Late last night, President Trump said he wasn’t planning on quarantining New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but that the governors of other states like Florida had complained about the number of travelers from out-of-state bringing disease and pestilence with them from the big city.
So, instead of a quarantine, governors are taking measures into their own hands, and authroizing the police and the national guard to interrogate anybody with an out-of-state license plate, or a rental vehicle or an out-of-state driver’s license about the steps they’re taking to quarantine themselves, and issue fines if necessary.
Spain on Sunday reported yet another record rise in the death toll – another 838 fatalities – bringing the total to about 6,500 deaths and almost 79,000 registered coronavirus cases, the fourth highest in the world. It’s at least the second day in a row that Spain has reported a ‘record-breaking’ jump in its death toll.
But the US, with its total number of cases climbing at the fastest pace on record anywhere – even as large swaths of the country still have trouble accessing tests – is really starting to panic. The number of confirmed cases globally is nearing 682k, and in the US, 124,866 have been confirmed as of Sunday morning, Johns Hopkins said. Another 2,191 deaths had been recorded, with nearly 200 of those having occurred since late Saturday.
Last night, Jim Dolan, the owner of NBA team New York Knicks, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the basketball team said in a Twitter post.
The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 29, 2020
In other news, Peg Broadbent, the CFO of investment bank Jeffries, has passed away due to “complications” related to contracting COVID-19.
Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the other states that have ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine. In Texas, the authorities said on Friday that Department of Public Safety agents would make surprise visits to see whether travelers were adhering to the state’s mandate, and they warned that violators could be fined $1,000 and jailed for 180 days. Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont last week urged all travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped short of issuing an order requiring it.
Just like in the US, where national guard troops in multiple states are now stopping anybody with a New York license plate to ask them, kindly, what in the hell they are doing driving around in a different state, European police are struggling to stop wealthier Europeans from fleeing to their cottages by the lake and/or mountains, which purportedly ‘lessen the difficulty of confinement’.
Even political leaders have faced criticism. In Spain, José María Aznar, the former prime minister, departed for his holiday villa in Marbella, a celebrity resort on the Mediterranean, leaving Madrid on the day that schools were shuttered. News of his move prompted an angry backlash as the public demanded he shut himself inside his villa.
Meanwhile, after a hospital system in Michigan revealed new protocols that would prioritize life-saving equipment for younger patients with fewer co-morbidities, the US civil rights office released a new bulletin arguing that protocols to ration lifesaving medical care adopted by Alabama, Washington State and elsewhere were discriminatory and impermissible. This comes as more hospitals develop plans to ration care that sometimes involves making uncomfortable choices. This is “war”, right?
Many plans would prioritize patients who were most likely to survive their immediate illness, and who also had a better chance of long-term survival. Some assign patients a score based on calculations of their level of illness, with decisions on patients with similar scores being made by chance. Some plans instruct hospitals not to offer mechanical ventilators to people above a certain age, or with a certain combination of high-risk conditions.
In Louisiana, where Gov. Jon Bel Edwards is begging for more federal aid as the outbreak ramps up, an inmate at a federal prison also died from the coronavirus, according to an employee at the facility. The death is the first involving an inmate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. Yesterday, we reported that an infant had died in Chicago, possibly the first in the US. Authorities have apparently confirmed this is, unfortunately, the truth.
Newborns and babies have seemed to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus, but three new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in utero.
“There has never before been a death associated with Covid-19 in an infant,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.” Older adults, especially those in their 80s and 90s, have been viewed as the most vulnerable in the outbreak, but younger people have also died despite having no co-occurring conditions, as we’ve pointed out.
The BoP website presently lists five inmates and no staff members at the Oakdale prison as having tested positive, and across the federal system, at least 27 inmates and prison workers have tested positive for the virus.
Along the border, a judge concerned that thousands of migrant children in federal detention facilities could be in danger of contracting the coronavirus ruled late Saturday that the government must “make continuous efforts” to release the migrant children from custody, which would seem to violate the spirit of the whole ‘shelter in place’ idea.
The order, from Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court, came after plaintiffs in a long-running case over the detention of migrant children cited reports that four children being held at a federally licensed shelter in New York had tested positive for the virus.
In New York City, still the center of the outbreak across the US, the number of infections has overwhelmed city systems in a matter of days. The city’s 911 system has been overwhelmed by calls for mostly virus-related medical problems. Typically, the system sees about 4,000 Emergency Medical Services calls a day.On Thursday, dispatchers received nearly double that number. They haven’t seen this many calls since 9/11.
Yesterday, we shared a video made by Taiwanese journalists involving a senior WHO official who steadfastly refused to say anything about China’s response or the WHO’s dismissive treatment of Taiwan.
oh. my. god. pic.twitter.com/GAwEj5yvT0
— masks work (@wilfredchan) March 28, 2020
Now, the NYT reports that the WHO official “ducked questions about Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” reviving suspicions about China and the “undue influence” that Beijing has over the WHO.
Thank god New Yorkers have Andrew Cuomo to lead them through this crisis, because it seems like despite all of the government’s efforts, the outbreak is still accelerating faster than most models had projected.
The NY curve is accelerating against our model… pic.twitter.com/Us3FoaBe9p
— Remi Tetot (@RemiGMI) March 29, 2020
“While the president has said he’d like to open the country up in weeks not months, we’re going to be bringing that data forward to him,” Pence said in an interview with Fox News. “Ultimately, the president will make a decision that he believes is in the best interest of all of the American people”
Over in Italy, where the pace of new cases is finally starting to slow, a top Italian health official said Sunday that he believes the country is at the “peak” of the coronavirus outbreak and that within a week to 10 days the number of cases will start dropping. Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri told the BBC that Italy’s lockdown is starting to work. The country is the world’s worst-hit by the pandemic, having overtaken the official Chinese death toll 10 days ago. “I believe we are living in the peak of this epidemic,” Sileri said. “In one week time, 10 days maximum, we will see a drop, a significant drop in positive cases.”
Let’s hope, for the Italians sake, and for the Americans’ sake, that he’s right.