An epidemiologist answers the biggest questions she’s getting about coronavirus.


As of early Tuesday, the U.S. had more than 46,000 confirmed cases, trailing only Italy and China. New York alone has more than 23,000 cases. Experts say confirmed cases reflect how much testing is done, and as the U.S. gets more tests, more confirmed cases are expected.

The national death toll neared 600, growing by more than 100 in a 24-hour period. Across the world, more than 16,400 people have been killed by the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

In a glimmer of hope, and perhaps a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the U.S., Chinese authorities announced Tuesday they would lift the lockdown on the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, on April 8. The stay-at-home order has been in effect since Jan. 23.

Our live blog on the coronavirus is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news. More headlines:

Several states hunker down as Donald Trump proposes going back to normal

President Donald Trump sought to reassure Americans on Monday that guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus but that are hurting the economy will be short-lived. State officials, meanwhile, were preparing for a much longer shutdown of normal operations.

The Trump administration rolled out a 15-day plan on March 16 to “bend the curve” of new coronavirus cases and ease the strain on the health care system. Many health officials have said that two weeks of working from home and social distancing isn’t enough time.

“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said at the White House press briefing Monday. “A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting.”

Trump himself said at a press conference last week the country could be social distancing through July or August. Though Trump didn’t announce a specific date he is considering for lifting the guidelines, he stressed he doesn’t want “the cure to be worse than the problem itself.”

– Jeanine Santucci

In China, Hubei’s 2-lockdown starts to ease

The province in China where the coronavirus pandemic originated in December will lift travel restrictions on people leaving the region, China’s authorities said Tuesday.

Hubei’s two-month lockdown ends at midnight, although people will only be able to leave the area if they are coronavirus-free and have been given a clean bill of health. 

Wuhan, Hubei’s provincial capital, will remain locked down until April 8.

China has gradually brought its coronavirus outbreak under control by aggressively isolating those infected, forcing millions to stay inside since Jan. 23 and canceling all but emergency travel in and out of Hubei. China’s National Health Commission’s said it has seen almost no new cases of the virus in Hubei for more than a week. 

However, other regions of China saw a doubling of new infections as imported cases of coronavirus have ticked higher in recent days. China on Tuesday reported 78 new coronavirus cases, among which 74 were imported, according to the National Health Commission. The country now has a total of 4,735 active cases. 

Out of 81, 171 coronavirus infections in China, 73, 159 have recovered and 3,277 have died. 

– Kim Hjelmgaard

Asian stocks gain after US Federal Reserve pledges economic support 

Asian stock markets gained Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised support to the struggling economy as Congress delayed action on a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package.

Market benchmarks in Tokyo and South Korea rose nearly 7%, while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Australian markets also gained. Traders were encouraged by the Fed’s promise to buy as many Treasurys and other assets as needed to keep financial markets functioning.

– Associated Press

Republicans, Democrats fail to reach agreement on coronavirus stimulus bill

An effort in the Senate to move forward with a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus package to combat the coronavirus crisis remained stalled over continued disagreements between Republicans and Democrats.

The largely party-line vote (with Republicans for and Democrats against) was 49-46 to end debate and move forward. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure for a final floor vote.

The measure is designed to provide direct payments to most Americans, throw a lifeline to small businesses shuttered across the country and rescue large industries, such as the airlines, battered by the pandemic. But Democrats want more protections for workers from layoffs and loss of heath coverage, more money for states to deal with the crisis and more aid for students facing student debt repayment.

– Ledyard King

ICE orders immigration lawyers to wear gloves, masks to visit detainees

Immigration lawyers are being ordered by federal immigration authorities to provide their own masks, gloves and eye protection to visit clients detained behind bars at a time when there is already not enough personal protective equipment to go around for health care workers to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The new rule, which ICE unveiled over the weekend, went into effect Monday, when several immigration lawyers in Arizona and other states were turned away from detention facilities after arriving without so-called PPE.

Immigration lawyers say ICE’s directive will divert personal protective equipment away from hospitals and health care workers who are already facing an acute shortage of masks and other gear.

2020 Olympics likely to be postponed, IOC member tells USA TODAY Sports

The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Summer Games in Tokyo because of the coronavirus pandemic, veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA TODAY Sports. The Games likely will be held in 2021, he said.

“The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24,” he said. Pound, a Canadian who has been one of the most influential members of the IOC for decades, said he believes the organization will announce its next steps soon.

On Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach said he was going to take the next four weeks to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics. Bach ruled out canceling the Games, however.

– Christine Brennan

Boris Johnson orders Britain to ‘stay at home’ amid coronavirus pandemic

Boris Johnson has become the latest European head of state to order a lockdown.

The British prime minister Monday mandated the closure of most retail stores and banned gatherings for three weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The decision follows similar steps taken by hard-hit Italy and Spain, as well as France.

Previously, the British government had resisted calls for stricter measures beyond closing schools, bars and restaurants and urging people to stay home.

In an evening address, Johnson said that he was giving “the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home.’’

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Southwest Air cuts 1,500 daily flights as bookings hit ‘unimaginable low’

Southwest Airlines plans to cancel 1,500 daily flights beginning Friday as the airline and its competitors take increasingly dramatic steps to offset historic declines in travel demand from the coronavirus crisis.

The increased flight cuts, up from a planned 1,000 daily flight cancellations announced just days ago and put in place Sunday, were disclosed in a memo to employees Monday. A copy of the memo was obtained by USA TODAY.

They come a day after Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told employees in a videotaped message that the airline is in the “fight of our lives” to protect the company and its operations. 

– Dawn Gilbertson

How many cases of coronavirus in US?

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Contributing: The Associated Press


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