The U.S. now has reported multiple instances of probable community transmission of COVID-19 and the nation’s first deaths from the novel coronavirus.
There are a total of 91 COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.
Among the newest confirmed cases, all of unknown origin, are a patient and a health care worker at the Life Care long-term care facility in Kirkland, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. The worker is a woman in her 40s who is “in satisfactory condition” at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., health officials said. The patient, a woman in her 70s, is in serious condition at Evergreenhealth Hospital in Kirkland.
The Seattle and King County public health department, which has confirmed a total of six cases there, said Friday that more than 50 people “associated with Life Care” are ill with respiratory symptoms or pneumonia and are being tested for COVID-19.
There have now been two deaths of COVID-19 in the U.S., both of which took place in Washington state — one was a male in his 50s who was receiving treatment at Evergreenhealth. He wasn’t a resident of the nursing home. The other death was a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions who was also being treated at Evergreenhealth. He died on Saturday.
“While we still hope for the best, we continue to prepare for this virus to become widespread in the United States,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news release.
Several large corporations have issued new policies restricting work and personal travel, globally as well as in the U.S. Amazon.com Inc. AMZ, +1.43% told employees to “defer nonessential travel during this time,” and Twitter Inc. TWTR, +7.09% on Sunday said it has suspended all “noncritical business travel and events,” which will remain in effect until the World Health Organization (WHO) or the CDC “deem it appropriate to step back from pandemic precautionary measures or when a vaccine becomes available.” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +1.00% told employees that non-essential international business travel should be postponed.
There are 89,254 cases of COVID-19 world-wide and at least 3,048 deaths, with the number of cases and deaths outside of China rising over the weekend. The majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths have taken place in mainland China, which has reported 80,026 cases and 2,912 deaths, but the number of new cases reported by China overnight is the lowest number since Jan. 22, WHO officials said. However, South Korea now has 4,335 cases and 26 deaths, Italy has 1,694 cases and 34 deaths and Iran has 978 cases and 54 deaths. There were nearly nine times more cases reported outside of China today than inside of China, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said Monday.
“WHO will not hesitate to describe this as a pandemic if that’s what the evidence suggests,” said Tedros.
In France, which has 130 cases and two deaths, the Louvre museum in Paris was closed on Sunday and Monday due to an informational meeting “on the public health situation linked to COVID-19.” Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, -1.04% is suspending flights between New York and Milan until May 1. So is American Airlines Group Inc. AAL, -4.09%, which is suspending flights to and from Miami and from New York to Milan.
President Donald Trump and members of the coronavirus task force are expected to meet with pharmaceutical executives on Monday afternoon.
• Home Depot Inc. HD, +2.66% said it has put all travel to and from Asia and Italy on hold until further notice. “We also implemented a 14-day stay-at-home policy for associates who have returned from Asia and Italy within the past two weeks,” the home improvement retailer said in an emailed statement to MarketWatch. “We’ll continue to follow the U.S. Department of State and CDC’s guidance on travel.”
• Target Corp. TGT, +3.84% canceled its in-person financial community meeting planned for Tuesday due to coronavirus concerns. Instead, the retailer will host the event remotely from its headquarters in Minneapolis via webcast.
• Plexus Corp. PLXS, +0.22% issued a warning that fiscal second-quarter revenue could fall below its guidance range because of the coronavirus outbreak. The electronic manufacturing services company said it estimates revenue for the quarter ending March to be negatively impacted by about $40 million from the COVID-19 outbreak, given workforce disruptions in the supply chain. As a results, revenue could fall below the range of $790 million to $830 million that was estimated on Jan. 22; the FactSet consensus is $814 million.
• Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. said it expects to lose between £50 million and £60 million ($63.9 million and $76.7 million) as a result of the outbreak. However, the company said that figure is nonmaterial.
“There hasn’t been any major changes in the operations,” CFO Javier Echave Espot told investors on an earnings call. “The only thing that we have incorporated is, obviously, sensible things that you would expect from our responsible business, so introducing more hand sanitizers, increasing the level of cleaning up, frequency of deep cleaning some of the areas that are closer to passenger-facing areas and that could come with some level of additional costs, which, at this stage, is they are not material.”
Additional reporting by Tomi Kilgore and Tonya Garcia