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Coronavirus live updates: New York governor gets personal, preaches kindness in time of ‘chaos’

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Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — States are shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools to try to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 92 people in the United States.

There are at least 4,661 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 has reached 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Globally, there are more than 187,600 coronavirus cases and more than 7,400 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Here’s how the news is unfolding today. All times Eastern. Please refresh for updates.

12:01 p.m.: Law enforcement scales back across US

Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are curtailing low-level operations in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some agencies are limiting police runs to only violent or serious incidents and are opting to handle other reports via citations, phone calls or online reports. The measures are designed to cut back on person-to-person contact, like the number of people going through police stations and jails.

11:17 a.m.: 8th TSA officer tests positive

A TSA officer at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has tested positive for COVID-19.

The officer’s last work day was March 17, the agency said.

This marks the 8th TSA officer to test positive for COVID-19. The other cases are in California, Florida and Georgia.

With the coronavirus outbreak, the TSA has screened 5 million fewer people in the first two weeks of March 2020 compared to 2019.

10:55 a.m.: New York governor preaches kindness in time of ‘chaos’

In New York state — home to 19.5 million people — all schools are closed for two weeks.

Restaurants in the state are restricted to only takeout and delivery. Bars and gyms are also shuttered, and more closings statewide could help continue to flatten the curve, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Twelve people have died in New York state. The state has 1,374 cases of coronavirus.

Cuomo said he’s worried the rising number of cases will crash the health care system, noting the 19% hospitalization rate among those infected.

“We have to get down that rate of spread,” he said. “We cannot accommodate the numbers that demand on the hospital system.”

Cuomo said the state is working to create more space in hospitals and temporarily build other facilities to house the sick.

The governor then got personal, opening up at his news conference about how difficult it is to not see and hug his own daughter during this time of “chaos.”

“It is a hard time on every level,” he said. “It is a frightening time on every level.”

He urged New Yorkers to “be a little bit more loving, a little bit more compassionate, a little bit more comforting, a little bit more cooperative. And we will get through this time.”

“We will lose people, yes. Like we lose people every year with the flu,” Cuomo said. “We’re gonna be challenged and tested.”

Cuomo also stressed that the federal government needs to do more. “We cannot do this on our own,” he said.

Cuomo made a point to thank President Donald Trump for his partnership, saying he spoke to the president Tuesday morning.

On Monday, Trump had a tele-conference with the country’s governors.


9:34 a.m.: San Francisco Bay Area goes on lockdown

Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area are moving forward with isolation procedures, ordering residents to shelter in place for non-essential activities.

At least 12 people have died from coronavirus in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is closing all dine-in restaurants, health clubs and gyms in the Golden State. Newsom also told residents they should stop gathering in groups entirely for the foreseeable future.

8:10 a.m. Millennials must protect older generations, says Dr. Birx

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stressed that “the army of millennials” must be taking “every single precaution to protect their parents and grandparents.”

“If you look at every large city across America at the census bar graph, you’ll see that in every single case the largest numbers, about 22% in many cities, are millennials,” Birx said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America.

She went on, “The millennials are incredibly good about getting information out in a clear way, but more importantly, they are incredibly good about understanding how to protect one another, how to protect their parents and how to protect their grandparents. Right now we need the army of millennials out there doing everything that they can to protect themselves from getting infected because we know a lot of their cases will be mild or asymptomatic, and making sure that they’re doing every single precaution to protect their parents and grandparents.”

Dr. Birx also compared the new pandemic to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“We know a lot more than we knew in the early days of HIV,” she said. “It was really inspiring to me to watch people who were sick themselves going to the street not because it was going to help them but because it would help the group coming behind them. They were already too ill. I guess that’s what I’m asking every American to do now, to do whatever they can to help the Americans ahead of them, to make sure they don’t get infected.”

6:16 a.m. Iran says new coronavirus has killed 135 more people

Iran says new coronavirus has killed 135 more people, a 13% spike that has raised the death toll to 988 amid 16,169 total infections.

6:04 a.m. France goes into lockdown at noon

In his address to the nation on Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron announced that from noon on Tuesday, “and for at least a fortnight”, trips for French citizens and residents will be greatly reduced.

“Outdoor gatherings, family or friendly gatherings will no longer be allowed, meeting friends in the park, family, in the street will not be possible” he added, advising French people to “read”, “find a sense of the essential” and “the meaning of things”.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner stated later in the night that all pedestrians, commuters, passengers and drivers must be able to justify their trips with a downloadable document attesting on one’s honor the reason for one’s trip. It will be up to everyone to fill it out to specify the nature of their trip.

“The watchword is clear,” Castaner said. “Stay at home. These are confinement measures along the lines of our Italian and Spanish neighbors.”

The penalty for infraction to these rules will be a 38 Euro ($42 U.S.) fine, which will be quickly raised to a higher level of 135 Euros.

Exceptions are made for when these trips are essential for activities which cannot be interrupted. For work when telecommuting is not possible, for seeking health care, for imperative family reasons, to come to the aid of a dependent relative for example or for separate parents. Other exceptions are allowed for short trips, to take out your dog or have a physical activity.

“But without grouping into a group”, Castaner warned. “To put it simply, I would say we can get some air yes, but certainly not play a soccer match,” he stated.

5:52 a.m. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been released from hospital and placed into self-isolation

Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks and stepson to Rita Wilson, confirmed that his parents have been released from the hospital in a video posted to Instagram.

“They’re still self-quarantined obviously, but they’re feeling a lot better so that’s a relief,” Chet Hanks said.

5:21 a.m. China’s Foreign Ministry says Trump “Chinese Virus” tweet a “smear”

China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, not mentioning President Donald Trump by name, called the tweet “a smear” and that China “expresses its strong anger and opposition to that.”

“Some politicians in the U.S. associated the coronavirus with China, and smeared China. China expresses its strong anger and opposition to that,” Shuang said on Tuesday. “We call on the U.S. to stop finger pointing at China. The utmost priority is for the international community to cooperate on fighting the virus. The U.S. should focus on its top priority, and play a constructive role in international cooperation on health security.”

5:00 a.m. Russia mobilizes to shield economy from impact of coronavirus

With a total of 93 recorded cases so far, Russia’s government is moving to prepare a broad spectrum of measures to try to shield the country’s economy from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to a $4 billion support fund, the state will also increase state guarantees for some companies by enlarging the list of firms deemed strategically important. It is looking at delaying tax payments, as well as penalties for businesses, as well as short-term loans. The Russian rouble currency has strengthened in response to some of the announcements.

Russia’s foreign ministry has also called on the U.S. to lift sanctions on Iran that it says are preventing it from combating the coronavirus outbreak effectively. Iran has recently said it is suffering from a shortage of key medical equipment and medicines needed due to the sanctions imposed as part of the U.S.’ “maximum pressure” campaign. Russia’s foreign ministry has accused the U.S. of putting millions of Iranians at risk and called on it to lift them immediately and end its “inhuman policy”.

3:57 a.m. Dutch Prime Minister announces opposition to nationwide lockdown, calls it “impractical”

The Netherlands will not impose a national lockdown over coronavirus because it would have to be in place for too long to make a difference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on TV on Monday.

“It wouldn’t be a matter of days or weeks. In that scenario, we would actually have to shut down our country for a year, or even longer, with all the consequences that follow,” he added.

1:10 a.m. San Francisco Police Department going door to door to make sure bars and clubs are complying with public health order

The San Francisco Police Department tweeted that they would be visiting bars and clubs throughout the city to make sure they are in compliance with the city’s public heath order.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the directive to shut down all of the state’s bars, clubs, breweries and taprooms on Sunday when he announced the virus had killed six people in California.

“These are profoundly significant steps and they are significant steps from two days ago,” Newsom said in a news conference. “We’re guided deeply by what’s happening, not just by anxiety, not just by fear, but by a very pragmatic response to meet this moment without creating other unintended consequences.”

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