President Trump said he directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to advise residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid non-essential travel for two weeks in an attempt to tamp down spread of coronavirus in the region, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.
Mr. Trump abandoned his idea of an “enforceable” quarantine of all residents who leave the New York area, including parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. The president tweetedthat a “quarantine will not be necessary,” citing the CDC guidance.
The total number of cases in the U.S. increased to more than 124,000, with more than 2,100 deaths, including an infant in Illinois, who officials believe is the youngest death so far from coronavirus.
The U.S. continues to top the list for the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, with Italy following with more than 92,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Italy reached another grim milestone on Saturday as the number of deaths topped 10,000, more than any other country.
WHO expert: “Risk assessment” should guide decisions to lift lockdowns
Dr. David Heymann, a professor of epidemiology and special adviser to the World Health Organization, said any decision to ease restrictions in the U.S. and around the world to begin re-opening the economy should be made based on the risk of transmitting the deadly coronavirus.
“The general consensus is that it depends on the risk assessment in the country,” Heymann said on “Face the Nation.” “China has already begun to unlock its heavy industrial sector and also its small business sector, and they’re watching very closely to make sure that transmission doesn’t increase as a result. That’s what other countries need to do as well.”
Heymann said other areas of the world need to know “where the majority of transmission is occurring and then they need to keep those sectors locked down most while unlocking the sectors where transmission is less important.”
President Trump has suggested that a target date for reopening the U.S economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak, is April 12, Easter. But public health officials warn that lifting restrictions too soon could lead to more deaths and further damage the economy.
To limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued social distancing guidelines and called for gatherings of more than 10 people to be canceled, while governors have ordered residents in their states to remain in their homes and ordered nonessential businesses to close.
Heymann said the strategy of containment works if it starts early and continues even as the number of cases grow.
“The objective is to identify people who are infected, either those who are sick or those who are contacts of those people who are sick, and then to isolate those people and stop transmission while at the same time having other measures, such as physical distancing and means to keep people from getting too close together,” he said.
Treasury secretary says checks from coronavirus bill coming “within 3 weeks”
Americans who are eligible to receive one-time payments from the federal government as part of a massive coronavirus economic relief package will see that money deposited into their bank accounts “within three weeks,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday.
“We expect that within three weeks, that people who have direct deposit with information with us will see those direct deposits into their bank accounts, and we will create a web-based system for people where we don’t have their direct deposit, they can upload it so that they can get the money immediately as opposed to checks in the mail,” Mnuchin said on “Face the Nation.”
As part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last week, Americans who make up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 checks, plus $500 per dependent child. The amount gradually decreases for incomes up to $99,000, at which point the payments cut off.
Income levels will be based off of 2019 income tax returns for those who have already filed. Returns for 2018 will be used for those who haven’t.
Read more here.
Louisiana governor calls on federal government to send more ventilators
With Louisiana seeing explosive growth in its number of coronavirus cases and New Orleans poised to become the next epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Governor John Bel Edwards said the federal government has not yet approved the state’s request for more ventilators from the nation’s stockpile.
“We haven’t yet been approved for ventilators out of the National Stockpile,” Edwards, a Democrat, said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “I continue to press that case, and I hope that we will be cut in for a slice of what they have left there and that we get them in the next few days.”
Edwards said the state has also reached out for vendors, placing orders for 12,000 more machines from manufacturers who are already stretched to capacity. So far, Louisiana has received just 192, he said.
“That is inadequate to the past because if we stay on this present growth curve that we’re on with respect to coronavirus cases, we believe that by about April the 4th or so in the New Orleans area, we will exceed our capacity for ventilators, and obviously that’s not where we want to be,” Edwards said.
First federal inmate dies of COVID-19
The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said Saturday that an inmate had died from complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, becoming the first person in federal custody to succumb to the virus.
Patrick Jones, 49, was an inmate at Federal Correctional Complex, Oakdale in Louisiana. He started complaining of a persistent cough on March 19, and died Saturday in the hospital, according to a statement from BOP. The bureau said he suffered from preexisting conditions.
The facility at Oakdale had five coronavirus cases as of the bureau’s latest count, the highest number at a federal complex in the country. Advocated and attorneys have urged the Justice Department to release elderly inmates and those with underlying medical issues that make them more vulnerable to the virus.
Attorney General William Barr ordered the bureauon Thursday to increase the use of home confinement for vulnerable inmates in an effort to reduce their risk.
CDC issues travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
The CDC on Saturday issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The announcement came after Mr. Trump said he was considering enacting an “enforceable” quarantine in the New York metro area, an idea he backed off of later on Twitter, where he also requested the CDC travel advisory.
“Due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” the CDC said in a statement. “This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”
The CDC also noted that the governors of the three states would “have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.”
Infant dies of coronavirus in Illinois, health department says
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Saturday that an infant has died from coronavirus, CBS Chicago reports. Ezike said the infant and a state employee were among 13 new deaths in the state from coronavirus.
Ezike said a “full investigation” is underway into the child’s death.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker said the death of an infant is rare.
“Upon hearing it, I was immediately shaken. It’s appropriate for any of us to grieve today,” Pritzker said.
There have been 3,491 cases in Illinois and 47 fatalities, according to CBS Chicago.
— CBS News