Summary:

  • 21 cases confirmed aboard ‘Grand Princess’
  • First death reported in Latin America
  • 2 dozen American tourists quarantined on cruise ship
  • Illinois confirms sixth case, shuts Chicago school
  • South Korea reports 367 new cases raising total to 7,134
  • US Marine in Virginia catches coronavirus
  • San Francisco confirms six new cases
  • Italy quarantines half the country
  • British Columbia confirms six cases
  • Spain quarantines town
  • First case in Washington DC
  • US death toll hits 19 as two more cases in WA.
  • New York cases hit 76
  • Australia reports third death

* * *

Update (2000ET): Though the coronavirus has spread more slowly across the warmer climate of Latin America, the first fatality linked to Covid-19 on the continent has just been reported by the Argentinian health ministry.

  • ARGENTINA CONFIRMS FIRST DEATH IN LATIN AMERICA OF PATIENT DIAGNOSED WITH CORONAVIRUS – HEALTH MINISTRY STATEMENT

In other news, the Washington Post reports that two dozen American tourists are being quarantined on a cruise ship in the Egyptian city of Luxor, according to two passengers, as Egyptina health officials confirmed 33 new cases of the virus on Saturday.

South Korea, meanwhile, just reported another 367 Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,134.


Alex Jones breaks down the video of a Chinese report demanding an apology from the U.S. for criticisms over the coronavirus.

According to the Chicago Tribune, students and staff at a Chicago public school have been asked to stay home next week while the school undergoes a “deep clean”. They’ve also been advised to stay at home and not leave until mid-March, after a classroom assistant – a previous passenger on the Grand Princess before disembarking on Feb. 21.

The special education teacher at Vaughn Occupational High School in Portage Park has been hospitalized since becoming the sixth positive case in the state of Illinois – with all the cases having been identified in Cook County.

Students and staff at the school have been asked to stay in self-quarantine until March 18, unless directed otherwise by the department of public health.

Looking back, over the last 24 hours, four more deaths have been recorded in the US, two in Florida, and two in Washington State from the same Kirkland nursing home as earlier deaths.

The first case confirmed in Washington DC has been described as a resident in his 50s who appears to have contracted the virus in late February, when he started feeling ill. Health officials said the man likely didn’t attend the AIPAC conference where several infected individuals attended.

In other US news, a US Marine in Virginia has tested positive at Fort Belavoir. Officials at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Virginia Department of Health are working with state and federal officials to take care of the soldier and ensure the virus doesn’t spread.

Gov. Ralph Northam has been briefed on the situation and the state currently says the risk to the public is low, according to NBC News.

* * *

Update (1740ET): Six more San Francisco residents have tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total case count in the city to eight, public health officials said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

All of the people who were newly diagnosed are isolating at home and in good condition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said. The previous two patients were both hospitalized.

Two of the new patients are in their 20s, three are in their 40s, and the sixth person is in his or her 50s. Three of the patients are women and three are men. All of them have had contact with someone who already has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, public health officials said.

“These newly confirmed cases are an indication of the increasing circulation of coronavirus in the community, as expected, given the patterns in our state, region and our own city,” Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health, said in a statement.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on twitter that the first case has been confirmed in the nation’s capital.

Meanwhile, in Australia, NSW Health has confirmed that a man in his 80s has died in a Sydney hospital, and has tested positive for Covid-19, making him the third coronavirus-related death in Australia. Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant passed on sympathies to the family of the patient.

* * *

Update (1620ET): Canadian officials have confirmed six new cases of the virus in British Columbia on Saturday, bringing the total cases in Canada to 57.

Two of the new cases were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, traveling from between Feb 11 – 21, Adrian Dix, minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer said in a press statement Saturday.


* * *

Update (1530ET): Washington state health officials have confirmed another 2 deaths, raising the US death toll to 19.

  • SEATTLE, KING COUNTY REPORT 13 NEW VIRUS CASES; TOTAL AT 71
  • SEATTLE, KING COUNTY REPORTS 2 ADDITIONAL DEATHS FROM VIRUS
  • SEATTLE, KING COUNTY SAYS TOTAL DEATHS AT 15 FROM VIRUS

Here’s an updated map of US cases, courtesy of the Washington Post.

In addition to the cancellation of SXSW in Austin, which has led to an outcry about how going a year without the massive marketing circlejerk could cause the city’s economy to implode.

Here’s the list of cases broken down by state:

* * *

Update (1420ET): Following in the footsteps of China and South Korea, both of which eventually locked down the local epicenter(s) of the coronavirus breakout by imposing draconian quasi-quaratines, moments ago Italy announced that on the day the number of new cases in the country exploded by 1,247 hitting a total of 5,883, the federal government has placed the entire region of Lombardy, the province with the most Italian coronavirus infections, on lockdown.

The government has drafted a decree (which will likely be announced this evening in Rome) during an emergency working session that will, according to reports, close all ski resorts, museums and other cultural attractions, and – most importantly – orders that nobody enter or leave the region of Lombardy, as well as 11 other provinces in northern and central Italy.

The Italian government has faced pressure to step up controls as travelers visiting Italy have carried the virus across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, even to North and South America.

Amazingly, the lockdown will last until April 3, meaning for nearly a month, the most productive region of the Italian economy will be effectively shuttered.

South Korea has imposed similar measures in Daegu, the epicenter of what has become the worst outbreak outside China. And at one point 760 million Chinese were subjected to some level of restrictions on movement (with many required to remain inside their homes at all times with only special exceptions).

And although South Korea is widely considered home to the biggest outbreak outside China, Italy has reported 233 deaths, the largest number of deaths outside China and Iran.

The decree details from Reuters:

  • ITALY DRAFT DECREE TELLS PEOPLE NOT TO ENTER OR LEAVE REGION OF LOMBARDY AND 11 PROVINCES IN OTHER REGIONS
  • ITALY’S DRAFT DECREE SAYS SCHOOLS IN LOMBARDY AND 11 PROVINCES WILL REMAIN CLOSED UNTIL AT LEAST APRIL 3
  • ITALY DRAFT DECREE ON CORONAVIRUS SHOWS NEW RESTRICTIVE MEASURES FOR NEW AREAS IN REGIONS OF LOMBARDY, VENETO, EMILIA AND PIEDMONT
  • ITALY DRAFT DECREE URGES PEOPLE NOT TO MOVE AROUND INSIDE AREAS COVERED BY DECREE EXCEPT FOR ESSENTIAL WORKING NEEDS AND EMERGENCIES
  • ITALY DRAFT DECREE SAYS ALL LEAVE FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS CANCELLED IN LOMBARDY AND 11 PROVINCES
  • ITALY DRAFT DECREE SAYS ALL GYMS, SWIMMING POOLS, HEALTH CENTRES AND SPAS TO CLOSE IN THE SAME AREAS
  • ITALY’S DRAFT DECREE CLOSES ALL SKI RESORTS, MUSEUMS, CULTURAL CENTRES IN SAME AREAS
  • ITALY’S DRAFT DECREE SAYS ALL SHOPPING CENTRES TO CLOSE AT WEEKENDS IN SAME AREAS
  • ITALY’S DRAFT DECREE CLOSES ALL SKI RESORTS, MUSEUMS, CULTURAL CENTRES IN SAME AREAS

Elsewhere in Europe, health authorities on the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta have raised the number of people with coronavirus to three, after the parents of the girl first infected tested positive too.

Iran also reported a more than 1,200 case jump in infections to a total of 5,823.

One computer scientist who has been modeling outbreaks around the world said Italy’s spread has produced “one of the most alarming charts I have ever seen.”

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Spanish pol

According to the Associated Press, the Spanish government has deployed police in a northern town to help enforce a home quarantine placed on a neighborhood with a high number of residents infected by the virus. The regional government of La Rioja said Saturday that the extra measures have been taken to contain the outbreak in Haro, a town of 11,000 residents, where the majority of the 39 cases in the region are located.

* * *

Update (1350ET): Washington state officials are reportedly considering taking over a nursing home in Kirkland where at least six residents have died, possibly the first example in US history of the federal government nationalizing a nursing home, WSJ reports.

* * *

Update (1345ET): French health officials have reported another 233 cases, bringing the country-wide total to 949. Of those, 16 patients have died, up 5 from 11.

* * *

Update (1255ET): Gov Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in New York after 21 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, bringing the state-wide total to 76, according to NBC 4 New York.

Seven of the cases are in NYC. Total cases in the tri-state area have hit 80.

There have been at least 80 total cases found in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with the biggest portion of infected patientsin NY’s wealthy Westchester County, just north of the Bronx. There have been 57 people to test positive there, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, almost all of which are connected to the cluster that started with the midtown Manhattan lawyer Lawrence Garbuz and his family. Ten patients out of the 76 in NY State are currently hospitalized, the rest have been asked to self-quarantine and contact a doctor if their condition worsens, Cuomo said.

Aside from NYC and Westchester, other cases have been confirmed on Long Island and in Upstate New York’s Saratoga County.

* * *

Update (1240ET): Now that every country in Europe has been infected with the virus, Italian health officials confirmed on Saturday that the national death toll has hit 233 after officials reported another 36 deaths.

  • DEATH TOLL IN ITALY OF CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS RISES TO 233 FROM 197 ON FRIDAY
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN ITALY RISES TO 5,883 FROM 4,636 ON FRIDAY

The epicenter of the outbreak in Europe is seeing shit go straight parabolic.

Italian government officials announced that they would adopt a new decree on Saturday with measures to to try and stem the contagion, but it’s not clear yet what exactly they’re planning.

Meanwhile, as more European countries track infected Italians spreading the virus within their borders, Sweden – of all places – is presenting a model of how to swiftly identify and quarantine those who have been exposed. All cases of Swedes who traveled to Northern Italy to ski during the holidays have been tracked, all people who came into contact with the possibly infected have been quarantined.

Unfortunately, the outbreak is no longer limited to the north of Italy.On Saturday, CNN reports, a US Navy sailor stationed in Naples tested positive for the virus, marking the first case for a US servicemember stationed in Europe.

The servicemember was stationed at a naval support facility in Naples. They are receiving medical and other support in accordance with CDC guidelines.

* * *

Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingarelli, one of the most powerful politicians in Italy, has tested positive for the coronavirus, Italian media reported on Saturday.

Zingarelli

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Italy has been the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe; on Friday, the total number of confirmed cases in the country climbed above 4,500, with 197 deaths confirmed.

“I have coronavirus too,” Zingaretti said in a video posted on Facebook, adding he was in self-isolation at home and that all the people he had been in contact with in the latest days were being contacted for checks. He said he was well.

As the outbreak has spread to nearly every country in North America, Asia and Europe. On Friday, Slovakia, the last remaining nation in Europe without any confirmed cases of the virus, confirmed its first case and almost immediately implemented a ban on flights from Italy, which has been blamed for spreading the virus across the continent, per NYT.

Since the number of new cases being confirmed outside China surpassed the number of new cases being confirmed inside China early last week, South Korea, Italy, Iran and now the US have emerged as the new epicenters, though Europe’s largest economies are all struggling with largely uncontained outbreaks.

Across Europe, bureaucrats have been hesitant to suspend Schengen area free-travel, allowing the virus to effortlessly spread across the continent.

Italy has been the European country hardest hit by the epidemic, with a total of 4,636 cases and 197 deaths on Friday, and is currently reporting more deaths per day form the virus than any other country in the world.

The coronavirus death toll in the United States reached 17 when Florida health officials reported two fatalities, the first in the state, late Friday, the Washington Post reports. They were the first deaths recorded outside the West Coast, where Washington State and California have emerged as the hardest hit states.

In Iran, officials reported 1,076 new cases of coronavirus and 21 new deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 5,823 cases and 145 deaths. And a newly elected Iranina MP has died after two dozen Iranian lawmakers were infected, as well as several senior government officials.

In the Balkans, Bulgaria has closed all schools due to “influenza panic” – even though it’s only reported a handful of suspected cases.

Across the US, there are more than 300 cases reported (though not yet ‘confirmed’ by the CDC) and at least half of all states have confirmed cases. On Friday, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and South Carolina all confirmed their first cases of the virus.

In Connecticut, a hospital employee has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the first case detected in the state after several close calls back in January, per NBC. The patient lives in Westchester County and is currently there under quarantine.

“We believe she was infected in New York,” said Kerry Eaton, COO of Danbury Hospital.

As we noted last night, a Hawaii resident who traveled on the Grand Princess but disembarked in Hawaii has been confirmed with the virus.

Over in the tri-state area, where the virus has spread rapidly, nearly 50 cases have been confirmed (between NYC area, NJ & Connecticut). Here’s a flow-chart showing the progression of infections in the NYC area.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed the state’s first case of the virus late Friday afternoon, Kentucky.com reports.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Oklahoma’s first case yesterday during a press conference where he was flanked by health officials. The Tulsa County man had testied positive and is now in quarantine, according to Oklahoma’s Newson6.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and health officials also confirmed their first case on Friday (though a military base in the state hosted some of the evacuees from the ‘Diamond Princess’ and Wuhan). According to Nebraska health officials, the patient was traveling in the UK when she became ill.

Officials insisted it isn’t a case of ‘community spread’, suggesting she caught the infection abroad.

The 36-year-old woman from Omaha first checked into the Methodist hospital emergency room Thursday, after presenting with symptoms of pneumonia. Before that, she had relatively mild conditions, KETV reports.

Indiana officials Friday urged the public to take necessary precautions after reporting the state’s first case of the virus. The person is an adult from Marion County who traveled to Boston where he attended a conference, officials said. He is in stable condition, is self-isolated and does not require hospitalization, according to Indy Star.

The risk to the public is low, health officials said. They said they have no indications so far that the man transmitted the disease to anyone else. They also said that the diagnosis did not come as a surprise.

“The question has never been if Indiana would get a case but when we would see one,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “This is an isolated case at the time.”

She was confirmed to be infected on Friday afternoon. She started showing symptoms 10 days before arriving at the hospital, and the state health department is working to find everyone she had contact with.

Universities, other major institutions and event planners canceled public gatherings and took other steps to combat the rapidly spreading virus. Stanford University said all classes would be conducted online for the remainder of the winter quarter, following the lead of the University of Washington in Seattle. Minutes ago, NBC Bay Area reported that Stanford officials confirmed a faculty member who works in a clinic has tested positive for the virus, while two undergraduates are also under quarantine.

The biggest news overnight was that Austin’s South by Southwest festival has been cancelled. The cancellation is a huge blow to Austin’s economy – the event is one of the main drivers of Austin’s transformation from a quirky Texas college town to a ‘destination city’ for white middle-class post-grads with no real plans or ambition, other than to maybe work on-set during the next Linklater production.

Circling back to Iran, two lawmakers have now died, according to the Times of Israel, which cited reports from Iranian state news agency IRNA. 

An Iranian lawmaker died from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, becoming the latest lawmaker or senior government official to succumb to the deadly respiratory illness in a country that is experiencing probably the most lethal outbreak in the world.

In California, negotiations between the state and federal officials about where to dock the ‘Grand Princess’, the cruise ship stranded off the cost of San Francisco with at least 21 infected passengers and crew (mostly crew) on board. A state source close to the ongoing negotiations told the LA Times that talks would resume on Friday. The Princess Cruises ship remained at sea last night, but moved 20 nautical miles off the coast for easier delivery of supplies and other ‘logistical reasons’.

Officials have scrambled to provide updates as quickly as possible, but passengers aboard the ship have taken to the Internet to share their experiences independently. Two women have been posting videos offering their takes on the news. They offered some interesting details about how officials put the pieces together to figure out that the cruise ship might be infected. Notice how the women are clearly ill, but claim to have been tested and come back negative for the virus.

These two Youtubers shared a copy of the letter they received from the Captain, which was also shared by a Redditor posting in the r/Coronavirus subreddit.

Here’s the letter:

Just like with the Diamond Princess, which reportedly led the staff to work in unbelievably brutal conditions, the staff aboard the Grand Princes, (so far, mostly staff have been infected) are being put in similarly undesirable conditions.

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