3h ago / 1:24 AM UTC
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Monday issued a statewide stay-at-home order aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, telling residents the disease is “really serious stuff.”
The order, which goes into effect Tuesday morning, urges West Virginians to stay at home for anything beyond essential travel. It also closes casinos, restaurants, parks and other places or limits the number of people who can visit them.
West Virginia joined New Mexico, Washington state and Louisiana, which issued similar orders Monday. California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York already had stay-at-home policies in effect.
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3h ago / 1:30 AM UTC
Washington residents ordered to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’
Washington has joined other states in issuing a “stay home” order that urges residents to shelter in place.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced the order Monday, telling residents they must stay home unless they are “pursuing an essential activity.” The governor also asked that people resist the urge to hoard goods during their grocery shopping, which is deemed essential under the order.
“If each of us maintains our normal shopping habits, we will avoid the problem of empty shelves,” Inslee said.
Nearly 2,000 cases have been confirmed in Washington state, where 95 deaths have been blamed on the coronavirus.
Effective immediately, all Washingtonians must stay home unless they are pursuing an essential activity.
➡️ Grocery shopping
➡️ Doctor appointments
➡️ Essential work duty
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 24, 2020
4h ago / 12:30 AM UTC
Team USA urges IOC to postpone Olympics
Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement urging the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo.
Team USA surveyed more than 1,700 athletes, just under half of the country’s Olympic and Paralympic competitors, about continuing with the games as planned. Nearly 70 percent of the athletes said their training has been severely impacted by public health restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, and about 68 percent said they don’t believe the games could be fairly competed if they continue as scheduled.
“To that end, it’s more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising, and we encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors,” the USOPC statement said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged Monday that the Tokyo Games could be delayed due to the coronavirus as countries began threatening to keep their athletes from traveling to Japan.
USOPC Statement on survey of Team USA athletes related to COVID-19 and Tokyo 2020.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) March 23, 2020
4h ago / 12:44 AM UTC
Trump jokingly walks away as doctor says she had fever over weekend
The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force had a moment of levity on Monday when President Donald Trump playful walked away from panel member Dr. Deborah Birx after she revealed she had a fever over the weekend and was tested for the virus.
She was negative.
6h ago / 11:08 PM UTC
Trump postpones REAL ID deadline over coronavirus
The October 2020 deadline for compliance with the federal REAL ID program is postponed indefinitely, President Trump announced Monday.
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The REAL ID Act was passed after the 9/11 attacks and sought to make all state-issued identification cards more secure with uniform national standards.
Just before the coronavirus epidemic began to sweep the United States, NBC News reported that airports warned of “chaos” if Trump did not postpone the October 2020 deadline because so few Americans had obtained the new type of identification, which usually are marked with a star on the front of the card.
Trump on Monday said the new deadline would be announced “in a very short moment.”
6h ago / 10:41 PM UTC
New York first state to test treatment with blood from recovered patients
Hoping to stem the toll of the state’s surging coronavirus outbreak, New York health officials plan to begin collecting plasma from people who have recovered and injecting the antibody-rich fluid into patients still fighting the virus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the plans during a news briefing Monday. The treatment, known as convalescent plasma, dates back centuries and was used during the flu epidemic of 1918 — in an era before modern vaccines and antiviral drugs.
Some experts say the treatment, although somewhat primitive, might be the best hope for combating the new coronavirus until more sophisticated therapies can be developed, which could take several months.
7h ago / 9:58 PM UTC
Trump, slammed for calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus,’ says it’s important to ‘protect’ Asian Americans
President Donald Trump, accused of fueling racism by labeling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” tweeted Monday that the country must “protect our Asian American community.”
“They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!” the president tweeted.
It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
NBC News has previously reported that Asians across the globe have reported experiencing xenophobia as a result of coronavirus fears, with several incidents involving physical harassment. Republican lawmakers and Trump have referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus,” which experts say could be fueling real-life acts of discrimination.
The president defended his use of the term, saying last week he did not believe it was “racist at all” to call coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”
6h ago / 10:48 PM UTC
Man dies after ingesting chloroquine in attempt to prevent coronavirus
An Arizona man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate in an attempt to protect himself from becoming infected with the coronavirus. The man’s wife also ingested the drug, and is currently under critical care.
The drug chloroquine is used to treat malaria, and some early research suggests it may be useful in treating COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
There are no drugs approved to prevent or treat the coronavirus.
Tim Fitzsimons and Kevin Collier
7h ago / 9:21 PM UTC
Local officials call for ‘substantial’ election stimulus funding
More than 30 election officials are calling for Congress to include “substantial” increases to a proposed $140 million in election funding in the coronavirus stimulus bill.
In an open letter published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, state and municipal officials charged with administering elections said the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic are stark — and have already forced the postponement and rescheduling of primary and local elections.
“Our colleagues have been forced to make last-minute changes to polling places, and conduct elections without sufficient staff or poll worker support, as we work to balance public safety and the sacred right to vote,” the officials wrote. “$140 million is a start but it is simply not enough.”
A report by the Brennan Center found that a thorough election funding package could cost up to $2 billion and would appropriate funds to ensure that all Americans could vote by mail or in person at a COVID-19-safe election facility, as well as fund online registration and voter registration efforts to let people know about coronavirus-related changes.
8h ago / 8:45 PM UTC
FDNY boss: Our supply of personal protective equipment ‘dangerously low’
New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told NBC News that supplies of personal protective equipment are “dangerously low” and the department has weeks—not months—worth of the gear its members don every time they respond to a call for a person with flu-like symptoms.
Nigro said that 46 FDNY members, which include EMS workers, have tested positive for COVID-19 and two are currently hospitalized. A FDNY spokesperson said none of the cases were acquired through interaction with a patient.
“All that we can hope for is that the pleas from the governor and the mayor have been heard in Washington and that a supply stream will open and that we will get the equipment that our members need to operate safely,” Nigro said.
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