The COVID-19 Pandemic: Dr. Fauci Offers Glimmer of Hope on Social Distancing; Italy Might Be Turning The Corner; CNN Anchor Tests Positive; and More

World News:

The month of March has been rough on the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered everyday life for people across the globe and many loved ones have been lost before their times. Although numbers continue to rise, there may be a glimmer of hope in some countries that the worst has passed. Worldometer now reports 804,073 confirmed cases from the novel coronavirus and over 39,000 global deaths. The virus can now be found in 201 countries and territories and on every continent short of Antarctica.

The foreign countries most affected by COVID-19 remain:

  • Italy: 101,739 confirmed cases; 11,591 confirmed deaths (most of any country).
  • Spain: 94,417 confirmed cases; 8,189 confirmed deaths.
  • China: 81,518 confirmed cases; 3,305 confirmed deaths.
  • Germany: 67,051 confirmed cases; 682 confirmed deaths.
  • Iran: 44,605 confirmed cases; 2,898 confirmed deaths.
  • France: 44,550 confirmed cases; 3,024 confirmed deaths.
  • UK: 22,141 confirmed cases; 1,408 confirmed deaths.
  • Switzerland: 16,186 confirmed cases; 395 confirmed deaths.

Is the Worst Over in Italy?

Despite Italy now exceeding 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, there’s a reason for optimism, as the rate of infections seems to be subsiding, and the country reported that almost 1,600 people recovered in a single day. The World Health Organization has praised Italy’s work in containing the virus’ spread. “We do hope that Italy and Spain are nearly there, but the virus won’t go down by itself, it needs to be pushed down through public health efforts”, said Dr. Mike Ryan, a World Health Organization top emergencies expert. Referring specifically to Italy, Ryan also added: “We should start to see stabilization. The cases we see today really reflect exposures 2 weeks ago.”

Why is the Death Rate So Low in Germany?

Inquiring medical minds are wondering why the coronavirus death rate is so low in Germany. The case fatality rate (CFR) in Germany is about 0.9%. By comparison, the CFR is 1% in the US, 4% in China, 6.4% in the UK, 8.6% in Spain, and a staggering 11.4% in Italy. A German journalist named Anna Sauerbrey, writing for The New York Times while in Berlin, posits that Germany might have a lower CFR due to “early and persistent testing,” coupled with contact tracing and targeted quarantines of German citizens exposed to the virus. “Between countries, there are several reasons why the death rate might vary, but they’re very small compared to the impact of how many people get tested,” Liam Smeeth, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in an interview with Time. “Germany very rapidly rolled out testing to a very large number of people, relative to the population.”

National News:

US Remains the Hardest Hit Country, Especially NY

America is now feeling the full brunt of COVID-19, as the number of confirmed cases verges on 175,000, and there are now more than 3,400 deaths. At 75,795 confirmed cases, New York alone has more infections than every other country except Italy, Spain, and China. New York Andrew Cuomo stated in a press conference that “I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.”

New Jersey remains second in confirmed infections with 16,636 cases and 198 deaths. California has 7,426 confirmed cases and 149 deaths, and Michigan remains in the top four with 6,498 cases and 184 deaths.

The following states outside the top four have over 3,000 confirmed cases:

  • Florida: 6,338 confirmed cases; 77 deaths.
  • Massachusetts: 5,752 confirmed cases; 56 deaths.
  • Washington: 5,250 confirmed cases; 210 deaths.
  • Illinois: 5,057 confirmed cases;  73 deaths.
  • Pennsylvania: 4,843 confirmed cases; 63 deaths.
  • Louisiana: 4,025 confirmed cases; 185 deaths.
  • Texas: 3,186 confirmed cases; 47 deaths.
  • Georgia: 3,032 confirmed cases; 102 deaths.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dr. Fauci Offers Encouragement on Social Distancing

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said mitigation tactics like social distancing are having a “dampening” effect on the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. “If you look now we’re starting to see glimmers that that is actually having some dampening effect,” he said Tuesday on CNN but cautioned that the public has to continue to take the measures seriously. Dr. Fauci added: “We hope and I believe it will happen, that we may start seeing a turn around, but we haven’t seen it yet we’re just pushing on the mitigation to hope that we do see that turnaround.”

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tests Positive

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, he confirmed in a Tweet. Cuomo, the younger brother of New York’s governor, said on Twitter that: “In these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus.”

He added that: “I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fevers, chills and shortness of breath,” he wrote. “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

Five-Minute Test Could Turnaround the Economy

CNBC’s Jim Cramer believes that the development of faster coronavirus test could stem the tide in the fighting the virus – and as result – greatly boost the battered economy and stock market. “When you find out who has it, everything changes” because maybe we find out more people have had it and recovered, Cramer said on CNBC. People who test positive will know to seek medical attention and to quarantine themselves, he said. “Then suddenly we get a new world,” and the U.S. can start thinking about reopening the economy and getting Americans back to work, he said.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Macy’s to Furlough Majority of Employees

Macy’s is furloughing most of its 130,000 employees to the effects of COVID, which has forced stores to close and subsequently, sales to plummet. The company said on the Monday that the pandemic has taken a “heavy toll” on its business. The company said that they lost most because of brick-and-mortar store closures, and that even other changes to bolster its bottom line – including hiring freezes – has not turned the tide.

“While these actions have helped, it is not enough,” the company bluntly said. Macy’s is “moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations.” That is resulting in furloughs for a “majority” of its employees beginning this week. Affected workers will still get the company-funded health care for at least through May.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette and the company’s board of directors will stop receiving their salaries, according to a regulatory filing.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines

  • On Sunday, President Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines until April 30 and stated that the pandemic will likely peak in the US within the next two weeks.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

  • Nearly 700 members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report issued from the department.
  • On Saturday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a strong advisory to residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, urging people in those three states to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.

Friday, March 27, 2020

  • On Friday, President Trump signed into law the historic $2 trillion stimulus package designed to infuse life in the troubled economy and provide relief to households, businesses, and industries. As part of the bill, individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400 — and an additional $500 per each child. The bill the bill also allocates billions of dollars in aid to hard-hit hospitals struggling amid the pandemic as well for state and local governments that are cash-strapped due to their COVID-19 response efforts.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock have both tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Johnson reassured the public via Twitter that his symptoms are mild and he would continue working from home in self-isolation.
  • Medical schools across America are strongly considering graduating all their senior medical students early to become doctors, as the demand for physicians and other health care providers becomes more critical. NYU became the first medical school to offer this option earlier in the week and all four medical schools in Massachusetts – Tufts University School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School – are in discussions to initiate a fast-track option, said Massachusetts HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

  • The US reported 223 deaths from COVID-19 – making it the deadliest day in the country since the outbreak started and pushes the US death toll to beyond 1,000.
  • A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday – surpassing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.
  • The $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Senate yesterday will be voted on by the House on Friday, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who expects the package to receive “strong bipartisan support.”
  • China decided to temporarily suspend entry for foreign nationals with visas or residence permits. The suspension goes into effect at midnight on March 28, and is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

  • The White House and Senate leaders finally struck a deal on a $2 trillion package designed to spur a struggling economy that has been pushed to the brink amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II and heir to the British throne, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, his office announced. The Prince of Wales, 71, is only presenting mild symptoms and is “otherwise in good health.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  • Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday amid hopes that lawmakers are finalizing the $2 trillion stimulus package designed to infuse life into the economy by helping American workers and businesses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by 1,400 points, or 8%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both saw modest gains at around 5%.
  • In an unprecedented move, the Olympic Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year, according to an ESPN report. This marks the first time in history the Olympics have been postponed or cancelled due to anything other than war.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi ordered a complete lockdown for India’s huge population of 1.3 billion on Tuesday.

Monday, March 23, 2020

  • President Trump is contemplating reopening the economy for weeks instead of months. “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” Trump told reporters at a briefing Monday, echoing a midnight Sunday tweet. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.”
  • The Federal Reserve is accelerating plans to rescue the economy and stave off a possible depression by announcing unlimited bond-buying, three new credit facilities and a upcoming Main Street lending program.
  • Stocks were deep in the red at midday Monday, wit the Dow down almost 4%, or 770 points, the S&P 500 down 4%, and the Nasdaq Composite down 2.4%.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will initiate three studies for potential COVID-19 treatments this week.
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the most stringent restrictions seen in the UK since the end of World War II on Monday.”From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home,” Johnson said.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

  • Plans to advance a $1 trillion aid package failed to pass on Sunday. President Trump, however, remains optimistic saying “We’ll see what happens. I think we’ll get there. We have to help the worker. We have to save the companies.” A second vote has been been scheduled for Monday.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two executive orders on Saturday which scraps all non-approved gatherings and shutters all non-essential retail businesses.

Per USA Today, here’s a look at the latest stay-at-home orders, as of Sunday:

  • Delaware Gov. John Carney ordered residents to stay at home and closed nonessential businesses in the state starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered ‘nonessential’ businesses to close
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards imposed a statewide stay-at-home order, effective 5 p.m. Monday.
  • Ohio will impose a statewide stay-at-home mandate, effective 11:59 p.m. Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.
  • Philadelphia became the latest city to order its residents to stay home, a mandate that goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday and exempts activities like buying groceries and medicine, seeking medical care and exercising.
  • Missouri’s two largest cities issued stay-at-home orders Saturday. St. Louis’ mandate, which also applies to St. Louis County, begins Monday, and the one for Kansas City and its metro area goes into effect Tuesday.
  • New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell directed residents to stay at home beginning Friday.
  • San Miguel County, Colorado, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 3.
  • Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 7.
  • Blaine County, Idaho, is under a shelter-in-place order.

Friday, March 20, 2020

  • On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential workers across the state to remain at home. New York also implemented a 90-day moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants.
  • President Trump said he will trigger the Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of medical supplies to combat the pandemic.The act would enable the administration to force American industry to manufacture medical supplies that are running dangerously short.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all California residents to stay home on Thursday, making them the first state to impose that strict mandate on its population – a population of nearly 40 million people.
  • President Trump announced on Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing experimental drugs, including those used to treat malaria, available to test on COVID-19.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send relief money to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  • The Dow fell 6.3% by close of Wednesday trading – losing 1,335 points and falling to 19,902. The S&P 500 index took a 5.2% hit on Wednesday, and the Nasdaq composite lost 4.7% on Wednesday, falling 6,989 points.
  • The virus has taken a terrible toll on one New Jersey family – claiming the life of its matriarch, 73-year-old Grace Fusco, as well as her oldest son and daughter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

  • The Trump Administration supported a plan that would send checks directly to American citizens as part of a $1 trillion stimulus package designed to infuse life into the economy while aiding households and businesses in need.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Tuesday to “get ready for the possibility” of a shelter-in-place order as the number of confirmed cases in the five boroughs soars.
  • The World Health Organization is now recommending that people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs may exacerbate effects of the virus.
  • National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar and former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant, tested positive for COVID-19 along with four other players on the Brooklyn Nets.

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in America spiked beyond 4,000.
  • Six Bay Area counties were ordered to “shelter in place” on Monday – the strictest measure of its kind in the U.S. thus far.
  • The Dow recorded its worst one-day point plummet in history on Monday – dropping 2,997 points, or 12.9%. The S&P 500 plunged 12%, its worst day since 1987. According to the VIX metric, a gauge of stock market volatility, the COVID-triggered mayhem surpasses what the market experienced during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • U.S. researchers administered the first shots of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, code named mRNA-1273, on Monday to a woman from Seattle. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health cautioned that even if the research is successful, a vaccine would not be available to the public use for another 12 to 18 months.
  • Governors in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut mutually decided to shut down all non-essential businesses.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. that restricts travel for all NJ residents, making NJ the first U.S. state to do so.
  • Actor Idris Elba disclosed to the world that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning. The star of “Luther” said that feels “OK” and so far isn’t presenting any symptoms. Elba has been isolated since last Friday after being exposed to someone who tested positive.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government agencies are reported that there are over 3,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and 69 deaths. “For a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States, said” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public.”
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that the city will close its public school system through at least April 20 and possibly for the remainder of the year in the hopes of combating the spread of COVID-19. The NYC school system stands as the nation’s largest – comprised of nearly 1,900 public schools and over 1.1 million children.
  • The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to zero percent and purchased $700 billion in bonds and securities in an attempt to stabilize the economy.
  • The CDC laid out new guidelines on Sunday strongly urging Americans to cancel or postpone any in-person events that consist of 50 people or more.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • The White House announced on Saturday that the U.S. has added the United Kingdom and Ireland to its European travel ban list.
  • President Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the president’s personal physician. The President took the test after having direct contact with three people who subsequently tested positive for the virus.
  • Beginning Sunday, Walmart reduced its operating hours at all stories and Neighborhood Markets until further notice. This change only affects 24-hour stores, as any Walmart which had already been operating with reduced hours will continue to do so. Apple also announced that it will close all its retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27, while Nike decided to temporarily close all its stores in the U.S. for a period of 12 days.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

  • Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, and the large urban school districts of Seattle and San Francisco are shut down all K-12 schools in an attempt to slow COVID-19’s spread.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,352 points on Thursday following President Trump’s announced 30-day travel ban on visitors from European countries.
  • The NCAA decided to cancel the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this year.
  • The National Hockey League (NHL) paused the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Thursday.
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to suspend Spring Training and games and delay the start of the 2020 regular season, according to baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr.
  • Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell became the second player to test positive.
  • Disneyland announced on the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park through the end of March. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort also announced temporary closures beginning on March 14.
  • The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Therefore, the Prime Minister vowed to keep himself and his wife in isolation for 14 days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

  • WHO officially characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic.
  • President Trump addresses the nation and announces a temporary travel ban from 26 countries in Europe over the next 30 days (effective Friday, March 13 at midnight).
  • The NBA suspends its 2019-2020 regular season after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oscar-winning movie star Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, both test positive for COVID-19 while on set in Australia.

DocWire News will provide breaking updates on the COVID-19 pandemic as they become available.