Global COVID-19 cases top 737,000; Trump extends plan to slow virus

March 30, 2020

The global COVID-19 total has passed 737,000 cases, just one day after passing the 600,000-case mark, fueled by steep rises in Europe and the United States.  President Trump said Sunday that social (physical) distancing guidelines will be extended through the end of April.

In other developments, countries such as Russia took new steps to curb the first wave of pandemic activity, while others, such as South Korea, ordered new measures to prevent a second wave. The global total has now reached 718,685 cases, with the US total at 143,055, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard. The United States reported about 20,000 cases and 520 deaths yesterday and appears to be on track to equal or exceed that number today.

On CNN , Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States could see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. The nation's number of COVID-19 deaths have doubled over the past two days.

At a briefing today, Trump announced that the federal social distancing guide will be extended to Apr 30. The administration's initial plan was released on Mar 16 and detailed a 15-day plan to slow the spread of the virus. He said officials will release an updated plan on Mar 31, according to CNN.

The President originally said he hoped the country was ready to resume work by Easter (April 12), but  he said he hopes that the United States will be on its road to recovery by June 1.

Last night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid nonessential domestic travel for 14 days due to extensive COVID-19 transmission. Its advisory doesn't apply to critical infrastructure workers, including trucking, public health, financial services, and food supply. The advisory followed President Trump's comments yesterday about a possible quarantine for those hot spots, though it's not clear if it would be enforceable.

New York so far today has reported 6,120 more cases and 82 more deaths for a total of 59,513 cases, 965 of them fatal. New Jersey, the second worst-hit state, reported 2,262 more cases, for a total of 13,383, followed by California with 169 more cases for a total of 5,718. Three states today surpassed the early hot spot of Washington state: Michigan, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

Michigan's hot spot is the Detroit area, where hospitals are overrun and at least 39 police officers have been sickened, two of them fatally, the Detroit Free Press reported today. Trump approved a disaster declaration for the state.

In Illinois, of 4,596 cases, most are from Chicago and Cook County. Chicago's McCormick Place is being converted into a 3,000-bed COVID-19 treatment center, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Cook County Sheriff's Office has so far reported 89 infections in inmates and 12 in staff.

In other developments, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has issued three emergency use authorizations (EAUs) related to personal protective equipment. One is for the Battelle Decontamination System, which uses concentrated vapor phase hydrogen peroxide for decontaminating N95 or N95-equivalent respirators. It also reissued EUAs for different kinds of respirators.

CIDRAP has the story.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.