New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on Tuesday announced that schools, places of worship and other large gathering spots within a one-mile zone of the city of New Rochelle will close their doors for 14 days, and National Guard troops will help deliver food and disinfect common areas inside the zone.

One person each in South Dakota, California and New Jersey and another two people in Washington state have died from the novel coronavirus, health officials said, bringing the total number of fatalities in the United States to 31. Nationwide, there are more than 1000 reported cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. It has been detected in more than 30 states, prompting many to declare states of emergency. Globally, Italy saw its highest single-day increase in deaths related to the virus.

After a shocking start to the week, U.S. stocks on Tuesday rallied on reports of a government stimulus that would help cushion the country from the economic effects of the outbreak.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The White House is strongly considering pushing federal assistance for oil and natural gas producers hit by plummeting oil prices amid the coronavirus outbreak, as industry officials close to the administration clamor for help, according to four people familiar with internal deliberations.
  • Hundreds of passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship, where 21 people have tested positive for covid-19, were allowed to disembark from the vessel in Oakland and were transported to hospitals and quarantine centers in a process that could take days.
  • The White House plans to convene Apple, Facebook, Google and other top technology companies Wednesday to discuss ways that Washington can coordinate with Silicon Valley over the coronavirus.
  • Google advised workers in North America to work from home to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. The California-based tech giant has more than 100,000 employees, most of whom are in North America.
  • Italy’s coronavirus lockdown upends the most basic routines and joys and will remain in place until at least April 3.
3:55 a.m.
Link copied
link

Number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpasses 1,000

More than 1,000 people in the United States had tested positive for the new coronavirus by late Tuesday, crossing a milestone that shows the wide reach of the epidemic as it continues to spread across the country.

The virus has been detected in more than 30 states, and 18 have declared a state of emergency as local and federal officials and business announce sweeping steps to contain the outbreak.

They have canceled public gatherings, restricted travel and urged legions of employees to stay home, as schools have shut down and colleges shift to online classes.

Major events have been canceled, including Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Austin’s South by Southwest festival, both of which were slated for this weekend.

But questions remain about the federal government’s capacity to test possible patients for the virus. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rolls out more testing kits, it is expected that the number of cases will continue to grow higher.

As of Tuesday evening, 31 people had died, many of them tied to an outbreak at a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash.

3:30 a.m.
Link copied
link

Michigan reports its first coronavirus cases and declares state of emergency

Michigan declared a state of emergency late Tuesday, reporting its first two presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus, both in the Detroit area.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said at a news conference that both patients had recently traveled outside of Michigan: a man in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, had returned from elsewhere in the United States, and a woman in neighboring Oakland County had traveled abroad.

The man was in isolation, but the status of the woman was unclear. Health officials in both counties said they would be trying to identify individuals who had been in close contact with the patients.

At least 17 other states have declared emergencies over the rapidly spreading virus. Colorado and North Carolina joined the growing list earlier Tuesday.

The declarations allow a state government to concentrate its efforts on managing a crisis and permit officials to waive or suspend some regulations.

2:27 a.m.
Link copied
link

Person who attended journalism conference tests positive

A person who attended the annual National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) conference in New Orleans last week tested positive for coronavirus, Investigative Reporters and Editors confirmed late Tuesday. The conference devoted to data journalism and digital reporting brings together hundreds of journalists each year.

In a statement, IRE Executive Editor Doug Haddix said the patient has “mild symptoms” and is in self-quarantine. It was unclear whether the attendee, who had traveled from within the United States, contracted the virus before, during or after the conference. The case is being called a presumptive positive until it is confirmed by the CDC.

NICAR20 ran Thursday through Saturday.

The IRE said the patient was reaching out to people they had close contact with during the conference. Haddix said the IRE was also notifying “individuals who participated in a preregistered hands-on class with the attendee.” Additional information about them was not immediately available.

2:23 a.m.
Link copied
link

Sacramento County reports first coronavirus death

Sacramento County announced Tuesday that a resident in an assisted living facility has died from the coronavirus. The person, in their 90s, had an underlying health condition.

The death is the third in California and the 31st nationwide.

The northern California county has positively tested 10 people, one of whom recovered, health department spokeswoman Kim Nava told The Washington Post.

The patient, a woman, was among 140 patients in the Elk Grove facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. The residents of the facility were supposed to be tested for the coronavirus, but limited tests have delayed that, according to the newspaper.

The news comes a day after the county announced it would shift its effort to mitigation, rather than advising 14-day quarantines for those who came into contact with people infected with the coronavirus.

12:30 a.m.
Link copied
link

British health minister Nadine Dorries tests positive for coronavirus

A British health minister, Nadine Dorries, said Tuesday that she tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the BBC.

In a statement, Dorries said that “Public Health England has started detailed contract tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice,” the BBC reported.

Dorries said in a tweet that the situation was “rubbish,” adding, “I hope I’m over the worst of it now.”

“More worried about my 84yo mum who is staying with me and began with the cough today,” Dorries tweeted. “She is being tested tomorrow. Keep safe and keep washing those hands, everyone.”

The BBC reports that 382 people in Britain have tested positive for the coronavirus.

12:09 a.m.
Link copied
link

Coachella and Stagecoach are the latest music festivals to reschedule

Goldenvoice, the company that puts on Coachella and Stagecoach, announced Tuesday that it would delay the April festivals to October.

The news comes after South by Southwest, the annual technology, music and film festival in Austin, canceled the entire event this year. Festivals are the latest sector of the entertainment industry to suffer as a result of the potentially deadly virus spreading worldwide.

Coachella will now take place on Oct. 9, 10 and 11 and Oct. 16, 17 and 18, while Stagecoach will be held on Oct. 23, 24 and 25.

People who purchased tickets can choose to use them at the October events or obtain a refund.

Ultra Music Festival, which announced it would be postponed a year, will not issue refunds to ticket holders, the Miami Herald first reported.

And, as summer festival season approaches, these cancellations and delays probably won’t be the last.

“This is the beginning of the virus,” said New York-based entertainment attorney David Chidekel. “What’s happening is, people from a preventative standpoint are starting to go, ‘I’d better cancel this thing because if it goes wrong, we’re going to look like the greedy scumbags who didn’t do anything.’"

The Washington Post reached out to several festivals scheduled for the next couple months. The two that responded, BottleRock Napa Valley and D.C.'s Broccoli City Festival, are both set for May and stated that, as of Tuesday, they plan to move forward while staying in communication with health officials.

11:45 p.m.
Link copied
link

Nevada says some Grand Princess passengers will be quarantined there

The Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday that passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship “will be transferred to federal military installations for medical screening, COVID-19 testing, and a 14-day quarantine." The statement from HHS also said that passengers would serve out their quarantines at military installations in California, Texas and Georgia.

But on Tuesday, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to transport 49 people from that state who are not showing any symptoms of the coronavirus to serve out their quarantines there, apparently expanding the list of places housing these passengers.

According to the statement, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) proposed bringing these Nevadans back to the state as long as they are not symptomatic and are tested for covid-19 before boarding their flights. Federal authorities accepted the proposal, the Nevada health department said.

Under the plan, the department said, the federal government would manage transporting these people “via secure air transportation” after all of them have been tested for the virus. They will not go into any commercial airport buildings but would be transported from airports to their homes through transportation arranged by local health authorities, the statement said. Then, these people would need to sign declarations that they would self-quarantine and remain in their homes for 14 days, it said.

Spokespeople for HHS and the CDC did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday about Nevada’s announcement and whether residents from any other states would similarly be transported home.

11:40 p.m.
Link copied
link

Turkey confirms first coronavirus case

Turkey has reported its first case of the coronavirus in a man who recently returned from Europe, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the infected man has been quarantined and urged Turkish citizens against traveling abroad. Turkey shares a border with Iran, a country that has battled one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks.

Before the reported case, Koca had said the chance of an outbreak in Turkey was “highly likely.”

“The patient’s general condition is good. All of his family members and those who came into contact with him are under surveillance,” Koca said, according to Anadolu. “An early diagnosis [of the patient] was made. If there is a virus infection in the country, it is very limited. One or more cases of the coronavirus should not be considered an epidemic,” he said.

11:33 p.m.
Link copied
link

Frustration for Grand Princess passengers leaving the ship and waiting their turn

Passengers continued trudging off the Grand Princess cruise ship on Tuesday, marching down walkways to be greeted by officials in gowns, masks and gloves. These officials checked their temperatures before passengers were eventually shepherded onto buses, said Stuart Freedman, a retired teacher.

Hundreds of people had been taken off the ship in what officials said was a days-long process. Officials said last week that 21 people on board — 19 of them crew — tested positive for covid-19. Princess Cruises said Tuesday that the 19 crew members were deemed asymptomatic, so they were left in their cabins on board. The two passengers who tested positive last week were taken off Monday and transported to local hospitals. Princess Cruises said that the ship would leave Oakland once all the passengers were off so crew members could serve out their quarantines, but it was unclear where it would go.

The wait for those passengers still on board remained frustrating.

“When a misadventure is shared, it's not that bad,” James Lemaire, who lives in Nevada and has a residence in California, said in an interview Tuesday. Speaking from his windowless room, the 59-year-old could hear announcements about groups being lined up to leave.

Lemaire described being bewildered at why he and his wife, Helga, were still on the ship. But over the weekend, when passengers were able to walk on the deck to get some fresh air, Lemaire said he was told a blue sticker affixed to their door kept them from being among those who could go outside. But they have been unable to learn more about why the sticker was placed there and what it means, he said. (Asked about what the sticker means and whether it impacts passengers’ ability to get off, Princess Cruises said Tuesday the sticker had nothing to do with the disembarkation process.)

Lemaire noted that their room was near the door to the ship’s bridge, saying, “Sometimes we’re tempted to go pound on that door and ask for attention.”

People on the ship have described leaving it as a harried process. Freedman said he crowded into lines Monday night with other mask-wearing passengers for an hour and a half before being sent back to his room.

After another wait Tuesday, Freedman said, he was marched off the ship and filed onto a bus to sit for another stretch. Up above, people on the ship could be seen watching from their balconies. By Tuesday afternoon, Freedman arrived at Travis Air Force Base, where workers in gowns and masks waited behind tables to hand out paperwork with information about quarantines, including details about meal service, daily temperature checks and reminders to wear masks outside. The paperwork also said quarantines were expected to last for 14 days, starting from the time they arrived on base.

The papers included a notice that more information “about testing for COVID-19 will be forthcoming.” Sitting in his room on the air base, Freedman said he had not been tested for the virus since leaving the ship

11:22 p.m.
Link copied
link

Pence says he still shakes hands, even as he tells Americans not to

Vice President Pence urged all Americans to stay safe and follow best public health practices such as frequent hand-washing, but he acknowledged Tuesday that he isn’t following all of his own advice.

Pence said that he’s been shaking a few hands, even though the administration is recommending that people greet one another without hand-to-hand contact.

“As the president has said, in our line of work, you shake hands,” Pence said at a briefing for reporters at the White House. “And someone wants to shake your hand, I expect the president will continue to do that. I’ll continue to do that."

As he spoke, he stood in front of posters listing recommendations for slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Those included not shaking hands and taking prudent cautions about crowds of people.

President Trump was seen shaking hands just a short while before Pence spoke, during a ceremony awarding the Medal of Freedom to retired Army Gen. Jack Keane.

As to whether Trump and Pence will cancel campaign rallies, as the leading Democratic candidates did Tuesday, Pence was noncommittal.

“I think that’ll be a decision that’s made literally on a day-to-day basis,” Pence said.

11:17 p.m.
Link copied
link

South Dakota reports five postive coronavirus cases, including one death

Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) reported South Dakota’s first presumptive positive coronavirus cases, which include one person who died on Tuesday.

All five reported cases were travel-related, Noem said. She added that the person who died — a man in his 60s — had underlying medical conditions that “complicated the situation.” A medical evaluation will confirm what role the virus played in his death, she added.

Noem said the CDC was in the process of confirming the presumptive positive cases and added that the state would “partially” activate its state emergency operations center. She said the four positive cases were not in the hospital and recuperating at home.

“Our team has been preparing for this for weeks, and are confident we have the right people in the right places to address the situation,” Noem said.

11:06 p.m.
Link copied
link

Google recommends employees in North America work from home

In an email to its employees on Tuesday, Google advised workers in North America to work at home to diminish the risk of the coronavirus spreading, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Offices will remain open for employees with jobs that require on-site work.

Before this far-reaching announcement, employees in New York and California were told they could work from home if they preferred, and the company recommended that employees in Washington state work from home.

The California-based tech giant has more than 100,000 employees, most of whom are in North America.

Google also announced Tuesday that it would create a fund to support temporary staff and vendors who need paid sick leave because they have coronavirus symptoms or are quarantined.

The news comes a day after The Post reported on the unclear fate of Silicon Valley contractors, who are employed through agencies and third-party companies.

Microsoft has told its employees to work from home, and Facebook recommended its employees do the same, The Post previously reported.

11:04 p.m.
Link copied
link

Dept. of Veterans Affairs adopts ‘no visitor’ stance for its nursing homes

The Department of Veterans Affairs will bar visitors from seeing residents in its 134 nursing homes across the country, save for a handful of exceptions, it announced Tuesday.

VA’s nursing homes house 41,000 veterans across the country, the department said. The “no visitor” rule is intended to be a safeguard as covid-19 cases in the United States continue to rise. The department said VA nursing homes will also suspend new admissions but allow for transfers from other VA facilities in certain situations.

“Residents are predominantly older, and many have multiple complex health conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to infection,” VA wrote in a statement. The restrictions aim to protect nursing home residents and patients with spinal cord injuries — two of its most vulnerable populations.

The department said the visitation restrictions will also affect VA’s 24 major spinal cord injury and disorder centers, which hold more than 24,000 veterans. Exceptions will be made only in “compassionate cases,” such as when veterans are in hospice units or in their final stages of life.

“While the covid-19 risk to average Americans remains low, these commonsense measures will help protect some of our most vulnerable patients,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “VA will make every effort to minimize the impact of these policies on Veterans while putting patient safety first.”

10:47 p.m.
Link copied
link

Cases in Lebanon rise, doctors raise concern about infrastructure

BAGHDAD — Lebanon confirmed 11 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the national total to 64, as Jordan became the latest country to halt flights to the small state.

In a statement, Beirut’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital said it had admitted 130 suspected cases to a special emergency unit in the space of 24 hours. Eighteen were quarantined, while the rest were sent home for self-isolation.

Lebanon’s health system has been hit hard by a nationwide economic crisis, and doctors say they fear its infrastructure is ill-equipped to cope with any mass outbreak of the virus. Authorities have recommended that public spaces, including cafes and restaurants, close to halt its spread.

Jordan’s state news agency said Tuesday that the kingdom was halting flights to Lebanon. Land travel between Jordan and Iraq would also be stopped, the news agency reported. Iraq has announced 71 cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths. Aid officials say the full extent of the contagion is likely unknown.