Forty coronavirus deaths in US as Disney parks to close, March Madness canceled

(NEW YORK) —  At least 1,663 cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, have been confirmed in the United States Thursday as more events are canceled across the country.

Forty people have died in the U.S. At least 46 states, plus Washington, D.C., have confirmed cases.

Globally, there have been over 128,000 confirmed cases with over 4,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Here’s how the situation unfolded Thursday. All times Eastern:

11:20 p.m. Alaska gets first presumptive positive

Alaska announced its first presumptive positive case of new coronavirus on Thursday night.

“We do have our first case identified of the COVID-19 virus, which is not unusual given what’s been happening elsewhere with this pandemic,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement. “This is no surprise as this is something we in Alaska have been preparing for since January.”

The person is a foreign national and the case is being considered travel-related, as opposed to community spread.

There are now only four states to not have a positive coronavirus case: Alabama, Idaho, Montana and West Virginia.

9:56 p.m. Trudeau’s wife tests positive

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to leader’s communications director.

“Following medical recommendations, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau was tested for COVID-19 today,” Cameron Ahmad wrote in a statement. “The test came back positive. Also following medical advice, she will remain in isolation for the time being. She is feeling well, is taking all recommended precautions and her symptoms remain mild.”

The statement added that the prime minister is “in good health with no symptoms,” but he is to be in isolation for 14 days on the advice of doctors. He is not being tested since he shows no symptoms.

Sophie Trudeau issued a statement of her own later, saying, “Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon. Being in quarantine at home is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns.”

Trudeau, 48, will continue to “assume his duties” and will address Canadians on Friday.

Sophie, 44, a former TV host, married Justin in 2005.

The prime minister spoke to President Donald Trump on Thursday, though it’s not clear if his wife’s condition was discussed. According to the White House, the pair spoke about how to respond to COVID-19 in relation to the countries’ border and any economic steps that can be undertaken.

8:16 p.m.: Disney World, Disneyland Paris close

The Walt Disney Company announced that it would close Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland Paris would shut down on Sunday.

Disney cruises will also suspend all departures starting on Saturday. The closures will last through the end of the month and all cast members will be paid during the closure period, the company said.

Hotels, stores and restaurants located in the Disney parks will remain open, according to the company.

8:13 p.m.: 40th death in US recorded in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Thursday a 70-year-old man was the first coronavirus fatality in the state.

The unidentified patient lived in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County and had underlying health conditions, according to the governor. He was hospitalized at the time of his death, Kelly said

State health officials said they are working to determine who he came in contact with and will quarantine those who did. The governor declared a state of emergency to activate more resources.

This marks the 40th American death since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

7:32 p.m.: Fauci ‘optimistic’ about fixing testing system

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with ABC News Live about the coronavirus testing system in place for Americans, and admitted that the government needs to do better to meet demand.

Fauci said there will be more testing relatively soon and the government was going to fix the system.

“I mean, we have to admit that in the beginning we didn’t have what we needed, but now we will fix it,” he said.

Fauci said the earlier testing methods were working at the time of the initial outbreak, but the coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, is close to coming up with a better testing system.

“It’s going to be within the next week or two — probably even more like a week,” he said.

6:45 p.m.: Smithsonian closes all museums

The Smithsonian announced it would be closing all of its Washington, D.C., and New York City museums on Sunday.

This includes the National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum.

“The health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff and volunteers is a top priority,” the museum said in a statement.

6:15 p.m.: Universal Studios Hollywood closes

Universal Studios Hollywood will close its operations on Saturday.

The move comes after California’s Health Department barred gatherings larger than 250 people for the next couple of weeks. The theme park’s administrators said they tentatively plan to reopen on March 28. Universal CityWalk will remain open.

“The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority,” Universal said in a statement.

5:59 p.m.: Argentina bans flights from US

Argentinian President Alberto Fernández’s office told ABC News that it will suspend flights to and from several countries with coronavirus cases, including the U.S., Europe, China and Iran.

Details are still being worked out, but the order would be in effect for 30 days.

Earlier, Argentina said it would stop issuing visas to travelers from those countries.

 5:26 p.m.: Maryland public schools to shutter

All public schools in Maryland will be closed from March 16 to March 27, officials said Thursday.

5:07 p.m.: Schools closing in 3 Washington state counties

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered all private and public schools to close for six weeks in three counties: Snohomish, King and Pierce.

Classes must end no later than March 17 and remain closed until April 24.

4:37 p.m.: Disneyland to close

Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will close from the morning of March 14 through the end of the month, said a spokesperson for the Disneyland Resort.

There were no reported cases of coronavirus at the park but the decision was made after reviewing guidelines from the governor’s executive order, the spokesperson said.

4:20 p.m.: NCAA cancels rest of March Madness

The NCAA on Thursday canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments and all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

4:12 p.m.: State of emergency declared in New York City

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency Thursday, calling the number of confirmed cases “striking and troubling.”

“There is no precedent for this,” he said.

New York state has 328 confirmed cases of coronavirus including 95 in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

4:02 p.m.: Ohio schools to close for 3 weeks

Ohio’s public, private and charter schools will be closed from March 17 through April 3, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

“From what we can tell based on what has happened elsewhere — unless a child has another medical problem, the risk of death from #COVID19 for a child is not very high, but kids are potential carriers,” DeWine tweeted Thursday. “We have a responsibility to save lives. We could have waited to close schools, but based on advice from health experts, this is the time to do it.”

 3:14 p.m.: MLB season delayed

Major League Baseball has suspended spring training games and is delaying the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks.

3:07 p.m.: Trump and Pence “do not require being tested,” says press secretary

Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “do not require being tested at this time” for coronavirus, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Trump and Pence had “almost no interactions with” Fabio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has tested positive for COVID-19, Grisham said.

However, a photo posted by Wajngarten on Instagram shows Trump side-by-side touching the Brazilian president’s press secretary who tested positive for COVID-19 days after the meeting at Mar-a-Lago last weekend.

“Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” Grisham said in a statement.

Trump on Thursday said “we’ll have to see whether or not” he’ll hold rallies, saying the country has to make a “turn” in fighting the virus first.

“My rallies are very big. They’re very big rallies. We’ll be making a decision at the appropriate time,” Trump said. “The next one scheduled is for the 25th, and that’s in Tampa. But we’ll have to see whether or not we do.”

“I’m not going to do it if I think it’s going to be negative at all, if we haven’t made that turn yet. We’ll make the turn — the question is when. And the question is how many people will die? And I don’t want people dying. That’s what I’m all about,” Trump said. “This [the White House] is the nerve center. I want to be right here. I don’t want to be flying around in airplanes all over the place.”

“We need a little separation until such time as this goes away. It is going to go away,” the president said.

2:54 p.m.: Supreme Court closes to public

The Supreme Court Building is closing to the public until further notice, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

2:46 p.m.: Broadway goes dark

Broadway theaters will go dark in New York City starting Thursday evening.

The Broadway closure is part of a broader, statewide ban on gatherings of 500 or more that begins Friday, under the direction of the governor.

The Broadway announcement came the same day Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall canceled performances and the Metropolitan Museum of Art temporarily closed.

Broadway will start up again the week of April 13.

2:28 p.m.: Israel closes schools and universities

Israel will close schools and universities indefinitely, beginning Friday, March 13, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This will not include kindergartens, special education schools and boarding schools for children at risk.

Israel has 130 confirmed coronavirus cases.

1:56 p.m.: Second Utah Jazz player tests positive

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell is the second player on his team to test positive for COVID-19.

“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test,” he wrote on Instagram Thursday. “We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.”

“I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help,” he said.

On Wednesday the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive.

1:43 p.m.: Sen. Rick Scott joins growing list of Congressional members in self-quarantine

Florida Sen. Rick Scott has become the eighth member of Congress to self-quarantine.

Scott said he wanted to quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” after being in a room with a member of the Brazilian President’s delegation who has tested positive coronavirus.

“While I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me,” the senator said.

Scott said he feels healthy and is not exhibiting symptoms.

1:37 p.m.: Italy death toll surpasses 1,000

The death toll in Italy has climbed to at least 1,016.

Italy officials Thursday reported 2,700 new COVID-19 cases, including 189 fatalities.

1:03 p.m.: Oregon bans gatherings over 250 people

Officials in Oregon are banning gatherings of over 250 people until April 8.

The ban applies to organized events and does not include shopping centers or stores.

Schools will still be in session but large school events and meetings will be canceled.

The ban does not include weddings but officials recommended the elderly stay home.

Tune in to ABC News Live at noon ET every weekday for the latest news, context and analysis on the novel coronavirus, with resources from the full ABC News team.

12:55 p.m.: Fauci says coronavirus testing system “is a failing”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in testimony to the House Oversight Committee, “the idea of anybody getting [a test] easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. We’re not.”

“The system is not geared to what we need right now,” he said. That is a failing. It’s a failing. Let’s admit it.”

12:33 p.m.: Sunday’s debate moved from Arizona to D.C.

Sunday night’s Democratic debate has been moved from Arizona to Washington, D.C., in the wake of the outbreak the Democratic National Committee said Thursday.

The debate will be held at CNN’s studio and will not have a live audience.

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos has decided to no longer moderate the debate because he said he was “in proximity with someone who was in direct contact with a person that tested positive for coronavirus,” the DNC added.

“Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free,” the DNC said.

Ramos was cleared by medical professionals but made the decision “out of an abundance of caution,” the DNC said.

12:15 p.m.: Prime Minister Trudeau self-isolates

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, are self-isolating after she experienced possible COVID-19 symptoms, said his communications director, Cameron Ahmad.

Gregoire Trudeau had “mild flu-like symptoms including a low fever” Wednesday night, and her symptoms have since subsided, Ahmad said. She is being tested for COVID-19 and is self-isolating at home as she awaits results, he said.

Prime Minister Trudeau has no symptoms but chose to self-isolate and work from home until his wife’s test results come back, his office said.

11:50 a.m.: Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament canceled, Major League Soccer suspends season

The Big Ten Conference said it’s immediately canceling the rest of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Major League Soccer also said it’s suspending the season for 30 days, effective immediately.
Keep calm and wash your hands: 5 tips for managing stress around coronavirus

The soccer league’s decision comes one day after the NBA said it was suspending its season and that an NBA player tested positive for coronavirus.

11 a.m.: White House stops tours

The White House has temporarily suspended public tours, according to the 24-hour visitors’ office information line.

The line Thursday morning played a message telling callers that “out of an abundance of caution, all White House tours have been temporarily suspended, effective immediately.”

10 a.m.: Capitol stops tours

The Capitol Visitor Center will be closed to all tours beginning Thursday, March 12 at 5 p.m.

Access to the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings will be limited to members, staff, credentialed press and official business visitors, according to a Thursday statement from the House Sergeant at Arms and Senate Sergeant at Arms.

The closure will end April 1 at 8 a.m.

All public Pentagon tours have also been canceled as of Thursday morning until further notice, said the Pentagon Press Secretary.

9:38 a.m. Trading halted on New York Stock Exchange

Trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange for 15 minutes Thursday morning as stocks fell 7%.

9 a.m. Princess Cruises pauses global ship operations

Princess Cruises announced Thursday that it’s voluntarily stopping global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months.

8:08 a.m. European Commission slams President Trump’s “unilateral” decision to shut down travel from the EU to the United States.

The European Commission issued a scathing statement reacting to President Donald Trump’s announcement on the U.S. travel ban from the European Union.

“The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” the joint statement said from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation. The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”

On Wednesday night, Trump announced that he was suspending travel from the 26 countries in Europe in the bloc’s Schengen area for 30 days beginning on Friday. The restrictions do not apply to the United Kingdom.

7:02 a.m. Vice President Mike Pence tells ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that the Trump administration doesn’t want “any American to be concerned about the cost of [coronavirus] testing.”

In an interview on ABC News’ Good Morning America, Vice President Mike Pence sought to ease the public’s fears of the coronavirus by reassuring Americans that they will not have to worry about paying for testing should they feel like they are exhibiting symptoms.

“If, for any reason, you believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus or you have symptoms, we don’t want people to be worried about the cost of testing, to be worried about the cost of treatment,” Pence said in the interview. “We are making sure that medicaid and medicare cover the treatment for anyone that contracts the coronavirus.”

Pence also addressed the shaky economy and said that it is the Trump administration’s top priority behind the health and wellness of the American public.

“The president’s top priorty is the health and safety of the American public but right after that we want to make sure that this economy, the underpinnings of which continue to be strong, is able to quickly recover when we find our way through the coronavirus,” he said.

Said Pence: “President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well-being of the American public.. He took historic action when we suspended travel from China and now he has taken historic action suspending travel from Europe … The president showed again yesterday a willingness to take decisive action.”

6:50 a.m. U.S. stock futures halted

Stock futures, like the stock market, can be halted during after hours trade when they fall too much.

Futures get halted when they fall more than 5% and don’t “open” until the stock market does.

The market opens at 9:30 a.m.

6:28 a.m. A Jet Blue passenger who arrived at Palm Beach Airport on flight from New York City diagnosed with coronavirus

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue says a passenger on a JetBlue flight to Palm Beach International Airport has been positively diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Fire rescue officials say the Palm Beach County Health Department spoke to all passengers on board. They say passengers who were near the patient were given instructions on monitoring their health. According to PBC fire rescue officials, crews at PBIA are sterilizing the containment area where passengers deplaned. That area is separate from the main airport terminal.

The plane landed around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

The aircrew and 114 passengers were stuck on the plane for hours. Within an hour, all passengers had deplaned. The passengers said they were told to monitor their health over the next couple of days. They were allowed to leave the airport without seeing a doctor.

6:04 a.m. The National Guard will deploy to hard-hit New Rochelle, New York, today, to maintain a containment zone just 25 miles outside of New York City

The national guard will arrive today in New Rochelle, New York, to help deliver food to quarantined people as officials focus on a one-mile radius around the center of where the outbreak started. A containment area will be in effect from March 12 to March 25 and a satellite testing facility set up by Northwell Health has been set up to increase the testing in New Rochelle. Several schools and houses of worship have also been shuttered during this period.

4:16 a.m. Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks and stepson of Rita Wilson, has released a statement saying that his parents are doing well and they are both expected to make a full recovery

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from everyone,” said Colin Hanks in a statement on Instagram. “My parents are receiving excellent care in Australia and are doing well (and in good spirits) given the circumstances. Despite the fact that I am in LA and haven’t seen them in over three weeks, we have been in constant contact and am confident that they will make a full recovery.”

2:25 a.m. California bans gatherings of 250 people or more until at least the end of March

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new restrictions on public gatherings, saying that they must now be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of six feet per person.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” Newsom said. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk – seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Submit a Comment