"It's Time To Pull Out All The Stops": Coronavirus Spreads To Nevada, Tennessee, New Jersey; Officials Believe Virus Already Spreading In NYC: Live Updates


  • New Jersey confirms first presumptive case
  • Pentagon tracking 12 possible COVID-19 cases
  • NYC reports 2 more cases, raising total to 4
  • Italy postpones referendum vote
  • WHO’s Tedros: “Now’s the time to pull out the stops”
  • Tennessee confirms case
  • Nevada confirms first case
  • New Delhi closes primary schools
  • EU officials weigh pushing retired health-care workers back into service to combat virus
  • Italy to ask EU for permission to raise budget deficit as lawmakers approve €7.5 billion euros
  • Beijing tells residents not to share food
  • 30-year-old Chinese man dies in Wuhan 5 days after hospital discharge
  • Cali authorities tell ‘Grand Princess’ cruise ship not to return to port until everyone is tested
  • Global case total passes 95k
  • Lebanon sees cases double to 31
  • France reports 2 more deaths
  • EY sends 1,500 Madrid employees home after staffer catches virus
  • Trump says he has a “hunch” true virus mortality rate is closer to 1%
  • Switzerland reports 1st death
  • South Africa confirms 1st case
  • UK chief medical officer confirms ‘human-to-human’ infections are happening in UK
  • UK case total hits 115
  • Google, Apple, Netflix cancel events
  • HSBC sends research department and part of London trading floor home
  • Facebook contract infected in Seattle
  • Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Netflix cancel events and/or ask employees to work from home
  • Netherlands cases double to 82
  • Spain cases climb 40, 1 new death
  • Belgium reports 27 new cases bringing total to 50
  • Germany adds 87 cases bringing total to 349

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Update (1120ET): Italian health officials have reported 25 more deaths on the Lombardy region of northern Italy – the worst-hit region. Deaths in this region alone have climbed to 98, bringing Italy’s national total to 132.

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Update (1100ET): The UK has reported that total coronavirus cases have risen to 115 from 85 earlier on Thursday, making the UK the latest European nation to see its total confirmed cases break above 100.

In the corporate sphere, accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young sent around 1,500 employees from its Madrid offices home on Thursday after a staffer was confirmed to have contracted the virus. Wal-Mart is restricting all cross-border travel to only “business-critical” trips.

As of March 5, the CDC has confirmed 100 cases in its lab, the agency said, meaning some cases reported by the states have yet to be ‘officially’ confirmed. It has also confirmed another death, bringing the total to 10 (meaning one reported death has yet to be officially confirmed). DHS said US has no plans at this time to lift China travel restrictions.

WHO’s Dr. Tedros said Thursday during the NGOs daily presser that now is the time to “pull out all the stops” to combat the virus – which is ironic, considering the agency won’t officially label the outbreak a ‘pandemic’, even though experts in the US have told the Washington Post and other media orgs that it is undoubtedly a pandemic. They also added that there’s “no evidence” the virus has been spread from a human to a dog, despite earlier reports.

WHO added that heads of state must “take responsibility” for their virus response (obviously a snipe at President Trump, whom critics have accused of ‘denying’ the existence of the virus’.

Tedros also threatened to “name names” of governments that aren’t doing enough to prepare for the outbreak during his next press conference.

The organization also has found no evidence the virus will behave differently in different climates, even as its spread across Africa has been notably slow.

EU officials are reportedly considering pressing retired health-care workers back into service as a ‘response’ to the virus. Hopefully, the elderly nurses and doctors aren’t left to catch the virus and die.

* * *

Update (1035ET): Another Italy update…


Unsurprising given that lawmakers approved more than the recommended €5 billion.

* * *

Update (1025ET): Xinhua reports 16 new cases have been confirmed in Lebanon, more than doubling the case total to 31.

  • Xinhua: Lebanon’s COVID-19 cases rise to 16

In other news, Italy has dedicated more money to its coronavirus response than it initially expected. .


 * * *

Update (1015ET): As we move closer to half of states having confirmed cases of their own, the Nevada Independent reported that Nevada officials had identified the first case of the virus in the state just minutes after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee confirmed the first case in his state.


17 states now have confirmed cases of Covid-19.

 * * *

Update (1010ET): Tennessee has confirmed is first case, according to media reports.


The reports were almost immediately confirmed by the governor.

* * *

Update (1000ET): The Pentagon is reportedly tracking 12 individuals who may be infected with the coronavirus.


* * *

Update (0930ET): France health officials have reported another 2 deaths, bringing the death toll in Europe’s second-largest economy to at least six.

We also have some more details on the first case in South Africa, which we noted earlier on Thursday shortly after the news broke: SA’s News 24 has some more information on the case: It’s a 38-year-old man who had recently traveled to Italy.

Italy and Iran remain two of the most commonly-cited spreaders, as travelers around the world are bringing the virus home after trips to northern Italy.

The man and his wife were among a group of 10 who returned from Italy on March 1. 

Yet the government insists it doesn’t expect more cases as South Africa’s summer season is typically inhospital to viral outbreaks. Given the surprising lack of spread in Africa so far – which some fear might be a result of low testing rates – they might have a point.

* * *

Update (0920ET): Two Italian Red Crossvolunteers have tested positive while another 140 have been deemed “at risk” for infection. Trump “Iran whisperer” Brian Hook said Thursday that Iran had rejected the State Department’s offer of assistance.

Meanwhile, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has shared some more details about the two new cases confirmed in New York, including confirming that investigators haven’t been able to trace the source of the infection, suggesting that an uncontained outbreak is already underway in NYC.

Since they haven’t traveled, the patients were almost certainly infected in the US, and possibly in NYC.

* * *

Update (0850ET): Yesterday, we pointed out that the first fatality reported in California appeared to be the same patient – a 71-year-old man – whom state officials had said recently traveled aboard a cruise ship called the “Grand Princess”. The ship, which was ironically on its way to dock in San Francisco at the time, was ordered to remain offshore. According to USA Today, officials confirmed on Wednesday that the ship will not return to port until testing of everyone on board can be carried out.

And just like that, the US has its own cruise ship emergency, though it appears authorities are learning from the mistakes made by Japanese health officials during the ‘Diamond Princess’ fiasco (to be sure, the US clearly violated quarantine by transporting sick passengers back to the US).

Gov. Newsom said the state would scramble to test the passengers as quickly as possible.

“We will be able to test very quickly… to determine if these individuals that are symptomatic just have traditional colds or the flu or may have contracted the COVID-19 virus,” Newsom said.

We’ll keep an eye on that – we suspect we might have more cases to report soon.

Over the last hour or so, some more virus-linked headlines have hit the tape.

  • South Africa has reported its first case of the virus.
  • New Delhi has shut down primary schools as virus spreads in India.
  • Confirmed cases of the virus have doubled in the Netherlands to 82
  • US official ‘concerned’ about health of Iranian detainees.

We’ll be back with more updates shortly.

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Update (0840ET): Italy has postponed a referendum to reduce the number of lawmakers, a hot-button local issue that is at the crux of a government reform agenda pushed by the Five Star Movement. 


* * *

Update (0822ET): As China continues to roll out new restrictions on foreign travelers, all while gloating about the world’s inability to contain the outbreak that China unleashed, Global Times editor Hu Xijin tweeted Thursday morning that he was “calling on” the Chinese government to impose 14-day quarantines for everybody traveling from the US.

China managed to stop the virus only by restricting the movements of roughly half its population. Democracies like the US unfortunately don’t have that power.

* * *

Update (0720ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has apparently just announced during an appearance on “Morning Joe” that NYC has confirmed 2 more cases, raising the citywide total to 4 and the state-wide total to 13, per the NYT.

The new cases include a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s.

* * *

With stock futures once again pointing to a massive drop at the open, the brief respite provided by Joe Biden’s political comeback has faded as Americans brace for the outbreak by, among other things, hoarding Purell, while California and others threaten to prosecute sellers caught gouging prices on essentials as people across the country stock up.

More US companies have cancelled events: Last night, Google said it would cancel its developer conference and Netflix has cancelled SXSW screenings. In London, HSBC has evacuated its entire research department and parts of its Canary Wharf trading floor, Financial News reports. A Facebook contractor has been infected in the company’s Seattle office. Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have all asked their Seattle employees to work from home.

Since midday on Wednesday, the virus death toll in the US has held steady at 11. But there’s no denying the reality that coronavirus hysteria has arrived in America. Last night, California declared a state of emergency, joining Florida and Washington State.

And with cases confirmed in New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey, the virus has officially gone bi-coastal.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 95,000, and the global death toll is north of 3,000. China remains by far the worst hit, with 80,410 cases, while South Korea is No. 2 with 5,766. They’re followed by Italy and Iran.

Courtesy of the FT

In addition to declaring the state of emergency, Cali Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that a cruise ship – the ‘Grand Princess’ – preparing to dock in San Francisco be held off the coast of California after the one fatality in California was linked to a previous voyage on the ship.

Late yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that local health officials had discovered the first “presumptive” case of the virus in Bergen County, a suburb of New York City. The individual, a male in his 30s, has been hospitalized in the county since March 3. The “presumptive” case was initially tested at a local New Jersey lab

According to the CDC, 14 US states have reported either confirmed or “presumptive” cases of the virus.

Already, the number of confirmed cases in the US is north of 150 (including the 48 evacuees).

Yesterday, VP Pence and HHS Secretary Azar promised that new screening measures would be applied to travelers from South Korea and Italy. Australia on Thursday joined the list of countries restricting travel by barring visitors from South Korea. Meanwhile, in a glimpse of what’s to come for the airline industry, which could be in for a $100 billion hit tied to the coronavirus, the UK regional airline Flybe collapsed.

As the outbreak appears to wane in China, President Xi has cancelled a state visit to Japan because of the rapidly circulating outbreak.

Though it wasn’t all good news out of Beijing: Last night, the western press reported that a 36-year old man thought to have recovered from coronavirus had died from respiratory failure in Wuhan five days after being discharged. It’s alarming because the man was young and otherwise healthy – characteristics that should have made him particularly resilient to the virus.

Also, Beijing has imposed a new rule on residents: Eat alone, keep away from co-workers, and under no circumstances should you share plates with others (popular in so called ‘hot pot’ dishes and other communal-type meals).

Much to the chagrin of his political allies, President Trump continued his campaign to minimize the severity of the outbreak during an appearance on Hannity Wednesday night when he said he had a “hunch” the real mortality rate for the virus is closer to 1% than the 3.4% estimate shared by Dr. Tedros during Wednesday’s WHO Press conference.

In South Korea, mass testing has confirmed more than 6,000 cases as of the health officials’ second update on Thursday, as well as more than 40 deaths. Italy has confirmed more than 3,000 cases, along with more than 100 deaths. Elsewhere in Asia, Malaysia has confirmed another 5 cases, bringing its national total to 55. Travelers who have recently visited any hot spots – northern Italy, Hokkaido (in Japan), Tehran and Daegu – will be temporarily banned from entering Malaysia, unless they are Malaysian citizens.

Officially, Iran has confirmed 92 deaths and 2,922 cases. But the Washington Post reported last night that data obtained from a string of hospitals in Tehran suggests that the epidemic has spread far more widely than the government has acknowledged.

CNN reports that the case total in India, the world’s second most populous country, has climbed to 29 (three have already recovered). In response, India has started screening all passengers who arrive at its airports for the virus. The Indian government is also preparing to evacuate its citizens from Iran, becoming the first country to plan an evacuation from the epicenter of the virus in the Middle East.

Based on the data, which was given to WaPo by a UK-based activist, the true case count in Iran is probably closer to 30,000 than the 3,000 cases counted by the government. And the death toll is likely closer to 1,000 than 100 – after all, the BBC reported last week that the true death toll was already north of 200 days ago.

Whatever the real number, as more senior government officials catch the virus, the Islamic Republic has kicked off its “national mobilization” scheme in which 300,000 medical teams joined by voluntary members of the IRGC – the Revolutionary Guard – will monitor families across the country and take unexplained action to help limit the spread. The teams will be stationed in “medical facilities, schools and military bases” across Iran. The Iranian government has also started to limit travel within the country after suspending issuing visas for travelers from other hot spots.

With 15 cases confirmed in Israel, the West Bank city of Bethlehem has closed all mosques and churches, setting of a controversy in the town where Jesus was reportedly born, Middle East Eye reports.

Over in Europe, Switzerland reported its first death overnight; health officials have confirmed 80 cases across the small alpine state. In Italy, where the number of cases climbed above 3,000 (total: 3,089) and deaths surpassed 100 (total: 107), Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said the government could increase the size of the package to €5 billion, according to the FT. In the UK, PM Boris Johnson said Thursday morning during an interview with ITV that the best thing Britons can do to prevent the spread of the virus is to “just wash our hands,” Johnson said. He also stressed that for most people who catch the virus, this will be a “mild to moderate” illness. The number of confirmed cases in the UK climbed to 88 on Thursday. ITV also reported. Six of those were reported in Scotland, 2 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

In London, en employee in HSBC’s research department has reportedly tested positive for the virus, Reuters reported.

The latest increase in cases comes as the NHS warns that it doesn’t have enough nurses, ITV reports. Despite efforts to fill positions, more than 43,000 vacancies remain across the UK.

Meanwhile, UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed that human-to-human transmission is ongoing in the UK, before adding that the UK is now “mainly in the second stage” of its plan to tackle coronavirus, which involves delaying the spread for as long as possible to stop the virus from overwhelming the country’s hospital system.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain confirmed 40 new cases and 1 new death bringing its total to 248 and death toll to 3. Belgium reports 27 new cases raising total to 50.

After all, since western democracies simply can’t undertake the same heavy handed response imposed by China (though the west has the advantage of jumping on the problem instead of choosing to ignore it for weeks), the west is going to need to accept the fact that the virus will likely become significantly more widespread.

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