The president enforced a European travel ban this week to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from foreign countries but his move has been criticized by those who believe he hasn’t considered enough how to prevent community spread.
On Thursday during a meeting with a press in the Oval Office, Trump said when asked about possibly restricting movement within the America: ‘We haven’t discussed that yet.’
‘Is it a possibility? Yes. If somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot,’ POTUS admitted during the bilateral meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Donald Trump said Thursday when asked about possibly restricting movement within the America: ‘We haven’t discussed that yet. Is it a possibility? Yes. If somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot’
A worker staffs a security checkpoint in the international terminal at O’Hare Airport which is nearly devoid of travelers on March 12 in Chicago, Illinois
A map shows the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths across the US and how COVID-19 has increased since January
By Thursday night there were 1,540 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 39 deaths.
Earlier in the day Trump had contradicted Vice President Mike Pence by saying that Americans in Europe will be tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed to board flights and that they will not be allowed to come home if they test positive.
Hours earlier Pence had said all Americans can come home ‘regardless’ of their condition.
The shocking announcement came after Trump’s decision to halt all travel from Europe to the US for 30 days starting from Friday at midnight apart from the UK because, he said, ‘it doesn’t have much infection’. There are 596 cases of the virus in the UK.
Coronavirus cases in New York State
Westchester County – 148
New York City – 95
Nassau County – 41
Suffolk County – 20
Rockland County – 7
Ulster County – 4
Saratoga County – 3
Orange County – 2
Albany – 2
Monroe – 2
Broome – 1
Delaware – 1
Dutchess – 1
Herkimer – 1
New York State Total – 328
Trump could soon impose restrictions within country borders.
‘You see what they’re doing in New Rochelle, which is good frankly,’ Trump continued from his base in Washington DC.
In New Rochelle, a city of nearly 80,000 people, a one-mile containment area is now in effect. It’s where 148 of New York’s 328 coronavirus cases have been reported.
The National Guard was seen handing out food and supplies to residents on Thursday morning as the containment efforts began. The area will remain on lockdown for the next two weeks, affecting all ‘major gathering places’ including schools and places of worship.
The radius centers around the Temple Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue that was attended by Manhattan attorney Lawrence Garbuz who has been linked to the outbreak in the area.
Referring to the city just north of Manhattan, Trump added: ‘It’s the right thing, but it’s not enforced, it’s not very strong. But people know they’re being watched. New Rochelle, that’s a hot spot.’
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the quarantine on Wednesday.
‘New Rochelle at this point is probably the largest cluster in the US of these cases and it is a significant issue for us,’ Cuomo said.
‘The numbers have been going up. The numbers continue to go up. The numbers are going up unabated. And we do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle.’
President Trump called the containment efforts in New Rochelle, New York ‘the right thing’ at a press conference
The containment zone radius centers around the Temple Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue that was attended by Manhattan attorney Lawrence Garbuz who has been linked to the outbreak in the area
Pictures from inside the containment zone show deserted streets, empty restaurants and closed schools
He made a point to mention that the decision was made by New York Health Commissioner Dr Howard Zucker and other public health officials.
‘It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster in the country. And this is literally a matter of life and death,’ he said.
Cuomo said the state Health Department will grant $200,000 to a food bank in New Rochelle.
The state and a private health system, Northwell Health, are also setting up a testing facility in the area.
Eleven schools are closed in the containment area, and the funding is intended to help feed any student or family who relies on free school lunches.
Some residents of New Rochelle have expressed concern that the containment zone is too narrow to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus. New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said state and federal health officials decided the parameters of the zone with little input from city officials.
The suburb of about 80,000 residents is at the center of an outbreak of more than 120 cases in Westchester County, out of 240 statewide as of Wednesday.
There are now 95 confirmed cases in New York City, 45 more than yesterday. Twenty-two of the 95 people currently fighting the virus have been hospitalized.
The New York City breakdown is as follows; 25 in Manhattan, 24 Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, 10 in the Bronx and five in Staten Island.
New York City’s population is more than 100 times that of New Rochelle.
The NYC mayor predicts that by next week, there will be 1,000 cases of coronavirus in New York City.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?
Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.
- The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom.
Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.
In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause:
- Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
- Low appetite, energy and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
- Confusion (more common in elderly people)
- Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occassionally been a complication.
Avoid people with these symtpoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possivle exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.
Panicked New Yorkers had rushed to stock up on essentials, forming long lines and clearing shelves of produce as Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city due the coronavirus outbreak.
He made the decision on Thursday afternoon saying the last 24 hours had been ‘very, very sobering’ and that the world had been turned ‘upside down’ in just a day.
The state of emergency allows de Blasio to now activate a range of extreme measures including a curfew, closing down public transport, prohibiting people from being on the streets, rationing and limiting alcohol use.
He has not implemented any of those measures, but the declaration of a state of emergency allows him to at any time.
He and his experts are monitoring the number of beds currently available in ICU units across the city.
If the healthcare system becomes overrun, emergency teams will set up ICU units and makeshift hospitals anywhere they can, he said.
Gatherings of more than 500 people have now been banned and de Blasio warned sports arenas like the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will remain nonoperational for months.
Public spaces – like bars and restaurants – must now operate at 50 percent of their legal capacity.
Schools will remain open, he said, but activities like school plays, recitals, PTA meetings and assemblies, that can be moved online will be.
City workers who cannot work from home will now be staggered in their shifts.
He urged New York City businesses to encourage telecommuting – ie working from home – and staggering staff shifts as ‘much as possible’.
‘We’re worried about folks paying the rent, we want to help people facing eviction – if it’s a legal matter we will get them free legal help,’ he went on.
‘We are concerned about people, again, who have less money because their employment has been compromised, running low on food for their families.’
De Blasio attempted to calm the panic, asking for a stop in the spread of misinformation and stating that Manhattan would not be quarantined.
‘NO, there is NO TRUTH to rumors about Manhattan being quarantined,’ he said in a tweet.
‘Whoever is spreading this misinformation, PLEASE STOP NOW!’
Concerned shoppers revealed that some stores were limiting the number of people allowed inside because of the need for distancing between customers and so lines waiting outside were becoming more extreme.
Gatherings of more than 500 people have now been banned in New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio warned sports arenas like the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will remain nonoperational for months
CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL TIPS
As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, health experts advise plane travelers to sit in a window seat, disinfect their table trays and window blinds, and warn that wearing a mask won’t prevent infection.
Officials say the best way to avoid catching the virus, which is spread through viral particles within mucus or saliva, is to keep your hands clean, disinfect your space, and avoid touching your face.
It is also advised that plane travelers choose a window seat to have less contact with potentially sick people.
‘Book a window seat, try not to move during the flight, stay hydrated and keep your hands away from your face,’ Vicki Stover Hertzberg, professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, said.
‘Book a window seat, try not to move during the flight, stay hydrated and keep your hands away from your face,’ a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, said
Hertzberg helped conduct a study that followed passengers and crew members on 10 three to five-hour flights during the flu season and found that passengers who sit in the window seats had less contact with ill people.
Wearing a mask on the plane may not prove helpful as the air in the aircraft is considered sterile because there are so few microorganisms at such a high altitude and the plane draws fresh air from the outside.
About 50 percent of the air in cabins is recirculated but it goes through sophisticated air filters similar to those used in surgical environments, before it’s its pushed back into the plane.
A problem with paper masks is that they don’t have a respirator to filter out infectious air articles.
That means passengers are more likely to catch the virus through direct contact from someone with the virus or surfaces rather than through the air.
But one study found that the other coronaviruses – such as SARS and MERS – remains on metal, glass, and plastic surfaces for up to nine days.
Top tips include:
– Good hand hygiene: Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitzer
– Disinfect your space: Bring your own wipes and wipe down window blinds, seat belts, arm rests, touch screens and tray tables
– Choose a window seat: Sit near the window and avoid moving around the cabin to limit exposure to potentially sick people
– Use touch screen with a tissue: Avoid contact with surfaces that may hold the virus
– Avoid touching your face: 2019-nCov is spread through viral particles in mucus or saliva. Avoid touching your face and transferring germs picked up from surfaces
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS
On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that any American can be tested for coronavirus as long as a doctor approves it.
The move appears to expand upon previous criteria needed for testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But how do you determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and when you should see a doctor?
We break down everything you need to know about being tested for the virus that has infected more than 120 Americans and killed at least nine.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST GUIDELINES FOR BEING TESTED?
There are three groups of people that the CDC recommends get tested.
1. People with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath who have been in ‘close contact’ with someone confirmed to have coronavirus
2. Patients with symptoms who have traveled to areas affected by the virus within the last 14 days
3. Those with symptoms who need to be hospitalized and no other cause for their illness is found. They don’t need to have a travel history or exposure to another patient
HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM THE PREVIOUS CRITERIA?
When the CDC first began testing, only those with a travel history to China – where the outbreak emerged – or those who had been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus patient were tested.
However, the agency says its criteria for testing is always ‘subject to change as additional information becomes available.’
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED A TEST?
Health officials strongly advise that anyone who believes they may be infected not show up unannounced at their doctor’s office in case they expose others to the highly-contagious disease.
Instead, the CDC suggests immediately calling your physician or healthcare provider.
‘Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19,’ the CDC’s website states.
If you are suspected of having the virus, you will most likely get tested at a hospital.
The test involves getting a swab of the patient’s nostril and throat. If the patient has a wet cough, a sample of sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus) will also be collected.
WHY HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO GET TESTED?
There have been multiple reports of people not having accessing to get tested.
The first batch of test kits that the CDC sent to state and local health departments were faulty, which led to a delay.
Secondly, the CDC had strict criteria for testing, which led to missed diagnoses of people who caught the virus from so-called ‘community spread,’ meaning it’s unknown how they were infected.
A third reason is that some health departments did not leave the decision to test up to doctors as the CDC suggested.
For instance, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health initially required doctors to call a hotline to determine if their patients met CDC criteria for testing.
Then, before the test could be administered, it had to be authorized at the State Public Health Lab.
WILL IT BE EASIER TO GET TESTED NOW?
Since the CDC’s testing fiasco, several health departments have either received new kits from the federal agency or made their own.
Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration expanded its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) policy so allow more labs can apply for approval to test for the virus.
The CDC that 75,000 test kits are currently available and more are being manufactured.
FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Han told reporters on Monday that close to one million people would be tested by the end of the week.
But figures from the Association of Public Health Laboratories show that likely no more than 100,000 people would be tested by week’s end.