Anxiety over coronavirus testing reaches a new level as American life comes to a near-halt

A woman from Seattle says she had the novel coronavirus and is recovering. She describes her experience with the virus during an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett.

Posted: Mar 13, 2020 6:31 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 6:31 PM

As American life continued to slow to a near-halt on Friday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, officials tried to alleviate concerns surrounding testing -- or the lack thereof.

In an effort to address the crisis, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, freeing up $50 billion to help fight the coronavirus.

The President told reporters in the Rose Garden that his administration would partner with the private sector to increase testing capacity. He claimed the private sector would be able to provide 5 million coronavirus tests within a month.

"We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely, quickly and conveniently," Trump said. But he added that people should only take the test if they had certain symptoms.

"We don't want everybody taking this test," he said. "It's totally unnecessary."

The number of cases in the US climbed to more than 2,000 in 48 states and the nation's capital. At least 48 people have died, with the majority in Washington state, which has 37 fatalities thus far.

Health officials have said the numbers will continue to climb as more tests became available. It wasn't clear, however, how accessible tests would be to members of the public who wanted to be tested.

Some patients have told CNN they are suffering from symptoms associated with the coronavirus and tried to be tested, only to be turned away.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged before a congressional committee Thursday the testing system currently in place in the US was not meeting the country's needs. "And that is a failing," he said.

"The idea of anybody getting it (a test) easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we're not set up for that," Fauci said. "Do I think we should be? Yes, but we're not."

Vice President Mike Pence has said 4 million more tests would be available by the end of the week.

Friday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the "log jam" in testing was due not to the number of available testing kits, but the lack of laboratories authorized to perform the tests.

"We do have a crisis in testing," Cuomo said. "We're not up to scale."

What national emergency declaration will do

The $50 billion freed up by Trump's emergency declaration will help various state and localities combat the coronavirus, the President said.

The emergency order will "confer broad new authorities" to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who would be able to "waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations" to allow health officials "maximum flexibility to respond to the virus," Trump said.

The President urged every state to set up emergency operation centers immediately, and asked "every hospital in the country to activate its emergency preparedness plan."

Additionally, Trump said drive-through testing sites would be set up.

Officials in several states have tried drive-up facilities, including Colorado, where residents will need a doctor's note saying they need to get tested, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.

Wait times on Thursday ranged from three to four hours, the news station said, citing the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, which later cut off the line due to high volume. Testing Friday was postponed because of inclement weather, the department said.

The first such facility on the East Coast opened Friday in New Rochelle, New York, where officials have imposed a 1-mile containment zone after more than 100 cases were confirmed in about a week.

"You have to make an appointment. You can't just show up," Cuomo told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

With the anxiety and fear surrounding the virus, the governor said, it's not feasible to test just anyone who wants to be assessed.

"We have to prioritize, because we don't have that kind of capacity," he said.

Gatherings are banned, schools are closed

For many Americans, the past days have felt like uncharted territory.

Public gatherings were banned, dozens of school districts and universities hit the pause button on classes, sports leagues suspended their seasons and major entertainment venues -- including Broadway and Disney World -- announced a halt in activities.

Restrictions on travelers coming from an open border zone within Europe were set to go into effect Friday at 11:59 p.m. Americans returning to the US will be routed through one of 13 airports, where they will be screened for the coronavirus. Americans and legal residents returning to the US will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, Pence said.

The mounting impacts on the travel industry prompted Delta Air Lines to announce its biggest flight capacity cuts ever. The company said it was facing its worst conditions and making deeper cuts than after 9/11.

Inside the US, the bottom line: Stay home. And if you have to go out, keep your distance.

Among the school districts closing their doors were those in and around major cities like Miami-Dade, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Seattle.

Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon became the first states to announce statewide shutdowns of all K-12 schools. Further statewide shutdowns of varying lengths were announced Friday, including in Louisiana, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

"Today's decision has a full range of implications from learning plans and childcare, to free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch, just to name a few," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement, closing down all public and private K-12 schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties for the next six weeks. "I anticipate this will cause ripple effects ... but we can't afford not to do it."

The outbreak prompted Louisiana to postpone the state's April 4 presidential primary for two months, until June 20. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said coronavirus was "an unprecedented threat and unlike any we have faced."

Among the new patients reported was Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who said he would go into self-quarantine after he was in the same room last weekend as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his entourage. Bolsonaro's press secretary tested positive Thursday for coronavirus.

"I feel completely healthy and strong," Suarez said in a statement. "However, I am doing the responsible thing by working with the County's Health Department to take every precaution to ensure that not only my family is healthy, but everyone I have come in contact with is healthy as well."

Others hit the pause button

Augusta National Golf Club on Friday announced that the Masters will be postponed in response to the outbreak. The year's first major was scheduled to tee off on April 9.

It was just one of many cancellations that left the public stunned.

In New York, the Broadway League said it is suspending all shows through April 12 "in support of the health and well-being of the theatre public, as well as those who work in the theatre industry."

The NBA is suspending the rest of its season, it said Wednesday, after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. The NCAA announced it would ban public audiences from March Madness -- before canceling the tournament altogether.

Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and the PGA Tour either canceled events over the coming weeks or suspended their seasons. And NASCAR postponed its next two races after initially saying it would hold the events without fans.

The National Rifle Association is canceling its annual meeting, set to take place next month in Nashville. In 2018, there were more than 85,000 attendees, according to an NRA spokeswoman at the time.

And The Walt Disney Company announced the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida would close through the end of the month, along with Disneyland in California.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55257

Reported Deaths: 2903
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin9825417
Cuyahoga7392372
Hamilton5605197
Marion273038
Lucas2669302
Pickaway218441
Summit2079206
Montgomery191826
Mahoning1805231
Butler151144
Columbiana128860
Stark1079112
Lorain98367
Trumbull91665
Warren81421
Clark7619
Belmont54322
Delaware54115
Fairfield52916
Tuscarawas52910
Medina50632
Lake48018
Miami45531
Licking44212
Portage42858
Ashtabula42544
Wood40451
Geauga39942
Clermont3906
Wayne35951
Richland3255
Allen30540
Mercer2788
Darke24525
Greene2449
Erie23422
Holmes2203
Huron1992
Madison1928
Ottawa13923
Crawford1345
Washington13020
Putnam12615
Sandusky12614
Hardin12012
Morrow1161
Ross1133
Auglaize1044
Coshocton902
Monroe8817
Jefferson832
Union801
Hancock781
Hocking788
Muskingum761
Preble701
Williams682
Guernsey673
Lawrence670
Clinton660
Shelby644
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot585
Brown541
Defiance493
Fayette460
Knox451
Highland441
Athens431
Champaign391
Scioto380
Seneca332
Perry321
Van Wert320
Henry290
Paulding230
Adams221
Pike220
Vinton222
Jackson180
Gallia141
Harrison121
Meigs110
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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