Coronavirus live updates: World Health Organization declares covid-19 a pandemic

Coronavirus live updates: World Health Organization declares covid-19 a pandemic

Government officials around the country announced some of the most sweeping measures yet Tuesday to contain the new coronavirus through social distancing, as the epidemic continues to bring business, major events and daily life in the United States to a standstill.

As testing capacity has expanded, the number of cases continued to increase across the country. As of early Wednesday, 31 people had died and at least 1,000 had tested positive for the virus, a milestone underscoring its deep impact across the country.

Officials in New York created a one-mile containment zone in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City where the state’s outbreak has been concentrated. Schools, places of worship and other large gathering spots inside the area will be closed for two weeks, as National Guard troops help with disinfection and food delivery.

In Washington, meanwhile, federal agencies have scrambled to develop contingency plans letting hundreds of thousands of employees work remotely full time. And outside the Beltway, at least 19 states have declared a state of emergency, as officials cancel public gatherings and businesses restrict travel and order employees to work from home.

Not even the Democratic primary was immune. In Ohio, fears about the virus prompted officials to move polling sites out of nursing homes for the state’s March 17 primary.

President Trump met with Senate lawmakers to discuss extending the April 15 tax deadline, paid sick leave for employees and a dramatic reduction to the payroll tax. After a day of stunning declines on Wall Street, news of that government stimulus package prompted U.S. stocks to rally, and the Dow Jones industrial average recovered more than half of its losses from the day before.

On Wednesday, the White House will meet with top technology companies to discuss how federal officials can work with Silicon Valley on addressing the coronavirus. It may also push federal assistance for oil and natural gas producers, which have been hit by plummeting prices amid the coronavirus outbreak.

More passengers are expected to disembark from the Grand Princess cruise ship, which docked in California earlier this week following several days of uncertainty for the virus-stricken vessel. More than 1,400 people had left the ship as of Tuesday evening out of a total of more than 3,000, the cruise line said in a statement.

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