Global coronavirus death toll reaches nearly 3,000; RI announces first presumptive positive

(NEW YORK) — The global death toll of coronavirus has reached nearly 3,000 people as countries around the world continue to report their findings to the World Health Organization.

At least 70 cases and one death have been detected in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is how the situation is unfolding on Sunday (all times eastern).

1:15 p.m. Australia confirmed 1st death; the Dominican Republic confirms 1st case

The Australian Health Ministry has confirmed its first death of coronavirus, while the Dominican Republic’s Public Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas has confirmed the country’s first case.

The patient in the Dominican Republic is a 62-year-old Italian citizen who entered the country on Feb, 22 with no symptoms, Cardenas said. He is currently asymptomatic and is being isolated at a military hospital.

In South Korea, the health ministry announced that the number of cases had grown to 3,736 confirmed and 18 dead.

12:50 p.m. Officials added to coronavirus task force

Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced three additions to the President Donald Trump’s task force for the coronavirus.

Dr Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs, and Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, have all been added, according to a White House press release.

The administration previously named four others to the task force: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.

11:57 am. Sen. Charles Schumer pushes full Medicare coverage for coronavirus vaccine

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing for the coronavirus vaccine to be fully covered by Medicare once it is ready.

Schumer said that senior citizens are among the population that needs the vaccine the most and should not “have to choose between shelling out or going without.”

Immunization coverage varies by vaccine under current Medicare rules, Schumer said.

11:50 a.m. Delta suspends flights between New York and Milan

Delta Airlines announced Sunday it has suspended flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Milan Malpensa Airport until May 1.

American Airlines previously said it was suspending flights between JFK and Milan until April 25.

Delta, American and United Airlines are currently offering travel waivers to Italy.

The three carriers had previously suspended flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through late April.

11:22 a.m. The Louvre Museum not opening on Sunday

The famed Louvre Museum in Paris announced Sunday that it would not be opening due to the threat of the coronavirus.

The museum had announced earlier that it was delaying the opening following instructions from officials.

 

The Louvre Museum cannot open today, Sunday March 1st.

We invite you to write to [email protected] for a refund for any entrance tickets for today.

We apologize for any inconvenience and will keep you informed of developments. pic.twitter.com/kRbaUtbKg0

— Musée du Louvre (@MuseeLouvre) March 1, 2020

 

On Saturday, French officials announced that collective gatherings “in confined spaces” of more than 5,000 and all big events susceptible of bringing foreigners coming from “risk zones” were banned.

Those who bought advance tickets to the museum will be refunded.

10:12 a.m. 1st presumptive case of coronavirus detected in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Health has announced the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the state.

The patient is in his or her 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February and had limited travel within the state — and not returned to work — since arriving back in the U.S., according to the health agency.

All infection protocols are being followed at the hospital where the patient is being treated.

“The Rhode Island Department of Health has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have a structure in place to, to the best of our ability, limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. We fully anticipated having a first case of COVID-19,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, in a statement. “We are not seeing widespread community transmission in Rhode Island, and the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is still low. However, everyone in Rhode Island has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of viruses, just like the flu. It is very important that people wash their hands regularly, cover their coughs and sneezes, and stay home if they are sick.”

9:19 a.m. U.S. Surgeon General releases information to “stop the spread of rumors”

The U.S. Surgeon General has released a thread of information on Twitter to prevent the spread of misinformation on the coronavirus.

The first issue the agency tackled was the apparent racism against Asian Americans that has been spreading as a result of the virus.

“Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity,” the tweet read. “People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID19 than any other American.”

 

(1/7) Good #SundayMorning! This week’s #SundaySpotlight on #PublicHealth is focused on sharing the facts about #COVID19 and stopping the spread of rumors. More via @CDCgov: https://t.co/6RaQoaLnhh

— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) March 1, 2020

 

The Surgeon General also said that while the disease is serious, immediate health risk to the general public is “considered low” and reminded people to know the signs and symptoms of the virus as well as the steps to take to keep you and those around you safe.
Earlier

One death has been recorded in the U.S. after a man in his 50s succumbed to the virus in Washington State, officials announced on Saturday.

Washington state is also looking into a number of illnesses at a long-term care facility, health officials said.

There have been 87,138 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in at least 60 countries and 2,980 deaths, according to the latest figures released by WHO.

On Sunday, Iran’s Health Ministry raised the number of people who died from the virus to 54 after the tally of infected jumped overnight to 978, The Associated Press reported.

Symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to pneumonia, and can range from mild symptoms, like a slight cough, to more severe symptoms, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC.

The first cases of COVID-19 were believed to be linked to a live-animal market in China, but the virus has since been spreading from person to person — likely within close contact of at least 6 feet.

The CDC doesn’t currently recommend any healthy person wear a face mask, as fiddling with the mask could risk more exposure of hands to the face.

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