Coronavirus Infections Top 1,000 in U.S. As Lawmakers Work on Stimulus
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
March 11, 2020
Cases in the United States topped 1,000 on Wednesday as states across the country continued to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak, known as COVID-19. At least 31 people have died, with 1071 infections reported in 39 states. Wall Street continued its wild ride on Wednesday as fears of a global pandemic began to take hold for investors. According to the latest numbers, the coronavirus has infected more than 115,000 worldwide, including 1,000 people in the U.S.
At least 4,200 people worldwide have died from the disease.
Here is your COVID-19 update for Wednesday, March 11:
Novel Coronavirus Infections Top 1,000 in U.S. For First Time
As health officials begin to ramp up testing begins to ramp up across the country, the number of cases topped 1,000 for the first time in the United States.
During a White House briefing on Tuesday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Americans will need to be ready to change the way they live their lives.
"We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case," Fauci said. "If and when the infections will come -- and they will come, sorry to say, sad to say -- when you're dealing with an infectious disease, we want to be where the infection is going to be, as well as where it is."
Fauci said Americans can find more information on how to be prepared for the disease at Coronavirus.gov.
"Everybody should say, 'All hands on deck,'" Fauci added.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say more than 8,500 specimens have been tested for COVID-19 in the U.S. However, because multiple specimens are needed to test an individual, the number of patients who have actually been tested is far lower.
Markets Continue Rocky Week As Lawmakers Work on Stimulus Package
The wild week on Wall Street continued on Tuesday as investors attempted to determine how much damage the novel coronavirus outbreak might do to the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to post losses as it dropped more than 700 points at the opening bell on Wednesday. The S&P 500 also dropped 2.6%, with the Nasdaq dropping 2.5%.
President Donald Trump proposed a temporary elimination of the payroll tax through the end of the year as a possible response to the coronavirus outbreak, NBC News reports. Different timelines on how long the tax cut would last were also discussed at President Trump's closed-door lunch on Tuesday. Trump also reportedly told Republicans that he wanted federal assistance to provide paid sick leave, loans for small businesses, and tax relief for specific industries that are being affected the most by the outbreak.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss the potential stimulus package. When Pelosi was asked whether there was any chance of a stimulus package passing this week, Pelosi didn't commit, adding that Democrats were working on their own stimulus package proposal.
Uber Could Suspend Your Rider or Driver Account If You Test Positive For Coronavirus
In a note sent to users and drivers Tuesday night, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the rideshare company may temporarily suspend accounts of riders or drivers who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or have been exposed to it.
"We have a team available 24/7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, in a note posted to the company's website.
"Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19," the website states. "We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice."
Drivers will also be provided with disinfectants to help keep their cars clean and free of the novel coronavirus.
"Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need," the website states.
In addition to providing disinfectants, the company also stated that they would provide financial assistance to any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is asked to self-isolate by a public health authority.
"We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide," Khosrowshahi said.
US Airlines Cut More Flights as Demand Plunges Amid Outbreak
American and Delta Airlines announced they were cutting the number of domestic and overseas flights as the demand for travel plunges around the world.
American Airlines said it would cut 10% of its international flights and 7.5% of its domestic flights in April. Delta announced similar cuts, saying they planned on canceling 20% to 25% of its international flights and cut the number of domestic flights by 10% to 15%.
"We are prepared to do more as the situation evolves," Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNN. "Should the environment get worse, we can go deeper."
Spirit Airlines also announced it would cut 5% of its flights in April and that more cuts could come in May.
It's not just here in the U.S. Lufthansa canceled 23,000 short-, medium-, and long-haul flights between March 29 and April 24 because of the outbreak. Those flights will mostly affect passengers traveling in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Further cancellations could be announced in the coming weeks, the airline said.
Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade Canceled Amid Outbreak
Chicago residents will have to go without a St. Patrick's Day parade this year after organizers canceled the event because of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a statement on its website. The parade, which is generally considered the largest in America, was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The event was canceled after health officials in Illinois reported 19 coronavirus cases in the state on Tuesday.
The event regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that having a parade at this time "posed unnecessary risk to the public's health."
The event's cancellation is among several other large scale events that have been postponed or canceled. Organizers for the Coachella Art & Music Festival announced on Tuesday that they would be postponing their event until October, while South by Southwest was canceled altogether.
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Photos: Getty Images