Coronavirus Outbreak Latest: Pence Tests Negative; More States Stay Home

At least 260 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and sickness from the disease is on the rise

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The coronavirus pandemic is taking an increasingly bleak toll in the U.S. and Europe. The virus produced staggering caseloads in New York and Italy and set off a desperate scramble to set up thousands of additional hospital beds at convention centers and college campuses.

Italy announced 793 new deaths and 6,557 new cases. More than 60% of the latest deaths occurred in the northern region of Lombardy, where hospitals have been reeling.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says state officials are scouring the globe for desperately needed medical supplies as confirmed coronavirus cases soar above 10,000 statewide. The state is reviewing four possible locations for temporary hospitals.

There are more than 21,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States and at least 254 deaths.

Globally, more than 275,400 cases have been confirmed, including more than 11,400 deaths.

Here's the latest development in the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.:

Pence Tests Negative for COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen have both tested negative for COVID-19, according to spokeswoman Katie Miller.

A member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, Pence's office said Friday night.

The staffer's name and exact position were not released, but Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, said, "Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual.

"Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Miller said

U.S. Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid coronavirus test, which produces results in about 45 minutes.

An FDA spokeswoman confirmed the approval after an announcement from Cepheid, a Silicon Valley molecular diagnostics company.

It can take at least a few days to get results from current coronavirus tests, which typically are sent in batches to reference labs, said Dr. David Persing, the company’s chief medical and technology officer.

“What’s really needed is a test that can rapidly determine status of infection on site when patients are being seen,” he said on a company video.

Cepheid said it will begin shipping its tests next week.

President Donald Trump announced that both southern and northern U.S. borders would close temporarily to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tri-State Locks Down as More States Issue Stay-at-Home Orders

More states issued stay-at-home orders Saturday, as New Jersey and others joined California, New York and Illinois this weekend.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday asked "nearly all" state residents to stay at home in light of the growing novel coronavirus crisis, signing an executive order that will close all non-essential businesses and cancel all gatherings.

At his own news conference Saturday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a total of 10,356 people in New York State have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, up by 3,254 since Friday.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has also issued an executive order asking people to stay at home and "directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions if they are able to," effective Monday, March 23 at 8 p.m.

Hawaii's governor has instituted a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine starting Thursday of all people traveling to the state as part of efforts to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The order applies to returning residents as well as visitors. It applies to all arrivals at Hawaii airports from the continental U.S. and international destinations and extends to other private and commercial aircraft.

The lockdowns sent stock markets tumbling again. Wall Street had its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 900 points and down 17% for the week.

FAA Briefly Halts Flights to NYC-Area Airports

The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted a brief suspension of flights to New York City-area airports because of coronavirus-related staffing issues at a regional air-traffic control center.

In an alert posted online Saturday, the agency advised air traffic controllers to "stop all departures" to Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and other airports in the region.

The directive also affected Philadelphia International Airport.

The halt was lifted after about 30 minutes. initially, air traffic controllers were warned it could last several hours.

The World Health Organization made a plea for solidarity between age groups to make sure young people understand they are not invincible when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic and how they can put others at risk.

BMW and Nissan Close Plants

BMW said it would shut down a huge manufacturing complex in South Carolina from April 3 to 19 and Nissan said it would suspend vehicle production at its two Mexican assembly plants from next Wednesday through April 14. Auto production has resumed in China, but only partially.

The American Heart Association provided some tips to stay healthy while social distancing at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
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