Second Death From Virus Is Reported in the U.S.

Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

A second person has died of the novel coronavirus in the Seattle area and more confirmed cases of the illness have emerged in Washington State, officials said Sunday evening. Public health leaders in King County, Wash., said a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions died on Saturday at EvergreenHealth hospital in Kirkland. That’s the same facility where officials identified the nation’s first coronavirus death on Saturday — a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions.

Officials also announced three other confirmed coronavirus cases in the county, all at EvergreenHealth. They include a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 70s. All were in critical condition with underlying health issues. All four new cases were residents of a nursing facility in Kirkland where two other people — a resident and a worker — had previously tested positive.

Also on Sunday, the county had previously reported two other patients, unrelated to the nursing facility, who were in critical condition at hospitals in Renton and Seattle.

As of Sunday night, 88 cases of coronavirus had been identified in the United States.

The first of those cases was announced on Jan. 21, but this weekend saw a marked uptick in the pace of diagnoses. Twenty-three U.S. cases were announced on Saturday and Sunday, including the country’s first two deaths, both in Washington State.

The cases identified over the weekend were in Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Oregon, and included a mix of people who had traveled to high-risk countries and those who were believed to have contracted the disease domestically.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday confirmed New York State’s first case of the coronavirus, saying that a woman contracted the virus while traveling in Iran and is now in New York isolated in her home.

“The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement, offering no details on the woman’s whereabouts.

A New York state official said that the positive case was in Manhattan. The case is the 32nd tested from New York. All of the previous cases had tested negative.

No cases are currently outstanding. New York’s state lab was granted the ability to test for the novel coronavirus on Saturday after an appeal from Governor Cuomo.

“There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York,” the governor’s statement said. “We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”

Two cases of the virus were identified in Florida late Sunday night, prompting the state to declare a public health emergency.

In an executive order, Gov. Ron DeSantis said two “presumptive positive” cases were found in state’s Gulf Coast: one in Manatee County, home to Bradenton, and the other in Hillsborough County, home to Tampa.

The Florida Health Department said in a statement that the Manatee County patient is an adult without a travel history to the countries restricted by the C.D.C. The Hillsborough County patient had traveled to Italy. Both patients are in isolation.

Two health care workers in the San Francisco Bay Area tested positive for the coronavirus after they were exposed to a patient now being treated for the virus at a hospital in Sacramento, the authorities said on Sunday.

The workers’ conditions were not immediately available, but public health officials in Alameda County and Solano County said in a news release that the workers were isolated in their homes.

The news came after new cases were reported in both Washington State and Rhode Island. Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the government planned a “radical expansion” in testing capacity.

Globally, the number of infections has risen to more than 88,000. China reported an additional 202 infections and 42 deaths from the virus, bringing its total number of confirmed infections to more than 80,000 and total of deaths from the virus to exceed 3,000.

In Washington, two new patients in King County, both men in their 60s, were in critical condition, officials said. The state became the site of the country’s first coronavirus death on Saturday.

  • Answers to your most common questions:

    Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. haswarned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

Washington State has declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus, and researchers who studied two cases there say that the virus may have been spreading for weeks, with the possibility that up to 1,500 people may have been infected.

Health officials in Rhode Island announced Sunday that a second person in that state tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a school trip to Europe.

That person, a teenager, had minor symptoms. Officials had earlier announce that an adult who went on the trip tested positive. Eighty-eight cases of coronavirus had been identified in the United States as of Sunday night, including 23 announced over the weekend.

[Do you know anyone who lives or works at Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.? If so, please email our reporter, Mike Baker, at]

The coronavirus and the flu are often compared these days. But what are their basic similarities and differences?

So far, the coronavirus seems to be deadlier. On average, the seasonal flu strain kills about 0.1 percent of people who become infected. Early estimates of the death rate in the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China, have been around 2 percent.

The rate could fall if it turns out that many cases aren’t detected because they are so mild or even symptom-free.

As with influenza, the coronavirus is most dangerous to people over the age of 65, or who have chronic illness or a weak immune system.

And so far, the flu has sickened more people than the coronavirus. In the United States, there have been 32 million cases of flu, several hundred thousands hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths, according to the C.D.C. By contrast, about 88 people in the United States have been infected with the new coronavirus, and there have been two deaths.

One area where the two ailments diverge is treatment. There is no approved antiviral drug for the coronavirus, but several are being tested. For those infected with any viral illness, doctors recommend rest, medicine to reduce pain and fever, and fluids to avoid dehydration. For the flu, doctors can offer four prescription medicines and they tend to work best within a day or two of when symptoms start.

There are no coronavirus vaccinations available, but one may be available in a year or two. Flu vaccines are widely available and generally 40 percent to 60 percent effective.

Two Amazon employees in Europe have contracted the coronavirus, the company said, and other tech firms have begun taking more drastic measures to prevent their employees around the world from being affected by the outbreak.

On Sunday, Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said that the internet retailer was “supporting the affected employees, who were in Milan and are now in quarantine.” He added that Amazon, which is based in Seattle, did not know of any employees in the United States who had become sick.

Late last week, Amazon, the second largest private employer in the United States, indefinitely halted all nonessential travel, including trips within the U.S. Any employee looking to book critical travel must get approval from a vice president, and recruiters were told that many hiring interviews were to be done by video conference. The company also told employees to refrain from scheduling meetings that required flights until at least the end of April.

Other tech firms are also working to secure their offices while minimizing the potential for the spread of the virus. Facebook has advised employees to reach out if they feel ill and to feel free to work from home, according to two company employees familiar with the company’s plans. Over the weekend, the company also said in an internal memo that it would no longer allow social visits from non-employees at any of its global offices.

And on Sunday, Twitter said in a blog post that it would also restrict all nonessential business travel for its employees and partners.

The coronavirus continued to spread around the world on Sunday.

Ecuador’s health ministry said it had six confirmed cases of coronavirus, with one person in critical condition. All are part of the same family, the authorities said. The five noncritical patients were in home isolation “as a protective measure” and under observation, Catalina Andramuño Zeballos, the country’s health minister, said in a news conference.

Scotland said one person had tested positive out of some 700 people tested.

“We have to be prepared for the possibility of a significant outbreak of coronavirus in the weeks to come,” Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said in an interview with Sky News.

In the Dominican Republic, a 62-year-old man — a tourist visiting the country from Italy — tested positive and was in stable condition, the country’s health minister, Rafael Sanchez, said at a news conference. Another tourist, a 56-year-old man from France, is under observation at a hospital and awaiting test results for coronavirus.

Long lines of visitors were locked out of the Louvre in Paris on Sunday after the museum, the world’s most visited, said it was holding a staff meeting about the coronavirus outbreak.

The Louvre said on Twitter that “the museum cannot open at the moment” because of an informational meeting on the public health situation linked to coronavirus prevention measures.

A spokeswoman told reporters that the museum, in central Paris, was expected to reopen after the meeting among management, employees and the staff doctor, but it later said on Twitter that it would remain closed.

The move came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to rise in Europe.

Italy, the center of the outbreak on the continent, has a total of 1,694 confirmed cases and 34 deaths. France has reported 100 cases and two deaths. And Germany said on Sunday that cases there had risen to 117, including 66 in North Rhine-Westphalia, its most populous state.

Ireland reported its first case, the country’s Health Protection Surveillance Center said on Twitter on Sunday, while in neighboring Britain officials said that the number of cases there had risen to 35. A school in Reading, in southeastern England, said on Saturday that a staff member had tested positive, forcing the school to “shut for some days to allow for a deep clean,” the school’s head teacher said in a message to the pupils’ parents.

In Norway, two more staff members at Oslo University Hospital tested positive for the virus, a hospital spokesman said on Sunday, raising the total number of cases in the country to 17, while Sweden has confirmed its 13th case.

The uptick in coronavirus cases in Italy has already prompted new local safety measures and mass tourist cancellations, leaving the usually dynamic city of Milan eerily deserted.

This weekend, the impact of the outbreak stretched even further.

Delta Air Lines said it would suspend daily flights between New York and Milan, becoming yet another travel business to alter its operations in light of the outbreak in Italy. On Saturday American Airlines said it would suspend flights to Milan from New York and Miami, citing a “reduction in demand.”

The airlines’ suspensions came as President Trump on Saturday announced elevated restrictions on foreign travel to the parts of Italy most affected by the virus.

Delta said it planned to resume flights between Milan and New York in early May, and American said its flights would resume on April 25. The airlines said travelers affected by the suspensions could rebook their flights after service began again, or could get a refund.

Officials from the city of Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday asked prosecutors to investigate the founder of a church at the center of the country’s coronavirus outbreak and other top leaders of the sect on murder and other criminal charges.

[Read: He blames ‘evil’ for South Korea’s coronavirus surge. Officials blame him.]

Officials believe that the church has contributed to the country’s rising death toll from the virus — which reached 18 as of Sunday — by failing to provide disease-control officials with an accurate list of church members and by interfering with the government’s efforts to fight the outbreak.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul said the church’s behavior was tantamount to “murder through to willful negligence.”

Officials say that nearly 60 percent of the 4,212 confirmed cases in South Korea are in members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu or people who came into contact with them.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to begin a formal investigation into the founder, Lee Man-hee, and other sect leaders.

Shincheonji officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday. The church has said it was fully cooperating with the government, calling itself the victim of a “witch hunt.”

South Korean officials also said on Sunday that some church members had visited the Chinese city of Wuhan in January. The global outbreak is believed to have begun in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan.

Officials in South Korea have been trying to figure out how the virus reached the congregation. The church has acknowledged having members in Wuhan, but it said none of them had visited South Korea since December.

A Japanese official said on Sunday that all of the passengers and crew members from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who spent more than two weeks quarantined onboard had been cleared of the coronavirus, but a man who was a passenger on the ship has become the first in Australia to die of the virus.

The cruise ship, on which hundreds of Americans were passengers, represents the largest concentration of coronavirus cases outside China, with several hundred infections.

Japan’s health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said in a press briefing on Sunday that 238 crew members would be quarantined for 14 days at a government facility in Saitama Prefecture outside Tokyo.

The ministry says that 149 crew members contracted the virus onboard the ship. Hundreds of other crew members have been evacuated to their home countries.

The health minister also confirmed that an eighth public official who worked onboard the cruise ship during the quarantine had tested positive on Friday.

Iran, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, said on Sunday that 385 new cases had been detected in the country this weekend, raising its total number of officially confirmed cases to 987, state news media reported.

The continued rise in infections has prompted the United States to ban all travel to Iran and bar entry to foreign citizens who have visited Iran in the past 14 days.

An Iranian health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpur, said on Sunday that the country’s death toll from the virus had risen to 54, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Iran has temporarily closed schools and universities and canceled public events like concerts in an effort to curtail the virus’s spread. But secrecy and confusion over the outbreak in the country have fueled suspicions that its number of cases is far higher than officially acknowledged.

In neighboring Iraq, the government grappled with how tightly to shut down daily life as some international flights were suspended.

Turkish Airlines on Sunday suspended flights to and from Iraq, saying initially that the suspension was for 24 hours but later suggesting that it could last at least three or four days.

President Trump’s greatest strength with voters has been his stewardship of the economy.

But after the effects of the coronavirus dealt stock markets their worst week since 2008, Democratic presidential candidates opened a new line of attack. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York have revamped their stump speeches to portray themselves as the type of president the United States needs to endure a potential economic and public health crisis.

Mr. Bloomberg will deliver a three-minute recorded address on the coronavirus outbreak in an ad on network television Sunday night, according to his presidential campaign.

It was not immediately clear how much of Mr. Bloomberg’s personal fortune he spent on the elevated platform. The ad is set to air around 8:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS and NBC, and media executives estimated that it could cost the campaign $1.25 million to $3 million, depending on whether the networks charged a premium for a last-minute purchase.

Before its scheduled airing, the Bloomberg campaign released the video of his remarks, pitching it as an “unprecedented candidate address.”

“The public wants to know their leader is trained, informed and respected,” he says.

China’s initial response to the coronavirus epidemic was marred by policy stumbles that fueled public anger, the nation’s leader, Xi Jinping, said in published speech excerpts that laid out his ideas for strengthening the country’s defenses against such outbreaks.

Mr. Xi’s comments, drawn from two internal speeches that he made in February, were published on Saturday in Qiushi, or “Seeking Truth,” the ruling Communist Party’s leading journal. They seemed intended to highlight the policy and legal changes that Mr. Xi intends to push to confront the epidemic.

Those include banning the trade in wildlife that scientists believe may have let the coronavirus jump from animals into the human population; more effective monitoring of potential epidemics; and stronger coordination to direct emergency medical supplies when an outbreak happens.

While praising the Chinese government’s response to the crisis, Mr. Xi also acknowledged problems, using blunter language than he had in previous public comments on the epidemic.

“Some localities and departments were at a loss in how to react to this sudden epidemic,” Mr. Xi said. “Some protective measures went through abrupt changes, and in some areas there was even lawless and criminal conduct that seriously impeded containing the epidemic, and there was public dissatisfaction about this.”

Mr. Xi did not elaborate on what he meant by criminal conduct. Chinese news media outlets have reported cases of officials neglecting stricken families, as well as crude, unhygienic efforts to transfer patients.

Reporting was contributed by Sheri Fink, Choe Sang-hun, Motoko Rich, Knvul Sheikh, Alissa J. Rubin, Mike Baker, Michael Crowley, Keith Bradsher, Raymond Zhong, Iliana Magra, Tess Felder, Norimitsu Onishi, Noah Weiland, Mihir Zaveri, Mitch Smith, Aimee Ortiz, Clifford Krauss, Julie Turkewitz, Mike Isaac, Karen Weise and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura.

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