Monday, 06 April

75m Americans told to stay home as testing reveals more COVID-19 cases

Health News
Coronavirus has killed thousands in China and around the world

More than a fifth of Americans were under orders Saturday to stay home and public gathering places largely remained shuttered as US health officials issued stark warnings about the spread of the coronavirus.

About 75 million residents of Connecticut, Illinois, New York and California have been directed to sequester, with only essential workers allowed away from home. The extreme measure is necessary to "avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.   While California Gov. Gavin Newsom said police will not be regulating the statewide order, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said residents of his state could be fined for choosing to ignore the directions.   The sweeping steps follow similar directives throughout the week issued by city and state leaders urging residents to stay put. Those came on top of a slew of orders across the country demanding many bars and restaurants convert to only take-out and delivery services.   All with the aim of keeping people apart.   "Every state will head this way," CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said Friday. "People need to prepare themselves that this gets harder before this gets easier."   President Donald Trump did not anticipate issuing any nationwide stay-at-home orders, he said Friday. Days earlier, the federal government issued "15-day pause" guidelines asking Americans to avoid public gatherings with more than 10 people, among other suggestions.   The "pause" may last longer than 15 days, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, said in its own guidelines.   One federal plan obtained by CNN includes preparations for a pandemic that could last 18 months or longer and include "multiple waves of illnesses." Reported cases climb as thousands more tested In recent weeks, the number of reported US cases has jumped as the virus spreads and more patients get tested. "Tens of thousands of tests are being performed every day," Vice President Mike Pence told reporters this week.   Nearly 8,000 tests were conducted over one night, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, which has the highest number of cases by state with more than 8,000 people testing positive.   In total, the US may have tested about 170,000 people so far, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, told CNN on Friday.   "I know that in general our positivity rate is between 9% and 11%," Birx said. "If 90% are negative, you can do the calculation of how many tests we have done."   There are now more than 18,000 confirmed cases in the United States.   And Birx said she expects numbers to rise sharply over the coming days as labs run through a backlog of tests. Makeshift masks and hospitals But as numbers climb, health care workers and state leaders have sounded the alarm on medical supplies beginning to run short.   In New York City, now the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Trump for help and said supplies may only last for the next few weeks.   "I said very clearly that for the month of March, we have the supplies that we need, the city has very strong reserves of the kind of supplies that I talked about," he said. "It is going into April that I'm worried about. I don't have the perfect day for you. We're assessing all the time, but it is a day -- two weeks from now or three weeks from now -- where we must, by then, have had a very substantial resupply."   The CDC in new guidance this week said facilities facing a "crisis" should consider options to combat shortages that "are not commensurate with US standards of care."   That includes reusing masks, as well as using "homemade ones" from materials like bandanas and scarves.   Hospitals across the country have already reported they've had to get creative with how to make more masks and make them last longer.   Some have moved to makeshift hospital facilities, too, with one Washington state community getting ready to open a 200-bed hospital on a soccer field. And de Blasio said his city will use "every building we can ... to become essentially annexes to hospitals."   "Supplies are a major issue -- (personal protective equipment), gloves, gowns, mask suppliers," Cuomo said Friday. "I am now asking all product providers, all companies who are in this business, we will pay a premium for these products."   Some facilities, including in New York, also have drastically upped their orders for ventilators. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the Northwell Health, was picked by New York's governor to lead a hospital surge team. He said he wants to purchase as many as 500 ventilators, which can cost $20,000 to $40,000 a machine.  

Source: CNN