Cumulus Media COVID-19 Update 3/31/20 5:00 AM
White House COVID coordinator – 200K U.S. deaths could be a ‘best-case scenario’
The White House’s coronavirus coordinator on Monday warned that the pandemic could kill as many as 200,000 Americans in even a best-case scenario as state officials intensified their stay-at-home directives — further erasing any hope that the country would have a speedy recovery from the global health crisis.
Deborah Birx, the coronavirus coordinator, told NBC News that the United States could record 200,000 deaths even “if we do things together well, almost perfectly.” President Trump, who a day earlier extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April, said the move was necessary to prevent catastrophe.
“We could save more than 1 million American lives,” Trump said in a briefing at the White House on Monday. “Our future is in our own hands, and the choices and sacrifices we make will determine the fate of this virus.”
The comments underscored the reality that Americans probably will need to suffer many more weeks of economic and social pain to save lives, and even then, their efforts cannot fully prevent a disaster.
Asian stocks rise after Wall Street health-care-led rally
Asian shares have risen after a rally in U.S. stocks, mostly spurred by health care companies’ announcements of developments that could aid in the coronavirus outbreak. Benchmarks in Japan, South Korea, Australia and China gained in Tuesday morning trading. Optimism is budding the worst of the selling may be approaching, but markets around the world are still volatile as leaders strive to nurse their economies through the pandemic. The S&P 500 remains 22 percent below its record set last month. Johnson & Johnson said it expects to begin human clinical studies by September on a vaccine candidate for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Here come the layoffs
Major companies signaled a new wave of economic distress Monday, sending hundreds of thousands of workers home without pay, as the Trump administration scrambled to get stimulus money to Americans already feeling the weight of unpaid bills.
Macy’s announced it will furlough most of its 125,000 workers as sales evaporated with the shuttering of 775 stores. Kohl’s and Gap also announced furloughs of about 80,000 each. Media giant Gannett announced furloughs for newspaper employees who earn more than $38,000 a year and pay cuts across the company. Sysco Corp., the country’s largest food distributor, also confirmed thousands of furloughs and layoffs of undisclosed number of workers worldwide.
The massive cuts have prompted some economists to predict the unemployed could top an eye-popping 40 million by mid-April, with deep economic consequences for workers struggling to make rent and mortgages amid public health isolation orders.
Stranded cruise ship hit by virus begs Florida to dock
Passengers from a cruise ship stranded at sea with coronavirus cases and deaths are pleading with Florida officials to let them disembark. The Zaandam’s plans to dock in Florida are still up in the air but have already been rebuked by local officials and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Hundreds of passengers and crew members from the Zaandam have not stepped on dry land for 15 days. The Panama Canal’s administrator said he made an exception to allow the ship with coronavirus cases to pass through “for humanitarian reasons.” DeSantis says his state’s health care resources are already stretched too thin to take the passengers.
LA County sheriff abandons effort to close gun stores
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has retracted an order to close gun stores to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Villanueva announced Monday that he’ll heed a federal advisory that lists gun dealers as “essential critical infrastructure workers.” Last week, the sheriff ordered gun stores closed, saying panic-buying was risky to public safety. On Friday, the National Rifle Association and other groups sued the sheriff, saying his order violated Second Amendment rights. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that each of the state’s 58 counties can decide for themselves whether to list firearms dealers as nonessential businesses.
‘Please come help us’: New York begs for medical workers
New York’s governor has put out an urgent plea for medical volunteers as coronavirus deaths in New York City mount and hospitals are overwhelmed. Authorities say it could be a preview of what other cities across the U.S. will soon face. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York needed help now as the number of dead in the state climbed past 1,200, with most dying in the city. In Europe, hard-hit Italy and Spain saw their death tolls climb by more than 800 each. But the World Health Organization’s emergency chief said cases there were “potentially stabilizing.”
China declares itself back in business
China’s manufacturing sector is recovering as restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus are gradually lifted, according to official data released Tuesday.
Having declared the pandemic largely contained at home, China has moved to restore normal life. The country was the original epicenter of the crisis, but it has since been surpassed in number of cases by the United States, Italy and Spain.
Still, there is widespread skepticism about China’s accounting of the crisis. While China has publicly broadcast its success in fighting the outbreak, international public health experts have warned that the fight against the coronavirus needs to continue.
“Let me be clear. The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific. This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” Takeshi Kasai, regional director for the Western Pacific at the World Health Organization, told a briefing Tuesday.
Japan likely to close its borders to U.S. citizens
Japan is likely to bar foreign visitors from the United States, as it expands travel bans that already encompass visitors from Europe, China, South Korea and Iran.
With infections also surging in the capital in recent days, Tokyo’s governor warned in a news conference on Monday night that the city stands at a crossroads. She again appealed for people to avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
“We want young people to stay away from karaoke parlors and live-music venues, and we want older people to refrain from visiting bars and nightclubs,” she said, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
But pressure is growing for the government to take much stronger action, by declaring a state of emergency, and enforcing a lockdown.
New Zealand ‘worst-case’ government model suggests two-thirds of country sick, nearly 30,000 dead
New Zealand’s government publicly released a series of declassified reports on Tuesday that attempted to model the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Under one worst-case scenario, the outbreak would peak in July and leave roughly two-thirds of the country, 3.32 million people, sick. Under this model, “27,600 would be expected to die.”
That figure would be roughly 0.6 percent of New Zealand’s total population, making it considerably higher then warnings from U.S. officials about the potential for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States.
New Zealand is currently under a nationwide lockdown that will last for four weeks.
Tenor Placido Domingo feels ‘fine’ after coronavirus
Tenor Placido Domingo says he is resting at home after catching coronavirus. Domingo said in a statement Monday that “I am at home and I feel fine.” He was reportedly hospitalized after publicly acknowledging on March 22 that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and said he was going into isolation. He had suffered from a fever and a cough. Domingo wrote that “from the very first symptom I was, as usual, under medical supervision, given my age and my comorbidity.” He added “My thoughts right now are with those who suffer and with all those who are generously working to save lives.”
NCAA extends eligibility for spring sports student athletes – but not for winter athletes
The NCAA voted Monday to grant an extra year of eligibility to all student-athletes in spring sports whose seasons were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NCAA’s decision will extend the eligibility of all spring-sport student-athletes — not just seniors — and will allow schools to expand their rosters to account for incoming recruits and seniors who were expected to leave.
The NCAA will leave it up to each school to decide whether to grant seniors in spring sports less or equal financial aid next year.
The waivers will be applied for student-athletes competing in spring sports, including baseball, softball, outdoor track and field and lacrosse. The decision does not include winter sports such as basketball, hockey, swimming and diving, and gymnastics.
What You Can Do to Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy
- Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
- Cumberland County Coronavirus Response Portal
- NC Updates on COVID-19 from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
- For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website
- Follow the City’s official social media pages for current updates
- School Lunch Pickup
- Mayor Declares State of Emergency on March 16 (.pdf)
Concerned if you should get tested?
Use the Assessment Tool from Cape Fear Valley Health