A hospital ship was racing for New York's harbor Sunday as federal health officials issued a travel advisory for the region and the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed above 2,000.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing "extensive community transmission" of COVID-19 in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, late Saturday urged residents to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days effective immediately. The advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries such as trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.
“Just a little bit of separation can stop a fire from spreading," said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield,
The U.S. counted more than 120,000 cases of coronavirus early Sunday, with more than 2,100 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. More confirmations are expected as the U.S. ramps up testing.
More than 650,000 people are known to have been infected with COVID-19 globally, and over 30,000 have died.
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Trump backs off quarantine proposal
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped suggestions by President Donald Trump that he might institute a ban on New Yorkers' travel to other states amid the coronavirus outbreak. "It would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo said. Late Saturday, Trump apparently backed off the idea, tweeting that he has was opting instead for the CDC's travel advisory.
Governors in Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina have ordered people arriving from the New York area – including New Jersey and Connecticut – and other virus hot spots to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival.
– Joseph Spector
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3 NYPD members die in 48 hours
A detective has become the third New York Police Department worker to die as a result of COVID-19 in two days. Detective Cedric Dixon was a 23-year veteran stationed in Harlem, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. Dennis Dickson, a custodian at police headquarters, died Thursday, and Administrative Assistant Giacomina Barr-Brown died Friday.
"We've lost three members of the NYPD family, Shea said. "Today we are all mourning and hurting together, as a family. When we emerge from this crisis, let us never forget the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice."
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FDA approves five-minute coronavirus test from Abbott Labs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Illinois-based medical device maker Abbott Labs on Friday for a coronavirus test that delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, the company said.
The company expects the tests to be available next week and expects to ramp up manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.
The new test comes in the form of a small cartridge that fits in the palm of your hand, said John Frels, Abbott's vice president of research and development.
– Grace Hauck
Hospital ship bound for New York City
A Naval hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, left Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday for New York City to help combat the coronavirus. Speaking from a pier at Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday, President Donald Trump called the USNS Comfort “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York.”
Trump said the naval hospital ship is equipped has 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, radiology, CAT-scan equipment, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck. “It’s stocked to the brim with equipment, medicines and everything you can think of,” he said.
Coronavirus patients won't be treated on the ship, Trump said. Instead, it will be used to treat New Yorkers who don't have the virus but still require urgent care.
The ship was not scheduled to leave for New York Harbor for another three weeks, but officials pushed up its departure date because of the rapid spread of the virus.
– Michael Collins
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