A second U.S. death from the novel coronavirus was announced Sunday, both in the same county in Washington state — King County, where Seattle is.
The virus continues to spread throughout the U.S. New York state confirmed its first case Sunday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the patient is a woman in her 30s who contracted the disease while traveling in Iran. She's not in serious condition, he said. Rhode Island reported its first two cases, and Florida announced two presumptive positive cases Sunday, prompting Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a public health emergency.
There are at least 89 confirmed cases in the U.S. so far, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments. Worldwide, more than 87,000 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, resulting in at least 3,037 deaths.
Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, tweeted Saturday that an analysis of a specimen from a new case in Snohomish County closely matched the specimen of the first known coronavirus case in the U.S., a person who had traveled recently from Wuhan, China. He said that indicates the virus has been spreading undetected in Washington for six weeks.
Meanwhile, the number of cases in Italy climbed to 1,377, and Delta and American Airlines temporarily suspended service from New York City to Milan.
Head of South Korean sect apologizes for its role in virus spread
The leader of a South Korean sect linked to more than half the country's 4,000-plus coronavirus cases apologized Monday for the spread of the disease. "I would like to offer my sincere apology to the people on behalf of the members," said Shincheonji Church of Jesus head Lee Man-hee, his voice breaking.
The 88-year-old twice got down on his knees to bow before reporters in Gapyeong, his head to the floor. "Although it was not intentional, many people have been infected," he said. "We put our utmost efforts but were unable to prevent it all. I seek the forgiveness of the people. I am very thankful to the government for its efforts. I also seek the forgiveness of the government."
Lee is revered by his followers as the "Promised Pastor" who will take 144,000 people with him to heaven on the Day of Judgement, but his group is often condemned as a cult.
A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu — the country's fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million and the center of the outbreak — before being diagnosed.
-- Agence France-Presse
South Korea reports 476 new cases
South Korea reported 476 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to Reuters, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 4,212. In addition, two more deaths were reported, raising South Korea's death toll to 22, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
South Korea has the most confirmed cases outside of China.
Oregon and Rhode Island both announce second presumptive cases
The states of Oregon and Rhode Island both announced their second presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday.
"The second case is an adult household contact of the first presumptive case. The second adult is not hospitalized and is recovering," the Oregon Health Authority said Sunday.
The Rhode Island case is a teenager and is at home with "mild symptoms," the state's Health Department said Sunday. In addition, a third person with mild symptoms is being tested. Both the teenager and the person being tested, a woman in her 30s, went on the same trip to Europe as the man who tested positive for coronavirus Sunday morning.
The trip was organized by Saint Raphael Academy, which will be closed this week, according to the RIDOH.
"All 38 of the people who went on this trip will be self-monitoring for symptoms at home for 14 days with public health supervision," the Health Department said. "They have been instructed to not go to school or work and to remain at home for these 14 days."
Florida announces two presumptive positive cases
Two patients in Florida have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health said Sunday. These are the first confirmed cases in the state.
"One adult resident of Hillsborough County and one adult resident of Manatee County," the department said. "Both individuals are isolated and being appropriately cared for."
"Our health care professionals throughout the state are implementing the appropriate protocols and are ready to respond," the department added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency following the announcement.
"I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to make its own determinations as to quarantine, isolation and other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law," DeSantis said in the defalcation.
Several people quarantined in Nebraska set to depart Monday
Several people quarantined at UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center are scheduled to depart Monday, Nebraska Medicine said in a statement Sunday. A total of 15 people who had been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan were transported to UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center for quarantine in February.
"Governor Pete Ricketts will join other state, local and federal officials at an event tomorrow to mark the beginning of departures for several people being monitored for the coronavirus," the statement said.
Second death reported in Washington state
A second person died Sunday from the novel coronavirus in Washington state, according to the state's department of health. The patient was a man in his 70s with underlying health problems according to King County Public Health.
Both deaths in Washington occurred in King County.
In addition, a third presumptive positive case was reported in Snohomish County on Sunday.
"The new case is a male in his 40s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man is in critical condition," a statement from the Snohomish Health District said. So far, there have been 13 confirmed cases in Washington state.
First case reported in New York state
The first case of coronavirus in New York state has been confirmed, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The patient is a woman in her late 30s who contracted the disease while traveling in Iran, according to a statement from Cuomo.
The patient is in isolation at her home and is not in serious condition, the statement says.
"There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York," Cuomo said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter, "Our health authorities have been in a state of high alert for weeks, and are fully prepared to respond."
New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said the department has "already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures."
"Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting #COVID-19," she said.
Crowds shrink at St. Peter's Square as Italy coronavirus cases surge
With Italy's cases surging to nearly 1,700 people, numbers of the faithful were noticeably down at the Pope's address on Sunday. More than 60 countries are now reporting cases, Italy being the hardest hit country outside Asia.
Ecuador reports 5 new cases of coronavirus
Ecuador's Public Health Ministry reported five new cases of coronavirus, who they all had come in contact with the nation's first confirmed case. That patient, an elderly woman, is in intensive care, Minister of Health Catalina Andramuño said.
Bloomberg calls Trump's "hoax" comment about Democrats and coronavirus "irresponsible"
Mike Bloomberg criticized President Trump's use of the word "hoax" to characterize the Democrats' response to the coronavirus pandemic. He told Scott Pelley the president was being irresponsible and should have been more of a leader in such a time of potential crisis. Bloomberg was interviewed by Pelley on Saturday in Virginia for a report that will shown Sunday night on "."
"I find it incomprehensible that the president would do something as inane as calling it a hoax, which he did last night in South Carolina," Bloomberg told Pelley.
"He said that the Democrats making so much of it is a Democratic hoax," Pelley pointed out. "Not that the virus was a hoax."
"This is up to the scientists and the doctors as to whether there is a problem," Bloomberg responded. "They all, around the world, say that it is in some places, and has enormous potential to become one elsewhere. And it is just ignorant and irresponsible to not stand up and be the leader and say, 'We don't know, but we have to prepare for the fact that, if it is, we have the medicines and the structure and the knowledge to deal with it.'"
Health Secretary Alex Azar says he is investigating coronavirus whistleblower complaint
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said he is personally involved in examining allegations raised by a whistleblower that agency employees who helped quarantined American evacuees from Wuhan, China, lacked proper training and protective gear. He also denied any possible exposure to the coronavirus led to its spread on the West Coast.
"We are aggressively looking to see whether there is validity to the concerns,"." "What the American people need to know is that we now have passed well over 14 days since any HHS employee had contact with the individuals involved. Nobody is symptomatic. Nobody has the disease."
A whistleblowerwith the Office of Special Counsel alleging the agency sent more than a dozen workers to receive American evacuees from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, who had neither "proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear."
The whistleblower, an employee with the Administration for Children and Families at HHS, warned that the staff may have been exposed to the deadly virus since they hadn't been trained in using the protective equipment and had face-to-face contact with evacuees.
According to the complaint, the workers didn't show symptoms indicating they were infected and weren't tested for coronavirus.
Read more about Azar's comments.
Study: Coronavirus could have been spreading undetected for 6 weeks in Washington state
Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, tweeted Saturday an analysis of a specimen from a new case in Snohomish County closely matched the specimen of the first known coronavirus case in the U.S., a person who had traveled recently from Wuhan, China. He said that indicates the virus has been spreading undetected in Washington for six weeks.
"I believe we're facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China," Bedford wrote.
Bedford said it appeared they were looking at a few hundred cases.
Two new cases of the coronavirus were reported recently in the Seattle area, according to officials with the Washington State Department of Health. KIRO-TV reports the cases are currently being classified as "presumptive positives," which means a test has come back positive at the Public Health Laboratory and is pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Number of countries affected by coronavirus increases to 64
The total number of countries with confirmed cases of conoravirus increased Sunday to 64. Countries joining the list in recent days include Iceland, Luxembourg, Armenia, Czech Republic and the Dominican Republican.
According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 87,137 cases of the disease across those countries. There have been 2,995 deaths globally, with the death toll outside China at 122.
Delta and American Airlines temporarily suspend service to Milan
Delta and American Airlines announced Sunday they would be temporarily suspended service to Milan.
Delta said its last eastbound flight from JFK to Milan will depart Monday, March 2, and the last westbound flight from Milan to JFK will depart Tuesday, March 3. Service to and from Milan will resume starting May 1 and May 2, respectively.
Delta's daily flights between New York and Atlanta to Rome will continue.
American Airlines said it would be suspending flights from both Miami and New York to Milan through April 25, 2020. American Airlines said this decision was based on a reduction in demand, and it would attempt to accommodate travelers through other airlines.