Coronavirus update: 107,897 cases, 3,658 deaths; northern Italy under quarantine
The Italian government’s decision to close schools, shut down events and set strict rules about public interactions for more than 10 million people to limit the spread of COVID-19 may be an indicator of how other Western countries will need to respond to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
In Italy, there are now 5,883 cases with 233 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. The Mediterranean country has reported the highest number of deaths outside of mainland China, which has had more than 80,000 infections and at least 3,000 deaths. COVID-19 was first identified late last year in Wuhan, China.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a sweeping decree limiting community interaction between March 8 and April 3 in parts of Italy that include the Lombardy region and other provinces that have been most affected. It includes the cancellation of all events involving health workers and the closure of movie theaters and museums. In bars, restaurants, gyms and shops, patrons must be at least a meter, or more than 3 feet, from one another. Schools were told to close until March 15. Care givers can no longer visit the emergency room with the person they care for, and visits to prison inmates will primarily be done via video calls. Funerals have been suspended.
In total, there are 107,897 cases of COVID-19 and 3,658 deaths worldwide, as of early Sunday. More than 60,000 people have recovered.
Though China’s Hubei Province has had the majority of cases and deaths since the outbreak began gaining steam there in January, that proportion is shifting as the number of cases in Europe, in particular, has soared over the past week. Iran has seen 6,566 cases and 194 deaths; Italy has had 5,883 cases and 233 deaths; South Korea’s figures are 7,314 cases and 50 deaths. France has reported 949 cases and 11 deaths, while Germany has had 1,039 cases but zero deaths.
In the U.S., there are 469 cases and 19 deaths, including 105 cases in New York state, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency. Cuomo said during a news conference on Saturday that the state is spending $30 million a week on the outbreak. “We’re going to be doing purchasing and hiring more staff, especially to help local health departments that are very stressed,” he said. “Somebody has to go knock on the door once a day at random intervals. They have to make sure that the person is there. Even on the voluntary quarantine, we want electronic check ins. So this is labor intensive.”
In Massachusetts, there are 13 confirmed cases, according to the Massachusetts Health Department. The majority of those cases are connected to the biotech company Biogen Inc.
which held a management meeting in February at a Marriott hotel in Boston. All of its roughly 7,400 employees have been told to work from home until further notice. About 175 people attended the meeting, including CEO Michel Vounatsos.
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