As the nation scrambled to grasp the scope of the escalating public well being disaster, the quantity of identified circumstances of coronavirus an infection within the United States surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday evening, signaling that the coronavirus was spreading broadly in communities on each coasts and within the middle of the nation.
America’s first identified coronavirus case was introduced on Jan. 21 in Washington State. Six weeks later, the quantity of circumstances had risen to 70, most of them tied to abroad journey. But since then, new case experiences have poured in, first by the handfuls, then the a whole bunch.
A majority of the circumstances have been in Washington State, California or New York, the place on a regular basis life swiftly started to alter. Businesses closed. Colleges canceled class. Governors urged folks to keep away from crowds.
But the virus is now found in every region of the country, including Massachusetts, where dozens of new cases were announced on Tuesday, and South Dakota, where the governor announced the state’s five first cases, including one man who died. The number of states with no reported cases now stands at about a dozen.
Thirty-one deaths across the country have now been linked to the coronavirus. Officials in Sacramento County, Calif., said on Tuesday that a woman in her 90s died after contracting the illness.
Britain’s health minister says she is infected.
Nadine Dorries, the British health minister, confirmed reports late on Tuesday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus. She had attended a reception at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence two days earlier.
Ms. Dorries said in a post on Twitter that she had felt “pretty rubbish” but hoped that the worst of the viral illness had come and gone. British news reports said she was the first member of Parliament to test positive.
Health officials were rushing to trace her contacts, which included dozens of constituents and lawmakers, as well as co-workers at the Department of Health and Social Care, according to British news outlets. She was at 10 Downing Street, Mr. Johnson’s residence, on Sunday for International Women’s Day.
The news sparked discussion in Britain about whether Parliament would need to be suspended. Lawmakers meet in the cramped House of Commons, sitting shoulder to shoulder on green leather benches and often spilling into the aisles and standing room areas, creating fertile conditions for illness to spread.
Ms. Dorries started feeling ill on Friday as she was signing a statutory instrument that declared coronavirus to be a “notifiable disease,” a step that allowed British companies to obtain insurance coverage.
Some observers noted that Ms. Dorries appeared to have voted in the House of Commons about a week ago, meaning she had at least brief contact with other lawmakers at a time when she may have been contagious.
But her most dangerous contact may have been with her 84-year-old mother, who is staying with her, Ms. Dorries wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night. “Thanks for so many good wishes,” Ms. Dorries wrote, adding that her mother had developed a cough.
Delays in testing set back the U.S. coronavirus response.
Dr. Helen Y. Chu, an infectious disease expert in Seattle, wanted to repurpose tests from a flu research project to monitor the coronavirus after the first confirmed American case landed in her area in late January.
But nearly everywhere she turned, state and federal officials repeatedly rejected the idea, interviews and emails show, even as weeks crawled by and outbreaks emerged in countries outside of China, where the infection began.
By Feb. 25, Dr. Chu and her colleagues could not bear to wait any longer. They began performing coronavirus tests, without government approval.
What came back confirmed their worst fear. They quickly had a positive test from a local teenager with no recent travel history. The coronavirus had already established itself on American soil without anybody realizing it.
“It must have been here this entire time,” Dr. Chu recalled thinking with dread. “It’s just everywhere already.”
In fact, officials would later discover through testing, the virus had already contributed to the deaths of two people, and it would go on to kill 20 more in the Seattle region over the following days.
Federal and state officials said the flu study could not be repurposed because it did not have explicit permission from research subjects; the labs were also not certified for clinical work. While acknowledging the ethical questions, Dr. Chu and others argued there should be more flexibility in an emergency during which so many lives could be lost. On Monday night, state regulators told them to stop testing altogether.
The failure to tap into the flu study was just one in a series of missed chances by the federal government to ensure more widespread testing during the early days of the outbreak, when containment would have been easier. Instead, local officials across the country were left to work blindly as the crisis grew undetected and exponentially.
Washington State prepares to restrict gatherings as U.S. crisis grows
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State will announce on Wednesday a prohibition on community gatherings of 250 or more people in the Seattle area as the state takes extraordinary steps to contain a coronavirus outbreak, according to a person involved in the discussions.
The announcement, according to the person involved, is expected to target events such as sporting and entertainment gatherings while offering exceptions to things like retail stores. Schools will not be affected, but districts will be expected to review things like sporting events that may draw significant crowds.
Washington State and the Seattle area have adopted increasingly stringent controls as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has approached 300 — the most in the country — and the number of deaths has reached 24.
Santa Clara County, Calif. — which includes the city of San Jose and much of Silicon Valley — has already banned large public gatherings, and man employers have temporarily closed down or asked people to work at home. On Tuesday, Google recommended that tens of thousands of its North American employees work from home. Previously, it had only extended that policy to workers in the Seattle area.
In addition, Ohio State University and Harvard University joined the growing list of universities and colleges that have suspended in-person classes — just one of many fronts in the battle to slow the spread of virus across the United States.
Harvard, whose spring break begins on Saturday, asked students not to return to campus when the break ends on March 23, a decision few schools have made so far. On Monday, Amherst College asked all students to leave campus by as early as next week.
Some of the best-known fixtures in higher education have mandated a switch to online-only classes to keep people apart, hoping it will slow the spread of the virus: Cornell University, New York University, Columbia University, the University of Washington, Stanford University, American University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Barnard College, Hofstra University, Rice University and the University of California, Berkeley.
No audience for the debate in Arizona on Sunday.
There will be no live audience. No spin room. Virtually no traveling members of the press. This is a presidential primary debate in the age of coronavirus.
CNN and Democratic officials announced on Tuesday that “at the request of the campaigns and out of an abundance of caution,” the Democratic debate in Phoenix on Sunday between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders would be a significantly pared-down affair.
The live audience — whose jeers and cheers can be a major variable for the candidates onstage — will be missing. Instead, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders will debate each other in an empty theater, joined only by a handful of moderators and television crew members.
The spin room, where campaign aides scramble after the debate to declare their candidates a winner in front of packs of deadline-addled reporters, is scrapped as well, along with the media filing center, the often-cavernous space where hundreds of political reporters gather to watch the television broadcast and write their reports.
A prime-time debate with no in-house audience would be a highly unusual moment in the age of mass media campaigns, although it hearkens back to earlier days when presidential debates occurred in the privacy of closed television studios.
Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden both called off primary night campaign events Tuesday as they awaited the results of voting in six states.
Getting people off the Grand Princess cruise ship is going slowly.
After loitering at sea for days because of coronavirus cases on board, the Grand Princess cruise liner docked in Oakland, Calif., on Monday so that passengers could debark, be screened and move on to quarantine or treatment as needed. But the process is going very slowly.
For the past two mornings, Denise Morse and other passengers have followed protocol to prepare for disembarking: Dress in their cleanest clothes, eat a big breakfast and pack their suitcases. By Tuesday afternoon, she was still on board, and growing frustrated.
“I don’t want to start crying, but I’m stressed,” said Ms. Morse, from Davis, Calif., who has been quarantined in her stateroom since Friday. “This is very exhausting to experience.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said that by 1 p.m. Pacific time, about 700 of the 2,400 passengers had left the ship. “We want to see that processing stepped up,” he said, adding of the ship: “We don’t want to see it here more than a week.”
Authorities initially said it would take around two to three days to remove all passengers from the cruise ship, an operation that federal authorities are handling in an area of the port that has been cordoned off. The crew of 1,100 would stay on board. But Mr. Newsom said the authorities were now in negotiations with the home countries of crew members to send some of them there on charter flights.
Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, said at a White House briefing that at least 171 Californians who have left the ship have been moved to Travis Air Force Base for a mandatory quarantine period. Mr. Azar said that 26 people were found to be sick and were being treated; he did not specify whether it was for the virus or other ailments.
At least 21 people aboard the two-week cruise to Hawaii have tested positive, and the figure is likely to rise. Non-Americans who leave the ship are being repatriated.
“We’re seeing the countries with socialized medicine getting their people out of here like lickety-split,” said Ms. Morse, 67.
Wall Street bounces back a bit from Monday’s plunge.
Shares on Wall Street recovered some of the ground on Tuesday that they lost on Monday in the sharpest single-day drop in more than a decade, as investors seemed to take comfort in proposals from Washington to soften the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak.
The S&P 500 ended a wobbly day with a gain of nearly 5 percent.
“Markets are always enamored with tax cuts, or even the hope thereof,” Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers in Greenwich, Conn., said in an email. “Yesterday’s sell-off was so extreme that it’s not at all surprising to see a bounce.”
The White House has not announced any specific measures yet, and analysts and traders cautioned that financial markets remained fragile.
New York creates a “containment zone” in New Rochelle.
New York State officials established a “containment zone” on Tuesday in a suburb with one of the country’s largest outbreaks, closing schools, community centers and houses of worship and deploying National Guard troops to decontaminate schools and deliver meals to people under quarantine.
The zone, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, covers a one-mile radius around the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, which is believed to be at the center of the large cluster of cases.
Beginning Thursday, major gathering places within that circle will be closed for two weeks. The area is mostly within New Rochelle, a small city just north of New York City, but part of it lies within the neighboring town of Eastchester.
Streets will not be closed, and businesses like grocery stores and delis will remain open, the governor said.
Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle, said that some businesses were suffering, in large part “because a fair percentage of the customer base is already quarantined” — including his own mother, who lives in a nursing home.
The creation of the containment zone was just one of many ways the virus was disrupting life in the region.
The New York Road Runners club said on Tuesday that it was canceling the New York City Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race that typically draws about 25,000 participants and was scheduled for Sunday.
Across Europe, no consistency in containment tactics.
With the first reported cases in Cyprus, the coronavirus is now present in every country in the European Union, health officials said on Tuesday. Neighboring Turkey later announced its first case, a citizen who had traveled in Europe.
The news came the day after Italy imposed sweeping travel restrictions across the whole country.
[Read: For Italians, dodging coronavirus has become a game of chance.]
The measures taken by the union’s member states to contain the virus varied widely from country to country, often with little relation to the actual size of the outbreaks, reflecting a lack of international coordination.
Greece and the Czech Republic announced that all schools and universities would close, though each country’s caseload is in the dozens, far fewer than some of their neighbors.
“We may decide on additional emergency measures later,” the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is necessary to take active, exceptional measures at the start of an epidemic.”
Spain, with one of the largest outbreaks, closed all education centers in the Madrid region, but not nationwide. In Poland, Poznan, a city in the west of the country, closed schools, swimming pools and other public places after a single infection was discovered.
Worldwide, schooling has been disrupted for more than 300 million students.
Across the Continent, countries also increased travel regulations and guidelines.
Austria barred travelers from Italy without health certificates, and Switzerland was considering a similar measure.
Serbia has temporarily barred travelers from the worst-affected places, including Italy, while Croatian officials said that people entering from “highly infected areas” would face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Italy, with the worst outbreak outside of China, had more than 10,000 infections and 600 deaths by Tuesday. France and Spain each reported on Tuesday that they had more than 1,600 cases; Germany, had more than 1,200.
The authorities in France were resisting taking the kind of sweeping preventive measures seen in Italy or Japan.
“We are only at the beginning of this epidemic,” President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Tuesday after visiting an emergency call center in Paris. “We have anticipated, we have prepared ourselves.”
Nursing homes should bar most family and friend visits, the industry says.
Nursing homes and assisted living centers should take action to curtail most social visits, and should even take steps to keep some employees away, to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the industry said on Tuesday.
The recommendation follows an outbreak of the virus in the region around Seattle, where five long-term care facilities have been hit with cases, including a facility in Kirkland, Wash., where 18 residents have died.
“The mortality rate is shocking,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association. He said that the death rate might well exceed the 15 percent reported in China for people aged 80 and older who were infected.
The challenge of the virus “is one of the most significant, if not the most significant” issues the industry has ever faced, he said.
Industry officials said they are recommending that nursing homes should allow people to enter only if it is essential.
Staff members, contractors and government officials should be asked, “Do you need to be in-building to operate?” said Dr. David Gifford, the health care association’s chief medical officer.
As for family members, he said, “Our recommendation is they should not be visiting.”
Anyone who does visit, he said, should be screened carefully at reception and anyone who has signs of illness should be turned away.
The Coachella festival is postponed.
Organizers of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have delayed next month’s event until October over concerns about the coronavirus, the festival announced on Tuesday after days of speculation.
The festival, which had been planned in two weekend installments, April 10-12 and April 17-19, will now take place six months later, on Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18. Organizers did not say anything about changes to the lineup, which was to feature Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and a reunion of Rage Against the Machine, along with dozens of other acts.
Also postponed is Stagecoach, a country music festival staged by the same organizers, which will now take place Oct. 23-25. Both events are held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif.
Coachella, founded in 1999, draws up to 125,000 people a day and is a bellwether for the multibillion-dollar touring business. It joins a long list of cultural events that have been postponed or canceled over coronavirus fears, including the South By Southwest festival, which was set to begin on Friday. On Monday, Pearl Jam announced the postponement of its North American tour, and Neil Young said he was considering postponing his own tour.
Reporting and research was contributed by Jenny Gross, Michael M. Grynbaum, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Benjamin Mueller, Alissa J. Rubin, Elisabetta Povoledo, Vanessa Swales, Iliana Magra, Raphael Minder, Constant Méheut, Joanna Berendt, Jason M. Bailey, Patrick J. Lyons, Marc Santora, Jason Horowitz, Jorge Arangure, Jan Hoffman, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Peter S. Goodman, Clifford Krauss, Claire Fu, Ben Sisario, Annie Karni, Elsie Chen, Choe Sang-Hun, Maria Abi-Habib, Amber Wang, Nicholas Kulish, Zoe Mou, Niki Kitsantonis, Richard Pérez-Peña, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nicholas Fandos, Noah Weiland, Thomas Fuller, Sarah Mervosh and Mike Baker.