COVID-19 Outbreak: 6 Breaking News Stories You Need to Know

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(TMU) — News about the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the United States and across the world is developing rapidly. It can be difficult and overwhelming to keep up with everything happening so we’ve sifted through hundreds of articles and pulled out what we feel are the most important developments so you don’t have to.

Here are six things you need to know about COVID-19!

Posted by Emma Leigh on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Here are six huge breaking news events that you need to know about the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus.

Seattle Becomes Ground Zero Overnight as New Cases Explode Across US

On Monday, March 2 the second COVID-19-linked death in the United States was announced. Seemingly overnight, that total increased to at least 10, two of which were declared retroactively.

A female in her 80s and a male in his 50s both died in Washington state on February 26 but were not linked to COVID-19 until March 3. All of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States so far have been in the Seattle area.

According to King County, those deaths include:

  • A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
  • A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on 2/26/20
  • A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. This person died on 3/1/20
  • A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20
  • A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on 3/2/20
  • A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died 2/28/20 at EvergreenHealth

However, the sister of a 54 year old Tacoma, WA man (former top aide in DC for a US senator) has announced his death due to COVID-19 in a Facebook post that has since been changed to private. He reportedly passed away Monday, March 2 and does not appear to be included in the tally above.

Also in Washington, an Amazon employee at one of the company’s Seattle offices has tested positive. According to Amazon, “The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since that time.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) closed their Washington office on Tuesday, according to DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

King County, the county in which Seattle is located, has announced plans to purchase a motel to house coronavirus patients. King County also plans to use modular housing for this purpose.

Meanwhile, first responders and medical staff are testing positive for the virus.

Iran Looks Just Like China Did

Shocking leaked footage shows bodies piling up at a local morgue in Qom, Iran, said to be victims of the country’s spiraling COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Tuesday, Iranian health officials announced 2,336 total cases and 77 dead.

On Tuesday, Iran put its armed forces on alert as the virus spread throughout the country, even infecting and killing members of parliament. There are now 23 COVID-19 cases among Iranian parliament members.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the green light to mobilize 300,000 soldiers and volunteers.

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an advisor to Iran’s supreme leader, died on Monday.

WHO Sounds Alarm on Death Rate, Recommends China’s Containment Measures

The World Health Organization (WHO) now estimates the COVID-19 death rate to be 3.4 percent—higher than previous estimates.

The WHO previously praised China’s efforts in dealing with the novel coronavirus and is now recommending the aggressive containment measures used.

According to a tweet from CBC, WHO “has examined the data and believes the decline in coronavirus cases in China since the end of last month is real. The agency says with similar aggressive containment measures, other countries could also see a decline.

WHO has called on both industry leaders and governments to boost the manufacture of protective gear by 40 percent.

According to the UN, “some 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles will be needed for the COVID-19 response every month while the epidemic lasts.”

Thus far, the organization has “supplied around half a million sets of protective equipment to 47 affected countries, but these supplies are rapidly running out.”

US Military Prepares for Medical Martial Law

According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), defense leaders have been meeting for the past six weeks to make plans on how to respond in the event the novel coronavirus spread to the U.S. from China. “We’ve issued a variety of [memoranda] and directives advising the force on how to deal with coronavirus,” Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are preparing for a possible “infectious disease emergency declaration,according to documents reviewed by NBC.

The declaration would allow FEMA to provide federal assistance and disaster relief funding to state and local governments to combat the coronavirus. To me this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation,” former FEMA official Michael Coen said.

Lack of COVID-19 Tests in US as CDC Testing Data Vanishes

Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield expressing his concerns about COVID-19 testing data being tracked and provided to the public, or lack thereof.

On its website, the CDC had been publicly posting the number of people it had tested for the virus. The data is no longer there and a statement reads:CDC is no longer reporting the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) that have been tested, as well as PUIs that have tested negative.”

Pocan pointed out that the CDC successfully keeps track of national health data for a wide range of diseases and should therefore be able to keep track of data related to the novel coronavirus.

After a flurry of negative response to the massive cost burden of the test for COVID-19, Seema Verma, an administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that all costs associated with the test will now be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The remarks followed a Tuesday announcement from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence indicating that the CDC would revise their guidelines for testing and that “any American can be tested (for coronavirus), no restrictions, subject to doctors’ orders.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said at the White House on Monday evening that U.S. labs will have enough materials by the end of the week to perform “close to 1 million” tests.

However, according to Politico, data provided by Association of Public Health Laboratories shows public health labs should be able to run up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of this week.

IMF, World Bank, Google Cancel Events Months Ahead of Time

Tech giant Google has cancelled one of its biggest annual events, the I/O Conference that was slated to take place in San Fransisco, California May 12 to 14 of this year. The company previously decided to ban all non-critical business travel and move its annual Cloud Next conference online.

Google said that those who purchased tickets for the event, which was slated to take place between May 12-14, will be refunded by March 13 at the latest.

Twitter has told all of its 5,000 employees around the world to work from home and has made working form home mandatory for its employees in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have announced that April meetings will be held in a “virtual format” due to the outbreak. According to U.S. News and World Report, the Spring Meetings scheduled this year April 17-19 “usually bring some 10,000 government officials, business people, civil society representatives and journalists from across the globe to a tightly packed, two-block area of downtown Washington that houses their headquarters.”

Look for our next article summarizing mid-week developments and follow @COVID19report on Telegram.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

COVID-19 Breaking News