Coronavirus Live Updates: W.H.O. Chief Warns It’s ‘Time to Act’

Coronavirus Live Updates: W.H.O. Chief Warns It’s ‘Time to Act’

As Europe and the United States struggle to contain the virus and the markets stagger, the Chinese province at the center of the outbreak reported no new infections outside its capital, Wuhan. New York State confirmed 11 new cases of the coronavirus, the authorities said Friday, all of them linked to a Westchester man who was the state’s second case to test positive for the virus. That brings the state’s total to 33 cases.

The University of Washington said on Friday that it would cancel in-person classes and have students take classes and final exams remotely while the Seattle area grapples with a growing coronavirus outbreak, in a move that other colleges around the country are preparing to follow if the virus becomes more widespread.

A growing number of universities have mobilized emergency planning teams to envision what a shutdown would look like, especially if students were to bring the virus back with them from spring break, which starts Friday on many campuses. Some students have already been warned that they should be prepared to learn online, as many students in Europe and Asia have been forced to do.

The level of concern rose on Thursday with the announcement that a junior at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee who had been studying in Italy had tested positive for the virus after he returned to Chicago when his classes were canceled. The University of California Los Angeles said that three of its students were self-isolating off campus as they awaited test results.

The University of Washington, which has 50,000 students on three campuses across the Seattle region, was apparently the first large college in the United States to shift to online classes amid virus concerns. It said the change would begin on Monday and continue through the rest of the winter quarter, which ends March 20. The university’s president, Ana Mari Cauce, said she was hopeful that normal classes would resume during the spring quarter.

The announcement was the most sweeping decision yet for leaders in the Seattle area rushing to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths and 75 infections in the state — all but one announced over the past week.

“Our goal is to complete this academic quarter with as little disruption to our students and their educational progress as possible,” Ms. Cauce said.

The world’s leading health official implored international leaders to unleash the full power of their governments to combat the new coronavirus outbreak.

“This is not a drill,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. “This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

But around the world, as the number of cases passed 100,000, governments have displayed signs of paralysis, obfuscation and a desire to protect their own interests, even as death tolls passed 3,200 and global capitals were so threatened by infection that politicians and health officials tested positive for the illness.

In the United States, the number of cases passed 245 as public health labs anxiously awaited diagnostic kits, which will allow for a fuller sense of the scale of the crisis. As of Friday, New York State had 33 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

President Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill Friday morning and decided to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, reversing his decision hours earlier to skip touring the nerve center of the government’s response to the health crisis.

Americans struggled to make sense of conflicting information from Mr. Trump and members of his own cabinet. Vice President Mike Pence, who previously vowed that “any American could be tested,” conceded on Thursday that “we don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.”

Dr. Tedros warned that time to contain the virus was running out. “Now is the time to act,” he said. China’s draconian measures to stem the outbreak showed more signs of success on Friday, when Hubei province — the place were the coronavirus first emerged — reported that it had no new cases of infection outside its capital, Wuhan, for the first time.

Still, some political leaders around the world seemed more interested in pointing fingers at one another and complaining about tit-for-tat travel restrictions. Japanese citizens have been outraged by the hands-off approach of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as cases have continued to climb. Lending more outrage, testing has proceeded slowly, leaving many fearful that many infections are going undetected.

In the center of the outbreak in China, residents of Wuhan who have been confined to their homes for weeks heckled the visiting vice prime minister Thursday, with some shouting from their windows: “Fake! Everything is fake!”

At least 45 people on the cruise ship idling off San Francisco who were showing symptoms of the coronavirus could learn the results of their diagnostic tests on Friday.

The panic on the ship, the Grand Princess, began after a 71-year-old man who had traveled on a previous leg of the cruise, a round trip from San Francisco to Mexico, died after leaving the ship. It was the first death from the coronavirus in California. Another passenger from that leg of the trip also tested positive for the virus.

There are 3,533 people currently onboard Grand Princess, including 1,111 crew members. Passengers onboard said they had been confined to their rooms while crew members have canceled large gatherings and were cleaning surfaces more often, among other precautionary measures.

As the coronavirus, which broke out in China last year, has spread across the globe, the West Coast has taken the brunt of the caseload in the United States.

In Washington State, 13 people have died from the virus, most from a Seattle-area nursing home. Also in the Seattle area, two Microsoft employees were being treated for the coronavirus, the first from the company to get the diagnosis, a company spokesman said overnight Thursday. And in California, 56 people have been treated for the coronavirus, the most of any state.

In Southern California, three students at the University of California, Los Angeles are being tested for the virus by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the school’s chancellor said on Thursday night. The students were self-isolating off campus. While the public health department has expedited the test results, university officials decided to keep the campus on its normal schedule of classes and activities.

President Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to confront the coronavirus outbreak and decided to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, reversing his decision hours earlier to skip touring the nerve center of the government’s response to the health crisis.

As late as 9 p.m. Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence publicly indicated that the trip was still on, telling reporters traveling with him to Washington State that the president would formally approve the spending measure while in Atlanta. “President Trump is expected to sign the legislation tomorrow as he visits the C.D.C. in Atlanta,” Mr. Pence said.

But by 11:30 p.m., when the White House issued the president’s public schedule, the visit was no longer on the calendar. A White House official initially said the president had canceled the visit because he did not want to interfere with the work there. But then Mr. Trump told reporters it was called off because of a suspected case of coronavirus at the C.D.C. itself.

As he signed the spending bill at the White House on Friday, Mr. Trump said the report of an infection at C.D.C. turned out to be negative. “So I may be going,” he told reporters. “We’re going to see if they can turn it around.”

En route to Nashville on Friday to visit the site of a deadly tornado, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters that the C.D.C. visit was back on.

“What the president said is true,” Ms. Grisham said when asked about the last-minute reversal. She added that test results from the woman at the C.D.C. who was suspected to have the coronavirus came back negative.

The president is to travel to Atlanta after his visit in Nashville and then head to Florida, where he is to headline campaign fund-raising events. He is expected to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: