The Latest: Virus cases in New York state double to 22

BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on the virus outbreak (all times local):
12:20 a.m.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. De Blasio implored the federal government Thursday, March 5, to send more coronavirus test kits as the city confirmed two more COVID-19 cases, both in hospitalized patients with no known travel history or personal connections linking them to the virus. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in New York state has doubled overnight, from 11 to 22.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the figures Thursday. The newly diagnosed cases include two hospitalized patients in New York City and a hospitalized man in Long Island’s Nassau County.
The other positive tests were in people with mild symptoms — or none at all — in Westchester County, where a cluster of cases emerged earlier in the week. One of the previously diagnosed patients from Westchester County has been hospitalized.
Overall, the U.S. has 11 deaths among the over 3,300 people worldwide who have died from the new coronavirus.
12 midnight
A patient with an underlying health condition in southeast England has died after testing positive for the new coronavirus, the first person in the UK to succumb to the disease.
The person, who was not identified, is among the 115 people in the U.K. who have tested positive for the new virus. Switzerland also reported its first virus death on Thursday.
Italy has by far the highest number of dead in Europe at 148 people. France has reported six deaths.
England’s chief medical officer said Thursday that U.K. authorities have largely shifted from efforts to contain the new coronavirus to now attempting to delay its spread. Chris Whitty said there’s evidence the virus is being passed from person to person in the U.K.
He said Britain’s official response had gone from “mainly contain with some delay” to “mainly delay.”
11:30 p.m.
The head of the World Health Organization says nations cannot stop their battle against the coronavirus that is sweeping across the globe.

Health inspectors were fanning out across the country, ordered by the White House, to ensure that Medicare providers, including hospitals and nursing homes were following federal infection control policies, focusing on areas where cases of the deadly coronavirus were confirmed. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva on Thursday, told reporters: “This is not a drill. This is not the time for giving up. This is not a time of for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

He added that “countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans.”
He said “the worst thing that can happen to any country or even to any individual is giving up. So WHO is saying don’t give up. Don’t surrender.”
U.S. health officials, meanwhile, said Thursday said they expect a far lower death rate for the virus than WHO’s current estimate of 3.4% — saying that it does not account for mild cases that go uncounted. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir, citing a model that included mild cases, said the U.S. could expect a death rate somewhere between 0.1% — like seasonal flu — and 1%.
10:30 p.m.
A school district north of Seattle with 22,000 students will close for up to two weeks because of coronavirus concerns.
All 26 schools in the Northshore School District will be closed for up to two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect vulnerable staff members, the district’s superintendent said in a letter to parents. The district is largely in Bothell, Washington, 20 miles north of Seattle.
There have been at least 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Seattle area. Ten people have died.
Northshore School District superintendent Michelle Reid said school officials will consult with health authorities on further recommendations.
The district had closed a high school for two days last week over concerns about coronavirus exposure. Reid said about 20% of students had been absent recently as parents decided to self-quarantine students at home.
6:10 p.m.
Facebook says it’s temporarily closing an office in Seattle after a worker was diagnosed with the new virus.
“A contractor based in our Stadium East office has been diagnosed with the COVID-19,” the company said. “We’ve notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone’s health and safety.”
Facebook said the last time the worker came to the office was on Feb. 21, so it will shut the office until March 9, when the incubation period ends. The company is following guidance from local authorities and encouraging Seattle staff to work from home until March 31.
An Amazon employee at the e-commerce giant’s Seattle office also reportedly tested positive for the virus this week.

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