on the island and it has 25 beds, the Boston Globe reported. The sole hospital on the nearby island of Nantucket has 14 beds.

    Groceries have been in short supply as New Yorkers head to vacation homes in other places, too. When New Yorkers started heading to their summer homes in the Catskills region, year-round residents noticed how they left grocery store shelves bare.

    "They're pumping gas. They're stopping at grocery stores," Kim Langdon, a 48-year-old resident of Ashland, New York, told the New York Times. "If they're infected and they don't know it, they're putting everyone at risk."

    New Yorkers don't regret fleeing

    killington vermont

    Although leaving New York City posed a risk, Isabel and Nora both said they're happy with their decisions.

    "I am aware there are a lot of people that don't have places to go outside of New York City and I don't take my home here for granted one bit," Isabel said. "I think after all this is over, the world will have a different perspective on everything in life. This time has forced me to focus on everything I am grateful for and this little house in Vermont is one of them."

    Nora said she's thought of the broader implications of people leaving New York and potentially overloading hospitals, and that played into the the isolation measures she's taken.

    "We have no reason to think that we are carrying it, but even so, that is why we have been so careful," Nora said. "I could probably get it and take a bunch of Tylenol and sleep at home and be fine. I don't want to risk putting other people in the hospital."

    Join the conversation about this story »


    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:39:00 -0400

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