Before beginning my daily update on coronavirus news, I wanted to share a few thoughts on President Donald Trump’s address from the Oval Office.

While I am used to Trump’s casual style at rallies, his tone was appropriately calm, deliberate, and statesman-like. The address aimed to calm increasing fears, describe solutions that should be enacted and offer hope. Trump hit all three marks.

Perhaps the most significant portion of his speech was the implementation of travel restrictions on Europe.

At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years. With we declared a public health emergency and issued the highest level of travel warning on other countries as the virus spread its horrible infection. And taking early intense action we’ve seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe. The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe. After consulting with our top government health professionals I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well being of all Americans.

To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground. There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom. At the same time, we’re monitoring the situation in China and South Korea, and as their situation improves, we will re-evaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening.

The approach is one aspect I thoroughly appreciated, as it aligns with emergency response protocol. As the risk of spreading the disease remains high, the government will implement stringent travel restrictions. The level of risk will be reassessed regularly and adjustments made in the policy.

Another facet I caught was the call for unity and placing the onus on Congress to help with the crisis. Congressional members cannot just sit back and offer criticisms and give statements that hurt the economy and the stability of this nation. Trump intends to provide them with specific legislative requests, and we will see if bipartisanship is dead.

Finally, I think addressing the economic consequences of “self-distancing” was smart. The Small Business Administration loan proposal, tax payment deferral, and payroll tax relief are all sensible ideas that I hope Congress acts upon.

WHO declares COVID-19 disease to be a pandemic

The World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19, the virus that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. A pandemic.

“This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared at a briefing in Geneva.

It’s the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009.

Even as he raised the health emergency to its highest level, Tedros said hope remains that COVID-19 can be curtailed. And he urged countries to take action now to stop the disease.

“WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases,” Tedros said. “And we have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

…By dubbing COVID-19 a pandemic, the WHO is placing it in a different category than several recent deadly outbreaks, including the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. All three of those outbreaks were deemed to be international emergencies.

In the last pandemic, the H1N1 influenza virus killed more than 18,000 people in more than 214 countries and territories, according to the WHO. In recent years, other estimates have put H1N1’s toll even higher.

China shuts all 16 temporary coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan

Speaking of China….

In a dramatic sign that the coronavirus crisis is improving in China, the last two of 16 temporary hospitals in the epicenter city of Wuhan have been shut down, according to a report.

The final group of 49 patients walked out of the Wuchang temporary hospital in the capital of Hubei province on Tuesday afternoon to cheers, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Tom Hanks and his wife Test Positive for Coronavirus

A real-life drama starring Hanks.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), the first celebrities to go public with a diagnosis.

Hanks and Wilson, both 63, revealed the news with a statement on Wednesday. The married couple was in Australia for production of Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley movie, in which Hanks is playing Presley’s iconic manager Colonel Tom Parker.

NBA suspends season after Utah Jazz player tests positive for COVID-19

I sure hope this coronavirus crisis is controlled before it starts impacting baseball season.

After taking the initial step to play games in empty arenas, the NBA issued a statement on Wednesday night that all games will be suspended until further notice after a Utah Jazz player, reportedly Rudy Gobert, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Games that are in action Wednesday night will finish.

 

 
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